Develop a Plan to Grow Your Readership [Day 29 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog from Problogger]  

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Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

Here’s my notes and some further thoughts on Darren Rowse’s Problogger Free Podcast on 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. You can listen to Darren Rowse’s free podcast here Day 29 Develop a Plan to Grow your Readership. The complete list of challenges can be read here on Day 0 – Welcome and Introduction

Become A Problogger with Darren Rowse

As I’ve mentioned before, to get the full benefit of this series I’m going to go at a slower pace by posting this series typically on Tuesdays each week. I hope with this challenge we are all able to improve our blogs and websites.

So lets do this together! Day 29 here we go! Subscribe and check back often! #31DBBB

Day 29: Today the challenge is to develop a plan to grow your blog readership.

We have done a lot of writing challenges. Writing challenges include writing a review post, writing a post that has a call to action, writing an opinion post, writing a link post, and writing a list post. We have done a lot of different challenges too in this series including using a magazine to improve our blogs, improving our blogs by visiting the mall, and conducting a social media audit.

If this is the first time you are reading about this challenge check out the list of challenges here.

I really believe this post is when everything starts coming together!

Many bloggers have this expectation that all you have to build a blog and readers will come. In other words write and create great content to get people to show up. However, you will likely find that most successful bloggers spend significant time promoting themselves and their blog.

Today the plan is to get off your blog and promote your blog more effectively. Most bloggers just drift along in social media promotions without a game plan.

This really could describe me on any given day of the week.

Does this describe you some days?

I get on Facebook and check some personal finance groups. I invariably begin chatting with someone I know. Next thing you know I’m clicking a link and reading an article. Then I’m on Twitter checking on something interesting a friend tweeted. Then I’ll get on Pinterest for something that reminded me of an article I saw that related to my friend’s tweet. You get the idea. Next thing you know I’ve spent an hour or two just drifting along on Social Media.

All those social media accounts have the potential of growing my blog but without focus I end up just wasting my time.

Wasting some time is not necessarily bad. Relaxing and connecting with others can be good. It’s just when this becomes the habitual pattern that this becomes an issue. Sometimes it’s good to step back and develop a strategic plan.

It would be a pity to develop some amazing content for your blog and then not have anyone read it right? So let’s dig a little deeper.

6 Important Questions to Ask Yourself as a Blogger

Grow

Check out this Free PDF 6 Important Questions to Ask Yourself as a Blogger to help you organize yourself, profile your ideal reader, and answer the questions in the rest of this post.

1. How Much Time Do You Have? 

How much time does non-blogging related activities take up of your time? This is particularly important to think about if you are married, have kids, have a job, are involved with the community, go to church, or other related non-blogging related activity.

How much time do you have to be creative? Think pictures, developing your editorial calendar, coming up with great ideas for blog posts, etc.

How much time do you have to create new content? You will need to spend more time on this if your blog is new. If your blog is more established perhaps you have developed a good rhythm in creating content.

How much time do you have to promote your blog? Think sharing on social media, connecting with readers, connecting with other bloggers, guest posting, etc.

How much time do you have to monetize your blog? Is this even a goal for you? If so, what actions will you take to monetize your blog?

2. Who is Your Ideal Reader?

Have you created a reader profile or avatar? Who do you want to read your blog? Think gender, age, location, what are their needs, what are their problems, what are their fears, etc. Again, check out this Free PDF to help you organize yourself, profile your ideal reader, and answer the questions in the rest of this post.

3. Where Does Your Ideal Reader Gather?

Where are they hanging out online? Check out and print this PDF below that includes brainstorming on the following:

  • Top 3 Blogs that your ideal reader might read.
  • Top 3 Forums that your ideal reader might engage in.
  • Top 3 Social media networks your ideal reader would use.
  • Top 3 Facebook pages your ideal reader would be following.
  • Top 3 Facebook groups your ideal reader would be a part of.
  • Top 3 Twitter Accounts your ideal reader would follow.
  • Top 3 Podcasts your ideal reader would follow.
  • Top 3 Books your ideal reader would read.
  • Top 3 Conferences your ideal reader would attend.

4. What Opportunities are There to Build a Presence Where Your Readers are Gathering?

Create a list of things you could do to promote your blog. What opportunities are there to network in those places you listed above? Consider the following possibilities.

