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Think Outside the Blog

Think Outside the Blog

AudienceWhen you think of your audience, do you think just of your visitors and RSS subscribers? If so, you might be missing out.

If you can extend your influence beyond your blog then you have many more opportunities, plus at the very least you have protection should your blog go down, or worse something catastrophic happens to feedburner.

The obvious place to start is with email. You do not even need to pay out any money. Add FeedBurner and FeedBlitz email subscription as an option. Your readers get a friendly and familiar way to get your content, and you get the bonus of their email addresses. Get into the habit of downloading those addresses just in case.

After email access to feeds you can consider a newsletter. Yes, an actual newsletter in addition to the feed. You might be surprised the difference a newsletter can make and how many bloggers have them. It doesn’t have to be a newsletter as such, I have a multi-part email sequence telling people about my approach at Authority Blogger (I really need to add to it). Perhaps you could do a 10-part how-to instruction series for your blog?

Talking of Authority Blogger, I have a forum. Forums are a lot of work, luckily I have a superstar moderator. OK, you might only get a few hundred people sign up, my own forum is not huge, but they are people who want to talk, that should not be overlooked. It’s amazing what a difference 1,000 true fans can bring. If you have the time and energy a forum is well worth building because of the tight and engaged community that forms. Again, that community is related but separate to your blog readership.

Conversation happens outside of forums. There are email discussion lists, like the programming list I started with a couple of friends. I don’t do programming any longer but the list is still going strong. Then there are Usenet newsgroups. Terry Pratchett still has a huge community of fans interested in his novels who interact with him that way.

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Of course newest discussion platform is Twitter. I am running an interesting experiment where if you follow me on Twitter you are entered for a chance of winning a premium news theme. My Twitter followers overlap my blog audience but surprisingly not by that much.

Have you tried any of these approaches? Which ways do you use to gather an audience outside of your blog? There are approaches I don’t use that do work – Do you use Squidoo, MySpace or FaceBook? Please share in the comments …

View Comments (8)
  • Those of us who are heavy bloggers constantly need fresh ideas. Getting “outside of the blog”, enables fresh ideas and thoughts to run through our brains like hot lava.

    I agree that hanging out at different platforms can get you out of your current mindset, but maybe you should go even further than that and hang out in setors that are completely alien to you.

    Like, go hang out with the “punk knitting” crowd.

  • Yes that is true and a good point but in this case I was talking about spreading your influence and audience into overlapping areas to so your subscriber base isn’t 100% relying on feedburner :)

  • Morning,

    Funny thing you should write about that – I just finished writing “20 creative RSS usages your mother never told you about” that covers using RSS for forum feeds (great way to find controversial topics you can blog about!), YouTube videos (also useful in fleshing out niche ideas, Flickr feeds (geotagging!) etc. RSS lets you really get out to your audience in ways many folks never consider.

    My favorite way to gain an audience outside my blog is to use the Far Out in Left Field approach. I’ll take an idea, say, Wii, research what the far fringes are talking about (say, homebrewing it to run custom code of old-time favorites like Tetris), and then weave all that information into one engaging post.

    It takes time but can deliver great results.

    Enjoy,

    Barbara

  • Thinking ‘outside the blog’ is especially useful for those of us who blog in more than one location, on a variety of topics. It’s conceiveable that readers of one blog might be interested in another, but you’ll never find out – and neither will they – unless you’re getting out there into a space that’s not niche-specific. In my case, Twitter has helped to make some great connections; StumbleUpon ditto; and of course the Authority Blogger forum is a great place to meet up with a wider group of fellow bloggers who might also be potential readers. :) I’ve heard good things of the Squidoo effect from blogging friends, too, so that’s probably going to be next on my list.

  • Lets see here. I definitely use Twitter and it seems to have worked but not to the degree that I would like. I have also used the MyBlogLog service to establish connections and networking opportunities. I have guest blog posts on some big blogs within my niche and I have also extended my audience by diving into the podcasting realm.

    I too have a forum http://www.jeffro2pt0.com/forum but until you get those 10-20 people are are always posting something, the forum seems dead. I guess I’m still working on it.

  • @Jeffro2pt0:

    Big upgrades like this are a good time to remind yourself to do all the things you should have been doing through the year. Sure, you can just backup and go, but why not fix what’s broken before putting new on top of already busted. :D

    That’s why I included those extra steps. It’s to remind me as well as others that we have to take care of our babies. They have to speak well for us, inside and out.

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