Know what’s usually the first goal of a new blogger? Getting 1,000 blog subscribers. It might be your goal, too. And it’s a good one. But do you know why? (Other than staying motivated?) Why 1,000? Is it because it’s a nice, well-rounded easy to remember number?
1000 is the indication of this highly reassuring fact: You are doing it right. It clues you to know that it won’t be long before you ‘make it’ (whatever that means for you). This is usually the time when your blog reaches escape velocity. The tipping point starts to happen, momentum starts kicking in and all of a sudden, the whole process gets easier.
1000 subscribers – it’s the magic number
That’s where the fans start doing some heavier lifting and your reputation starts to build. You reach a critical mass and your work starts to get noticed without your having to work nearly as hard as when you start out.
It takes some time to build an audience, and momentum is your friend. Most bloggers don’t take off like rockets. You build slowly at first, and then the snowball effect comes into play leading to quick growth. So the question becomes how do you attract your first 1,000 subscribers? Don’t fret. If you’re not finding the audience you want yet, I am going to tell how you can.
Start with your audience
You cannot attract 1000 subscribers if you don’t know who you want to attract in the first place. So spend some time pondering this question.
Who is your ideal audience? Are they male or female? How old are they? Do they have children? Where do they live? How much money do they make?
Done? Good. This gives you some idea of who your primary audience is, but you need to dig deeper.
Start looking at the places your ideal audience is currently hanging out. Start with a list of 5-7 blogs they might be reading (this will also come in handy when you start promoting your blog). Go over there and look for their comments. What are they saying? What are they asking? What are the recurring thoughts and questions that come up? What can you help with?
You want to make sure you know what keeps your audience up at night. What are their biggest frustrations and even a common enemy? If they haven’t managed to solve their problem yet, what is keeping them from doing so? When it comes to your specific topic, you want to know them better than they know themselves.
Trust me when I say this, spending time in this section will pay big dividends later on. The number one reason why a blog fails to take off is because it is not clear who the blog is for. Here you determine exactly that and in the next section, you spend time on your design so you communicate that without a shadow of doubt.
Pay attention to your design
When somebody visits your blog for the very first time, what do they see first? Your design and it sets expectations for your content, for your personality, your professionalism and your offerings. It speaks volumes about you.
Be sure to leave a killer first impression. Start things on the right foot.
The first thing that needs to done without any compromise is to install a professional theme. You can get a free theme or purchase a premium one.
Your theme should reflect your brand identity. Are you playful or serious? Are you spiritual, snarky or do you have a potty mouth? What are your brand colours? Choose a theme that is a match for your content and personality. Make sure your header looks professional and inviting.
The second thing is you want to pay attention to your blog title. Is it clear or clever? Does it instantly communicate what your blog is about and who is it for? If not, consider adding a descriptive tagline to help you do that. The tagline should promise a benefit to subscribing to your blog. What would the reader gain by subscribing? Tell them that.
You want to keep your design clean. As a blogger, your emphasis should remain on your content and you don’t want anything to interfere with that. Go with a single side bar design as that’s what most people are used to and equate with a high-quality, professional blog worth reading.
Do not clutter your sidebar with tons of widgets or links. Keep it simple. Add a mini author bio at the top and an opt-in box. Add links to your best content and limit those that lead people away from your blog. Only ad advertisements if they are worth doing so. Remember, your goal is to collect email addresses.
Build your credibility and social proof
For a brand new visitor who hasn’t heard of you before, your first job is to convince your blog is worth reading.
You pave your way with design but they want to know a little bit about you before they decide to sign up. They want to see if you sound credible and are a good fit for them. That’s where your about page comes in. Introduce yourself. Tell them what you do to help your readers. Tell them what makes you qualified and tell them why you do it (your story).
Once they feel a bit reassured that you are a real life human and not a spammer who is out to get them, they want to see if others feel the same way. This is why you want to display as much social proof as you can.
When you go to a blog for the first time, and it’s hopping with activity. You think, wow, it seems like a good place to explore. You see people tweeting, sharing, commenting and you nearly assume that the content is really good without reading a single word.
On the other hand, when the blog looks like a ghost town, you decide that the place must not be worth checking out. That’s the reality, however unfortunate it might be. That’s why it is so important to get some social proof (and eliminate the negative).
Been featured on a blog? Quoted in an article? Interviewed on a podcast or guest posted on a blog? Share all press and ‘as seen on’ logos on your blog to give yourself instant credibility.