  • Could you guest post on one of the primary blogs your ideal reader reads?
  • What goals could you set for meeting people on the list?
  • What goals could you set to appear in the podcasts your readers listen to?
  • Could you leave comments that spark engagement on posts on blogs in your niche?
  • Could you interview or be interviewed by other bloggers?
  • Could you spend time in forums or social media groups answering questions?
  • Could you identify and network with key influencers in forums on social media groups?
  • Could you volunteer your time as a moderator?
  • Could you start social media groups?
  • Could you engage in current social media groups you are already involved with?
  • Could you advertise on the social media network?
  • How could you get to know the bloggers and influencers behind the pages on social networks such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.?
  • Could you promote other bloggers or blogs on social media?
  • Could you attend or volunteer at events?

5. How Are You Going to Spend Your Time? 

What are the 2 or 3 things you need to do first? What are your primary goals for your blog this week, month, and year? What about long-term goals say 5 to 10 years down the road? Are your goals S.M.A.R.T.?

For example, you might have a goal of writing a guest post in your niche. You might need to do some research to see what kind of guest posts are accepted on the site. You might want to guest post on smaller blogs in order to build up your guest posting portfolio. You might even begin to comment and engage the owner of the target blog. You might follow the blog on social media and engage the blogger there. Over time you might develop a relationship with that blogger to where you could have an opportunity to guest post.

6. What Needs to Change? 

You have all these activities you could do. Now it’s time to re-prioritize. An example would be to maybe spend 15 minutes on new activities. You could share links on your social media accounts for content that is useful to your readership and followers. You could also spend 15 minutes searching for questions you can answer that relate to your niche.

What needs to change in the way you currently spend your time? List five things that need to change this year. Where are you wasting your time? What will you give up to be more strategic about be promoting your blog? For me, Instagram is a really fun social media yet I found it really wasn’t as useful as other social media accounts. So these days I don’t spend nearly as much time on Instagram as say Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

The Secret Magic of the Servant Heart

This all may seem borderline manipulative. In some ways it can be a manipulative process. Yet the reality is you need to be looking for a win-win when networking with others. You probably will only be allowed to guest post on a blog if your content is useful to another blogger’s reader.

Reach out with a servant’s heart. This genuine interest in helping others will shine through and make an impact. Don’t become so obsessed with creating your public profile that you neglect your blog. Don’t give up creating new content and building community with your current readership.

Further Reading:

Previous Challenges in this Series:

Again, check out this Free PDF 6 Important Questions to Ask Yourself as a Blogger to help you organize yourself, profile your ideal reader, and answer the questions in the rest of this post. Here’s a preview of this 9 page Free PDF below:

This is page 3: 
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This is page 4: 
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What new ways will you try to connect with your ideal readers? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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{Click to go back to day 28 here} {Click to go forward to day 30 here} *Coming Soon*

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About Jonathan Key 112 Articles
Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

101 Comments

  1. Wow that’s a lot of ideas! I think it’s particularly helpful to limit the time I’m going to spend doing each idea so I don’t stray away, like you mentioned. I’m going to use that PDF tomorrow, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to focus my audience so I appreciate that.

  2. Great post! I really enjoyed it..very informational. I blog a lot and this post will really help me. I am also going to download the free workshop you provided

  3. I really feel overwhelmed by all there is to learn and do. I’m trying to pick just one new focus when I find myself with a bit of room to breathe. Right now, I’m concentrating on writing first, Facebook and Twitter, then sharing to some other platforms, but not really putting my all into those yet. One step at a time.
    Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard recently posted…Being Boldly Submissive in a Culture Scared to SubmitMy Profile

    • Jennifer yes one step at a time. Maybe try to refocus your blog with this PDF by taking say 10 minutes out of your day to work on it? I really think it would benefit any blogger. Facebook and Twitter are my favorites too. Along with Pinterest! Thanks for reading and stopping by!

  4. Great list of things that can help to promote a blog! As for me, I participate in various Facebook groups, leave comments on blog posts and try to promote other bloggers. Thanks for sharing such smart suggestions! Re-tweeted your post!
    Eugenia recently posted…Best way to communicate joy!My Profile

  5. I feel like my blogging brain is always on. I have my whole family trained that we take pictures of everything first.

  6. The time factor is always an issue with me. I also have two kids, little ones, and not a lot of time so I find it challenging. I frequently have to choose between promoting a post or writing a new one. These are great tips to keep in mind to help. I never even thought about how to get where your readers could see you!

    • Hil, yes time is a very precious commodity. Particularly for those of us with young kiddos. Glad you enjoyed the post and found it useful. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  7. It is so important to know who your audience is, and who you want your audience to be. And to write for them, as well as for yourself. Time is valuable and it can be wasted if we are not being focused and diligent with it.

    • Marissa, I agree it’s so important to remember to write not just for yourself but your readers too! Time indeed is one of our most valuable commodities. Can’t make more of it. Thanks for reading!

