There are plenty of ways to grow a blog. When we developed a social media strategy for The Working Chronicles, we made the decision to start growing organically, focusing first on our content and on activating our own networks to support us.
There are several ways to drive more traffic to a blog. For example:
We didn’t opt for any of these strategies, though we can incorporate them later. Instead, we decided to use the strength of our community and our content to increase our audience at a steady pace. We accepted the idea of slower growth.
Every “pro blogger”" will tell you that no matter how hard you promote your blog, it will fail if the content isn’t engaging. Here’s an advantage TWC already had: new, interesting blogs scheduled each week about different views of working life. You couldn’t ask for more variety or a more timely topic.
So far, we’ve posted stories about a lobsterman in Maine, an unemployed mother struggling to get her career on track, and 21st century etiquette consultant, and an author/artist who just happens to be James Franco’s mother. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You don’t need me to tell you that social networks are powerful. For The Working Chronicles blog, we had another advantage: a large, ready-made community. TWC is a network of Chroniclers and Editors who are continually researching and writing interesting stories about working people. We knew we could count on their support, but it wouldn’t hurt to give them a little advice. I wrote a set of recommendations for how to promote the blog, Facebook page, and Twitter profile. We even gave them an email template to use with friends, family, and colleagues.
But the most important thing we did was ask them to promote TWC only in ways in which they felt comfortable. We didn’t try to force them into social media if they weren’t doing it already. But those that don’t use Facebook or Twitter did agree to pass our information along to their networks.
Of course, our contributors are also networking the old-fashioned way–over coffee or drinks or at work, frequently using a special TWC business card our managing editor printed for them.
Even in the instant-gratification world of social media, patience is a virtue. Unless you are a celebrity, you just can’t expect a huge fan base out of the gate. You plant the seeds and continue cultivating. That’s what we’re committed to doing, and we’re already harvesting lots of new readers.
In our first week, we had over 400 “absolute unique visitors,” the wide majority of whom came from Facebook (more than 60 new fans) and direct traffic (likely related to the emails sent to family and friends).