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Pay Special Attention to a Reader [Day 22: 31DBBB]

Today your task in the 31 Days to Build a Better blog is to Make a Reader Famous.

The Task – Choose one (or more than one) of your current readers and do something out of the blue that acknowledges them, shows them that you see them as valuable and highlights them to your other readers.

Why This is Important

While many blog tips going around focus upon techniques to help make bloggers and their blogs more famous and well known one of the paradoxical keys to blogging success is that many bloggers who build great blogs actually go out of their way to make their readers more famous and well known.

When you create space on your blog to highlight readers in some way the impact can be quite profound (particularly when you do it regularly). Two groups of people tend to be impacted:

1. Those you make famous benefit - the first and most obvious people to benefit from your efforts are those who you highlight. Having someone go out of their way to talk about you on their blog certainly makes an impression on them. It gives them a feeling of being valuable, gives a sense of belonging to and participation in the blog and can help them to achieve their own goals if you send other readers to learn more about them on their own site/blog etc.

2. Other Readers are Impacted – one of the lessons I learned early in blogging is that when you publicly value one reader others often feel valued also. It shows you have an interest in and that you value all of your readers even when you just highlight a few.

How to Make Readers Famous

There are many ways to highlight your readers on your blog. Let me share a few that I’ve done over the years.

  • Promote a comment to a Post - sometimes readers make 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. For example – one of the things I’ve done on DPS is give readers a chance to show off their photography. One time I did this was asking them ‘do you have a photoblog?‘ where I asked readers to share a link to their photoblog. Hundreds of readers left links to their blogs and many emailed me later to thank me for sending them traffic (another similar example was when i asked readers to share their best ever shot).
  • Reader of the Week – I’ve seen a few blogs do this over the years – they simply choose one reader each week to highlight in a post.
  • Projects/Memes/Competitions – long term readers of ProBlogger will be familiar with the ‘group writing projects’ that I run here every 6 months or so where I invite readers to all write posts on their blogs and then share the link with each other. These projects always generate a lot of traffic to other blogs. Similarly you can run competitions, Blog Carnivals, memes etc which give readers an opportunity to highlight their own online presence/blog/twitter account etc. (another example of this is my social media love-in that I ran last year inviting readers to tell us what social media accounts they had). Hundreds of people participated and those that did got a lot of followers on twitter and new contacts on other networks.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Don’t Have Readers to Make Famous?

Of course this exercise is easier for blogs that have been around for a while and that have developed a readership – those just starting out will find it tougher (there is only so many times you can make your mother, wife or best friend famous on your blog without looking a little desperate).

If you’re a new blogger or don’t have readers leaving comments yet to help you know who they are – try making another blogger famous today by writing a post that links up to them and highlights them to your readers.

Make Someone Famous

The blogosphere was built on principles of promoting others, conversation, celebrating diversity, open source knowledge etc. One of the things that first attracted me to blogging was the way that bloggers celebrated their readers and other bloggers – today attempt to recapture some of that ethos by making others famous today on your blog.

Share How You Do it

In the spirit of this post – I invite you to share how you make your readers famous in comments below. Share a link to the place you’re doing it so we can learn from you! Also stop by the forums thread for today to share your progress.

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

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. Rick Vaughn says:

    That is certainly thinking outside box. Hope you make me famous Darren!

  2. Carolyn says:

    I have a recurring feature on my blog called “Whose blog am I cooking from?” I pick a couple of blogs and cook a recipe or two. I add my own pictures and anything I did to change the recipe. I always link back to their blog.

  3. Becki says:

    For our list assignment I wrote a post called 5 Things New Leaders Should Know and received a comment from Rob Shore listing 5 more things. I promoted that comment to a post.

  4. mohan says:

    happy birthday Dareen,
    i know i am late to birthday wish

  5. Hexum says:

    I am really glad you used this post as part of your “31 Days To Build A Better Blog” because without an audience, or readers, blogs and bloggers would simply be obsolete.

