Today is Day 12 of Parajunkee’s Book Blogger New Year’s Challenge. The challenge is to talk about how I plan on getting more followers this year. And the plain and simple answer is that I don’t.
I don’t have a plan. And I don’t want to have a plan to do so. For a long time now blogging has not been about getting new followers, widening my audience, increasing my reach.
So why am I participating in the challenge today?
A. Because I’m obsessive and can’t stand to miss out on a single day of these posts.
B. Because while I don’t plan on doing things to increase my following here on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter, I can certainly think of a few things that might work. So I figured I could share those thoughts.
For those of you who might want to participate but haven’t yet heard about this challenge, just click on the link above for more details. But here is the schedule of posts…
While I have no set goals to do things here on the blog to expand my blog’s readership, I have a sort of list of things that I imagine might work if someone was looking to increase readership.
1. Be more social.
Interacting with others in the community, making blogger friends and putting yourself out there on sites like Twitter can help to increase visitors to your blog, likes on your Facebook page, followers on Twitter. People who get to know you on social media will want to check out who you are and what you have to say.
2. Visit more blogs.
While establishing and maintaining your own blog can take a lot of time, visiting other blogs, leaving insightful comments may increase the number of visitors to your own blog and followers on other social media platforms. You might get a visit or follow from any one of the blogs you comment on regularly. Or, if your comment is interesting or insightful, you might get a visit from another commentator or blog stalker who then opts to follow.
3. Participate in an event or meme.
Participating in a challenge, such as this one, a blogging event such as Bloggiesta, Armchair BEA or the YA Crush Tourney, being a part of a blog tour to help promote an author’s book, or joining a weekly meme can help to get you noticed and thus increase your following. The more you get out there, the more likely your presence will become known in the community and the more likely your readership will increase.
Memes such as Parajunkee’s Feature & Follow Friday is a sure way to gain more followers on the platform of your choice.
4. Host a giveaway with a follow requirement.
While this is not something I opt to do, hosting a giveaway that requests or demands a follow on the blog, on Twitter, Bloglovin’ or other site will help to boost those follow numbers.
Note, however, that by asking for a follow option in a giveaway may result in an unfollow post-giveaway.
5. Be yourself. Be original.
The best way to make your blog stand out from the crowd is to be yourself. By being yourself you’re giving something new to the community – YOU. While blasts and other copy/paste posts can help to increase traffic or get you noticed, one of the best ways to develop a following is by being yourself and attracting readers who like what you have to say.
It might not be the quickest way to increase those numbers, but the people who opt to follow you because they’re interested in what you’ve got going on are those who will come back again and again, keeping your site traffic steady.
6. Blog consistently.
While you don’t have to blog daily, or even every other day, posting something regularly on your blog is important to not only keep your readers, but to pique the interest of new readers. If your blog goes dark for periods of time, at random, your existing readers will begin to drop off, and potential new readers won’t bother to follow knowing that they won’t know whether or not there will be new content to devour.
With the multitude of book blogs out there vying for attention, being fairly consistent with your posting schedule is important.
7. Mix things up.
If you’re looking to attract more readers than the ones you currently have, find something new to post about every once in awhile. Whether you decide to create a new feature to attract new readers, post about something atypical but not too different from what you normally blog about, or review a book from a completely different genre than you normally read, variety can help to attract new followers.
While there are any number of ways to increase followers, some easier than others, some more time consuming than others, some with no guarantees, sticking around, doing what you do, making friends, and being a part of the community is the best way to develop a readership.
From my observations over the past 3+ years I’ve found that…
Speaking in your own voice, keeping your reviews honest, being social and posting (almost) daily, creating your own features/memes, participating in popular memes, and hosting the occasional giveaway is a combination that works well for many bloggers.
While adding in a touch of snark, or more than a touch, works well for some bloggers, if it’s not who you are – if it’s fake snark – then it will backfire. Do not fake the snark to attract followers. It will not go over well.
And while posting about drama for the sake of creating drama might also work well in the short term when it comes to gaining followers, being known as the inciter of drama may eventually have the opposite effect. If sighs, eye rolls and murmurs of “he/she is at it again” aren’t what you’re looking for from your former followers, you might want to try a different approach.
I am not an expert, though. Not by far. My readership took a bit of a downturn when I became more antisocial this past year. At least in terms of site visits. I’m not sure if its affected things elsewhere as I don’t really track those things.
But I do know that when I decided to build my readership and attempt to gain followers back in 2010 through early 2011, I aimed for being consistent, being myself, being honest and sharing my love of books with anyone and everyone who’d listen. There was no meteoric rise. I am mid-tier blog – at least I think I am. Maybe by today’s standards I’m small. And that’s okay too.
But I have a few readers, and I love when they leave comments. And I love interacting with others on Twitter and Facebook during those few moments when I come out of my shell.
But that’s just me…
Do you have any tips or tricks to gain more followers that you’d like to share? Has your approach to blogging been successful in terms of gaining followers?
Do you have a plan for 2014 on how to gain more followers or are you just kind of hoping that if you keep doing what you’re doing they will come?
Or, are you like me in that you have no plan, you’re blogging for you and while you love having and gaining followers, you’re not thinking up ways to get more?