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The Power of Making Readers Famous

make your readers famous

The last 24 hours on ProBlogger have seen a lot of action around our social media love-in project that is currently running. Not only has there been a lot of action in the comments on that post but it’s driven up traffic and increased the numbers of emails that readers are sending.

Just now I scanned through today’s emails and here’s some of the comments (I’ll keep them anonymous as I’ve not asked permission to attribute them):

“Thanks for the Love-In – I’ve been approving new friends all day.’

‘I love that you’re using your blog to help promote us like this.’

‘Most bloggers, including me, dissuade readers from promoting themselves – this is a refreshing change!’

What strikes me today is that when you go out of your way to use your blog to not only build your own profile but that of those who read it that more often than not it is a powerful exercise.

This lesson has been doubly driven home to me over the last couple of days because on DPS over the weekend I invited readers to share their best ever photo with a link to their Flickr account, blog or other online photo sharing site. The responses have been overwhelming with over 230 images shared so far.

Once again the emails that have come from readers thanking me for giving them a little extra exposure to their work has been quite remarkable. I suspect in the simple act of dedicating a post to promoting readers I’ve created a little goodwill in the minds of 200 or so readers and in the process have made my blog a little stickier for them. I’ll be following the post up in the coming week with another post highlighting some of the images submitted to cement it even further.

So How Can You Make Your Readers Famous?

Perhaps it is a little easier to make readers famous on a blog about blogging or on a blog where many readers have an online presence in photo-sharing communities – however I think it’s something that can be done on most (if not all) blogs with a little thought and creativity.

Here’s a list of suggested ways to highlight readers that I’ve published previously here (plus a couple of bonus ones):

  • Promote a comment to a Post – sometimes readers make incredibly insightful and wise observations and tips in the comments of your blog. While they will be read by a handful of people in the comment thread – why not pull it out and use it as the basis for one of your post – highlighting the wisdom in it and the person who made the comment.
  • Write a Post about their Blog – visit the blogs of those leaving comments on your blog and pick one that you resonate with to post about. Write an ‘unpaid review’ of the blog – highlighting the best posts and what you like about it.
  • Send Your Readers to Comment on Someone Else’s Blog – write a post that links to someone else’s great blog post and instead of asking your readers what they think about it on your own blog ask them to head over and comment on it on the other person’s blog. Shutting down the comments in your own post and saying that you’ve left a comment on their blog already can help make this more effective.
  • Give Readers an Opportunity to Promote Themselves – run a project or write a post that gives readers an opportunity to promote themselves in some way. Last week on the spur of the moment at DPS I wrote a post asking readers – do you have a photoblog?‘ As I wrote the post I thought I’d add a line inviting readers to share a link to their photoblogs. I didn’t think much of it until the next morning when I woke up to 250 comments on the post and a whole heap of emails thanking me for giving readers the opportunity to highlight their work.
  • Reader of the WeekSingForHim once left a comment here at ProBlogger talking how how she runs a weekly post called Readers of the Week where she highlights some of her readers and how they’ve interacted with her blog.
  • Run a Reader Poll and Highlight Answers in a followup post – have a post one weekend where you pose a question to your readers. Then in the week that follows do a followup post where you add some of your own thoughts on the question and pull out some of the best comments left by readers. Alternatively you could survey your twitter followers on a topic relevant to your blog and then highlight their responses as a blog post (example of this).
  • Invite Guest Posts – often ‘guest posting’ is talked about solely as a way to get free content for your blog. While this is nice – one of the things I love about it most is that it puts the microphone in the hand of someone else and lets someone who would normally be constrained by the comments section have a little more power and influence on the direction of your community for a moment in time. This can have a real impact upon the person doing the post – but also upon your readership as they see someone like themselves featured on your blog.

How do you highlight and grow the profiles of readers?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Brad says:

    This is a really interesting list. I have always liked weekly wrap-ups even when I have not been very good about making them. Not that I am starting to hit my stride again with 40 or 50 weekly posts across my flagship blogs I realize i am going to have a week wrap-up just to stay organized. I really like adding the reader of the week to it.

