Sure. You read all the best blogs about blogging.
Your content sparkles. Your design is flawless. You’ve optimized for SEO and ticked off the long list of best practices. You’ve fine-tuned every aspect of your site.
And you’ve got passion, damn it. It’s all humming along quite nicely. (Thank you very much).
But could you be doing more? It’s a question that all great bloggers ask themselves. That’s how they got great, in fact. And it’s not a question you can answer with a magic pill or a silver bullet. It can only be answered with real, honest-to-god work.
In my search for that little bit extra I could be doing, I culled the following suggestions. And then I started actually using them.
Guess what? The response was pretty incredible. Real business relationships were formed. With real transactions (yep, money!) as a result. You don’t need to do them all at once. Or even all of them, at all. Just start with a few that feel right for you, and add to them as you build good habits and streamline your processes.
Make Your Blog Readers Feel Special
- Welcome them personally. Create a Start Here page that points out the top 10 most important pages on your site. Include a personal welcome video so they can get better acquainted with who you are.
- Send an email to new commenters thanking for them for their visit. Yes — you may have seen this one before. And maybe you’ve even done it once or twice. But have you ever taken just a few minutes to do a little research on them, first? Everybody’s leaving their website link behind, so there’s no excuse for you to NOT go visit them and see what you can find. Look for interesting tidbits that you have in common. Or find something specific you can comment on or ask about. This shows that you’re not just sending a form letter and will warm their hearts for sure.
- Return the favor. Visit the website of a new commenter and leave a thoughtful comment on their blog.
- Share the love. If you find something cool on their site, tweet out a link to it. Or at least Tweet out a Thank You.
- Make a social media connection. Follow your commenters and subscribers on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin (if appropriate). Send a DM saying hello, thanks for commenting/subscribing, and that you look forward to getting to know them better.
- Reach out to those who follow you. When you get a new fan or follower on social media, reach out and send a short hello message and thank you. DON’T use auto DMs. These need to be personal messages. Do a few seconds of research before you send the message to find something specific you can mention in your DM so they know you took the time to send something individual.
- Introduce them to someone in your network. Connect two people via an email introduction when you think they would benefit from knowing each other (after, you get to know them!)
- Make them famous. If you find someone whose blog is rockin’ it, write a review post about their site highlighting the best bits and what you liked.
- Create a showcase post.Write a short bit about how you’d like to get to know your readers better and provide a virtual space for networking. Ask them to post an introduction of themselves and include links out to their recent projects, posts or whatever they’d like to show off.
- Create a Hall of Fame.Choose a reader of the week from the comments of your blog, your Twitter stream and/or Facebook page and show them off. Interview them and then post the highlights on your blog and via social media.
- Invite them to contribute.Ask a commenter to guest post if you like their writing style.
- Share something cool.When you come across helpful articles or tools on other sites that you think would be relevant to them, send them a link via a personal email. We tend to do this a lot via social media — but that’s sharing with lots of people all at once. I’m talking about doing this individually, one at a time.
- Send a virtual thank you gift. When you notice that a commenter (who leaves great comments) has returned a few times, reward them with a small gift certificate for coffee or an iTunes download. It doesn’t have to cost you more than $2-3. But imagine their surprise!
- Say it with video. Record a personal thank you for commenting video and send it to your loyal readers when they’ve made three or more fabulous comments.
- Invite them to a virtual coffee.Again, this if for those commenters and/or subscribers who really stand out. But ask them if they’d like to meet on Skype or Google hangouts for a quick hello and get-to-know-you.
- Show them off in a sidebar widget.Put a short bio and photo with a link to their site in sidebar widget. Rotate these out weekly or monthly. (If you use the Genesis theme like I do, you can create this very easily using the Featured Post widget.
- Give them some free swag.If you have any branded items that you can mail out (for FREE), put them up on your site and offer in exchange for a mailing address.
It’s important that instead of just asking readers to buy stuff from us, we invest a little time to find out more about them. Their businesses, hopes, aspirations and yes, their challenges.
Get Started Now
What are you waiting for? Pick three or four of your favorite ideas and then commit to them in public by leaving a comment below.
Next, decide how you’ll implement. Will you need to learn a new skill first? Do a minor upgrade to your software or hardware? What do you need to know in order to make them happen?
Then schedule some quality time with your readers. It might be 10 minutes each morning, or 45 minutes at the end of the week, but figure out what works for you. Block that on your calendar with an appointment to keep yourself on track.
Communicating on a personal level with your readers will make a big difference in your efforts to build a loyal tribe. And yes, it takes a little time. But it will also enrich your life (and your business) immeasurably. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?
NOTE: This piece originally appeared as a guest post on Remarkablogger.com, a site that — unfortunately — no longer graces the interwebz.