A few things I learned while taking Media Bistro's Social Media Boot Camp.
1. Write good content
The first step to getting readers for your blog is to write entertaining, interesting and useful content, and to publish it on a regular schedule. You might commit to 3x per week for a year, like Chris Guillabeau did. Before going live with his blog, Guillabeau wrote 3 months posts in advance and kept them in reserve, so he would never miss a publishing day.
This blog post gives tips on how to write quality content fast:
2. Find influencers in your field
Finding the people who wield influence in your field is one of the hardest and most important parts of a 'social media marketing' program. Here are some tips:
- Sign up for eCairn. Use eCairn to find the people in the "magic middle," people who have influence but are not yet 'stars' in the field. (It is possible to start conversations with people in the magic middle, but stars are very difficult to contact.) The eCairn software is unique in this field. It will identify hundreds of influencers, and show you which ones are in the "magic middle." eCairn can also produce a map showing how influencers connect. See the eCairn website for more information.
- Read twitter lists for your field, and see who keeps showing up on them.
- Do a Google search for top blogs, forums, listservs and authorities in your field. Subscribe and read them for a while and see who is respected and influential.
- Read the top magazines in your field, see who writes articles.
- Search for annual conventions, seminars and workshops in your field, see who is on the speakers lists.
- Use Google Wonder Wheel to find the keywords for your field, and then do searches on the keywords. (If you can't get Wonder Wheel to work, turn off Google Instant search in Google Preferences. If WW still doesn't work, turn off your browser's extensions and run the browser in 'safe' mode.)
- Search Facebook, and look for people in your field who have a both fans and influence.
This blog post The Poor Man's Guide To Finding Influencers gives more tips.
3. Start conversations with influencers
The next step is to start conversations with the bloggers and influencers who share your passions. The basic strategy on starting conversations is to listen first. The best conversationalists are the best listeners.
A few notes on starting conversations. When you begin to respond, respond thoughtfully. Seek to add value to the conversation and try to be helpful. It also helps to learn a few basic rules about the etiquette of blogging before you start responding.
Here are a few ways to start conversations with people who share your passions and interests:
- "Like" them on facebook and leave thoughtful comments on their FB posts.
- Sign up for their blog's RSS feeds and leave thoughtful comments on their blog posts.
- Follow them on twitter, occasionally retweet and occasionally respond thoughtfully to their tweets.
- Eventually offer to write guest posts on their blogs.
Murray Newlands is one of the best writers on this subject. Here's a collection of his Best Posts.
Hope this helps. I am struggling with this myself