What I love most about blogging is how confusing the process seems to be. Beyond having to consistently produce quality content, you also have to network with other bloggers, take care of various social media accounts, guest blog, interview, connect with your readers, and feed your brain with as much information as possible.
And this got me thinking…
What exactly matters most when it comes to building an audience? Should you prioritize content creation over networking, or is it the other way around? Should you try to balance them both, feeling like you’re walking on tightrope on a daily basis?
Well, the truth is that this is an impossible question to answer. Sorry.
What I do know is that how you treat your readers matters an awful lot. So much so that the way you answer to the following questions can make even the most brilliant content you share not receive even a single like:
- Do you reply to your readers?
- How do you reply to your readers?
- Do you talk down to your readers?
- If I emailed you right now, would you respond?
Before we get too far into the topic, let me be clear: I don’t always reply to comments or e-mails. Some days I can’t respond, some messages are not worthy of a response, some messages don’t make much sense.
So I’m not perfect. Far from it.
But I’ve got to tell you that even though I always give 100% when it comes to creating content, if I don’t interact with my readers for any period of time, my views and comments tend to drop significantly.
The Phenomenon of Reputation.
“A person rises on a word and falls on a syllable.”Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
The way you interact with your reader tends to spread through the internet faster than your actual content. Whether they’ve had a great experience with you or exactly the opposite, they tell other people all about it.
Word of mouth is stronger than ever before, so please be mindful of the way you interact with your readers.
The truth is that most bloggers are kind of bitter they don’t have the thousands of followers they’ve dreamt up the moment they signed up for a blog, and while they’re busy chasing more followers, they neglect (or downright treat like crap) those who are already their readers.
It’s a bad business model, to say the least.
I can never understand why, if I am the first person to comment on a blog post (and it’s a genuine comment) the blogger doesn’t acknowledge me somehow.
At least, if you get hundreds of comments and e-mails per day, like I do, you kind of understand them being busy. But otherwise?
The truth is that if you want your content to propagate through the web, the first thing you have to do is take great care of your readers.
Reply to their comments and e-mails.
Visit their blogs.
Answer their questions.
Offer them free stuff: downloads, tutorials, ebooks, etc.
Do your best to provide as much value and access to your readers.
Because this is the trick: you can be a brilliant content creator, and you can offer for free the kind of stuff that others are charging a lot of money, but if your readers don’t have access to you, then it won’t matter.
Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care about them.
It’s as simple as that.
And you want to know another advantage to interacting with your readers?
The conversations you have with your readers inspires your blogging. It’s how you find out what they like to read from you, what they’d want to read from you…
If you’re feeling creatively blocked, it’s also probably because you’re not listening to your readers. You’re not talking with them, you’re just talking at them.
Believe it or not, the way you treat your readers is reflected in your blogging and its results.
Whether or not you care about the stuff you write about or the folks who are reading it.
Someone once told me that if you want to know what you’re made of, you just have to take a good look in the mirror. What’s inside tends to reflect on the outside.
The same for blogging.
What to know if you’re any good at blogging?
Go through some of your comments, and tell me what you see.