How do I increase my readership base? 1 Comment

As an author, what can I do to increase my readership base? Are there things I should (or should not) be doing to get more regular readers?

This is pretty much the question that I recently attempted to answer. Vishwa asks on Writers’ Stack Exchange:

I recently started writing a blog. It’s about many things: travel, food, my perspectives, photography, comics, movies and whatever thing I feel about writing. I’m using a WordPress blog. Since I’m being new to this, I don’t have any readers (community). I don’t want to be a famous writer or anything, but it’ll be nice to have some people who read my literature.

You can read my full reply here but I felt it was such an important question that it was worth going over again.

Are people willing to read my blog?

Monkey at a typewriterThis is part of the question that Vishwa asks – why would anyone read my blog when there are so many to choose from?

Are people willing to read my blog? There are millions of books out there, so will they be interested in what I have to say?

There is only one thing you need to grow a blog. It must be remarkable. We covered this recently in a blog post about growing a blog according to Seth Godin. Something is remarkable when it is worth remarking about.

I named dropped Seth Godin’s “Spreading the Idea Virus” in my answer. It’s a good book. Read it.

Now, let’s take a closer look at why someone might want to read your blog. There is only one reason – they find it interesting.

As we are citing Godin anyway here is his example. Cows. Cows are boring and people generally ignore them. On the other hand, a purple cow – that would get a lot of attention.

Interesting does not mean perfect, it does not mean the best (although that’s nice), and interesting never means average. Interesting blogs are different in some way. They solve a problem nothing else solves. They are new. Brighter. Funnier. Geekier. Calmer. Angrier. Less Angry. They are different in some way.

In the world of business startups, this is what we call the USP – unique selling point. What it is about your product that makes it totally different to all the other products out there.

Find your USP; then your readership base will find you.

How can I create readers for my writing?

author typingI want readers. I need a bigger readership base. How can I create readers for my writing?

The truth is you can’t. Not without a willing partner and a ten to twenty year commitment to raising children. Even then it would be a bit hit or miss.

No. Instead, you create writing for your readers. If you have not got readers, you find them.

How do you find readers?

By writing for exactly the sort of people that you want as readers and then making sure those people can find you. That is easier said than done. Building a readership takes time.

Write for those readers. Write for them in such a way that they feel excited, pleased, enraged, or in some way provoked to a reaction. I strongly recommend writing in such a way that you satisfy a need or solve a problem for them that no one else can or has.

Writing that scratches an itch no one does or does so in a new way is worth remarking upon – it is remarkable.

Once you have started to really scratch whatever itch your readers have, they will find it hard not to share your blog with other people. People tend to share things that will make them happy, look helpful, or seem interesting.

Make it easy to share your stuff

girls whisperReaders sharing with other readers the way to grow your readership base. It should go without saying that poor quality content is never going to get shares. But, assuming that your stuff is remarkable in some way, someone will probably want to share it.

You can make sharing easier for readers to share your stuff by providing the right social media links. Inline share buttons make for quick and easy sharing. There are plenty of tools and plugins that can help with that.

Writing catchy headlines is another great way to get shares. A lot of people share things without reading them properly. A good headline can make that happen for you.

When it comes to headlines, CopyBlogger is a great resource. I have never blogged about headline writing because I do not feel I have anything to add on that subject.

If you have the headline, if the content is interesting, and the share buttons are all ready to go – try just asking readers to share your stuff. In the absence of any other call to action in your content maybe end with a request for a share.

Share it yourself

FacebookI’m going to go ahead and assume that you have accounts on some of the places like Twitter, Facebook, Author Buzz UK, Pinterest, Tumblr, and so forth. Share your own stuff to your own accounts. You first readers in your readership base are going to be existing fans, friends, and family.

This is something that WordPress can do for you. On an Author Buzz UK blog, you simply need to activate JetPack and your new posts can be shared automatically. Author Buzz UK will also automatically share your post to your activity stream.

If you have an Author Buzz UK account but blog elsewhere, simply post the link to the post on a line by itself. The activity stream will convert it into an attachment that looks nice. That works for youtube videos too.

Further reading

Unsurprisingly this is not the first time I’ve written about how to grow your readership base as a blogging author. Here are some more posts that I think will of interest.

While you are still here, I would really appreciate it if you shared this post with other people that might find it interesting. I’d like to grow our readership base too.

About Matthew Brown

Matthew is a writer and Geek from Kent (UK). He is the founder and current chair of Thanet Creative as well as head geek for Author Buzz. His ambitions include appearing on TableTop with Wil Wheaton and seeing a film or TV series based on something he wrote.

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