A blog is more than just a bunch of blog posts put together. A blog provides you with a method to build a bond between yourself and the people who visit your blog…your readers. Building these bonds with numerous readers results in returning visitors who may share your blog posts on their social networks and tell others about you.
Many bloggers who go viral end up going viral because of their own work and the help from others. Going at it alone won’t help your chances of standing out, going viral, and making a full-time income on the web. The readers you know well are the ones who will help make your content go viral. Building the bond between you and your readers requires the usage of multiple platforms and interaction methods. Here are nine of the ways you can strengthen the bond between you and your readers.
#1: Start Conversations On Their Social Media Posts
Some of the people you know well on Twitter (when I say well, I am referring to a reader who may be in a different continent but you have interacted before in a meaningful way) may tweet links to valuable articles on the web. Since the average Twitter user has a little under 500 followers, most Twitter users, and social media users in general, are not a part of many conversations. These people often use social media as a broadcasting platform without taking the time to respond to or start conversations.
What I have noticed is that if you start a conversation with these people in a meaningful way, they will most likely respond to you. Just repeat the process and have numerous conversations with the same people, and that bond between you and those followers will grow. Some of them may decide to interact on your social media posts and share your content. This strategy is not exclusive to Twitter because social networks were primarily created to make socializing much easier. Use social media as a broadcasting tool, but also use it for its main purpose.
#2: Thank Your Followers For Sharing Your Content
Each time someone shares one of my blog posts on a social network, I make it a point to thank that person for sharing my blog post. This is something that few people do, and it is a great way to stand out and build the bond between you and the person who shared your content. Thanking your followers works because your followers will realize that you care when they share your content and that you are deeply appreciative of them sharing your content.
Regardless of whether someone has 10 followers or 10,000 followers, I thank the person all the same. With billions of articles on the web to choose from, someone choosing to share your article on their social platform is a big honor. When I see someone sharing my content, I understand that plenty of options exist, but the person choose my content. When this thought enters my mind, even if it’s midnight and I want to go to bed, I ask myself how I could possibly sit back and not thank someone for sharing my blog post. These people will most likely reply, a conversation will ensue, and the bond will be strengthened.
#3: Reply To Their Comments
On this blog, I make it a point to reply to every comment I get. Of course, if a comment appropriately ends up in the spam folder, I won’t respond, but for the comments that relate to my blog post, I’ll respond to them. This requires more time on my part because I can’t click “Approve Comment” and go on my way. I have to take the time to formulate a response. While most of these responses take less than a minute to write, others can take 5-10 minutes.
Replying to your readers’ comments will encourage them to ask questions and interact with you more. Once they interact with you often, they will trust you more, and almost to the level of a very reliable friend.
Not only does replying to comments allow you to build the bond between you and your readers, but replying to comments also allows new bonds to begin. Some of your new readers will scroll down to the comments section and see that you reply to every comment. These readers may leave a comment to test whether you respond or not, or they may comment with a question and come back waiting for the answer.
#4: Email Your Readers
When a reader comments on your blog, once piece of information you get is the reader’s email address. An email address is very valuable because conversations that take place through email are the most meaningful conversations you can have other than the oldie but goodie face-to-face conversation.
The conversations you have with your readers are only meaningful if you email your reader in the proper manner. The best way to have the first conversation through email is to send an email with a brief introduction of yourself and thanking the person for going on your blog. You want the first interaction to be short, sweet, and to the point because people don’t have much time on their hands. We are constantly going from one thing to the next, and a five sentence email is much quicker to read than a five paragraph email.
Sending a short, sweet, and to the point email is a great way to start the conversation, but when you have someone’s email address, you also have a huge responsibility. That simple responsibility is to avoid being irresponsible with what you have. Some marketers in an attempt to grow their email lists may look at past blog comments and copy and paste the email addresses into the list. You never want to put an email address onto a list that your reader never subscribed to because that will effectively hurt the relationship between you and the reader. Some of your readers may appreciate getting the emails, but it is always good to ask the reader first before you use their email address in any way. My recommendation is to guide and hint your readers to the process (“get this free product by entering your email address on the landing page” instead of “can I put your email address on my email list so you get more emails from me”).
#5: Make Them A Part Of Your Next Blog Post Or Product Decision
Giving your readers influence in your own decisions is a powerful strategy to build the bond and get more exposure at the same time. When you make your readers a part of a big decision, and you reach a conclusion based on data from a poll or survey, you will have to entice the majority of your readers when you create your next product or write your next blog post.
Enticing the majority is important because that majority will feel as if it had a direct impact on your product or blog post. These people that form the majority of your readers will be more likely to buy your product, so you have more sales right then and there. They will also promote your product or blog post that you published to their friends because they influenced the decision. If they didn’t vote, maybe a different product or blog post would have been published instead. Get your readers involved in what you do.
#6: Shout Out Some Of Your Readers
Shouting out readers is a great way to build the bond between you and individual readers. I don’t always shout out readers, but I will retweet some of their tweets that I believe my followers could get value from. In other words, my shout outs look nothing like this:
“Shout out to my boy @username for being awesome. #ff”
My shout outs are random, and I rarely do them. Many people ask me for shout outs, but I’ll only shout out the people I believe match my audience’s interests. Just don’t get into the habit of doing too many shout outs because then people will beg you for them, and there is a big problem with asking for shout outs.
#7: Continue Showing Up
You can have a strong bond between you and your readers, but the moment you stop showing up, that bond gets weaker. If you are like most people, you look at your inbox every day expecting an email from the same person every day, and you enjoy reading this person’s emails. Then, imagine if that person suddenly stopped sending emails for an entire week. An entire month. An entire YEAR!
Most people would forget who that person was within a year. Since so many options exist on the web, it will be easy for people to find a substitute. Once the bond between you and your readers gets disconnected, your readers will look for another blogger to bond with.
Not only is it important to continue showing up in your readers’ inboxes, but it is also important to continue showing up on their social networks. I send over 100 tweets every day which makes me hard to miss. By showing up often on social media, your followers will share your content which exposes your content to more people who may be seeing it for the first time. Once you commit to a niche, never stop showing up, but when you show up, provide value. It is possible to run and take shortcuts. It is also possible to run and complete the entire workout from start to finish. There is a distinct difference between showing up and providing value each time you show up.
#8: Assess The Current Bond
Regardless of whether you get dozens of daily visitors or thousands of daily visitors to your blog, there is a bond building between you and your readers. One way to strengthen the bond is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the bond. Where are you lacking? Can those areas be improved in an efficient manner? Where are your strengths? How can you easily but effectively make those strengths stronger?
How is it possible to improve at anything if you don’t know where you currently are?
#9: Play Nice
If you wanted to make some friends at the playground, then you had to play nice. Many people gravitate towards the nice people, and that makes sense. Would you rather live with an angry person or a nice person every day?
When you build the bond between you and your readers, some of these readers will pay more attention to the way you interact with others. As you continue growing your audience, you will face criticism. Criticism is an inevitable part of life, and how you react to criticism will impact the bond between you and your readers. If you respond to criticism in a controlled manner, then your readers will respect you all the more for it. However, if you lose control when responding to critics, then the bond between you and your readers gets hurt.
Your reputation is the most important part of the bond that develops between you and your readers.
Building the bond between you and your readers is essential for success as a blogger. Strong bonds entice readers to come back to your blog, promote your content, and buy your products along the way. With a bad reputation, the entire bond will fall apart, so you must preserve your good reputation and always look for ways to strengthen it.
What are your thoughts on building a bond between you and your readers? Do you have any additional tips for building that bond? Which of these methods was your favorite? Please share your thoughts and advice below.