It is becoming common knowledge that blogs are an excellent way to build credibility and begin to connect with the people in your market. For those of you who have just started, you may be eagerly watching your statistics and get very excited when you see that 10 new visitors have stopped by your blog.
“Look! Someone from Australia read my blog!” you say enthusiastically.
This enthusiasm is crushed when you check out a brand new blogger like Scott Adams of Dilbert fame who garnered 115 comments on his first post.
Or Guy Kawasaki that had 21 Trackbacks and 32 comments on his first post.
Somehow it doesn’t seem fair. It is like those kids in high school who would skip class, not study a lick, waltz in late to the exam and ace it. What do these guys have that I don’t?
The answer is PLATFORM.
They have spent years writing, speaking and in Scott’s case drawing for their target market. They already are recognized as an expert and people are eager to hear every word that they have to say. In order to build your own platform, (and experience the joy of 271 comments on one of your blog posts) you need to do the following things:
- Define your niche – whom are you trying to reach?
- Write, write, write about your area of expertise and ensure your target market finds your writing
- Speak at key events
- Search out interesting blogs and post comments and trackbacks
- Submit posts to Blog Carnivals
My buddy Sophronia Scott, aka The Book Sistah wrote about this today, targeting aspiring authors. Suzanne Falter Barnes talks about it all the time at Painless Self Promotion.
Don’t get discouraged by your tiny numbers when you start up … if you do your platform building on a steady and consistent basis, you will see your blog stats and your expert status improve.
When I first started my blog, I used a service provided by the great women of the Blog Squad (www.buildabetterblog.com). For a modest fee, they submitted my blog to a large number of blog directories. Many people search for blogs on a particular topic. This will ensure that your blog is included.
The other key strategy that smart people I respect tell me that works (including Robert Middleton of http://www.actionplan.com and Ali Brown of http://www.ezinequeen.com) is to submit articles to article directories. In your bio box (the few sentences at the end of the article that talk about you) include a link back to your blog. I also use an automated service to submit articles to a variety of directories – http://www.submityourarticle.com. They recommend submitting at least 3 articles a month. Not more, since too many will trigger s*pam alerts.
I also include links to my favorite 5 blog posts of the month in my monthly ezine.
As I mentioned in my post, one of the best ways to build a presence is to visit and comment on other people’s blogs. Choose those that you really relate to, and that have sizable traffic. I have been surprised sometimes at how many visits I get from a simple comment I posted on someone else’s blog.
As for free vs. pay blogging platforms, I am no expert. I use Typepad myself, per recommendations from Suzanne Falter-Barnes, The Blog Squad, and many successful bloggers I admire such as Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen, Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users and Scott Adams of Dilbert fame. Fundamentally, I don’t think the platform you use is what matters – it is what you write. If you have compelling, relevant, provocative, useful and entertaining posts, people won’t care what software you are using.
Wow you read my mind. I was going to ask a very similar question.
Pam can you suggest some more sites to promote a blog at?
I am working on a list for one of my new blogs and would like to include it. With a link back ofcourse :).
One other question what are your thoughts on the free blog platforms such as blogger.com versus the pay for blogs? Do you think a person can still be an A lister with a free service?