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Inspire, Interact & Inform to Create Thought Leadership in Your Niche

This is a guest contribution from Will, a young entrepreneur slash marketer.

We can all agree that the most popular blogs have a few things in common – they all inspire, interact with and inform their readers. As Darren has discussed before, these three pillars should form the foundation for your blog’s content plan.

I’m not much of one for introductions, so let’s just jump right in…

As you continue reading, you’ll learn specific tactics and strategies to utilise inspiration, interaction and information on your blog.

How to Inspire Your Audience

Remember that both positive and negative emotions are inspirational; what matters is that your readers are provoked. Not in a manipulative way, but so that they genuinely want to learn more and take action.

Here’s how to create that inspiration for your fans:

Be Enthusiastic

You’ll be amazed how far simple enthusiasm gets you. When you’re genuinely excited about your niche, people notice.

So, how do you show your passion to your audience? Just think about how you’d identify an enthusiastic person:

  • An enthusiastic person loves what they do
  • An enthusiastic person works hard and takes initiative
  • An enthusiastic person wants to share their ideas and experiences

How can you display these qualities to your audience?

Tell Your Story & Share Your Own Inspirations

One of the best ways to inspire your readers is by telling them who or what helped you become the expert that you are today.  This shows them that everyone starts somewhere, plus it makes your current authority that much more believable.

If you credit another expert in your niche, all the better! You’ll be giving your readership another resource to learn from. Remember that the other authorities in your niche are your partners, not your competitors.

Leverage Controversy

Some people might call this a moral grey area, but nothing inspires people to take action like controversy.

Controversy doesn’t always have to be negative, though. For example, my buddy Kyle wrote a great post on our blog titled The Harsh Truth: Why your Side-Business is Failing and How to Fix It… While the message is controversial, the end result is that our entrepreneurial readers were inspired to work smarter and harder on their startup ideas.

How to Interact with Your Audience

Interaction only happens when your audience feels completely comfortable. So, whatever platform you push your readers to interact on, be personal, friendly and natural.

Here are a few ways to create more interaction opportunities for your audience:

Interview Other Experts

Interviews allow your readers inside the mind of an outside expert. You can discuss your own strategies and ideas while giving your readers a look at another recognized authority’s success story.

On top of that, if the person you’re interviewing has a blog, then suddenly you’ve both doubled your interaction potential by getting in front of each other’s readership. Used strategically, this can do wonders for both blogs’ traffic.

Be Available

Social networks are the obvious place to make yourself available, but remember that there isn’t a single platform that works in every single niche. It’s up to you to identify where you’ll get the best ROI… And the answer isn’t always Facebook. For example, we’ve had great results from niche forums and Reddit.

In addition, make sure you keep up with your email! Hire someone to help you, if you must, but your readers want a quick response when they contact you. Every loyal reader matters, which means that every email matters too.

Make Your Blog a Club

One of the best ways to turn a visitor into a reader is to make your blog feel like a club.

For example, Darren’s Digital Photography School and ProBlogger.Community both encourage interaction through their very name. Marketing Profs is another great example, and their membership base is staggering. Our blog, Startup Bros, also has that built-in feeling of camaraderie.

Don’t stress if your domain name doesn’t evoke community, though… An exclusive-feeling email list or Facebook group (or any other membership platform) will do just fine.

How to Inform Your Audience

The information section is last because, honestly, most of us are already pretty good at keeping our audiences informed. Usually, that’s the easy part.

However, since we tend to prioritise information, it can sometimes feel like you’ve run out of new stuff to teach. Writer’s block sets in, you start settling for sub-par content, then nobody’s having a good time.

So, here are six quick ideas you can use to maximise the information you provide your readers:

  1. Use industry news to keep your readers in the loop. Feedly.com is a life-saver after Google Reader shut down earlier this year.
  2. Use case studies and real-life examples to re-teach old lessons to your readers
  3. Create a recurring blog series so that you have a pre-filled content slot every week. Works great with industry news.
  4. Use mixed media to make old information consumable in different formats. For example, make your blog posts into videos, slideshows or podcasts. This also gives you more platforms for interaction!
  5. Publish your own surveys and discuss the results.
  6. Keep an eye on social networks – there are tons of new ideas out there if you can listen well and ask the right questions.

Your Audience is Waiting…

Each one of these content pillars – inspiration, interaction and information – could’ve each received their own full-length blog post. Instead, this post showcases some of my best ideas taken from personal experience, then leaves it open to the awesome community here at ProBlogger to fill in the gaps.

So, what other strategies have you used to inspire, interact with, and inform your audience? Share your wisdom in the comments below!

My name is Will, and I’m a young entrepreneur slash marketer living in Tampa, FL. I’ve been launching successful online businesses since 16, some of which you’ve probably heard of. If you’re curious, learn more about me and my story from the StartupBros About Page, or you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook to get my latest entrepreneurial advice.

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Comments

  1. Nice post Will. I believe being passionate and showing it to your audience is the key to being succefull in what we do or write about.

    • Absolutely Raymond! It seems every year people crave genuine, straight-forward marketing more. They want to really know the people behind the companies they deal with now. Amazing shift indeed – it makes it much easier for the little guys to compete.

  2. Thank you for sharing such an informative article! You made such a valid point! Understanding how to interact with your audience is very crucial to your website success!

