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The Best Blog Growth Strategy is to Say Thank You … a Lot!

This guest post is by Danny Iny of firepolemarketing.com.

Everyone is looking for the best strategy for growing a blog. Is it SEO? PPC? CPV? Guest posting? Twitter? Facebook? CommentLuv? Networking? Attending conferences? Writing great content?

The list goes on—I could fill a page if I had to, and I’ll bet that you could, too.

Every one of these strategies will work for some people, and some of these strategies will work for most people.

But there’s only one strategy that I know of that will work for everyone, and unlike all the other strategies, I didn’t learn it from other bloggers or internet marketing gurus.

I learned it from my parents.

Saying thank you

Image copyright TrudiDesign - Fotolia.com

The “strategy” to which I’m referring is just the common courtesy that we all know and expect. When someone does something nice for you, say two simple words: “thank you.”

Why “thank you” is such an effective strategy

There are actually two reasons why it is very smart strategy to say “thank you” as frequently and creatively as you can.

You see, when you thank someone in a meaningful, heart-felt way, you are communicating that their words and actions have had a positive impact on your life. In their own way, they have helped you to achieve what you have achieved, and become what you have become.

This does two very important things:

  1. It makes them feel useful. We all long to feel useful, whether we have five followers or 500,000. We want to know that our work and actions have meaning and value to others, and this is even more true for people who have been successful, and for whom money no longer needs to be the primary or sole driver. By saying “thank you,” you are telling someone that they have made a difference to you, and that will make them feel good.
  2. It makes them feel invested. When we contribute to something, we care more about how things turn out. By thanking someone for the positive influence and impact that they have had on your life and career, you will make them feel a little more invested in the outcome of your endeavors—and more likely to want to support you as you work towards your goals in the future.

So in short, by thanking people, you make them feel good, and make them want to help you a little bit more in the future. Plus, it’s just basic courtesy.

So … what should you thank people for?

Don’t wait for the grand gestures

Don’t pester people for big favors, and wait for grand gestures that will never arrive. Instead, look at where you are today, and take careful stock of the people who have helped you to get to where you are.

Their help could be big, like the teachers and mentors that have guided you along the way, or it could be smaller, like the blogger whose example you are following, or the author of an article that gave you an insight into what you should be doing in order to succeed.

Here are just a few of the things that you could thank people for:

  • reading your blog, and leaving a comment
  • subscribing to your list
  • linking to your content
  • tweeting about something you wrote
  • writing something that inspired you
  • teaching you how to do something that you didn’t know before
  • making time to answer your question when they didn’t have to
  • being courteous and helpful in their interactions with you
  • introducing you to someone or something of value.

This is just a start, but I think it gets the point across. The masters of social media are experts at thanking people for all of these things, and lots more—in fact, for many of them, it is the cornerstone of their strategy for building an engaged audience!

Say it in a way that counts

The way you actually go about expressing your gratitude matters. Remember, you want to communicate that a positive impact has been made in your life, and if that’s the case, then don’t you owe it to them to put some thought and heart into it?

For starters, the worst way to say thank you is with a generic comment to the effect of “Great post!”  A comment like that doesn’t communicate why you thought it was great. What impact did it actually have on you? What did you learn?

If you want to convey authentic gratitude, then these are important things to express.

The other reason why a “great post” comment doesn’t cut it is that your “great post” comment will probably be added to several dozen others that are almost exactly the same. If you want to make an impression, you have to do it in a way that stands out from the crowd. For example, you could:

  • send the person an email saying that you appreciate their work (without asking for anything)
  • mention their work in your own writing, and link to it (try to always link to a post, rather than the homepage of a blog, so that they get a pingback and see it)
  • send them a small gift when appropriate (like a book that you think they’d enjoy, relating to something that they’ve written about)
  • introduce them to someone who can help them
  • praise them publicly, for example on your blog, or on Twitter (make sure to @mention them!)
  • send them a handwritten note expressing why you are grateful.

