With all the content getting produced on the internet these days, it’s both a difficult and a wonderful time to be a fledgling writer, creating online articles and blog posts and attempting to lure new readers to your site. On one hand, there have never been more tools available to help you create a professional blog, develop a social media presence, or guest-write for your favorite online magazines and periodicals. On the other, with the amount of content on the web, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of new writers, with your article going largely unread by the masses. Here are some r suggestions on how to attract an audience for your writing, as well as some common mistakes new writers make in the world of online content:
Write on what you know (and do your research)
If you know you’d like to produce online content but you’re not sure even where to begin, consider topics that you already know something about. Writing on familiar subjects will not only help you write more naturally, but you’ll be less likely to lose interest in producing consistent content. This is an important part of keeping the readers you’ve already snagged; an aspect of attracting followers that will be discussed later in this article.
Whether you write an opinion piece, a blog about your travels, or an article about computer tech (or anything else that might contain facts), ensure you are doing the appropriate research in advance. If you know a little bit about a subject, you can bet that there is someone out there who knows just as much as you do (or possible more) and will not hesitate to call you out if your facts are wrong or your conjectures are incorrect. Doing a little bit of research in advance will make your writing more thoughtful and believable. If you’re writing is genuine, more people will want to read it.
Produce unique content
Writing about what you know is important, but you’ll also want to write about what is interesting. And not only should it be interesting to you, it should also be interesting to other people and stand out from everything else out there. Content should be unique enough to distinguish itself from the many articles, blogs and reviews that already exist, but not so niche that no one is searching for it. For example, you might write a blog once a week on famous historical figures. You might be fascinated by young French kings that were exiled in the late 1600s to other European countries, but there’s slim chance many of your readers are. Instead, consider a broader topic, such as all exiled French kings, or even just famous French kings. The point is to attract a steady flow of readers to your content, and then you always have the option to write for a smaller market after you’ve gotten a solid community of fans.
Keep it clear and simple
Whatever you choose to write about, the most important thing you can do to gain (and keep) readers is to be good at the basics. Errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and paragraph structure or flow are all extremely noticeable, and will drive potential readers away. Edit your articles to ensure a professional tone; without this you risk your readers not trusting your words or getting irritated by disruptive errors. If editing is not your strong point, then have a friend or colleague examine your work, or consider hiring a freelance editor to review your writing. The amount it will cost you will be worth it to produce quality work.
Once you’ve got them, keep them
Earlier in this article, we talked about consistent content. It’s not enough to attract new readers to your content; you must also keep them coming back. Regular updates or original content will ensure there’s something new for your fans to read and will have them returning to your page in the hopes of a new article or blog post. One of the worst mistakes a writer can make is updating on an infrequent basis (or not updating at all). And if you promise to deliver new content once a week, ensure that you are meeting your own deadline and building trust with your readership. On the other side of the coin, producing new content too frequently is also a problem; content will get lost or covered up under the sheer quantity that you’re creating, and your readers might feel overwhelmed with how much is being thrown at them.
Along with updating, decide early on how you’ll contact your readers to let them know about anything new you post. Many writers utilize social media such as Facebook or Instagram to let fans know when something new is on their page. If you’re uncomfortable with maintaining a social media presence, consider an email list to let people know when there’s something original for them to read. Just ensure you’re not emailing too frequently, otherwise, you might find more and more people unsubscribing due to your emails feeling like spam.
Network with your peers
Part of maintaining a following of readers is to get your name out there in the first place. This can be as complicated as paying for advertisements through sites such as Google or Facebook, or it can be as simple as joining professional writing groups or blogging circles. By developing relationships with other writers, you can support each other, bounce ideas off of each other, and perhaps most importantly of all, help attract a new audience through social media or blog mentions or links in each others’ articles. In this way, you can attract followers from places you might not otherwise have considered.
Whatever your chosen medium for your voice, by following the above suggestions you can set yourself up for success in the online writing world. Above all else, keep it simple, keep it interesting, and keep it consistent, and you’re sure to find a solid core of devoted readers that will keep coming back for more.
Melissa is a young and energetic writer, a mom to a sweet little boy, and a fur-mom to two perfect pooches. Before becoming the Associate Content Director for Project Female, she was a journalist specializing in topics related to women in politics and policy affecting women.