For many bloggers, the idea of being able to increase engagement is something they spend a lot of time considering. It’s one thing to have huge page views and a high number of followers on social media, but for those numbers to be worth anything, you have to have an engaged readership.
While it’s possible to have a successful blog without this, it’s not ideal. Blogging is at its best when there is feedback; when it stimulates discussion and thoughts between what becomes a mini-community. For long-term sustainability in your blogging endeavours, an engaged readership is far more prized than a huge amount of social media followers. Those followers could vanish at a moment’s notice, but an engaged reader will not. They’ll stick with you through for the long haul.
With all the talk of engaging readers and how valuable this can be, it’s easy to overlook one simple truth: this engagement goes both ways. You can’t expect readers to constantly give engagement and energy, endlessly retweeting you, commenting on your blog, liking your Instagram – but remain behind a wall. This engagement should go both ways.
So how can you show a little love to your long-term followers? Here are a few golden rules for getting it right.
Got Comments? Great! Now Reply To Them
This is an absolute must; reply to every comment that you receive on your blog. Comments are lower than they ever have been, replaced somewhat by responses to your posts on social media. You can have a blog post viewed by 20,000 people and not get a single comment. So the ones that do take the time to say a few words, reply to them, especially if they ask a question. It doesn’t have to be a long, detailed essay; just a few words of acknowledgement and thanks for their support will suffice.
Offer ‘Happy Posts’ Every Now and Then
A happy post in this context is quite literal, as in mail that you send to a select number of readers. This is best done on Instagram. Unlike a conventional giveaway, don’t have a list of rules about what people do to ‘enter’. Just post a message like: “anyone need a cheer up? Leave a few details and I’ll pick at random from those to receive some happy post!”
As for the post itself, you don’t need to spend a fortune. You can even contact brands and ask if they would like to supply something small. Include a handwritten note addressing the person by name, and dress it up with some promotional inclusions using custom rubber stamps or a bookmark with your blog’s name on it. Don’t make it look too much like marketing; keep it cute, friendly, and personalised. It’ll cement a reader into a firm fan, who will stay with you for years.
Follow Your Readers
Not just in the literal sense of following someone on social media, either. If regular commenters leave a blog link, click through, check their blog out, leave a few comments of your own. It takes such a small amount of time, but for both the recipient and other readers who see you engaging, it could make all the difference.
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