Today’s post comes from Jackie Dishner, the author of Backroads & Byways of Arizona and a freelancer on design, lifestyle, travel and self-help for national magazines and online publications. Find her inspirational posts at BIKE WITH JACKIE.
For the fifth year in a row, I’m joining Michelle in her WordCount Blogathon this May.
Because of the Blogathon, I’ve seen my readership shoot up and my traffic soar. At the time of my very first Blogathon, I was unsure about what I was doing. I had no clue how to bring traffic to the blog. I had no readership. Today, I see more than 5,000 hits per month. The numbers have increased after each Blogathon, so I have no doubt that it helps.
I have gained a greater sense of what I’m trying to accomplish with the blog. I’ve learned the benefits of posting graphics and so much more. Each year, I gain a new technical skill I didn’t know I could do or know I might need to do. I’ve even sold copies of my travel guide because of the visibility gained.
The Blogathon never ceases to be something I look forward to schedule on my calendar. I cannot say no. I would not say no.
If you’re on the fence, here are eight reasons why you, too, should sign up for this blogging challenge:
1. Get readers fast. Participating in the Blogathon that first year (2008) introduced me to the thrill of having automatic readers pounding on my home page for more posts. It was like, “Oh, I’ve got fans!”
2. Cultivate comments. Who doesn’t love a person who agrees with the words you took the time to jot down? I mean, seriously, you wrote that one post, and someone loved it? Woo-hoo! Love when that happens. I also love comments that challenge my thinking, people who have something more to add to the dialogue, including the ones who disagree. You get all of that when you have readers who leave comments; it’s sort of a requirement to participate. But don’t worry. Participants like to share and learn real fast how to pace themselves.
3. Find other people’s posts. Through the comments left on your blog, you get links to what your readers are writing about. Then you get to become their readers. A successful Blogathon has to have that give and take, or it fails its purpose. Blogging isn’t just about you. The whole point is dialogue that leads to relationship building.
4. Increase traffic. When readers comment on your blog, and you visit their blogs and post a comment — with the link to your latest blog post attached — you become more visible. When you become more visible, people you don’t even know, who aren’t even participating in the Blogathon, find you. Even minimal participation can help increase your traffic. That’s winning!
5. Build a platform. Increasing blog traffic helps build your platform for a book, for that show you have on Blog Talk Radio, for the e-newsletter you’re developing, for the column you’re planning to pitch. Your platform is all about promotion. It’s marketing without the direct selling, which can be much more effective.
6. Target your market. The Blogathon provides a way to discern who your long-term readers are, the ones who might sign up for your workshops, read your books, take your classes, or buy your articles. You can use this time as if it were your very own focus group to find out who your market is and what they want from you.
7. Sharpen your message. As you become more acquainted with your target market and what it wants, you’ll likely sharpen your message to fit their needs and avoid efforts that won’t pay off.
8. Create new enthusiasm for your blog. You may waste some time – you’re going to wind up reading blogs that won’t pertain to your needs but they’ll interest you, anyway. But ultimately, the Blogathon generates energy and enthusiasm. Suddenly, you have readers, comments, and you’re reading more blogs than ever! It’s fun.
What benefits have you gotten from participating in a blogging challenge? Please respond by leaving a comment.