These are just a few ideas, and I’m sure that if you take a few minutes to brainstorm (or search on Google), you’ll find a lot more. The key is to stand out, and communicate in a noticeable way that you are genuinely grateful.

Of course all of this has to be genuine, and not just a manipulation…

The right thing and the smart thing are the same thing

The world of social media can sometimes be touchy about actions that are seen as self-serving, and things get even more complicated when there is an up-side to doing the right things.

I mean, shouldn’t you be thanking people just because it’s the right thing to do? Isn’t it just manipulation if you thank them because you’re trying to get something in return?

The answer to those questions, of course, is yes—you should be thanking people because it’s the right thing to do, and if you’re just thanking people when you don’t mean it, and you’re simply trying to get something out of them, then you’re a manipulative jerk.

That’s not what I’m suggesting at all.

On the contrary. I’m saying that you have genuine reason to grateful to a lot of people, and that thanking them is the right thing to do.

The funny thing about business, though, is that often the right thing and smart thing are the same thing!

So make a list of the people to whom you have genuine reason to be grateful, and say thank you.

Who can you thank today?

So who has helped you recently? And how can you make them feel good about the special thing that they’ve done for you?

My list would be pretty long, but here is just a starting example, to get you going:

What about you? Who can you thank today? And how are you going to do it?

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is an author, strategist, serial entrepreneur, expert marketer, and the Freddy Krueger of Blogging. Together with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, Mitch Joel, he wrote the book on how to build an engaged audience from scratch.

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Comments

  1. Tim Soulo says:

    Thank you for the post, Danny! :)

    Making people feel useful and invested is something I was doing unconsciously since I’ve launched my blog.

    I was never greedy for any form of appreciation, including links – and my blog posts are actually full of links to people that helped me out in some way.

    Thanks for the post once again!

    Cheers,

    Tim Soulo

  2. Thank you for this great reminder to be openly & meaningfully grateful for everyone who positively impacts my daily life. It is a wonderful habit to cultivate, and I can’t think of a single negative consequence to sharing sincere thanks.

    One of the great things about gratitude is it helps me truly experience a great life in addition to making others feel great. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the great thing to do!

    Chrysta

    • That’s the really cool thing about it, Chrysta – it’s not just good for business, it’s good for relationships, and it’s good for our mental well-being as well. That’s an awful lot to be getting out of two simple words: thank you. :)

  3. Faizan says:

    I agree with this post and I have been already following this strategy.

  4. tushar says:

    this post of yours very beautifully point to one thing- how badly we are missing the basics and small things in every sphere of my life. Thank You will surely please the people but only if, you use it wisely.

    Overuse can be very dangerous

  5. I thank you for writing such a beautiful post. I think we should all remember that a person on the internet is still a real person i.e they too have feelings.

  6. Steve Scott says:

    Spot on!

    Saying Thanks, either directly or indirectly is a powerful tool for networking. Getting people there just do for the assistance they’ve given you is not only good karmically but it could help foster and nurture stronger relationships online.

  7. Is it thanksgiving already? :-) just kidding..

    I agree.. Everyone NEEDS ACKNOWLEDGMENT. Not that we’ll die without it, but it really makes a difference when we know other people know how good a job we’re doing.

    I watched the video, How to Build an Engaged Audience, from Scratch.. now subscribed and eagerly waiting for the book..

    Thank you Danny, I learned a few things I didn’t know from this post and your video…

    • You’re right, Shamelle, it should always be Thanksgiving. :)

      Thank you very much for subscribing for those updates – I appreciate the vote of confidence, and look forward to sharing what we have in store with you!

  8. I recently started reading your posts as I’ve began my own blog. There’s alway helpful tips and I always learn something from every post. So I just wanted to start by thanking YOU for this post and I look forward to reading future posts.
    Thank You!