    Current bloggers and future bloggers wouldn’t have job. Well, not one that pays anyway.

    Although the size of my audience is considerably much smaller than yours, I value every single visitor to my blog and I try to show the visitors that comment that I appreciate it.

    I use two WordPress plugins to accomplish this. The first plugin is CommentLuv which shows the title of that persons latest post on their blog right under their comment which also links directly to that post.

    The second plugin is called “Top Commentators” which displays the top 5 commentators according to how many comments they have left. This is shown at the very top of my blog and is updated weekly.

    I liked these plugins so much that I mentioned them as “must haves” for a successful WordPress blog in my latest post.

  6. Doc says:

    Funny you posted this today….because I decided to make such a big deal out of a reader’s sons birthday….and happy birthday to you too btw Darren.

    Thanks for stopping by to wish Jake a happy b-day!

    http://www.kitchentablemedicine.com/autism-jakes-story/

  7. SquiggleMum says:

    I’ve decided to start featuring some Real Aussie Mums on my blog. I’m starting with a reader who has been my best commenter, and I’ll go from there. I love the way blogs evolve and grow!

  8. I did not have my blog up and running with the 31 day thing started but I have been following along as I got it up in the last week or so.

    But I have been really trying to apply what I am hearing here and from the ProBlogger book as I was getting it going.

    I did some commenting on some other blogs I have watched and today I got my first comment so I could apply this tip to comment back and thank him for the comments.

  9. Luca says:

    funny, I’ve done that on Sunday, I gave one of my reader an Opportunity to Promote herself by interviewing her and posting the interview on my blog.
    She told me that she has doubled the number of visits, that day! :-)

  10. Wow. It’s a good idea. we need to value are readers.

  11. I think replying to comments is quite important. You don’t need to reply just like that, but if someone asks you a question. That shows you value them.

    Next up is quoting readers in posts. That can be done two ways, one is by writing a follow up post and the other by updating the post where the reader commented.

  12. laadlee says:

    What a great post. I usually keep doing these things but its really nice to see a compiled list. keep up the good work.

  13. I totally agree with you .. people flock to blogs which make them ffel important and if we can acknowledge their contribution to the blog via comments,guest post etc it will leave an indellible mark in the readers mind and will get you a loyal reader for life.

  14. Hi Darren,
    Wow, todays challenge has made tons of ideas popping up in my mind!! Thank you. Praising readers, making contests etc… So many possibilities!

    I have today made a blog post to praise one of my readers!

    A post about how she inspired me to use Google Keyword Tool for creating a blog post title!

    Feel free to read it at:
    http://www.clausdjensen.com/google-keyword-tool.html/

    Thank you, amd happy birthday, Darren!!

    Greetings,
    Claus D Jensen :-D

  15. Vilmis says:

    @ Paul: you can check http://www.statcounter.com. It has “Exit Links” statistic and you will see where your readers exited from your blog.

  16. Jez says:

    I think this is one of the single biggest things I have learnt from reading problogger – pay attention to your readers. I have always strived to respond to every comment and query personally which is great for engaging your first readers.

    In time those readers will spread the word and you begin that organic growth that can be impossible to do on your own.

    I actually posted some comments from one of my readers into a main post (before reading this page I might add!) and the article got picked up by some of the biggest tech blogs around!

