Thursday, February 3, 2011

Building an Audience for Your Blog: The Arlee Bird "Blogging From A to Z April Challenge of 2011"

I met today's special guest when I participated in the A to Z Blog Challenge in April 2010. Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out had a great idea and ran with it. I'm still learning from his blog and his many followers. Please welcome Arlee, and pay close attention. He's giving you another great opportunity to build your blog following while making lots of new blogger friends around the world.


Building an Audience for Your Blog by Arlee Bird, Guest Blogger

Would you like to have more followers on your blog but haven’t figured out how to get them? Some of you may be perfectly content to have your handful of faithful followers and that’s fine if it’s okay with you. Personally, I want to have thousands of followers for my blog. I know they all won’t be reading what I post, but I think the odds increase exponentially as numbers of potential readers increase. If you are an author looking for an audience or anyone else promoting something, expanding your potential customer base is imperative to increasing your sales growth potential.

When I first started blogging in September of 2009 I had no idea what it was all about. I was determined to get followers so I set out on a quest to do so. Here’s the approach I would recommend to anyone looking for more followers:

• Get advice from serious experienced bloggers. Find blogs that seem like they have a good following and that offer blogging advice. You learn by watching and listening to others. Ask questions in their comment sections, follow those blogs, and ask them to follow your blog—some of them will.

• Make sure you have a “Follow” button to click and make it visible. I’ve placed mine near the top of my sidebar. When the button is highly visible interested parties will be more apt to click it.

• Find bloggers with similar interests to your own. Fill out your blogger profile with your interests (don’t forget to put commas between each of them). When you click on each of your interests you will come up with a list of other bloggers who have indicated the same interests. Comment on their blog posts, follow them, and ask them to follow your blog. You will become a part of a blog community.

• Stay active in your blog communities. Regularly leave comments on other blogs. Acknowledge those who comment on your posts. Maintain relationships.

• Be consistent in posting quality content. Give people a reason to come to see what you have to offer. I set up a themed blogging schedule so readers would know what to expect on which day.

• Participate in blogfests and other events. It will provide you with blog content and it will put you in contact with other participants. When I have participated in events, I have always added new followers.

My biggest coup in gaining followers came in 2010 when I organized the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. This was a month long blog challenge that received a lot of attention. The challenge required discipline as participants posted six days a week for the entire month of April using a letter of the alphabet for each day’s inspiration. The most active participants in this challenge gained from forty to one hundred followers during that month and built many lasting online relationships in the process.

In April of 2011 the A to Z Blog Challenge will be repeated. After last year’s success of an event that was organized in four days by me alone, this year the challenge should be huge as I am joined by some powerhouse bloggers: Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, and Talli Roland. The four of us will be administering the challenge as we participate with our own daily blog posts and provide encouragement to all of the participants.

If you are serious about getting more followers added to your sidebar, this is an event you should consider. Think of it as an advertising blitz if you’re promoting a book or some other aspect of what you have to offer. Or approach it as just plain fun. You will be out there for twenty-six days networking with others in your online communities. Friendships will be established and new blogs will be discovered. And you will become better in what you do. This challenge can help you improve your writing, planning, and self-discipline.

If you are interested in getting more information, you can go to Tossing It Out or click on one of the above links for the co-administrators blogs to see what they have to say. When you’ve decided to join us then add your name to the Linky list that appears on each of our blogs. We hope you’ll join us in the exciting Blogging From A to Z April Challenge of 2011.


Arlee, thank you so much for being here today and sharing your plans for the 2011 challenge. I'm guessing it will be bigger and better than 2010. I can't wait.

You bloggers who haven't yet tried a blog challenge should consider signing up. I had great fun last year, and made a lot of wonderful friends along the way.

Come on, sign up. You know you want to.


Misha said...

I was one of the first fifty people to sign up, I think.

Great tips, Lee. I didn't know that my interests are links! I am going to check that out right now. Thanks!


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for hosting Arlee.

Arlee - That's such good advice!! Thanks for your wisdom.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I learned a lot from Arlee's post, too, Misha. And I'm looking forward to the April challenge.

Hi Margot -- and you're most welcome.

Arlee Bird said...

Patricia, I'm thrilled to be here today and will be happy to answer any questions anyone has. I'll be checking in throughout the day.


Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Arlee. I hope we encourage a few more folks to sign up for the A to Z Challenge.

Teresa aka JW said...

Another great post, Lee! There is a lot of great advice there.

Patricia, thanks for hosting the A-Z creator.


