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It's one thing to have a blog, and quite another to have an engaged blog audience.
The former can make you feel as though you're blogging in Ghost Town, while the latter is like hangin' out in Lollipop Lane.
I'd wager that most bloggers would prefer the latter, but developing an engaged blog audience can be quite puzzling at times.
The reason most bloggers want more engagement is simple: An engaged audience means you're ticking all the boxes - quality content, solid reader relationships and potential higher profit. Also? It's proof of the social kind that peeps are picking up what you're putting down, which is good for opening opportunities for collaborations with other blogs and brands.
If your blog audience is as engaged as the Grinch is with Christmas, don't take it personally. It's highly unlikely that it's anything to do with you as a person (unless of course, you are the Grinch, in which case, it's Christmas - live a little, buddy ;) )
You deserve to have a thriving blog and business, so read through the below 6 discussion points to see what strategies you can implement, to skyrocket your blog's engagement.
#1 | Share useful information
The #1 most important thing you can do for your blog audience, is share valuable content. But what do I mean by valuable content - sounds kinda vague, doesn't it?
Well, in the first instance, why are people coming to your blog? Do you have a product or service to share? If so, valuable content is useful, relevant-to-your-niche information that your reader can take away and apply to their business or life, today.
My friend Betty* has a hair styling business. Rather than posting what she has for breakfast, where she's hanging out on the weekend and what her favourite hairdo is to her blog, Betty shares weekly posts with topics like 'How to eat for healthy, long and thick hair,' and 'An in-depth look at why you should use organic hair-care products'.
Her posts are useful, because they're full of information that is helpful and informative to her audience. As a result? Betty has an engaged blog audience who loves what she posts.
#2 | Narrow your niche
The 'N' word scares the pants off a lot of bloggers-to-be, and I totally get it. I spent a year scratching my head, flipping between potential niches for fear of picking the wrong one. But here's the sauce: A narrow point of focus opens you up to opportunity to share specialised, targeted information to a specific audience, who is actively looking for information on that topic.
Why is that a good thing? If you have a product or service that has been specially designed for your niche, readers and subscribers who visit your site are also potential customers.
Rather than writing a generic 'health' or 'lifestyle' blog, why not niche down and write something specific like:
- Living as a patient on the Autoimmune Protocol
- Creating a feminine capsule wardrobe
- How to live a raw-vegan lifestyle
- Living as an expat in London
- How to market with Pinterest
- Organic home gardening
#3 | Share in length, share less often
Current research suggests that long-tail blog posts are where it's at, m'friend. If you currently spread yourself thin by posting 5 quick 'how-to' type posts per week, why not mix it up and instead try one long and in-depth post each week, giving your readers really juicy content to sink their teeth into. In most cases, your generosity in sharing so much knowledge will blow them away, and if nothing else they'll probably drop a short comment to show their appreciation.
#4 | Use a call-to-action
Already doing all of the above and STILL not seeing results? Let's zoom down to the bottom of your post. How does it all end (I love a good spoiler!)?
Call's to action are short and specific statements that prompt a reader to take a certain action. If you're not already, try ending your posts with one. Here's an example:
What's your favourite capsule wardrobe staple?
Leave a comment below - I love hearing from you!
#5 | Declutter your blog
Think of your blog as your home, and your readers and subscribers as your house guests. Are your guests tripping all over your random cr*p the minute they walk through the door? (I hope not, though sometimes in my house they certainly are!)
If your blog resembles something of a dog's breakfast, it's a good time to conduct a strategic audit. Comb through all of your blog pages, content and side bars and remove anything that's not essential in supporting you and your business goals - because if it's not, it's unnecessary clutter.
- That ebook graphic in your sidebar you're an affiliate for (but have never made a sale from)? Cull.
- Expired sponsor images? Deleto.
- Aimless and obscure copy on your About and Services page? Going, going gone!
The purpose of this exercise is to look at your blog through the eyes of a new reader. What's going to feel light and exciting to them so they'll want to hang around? If there's anything that feels heavy about your blog, try to revise it.
There's a great free service called Peek User Testing that can help with this. All you need to do is sign up and request a blog review, and a complete stranger will be recorded walking through your blog and answering a set of questions assigned by Peak. The responses can be really insightful and helpful in uncovering how your blog can become more user-friendly.
#5 | Format
Another dog's breakfast issue comes in the form of formatting.
If you're writing blog posts without making readability for your audience a priority, I urge to to stop and reconsider.
Break your paragraphs down to maximum three sentences and use sub-headings throughout. These are really small and simple tweaks, but could be the difference between a reader divulging themselves into your post, and clicking away at the top when they land on our next blog post.
I know which one I'd prefer ;)
#6 | Give generously
Ain't nothing gonna tell a reader you care deeply than offering generous value. If you create and share with your readers' needs in mind, they'll notice. One of my favourite ways to give a little extra loving to my readers is by creating content upgrades. This has a double whammy effect, because not only does it increase engagement, it also boosts your blog subscribers!
Now if you're dishing up the goods and your audience is lapping it up, I commend you - you're on the right track. But if your blog is feeling a little sleepy, try implementing each of these tips to make your online home a reader-friendly haven.
They'll be tripping over themselves to comment in no time!
What's your best tip to create an engaged blog audience? Got any questions about creating community and engagement? Leave a comment below.