Growing a Loyal Reader Community
Which do you want? A lot of people reading your blog, "read 'n go" style, or a few, but loyal people, reading your blog? This post will cover how you can do the latter.
Quality Beats Quantity
First and foremost, I have some bad news and good news. The bad news is that I'm no longer 21. The good news is that I'm now 22. Or maybe vice versa. I dunno.
Now that that's out of the way, we're back to blogging tips, and today's tip was inspired by Day 5 in Darren Rowse's 31 Days to Building a Better Blog.
Far too often, people focus on traffic traffic traffic, and they never focus on the quality of traffic. Quantity of traffic is important, of course, but quality is equally, if not more, important.
If we think of our blogs as a brick and mortar business, then yes--you'll want to place your store on the corner of a high trafficked intersection, or perhaps in a high-trafficked shopping plaza. Stores that do not do this often go out of business.
However, would you want to put a Coldstone Creamery next to a gym? Or an adult bookstore next to a daycare? Of course not. But you probably would want to put a regular bookstore next to a school, or Coldstone's next to the school; perhaps a nutrition store would get a lot of quality traffic next to a gym.
The above examples illustrate one type of measure of quality: source quality. However, in this blog post, we'll discuss loyalty quality.
Going back to the brick and mortar metaphor, when a person goes to a store, there may be flyers saying, "Like us on Facebook for great deals!" or perhaps they may analyze your buying style and send you deals that cater specifically to what you tend to buy at certain times of the year (Target actually knew that a woman was pregnant before she did, because of buyer's analysis, that's pretty scary stuff).
In either case, you want to bring the customer back into your store because the more times they come, the more likely they'll buy from you. One quantitative measure for loyalty may be considered repeat traffic, but loyal readers also recommend your blog to other people in their networks, so repeat traffic is actually only one aspect of loyalty.
So bringing the story back to your blog: you want readers to come back for more. This can be done with your content (writing awesome content that people fall in love with, or opening people's minds, or being humourous; many ways to generate loyalty with your content) or, you can do this with your comments, which is what we'll discuss in this blog post.
The concept is quite simple really. Ready for it?
Send a personal email to your commenters!
This is awesome for several reasons:
- It shows to the reader that you care
- You can generate a conversation with the reader, and from that conversation you can get an idea for a follow-up blog post (which is great for this tip!)
- You can see if there was any confusion in that blog post, and cater the information from the post to their own learning style
- You can build a relationship!
- If the person has a lot of insight in terms of your blog post, then consider inviting them to do a guest blog post. Those are always win-win!
In today's totally un-personal society, where almost everything is automated, and talking to a real human being over the phone or internet is almost as difficult as talking to the President of the United States.
Some people, including myself, have a "Thank Me Later" plugin. This is a good plugin in its own right, but it does not beat personal communication. How long does it take to send a blog commenter a short email? Probably a minute. I can do it from my iPad 2 in a minute, with the WordPress Plugin and a Zaggfolio!
So just take 15-20 minutes every day to both reply to the comment on your blog (it increases your comment count and also lets readers see that you actually respond to comments, it looks good on a blog in my opinion) and also to shoot an email to your commenters. If you don't recognize the name, then start getting to know the reader. Ask them questions about themselves, what they may be struggling with in terms of your blog subject, and get to know them genuinely and sincerely.
If you do recognize the name, or heck, if you know the person personally, then a thank-you comment every once in a while wouldn't hurt, but don't make it seem like a chore!
Sheed, what if I don't have any comments?
Then you lose. Sorry. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
What you wanna do in that case is find ten blog posts that relate to your niche, every day, read them, and comment on them. You can see some tips on what to do and what not to do in this post. But basically, be a human: don't just say "Great post!" Add value to the author, and the blog. Stand out and be yourself.
Your homework: Email a blog reader!
- If you do not already have comments on your blog, comment on a few other blogs regularly and they will reciprocate. Don't "expect" them to do so though, as if they owe it to you. They don't.
- Respond to the comment in your blog, but also email the blog reader personally. Every blog comment requires an email address, so no excuses there.
- Do this regularly, and you'll start seeing "repeat customers" over and over again.
Get your homework done!
Your turn: What do you think of this tip?
Share your thoughts in the comments!
In peace, love, and prosperity,
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