Melissa Bradley said...

This is some great advice. I'm fairly new to the blogging community, having only been blogging since since mid-summer 2010. I've found some wonderful people here and I can't wait to do the Blogging A to Z challenge.

irishoma said...

Thanks for the great advice!
Donna V.

E.J. Wesley said...

Thanks for sharing Arlee, Patricia! Just followed his blog and plan on trying to tackle the A-Z!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I have much to thank Arlee for, if it wasn't for the A to Z challenge I think I would have given up long ago, not only did I get more followers some have become cyber friends.
So thanks Arlee you're one in a million.


Carol Kilgore said...

This is great, Arlee. I learned a lot from this post. Thanks.

Thanks for hosting him, Patricia.

Arlee Bird said...

Misha -- Glad you'll be doing the Challenge. Yes, I have found the "interest" links to be so valuable in finding others who have my same interests. You will find a lot of inactive blogs among them but you just have to take some time to search through.

Margot -- Thank you for reading today.

Teresa -- A to Z is a great way to tackle commitment issues :) Maybe you'll change your mind?

Melissa -- Last year a lot of new bloggers (including me) did the Challenge and we all learned so much and made so many new cyber friends.

Donna -- Always glad to help if I can. It was the advice of other bloggers that got me to the point I've reached now. I still look to their advice.

EJ -- I glad you'll be doing this and I believe you will find it a rewarding experience.

Yvonne -- You were an important part of last year's success. You sure made a lot of loyal friends through your efforts last year and since then.

Carol-- Thank you. I've enjoyed our blog friendship over the past year.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

You don't look like a bird at all, doggone it! I'm disappointed.

So, how'd you come up with the blogger pen name "Arlee Bird"?

~ Disappointed In Phoenix

Arlee Bird said...

Stephen McCarthy -- There is a story to my pseudonym and I'll tell it if you complete the Challenge. I'm telling you, you might change the world with your pet blog (I don't mean a blog about pets) but you have to patiently educate readers first. Okay, maybe you won't change the world, but maybe a mind or two and that's where change starts, right?

Your pal,
Arlee Bird

Patricia Stoltey said...

LOL -- I've been wondering about that "Arlee Bird" story myself.

Anonymous said...

I love that picture of Arlee! I enjoyed following the A-Z participates last year as they completed the challenge. Looking forward to reading again this year!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

What's this? You'll answer my question about your pen name but there's a condition attached?

Funny, but that's not the way you portrayed yourself here earlier in a comment to your host when you wrote: "Patricia, I'm thrilled to be here today and will be happy to answer any questions anyone has."

What happened to that Bird who was thrilled to be here and who was going to "answer ANY questions ANYONE has"?

What, ain't I "anyone"? And didn't I have "any" question?

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Arlee Bird said...

Maybe I'll have to post on that "Arlee Bird" pseudonym one day. I don't think I've written about pen names on my blog yet, though I have addressed it in comments on other blogs where this was the topic. Okay, I guess I have an upcoming post for sometime in the future.

Arlee Bird said...

Lynn -- I hope you don't just read. We'd like to have you contribute your posts as well. You can do it!

Mr. McC-- I know I said that, but I had no idea you'd show up here. A pleasant surprise indeed! But you're just trying to give me a hard time--I guess that's what friends are for sometimes:}
In a future post I will address this story. That's my answer.
Any more questions?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, join us! We had a blast last year, didn't we Lee and Patricia? Some of those first year participants are still my best blogging buddies. And that's a benefit you can't assign a pricetag.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Absolutely, Alex. The friends we make are a real bonus in participating in this challenge.

Holly Ruggiero said...

That's good advice. I'm still on the fence about the A-Z blogfest.

The Golden Eagle said...

Thanks for all the blogging advice!

I'm really looking forward to the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Arlee Bird said...

Alex -- You are so right! Just about everyone who participated last year were glad they did it. A lot of friendships were made.

Holly -- Come on, you know you want to do it. You'll have fun and should really get a lot out of it. You can at least try.

Golden Eagle -- We especially encourage the younger bloggers like you to do this. We had some wonderful teen participants last year. It's interesting to get the mix of perspectives from different generations. If you have any friends who blog please encourage them to join the Challenge.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

After some much needed consideration and coercing from a couple blogger pals, I decided to join in on this, not so much for myself, but rather for the community who will need the strength of someone already accustomed to writing 20+ blog posts a month.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>.....Any more questions?

Yeah. Can I borrow two hundred thousand, six hundred and fifty-three dollars and eighteen cents? I mean, just until payday?

