Growing Your Blog Audience | www.foodbloggersofcanada.com

Six Tips For Growing Your Blog Audience is a continuation of our previous articles on rebranding and redesigning your blog. Now that you have understood your motivations and started building your brand, it is time to leverage your newly redesigned blog into working for you.

1. Find Your Blog Niche

One of the first things I did after redesigning my blog, was to sit down and think carefully about what my new approach towards blogging was going to be.

  • Did I have a niche?
  • Did I want one?
  • If I did have one, what was it, and how could I leverage it to bring me more readers?

For example, I found that I was one of the few ethnically focused food blogs in Alberta, and this offered me an advantage, a real chance to tell my story as an immigrant to Canada and the role that food played in my life. Having a strong focus, and a consistent repertoire of traditional recipes geared to a Western kitchen, meant that I was able to reach out not just to my usual audience, but to also leverage universal themes in peoples' lives, like childhood food and memories, immigration, culture and its impact on the way people cook and eat

Once you find your own focus, you will be able to use that in order to understand your blog, your style of writing, and the audience that you are looking for.

2. Don't Be Afraid To Take Risks With Your Blog.

It is really important to have a strong focus, but sometimes great things happen when you step out of your niche, your comfort zone. So don't be afraid to do something different, once in a while.

  • Perhaps take a photograph from an unusual angle?
  • How about a new style of writing?
  • A new recipe? If your blog is all about baking, for example, why not mix up a with a savoury recipe?
  • A review of a restaurant outside of your area of expertise?
  • A travel article?
  • Or even a rant about something that bothers you? I once wrote a personal piece about kids and restaurants. That particular post was picked up blogs and outlets that were not my usual haunts, and brought me a whole different set of readers, several of who still continue to read my blog.

Taking risks keeps things unexpected and fresh, and brings in new readers, readers who may have not found your blog otherwise.

3. Know Your Blog's Audience...

Which brings me to my next point - understand your audience and know your readers. I admit that I am slightly obsessed with statistics, and I use my blog stats to target my posts effectively. The main statistics I focus on are -

  • Popular recipes - this is my number one takeaway, which gives me an indication of what people are looking for. I find that my Indian Classics series gets the most hits, so I aim to post at least one classic Indian recipe a month.
  • Traffic sources - which lets me target promotions and helps with marketing of my posts. For example, I get a lot of traffic from my Facebook page, which means that I spend more time engaging with my Facebook fans and using it as an inspiration.
  • Countries - which helps me write in the style of the country, including using terminology that people from that country understand (for example, using both the words 'cilantro' and 'coriander', 'zucchini' and 'courgette'... small technicalities when developing recipes, but really important for SEO)
  • Blog comments - I find blog comments a rich source of inspiration while developing recipes and coming up with new ideas. I realised early on that a lot of my readers were young Indian expats, trying to cook the food of their childhood, so I target my recipes to that demographic.

Once I understand who my audiences are, I find that it is easy to gear my posts to them, and their interests. Knowing who your core audience is also helps you work with brands, as you can target their key markets with minimal disruption to your regular blogging content or schedule.

never  take your readers for granted. It's a reciprocal relationship that needs nurturing, and the more you nurture, the bigger your rewards are going to be

4. Don't Stop Reaching Out To More Audiences.

It is easy to stay within your comfort zone, and be satisfied with the readers you have. However, in order to grow your blog, you have to start reaching out to audiences who you may not necessarily consider to be 'yours' but, with the right attitude, can become yours. Making the effort to find and cultivate new audiences can be hugely rewarding,  and is a key way to grow and enrich your blogging experience.

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One of the lessons I learnt early on after moving from England to Canada was the value of local readers and networks. Building up relationships with people who you can physically talk to and reach out to makes a huge difference to the way you relate to new audiences. I soon realised that blogging can be a lonely profession/ world if you don't find like minded people. I reached out to local audiences by using -

  • Twitter - which is a brilliant way to find and connect with like minded individuals. I ended up meeting my first new friends in Edmonton by hosting a cupcake tasting at my house.
  • E-mail - yes, the old fashioned way. I did a few searches for local bloggers, and emailed a few of them. Their responses encouraged me to seek out and meet more people.
  • Local Food Conferences and Events - my first ever Eat Alberta conference, for example, not just found me a whole slew of new foodie friends, but also gave me my first real job in the  food community.

5. Find Out What You Are Good At

What do people come to your blog for?

  • The writing?
  • The photography?
  • The thrill of finding new places?
  • Recipes?
  • For a laugh?

I always get told that people like my personal narratives when I write a post. This is my strength, and I use that to reach out to my readers and make sure that it's a part of every post that I write.

Don't be modest about what you are good at. Use that strength and make sure that potential brands and partners are aware of it. Use it to achieve your personal and professional ambitions for your blog.

6. Find Out What You Can Improve

When you're at it, also take the opportunity to find out what you feel can be improved upon, and take it upon yourself to do it. It's worth asking a friend or confidante, someone you can trust to be honest, for their feedback.

Learning new skills, keeping up with what's current, responding to new stimulus in your world... these are qualities we all have in our lives, one way or another. So in essence, it's only a matter of taking what already exists, and applying it to your personal space on the internet.

Building your readership and growing your blog is an ongoing process and you should never  take your readers for granted. It's a reciprocal relationship that needs nurturing, and the more you nurture, the bigger your rewards are going to be.

How To Grow Your Newly Redesigned or Rebranded Blog was written by Michelle Peters-Jones.  Michelle blogs at The Tiffin Box, and is a food writer, recipe developer and communications professional. She loves weaving stories around food, and creates recipes inspired by her family and friends.  She writes about East Indian, British and Canadian food, with a strong focus on using fresh, local and sustainable ingredients.

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