  9. Mark Aylward says:

    Hey Danny
    Thank you! :) Seriously, the more I participate in online marketing, the more apparent it becomes that the medium itself is unique and needs to be considered as to it’s reach and speed, among other things, but the fundamental truths are the same: Give people what they want, be unique, be relevant and conduct yourself with integrity. The rest is just perseverance. Keep going until you cross over and never give up.
    It’s actually refreshing to understand that a simple thank you can still go a long way
    Nice post
    Mark

    • That’s very well-put, Mark – the fundamental truths are always the same. Give people what they want, be unique, be relevant, and conduct yourself with integrity.

      I wonder why such fundamentals trip so many people up… ;)

  10. I’m new to this blogging thing, but I’m quickly discovering that bloggers’ personalities bleed right through their writing. It’s a pleasure to follow blogs written by people who are positive, warm, enthusiastic, and communicates their care for the reader. Saying thank you – to anyone – is a simple way of showing the reader that you are grateful for all of the wonderful people in your life.

    I have to say that occasionally I catch a thrill reading blogs and tweets by more negative personalities, but I would think twice before following their advice.

  11. Saif Afridi says:

    very simple and basic thing to do.agree with it.when you say thank you it is just like give respect,take respect

  12. i agree and do my best

  13. azharuddin1234 says:

    Really well explained… appreciate..

  14. Steven Davis says:

    To the point!

    Whether this will transform your site and your business does not matter, it is the right thing to do.

    Thank you.

    Steve

  15. I totally agree with you.

    Thank You.

  16. Gary Graefen says:

    Great Article and well written-Thanks

  17. Socially, you have to “expose” and show yourself (in reality) to the person who are going to thank. So, a lot of people transferred this fear of exposure to the social network reality.

    I think that’s the reason people “forget” to say thank you, when it is something that anyone with common sense would do, as you beautifully described in your post.

  18. Bougie Girl says:

    It’s amazing how the old world wisdom of conveying gratitude still applies in the Digital Age. Thanks for posting!

  19. Colby Keeler says:

    Social media has done a fantastic job of bringing things back to a basic level (two-way communication, actually responding to people’s feedback, etc) and evening the playing field. With the efforts being pursued to take advantage of this ‘re-born’ relationship between business and the individual, why is it some of the more basic gestures, a thank-you card in this case, have not followed? I guess going above and beyond as a business is still a niche that can be exploited. Thank-you goes a long long way! Thanks for the positive post!

  20. Great points Danny about saying a simple “Thank You.” It works well for a reason.

  21. “Thank You” is the 2 word secret to success Danny.

    First off, thank you for writing this post. It helps blogging newbies and struggling veterans alike realize the most powerful weapon in their networking arsenal has nothing to do with experience. It has everything to do with speaking those 2 words, and doing so with a heart-felt gesture like a personalized email, personalized tweet, or extending of a gift. Your tips are on the money.

    Thank You takes 2 seconds to say yet opens doors which you can’t even imagine. Reaching out with a Thank You does this: it makes you a magnet to good, because expressing appreciation is a conduit to good. You say Thank You, feel good, feel appreciative, see the good in things, and this action results in a reaction, namely, good things flow back to you through many channels. Action. Reaction.

    It takes but 2 seconds and the rewards are unending. I intend to thank all of my followers for each of my RTs, either personally or in a group, I intend to thank all of my list subscribers, and I intend to thank all commentators on m blog. So far, so good, after 1200 plus blog posts. I realize the 2 word secret to success and I stick with it on a moment to moment basis.

    Once again Danny, a heart felt Thank You to you!

    RB

  22. naijadotcom says:

    Great post,articulately written,every point sits in well.

  23. With this kind of posts I am sure you will get many thanks in return.

    Thank you.

  24. I started to realize a while ago that gratitude is the key to unlocking life’s greatest blessings. Your post reminds me that the same principles can be applied to our blogging success. A heartfelt gratitude is the “human touch” that any technology cannot replace. Thanks for posting!