  2. I completely believe in this tactic. I want to give every one of my readers the best opportunity to be successful in their field. Otherwise why am I writing my wealth blog if it is not to help people.
    A great way I have found to promote readers is to activate the “Comment Luv” wordpress plugin which gives a line at the bottom of each comment saying “so-and-so’s last post is ……………” which gives a link to their last post.
    I also have a “Top Commentors” section on the sidebar of my blog to give those who are frequent commentors a little extra link juice.
    I am also about to start featuring commentors in articles when they say something good and making sure I give a link to their site.

    One of the great ideas I had to promote my blog and my readers blogs was to offer them some free advertising (my 125×125 banner ads on my sidebar) if they allow me to do a guest post on thier blog. This way they win by getting traffic from me plus a great original guest post and I will by the exposure I get from the guest post I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten.

    So like you said when it comes to promoting your readers do everything you can to promote them and then it will more than come back to you. :)

  3. Raag Vamdatt says:

    Hi,

    Currently, I employ one method: I have readers asking questions through comments or emails.

    At times, the question provokes me to think deeper, and write a full article about it.

    In such cases, I always include an “Inspired by user xyz” line in the introduction to the article.

  4. Travis says:

    It’s sort of amusing how much the blogging frenzy has been fueled by bloggers reading / commenting on other blogs merely to promote their own blog. Sometimes you wonder whether certain, popular blogs are popular by virtue of the content – or more by virtue of the promotional efforts / marketing ingenuity of the blogger.

  5. Jess says:

    I try and acknowledge my readers but it is pretty tough when they don’t leave comments. My site offers a lot of free patterns which takes me a lot of work to organise and make – but I don’t get many comments even though the traffic is slowly increasing. Even when I took your advice to do a competition – I’ve only had 9 comments to win the prize. I think most people are coming to get the free patterns and are moving on quickly I’ve had a few good days with lots of traffic surges- I think someone added my article to stumble upon and another time I had a traffic increase from tapuz, but still then no one left any comments. The worst thing is I have a co-responding website with handcrafted beads and I have sold not one thing since I opened the shop up 4 months ago – I’m talking zilch, nada, nothing…I was hoping the blog might help the business but nope. And adsense I’ve made $2.75. It really feels so disconcerting, I think I am going to give adsense the flick soon and try and get my own sponsorship. As for my readers….I try and acknowledge them but I don’t really know who they are if they don’t leave any comments….I’ve tried asking them questions…but I feel like I’m talking to myself sometimes. When should I pack it in I wonder???
    sorry about being a drag…(again)
    jess

  6. Scott McIntyre says:

    I recently made a comment on Liz Strauss’ successful-blog.com, which was about connecting with non-blogging readers of blogs.

    Being an avid reader of blogs, yet not yet having a blog of my own, I felt I could contribute value to the conversation.

    As a result, Liz asked me to contribute a series of guest posts in which I discuss my perspective on the issue.

    You can read the second post at: http://www.successful-blog.com/1/targeting-the-offline-customer-do-you-blog-for-non-bloggers/

    It’s kind of ironic me now being a blogger without a blog!

  7. Nice list of ideas, Darren. I’m only 9 months into blogging and am still building a community. Thus far what I have done to promote some of my commentators is to reference their sites for examples in posts I write.

    For example, I did an article on Google ReadAir for reading your RSS feeds and posted a few screen shots to show people how it looks. I highlighted my most active commentator by showing people how to add her feed to ReadAir.

    She came back and thanked me for the exposure.

  8. I have been enjoying helping my readers out for some time. Every week I run a feature I call the “Weekly Buzz” where I spotlight one of my reader’s blogs and offer them a prize that they can use to promote their site.

    So far it has had a tremendous response from my readers. It has been good for my blog as well, as most “winners” are grateful enough to provide a reciprocal link or even an entire blog post about my feature.

    Anyone is welcome to join. Check out BuzzMyBlog.com if you are interested.

