There are no tricks or shortcuts to getting blog followers. There’s a difference between:
- Raising your follower NUMBER.
- Gaining real, LOYAL followers who love your content.
Quite often, those are two completely different things. People can be so focused on #1 that they forget they should be aiming for #2.
Encouraging people to click “follow” does not make them a follower.
This is when I start to roll my eyes at people who say, “I follow back!” or “Follow me and I’ll follow you.”
Those people are playing the numbers game. They try to bribe people into clicking the “follow” button so they can raise the number of followers that gets displayed to the world.
But bribing someone to click follow DOES NOT mean that:
- They’re actually reading your posts.
- They’re engaged in your content and keep checking back for more.
- They return to your blog regularly.
Google Friend Connect is/was a breeding ground for inflated numbers.
This was a MAJOR problem with Google Friend Connect. People would click the “follow” button, add a number for the blogger, but then not actually stay updated with posts. The blogger gained a number, but not a loyal reader.
This was usually inspired by giveaways that had entries for becoming a GFC follower. Typically the blogger’s motivation here was to get more readers/followers, but in reality they only incremented an arbitrary number that didn’t actually represent the number of people reading the blog regularly.
4 ways to get loyal followers.
We’ve talked about arbitrary numbers, now let’s talk about real followers. These are people who read your posts, sometimes leave comments, and come back for more.
1) Content is king. Make it GREAT.
The best reason for people to follow you is because they love your content and don’t want to miss any future posts.
Don’t bribe people with trades—just produce content that’s truly fantastic. It’s better to put more time into fewer posts than less time into more posts. Write three REALLY AWESOME posts per week instead of seven mediocre posts per week.
2) Guest post on other blogs.
Creating great content on your blog will certainly attract people, but posting great content on another blog will expose you to whole new audiences.
The readers on the other blog will love your post (if it is in fact great 😉 ), follow you back to your blog, and subscribe there.
Guest posting is a great way to gain exposure and expand your audience.
3) Offer content upgrades.
Content upgrades are downloadable pieces of value. The idea is that you create an epic blog post, then offer extra bonus material in exchange for a subscription.
You could call this a bribe, which I just said was a bad thing, but I think content upgrades are great because they attract people who already love your content and add them to your mailing list.
Let me explain.
If someone reads your blog post and doesn’t like it, they’re not going to download the content upgrade. Why would they? They’re not interested.
But if they read your post and loved it, that right there is a fan and potential loyal follower. You solidify that relationship by offering them more epic content and adding them to your list.
Just make sure your content upgrades are related to your blog posts, and, if you can, make your future emails to your new subscriber relate to the content they downloaded. (ActiveCampaign can do this well.)
4) HELP people with your posts.
I always say there are two types of “quality content” (you know, when people say “have quality content on your blog”):
- Content that’s entertaining.
- Content that solves a problem.
Problem solving is a great way to build a loyal group of followers. If you’re offering advice and solving problems, people are going to want to read every post!
What about giveaways?
I have mixed thoughts on hosting a giveaway, with an extra entry to become a follower.
The problem with giveaways is that they’re often generic. Like you get a free book or a giftcard, etc. Those things don’t DIRECTLY relate to the content you offer on your blog. As a result, you’ll get a lot of people who subscribe with bogus accounts just to get the free item, but they’re not actually interested in your posts.
Those are not loyal followers.
But if you tailor the content to be VERY SPECIFIC to your audience and relate DIRECTLY to the content you post on your blog, then it’s more likely that a giveaway subscriber will enjoy your blog posts.