// Internet Duct Tape

Building an Audience or “How I Learned to Stop Posting Inane Crap and Love the Blog”

Posted in Building a Community, Technology by engtech on July 09, 2006

(or “How I Learned to Stop Making Dr. Strangelove References For No Apparent Reason – Oh Wait, I Didn’t”)

UPDATE 2006/09: CopyBlogger has an excellent collection of posts on how to attract links

I am a firm believer that blogging should be a personal activity and your primary goal should be writing about what *you* find interesting. But having an audience of more than one increases the motivation to write. Not to mention the fringe benefits from connecting to other individuals with shared interests. Belly button lint cataloguing is more fun as a group activity.

Here are several suggestions for how to build an audience from a variety of different sources. But first, some key suggestions that they skipped over:

  • Re-read. Be your own editor, and make sure you re-read and remove confusing/unnecessary words and phrases.
  • Post brevity. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Quite often while writing your brain will insert unnecessary words and phrases (like this one) as a place holder while you are thinking of what to say.
  • Publish regular updates. If your great teat of wisdom dries up your audience is likely to go somewhere else for their fix.

The most important tool for writing is a sense of humour. We are brainwashed into thinking that humour is unprofessional, when it is one of the best tools for keeping people interested in our professional work. One of the reasons why Joel Spolsky from JoelOnSoftware is so well known is because he does a very good job of keeping his writing sprinkled with wry examples that entertain. His first rule for documentation is “Be Funny“.

When CodingHorror describes his favorite blogs, his major criteria is being consistently funny.

Guy Kawasaki (Sulu from Star Trek: TOS) has the following tips.

  • Show some professionalism and pride in what you are producing.
  • Write with the audience in mind.
  • Collect email addresses. Be able to contact your audience. Mil Millington at thingsmygirlfriendandihavearguedabout does a great job providing content only to subscribers of his newsletter.
  • Blog rolling. If you link to them, they’ll probably link to you. Especially if you have the same interests and they’re small enough that they still obsessively check their blog stats and who is linking to them. (Using Google Sitemaps and Google Analytics is a good way to track where your readers are coming from.)
  • Scoop stuff. Find the interesting sites first and you will get referrer links for your find.
  • Comment. Write insightful comments on popular blogs.
  • Acknowledge and respond to commenters. This will encourage people to keep commenting on your blog.
  • Ask for feedback from your readers. Get them involved.
  • Be bold. As with all things, being average is the enemy. Take a stance and have an opinion. That is one of the key differentiators of blogging versus traditional media: less gatekeepers preventing you from speaking your mind.
  • Make it easy to join up. Have multiple ways to get your content. This means supporting RSS and subscribing by email.

BlogStarter gives the following tips:

  • Superior content is king. The best will always rise to the top. Faster if they mention Paris Hilton in some way. Even faster if they include pictures of Paris Hilton making out with Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt.
  • Enable search. Make it easily accessible.
  • Have a profile. People want to know about who they are reading.
  • Means of contact. Offer a way for people to contact you other than leaving comments.
  • Meaningful categories. Organize your content for your readers, especially as they may only be interested in parts of it.
  • Have a photo. It creates a more personal connection between the audience and the writer.
  • Meaningful domain name. People should be able to directly type in the address from memory.
  • Put website in email signature. Especially useful with usenet/groups/message boards.
  • License content with Creative Commons.
  • Use Feedburner for directing feeds.
  • Use several RSS subscription chiclets.
  • Use feedblitz or bloglet to offer email subscriptions to your blog.
  • Use flickr for photo hosting.
  • Use pingomatic to announce updates.
  • Use del.icio.us for bookmark hosting.
  • Validate your feeds by subscribing yourself or using FeedValidator.
  • Use Feedmap to geo-tag your blog with your physical location. (Perhaps Frappr is a better choice)
  • Register with the following sites/directories and create a profile:
  • Keep track of how your blog is doing:

Webpronews rehashes most of what is mentioned above, but also covers:

  • Search engine optimization.
  • Edit posts into articles and submit them to article directories.
  • Create buzz via controversy, swag, or press releases.

Related Links:

Semi-related Links:

10 Responses

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  1. […] Building an Audience or “How I Learned to Stop Posting Inane Crap and Love the Blog” […]

  2. […] Building an Audience or “How I Learned to Stop Posting Inane Crap and Love the Blog” […]

  3. […] Building an Audience or “How I Learned to Stop Posting Inane Crap and Love the Blog” […]

  4. […] Re-read the damn think. Copy editing is a full time job. If you don’t know the difference between your/you’re/there/their/they’re and you can’t type out ‘you’ or ‘for’ as full words, then maybe you should stick to putting revealing pictures of yourself on the Internet and give this whole ‘blogging’ thing a pass. Especially if you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. […]

  5. […] How to build an audience for your blog Posted by engtech Filed in Marketing, Apple, del.icio.us, iPod, Gadgets, Promotion, Free, Social Bookmarking, Viral, Social, Bookmarks, iPod Shuffle, Free Stuff, Blog promotion, Viral Internet, engtechBlogging, Link Bait […]

  6. MichaelDZH said, on March 29, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Hi. I find forum about work and travel. Where can I to see it?
    Best Regards, Michael.

  7. test2 said, on May 05, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    mots cls


  8. […] How I Learned to Stop Posting Inane Crap and Love the Blog […]

  9. […] How I Learned to Stop Posting Inane Crap and Love the Blog […]

  10. […] Building an Audience […]

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