  3. Sarah Bauer says:

    Take a page out of QuickSprout founder/ entrepreneur Neil Patel’s book – he’s a stickler for responding to user comments on his blog, and he’s known to foster hundreds of comments per post! Patel’s a busy guy, but he still manages to show his readers how much he values their engagement with his content.

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

    • I’m a big QuickSprout fan, but I didn’t know he responded to everything. That’s great though, I try to do the same thing. If people can take the time out of their lives to read what I have to say, and put in their two cents – the least I can do is respond! Trust you’re giving customers the same treatment at your company :)

      • Juan says:

        I do that too at my “main” blog. But if you got to many comments and still able to reply all the comment, what can I say, that guy is really value their reader. good practice anyway

        • I won’t lie, there have been times when I’ve let it build up to a queue of 50+ comments. Then I come home after a night of drinking and answer them all in a snap ;)

  4. Another awesome guest post, Will!

    I really like the part about building community and making your blog feel like a club. I am going to focus on this advice and see what I can make of it ;)

    Cody

    • I think you’re on the right track Cody! I always find something interesting to read on Adapt’d Nation, you do a great job of making your writing very personal and honest – probably better than I do… :)

  5. Great post, Will! It is great to see young people getting it right nowadays! I especially liked your tips about inspiring your readers. I think that is one of the most crucial tactics a blogger can use because the more you inspire, the more people will come back and read what you have to say. One other thing I do when inspiring others is sharing everything I know about the post, not having a secret if you will. I’d rather share my secrets with them and watch them become successful than hold them inside my brain. Great article!

    • You’re right there Shawn. Marketing and business is still largely based on word-of-mouth – so give them something to talk about! :)

  6. Providing readers what they want is main thing. And you are doing the same thing here. Thanks for this point to point post.

  7. Teena Lyons says:

    As a ghostwriter I often find it quite difficult to transfer my skills into a more chatty, ‘blog’ style. This has given me a few great tips that I will be using for the blog on my website.
    I think interaction will be the biggest help to me, as I am not used to the immediacy of the feedback that you get with blogging.

    • Love your site’s design Teena!

      I could see where that would be tough as a ghostwriter, when you’re chatty you really need to have the subject’s voice and style down. Tough work, but I’m sure you’re an incredible writer for it!

  8. Daryl says:

    Hey Will,

    I love how you managed to boil down the pillars of running a great blog into a few simple and easy to follow steps. Going to have to take a leaf out of your book and do the same for my blog!

    To answer your question, I think it’s all about connection. Understanding and empathising with your readers and vice versa. When you connect with your audience then you can truly produce content that is also inspiring and informative.

    • Thanks Daryl – a few of the pillars at least!

      Connecting with your audience is key – I can’t imagine running a blog about something I wasn’t interested in. It wouldn’t be nearly as fun to talk to my audience all day if they weren’t entrepreneurs :)

  9. What a great article. Some of these were a little stale for me, but learning about establishing a significant sense of community on your blog was a new one! You’ve even given me some great ideas. Thanks!

  10. pulkit says:

    Nice article and with important point too as it is very necessary to interact with audienc plus to make them comfortable to interact. This is the only way to have loyal readers.thanks for sharing.
    Apple iPad Air

  11. Mark says:

    I think there is an art in creating positive controversy and it has much to do with copy writing skills. For any controversial piece you write you should try to incorporate some of the following.

    - Speak from the minorities point of view
    - Speak against an establishment
    - Raise questions
    - Give unconventional suggestions

    • Good points there Mark, I often wish I was better at capitalizing on/creating controversy with my posts. It’s tough to do in my niche, but I have had some clients with some truly incredible results. Creating controversy can make a business overnight – I’ve seen it happen!

  12. David says:

    Nice article Will. In my experience, interacting with your audience and helping them out has always been a fruitful endeavor!

  13. Jorge Jobs says:

    Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas.

  14. Excellent post. I will try to get Inspire and interact as you have explained and will try to create an awesome Leadership :)
    Thanks

  15. vipkhan says:

    Understanding and empathising with your readers and vice versa. When you connect with your audience then you can truly produce content that is also inspiring and informative.

    • Absolutely! That’s why it’s essential to be close and talk with your customers (or even better the potential customers that got away). I think Neil Patel says the only reason his company used to (or still does) offer free calls is to hear what is going on with his client-base. Smart stuff!

  16. OK so here’s the thing Will, if you didn’t use the word thought leadership in your title I’d say great article – spot on. Unfortunately that one, often misused and abused expression taints it – not totally but to a degree. You see I reckon what you’re saying is awesome if you are producing content and you want it to be noticed. But that doesn’t mean it’s thought leadership.

    I think of thought leadership as content on steroids. It is often based on deep, empirical or evidence-based insights not just another opinion that attracts the self-labelled thought leadership tag. Critically it goes to the heart of the issues or challenges that most impact your audience. Ideally, if it achieves what it sets out to do in the first place, it bridges people’s curiosity gap and in the process sways or shifts their paradigms on that specific topic.

    Do that and by all means use the term thought leadership. But for everyday content, let’s just call it what it is.

  17. johnw says:

    This is the great article that you have shared here. I will also try to inspire, interact and inform to create leadership.