Thursday, October 04, 2012

Tips for Increasing Your Social Influence

It's easy to become fixated on numbers; FeedBurner's hiccup with subscriber counts was a wake up call. If you're obsessed with numbers you're doing it wrong. Instead, focus on why readers subscribe to your blog and the numbers will come -- whether you can see them or not.
A funny thing happened when Feedburner's subscriber counts dropped to 0 for everyone. Panic. For me? No, life went on. I just temporarily deleted the widget. The funny thing came after the counts were restored and I went to add back the widget.
Somehow I had two -- not one, but two Feedburner feeds -- for my blog. One feed had a steady base of two to three subscribers; this was the feed originally reported on my blog. The other feed -- the one I wasn't aware of -- had more subscribers.
Did the low number of subscribers influence me? Yes. Because people follow me, I want to deliver consistent, well-thought out, quality posts. Sometimes I don't, life happens, but it's not because of numbers or lack of them.
If you're interested in growing your readership, try the tips below or sign up for Nicole Balch of Making It Lovely's October 18th class on Alt Channel (I'll be there!). If you're on WordPress and a little technical, Chuq von Rospach posted a short how to migrate your RSS feeds from FeedBurner yesterday.

Tips for Growing Your Subscriber Base

  • Be yourself. Emulating a favorite blog, while potentially flattering to the blogger, won't deliver readers. Chances are they've read or seen your favorite blog too.
  • Live your life. The more you get out, meet people, and do things, the more you'll have to write about and share.
  • Deliver well-written content. If grammar is not your thing, at least run spell check.
  • Begin with publication goals you can accomplish, and build from there. Maybe you can deliver fresh content 5 days a week, 2 times a day. If you haven't tried it before, work up to it; you'll feel less stressed.
  • Pick memes carefully. Memes can help you come up with content. The danger? Being in a rush and forgetting to personalize. Or taking someone else's series and co-opting it. If you aren't sure if posts are a popular meme or unique to a particular blogger, reach out to the blogger. You might find an opportunity to collaborate. Remember, not every meme makes sense for every blog.
  • Set expectations with your readers. The blogs I read daily, I primarily do so because the blogger's personality hooked me. When they're going to be away from the blog working on another project or on vacation, they tell us. (That's how I found out about Alt Summit. Lisa from With Style & Grace took a week-long break after which she was going to come back.)

How do you build your readership?
Ciao Bella!
Credits: All images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.