One of the most effective ways to build a heaping pile loyal readers for your blog is to make it feel like a community.
(Free tip: never refer to the amount of readers you have as a ‘heaping pile’)
But let’s be serious, you want a lot of readers don’t you? Not just clicks and page views- real readers. You want people who are going to read what you say, care, comment, and come back.
We bloggers are social animals.
(Free tip: Never refer to your readers as animals.)
But seriously, even the most introverted among us still needs human connection. For bloggers, feeling like a part of a community when we read a blog is especially satisfying. For some reason, people who don’t blog (I call them “normies”) usually don’t understand what the F we’re talking about when we go on about things like content marketing, affinity categories, and e-books.
“Oh, you mean like what I read on my kindle?” They say.
“Yeah. Not really, but yeah,” I reply, then politely change the subject to spare them from my next “hot blogging topic.”
So how do you get readers to care, comment, and come back?
1. Get readers to care:
Tell a story. I covered this in Tuesday’s post: How to Make Writing Fun Again.
Great content = creative content. Flex those creative writing muscles you were forced to build in high school. The one thing I remember my teachers always critiquing me on was that my writing needed more dialogue! I like to use dialogue in blog posts sometimes when I’m laying out an example of a conversation (as seen above). I also like to use Thesaurus.com for a quick word reference to make sure I’m not repeating the same words in a lot of sentences. Little things like this can really improve the entertainment value of your writing. And I don’t know about you- but I like to be entertained. I’m the typical internet user with a low attention span.
2. Get readers to comment:
You’ve told a great story, you’ve got a creative edge in your writing style and you comments section is emptier than Geoffrey Baratheon’s heart. What are you doing wrong? Why doesn’t anyone want to comment on your post and tell you what an awesome job you did?
Umm.. quick question. Did you comment on anyone else’s posts? Have you been sharing more than just your own content on social media? Have you shown any interest whatsoever in other people? The best way to make your readers feel like a part of your community is to step out of your own blog and into theirs! Leave them a comment. Tell them how much their post has helped you in some way (but only if your feedback is genuine). Ask them how they’re doing (but only if you really care). Caring about other people is a good way to get them to care about you- and a good way to be a good human.
It won’t happen overnight. It won’t happen if you’re not genuine. And it won’t happen if you don’t actually care to interact with others. Your true intentions will be revealed- even if you’re only interacting through typed words on a screen.
3. Get readers to come back:
See steps 1 and 2. Repeat over and over again. If you’re caring, attentive, and not totally self-absorbed about your blog readership, then people will see that and want to read what you have to say. That’s kind of how friendships work right? We all want our friends to care about us- but we also deeply and genuinely care about them. We want to see our friends succeed, and they want to see us succeed.
So today I’m starting a new regular column here on The Blog Loft. It will be a bi-weekly community building challenge to help you break out of your own little blogging world and start building a community around your blog.