7 things you can do to strengthen your blog
In light of Tony's very important blog post encouraging others to join in this Thanet blogging lark I'd like to present some ideas that can help your blog keep going strong.
I'd like to point out that I don't know everything but what I do know I want to share. Feel free to add ideas of your own all insight is good - even if it disagrees with mine.
So here are 7 things that we as Thanet bloggers or want to be bloggers can do to make the splash that might just wake Thanet up.
1. Do the obvious stuff - post content and take the time to read other bloggers work. Try to get something out at least each week but better yet several times a week. Be sure to engage with other bloggers - having a cup of coffee in real life or a pint together in the pub is a great idea especially if you differ politically or on a deeply seated issue. This will get you the initial rush of readers.
2. Set up a Facebook page for your blog. This is never going to have a billion followers (well it might but it is not likely) but it will give you a point of contact with your facebook using readers. I like to use the Networked Blogs Application to feed my blog onto my blog's own page. However adding extra content exclusively for your fans on facebook is a very sensible idea. Those snippets and photo's that never made it to a blog post are ideal.
3. Don't neglect twitter but do take the time to find out how you can pair your twitter account with your facebook page. This will mean that your "status" updates on the page are also posted as tweets. Also think about setting up an account with one of the many free RSS to twitter services.
4. Join OneTrueFan and other game mechanics based reward sites (like Mojo). These sites award visitors badges for achievements (such as being the most frequent visitor, or sharing pages). There are 120,000 people in Thanet and you can be sure that a few thousand are using such services to discover new content (that's just 1% of the population, by the way, so the true number might be higher). Picking the right ones is, so early on, a little bit of educated guess work but as they are often a lot of fun hedging your bets is no loss.
5. Video's - video blogging and audio blogging (vlogging and podcasting respectively) are a strong way to transmit your message that can leave the text based world and be taken off line into MP3 and video players. I'm just beginning to experiment with such things and am by no means an expert but many bloggers have reported increased "readership", site visits and (important to some) sales as a result.
6. Don't give up. Most blogs in Thanet seem to get to a certain size and then crash as the owners give up. Sometimes this is writer burn out which is a shame, or it is caused by upset that bloggers are saying stiff things about other bloggers (ride it out and like any storm it will go away again). Sometimes it is because the success we crave has not come - hey I expected to earn money from Thanet Star and the reality was the income was not that huge (it pays the bandwidth bills but there is still the server to try and cover).
7. Understand your readers. The people that are paying attention to you and those that might pay attention to you have ideas and needs that differ from your own. Some might just want the news from an indy source but others might like your insight, humour or boldness in standing up and being heard. Try to do a little "market research" and see what it is that is needed from the tribe you are addressing. With the size Thanet is none of us have cracked it until we find out how to reach 1% of people (roughly 1,200 which is more than I probably reach currently). If 100 of us managed that we might just have reached all the people in Thanet.
Over to you - are you ready to change a bit of the world?