Blogging 101: Part 3 — Find Your Readers

by Jaclyn Y. Garver
Ivy Tech Community College
Fort Wayne, IN

Once a blog is up and running — you’re coming up with innovative ideas, you’re writing your face off, you’re creating content that you know your reader wants and needs to know all about — the work is not yet done.

The final step in the whole process? Getting your blog out to the people who should be reading it.

Because blogs are online, it can be easy to forget about them. You’re not spending any money on printing the material, making it glossy, or mailing it to your audience, which can create this kind of “If I write it, they will read” mentality.

However, if you’re simply clicking “post” and then moving on to your next topic, you’re doing both yourself and your audience a disservice. If you’re not telling your readers about the blog, if you’re not getting it in front of their faces, then why spend all that time researching and writing?

Luckily, there are some easy ways to get the word out there:

•    Potentially the most effective way to promote your blog is through an established social media site. Note the word “established.” If you’re trying to build a Facebook page as you post your blog, you’re going to be promoting that blog to the smattering of people who’ve already found you. However, with an established Twitter feed or Instagram account, your fans have already found you. They know who you are, they’ve sought you out, and they’ve said, “Yes, tell me more.” When I post a blog to a social media site, I like to do so with a question or in some way that will engage readers. Instead of simply posting a link introducing a member of your student government, ask the question: “How did you get involved when you were in college?” or “Do you know a great student or graduate who should be featured? We love ideas for new posts!” The interaction can build trust, or even a friendly relationship, between you and the folks you’re trying to reach.

•    Write about your blog in an existing newsletter. Whether it’s a print piece or something you email out every month, give the blog a prominent spot. Include a snippet from a favorite post, or give a brief “What you missed” rundown. Don’t forget to include the URL.

•    Put together a special monthly “What you missed” digest. Often, the folks on your email lists will think it’s nice to get something a little different from you, not just another “Hey, we need money” plea.

•    Display the link to your blog prominently on your website. This is likely the most trafficked URL you have at your disposal, and similar to the social media page, folks who end up here don’t do so by accident — they’ve sought you out. By treating your blog like it is important, readers will begin to see it in that light, too.

Do you blog for your college? Comment with the link. I’d love to see what you’re doing and learn about what kind of feedback you get.

This is the final installment of a three-part series for those interested in starting a blog. Part 1 on “Who’s Your Audience?” was posted Sept. 7; Part 2 on “What’s Your Goal?” was posted Sept. 22.

Jaclyn Y. Garver is the media relations and communications coordinator for the Northeast campus of Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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