Share your client/customer testimonials. List what nice things people are saying about you. Show off your clients List. People don’t want to be the only ones signing up to your list or buying from you. Show off your list of clients.
Create an irresistible opt-in incentive
Once you have identified your ideal audience, you are now in a position to create two things to attract them. The perfect giveaway or your opt-in offer and content that will appeal to this targeted audience. In this section, we are going to take a closer look at creating your perfect freebie.
Go specific. Most people make the mistake of writing or creating something on a broad topic, hoping to attract to a wide variety of people. The more specific you are in creating your freebie, the better your chances of getting the right person on your list.
If you are a life coach specializing in relationships, look at your idea reader. Who are they? How old? Are they male or female? And then think about creating something that would appeal to them specifically.
Yes, you won’t attract a lot of people but that’s actually a really good thing. As soon as you start selling, most of them will unsubscribe so why not minimize that from day one? You actually won’t even get to that stage, they will start unsubscribing because your content will not appeal to them. Because they are not your right audience.
Remember, you want to build your email list with high quality people who will turn into prospects the more they get to know you and your business.
Solve a problem. You don’t have to spend hours creating that offer, whatever it may be (downloadable ebook, video tutorial/how to, printable checklist or worksheet, report or a case study, or an ecourse).
As long as you choose a problem people are interested in solving, you are good to go.
Create a special page. Also consider creating a squeeze page to give more details about your opt-in offer and entice people to sign up.
You need and headline that catches their attention, list benefits in the form of bullet points, a call to action and the opt-in box where they enter their name and email details.
Publish the right content
Create strategic, purpose driven content. Only publish content that is top notch. Make it scannable, screen friendly and concisely written. Craft headlines that entice your readers to click and open your posts; your intros draw them in. Your calls to action should be strong. (If not, no worries, keep working and you’ll get there in no time.)
Pick the right frequency. Write less, promote more. Once a week works for most bloggers so don’t bother posting every day.
Spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% promoting it. Especially in the beginning when your blog is new and you don’t have many readers.This is total waste of your effort and content. Why would you want to write when you don’t have sufficient amount of people reading it?
Also, by writing less frequently, you are able to devote more time to the quality of your posts. You are able to do more research, link to quality sources and then have time to promote it.
Don’t go too long without posting though, or your readers might forget you. Try writing epic posts, every once in a while. The longer posts are perceived to be more valuable than shorter ones. Hence they are the ideal link bait.
Create content that builds authority and converts more traffic. By posting fresh, engaging content, all you are doing is creating brand awareness and positioning yourself as an expert. You are also differentiating your blog from your competitors at the same time.
Remember, the more authority you have, less traffic you require to gain your 1000 subscribers.
Promote your content
First of all, let me make this thing clear. Never pin your hopes of attracting your first thousand subscribers on your posts going viral.
Sure, we all have fantasized about this at one point or the other. We have imagined our stuff getting tweeted hundreds or thousands of times, being liked and shared on Facebook in bucket loads and bringing us an avalanche of traffic.
It can very well happen, but the thing is you can’t orchestrate it. You don’t have a say in what goes viral, you can’t decide if it’s going to be something you have written. You have to rely on other methods such as guest blogging, social media promotion and perhaps some advertising.
Build relationships with the influencers in your niche. Leave comments on their blogs. Interview them. Get support from the ones who have already made it. Over time, you can count on them to help you get more shares and traffic. If they tweet out your post, share it on your Facebook or Google+ page, it can almost guarantee a lot of attention coming your way.
You are creating content anyway, right? Why not go where everybody is? Give Guest Posting a Go. Make a list of blogs you want to publish on and create a strategy for yourself so you follow through. Guest blogging brings you highly targeted traffic, which is much more likely to stay or subscribe than a random or paid one. Plus, it doesn’t cost any money.
Embrace social media – one platform at a time
If the thought of social media fills you with dread or if you feel like you are forever chained to your social networking sites – all day long, you are not alone. The choices are endless; Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and what not. Where do you go? It can be a case of total overwhelm.
The point is to do one, and do it well. Spend your time mastering one platform and building a presence there before you move to the next.
That’s it. That’s the blueprint you need.
- Identify the people you want to attract. Get your blog ready to receive traffic.
- Create top notch content and promote your content. Rinse and repeat.
This is how you attract first thousand blog subscribers and then some. That it all. Now go make it happen.