    He now show up in Google for some well known blogs in my niche :)

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=otacorb+n120&btnG=Google+Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=

  17. Great ideas here. I posted a Reader Profile yesterday, a Q&A with a fan of one of our site’s blogs. He seemed real eager to participate, and I’ve already seen it posted on his facebook page:)

    Here it is:

    http://blogs.tampabay.com/talk/2009/04/drew_smith.html

  18. Hi Darren,
    This is another great exercise which I’ve employed several times in the past, highlighting a comment or a fellow blogger’s post. I’ll be launching a new guest writer series later this week as well. Here are several examples:

    http://tinyurl.com/caobyn
    (I highlighted an article from another blog and wrote a ‘reverse’ article)
    http://tinyurl.com/csy466
    (I highlighted an inspiring comment made by a reader on a previous post and came up with a series based on that inspiration)
    http://tinyurl.com/c9pep6
    (promoting a well-written article on the same subject by a fellow blogger)

    Cheers,
    Keith

  19. LaTonya says:

    These are great ideas! Simple enough, and makes me wonder, why didn’t I think of that. Cardiogirl sends her readers to others blogs to comment. This challenge has been very eye opening. Thanks!

  20. Robby G says:

    I said screw it yesterday and found some time to do this task. I’ve been busy with exams and essays lately but this task just sparked something in great in me… Well here’s the link mates: http://www.shiteilike.com/how-to-break-up/

    Enjoy!

  21. I have been beating the bushes finding guests to write for my blog. I’m trying to do one guest-oriented post each week. I’m doing a “day in the life” series. So far I have an article about an air traffic controller, there will be an article about a chef on Thursday, and I have loose commitments from a navy pilot and a writer – and I’m trying to get an MLB player.

    I have also had some friend write articles from time to time. One of them is actually on board with a weekly sports column now.

  22. Not too long ago, a reader and prime source of inspiration began mentioning me in her social media videos. I was so flattered that I didn’t know what to do with myself. So, I did what I had to do, and I did it immediately: I thanked her (publicly and with exclamations) and returned the favor. I highlighted her videos, which have been an incredible help, and talked about her incredibly giving policy on sharing information in my blog.
    @JohniLouise is a social media consultant who shares oodles of tips and tricks for everything from Twitter to YouTube to time management. She is really wonderful, and you should all read more about her (and learn a thing or two) by reading my blog:
    http://moniquenelson.wordpress.com/2009/04/22/twitter-backgrounds-how-to-make-your-own/

  23. Maddie Grant says:

    Ooh lucky me – just did this one with my recent New Blogs of Note post.

  24. fat mum slim says:

    I do this too, but was doing it more because I am nosey and like getting to know readers.

    I do an interview once a week on readers. It’s nice to get to know the people behind the name.

    http://fatmumslim.blogspot.com

    Good to see I’m on the right track. x

  25. elizof says:

    Thank you Darren for yet another challenging assignment! This wasn’t easy as most of my readers are incognito visitors. I’d love to meet them someday ;-)
    Meanwhile, I chose to create a new blog on “12 Tips for a stress-free job interview” by breathing life into an old one.
    http://bit.ly/fm7gk
    I gave kudos to Seth Godin and linked a topic-related blog/vlog he wrote. I also gave kudos to you, Darren, for suggesting the topic and planting the seed in my head. I guess you and Seth are it… Naturally, I’d love to use comments and feedback from my fellow bloggers and I will continue to reach out and do same for them.
    Cheers!

  26. elizof says:

    Oops! Come to think of it, I did invite a reader to write a post on her experience as a job hunter… Okay, Kudos to Rose C too!

  27. Alison says:

    Had to share my story with you.

    After I got home from work yesterday, I received a HUGE shock by someone making me famous (so to speak). A local real estate agent (in Toronto ON) released a mass mailing referring thier clients (past and future) to my blog. You can read more about it here: http://newlifeasnewwife.blogspot.com/2009/04/welcome-julie-kinnears-people.html

    How strange and exciting it that!!

  28. Andi says:

    Day 19, 22 and 23 were taken care of by one post – that is efficiency! calling out readers is also done a lot through those perpetual blogging awards too, the represent extra work, but it gives/brings goodwill.

    Here’s my post: http://budurl.com/xark

  29. interaction and discussion is interesting but sometimes spend more time

  30. I was falling behind on my daily assignments, so I combined a few into one post. When I have more time, I will go back and apply these lessons individually.

