Become a Top Blogger By Peter Sandeen Would You Like to Attract New Readers with Every Blog Post You Write? How many blog posts have you written? And how many email subscribers do you have? Sure, when you’re starting out, you’re just learning the ropes. There’s a lot to think about, and getting great results early on is unusual. But if you’ve been writing for months or years, and still feel you’re not getting the audience you deserve, read on. Sharing your posts in all the social media won’t do you much good. Learning a new headline formula can help, but it’s not key to success. Not even “writing better” will make a big difference (though this definitely helps). Yes, growing a significant email list quickly with blog posts is possible. Just don’t waste your time writing your own blog. Writing a blog is not a good way to build an audience What happened when you hit “publish” the very first time? If you’re anything like me, nothing happened. Not even after you tweeted, liked, stumbled, digged, plus one’d, and pinned the post. Maybe around post number 10 you saw someone sign up to your list. But the celebration was cut short when you noticed it was your best friend, with whom you had talked about your blog earlier that day. The problem is that when you write a post, no matter how great, where no one’s going to read it, nothing will happen. When you write to your own blog before anyone’s there to read it, nothing will happen. And that won’t change no matter how great your content is. “Build it and they will come” is not how things work, unfortunately. Go where your future audience is As long as only Google bots read your writing, your email list won’t grow. Not fast, anyway. So instead, go where your audience is already. Write guest posts on blogs read by the people you want to attract to your blog. The difference in results is big. Thousands of people read what you have to say. And if you play your cards right, you’ll get people to subscribe to your updates. But many people have tried guest blogging only to find it a huge waste of time. They might get a couple of subscribers. Or none at all. Actually, guest posts fail in only two ways. If you avoid these pitfalls, you’ll see significant results. Consider—really—the audience you write for This should be obvious. And maybe it is. But still, people rarely get it right. You have to find the overlap in the interests of two audiences: the one where you want to guest post, and the one you want to attract to your blog. If you pick a topic that doesn’t grab readers by their throats and make them practically glue their noses to their screens to read what you have to say, your post won’t succeed. But your topic should also be interesting to your target audience (the people you want to attract to your site), or even the best writing won’t help you achieve your goals. So think of the readers of the site you’re writing for. Identify their most pressing problems and most important goals. These are the only topics you should even consider; any other topic is likely to flop completely. Then narrow down the list to the ones even your target audience is deeply interested in. Finally, see which one feels best. At this point all the ideas should be really good, so you can quite comfortably pick the one you know best and feel most comfortable writing about. A great topic alone isn’t enough. Give them something valuable and offer even more The problem with most guest posts is that readers don’t want more at the end. Because they have no urge to take action or to learn more, they won’t visit your site. You have to make people want more. And then offer them a way to get it. The post may give people the “now I know what to do to get better results” feeling, but they know they could get even better results if they learned more. And then you offer to help them more. The simplest way to do this is to mention in your byline a free offer related to the topic you’ve written about. When people read to the end, that offer is the easy next step that will help them get even better results. The offer needs to make sense The typical byline reads “Jack Jackson is a blogger who loves traveling. Download his free ebook about backpacking”. This won’t work if the post is about the best 5-star hotels around the world. If the offer isn’t relevant, few people find it interesting. Does this mean you can only write about backpacking if that’s the topic of your freebie? Yes and no. Yes, people have to want to learn more about it. No, you’re not limited to one topic. If the topic of your guest post isn’t directly related to your free offer, you need to find a way to connect the two topics. For example, if you write a post on how to pick the right dress for various body types and your freebie is an ebook about dieting, the connection could be that the best dress for any body type would look even better if the reader lost a little weight. Or if you write a post about three ways to save on taxes, your offer can explain how to save even more. In other words, you create the desire to learn more about whatever it is your freebie teaches. When you make that connection—in a way that moves people to action—people subscribe to your blog not only because they see the value of your post, but because they want to learn how to make the most of what you’re telling them. Write posts that grow your business or blog If you’re going to write blog posts, make them count. When you have a few thousand people on your list, or even a few hundred, you can write to your own blog and get good results. But until then, guest posts will get you to your goals much faster. Each post might take a bit more work: you need to find a blog where you’ll get good results, pick the right topic for their readers, write the post so it will drive visitors to your site, and get it accepted. But it’s worth it. If each guest post builds your email list more than writing 50 posts on your own site, you’re achieving your goals, and won’t lose your passion and drive to write. So the next time you start to write a post to your blog, consider if it should be a guest post instead. You could probably use your time more effectively by writing for other sites. If you have any questions, experiences or thoughts about guest posting, leave a comment below.