One of the most important skills you need to acquire as a B2B influencer is to create a following. Subscribers who feel that your content gives them value and who are exposed to it on a regular basis.
What Is An Audience?
We’re not just talking about attracting visitors to your blog. We’re talking about attracting people who choose to become subscribers. The definition of a subscriber is one who has given you his or her email address. In the broad sense of the term, we could also have included followers on your social channels. But the only audience that you own, which has the highest value, is your own email list of people who have opted in and given you permission to email them every time you have new, relevant content to share with them.
Who You Must Build A Contact List Of Subscribers
Your target audience consumes content from a wide range of digital channels. Much of our impulsive content consumption is channeled through our social feeds. Unless you’re Huffington Post or the New York Times, your target audience is not checking back to your site regularly to see if you’ve posted something new. That doesn’t mean they’re not interested in your content, though. What you need to do is to serve it to them in a regular email.
Yes, you should of course also post it on social media, but nothing beats email when it comes to reach. Recent studies show that organic visibility on Facebook is ridiculously low: Only 6% of your followers see the content you’re posting there. The remaining 94 percent, you have to pay for.
Email is free. When you send quality content to your subscribers on a regular basis, it builds your brand and makes you a trusted source. At the same time, it is an effective strategy for generating and nurturing leads.
How To Build An Audience From Scratch
Let’s say you’re starting from scratch. You’ve created a company blog and started to fill it with useful, entertaining and well-written quality content. But you have no subscribers. Here’s my best advice (given as a metaphor): First you build the dam. Then you lead the water:
1. Building The Dam
In our metaphor, the blog is a dam that is built to keep the water (your audience) in one place. For the dam to work, certain building blocks must be in place. The design needs to create a great user experience, the blog must be responsive (look good on smartphones and tablets) and the content must be high quality. Another important (and often forgotten) building block is the mechanism that ensures that everyone who visits your blog registers as a subscriber. The most effective way of doing this is offering them something of value in exchange for their email address.
2. Lead The Water
The dam is built, the mechanism is ready. All you have to do now is lead the water (traffic) in. You can do this in many ways. The slowest method is to keep creating content on a consistent basis and wait for Google’s algorithms to kick in and give you decent rankings and organic traffic. That’s like waiting for the dam to fill up with rainwater. The organic growth might take months or years. Fortunately, there are ways of speeding up the process. Maybe you have an ERP or CRM system with email addresses of customers? In that case, you can send them an email where you introduce them to your new blog. You can also invest in a native advertising campaign. With a carefully planned message, you might see traffic pouring in and that your contact list grows quickly.
How Do You Keep Your Audience?
The answer is easy: Deliver quality. Consistently. Over time. Mediocre, half-hearted content just won’t cut it. It’ll only lead to subscribers fleeing you like the plague, and it’ll weaken your brand.