Blog Tip #3: Engage with Your Readers

blog engage with readersRecently I wrote a post titled Content is NOT King! What is??? If you’re not familiar with the bloggers mantra “content is king,” it means that creating quality content is the most important aspect of blogging. But in that post, I make the case that while quality content is still important, it’s no longer the most important thing for a blog. Relationships are king.

I believe that there is so much quality content being created that we can’t read it all, not even just in the subject areas that interest us. So, more often than not we choose to read and engage on the blogs where we have made connections.

Think about your own blog reading. You skip a lot of good quality blog posts because you don’t have time to read them all right? Now think about the blogs you’re most likely to read and engage with. More often than not you have some personal connection there, don’t you? You’ve probably exchanged emails, replied to each other’s comments or maybe even met in real life.

So, let’s turn that thinking around and apply it to our own blogging. If we’re more likely to read and engage with the blogs where we have a personal connection, don’t we want be the kind of bloggers who forms personal connections with our readers?

This is why blog tip #3 is to engage with your readers. Here are… 10 ways to engage with your blog readers:

  1. Ask a question at the end of every post.
  2. Reply to comments.
  3. Post your blog posts to Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to reply to comments and @replies there too.
  4. Follow your best commenters on Facebook and Twitter and develop those relationships even more. If you follow a lot of people on Twitter, put those readers on a private Twitter list that you read regularly and engaged with them there.
  5. Ask Facebook and Twitter followers for input on blog posts. For example, last week I asked my Facebook friends and Twitter followers for their top blogging tips and then included the replies in a blog post.
  6. Read and comment on the blog posts of the people who read and engage with your blog.
  7. Read and comment on the blog posts of the people you wish would read and engage with your blog, other bloggers in your niche.
  8. Invite your most engaged readers to guest post on your blog.
  9. Write guest posts for the blogs of your most engaged readers. Be sure to respond to comments on your guest posts.
  10. Meet offline with readers and other bloggers anytime you get the opportunity. Go to conferences and meet-ups, meet one-on-one for coffee. Nothing takes an online relation deeper than an offline meeting.

How important do you think engaging with readers is to the success of a blog? Which of the ideas above have worked best for you? What other ways can we engage with readers?

If you haven’t already done so, please complete the State of the Blogging Universe Survey and check out the other posts in this series.

9) Blog Tip #2: Plan for Consistency <– State of the Blogging Universe Series -> 11) Blog Tip #4: Lead Your Niche

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

11 Responses to “Blog Tip #3: Engage with Your Readers”

  1. Good tips, and a an astute observation that relationships trump content.

    Thanks!

  2. The Lightkeeper Dec 21, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Thanks Paul, Great tips. When I began to respond back even to folks who took the time to hit the "Like" button and commented on their blog; I noticed how things seemed to finally "pop" for http://www.tnlighthouse.wordpress.com (okay, shameless self-promo-right there—did u see that? Hahaha)
    Keep it coming! God Bless
    The Lightkeeper

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 23, 2011 at 8:04 am

      Glad to hear you engaging with with your readers. It's always cool to hear other people confirm that these suggestions are not just theory or conjecture but they've made a significant impact for those who are already doing them. Keep up the good work!

  3. Hi Paul.
    Interesting post, but it's kind of the which came first dilemma…the chicken or the egg, or in this case great content or reader engagement? Well as a blogger and copywriter…without great content to draw readers to your blog…you have no conversation, thus no reader engagement. I'm not saying that your observation isn't a good one and we should always try to engage with our audience, but it doesn't happen with out content that's compelling enough to read first.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      Lew, I agree. You need good content and engagement. The main point I'm trying to convey is that broadcasting good content is not enough. Many people have a broadcast mentality when it comes to blogging, that all they need to do is create content, publish it. That rarely works without interacting with readers.

      • Paul that's absolutely correct and your point is taken. There is another problem that I've seen on blogs that I've created in the past and that's when the interaction is limited…sometimes people just want to read the posts and not get too involved with what's written on the page.

  4. we at LIGHTHOUSE EMMANUEL HOLINESS CHURCH would like to invite every one out and get involved as much as posable look forword to seeing you there

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