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For years, now, I have been suffering from depression. I am going to therapy and I am also visiting a self-help group on a regular basis. But my mental health issues seem to be so complex that I would like to reveal my story anonymously to the public. Therefore, I thought about establishing a WordPress blog or something like that. Here, however, my problem arises.

I don’t know where I can find readers for that blog who would be willing to read my posts and comment on them so that I can get a lot more input via the Internet than just by going to therapy and self-help groups. Where can I find a group of people who are interested in listening and commenting to these texts? What are their characteristics?

Of course, I could open up a Facebook page and post every link to my latest blog post there, but how can I build a “fan base” there? To whom shall I talk to on Facebook or similar platforms?

This “target group” seems to be very tricky to find …

What are your thoughts on that?

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Most of the marketing for content is by word of mouth. You build an audience by writing good content that people want to read. Slowly, the natural audience for that content will find it and will spread the word, slowly building an audience for you.

You will notice that advertizing of books is rare, for instance. Movies are a little different as they can only stay in a theatre so long and so need to build an audience more quickly, but your blog posts will stay available for people to find and read for as long as your blog stays online. I still get hits on my blog for pages that were published years ago.

As the audience for your blog grows organically, search engines also begin to take note, bringing you new readers who did a search for your topic. At first you are not going to rank much one search engines at all, but if you write good stuff and build an audience, they will start to find you as well.

To a certain extent you can speed up this process with good SEO (search engine optimization practices) but the best SEO is good content that people like.

Of course, you do need to do something you seed your audience, to get the first few readers who will start the process of word of mouth recommendation. Taking advantage of whatever social media channels you have available to you will let you do that.

But the real key is to be good. And the key to being good is to write things that people are interested in reading and write them well. Whenever people write about their own experience, whether it be with illness or anything else, there is the temptation to focus on the things you want to say, the things that it is cathartic for you to express, but these may not be the things that your potential audience is interested in reading about. Write for an audience, and you will find an audience.

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I Imagine it is the same dynamics that gets followers to any content.

Usually there has not been published as much on depression as on cats or cooking, because of a tendency to keep mental health in the closet, so to speak. This is an advantage for you as a writer.

I live in Germany, and I used to follow a blog on depression. It had been published by a guy who was a comedian and - as far as I remember - presented his stories on stage as well. Eventually, he published a book which sold quite well.

I loved his texts for his funny and at the same time authentic style. He was able to share his dark moments and a humorous perspective on it in the next paragraph. Some time ago, he closed his blog because he wanted to move on and felt there was nothing new he could contribute.

I found his blog on the online edition of a weekly news magazine in my country. They published a weekly article.

His blog was mentioned on numerous self-help-sites on the net.

Commenters often mentioned how they knew what he was writing about but never had the words to express themselves, and thanked him; this built his followership.

His book is recommended by mental-health professionals as a good read both for professionals, people suffering from it, and their families.

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