Do you speak to your readers? Do you listen to what they want? Do you believe that reader engagement matters for you as a blogger?
Blogging is something I love with a passion. It’s one thing I consciously make time for, or at least try to, every week. With three blogs to manage, things can get a little out of hand at times so I try to keep my expectations realistic and my goals simple.
Here are 9 ways I work on increasing reader engagement on my blog and how they seem to help me, at least at the moment.
Maintain a schedule for your blogs:
Wait, how is this going to help reader engagement? Sure, it’s going to help the blogger. You’d be surprised how the two are interlinked. Since I have 3 blogs, I try to space out my posts accordingly. I try to blog once a week on this blog and once a week on my parenting blog. The third blog is fairly easier to maintain since it makes up tips and prompts.
So how does this help with engagement? Readers are now aware of my schedule and can anticipate when I’ll publish what. This sense of familiarity helps tremendously, where the blogger is concerned. Readers come back to check if the blog’s been updated and every time, I can be assured of thoughtful, relevant comments or shares on my posts.
2. Write quality content:
This one seems like a no-brainer, because yes we all want to write killer posts. However, I do find that people tend to write on instinct, dash off the post in a hurry and sit back, grinning. I’ve got nothing against this, mind you. It’s perfect to write that way. The only problem is sometimes, the posts have typos, grammatical errors leap out at me and the content seems very half-hearted, almost as if the person put together something for the sake of it.
Readers are smart. They can smell bad content a mile away. They’ll know if you’ve managed to put thought into a post or carelessly slapped together something at the last minute. This hurts your readership more than you know.
3. Converse with your readers:
This is probably the most important thing, I find. You need to allow for open and engaging conversation on your posts. Let people comment and listen, really listen to what they’re saying.
4. Ask a question at the end of your post:
Depending on the nature of your post, of course, this is a valuable tool. After you’ve made your point on a topic, ask a question inviting your readers to share their own thoughts and experiences. What this does is put control in the reader’s hands. They will want to engage and leave meaningful comments.
5. Respond to comments:
Granted, I have been guilty of not replying to most of my comments in the past, but it’s a fact I’m actively working on these days. Out of the 15-30 people who comment on a post, perhaps 2 or 3 will come back to see if you’ve left a reply. Trust me, you don’t want to disappoint them. It’s your way of saying, ‘Hey, I care about what you said and I thank you for this.’
6. Visit other bloggers:
Blogging is a community activity. I’ve said it time and again. If you have people coming over to say hello, it’s an unspoken invitation for you to go back over and return the favour.
Sure, you can’t do it all the time, but you can try and develop a habit of it. It’s good karma and people will love you for it. Oh and leave meaningful comments! Don’t just go over and say, ‘Thanks for coming over. Nice post. Here’s my blog link.’ Ugh. Sorry, that doesn’t work for me.
7. Join a blogging group:
It’s simple. Join a group of like-minded bloggers. Find a set that works for you. Allow yourself to receive critique, engage with others and develop a familiarity with people. This always helps.
8. Set aside time exclusively for reading:
I have been doing this since the beginning of 2016 and the result is fascinating. I now try and blog on Sundays/Mondays here and respond to all comments before Tuesdays. I then blog on parenting on Wednesdays and reply to comments on Thursdays there. Fridays and Saturdays are devoted to reading other blogs and the relaxation fits perfectly with my work routine as well. Find a routine that works for you.
9. Use social media as a person
People enjoy what you write. Let them know the person behind the blog. Having multiple social media handles is a waste if you’re not leveraging the power of that medium, to be honest.
Not every update or tweet can be about what you wrote on your blogs or what book you’ve published! Streams of retweets and automated posts put me off too. Be kind, motivate others, share in their joy. In short, be human. Nobody likes a robot and a self-promotional robot is the worst of them all!
*Bonus tip: Schedule social media time as well. It really helps!
I enjoy blogging. Wait, I’ve said that already. But, yes, I really do. It’s the connections that make it worthwhile for me. It’s not just about saying things out loud and leaving it in the void for people to find. It’s about so much more.
Do you agree with these points?
Do you do anything differently to engage your readers?