More and more people are turning to blogging as means of growing their business or personal image. It’s easy to start, accessible by the general public, and, best of all, it can be free (although the option to pay is there). All you really need is an Internet connection and something to say or promote.

However, there are simple techniques to get your message seen by larger groups of people, in shorter amounts of time. Moreover, there are ways you can encourage would-be readers to pay close attention, and be personally affected by your words. Getting to this stage is desirable, as it’s where money can potentially trickle in. Here are some tips for better blogging for your business:

Step one: know your demographic, and write for it.

It’s seriously important to figure out your intended audience. This can be deduced by knowing your niche: will you write about adventure travel, for example, or cooking? Think about who travels for adventure, and who cooks. Will you be writing for predominantly men or women? Will they be young or middle-aged? Will they be professionals, stay-at-home parents, singles, or religious? Being able to answer these questions is necessary for producing content that resonates with the largest amount of readers.

Step two: don’t write unless you have something to say.

Let’s be clear: this is an arguable point. Plenty of bloggers swear by producing consistent, scheduled content, even if they’re not feeling the inspiration. It depends on how you feel about your readers: do you prefer quality or quantity? You’ll attract bigger numbers by posting consistently, but likely keep loyal followers coming back if they like your writing. As a reader, it’s hard to enjoy someone’s material if it seems forced or mechanical.

The latter approach takes longer to build website traffic, but almost guarantees you a loyal and lasting following.

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Step three: respond to emails, post comments, and social media. (Also, use social media).

Once you’ve gained some followers, interacting with them is essential. This not only makes readers feel valued, but also makes you appear more personable, and not like just another faceless drone behind a computer screen. When people leave comments on something you’ve written (even if they’re negative), respond. When people take the time to write you emails, respond. When people reach out via social media, respond.

Also, remember social media is your friend: spread your message far and wide by utilising Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and others – eventually, potential readers will take notice.

Step four: go personal.

This is the hardest step to follow, because it means exposing yourself and feeling vulnerable. However, writing something emotional, eccentric, or daring puts you above mediocrity. Many bloggers I follow got their best responses on articles they admitted were tough to write for personal reasons, or because they weren’t certain people would agree with the message. Mediocrity is the enemy of blogging; there are just so many others out there trying to say the same things as you. So stand out – be bold. You might be rewarded for your courage.