One of the most depressing things for a new, excited blogger is to start publishing posts and nobody is there to read them. Talk about a high to low. It can leave you feeling like “I HAVE ALL THIS GREAT INFORMATION AND I PUT ALL THAT WORK INTO PUBLISHING IT AND THERE IS NOBODY TO READ IT!” Then follows the thoughts: is this worth it? Am I not up to snuff? Am I doing something wrong?
I don’t want that to happen to you!
The truth is, without marketing your content you have zilch chance of reaching your blogging ambitions if your goals include someone else reading your blog. Marketing also takes time. This is why I recommend you work on gaining followers before you even publish your first post!
When the New Blog went live, it had over 100 followers on the each of the main social media platforms, over 100 email subscribers, and over 300 visits to the blog the day it went live. It didn’t just happen by chance, it took a lot of work to gain followers and get people excited about the debut of the New Blog. But it was worth it! It can take months to gain the traction that she had with her first post.
Anyway, let me show you the process the owner of the New Blog used to get the followers she did before her blog went live.
Before you get started building your followers, you’ll need to complete the first 5 steps in my How to Start a blog Series.
1. Set up Social Media Accounts
You don’t have to be on all social media platforms, pick the ones you would like to focus on and start there. The big ones for bloggers are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Tips for setting up your new social media account
- Check out this post if you need help setting up business accounts on social platforms.
- Use the same profile pictures for all of your social media accounts.
- Create a cover picture for Twitter and Facebook that shows what type of blog you will be launching soon. Canva has templates for both of these cover pictures.
- Don’t add your URL or start connecting / advertising these social media accounts until you complete step number 2.
2. Create a Coming Soon Landing Page
Now that you’ve created social media accounts for your blog, you need to create a Coming Soon landing page for your site so that there is something for people to see when they come to your blog. We used the Coming Soon – SunshineLaunch plugin to create the landing page. There is a free option or the Pro option. I am all for saving money – especially since you’re just getting started, so we used the free option.
To install the plugin go to Plugins > Add New > and then search for SunshineLaunch. Click install now. Now that you’ve installed the plugin, a tab title SunshinePlugin will show up in your left sidebar. Let’s go through the set up for the plugin.
Setting up the coming soon landing page
Here is an example of what the coming soon landing page could look like when you are done:
Template: First, choose your template. For the free version, there is only one template available – but you can add your own colors and even a background image, so it works perfectly.
Access: Next decide on who has access. We chose to only allow the admin access to the blog. This means that when you are logged in, only you will be able to see the site you’re building but everyone else will see the coming soon page.
Settings: Click Activate under the Activate email collection section. This will allow you to collect email addresses. There is an option to connect to MailChimp in the pro version, but like I said it is unnecessary if you don’t want to spend the money. Without connecting to MailChimp, you will get an email every time someone subscribes with their email address.
You will have to manually add the email addresses you collect to your MailChimp account. I recommend keeping them in a text or excel file and then importing them following these instructions: easily import email address into MailChimp.
This is only temporary while you have your coming soon page up. Once your site goes live, you will be able to use MailChimp to automatically collect and add emails to your lists.
The last part under the settings section is to add your newly created social media accounts. These will show up as social icons, allowing visitors to easily follow you.
Content: The content section is where you can change the wording for the coming soon page.
Design: The Design tab is where you will adjust the colors to match your blog’s branding.
Here is what we included on the landing page:
- Blog Title
- Coming soon
- Brief summary of what the blog was about
- A call to action: Join me in…
- Option to subscribe via email
- Social media icons
Once you have it all set up click Activate plugin at the top of the page.
Now it’s time for the fun part.
3. Connect with other bloggers
Connecting with other bloggers is key to establishing yourself online – especially with blogs that compliment or write about the same things as you.
Blogs in your niche: these are blogs that write about similar topics that you plan on writing about. They don’t have to write about every topic you write about, but at least one of their topics is the same as one of your topics. Compile a list of blogs within your niche. Try to find a mix of up-and-coming blogs, mid-size blogs, and the Pro Bloggers in your niche. When the New Blogger was done with her niche list she had 44 blogs listed.
