11.04.2015

Series: Tips From a Newbie (#3: Your Sphere)


These posts were written in celebration of Edge of Night's 1 year blogiversary to share some of what I've learned during my time blogging. While I love to give advice when I can, this isn't my niche and this is not what I usually post. But if you'd like to read more, be sure to check out my other posts in this series!

Perfecting Your Posts
- Managing Your Blog
- Your Sphere
- The Pretty Little Details
- Wrap-Up
                                                 


Your Sphere

Alright, so you've put in a lot of time and hard work to make your posts readable and appealing, and now you've got some fresh new content to share with the world. Excitement and anticipation course through your veins, and you feel as if you've written a masterpiece that will attract hundreds of views and stir up some conversation in no time..

Well, you may have a masterpiece on your hands, but I can almost guarantee you that's not how things are going to go down. And this is probably the number one reason that new bloggers drop out so quickly.

Blogging is a social activity. The amount of socialization that you do is up to you; in fact, you don't need to socialize at all if you'd prefer not to. But if you want readers, if you want people to comment on your work, then you're going to want to be sociable and willing to interact. Get the word out that you exist.

Fortunately, there are a lot of good, productive ways to do this. You now have a little space to call your own on the Internet, and you're part of a community: The blogosphere. Your personal sphere consists of you, your blog, your readership, and your relationships with other bloggers, and expanding it involves interaction. A lot of it.

Here are a few ways you can do that, as well as a few must-dos when it comes to properly maintaining your sphere and keeping your readers happy.



Maintaining Your Sphere

(It's best to know how to keep readers before you seek expansion.)



- Reply to comments.


This is important.

I repeat. This is important.

People like to be acknowledged. And if someone's going to take the time to comment on your post, you should be willing to take the time to respond.

This can be a daunting task if you have a ton of followers. But it shows that you are not only reading what they have to say, but that you care enough to acknowledge it. If you have a lot of people commenting, you might only be able to respond to questions. That's okay - replying is time-consuming, and most understand that.

But I've come across many blogs that don't respond to any of their comments. Compliments go unappreciated, feedback goes who-knows-what (did they even see it?), and questions go unanswered. Do you know what I do when I see that? I take my commenting elsewhere. And I probably won't be back.

Replying with the exact same response to all comments is nearly as bad. Better than nothing, but it certainly doesn't encourage me to put much effort into my own initial comment.

Show your readers that you're listening to them. That you want to hear them, and you appreciate what they have to say. Interact with them. I guarantee you will have a much happier readership!



- Whenever you can, comment on the blogs you follow.


Below, I'll explain a bit about why it's a great idea to explore and find other blogs. But make sure you do your best to keep up with the ones that you do find and follow. Visit whenever you have the time, and leave a comment on a post of theirs.

You don't need to drop by every single day. Not even for every single new post. (Obviously there'd be no complaints if you did, but that.. is a very difficult thing to do. Especially when you follow multiple blogs.) But show that you're there. You're an actual reader, even if not for every post.

Returning to blogs encourages their authors to return to yours. It strengthens your connections, and it makes them happy knowing that you appreciate their work!



- If possible, return follows you receive.


Not all of your followers will have blogs, but try to return a follow that you receive. Same thing goes if they followed you on one of your social media accounts.

This is a tricky one sometimes, and, honestly, it's the one I'd worry least about. You're going to get some spam accounts following you, and you're going to get some folks that post content you aren't interested in.

I always check out the blog/profile of the individual who followed me before I follow them back. This lets me make sure that they aren't a spammer, and also that I'm not about to follow some kinky porn star.




Growing Your Sphere




- Discover new blogs.


Okay, so now you know that it's important to keep visiting and commenting on blogs you follow, but to do that you need to go out and discover some new blogs and follow them. Right? Right.

But why do you need to follow any blogs at all? Why spend valuable time on another's page when you could be working on your own?

