Content is king! You already know that’s true, but is it everything? Could you keep on pumping out great content and still build an audience of loyal readers?
Perhaps you could build up an audience of readers…but would they be loyal? And would they buy from you?
My belief is that your readers want more from you than just hard-hitting, practical content. They want connection, personality, passion, consistency, authority, design, fame and, most importantly, trust.
Are you giving those things to them? If not, you may be limiting the growth of your blog.
When you publish a post on your blog, how long does it take you to respond to comments? One minute? One day? One week?
Listen, those people who wrote those comments are reaching out. They are taking time out of their busy days to share their thoughts. In other words, they are giving you their attention.
That’s good currency to have. So, how are you spending it? Are you letting it waste away by not responding to it? Or are you investing in that attention by engaging your reader?
Ask anyone who has had success building a successful blog, and he’ll tell you that part of his success involved grinding it out in the comments section.
Even though it was time consuming, he took the time to respond to every comment.
But she didn’t just acknowledge the comment. She interacted with the readers by leaving thought-provoking comments and questions.
In the end, your goal is to evolve the conversation into a relationship.
No matter what your personal feelings are about Wikipedia, most articles on it provide useful and interesting information. Wikipedia is a great source of content.
But that’s it.
Unless you look under the hood, you’ll never know who wrote it. That’s because there is no personality. In other words, good content without personality won’t help you build an audience.
You need to inject your personality in what you do. This is one of the reasons why on my blog you’ll find articles like the ROI of fashion or partying.
I’m not afraid to be myself. Your readers need you to be yourself too.
Forgive me for picking on Wikipedia again, but reading an article on Wikipedia does not expose you to someone who has passion.
That’s part of its policy: you have to remain clear-headed, objective and passionless.
You don’t have to do that on your blog. You need to show that you are enthusiastic about your topic. When you talk about your topic, your readers need to know you love what you do.
Feel free to just be yourself. If something angers you, blog about it. If you are excited about the release of a new gadget, rave on about it like it were the best thing since sliced bread.
By the way, don’t try to please everyone. You can’t. In fact, if you’re not making enemies, then you are probably doing it all wrong.
Your readers want you to pick a blogging schedule and stick to it. But how often should you post on your blog? There are arguments for both sides. Let’s explore them real quick.
- You can blog about current topics – if you have a frequent blogging schedule, e.g., every day, you can stay on top of current news. Take Steve Jobs’ death, for example. Everyone who was blogging daily pretty much got a post out within 24 hours. Not so with those who post less frequently. This is not to say that you can’t break your schedule for something that’s really out of the ordinary.
- Blogging daily allows you to produce fresh content – however, your quality can also suffer when you blog daily. Even though most bloggers are natural-born writers, eventually you’ll start to repeat yourself or produce weak content, which pollutes the web.
- Blogging daily takes a lot of time – and then you have to consider what you are going to do when you go on vacation…if and when you ever do.
- Blogging daily will make the search engines happy – they get in a habit of crawling your site daily. That will mean more traffic for you in the long run.
- Blogging daily can overload your readers – even though all that content will drive more traffic to your site, it’s bound to overwhelm those who read your content in an RSS reader.
There are pros and cons to blogging daily. There are pros and cons to blogging once a week or less. You have to decide which approach will work for you and your audience. And then you need to stick to that decision.
When I say authority, I don’t mean you need a PhD. You just have to be an expert on a topic. And the cool thing about blogging is that you can fake it until you make it.
Pick a topic that interests you and start to study it. When I started my first business, I didn’t know very much about SEO or Internet marketing. But I taught myself about it over time, and I got better at it.
And yes, a lot of the content that you develop and publish will not be that great at first. It will be scattered and weak, but that’s okay because the process of learning to blog well is like a baby learning how to walk. A baby is going to wobble and fall at first - there is just no other way.
Over time, though, you will develop a very strong and clear voice on your topic. You’ll be able to blog confidently about it because you will have turned yourself into an authority. And eventually people will start writing nice things about you.
Your readers are waiting for you to lead them. What are you waiting for?
Of course, your readers demand that your blog look sharp and professional. But there are some other things they demand that are easy to ignore.
Here are some things that you cannot ignore:
- Fonts and sizes – do you make it hard for your readers by making your font size too small? What about the contrast between the text and the background: is it easy to read?
- Links – make links obvious by making them colored, preferably blue, and underlined. Make it obvious to see which links were visited and which were not. Write links that explain clearly what kind of content they connect to.
- Flash - the only thing that flash does is pretty much annoy people. Don’t use it, and your readers will love you.
- Write content for the web – this means short, scannable and clear.
- Internal search - does your on-site search engine provide relevant results? If not, then you might be frustrating your readers. Here’s a quick guide that will help you improve your onsite search.
Believe it or not, your blog readers want you to be famous. Why? If you are famous, they hope to get famous too.
If you’re not famous, then your first job is to identify the influencers you need to connect with. Try to build relationships with these influencers.
In addition to that, find out whom they listen to and respect, what they are interested in, what they need, where they hang out and what you can do for them. You will find that instead of having to impress a ton of people, you only need to identify a small number of people who will then influence the rest.
In fact, you only need to find ten people to impress. And persuading those influencers can mean finding intermediate influencers, friends of friends as it were.
The number one thing your blogging audience wants from you is confidence in you. If you don’t have that, then by extension your information is not going to be trusted.
How do you build trust? Simple:
- Don’t tell lies - and if you are caught, fess up real quick. Dragging it out will only make matters worse.
- Deliver on all your promises – don’t make promises unless you can keep them.
- Try to understand your readers’ needs first – never stop learning who your readers are and what they want or need.
- Never forget to say “thank you” – tell your readers constantly how grateful you are for their participation in your community.
- Write clearly and openly – try to avoid using fancy language to seem smart. Use words that are easy to understand.
- Give credit where credit is due – if someone shared an idea or a link with you, don’t use it without mentioning where it came from.
- Admit when you are wrong – nobody likes an arrogant person who thinks he or she is always right.
The first step to great blogging is great content. After that, if you want to continue to grow and build an audience of loyal readers, you need to give them 8 things I mentioned above.
What other things should bloggers be giving their readers?