  9. SuperCrushed says:

    This is a great method. We currently do the same thing by offering free SuperCrushed t-shirts to the best comment of the day on some of our posts. We do this maybe once every few days, but the readers really love it.

  10. Todd says:

    I tried this approach recently by asking some beginner bloggers to write guest posts for me. They were very excited about it and spread the word to their friends and family. I think it’s a great approach!

  11. H.E.Eigler says:

    This is something I do quite often with my blog. From the beginning I wanted it to be a place to showcase and support creative moms. One of my favorite posts was taken from comments from a giveaway. In order for people to enter my giveaway I asked that they leave a creative tip in comments. I later turned those comments into a post itself.

    http://maternalspark.blogspot.com/2008/07/time-saving-organization-and.html

    I loved some of your other suggestions too and I already have ideas as to how to work them into new posts. Thanks again for a great post!

  12. Great tips, social media is all about engagement, what better way than to highlight your readers!

    Maria Reyes-McDavis
    Marketing Masters Guide

  13. Brilliant insights – my blog gives my readers an edge in various online marketing/business issues (that’s my WIIFM to read it)…but proactively soliciting promoting of readers – really a Very Good Thing indeed.

    The wheels…they are a-turning.

    Barbara

  14. Phil Long says:

    Hi,
    Totally agree with the sentiments of others – it’s great to see an opportunity provided for bloggers to build their networks with other bloggers; and reinforces the sentiment of your previous post concerning cross-promotion between bloggers benefiting everybody as a whole.
    I am new to blogging on an active basis, and this exercise has given me the opportunity to benefit from following other more experienced bloggers.

    Thanks!

    regards,
    Phil.

  15. Grant says:

    Thanks for the love-In. I have been acepting new friends since i woke up this morning and even more now im back from work, its kinda stopping me from blogging. oh the irony!

  16. I give prizes to my readers and commenters every few months, drawing from materials I am asked to review. If it does not make them feel famous, hopefully they feel valued. Every so often, I conduct polls too.

  17. Trisha says:

    Yes, thanks for the love-in!

    I need to come up with some good ideas for helping out my readers also!

  18. That’s what writing and sharing here in the blog-o-sphere is all about! There’s no great feeling than to know that the blog you’re frequenting cares about who’s reading.

  19. Syed Balkhi says:

    This is definately a change that you have brought in Darren. I am trying to do the same on my blog but ofcourse a smaller version.

    http://www.balkhis.com/webmaster-world/networking-here-at-balkhis-link-love-time/

    You have given out some great tips about how to make your reader famous and I will be implying some of that on Balkhis.

    See you later on Plurk ;)

  20. Wild Bill says:

    Another great way to help make your readers famous is to interview them. I do a podcast and I often have readers, commenters, and other bloggers on my show. I also do interview posts occasionally. Its a great way to spread the love.

  21. Reginald says:

    How much time should I expect to invest using your recommended strategy?

  22. Lightening says:

    I nearly didn’t participate in the social media “love-in” because I thought so many people would jump in I’d get lost in the crowd. When I did decide to jump in, I was quite a way down the list and yet have still had people following me on Twitter etc.

    Darren, I find you a refreshing example of “give to get”. You don’t see it often enough in this world – even the blogging world which I think used to be better at this (perhaps the amount of competition now has frightened people off?).

    I think this is something I need to do more on my blogs. I do have a weekly wrap-up post but would like to do more.

  23. Darren Rowse says:

    Reginald – it’s something that you can put a lot of time into or a little. For example the ‘love-in’ here at ProBlogger at the moment is going to take a couple of days full time work to do (I’m paying someone to do it) – but many of the tactics above are quick things that take little energy.

  24. amirulcyber says:

    darren now realise that you are great make money online idol.keep good writing.thanks..

  25. Hi Daren,

    I love to promote new bloggers so in January (08) I began a weekly series named “New Blog Of The Week” (NBOTW). I showcase a new blog I’ve found (often in my comment section or someone elses), write a post about them (and their blog), and then encourage the others in my community to check them out.