Complimentary blogs: These are blogs that you think your target audience will enjoy reading. Think of who your ideal reader is and then think of what other types of interests they may have. Make a list of blogs that compliment yours. Again, try to find a mix of up-and-coming blogs, mid-size blogs, and the Pro Bloggers. The New Blogger had 30 complimentary blogs on her list.
Why find a mixture of up-and-coming blogs, mid-size blogs, and Pro bloggers? Getting noticed by a pro blogger in your niche would be awesome. Sharing their content is a great idea because you know it’s already popular online and other people will resonate with it. But, a pro blogger might not notice you because they have so much going on and so many new bloggers trying to get their attention. Interacting with newer blogs and mid-size blogs will increase your chances of being noticed and shared in return by that blogger.
Tips for finding blogs: Search in Google or Pinterest for keywords that represent your main topics. Visit the sites that come up and see if they are similar to what you plan to blog about. Once you find one or two blogs, you can see who they follow and interact with regularly on social media to find other blogs in your niche or blogs that compliment both of you. These bloggers most likely already know the importance of sharing others content. Who do they regularly pin from? Whose posts do they share on Facebook or who do they talk to on Twitter?
How to keep track of the blogs
I’m a big excel fan, so I created this excel sheet for you to use to keep track of the blogs you follow. It has a spot to link the blog’s URL and all social media accounts. Using the excel sheet makes it easy to click on and visit their accounts.
Here’s a little peek at what the spreadsheet looks like
You can download it here: Keep track of the blogs you – follow excel sheet You can also print it off if you’re a worksheet type of person.
Another option is to use Feedly. When you follow blogs on Feedly, you’ll know when they publish a new post, making it easier for you to comment or share their latest and greatest articles.
I also use Twitter lists to connect with and follower bloggers on that platform. Basically, Twitter lists are a filter that allow you to see Tweets from the people you add to the list. You can create different lists for different types of blogs. You can also choose to make them public (so that everyone can see them) or private (so only you can see them).
How to interact with other bloggers
Now that you have a great collection of blogs to follow, it’s time to start interacting with them. Follow them on all of their social media accounts. While you work on setting up your blog work on connecting and sharing.
Try to share a few of their posts on your newly created social media accounts every day. Don’t forget to tag the blogger in the post! You want to start getting these blogger’s attention so that they come to your landing page to see who you are.
Also, by sharing their posts on your social media accounts, you are already starting to establish yourself as an expert in your chosen niche. If people like the content you are sharing from other blogs, they’ll be excited to see what you are going to be posting on your blog too.
Set a goal to try and comment on a few blog posts a day. Before the New Blog went live, 6 of the top 10 traffic referrals to the site came from comments.
4. Tell friends and family members
Let them be your biggest fans and cheerleaders. Once you have your landing page set up, share your new blogging adventure on your own personal social media accounts. Invite your friends and family members to follow your blog’s social media accounts.
Talk to them in person about it, sharing your URL. Ask them to share your new blog too.
Remember to be sensitive. Not all of your friends and family members may want to follow your blog, so don’t overwhelm them on your personal page. Do a few pushes to get them to follow your new social media accounts and then once you go live share your blog related posts on your blog social media accounts.
How long should you promote your coming soon page?
The New Blog promoted her coming soon page for about 2 ½ weeks. There really isn’t a magic number for how long you should promote your coming soon page before you go live. You don’t want it to be too short that you don’t get as many followers as you could have, but you also don’t want it to be too long and have people completely forget about you by the time you’re ready to go live.
Bonus Tip: Have at least 2 weeks of posts in your drafts before you go live.
This will allow you to keep up with promoting yourself. For the first two weeks after going live, you should really focus on connecting with others and promoting your new blog and posts. If you have to worry about promoting and about about writing new content, you’ll burn out quickly. New content is essential for building a following and keeping readers interested so keep the new content coming once you go live!6