People always ask me how I’ve built up such a huge audience for my blogs.
Part of my secret sauce? I’ve been blogging for well over a decade now.
But not everyone has been blogging for years, and I get that. Some of you may have started a blog years ago but abandoned it.
I can relate. There were several times when I almost quit blogging. I was scared it wouldn’t pan out for me. And it does take time. But I stuck with it, and I’m so happy I did.
And here’s the best part: It’s not too late for you to start blogging.
I know what you’re thinking: “There are a million blogs in my niche. Why should I even try to compete with them?”
There are two main reasons. First, you bring something unique to the table. No one else has experienced everything you have. And besides, your blog should be different from your competition’s, not a carbon copy.
Second, start seeing competition as a good thing. Competition means the niche is popular and profitable. You can actually leverage that competition to get more views on your blog.
If you fell off the blogging wagon a while back, you can (and should!) jump back on. Here’s how to get (re)started.
1. Pick up where you left off
Here’s something that will relieve you: You don’t have to start from scratch.
If your old blog is still up, pay it a visit. It’s probably a barren wasteland, but you can salvage some useful scraps from it.
If you want to blog in the same niche you did before, I highly recommend repurposing content. It’s one of the easiest and most efficient ways to get extra mileage out of existing material.
If you still have access to any old material, pull it out and dust it off. Chances are it’s still relevant to your niche. Or maybe it just needs a few edits to make it shine again.
Assuming you remember (or can retrieve) your login information, you can use this blog to restart if you want. If you still own the domain name (and if you want to blog in the same niche), there’s no reason not to reuse your old blog. Edit your content, give it a redesign, and you’ll be off to the races.
But if you do opt for a shiny new blog, you can simply transfer your content over.
Either way, you’ll take advantage of what you did in the past to make the future easier.
2. Make a big comeback
You want to re-enter the blogosphere with a bang.
There are two ways you can do this.
The first approach is to jump right back into the game and start blogging regularly. If you’ve got a lot of motivation and ideas, this could be a good approach for you.
For example, you could follow in Seth Godin’s footsteps and start blogging every day.
Of course, your posts should be longer. But as an example of consistency, Seth’s blog stands head and shoulders above the rest.
But you don’t have to blog every day-you just have to blog consistently. Otherwise, there’s no point.
Decide how many posts you’ll publish per week, and get to it. You absolutely have to stick to your schedule if you want to come back on a strong note.
The second approach-and the one I wished I’d taken when I started blogging-is to stockpile your ideas before you blog. This takes a little more time, but it gives you a little more flexibility.
If you choose this, you’ll need to do two things:
First, get to writing! You’ll want to have as much content as possible when you officially start up your blog again. There’s no hard-and-fast guideline here, but about 3-4 weeks of content will give you a huge advantage.
Like I said, I wish I had taken this approach when I started blogging. There were many days when I was racking my brain for ideas, and a lot of them turned out to be crap.
But if you have the motivation to get out there and start right now, do it! The most important thing is to make a plan and stick to it.
3. Build (or rebuild) your audience
You may have heard this line repurposed from the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”
But that’s not true for blogging.
You have to build your blog and your audience.
You might have built an audience in the past. If you have, don’t be shy about leveraging that. If you know who read your blog, drop them a line about your return. You can also go through your old blog’s comments to see who was checking out your content.
And if you have an email list, that’s even better. Send out an email saying “I’m back!” More than likely, those subscribers will be glad to flock to your new blog.
In fact, getting your audience involved is one of the best things you can do at this point. Ask for feedback, and use that to improve your new blog.
The blog team at Unbounce did exactly this. They took a 2-week hiatus and asked readers to send in their thoughts:
Even a simple offer like this goes a long way in your readers’ minds. So, if you’ve still got a list floating around, use it!
But what happens if you have no audience at all?
It’s time to build one.
I’ll describe a couple of my favorite methods here, but I highly recommend you check out Quick Sprout’s Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience.
First, get a social media game plan. Lots of bloggers start out by relying on SEO, but the truth is that good SEO takes years to develop. Driving traffic through social media will help you out in the short run.
You can either buy ads or build your social profiles from the ground up. If you have the resources, I recommend a combination of both. Don’t rely 100% on ads-get involved with the community and share value with others. That’s how you’ll get people to visit your site in droves.
Second, use outreach. Outreach happens when you contact people asking them to share, promote, or look at your posts.
Reach out to your own network initially. Since you have personal connections, you can be somewhat informal here.
Next, reach out to the big names in your field-the influencers. But here’s the catch: In order to catch the attention of influencers, you’ll need top-notch content.
One of my favorite techniques for creating top-notch content is the Skyscraper Technique. Basically, you take an existing blog post, improve upon it, and send it to influencers. (You can read more about this on Brian Dean’s blog Backlinko.)
When you’re contacting influencers, you’ll need a solid email script. Here’s a good one to use:
Personalize this, and send it to your target influencers. If you’ve put some hard work into your post to make it an ultimate resource, you’ll likely get some responses.
4. Do your research (again)
You might have done lots of research when you started blogging. Now, you need to do more research.
You want to be at the forefront of your niche. You need to know the latest trends and ideas so you don’t fall behind.
Most importantly, take some time to size up your competition. What’s changed over the years? What types of content are your competitors posting and why?
Use this information to find your angle. You have a few options here:
- Make an existing angle better
- Add your personal experience/opinion/stories
- Combine two angles to make something new (e.g., 7 Valuable Marketing Lessons Pokémon Go Has Taught Us)
Whatever you decide, make sure your angle stands out in some way. You either need to be a super high-quality or a super unique resource (ideally, you should aim to be both).
5. Build your email list
There’s a ton of truth behind the statement “it’s all in the list.”
That’s because an email list is hands-down the best way to grow and promote your blog.
Earlier, I mentioned that if you still have an email list from an old blog, you should use it. But you can’t stop there. You have to build your list every day.
List building is a long-term process, so don’t get discouraged early on. If you keep at it, you will see the results.
The best way to start is to optimize your site for capturing emails. Yes, that means popups! You might hate them, but they work.
You can have a full-screen popup like the one Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You To Be Rich uses:
Or you can have a scrollbox like the one we use on Crazy Egg:
Or you can use one of my favorite tools, Hello Bar:
There are a lot of options, so look around and choose carefully.
You should also consider creating a fantastic lead magnet to get more subscribers.
But I have to emphasize something here: a good lead magnet isn’t enough. It should be so good that your subscribers would be shocked to see you giving it away.
Even if you gave up all hopes of creating a successful blog, it’s not too late.
In fact, blogging is easier than ever. You’ll still need to invest some serious time and money, but there are more resources available now than ever before.
If you make a plan and stick to it, you can build a huge audience like I did.
You want to know one of my secrets? I’m nobody special.
You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, right, Mr. Huge Blogger.” But it’s true. All I did was follow some simple rules that anyone can follow and use to succeed, and that includes you.
Now, it took me years to really succeed with blogging. But I didn’t do everything right when I started out. In fact, I spent years recovering from some rookie mistakes I made.
But you don’t have to fall into the same trap. You can get off to a strong start, do things the right way, and find blogging success a lot sooner.
So, if your blog is lying around collecting dust, pick it up and brush it off. You might be surprised at the results.
Are you going to start blogging again? Or for the first time?