  25. Lynda Shaw says:

    You are spot on Danny. Research has shown that gratitude is the best way to help ourselves feel upbeat and not slide into low self-esteem or depression. But we don’t need science to reaffirm old fashioned values do we? We make things so complicated and the answers always boil down to a few simple truths. So THANK YOU for the reminder.

  26. Definitely. I always say this too. Many bigger bloggers don’t do that. They think because they’ve made it, that others are bound to keep visiting and commenting on their sites, tweeting their stuff and sharing it all over the place. They never do anything in return. No one else acts like this, and it’s not proper for them to, either.

    I agree with you.

  27. Gerd says:

    Great post!

    Just kidding – that’s really one of the most useful posts I’ve read in the last couple of weeks. As it comes down to the fundamentals; to the things that are really true in all kind of businesses and situations.

    Makes really sense.

    Thanks for that reminder!

  28. Great blog post :)

  29. Healthonweb says:

    Thank you ! for this post, i don’t write for money but i just have a website that is related to my job. Anyway i love this way to explain things in a simple way.

    Best regards Rob

  30. Danny,
    Thanks for a heartfelt challenge for us to say thank you in meaningful and creative ways. I have tried to do this too, as my parents taught me. :)

    Here’s a way I said thank you recently. I made a graphic of the key points in a keynote speaker’s address. Flickr link I just sent the link to Gary Stager so he could see that I was bragging about him too.

    Thank you for this post,
    Denise

  31. Rizal says:

    Great post, thank you! Again its back to 2 simple words of thank and you which make us feel appreciated and get us motivated again and again. We will never be bored of hearing and receiving words of thanks when they come from the heart.

  32. Paul says:

    ah yes. thank you for this great simple post. :)

    it works!! seriously though, I agree that a little thank you goes a long way.

  33. Gayla Baer says:

    A little gratitude can go a long way. I happened on a blogger a few years back who had a comment policy in that those who left comments, the blogger would visit their blogs and offer some type of sharing or commenting back, whatever was the most natural fit. I liked that. From that I developed my own policies. It’s nice to sometimes just take a break from the normal grind to spread a little cheer :) Good job on reminding people to give thanks to those who got them where they are, and to those help move them toward their goals.

  34. Hey Danny – this IS a great post and a timely reminder not to take people for granted.

    I love the fact that social media has changed the way we succeed in business in so many ways, one of them being the ability to be genuine with our audience. When you create a genuine connection, you stand out and without forcing the issue, you build a loyal community around you.

    I make sure I thank the people who choose to consider my services at each step of the process from when they say (or no), when they spare the time to go through my rather detailed brief, all the way through to the end of the project. I’m not gushy or laboured. I just make sure I say it. When they pay their invoice, I thank them more tangibly with a lollipop in the mail.

    After all, it’s no small thing to outsource part of your business operations to someone else. It involves a certain amount of trust, not to mention the financial commitment, and it’s important to recognise that.

    Thanks for sharing.

    PS And thank YOU Danny for giving me the opportunity to guest post on Firepole Marketing.

  35. Harde buiken says:

    Yes, thought about this for long time, totally agree! Thanks!

  36. Prem Gaire says:

    Thank You for this Great Post!

    Now onward, I will be using these two simple words to everyone I come across with. Indeed everyone wants to feel useful and so everyone deserve these two sweet words.

    Thank You again!

  37. Prem Gaire says:

    I can immediately thank you for the great insight you provided. Thank you!

  38. Marcie says:

    This is an excellent suggestion. I will definitely be thanking my supporters more often.

  39. Jeremy Cook says:

    Yeah, couldn’t agree more. I did a write up on the “best parts sources for Robot Building…” and one of the companies (Servocity) actually wrote me a physical “thank you” letter with a useful servo mount and some stickers. The mounts are neat, and I may use them at some point, but I probably appreciated the letter just as much or more. I ended up writing a post about them which I jokingly said could have been entitled “How to win blog mentions and influence nerds.” Here’s the post if you’re interested:

    http://www.jcopro.net/2011/09/14/servo-city-and-off-the-shelf-servo-brackets/