You already know that the best way to drive traffic to your site, and keep it there, is to consistently create inspiring and original content. But for those of us who are still building a loyal following and building our traffic, it's essential to couple great content with audience development best practices. In an age where there are endless choices for consumers online, you need to be assertive and creative when convincing new traffic to come your way. By employing these essential audience development tips, you'll build a following in no time:
1. Create community. Engaging with your audience should be your number one priority aside from generating new content. The obvious way to do this is via social media like Facebook and Twitter, but don't make the mistake of just thinking of these channels as one way. To build community you need to do much more than push your content out; you need to interact with your followers. Respond to all tweets and posts, personally thank new followers, and follow them back. Ask them what they want to see in your content with a Facebook poll or survey. Many will be delighted to provide you insights into what they want to read. The more time you invest in your audience, the more time they'll invest in your brand.
2. Leverage contributors. Creating new content day after day can be a challenge, particularly if you're working alone. An effective remedy to this common ailment is to invite contributors to write a column on your site. Look for content creators who publish projects that are compelling and align with your vertical. If they are an up-and-coming publisher they may be more willing to collaborate. Hammer out a clear agreement with the contributor and ensure you leverage their social media following by requiring them to amplify the content they've created for your site. Utilizing contributors not only provides your site with fresh content, it will bring you more traffic.
3. Thought leader. You've been creating content for some time now, so the natural next step is to position yourself as an expert in your field. Becoming an expert means that others will look to you to have a trusted and definitive voice in your content area. Your brand will be highly visible, which makes it easier to build an engaged and loyal audience. As an expert, you need to cultivate opportunities to showcase your content and expertise. To do this, accept speaking opportunities and partner with other brands or publishers. The more visible you are, the greater audience you'll garner.
It's a long road to achieving a committed audience, but using the tips above will help you get to your destination faster.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Laney Whitcanack is Federated Media Publishing's chief community officer. Prior to joining FM, Laney co-founded BigTent in 2006 and focused on innovating online and offline ways to connect people with communities they care about. She spent the decade previous to BigTent coaching and training hundreds of community leaders, in the U.S. and Mexico, most recently as the director of community programs for the Coro Center for Civic Leadership.
A published author and speaker on entrepreneurship and community organizing, Laney received the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2008. She is currently a board member of Zeum: San Francisco's Children's Museum and The Princess Project and is involved in even more community groups after the birth of her daughter, Campbell, last year. Laney has a B.A. from UCLA, and MBA from the Simmons School of Management, and an Ed.M from Harvard University.
March 19, 2014