    It’s my way of paying it forward and giving new bloggers a chance. Because it’s easy to get discouraged in the beginning, by showcasing them, their own community gets an early boost, which hopefully inspires them to continue on.

    I also link to posts my readers have written.

  26. Jess says:

    Sorry about my previous comment. It was late last night and I was feeling kind of down…I’ve been thinking – maybe as long as my traffic is increasing I don’t really need to worry about people leaving comments. If I’m offering something valuable and useful I’m pretty sure people will keep coming back. I think each blog must work really differently…I just don’t think the women coming to my blog want to leave comments, because they are mainly wanting to find free patterns and to move on.(I know that’s what I do when I want free patterns). I’ve noticed that blogs that tend to be more emotional and personal usually have heaps of comments….I just don’t think I want to take that path. Also, controversial blogs have high comments, and there is nothing much controversial about my blog. Do you know Darren…what blog topics are the most popular? Is it different for men and women?
    anyway…sorry to sound so dismal last night.

    jess

  27. Hey Darren, I am trying out your suggestion right now on a post on my blog at http://tinyurl.com/6lmtyr. Hopefully the experiment will turn out well. Thanks for the great idea!

  28. Kara says:

    One awesome difference I’ve noticed about this blog is that it inspires me not only to comment but to also read what the other commenters have had to say-everyone really contributes to the topic and I learn just as much after finishing the post then I did from the content itself.

  29. Dave Shaw says:

    Hello, I’m wondering how I can do this for my readers, but I don’t think I have enough! My subscription base is just 50 at the moment with 100-200 visits a day usually. I was thinking of a commenting competition…but I’m worried no one will comment anyway! What do you think? Is there a minimum base you need to do this?

  30. Cosmixxx says:

    Thank you so much for the information, I reaaly enjoy reading your articles. This blog rocks!

  31. gout says:

    all about reader…very creative…thanks for useful post…. I always wait for your new next post….

  32. Lenin Nair says:

    Darren,

    The social media love is over? I was away for a while and couldn’t submit any new comment. You are doing a great work there. Keep going.

    Lenin

  33. blogversary says:

    I am glad you are paying some to help with the love in thing. I do a little extra work for a website and it is nice to have a stipend.

  34. Angel Cuala says:

    A very nice way to pay back our readers. Unfortunately, some bloggers are self-centered that they think their readers are mere followers or fans per se.

    That is why I am glad that finally, my Top Commenters widget is now working.

    Since I am into parenting tips, I post an invitation to a blog carnival on my Happy Family Matters blog and my readers felt rewarded when I post their entries on my blog and summarize them. Now, I am still the host and I am happy they are still willing to join.

  35. Chip says:

    I’m keeping my faithful “Top Commentators” widget on my blog. It helps a little, you know. I’ll think, however, of some of your methods.

  36. Amy Guth says:

    I’m cracking up at this funny coincidence. I just, just announced a contest on my blog that somewhat utilizes this very idea with my readership and Twitter followers.

  37. Maikeru says:

    This is what Social Media is about…

    “Scratch my back and I will scratch you too…”

    Traditional media techniques to perk up subscription (letters to the editor, etc.) REALLY work online too…

    KUDOS to the b5 Media Team…

    Keep the good posts coming…

    Praying for my “tipping point” ;)

  38. Hi Darren!

    I, too, run a Reader Profile each week. Not only is it wonderful for the reader to be featured and thanked for their support, but it helps me get to know just who is reading, for demographic purposes.

    I’d like to add that rather than a simple ‘reader of the week’, I give the reader a chance to tell us all about themselves and include a question that they’d like feedback on… it’s a great way for the other readers to be involved, too! :)

    Basically, it looks like this:
    http://www.designformankind.com/search/label/reader%20profiles.

  39. Thanks Darren.

    I have rarely had comments before I focused some things in my blog, but now that I do, I ran right back to your blog today to reassure myself that I was making my readers feel great before I published a post.

    Thanks again