To keep this short and sweet, because other bloggers are going to be a good chuck of your readership. It also allows you to develop relationships and connections. Especially in the beginning, the majority of your readers will come from the blogs that you've commented on. You'll also have people you can talk with, seek help from, and collaborate with.

When you find a new blog, leave a comment related to the post and end it with a link to your blog. But for Pete's sake, don't be obnoxious. You can do better than pasting "Follow me?!" everywhere.

Example:

Click to enlarge



Leaving your name and link like in the above image is a common and polite way of inviting others to check out your site. Don't ask for a follow; if they want to follow you, they will.



- Guest posting


Guest posting is a great method of getting a little more exposure in a fun and productive way. Guest posters are people that aren't regular posters on a blog; they're either invited by a blog's author to write up something special, or they seek out blogs looking for guest posters themselves. This can be a one-time thing, or it can be recurring.

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Hosting a guest poster: When you host a guest poster, that means that someone else will be writing and publishing a post on your blog. This can be an excellent way to provide more content for your readers, as well as add a little variety when it comes to writing style and voice. Guest posts are also extremely nice when you're going to be away for a while.

It's recommended that you have guidelines for your guest to follow so that nothing conflicts with your blog, your policies, etc. You can also give them a specific topic to write about if you run a niche blog. Or you could just be relaxed with it and let them pick a topic. You set the rules.

However, keep in mind that your readers want to read your personality. Your writing style. Guest posting is fantastic, but don't rob them of the reason that they read your content instead of someone else's.
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Being a guest poster: When you guest post for someone's blog, that means that you're going to write up a post for their blog, and it will be published on their blog. Guest posting allows you to reach an entirely new audience (and it can be a nice change of pace).

Make sure to follow any guidelines that the blog's author has given you. Make sure to stick to the topic if you were given one, and write to the best of your ability. You want to be respectful of your host, and you also want to make a good impression on your new audience!

Your host will probably tweak your post slightly and make some minor edits or additions after you've finished. This isn't necessarily because you made an error; it's just to make sure the formatting fits with the blog, and to add in any introductions, etc.




- Interviews


Interviews are a fun way to grow your connections and relationships with other bloggers.You might get some extra exposure while you're at it, if the interviewee decides to share the interview with their readers (many do, but not always). You can learn a great deal from them, too!

An interview can be pretty much anything. You know, what inspired them to start blogging? How do they craft their stories, and what makes a good story in their opinion? How do they find all those great outfits? What's their favorite pastime?

Make sure it's appropriate for who you're interviewing, though. A diary blogger is likely to accept more personal questions than, say, a professional author might.



- Collaboration


Another great way to develop connections, strengthen relationships, and perhaps get your name out there is collaborating with other bloggers. Guest posts and interviews are a kind of collaboration, but there are many other ways as well.

You could
  • Work on a post or a series of posts together
  • Host a collaborative contest, event, or meme
  • Giveaways, guest appearances (similar to interviews)
  • Anything that involves you working with or alongside someone else!
                                                                              


Summary:
  • Reply to comments on your blog. This makes for a happier readership!
  • Visit and comment on the blogs you follow as often as you can.
  • If appropriate, return the follows you receive.
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  • Go out and discover new blogs. Invite them to yours, but don't be obnoxious about it.
  • Optional method: Participate in guest posting.
  • Optional method: Interview other bloggers.
  • Optional method: Collaborate with other bloggers.

4 comments:

  1. I agree with all your points, ESPECIALLY the one about replying to comments. It's nice to know that the blog owner knows that you exist, has read what you said and bothers to actually reply.
    Z.
    www.myhopefulpencil.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exaaaactly. If I'm going to put some effort into responding to your post, I want to know that I'm going to get at least some sort of response. Doesn't have to be lengthy, just something, you know?

      Thanks, Zelus! :)

      Delete
  2. Great post!!! *Writes down tips* lol!! <3

    ReplyDelete

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