In this post regular contributer Skellie from Skelliewag.org explains how you can turn readers into fans.
The notion of ‘raving fans’ brings to mind a screaming crowd at a Beatles concert. For bloggers, a more accurate version of a ‘raving fan’ is someone who raves about you — recommending your stuff to anyone who will listen.
In this post I want to explain how you can use your content to create a kind of friendship between you and your readers. As much as they might love your blog, it’s almost impossible to form a meaningful connection with information and writing alone.
As humans, we connect easily and naturally with other people. Put yourself into what you write and readers will connect with you.
Why having fans of your own is important
- Readers with a personal affection for you will consistently treat you with respect.
- Readers who like you will stick by you when times are tough.
- They’re more likely to speak highly of you to others.
- They’ll be more accepting of your faults.
- They’ll come with you when you move on to new things.
- They’re more likely to trust your recommendations or buy from you. This can help you make money blogging.
How to help readers become fans
A useful starting point for us is to look at how we form relationships with new people in face-to-face situations. One thing you might have noticed is that we tend to like or dislike others based on how they make us feel about ourselves.
We can spend a lot of time with someone but feel very little closeness to them if they make us feel a bit stupid, or boring, or as if our views aren’t important. On the other hand, we can feel quite close to someone very quickly if they give us their undivided attention, entertain us and seem to enjoy what we have to say.
Another key in building relationships of any kind is sharing our experiences and personality: probably because both these things are completely unique to us.
These face-to-face guidelines can easily be translated to blogging.
Sign each post with your signature
Some bloggers do this literally, but I’m referring to other things that, like a signature, are unique to you: your experiences and your personality. You can inject these things into anything you write.
Some simple tips to help you do this:
- Ask yourself: how does what I’m writing about fit in with my own experiences?
- If you’re sharing advice, how has what you’re recommending benefited you?
- If you’re sharing news, how does the news influence you or people you know?
If you do this consistently it won’t be long before your readers start to get a sense of who you are.
Write with humanity
Don’t let your readers forget the content on your blog is produced by a person not so different to them. You have friends, family, hobbies, work, loves and hates. You’ve made mistakes and achieved successes. You occupy a specific place in the world. You’re not just a mind plugged into a keyboard.
Let readers know about the unplugged you — who you are when you’re not online. You can maintain your privacy by using pseudonyms for friends and family and by not getting too specific.
People are good at forming relationships with people. Emphasize that you’re no different to your readers and it will be much easier for them to warm to you.
Some tips to help you do this:
- Share how your offline life has shaped what you’re writing about.
- Share how your family and friends have influenced what you’re writing.
Create selfless content
If it’s true that people like you based on how you make them feel about themselves, it follows that your content should always be focused on the reader. The content you produce must answer ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions.
- Does it inform?
- Does it entertain?
- Does it help?
- Does it teach?
- Is it useful?
Use content to showcase your readers
If a reader’s comment sparks an idea for your next post, why not quote them at the beginning of the article?
If one of your readers writes a great article on their own blog, why not link to it?
If a reader shares a good tip, why not mention it in the next post you write on the topic?
These are a few simple things you can do to acknowledge and draw attention to your readers, which will make them feel good about themselves and you.
Give more than you take
Pure generosity is rare. Bloggers rarely give without expecting something in return, whether it be payment, or a link, or a review. In my experience, bucking that trend can create incredible goodwill among readers. Here are some things you can do to make a fantastic impression:
- Hold a competition and allow readers to enter by leaving a comment, rather than blogging about it or performing some other task.
- Offer to perform a service for your readers and expect nothing in return. I’ve done this on two occasions and both times it allowed me to connect with many readers in a very positive way.
- Give away a free eBook or report.
- Write a post showcasing your favorite reader comments of the month.
Points to review
The key to helping readers form an attachment to you is by emphasizing the ways you are similar to them and making them feel good about themselves, often by entertaining, informing or helping.
You can also use your posts as a platform to acknowledge and appreciate your readers. This will help communicate your respect for them and, in doing so, increase their respect for you.
There are a number of direct and indirect benefits to transforming readers into personal fans and friends: more links, more comments, more positive recommendations, more trust and an incredibly rewarding blogging experience.
Give it a try: use your next post to implement a few of these strategies and start building your fan-base.
Skellie is a regular writer for ProBlogger. You’ll find more practical blogging advice at her own blog, Skelliewag.