5 Simple Steps to Kickstarting a Blog

This post was guest blogged by Lars-Christian Simonsen of Lars-Christian.com, a blog that talks about Internet marketing, personal branding and a bunch of other stuff.

While the blogging scene is more active than ever, it is a fact that most new bloggers will see little success with their blogs. Many of them will write good, if not exceptional content, but quit in frustration when nobody notices their content. Fact of the matter is that your blog can be the Harry Potter of blogging, but that won’t matter if you don’t actively promote your articles.

The steps I will present below are based on my own personal experience, and they are the recipe I follow when I promote any new blog or website I have created, and most importantly they have proved to work. As a note I should probably mention that they are simple and easy in the way that everyone can do them, but they will require that you put some effort into it.

Before you start with these steps, you will want to do some research. What you need to identify is where you can find clusters of people in the niche of your blog. For instance, if you write about blogging and making money online, you should easily be able to identify Bumpzee or MyBlogLog as online communities with clusters of your target audience. Similarly, if your niche is music, AbsolutePunk is a community that you could “target”.

Once you have identified one or more clusters of your target audience, you will be ready to start working on the five steps that will help you kickstart your blog. While you can obviously mix up the steps, I’ve listed them in the order I feel while maximize the effect of each step.

1. Network. This is the single most important thing you will ever do to promote your blog, and you should never stop doing it. You’ve already identified where you can find potential visitors of your blog, and now you should start connecting with them. The most effective way of doing this is to form personal relationship with a number of people. Talk to them in private, tell them about your blog (or your plans about it, if it’s not open yet).

This is extremely important because by forming relationships with people that you know are interested in the subject of your blog, you can always ask them to read, and more importantly comment on what you’ve written. This matters because having people commenting on your posts will act as social proof and show the people that are visiting your blog that it is worth their time.

2. Discover the hype. I remember that I once read a blog post containing a tip that said you shouldn’t live inside your RSS reader. Right now I will tell you that you should. Why? Because by staying up to date on what other, similar blogs (with substantial traffic) are writing about, you will get a good pointer as to what people are interested in reading. Unique content and insight is the key to being successful, but when you’re starting out you should write about what you already know people want to read about.

3. Join the discussion. As soon as you’ve discovered what people are talking about, you can use that knowledge to increase the visibility of your blog. Write an article on that subject, put your own spin on it and don’t be afraid of being controversial, because you want your angle of the story to give you attention. Your two most important tools in this step is the trackback, and the commenting feature of more popular blogs.

Don’t be afraid to link out, because most blogs will list all incoming links to a certain blog-post at the bottom, which means that your outgoing links can bring you traffic, good traffic. Just to illustrate, the past week my personal blog has been getting over one hundred visitors every day coming directly from either trackbacks or comments I’ve left at other blogs. Worth it? You decide.

4. Utilize Social Media Marketing. Have you heard this advice enough times already to start following it? If not, you really need to start doing it. The different social media instances are excellent promotion venues for you, because many of them don’t even need that many votes or recommendations before they start sending you decent traffic. Yes, it’s true, you don’t need to reach the frontpage of Digg for it to be worth your time to engage in social promotion.

Not sure where to start? Well, there are already plenty of guides out there, so indulge yourself in these and you’ll have the knowledge you need to get started.

5. Target the influencers. Now that you have increased the visibility of your blog, and hopefully even been noticed by some of the writers at the more popular blogs, it is time to further strengthen your blogs profile by targeting these people. This is the most tricky step of the five, and it can take up much of your time, but as soon as the ball starts to roll, you will see why it was all worth it.

Investigate what type of content the influencers frequently link out to, analyze it and see if you can produce similar content yourself. Typically this type of content will be different than what you aspired to in step 2, because high profile bloggers usually reserve their link-love for unique and insightful posts. Once you’ve produced the worthy content, you need to make sure the influencers actually notice it, so be sure to send them a quick email with a link. Not an essay repeating every word of the article, just a quick link is far more effective.

These five steps can be done by all blogger, old and new, and all that determines whether or not they will have any effect on your blog is how much effort you put into it. By following these steps I was able to bring my at the time dead personal blog from a mere 30 – 50 visitors per day up to on average 400 visitors per day within three weeks!