How to Build an Audience from Scratch
Want to learn how to build an audience for your blog? We have five tried-and-true tips that everyone else is going to tell you about, and then we’re going to tell you what we did.
Building an audience takes time because it’s about building trust. Your audience is much more than the people who stumble upon your site — you want readers that keep coming back time and time again.
You want readers that get something from your site. You want people who will share your site with their friends. And, you want readers who know they can always count on you.
Again, this takes time, but here’s a hot tip: if you want the fastest and most reliable strategy that can generate revenue in as little as seven days, jump ahead to #6.
And let’s be honest, that’s why you want to learn how to build an audience in the first place, right?
It’s okay to admit that, but just to be clear, blogging isn’t a get-rich-quick game. Every strategy takes work, energy, passion, and motivation. The top bloggers in the game have been doing it for a while, and they’ve built their businesses on trust.
It takes time to earn trust, and these tips will help you build that trust, show your blog to new readers, and earn some true followers along the way.
Okay, let’s stop wasting time and get to it!
Learn how to build an audience for your blog
1. Always provide value to your (growing) audience
This is probably going to sound like a no-brainer, but it’s a nice reminder. You must give something to your audience, and it needs to be good. Seriously, you must give your readers a reason to stick around and keep coming back for more.
Every blog is going to have a little something different — a unique voice, if you will. That doesn’t just mean writing style; it means the topic you’re writing about. And, the first way to continually provide value is to stay on topic.
If you’re a food blogger, people aren’t coming to you for personal finance advice. No one visits a beauty blogger for tips on buying a new car. Now, you might have a niche that encompasses several topics, but knows that and stay true to it.
Remember, your topic is what brought people to you in the first place. Don’t lose them by going off-brand. And here’s the reality: when you provide useful content that helps your audience, your site will become a destination for them.
Now that you understand that, let’s talk a little more specifically about how YOU can provide value…
Is your content solving problems?
Does your audience need help doing something? What do they want to learn?
Say you’re a personal finance blogger. What kinds of things would your audience what to know more about? Maybe they want to learn about investing apps, how to create a budget, what to look for in a savings account, how credit scores work, etc.
By creating content around niche-specific issues, you are solving problems. You’re telling people about what things have and haven’t worked for you. You’re doing research for your audience and giving them the tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way.
Is your content entertaining and engaging?
If you really want to learn how to grow an audience, your content needs to stand out.
One of the best ways to do this is to share stories and get personal. You don’t need to give intimate details about your personal life, but you can insert bits and pieces here and there.
Going back to the personal finance blogger example, you can talk about how you struggled to get out of debt. You can talk about how you grew your credit score, what personal finance apps you use, what mistakes you made along the way, etc.
This will help your audience connect with you, and building an audience is about building connections.
Read more at:
- How to Be a Successful Blogger: 7 Tips
- How to Increase Social Media Traffic: 5 Fool-Proof, Easy Ways
- 17 Free Blogging Courses That Will Blow Up Your Blog
2. Regularly publish compelling content
Posting on a regular schedule tells your audience that they can count on you, and this tip is something that many new content creators either overlook or don’t realize. This is showing up for your readers and building trust.
When you’re first starting out, no matter what kind of content you’re creating, it’s easy to get really excited, push out a bunch of stuff, and then nothing. What does that tell your audience?
But, when you publish content on a regular schedule, even if it’s just once a week, you’re telling your audience I am here for you.
You can publish once a week, twice a week, every other week, whatever. The point is: set a schedule and stick to it.
Here are a few tips to help you keep publishing content on a regular schedule:
- Create a document to keep track of all of your ideas, and list new ideas whenever they come to you.
- When you have the extra energy and motivation, create extra content. Rather than publishing a bunch of extra stuff, hold on to it for when you don’t feel like you have the time or energy to publish anything new.
- Use a workflow management tool like Asana. You can create a calendar, projects, etc. This is the tool we use at Laptop Empires, and you can read more at Asana Review: Project Management for Your Online Business.
3. Spend time with your audience
Beyond valuable content, your audience wants to know you that you’re aware of them. This means you’re responding to their comments and emails. Tell them “Thanks!” Answer their questions. They’ve got valuable insights that you can use to develop even better content.
When you listen to your audience, you can start creating content that truly resonates with them.
Do they want more vegetarian recipes? Do they want more tutorials on how to do flawless eye makeup? Do they want more app reviews?
Listen and respond.
One really awesome way to do this is to create a Facebook community specifically for your audience. You’ll need to set the tone and get the conversation going, but it’s worth the work. And, creating a Facebook community is easy to do and free! Once you’ve set it up, don’t forget to share links on your site.