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Anonymous said...

Excellent information, Arlee. Thanks for hosting him, Pat. I did sign up. I hope I can do it as well as I saw some of you doing it last year. I didn't do it then because I was a totally new blogger and boggled by blogging! But I'm now older and more experienced!!!
Ann Best, Author

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

I wish I had more time to blog and comment. I find twitter is better suited for the time I have available for social media. Arlee, I agree with everything you've shared. A blog is an important way to stay connected with followers and potential readers and clients. Have fun with the A to Z challenge.

Lynda Young said...

Great advice for finding new followers! I especially like the tip to click on interests in our own profiles.

Arlee Bird said...

Jeffrey -- That's as good as reason as any other. Nice of you to make this sacrifice for your friends. But I think you'll like it.

Stephen McC-- Sorry, my bank accounts don't have that much in them. However, I went thru all of the furniture, drawers, and coin depositories in my house and came up with what you need. You will need to pick it up, though, and bring a truck--it's all in change.

Ann -- Experience will help, but whether you're an old hand or a newbie at blogging, this challenge has something to offer everyone. Glad you'll be Blogging from A to Z.

Simon -- Thank you and I agree time is a factor for everyone. Each of us much adapt and fortunately there are all sorts of networking media that we can use. If you find out that you can do the A to Z Challenge we'd be happy to have you join in.

Lynda -- I don't remember exactly how I found the links on the profiles, but I'm always trying to find new blogging tricks. There are many I haven't even tried yet and many more I've yet to find.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great advice as always Pat & Lee! :)

I think I'll have to stick to my cheerleader role again - can't see any way around it at the moment. If things change I'll be in! :)

GutsyWriter said...

Thanks for your tips. I agree that commenting on the "BIG" blogs is the way to get notices and perhaps land a guest post, if you play your cards right.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Arlee, I really appreciate you being my guest today. Thanks so much. I'll keep on plugging the challenge throughout February and March.

Arlee Bird said...

Jemi -- Don't forget--you have over a month to prepare. Just sign up when you're ready.

Gutsy -- It's like submitting your writing, being a salesperson, or anything else in life. Keep tossing it out there and somebody will be taking notice.

Arlee Bird said...

Patricia -- It was a grand visit. Some excellent comments. And anything you can do to help keep the A to Z momentum going until April will be appreciated.
Thank you!

Arlee Bird

Madeleine said...

Great advice. Blogging seems quite a serious undertaking for some of us. Yes I would love more followers and more participamts in my giveaways too. I love to get comments :O)

Arlee Bird said...

Madeleine -- Followers, participants, and comments don't come on their own for the most part for most of us. Bottom line is that it takes a lot of work and reaching out into the community for us to get noticed.


Talli Roland said...

Fantastic tips, Arlee! I can't wait for the A-Z Challenge! Such a fantastic response already!

The Yard Bard said...

Holy smokes! I wonder if I can pull off being interesting six days a week?

Raquel Byrnes said...

People thought I was insane for signing up last year but I had so much fun. More importantly, I found some great bloggers I wouldn't have otherwise. I follow them still and continue to learn from them. Can't wait for this year!
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Arlee Bird said...

Talli -- Thanks for being a part of this Challenge. The roll of participants keeps growing.

Yard Bard -- Coming up with the topics is part of the Challenge! It's actually not that difficult.

Raquel -- You are so right! This year should even be better since we'll have so many other blogs to check out.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Arlee and Patricia .. great post - and you're so right .. good tips. This year I'm joining in & looking forward to April, though lots to do before that!!

I'll get myself sorted with the A-Z promotion sometime soon .. it's a while yet & a few stragglers may pick up the challenge - always good .. I know the numbers are up, up, up ...!! Congratulations on your and your fellow players promotion of this ...

Have good weekends .. cheers Hilary

The Old Silly said...

Some mighty fine tips here from a mega-blogger - thanks, Arlee, and Pat for hosting him!

Arlee Bird said...

Hilary -- We've got time for a few hundred more to sign up and anything you can do to help is welcomed.

Marvin-- Thank you for the compliment.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Thank you for hosting Lee, Patricia. Last year was a blast, and I do look forward to doing the A to Z this year too.

Arlee Bird said...

Rayna played a significant role in the 2010 challenge and has maintained contact with many of the participants.

Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

Laura Eno said...

Great post, Arlee and Patricia! I'm looking forward to the A to Z challenge.
I never realized my interests were links to like-minded people. Thanks for the info.