The question I seem to be getting over and over is…
How did you get so many subscribers?
The answer is simple—I value subscribers more than any other measure of blog success, such as page views or raw traffic. Subscribers are the life blood of a successful blog in my opinion, and frankly, I wish I had more of them.
Okay, that may be a bit vague.
So here are 10 specific strategies you can begin to implement today and start getting more blog subscribers right away.
1. Make it easy and obvious
As I’ve said before in more detail, make your subscription options prominent, offer an email alternative to RSS, and ask for the subscription, preferably at the bottom of each post.
2. Be laser focused
Make sure you are primarily focusing on a particular topic, and the more specialized that topic is, the better you’ll do. It’s also key to step back and evaluate whether there are enough prospective readers in your chosen niche. It’s better to be brutally honest with yourself than to toil away and end up disappointed.
3. Offer a bribe
Relax, it’s nothing illegal. It’s an ethical bribe, in the form of a free ebook, report, e-course or audio series. Typically this only works with email subscriptions tied to autoresponders, because you want to condition delivery of the bonus on subscription.
But here’s a nifty way to do it with RSS:
If you have a WordPress blog, use the free Feedvertising plugin to link to the download page for your free gift. Since Feedvertising links only show up in the feed (and not in the post), only feed subscribers will see the link and have access to the bonus.
4. Use viral ebooks
This is a spin on the ethical bribe strategy, but instead you let other people give away your PDF ebook or even bundle it for sale with other products. The PDF in turn promotes your blog. Check out this post to see how I bundled my free Viral Copy report with a book that spent several days at the top of the Amazon bestseller list.
5. Dedicated subscription landing page
Create a page that is dedicated to nothing more than obtaining a subscription, and drive traffic to it from your blog, AdWords, or really any other source you want. You can even put it on a unique URL, and add in the ethical bribe strategy to increase signups. For more information on doing this with AdWords, read this article, and then this one.
6. Become a guest blogger
Contributing content to someone else’s blog may seem crazy, but it’s a solid strategy to gain exposure for your own blog and build your subscriber base. Just make it very clear to the blog owner that you require a very brief byline at the end of the post, with a link back to your site. And make sure it’s original content, not something recycled off of your blog.
7. Start a podcast
Start a related podcast on your subject matter, and get it into iTunes and listed in the various podcasting directories. Mention your blog in every episode and the benefits of subscribing, and try to land some interviews with prominent players in your niche. Not only will you be opening up a new promotional channel, you’re also creating bonus content that can be reused as part of your ethical bribe campaign for new subscribers.
8. Post in forums
A tried and true technique since the earliest days of the Internet is to be a helpful, proactive participant in forums that are important in your niche. People will notice that you are offering yourself up to others, and will be more inclined to see what else you have to offer with your blog.
This is perhaps the most overlooked strategy for gaining traffic and subscribers. Don’t badger other bloggers for links, because it rarely works anymore. Find a way to help them with something, and then eventually work that initial graciousness into a business relationship and even friendship. There are real people behind these blogs, and they respond to good will just like people do offline.
10. Cross-promotional deals
Here’s another cool way to make use of the Feedvertising plugin for WordPress.
Find a blogger that publishes related, but non-competitive content. Work out a deal where you both promote each other in your RSS feeds, using Feedvertising. If one blog has way more subscribers than the other, work out a ratio deal. Since Feedvertising allows you to create up to six rotating links, the smaller blog would promote the other blog continuously, while the larger blog would reserve one slot for the smaller blog, and use the other slots for other cross-promotion deals, affiliate links, or sponsor ads.
So there you have it, with one additional word of caution.
All of the above presupposes that you are producing the best content you can. If you honestly cannot say that you are doing your best work content-wise, start there. But afterward, using some or all of the above will definitely increase your subscriber count.
Oh yeah… This is the part I ask you to sign up for free Copyblogger updates via RSS or email.
About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Twitter.