Facebook communities can become a rich community that provides even more value to your audience. It’s more ideas, personalities, experiences, etc.
Read more at: A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Grow a Facebook Group
4. Build your email list
Now we’re getting into the real meat of how to build an audience, because your core audience is going to be the people who subscribe to your emails.
These are people that have given you access to their email inbox — these people trust you and want to hear from you.
And, there’s a real monetary value in your list. In fact, for every $1 you spend on your list, the ROI is $38. Your email subscribers are going to click on your affiliate links and purchase your products at a higher rate than people who have visited your site for the first time, because email marketing campaigns can warm your subscribers up and get them excited for more.
The best way to get email sign-ups is to create an extra valuable piece of content, and then give it away for free. Yep, free.
Your freebie obviously needs to relate to your niche, and we can’t stress valuable enough. To start your email list, check out How to Build an Email List From Scratch. That article is full of real-world advice, including crafting personalized CTAs, coming up with an offer, and more.
For next-level advice, read 5 Email Subject Line Formulas That Actually Work (From a Guy Who Writes Them for a Living).
5. Get to know SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is something that every kind of content creator needs to know about. For each platform (blogs, social media, YouTube, etc.), there is a powerful algorithm that pushes specific content up in the rankings.
While there is a lot to learn about SEO, everything you’ve learned about how to build an audience to this point will help your rankings. That’s because a lot of SEO work has to do with want your users want, the relevancy of your content, how often you post it, and engagement. See #1, #2, and #3.
But, your content needs to be searchable, meaning you use created content around keywords that people are actively searching for.
At this point, we’re going to defer to the experts, because SEO is a massive strategy that is constantly changing. This article from Ahrefs has a lot of really good stuff for starting an effective SEO strategy.
For even more SEO knowledge, check out the SEO for Bloggers course from MoneyLab. There are so many good nuggets in this course, from creating content, performing audits, and more. You can read our full course review at SEO for Bloggers Review.
6. Facebook ads!
Everything you just learned about how to build an audience takes time, like a lot of time. While what you just read is going to increase your page views, this final tip is honestly the fastest, most reliable, and most effective way to build an audience.
How do we know it’s so effective?
Because it’s the exact strategy that took our very own Bobby Hoyt’s site, Millennial Money Man, from 0 to 2,000,000+ unique visitors in less than 36 months.
And let’s be honest… 36 months isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but Facebook ads helped M$M go from unknown personal finance bloggers to Forbes contributor in just three years.
Here’s the gist of running Facebook ads to build your audience…
You know Facebook already — with over 2 billion users worldwide, it’s the largest social media platform out there. What’s cool about Facebook is that its algorithm helps you find people who are interested in exactly the kind of content you’re publishing.
Running Facebook ads is an investment in your business… yes, you’re going to have to spend some money on this strategy, as little a $1/day. But, you’re paying to put your content directly in front of the kind of people who already want the kind of content you’re creating.
Here’s how it works:
- You create an epic piece of content (it’s useful, compelling, entertaining, and related to your specific niche).
- You create a Facebook ad for that content.
- Through targeting, you pick the ideal audience to show your content to.
- Facebook users click on your ad, which brings them to your site.
- You have an opt-in form somewhere on your site that they sign-up for (why a super valuable freebie is so important!).
- New readers sign-up for your email list and keep coming back for more.
That’s a very simple explanation, and if you want to learn more, check out the Facebook Ads for Bloggers Course.
This course will teach you how to pick that epic piece of content, how to create your ads, targeting your audience, testing your ads, retargeting, and more. There are 12 modules in total with five pieces of bonus content, including:
- Crushing It With Instagram Ads
- Simple Strategies to Grow Your Facebook Group With Paid Ads
- Get More Page Likes Without Spending a Dime
- Email Marketing Strategies to Increase Affiliate Sales
- Messenger Bots 101
This course has taught brand new baby bloggers how to grow an audience, but it’s also helped seasoned bloggers diversify their traffic.
The final word on how to build an audience
If the reason you want to learn how to grow an audience is to increase your income, then you’re going to have to invest in yourself. All of the tips you learned today require some kind of investment — mostly time.
And while it’s not the most conventional way, running Facebook ads is the most effective way. You can and should work on tips 1-5, but Facebook ads is going to supercharge your growth. That’s what leads to more sponsored posts, affiliate income, and sales for your own products.
We know it works, because it’s what we’ve done. We’ve seen it work for us, and we’re excited to share it with you.