    One of my readers is Andi [http://misadventures-with-andi.blogspot.com/]. She is also now my blogging buddy. I wrote about her review of The Soloist on my movie blog. That covers Day #22.

    My Call to Action-Day #23: At the end of the post, I tell my readers about 2 upcoming series and them to subcribe to email updates.

    Let me know what you think. http://justchickflicks.com/2009/04/29/613/

  31. Hi,
    I just want to share, that I wrote a post where i praised one of my readers for giving me a very useful advice, that I emediately made use of..
    And among the comments to this post, there came new comments with great useful information!! :-D

    So I really recommend that you do what this days challenge tell us to: Pay attention to/praise one or more of your readers!

    If you want to read my post, go to:
    http://www.clausdjensen.com/google-keyword-tool.html/

    Greetings,
    Claus D Jensen

  32. Irèn Nooren says:

    One of the reasons I blog is to give an extra service to my clients {whom also read my blog}.

    Each time a design job has finished I place a post about the company, the results of the job I’ve done and a link to their website.

  33. Sudeep says:

    Hey ,
    Its been long time this post , but as my blog is new i waited for the right time .I do write on health , so few days ago i wrote on swine flu were on of our problogger named Greg Nemer friend email about this condition in Mexico and needing more articles to help them. Thus comes the article on Swine flu and Ayurveda in my blog .
    http://e-swastya.com
    I am sure he was happy and he did refer my blog on his .
    Thanks for your help Darren

  34. Readers are indeed quite helpful for the so called traffic of your blog or site, but this is just one of the many contributions readers can give us bloggers. Sometimes when they give out comments saying that they find the blog interesting, isn’t it nice to read that someone appreciates you? Or when they give you a feedback on the changes you gave your site? Apart from that, what keeps your site going is not only the articles that you write, but also the readers that pay heed to it. After all, what is the use of your site if no one reads it?

    Valuing one or more reader is indeed a step that you should try to undertake. Unbeknownst to you, you are nurturing a strong bond and helping each other out especially if you try to feature each other on each other’s site.

  35. Beth Norman says:

    Hi Darren:

    This was, once again, a very informative post. I started a Reader of the Week immediately, and didn’t anticipate such a great response. It never occured to me that it would attract visitors; I just wanted to hold the one I selected to highlight.

    Over the year I have subscribed, I have written numerous letters, numerous comments on your posts, but I always end up throwing them out because I didn’t want to be laughed at because of the nature of my rubberstamping blog. I was terrified of being classified as a spammer (I think it might be your biggest pet peeve). I am not writing to bring people to my blog. Frankly, no one would be interested. I’m a rubber stamper, not a techie.

    Although the nature of my blog is small peanuts, you still drive home points for me and those changes drove up my stats. Hey, I only have one blinkie and try to remind myself not to put on any more–LOL.

    This morning I was browsing the net and noticed an article referring to your blog and book (I bought it up immediately and read it cover to cover twice)–and it was in a polymar clay blog.

    I’m writing to say thank you for doing what you do. Even though I’m a stamper–we still have the same needs as your readers have–it’s just in a different way.

    The next time you hit the nail on the head, I just might get up enough nerve to jump in, but please don’t think I’m a spammer.

  36. I started Bloggy Love, where I write about a blog I love once a week. I’m feeling pretty cool right now for being ahead of the game. (;

    I’d like to ask a few bloggers to guest post for my personal blog and for my blog about depression, but what are the “rules” for asking someone? Is it okay to ask someone whose blog you’ve read and commented on a few times?

  37. Maggie says:

    Well Danny and I already know problogger is famous but we were so impressed by a recent USTREAM made by Darren that we wanted to summarize the major points that hit home for us from the presentation, so we wrote Blogging Tips From A Passionate Blogger.  It’s worth catching up on Darren’s USTREAMS regardless if you have time – you get to see him in person.  You will see that this days task is so in tune with Darren’s passions of Community and Communication.