I have a blog that targets educators.
The obvious answer is that you have to create content that has value for educators. Think about the problems they have, the questions they need answers to, and write blog posts that address these concerns and answer their questions.
The second thing you should do to grow your readership is to make a list of the top 3-5 sites where educators are going today to get their information, and start commenting on those sites. As you leave smart and relevant comments on these sites that educators are reading, it will increase the chances of them checking out YOUR blog.
Do both of these together, and you will see your readership grow pretty quickly.
Do you have a marketing budget? If so, try Facebook's power editor to create very targeted newsfeed ads to educators. Don't push a traditional ad. Rather, push great tips and other relevant information. If you write a great short piece, it will lead to click-through's to your blog. Do a similar thing with LinkedIn.
On the organic side, join LinkedIn groups where educators gather. Participate in the discussions. Become a known collaborator.
Post your blog URL any chance you get. There are a lot of free directories. Most are worthless as a directory, but the link-backs do add a little SEO value.
Find out what your educators are using for search terms. Make sure your articles are relevant to those searches.
Create a YouTube video blog - something I am getting ready to do.
Bottom line: Do not "advertise" or self-promote per se. Become known as a content expert and community collaborator and people will start following your blog.
There are lots of ways to get readership. Give me a call if you would like to discuss the options further.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Get on a consistent posting schedule. Post as often as you are able to do consistently - aim for 2-3 times per week, then see if that is sustainable for you and adjust.
- Push out every post via social media. Ping some friends privately asking them to share with their network.
- Familiarize yourself with SEO and build an SEO-friendly site. The basics will get you a long way. Read Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO to start.
- Create a place where people can sign up to your email RSS list. If you word it right, you can also email them updates. Building an email list is hugely valuable.
I hope all this helps. By doing these things, and connecting with influencers in the space, I've grown blogs to 20k+/mo no problem.
Happy to talk more if you'd like.
I would do market research on how you would position the blog. There are thousands of education blogs and making sure your voice stands out and matches the market is essential.
After positioning, you need to make a list of all the content you can produce: original blog posts, infographics, videos, pictures, lists, news commentary etc. It's essential to begin with your best piece and make sure you keep the rhytm.
Packaging (i.e. layout, headlines, design) is as important as the layout. Visitors need to know they're on a unique blog
Finally marketing. I recommend checking out the upworthy strategy, with a strong foundation on social media marketing (twitter/facebook), and as an aside, also build a good mailing-list for followers.
Let me know if this helps, would be happy to detail.
I started my blog honestonlineselling.com with zero readership about 4 or 5 years ago, now I have an active membership in the thousands. In short, I started by posting helpful content on my blog, then hanging out online with peers (other people in the same profession) and directed them to my site for the free information (when it was applicable to help them with said free information). I didn't 'sell' anything, just grew a loyal readership by providing valuable help (the key is 'valuable') for free. To learn how to do all this, I took a $7 course (it should be $700 in my opinion (it helped me tremendously because I followed it to the 't'): http://nanacast.com/vp/116351/272845/
0. Build a growth plan with a coach like me
1. No one mentioned the most important tool - email.
2. Create a regular posting schedule and stick to it
3. Split test your signup forms
4. Get referrals using something like Rafflecopter
Get an email list started with Mailchimp or Sendgrid or GetResponse. Offer these educators something of value and get them on your list. Social media followers are a good complimentary to email. Give them a reason to join your email list.
This is truly how top bloggers build audiences (some also make social media work) -- surprised it was not first on everyone's list.
People want to talk themselves -- not just read. Engage in conversations as much as possible through the comments section and encourage social tie-ins.
If you really want traffic to avalanche, consider switching gears. Why not develop a forum? Off-the-shelf software exists to build one. You can always promote your blog through the forum and vice versa.
Websites that operate on this social model get free original content and marketing from their customers. That sure beats paying for it! That includes thousands of niche forums as well as big sites like LinkedIn. Frankly, the same is true of this "Answers" section on Clarity.fm. You'll see traffic skyrocket if your content is being supplied by your visitors rather than all coming from you. They'll also feel more engaged and return more frequently.
When it comes to the educator niche, I've been meaning to develop MathTeachersForum.com and LanguageTeachersForum.com along those lines myself, actually.
Guest posting! Spend a half your time making the best content you can on your own blog. But in my experience, the best way to grow your blog is to leave it.
This means spending an hour or two finding the top twenty bloggers in your space. Make friends with them, leave comments on their posts, follow them on Twitter, retweet and FB share their content. Come up with ideas on content that would fit with their audience. Write that blog post. Then, once they're familiar with your name, email them the post and ask if they want it. If they say yes, YAY! Make sure they link back to your blog. If they say no, pitch it to someone else or post to your own blog. Either way, win win.
Happy to walk you through the process. I grew my readership to 100k readers with this strategy https://clarity.fm/marianschembari
One of the fastest ways to build your reader ship is to build a simple landing page with the key "WHY YOU SHOULD READ MY BLOG" front and present. (a video works great, even if its slides with a voice over) Using capturing tools like, email, "like my (add social profile)" then I would create a Facebook campaign targeted your audience, I would do the same on LinkedIn.
That is a simple real world example that I use for clients that are on a low budget. Let me know if you have anymore questions.