This is a question that's plagued me since the beginning of my career, so I wanted to share what I've found, so I condensed knowledge from a few different sources for you here.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you begin looking for your readers.
-What does my ideal reader like?
-Where do they spend their time on the internet?
-How can I get my message in front of them?
First, breaking down what to expect out of your ideal reader helps you to decipher what things they'll be interested in.
You can then piece together a sketch of where they might hang out on the internet like Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter (yes, these are the obvious ones, but we can also narrow down which pages they're likely to follow, which in turn will help us to better target them.)
Next, we need to figure out how to nail a compelling message that will turn "No's" into "Yes's," (and we're going to talk about that in another article, but for now let's focus on our readers.)
Now, the internet is vast and frankly, too much ground for us to cover. Not to mention that the main channels are already swamped with ads. How do we get noticed in this myriad of fish?
1. Be Authentic. People are already wary of internet scams. Be Yourself and be completely open and honest with your readers about who you are, what you do, and what you want to do for them.
2. Target Your Message. Different platforms have different mediums that work best. For instance, YouTube is a video platform. It's not likely anyone on YouTube is looking to read. Pinterest works best with professional looking Pins, pretty, clean, and concise pins targeting your audience.
3. Call to Action. You need to ask these people who see your content to come back to your Subscription Form so you can collect their addresses. Keep your audience on an Email List so that you have full access to your audience at all times and can control the message you're sending.
4. Keep Creating Engaging Content. If people signed up for your newsletter, they want to hear more from you. Keep in mind though that your content must be easy to read and top-notch quality so your readers will want to read your updates.
-Now let's check out some useful platforms.
Medium - This is a website where you can write articles and link Keywords or Tags to get traffic. Always put a call to action at the end of your article with a link back to your Subscription Form so that readers who enjoyed your article can sign up.
YouTube - Obviously a video platform. Engage your readers with compelling content. Even just making a video of yourself talking about your book (or reviewing other books), your projects, your goals, etc. will get views. Optimize your videos using Keywords in your description, Catchy Titles, and putting the title in the thumbnail of your video. (If you need more help, Sunny Lenarduzzi is a Pro at YouTube. Subscribe to her email list for tips.)
Pinterest - Surprising as it is, Pinterest can actually drive traffic to your website when used properly. Like I mentioned above, using pretty, professional, concise graphics can grab attention. You can create your own for free on Canva.com and link to your Subscription Form. Describe your Pins using Keywords and Tags that your ideal audience will be searching for. (Jenna Kutcher or Melyssa Griffin are great people to follow for more advice on Pinterest.)
Your Website - You need a place for your audience to come and find information about you. You control the content, the design, all of it, and you can be truly authentic. Write blog posts regularly, people trust consistency. (I fail at this obviously.) You'll need a Subscription Form directly on your website.
You might have to go a bit outside your comfort zone in order to grow your audience.
-Here are some quicker ways to grow audience by doing a bit more Outreach:
Podcasts- These are kinda fun and easy to do, and are usually done in less than an hour. Plus, you get to talk about your book! Or other things that you love and are excited to share. Potential readers get to hear your voice and know you on a semi-personal level. You can start one yourself or leverage someone else's audience by guest-interviewing.
Guest Posting- On the same note as podcasts, you can guest post for other bloggers and get the attention of their readers. The goal is to get fresh, new readers to sign up for your email lists and check out your content.
Joint Venture Webinars- Again, you're basically borrowing another audience. Your email list gets exposed to a new, helpful expert and in turn, you get to grow your audience by showing your expertise to the other person's audience.
(Always remember to let the listeners/readers know where they can find out more about you by leaving a concise Call to Action. Send them to your Subscription Form. And always be courteous to the Host.)
-Different sources have discussed methods of the Subscription Form presentation and the three most effective methods are these:
Subscription Form on first page so it's the first thing your guest sees when they arrive. This is how major companies do it because it compels action from the beginning. Convertkit, Wix, Walmart, etc.
20 Second Modal gives your guest a little time to interact with your content before the Call to Action pops up. If they like your content, they'll subscribe.
Exit Intent Modal again so your guest can interact with content, but without the interruption. It pops up when the guest's mouse shifts over the tabs at the top and catches their attention then.
Subscription Form in the header on all pages so that your guest can easily sign up on their own terms when they're ready.
Twitter and Facebook can be good for one on one conversations, but not so much for reaching a lot of people at once. Keep that in mind when using those platforms.
One more quick tip: asking everyone you know to be on your Email List is Bryan Harris's big tip to getting your first 100 subscribers. It's a great place to start.
Remember to build a strategy before you jump in. Pick the methods you'd most like to use and then plan out how you're going to accomplish your goals.
I'm still looking for new and exciting answers all the time. There are tons of fun ways you can find people who will like you and your content.