Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gathering Audience for a Blog

All of us bloggers start out by blogging to ourselves. Audiences do not show up uninvited. This is no "field of dreams." We can "build it" but they still may not come.

Today's Blogging Tips blog has some very useful guidance for how educational bloggers, including the authors and readers of SOCIAL ISSUES can attract audiences and fellow participants. This is helpful for those of us seeking to contribute to progressive, engaged, public thought on emerging social issues.

Here are just a few of the tips:

1.) Use suggestive titles
Use titles that are different from the norm! Words that work well evoke a mental picture that magnetically pulls you in to read more. Titles like 7 sexy ways to sharpen your pencil are good. Boring titles are bad. Andrea English's recent "Honey . . ." post drew readers and a follow-up post from Susan Laird.

2.) Use link bait
Linking to draw attention us a great way to get some action happening on your blog. Anytime somebody blogs about stumble upon, digg, facebook, etc. readers usually relate and therefore feel they have something to say. Controversies also work well with link bait posts.

3.) Do regular link love posts
Many of us do a weekly link post while others do them more sporadically. Linking to other bloggers creates a sense of community and trust. People will visit you and say thank you and before you know it, you might even have a new reader.

4.) Accept guest bloggers
If you open up your blog for guest bloggers it might just give you that extra boost in traffic. Granted, the topic of your blog should be one that speaks to a wide audience.

5.) Give away a free ebook
Here Social Issues will soon start soliciting "white papers" in which scholars re-purpose their research for public or policy maker consumption. White paper give-aways are very powerful tools for attracting readers and subscribers.

We are learning to build our blog and it is time to think about how best to make it inviting so that we are talking to our intended audiences and not just ourselves.

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