I’ve been looking at my personal blog stats a lot lately. I’m working on a big project and have needed to examine where I can improve my audience engagement and see more growth.
One of the realizations I have had in this process is this:
I’m not doing much offline to build my audience online.
In previous posts I’ve shared ways to use your blog posts and your expertise offline and while I have been utilizing those ideas for several years, I had not been as intentional about growing my online audience through these activities offline.
As I contemplated what I could do and how I could improve in this area, I identified three specific steps I could take. And since I figure many of you would like to know how to grow your audience, I decided to share my ideas with you.
3 Offline Ways to Build your Online Audience
Write for print.
I’ve been a columnist for our local newspaper since we moved back to Alabama in 2011. My byline includes the link to my website, but that was the only mention of my activity online. One of the major changes I am making is to include references to my blog in my columns as appropriate. For example, in a January column about marriage, I mentioned the series I was doing on my blog titled 31 Verses to Pray for Your Marriage and invited the readers of the paper to join in online.
Some of the other ways you can share your message in print include submissions for magazines or local free papers. Also, think about what organizations in your area have print newsletters. Often libraries, Chambers of Commerce, and school systems have newsletters available. If your church or community organization has a newsletter, find out if you could contribute to it. Don’t let your fear of rejection keep you from trying!
Share your information.
This is a biggie … and I bet I’m not the only person who has been caught without a business card handy. Keep your business card with you all.the.time. When you are giving your number or any other information to someone, use your card.
Don’t apologize for giving your card either! Simply providing someone with the information about how to contact you and view your blog isn’t being pushy.
Oh y’all, this is the hardest one for me. But I’m making myself do it. I have lots of friends who believe in what I write and the ministry I have. They want to be a part of helping me but they often don’t know how. So I’ve made the decision to tell them and accept their help and encouragement. For example, I’m giving the ladies in my Bible study some of my business cards because they often tell me they told someone to check out my blog. I figure if they have my cards, it is easier than trying to spell out my name for someone.
Tell your friends what you do and why you do it … and then let them know you’d love for them to spread the word however they can. You might be surprised at how excited they are to help you.
It’s easy for us to get bogged down in all the things we should be doing to grow our audience, like SEO, calls to action, email lists, and social media strategy. But don’t forget, there are many ways to connect with people who have not yet viewed your blog. Be proactive and willing to reach out offline to build what you are doing online.
How have you used your offline connections to build your audience online?