  8. Thanks so much for breaking this information down into understandable chunks! I have streamlined my social media time because yes, distractions were making me waste a lot of time! I’ll look forward to exploring your blog!

  9. I have been struggling with some of these exact questions. Thank you for clarifying and helping me see some of the basic points of blogging and social media. I really liked the forms to fill out. I appreciate the direction you gave me!

    • Alison, I’m very glad you stopped by and checked out this article. Feel free to fill out the forms and provide any feedback. Let me know if I can help! Thanks for reading!

  10. have been looking for an article like this and am glad I did… will bookmark this and read thoroughly over again later tonight when I do more online… thnx for sharing these tips…

    • Lex, I’m glad you found this useful. Yes, do print off the PDF and take advantage of the content in this post. Let us know what you find! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  11. Great post. I always love to read your tips. They’ve helped me a lot. I struggle with having time to really focus on my blog because I have a full time job and run 2 other small businesses so I need to definitely carve out more specific time to focus on my blog and growing my readers. Thanks for sharing!
    Anna Harris recently posted…Best Spring Projects – My Top 10 PicksMy Profile

    • Anna I’m glad you find the blog posts useful! Time is a precious commodity. Sounds like you are really busy! Setting clear goals is a good way to focus. Thanks for reading!

  12. That’s where it all boils down to… how much time do I have? For me, I make sure I schedule my week before it starts. It sounds a bit “obsessive compulsive” but really, I love having a schedule. I feel like it gives me discipline and a view of how my week is going to turn out. The same goes for blogging. Time and schedule will help you go through all your goals, especially with gaining an audience. You ALWAYS need to make time for that!

    • Elizabeth this was a very well thought out post. Planning ahead really can maximize your time and minimize your stress. I know it does that for me too. So important to understand your audience to gain an audience. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Tony, I’m glad you found this post useful. Yes tracking Facebook groups that your readers engage in is essential. Also activities that help with shares are important too! Thanks for reading!

  13. This is such a timely post for me! I’ve been thinking a LOT about my ideal reader and where to find them. I spent some time this morning on a Facebook page that I joined when I was pregnant and really has thousands of my ideal readers. I engaged under my blog account, kind of on accident, but this got my wheels turning on how that page is really where I need to be (and others like it). This really confirms for me that I need to make the time to do this daily. Thanks for the post!
    Inez recently posted…Baby’s First Easter Basket IdeasMy Profile

    • Inez, it’s so important to determine who your ideal reader is. And keep in mind that your ideal reader may change over time. Yes, finding good groups on social media and particularly on Facebook is key! Glad you found the post useful and thanks for reading! Don’t forget to download the free PDF 👍😄

    • Kristie, I’m glad you found this useful. I must have changed the PDF 50 times and it grew to what you have now. I hope you find it helpful feel free to come back and provide any feedback with how you liked it or constructive criticism for improving it. What did you like best? What did you like least? Thanks for reading!

    • Top, I’m very glad you found this post useful! I liked how you described the questions as genuine. Understanding your target audience I agree is key. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  14. That’s one thing I haven’t done yet — to really hone in on who my ideal reader is. I think it’s because my daughter just joined me, so now we need to think about that new person.

  15. Hey, you wrote my everyday life scenario on there. Hold on a sec, I just got an i/m. 😉 Kidding…but I totally get what you’re saying.

  16. Love the questions to ask yourself about your ideal reader. I’ve been trying to really develop my blog recently so these questions are super helpful!

    • Amer, I’m glad you found this post useful! Yes, there’s a lot more to blogging than meets the eye. My goal is to learn a little each day to build momentum. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. I have been focused on promoting my blog effectively. I took a short break and now I am back at it. I scored two huge review opportunities.

  18. This is so helpful. I’m still trying to grow my blog. This is a great list of things to keep in mind and your printable will help me work on growing and targeting my audience

  19. I need to sit down and think about point #3. I’ve taken blogging courses that speak all about finding your ideal reader. It’s important, but it’s sometimes hard to imagine what they like, how you can make their life easier, etc. Now I need to know where to find them!

    • Jelli, finding where your ideal audience gathers can be tricky but so important in furthering your goals and reaching your target audience. What Facebook groups are you a part of? What Twitter lists are you a part of? Pinterest boards with multiple contributors is a good idea too. Have you looked up various hashtags related to your niche on social media? Hopefully that points you in the right direction. Thanks for reading!

  20. If I were to be honest, mine just organically grew. I just wrote about my life and people started reading. I was actually quite surprised when it happened because I never thought people would read what I have to say but they did.

    Thanks for these tips though. I could use it for my web mag.
    Kathy Kenny Ngo recently posted…Starbucks Coffee CollegeMy Profile

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