Recently, there has been chatter about the death of blogging. Rest assured: Blogging is alive and well. Blogging is one of the most worthwhile and cost-effective ways to expand your reach.

Before we get down and dirty with the steps you can take to grow your audience, let’s talk about why blogging is worth the effort:

  • Boosts SEO: Good blogging will help to increase your SEO. There are specific guidelines and helpful tips to boost SEO, but that is a story for another day. For now, just remember to create great content and be original and authentic in your blog posts.
  • Drives traffic: Great blogging can help you to drive traffic to your website, or landing page, and ultimately help you to capture viable leads.
  • Garners trust: If you consistently deliver quality content, chances are high that you can become a trusted adviser in your area of expertise. With so many sources of information available, trusted advisers are used to filter out all of the noise on the Internet and become a “one-stop shop” for information on a particular topic.
  • Expands reach: As your blog following grows, you can communicate with an extended network of individuals. In real estate, you can never be connected to too many people.

Now for the fun part. Here you are, an expert in one real estate-related area. Maybe you know everything there is to know about a particular city; perhaps you are a first-time homebuyer superstar, a luxury property pro or a staging guru. The possibilities are limitless and up to you. In any event, here are some tips to help you grow your audience without spending a dime:

1. Know your audience.

First, determine your audience. It sounds so simple you might be tempted to skip this step, but do not fall into that trap. You must know for whom you are writing. One of the most common steps a writer can fall into is writing for himself or herself. Always remember that’s not the case, and keep your intended audience in mind at all times. Keep this in mind when creating content and in determining the tone and voice you use. You can have the best blog post in the world, but if your voice doesn’t resonate with the intended audience, you’ll have them clicking away in no time flat.

2. Create great content.

Again, this sounds super easy but is another point where many bloggers miss the mark. Creating great content does not mean trying to squeeze a sales pitch into every post. Do not go down that dark path. Remember the 80:20 rule: 80 percent of the time, your content should in no way, shape or form be sales-related. The other 20 percent of the time, have fun, but don’t go off the deep end. Creating great, relevant content is one of the main keys to success. This is a great way to grow your blog organically because people love to share content they find useful. Once your audience starts to share your content, your reach can expand exponentially.

3. Guest posts.

Guest posts are great because they can work in favor of both parties. Find another blogger whose audience you would like to get in front of and drop them a line. If they are a blogger, their contact info should be easy to find. Connect with them via email or social media, and don’t forget to make it personal. Tell them you like their work, and explain that you think exchanging guest posts could be mutually beneficial. This trade can expand the reach of your blog by getting in front of a brand-new audience. It can also show your audience that you have credibility and connections within your industry and the blogging community. (Learn more about contributing to Inman.)

4. Ad exchanges.

Ads — they’re so expensive, and they are never guaranteed to work. Here is an alternative. Much like the guest post, find a blogger whose audience you want to get in front of and offer an ad exchange: an advertisement for your blog on their site in exchange for an advertisement for their blog on your site.

5. Linkups.

Every day of the week, different linkups are available. Visit Google and type in “(day of the week) linkup” and see what you can find. There are linkups for almost every topic under the sun. Once you’ve found relevant linkups, actively participate on a regular basis.

6. Become active (or more active) with online communities.

There are tons of industry- and topic-specific online communities in which you can become involved. Search for LinkedIn groups, message boards, virtual communities and forums. The important part here is that you actively participate. That doesn’t mean shamelessly self-promoting — it means having real conversations and creating true connections. Don’t spread yourself too thin — just choose a few communities and participate regularly.

7. Never neglect your readers.

If someone comments on your blog post, take the time to answer. You never know where the conversation might lead.

8. Keep it fresh.

Offer all sorts of varied content such as FAQs, resource lists, evergreen content, time-sensitive stories, how-to guides, checklists, tutorials and so on. Throw in a video to jazz it up. Remember, blog posts don’t have to be long, boring stories.

As you reflect upon these tips, you might be wondering how you are going to squeeze all of them into your already busy schedule. Don’t worry. Just do what you can and whatever you do, make sure you do well. Don’t put pressure on yourself to see results overnight either. Growing your audience is a long-term project that takes consistent efforts over time. If you keep these tips in mind and keep at it, you will see that blogging is well worth the effort.

Nikki Ilchert is a marketing specialist at Link High Technologies and an independent marketing and communications consultant. You can follow her on Twitter (@nikkiilchert) and add her on LinkedIn.

Email Nikki Ilchert.

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