Every single successful blogger will happily tell you the most common question they receive. There’s a key mystery at the heart of their lives that they seem to have solved, while the rest of us are utterly bewildered:
How do I grow my blog’s readership?
It’s a question I heard articulated most recently by Glennon Doyle Melton on the podcast. Melton is the New York Times bestselling author of two memoirs, plus the creator of the online community , which has millions of followers. Melton’s path to success is compelling. An former drug addict and alcoholic, Melton changed her life when she fell pregnant with her first son. Then, something crazy happened. She began blogging. But she blogged with fierce, abundant honesty. She talked about the pressures of being a mother, coping with past wounds and navigating the terror of everyday life. Her blog - gradually, over time - began to grow.
She has the dream blogging career. These days, her memoir is promoted by Oprah and she’s touring the world.
When people ask her about growing her blog readership, she keeps it simple. Analytics, keywords and the other guff can come and go, but the real key is pretty simple:
Serve the audience you already have.
If you have a dozen people reading what you write, that’s a dozen people taking time out of there day to engage with you. That’s pretty huge. That’s a responsibility, and you want to take care of them. Worry less about catching people you do have. Focus more on the people you do, and making sure to serve them. They, after all, are your biggest fans. If you look after them, they will do the marketing for you.
Other successful bloggers such as Seth Godin and Tim Ferris point to this simple key as well. Look after the readership you do have, don’t worry about the readership you don’t. Ask yourself what your readers want from you. If you don’t know, ask.
Jennifer McDonald’s followed a similar path with My Big Breast Adventure. The blog began as a simple exploration of her recovery from breast cancer. The full-throated honesty and conversational tone meant a dedicated audience that began to grow. Now, Jen’s looking to make the blogs a book - something she had barely considered when she began writing.
Check out Jen’s crowd-funding campaign for My Big Breast Adventure .