When I first started Social Media Examiner, I wasn’t prepared for business to take off at a thousand miles an hour. Within a year and a half, we had 80,000 subscribers.

I would like to help you grow your blog by sharing some tips we have learned for successful blog growth. Before I share my tips, I would like to reveal the name of our mascot…

#1: It’s All About Community

In the beginning, we had the mistaken notion that all that mattered was great content.  Don’t get me wrong, content is essential and always will be (see Tip #2). Things really took off the moment we integrated our Facebook page into our blog.  Almost overnight, what I call “lurkers” (those people who read but don’t interact), came forward en masse. At first they told us how much they appreciated our site.  But then they began to interact with each other, support one another and connect.  It was an amazing community that was building right in front of us. Here are some pointers when trying to build a community on your blog:

  • Set up a Facebook page and be sure to actively engage folks as they write on your wall.
  • Try to respond to as many comments on your blog posts as possible.
  • Create events on Facebook that encourage folks to come together, like Expert Fridays, virtual happy hours or other Facebook experiences.

When people who share a common interest can come together on your site, you’ll be one step closer to explosive blog growth.

#2: Great Content Is Essential

I believe outstanding content is essential to ongoing growth.  But great content tied to a great community is the key to explosive results.  In the beginning, you might need to get your great content on someone else’s platform to ultimately grow your own. Before this blog, I was a regular contributor to Copyblogger.  Brian Clark’s amazing site helped me build up my prior blog and set the stage for Social Media Examiner. I’ve also seen many folks who write for Social Media Examiner achieve amazing results (like book deals).  So, great content in front of the right audience is really critical. Here are the key components to great content:

  • Your writing should be conversational and easy to read.
  • Use lots of subheads, bold text and visuals to accommodate skim readers.
  • Make sure each of your posts looks good to the eye. If it looks appealing, people will consider reading it.
  • Work on a compelling opening… That means you should master the headline process and create alluring openings to all your posts.

#3: Go Beyond Just Text and Pictures

Great content doesn’t need to be limited to the written word. We discovered that there are plenty of people who prefer to learn by watching or listening.  Try mixing up your media. From the beginning we invested in video.  We took a camera crew with us to major trade shows and interviewed experts from big brands like Starbucks. We also did recorded phone interviews with high-profile experts.  We transcribed the content and provided audio recordings. This interview with Chris Brogan is one of many we did over the last year. Here are a few video tips:

  • You don’t need a video crew. You can start out with a simple Flip video camera for on-site interviews.
  • Consider doing live video broadcasts.
  • Conversational video between two people is often more interesting than a talking head.

I’m excited to see what will unfold as we journey together through the social media jungle.

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