Overcoming the Challenges of Reaching Your Audience

by Emily E. Steck

Overcoming the Challenges of Reaching Your Audience

Publishing a blog, a news site or a hybrid of the two is no easy task. In addition to the great content you’ll need to create regularly, you’ll multitask gaining and expanding your brand’s network to gain more followers. Eventually, you’ll even want to make some money!

Let’s talk about some of the basic challenges and solutions of reaching your audience as a small publisher.

Problem #1: How Can I Increase Readership?

If you’ve read this blog enough, you’ll know our standby advice: create good, original content consistently. You want to post something regularly, whether it’s everyday or 3 to 4 times a week. An editorial calendar can help you plan this out.

Once the content is out there, you’ll need a community of fellow content creators and readers to help promote your content. Start by analyzing the big profiles, bloggers and publishers who create content similar to your own t. Follow them. Interact with them and what they post on the big social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Cross-post it to your site and social channels. Continue making great content. Rinse and repeat.

Slowly and surely, you’ll begin to count more followers, and loyal  (and engaged!) ones. Followers who share your articles on their social networks and sites. It’s a beautiful sight to behold, but you’ll need to be patient.

Problem #2: You Don’t Know How To Write For Them

This is a nice problem to have, honestly, so bask in it for a moment. Now get back to work. Re-examine your brand and your audience. Why do they read your site? What do you offer them? Look at your site’s analytics: what’s working, what isn’t?

Once you have an audience, you need to keep them. Learn to write for your audience, whether it be keeping your laid back tone or writing about what’s interesting to them—try to determine exactly what value you add, what differentiates your content from the rest of the internet. Actively ask them what they like about your publication. You may not always want to write about celebrity baby bumps or football players, but at least keep it in the mix.

Problem #3: You Aren’t Standing Out In a Sea Of Content

The simplest solution? Find your voice. Of course, it’s definitely easier said than done. It will take a lot of work and discarded drafts, but the more and more you create content, the easier it will be to find what exactly you’re saying about it. Why are you writing/creating things about this topic? What’s your angle? How can you make this more personal?

The content on your site will be better for it. Take a look at your publication’s mission statement. Don’t have one? Write one. Find your site’s tone and you’ll find you are not alone.

Problem #4: You’ve Lost A Chunk of Your Audience, Now What?

This is probably not a good problem to have, but an incredibly important one to solve. Why are people flocking to sites that are not yours? As a content creator, you’ll need to self-evaluate frequently. Are you up-to-date on social channels? Are you writing about the same thing in the same way?

Go back to your editorial calendar and strategize. Get some fresh ink by asking a fellow community member or friend to write to write for your blog, or even just get them to review what you’re writing objectively. Interview an expert. Mix up where you find content inspiration.

If you feel like the work you produce is underappreciated or moving from a different direction from your audience, you’ll need to solve problem one again. Sometimes our work evolves from what it used to be. That’s okay.

Problem #5: AdBlock Is Killing Your Revenue Stream

According to this Guardian article, almost 150 million browsers are using some form of adblocking. Adblocking does exactly like it sounds: it blocks intrusive, disruptive ads and has been nicknamed the “Napster of the advertising industry.”

Advertisers aren’t the only ones in jeopardy: smaller publishers and bloggers are in trouble too. The best solution to keep making money and keeping your audience? Ask them. In an onscreen message, emphasize how it hurts your business that they are using adblock. Mention this statistic: up to 50% of ad impressions are lost using adblock. Ask them to make a plea to supporting good content and small businesses and publishers.

Without an audience, are you really a publisher? It’s along the same lines of “if a tree falls in the forest.” The answer is, yes, but it’s still a lot more rewarding to overcome the challenges of finding an audience and keeping it.

10 Ways To Help Your Content Succeed

By Emily E. Steck

Publishing is half creating and half marketing. You'll need a plan to execute them both. Here are 10 ways to help your content succeed.

  • Get Your Content Out On The Internet (And Read)

    By Emily E. Steck

    Scouring for images can take time, perfecting the written word even more time. Use your social networks, your friends, your resources. (Sacrifice your first born. Just kidding.).    

  • Set Goals

    By Emily E. Steck

    What do you want to accomplish? Gain 100 new social media followers? Increased time spent on site? More content? Set goals to help clarify the time put into making your content awesome.

  • Strategize These Goals

    By Emily E. Steck

    Plan a flexible strategy to make these goals, but leave room to accommodate for what works and what doesn't work. Have an [editorial calendar](http://blog.quiet.ly/industry/editorial-calendar/). Kill your marketing darlings, so to speak.

  • Take Risks

    By Emily E. Steck

    Mention famous bloggers, people, organizations in your social media promotion. Use confident language in your promotion and content. Seek out your competitors and befriend them. Be bold.

  • What's Trending?

    By Emily E. Steck

    You cannot predict what will be trending on social media except for those planned events around your related industry. Sports blog? You have game schedules. Plan content to backlog for these events.

  • Niche Is In

    By Emily E. Steck

    The internet is a vast place with vast interests. [Scuba diving?](http://http//beta.quiet.ly/4441) [Living in Vancouver?](http://http//beta.quiet.ly/1474) Target these niche communities by writing content that caters to their interests and posting to subthreads.

  • Engage & Connect With Community

    By Emily E. Steck

    This could be through subthreads in Reddit, Twitter, Facebook about similar content you publish. Don't always link back to your own stuff in these convos, but link when it is organic.  

  • Write for Skimmers (and Your Audience)

    By Emily E. Steck

    People skim more than they read. Make sure to write for them this way. Use lists, bold text and subheadings to break up content. Oh, and right about what they are interested in.

  • Develop Your Voice & Brand

    By Emily E. Steck

    How you approach stories and articles is just as important as the content in them. As a content creator, you need to develop an original voice that sets you apart from the pack. This is your brand. 

  • Check In With Your Audience

    By Emily E. Steck

    You can't just rely on analytics. Pose a question on social media asking your followers what kind of content they love to see on your site. Check the comments and chime in. Understand your audience.

Image Credit: OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS

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