This post may seem a little out of your normal techy-straightforward-let’s-make-money-post, but stick with me, while it may not be three surefire ways to make you more money in the next three months, I think it’s just as important. And while it may not include the class words like “Google” or “adwords” or “page rank,” it will include ways to benefit your readers and therefore keep your readers.
When we blog for marketing purposes, we blog specifically because we’re seeking revenue in return. We offer something, whether that be knowledge, tips, advice, product reviews, etc. and in return, we expect our readers to, at the very least, read what we put out there and probably, perhaps, even cash in on our something. And if they aren’t cashing in on what our exact posts are about, perhaps they’ll cash in on the ads on the side, which make us money or they’ll spread some link love around. You get the picture. Bottom line, our blogs depend on our readers. Even if they do nothing else but read our blog, our blog would still cease to exist without them.
Take a mommy blogger for instance. She’s not making any money by telling you what she and her adorable little bouncing boy did for morning playtime today nor that he discovered he loves frozen yogurt at dinner last night. But, if her readers abandoned her blog, she would no longer have an outlet. She’d be missing her online friends and let’s face it, she’d probably be missing out on some big sponsor money from top companies like Bloom Highchairs who want their ads where the mommies really go.
This is what I’m saying: your readers, no matter what you blog about, deserve your love in return. They offer up their time every day to see what you had the ambition to put down on paper (or on the screen, rather). Without them, where would you really be anyway? If you wanna keep your readers, sometimes it takes more than just putting content out there. Sometimes it takes going a step further and showing some reader love. How do you do this? Well, let’s look at three easy ways for starters.
#1: Give Back
I’m starting with this one because it will take the least from you in a personal fashion, which when it comes to tech/money/blogging, is often the hardest way to love readers. Giving back is relatively easy. Giving back can be as simple as occasionally offering some reader gifts. Seek out giveaways you can pull off. See if you can get your readers (and only your readers) special promo codes to something relevant to your blog content. Maybe they get a discount on a webinar, maybe they can get 10% off a book you’ve recommended, etc. It’ll take some legwork on your part, but that’s about it. And, if it’s something you can give yourself, then it won’t even take that. I can also assure you that your readers’ gratitude will most often come back around to benefit your business again and in a greater fashion than you would have imagined. Link posts, re-tweets, blogger recommendations, etc. It all adds up.
#2: Get Personal
Sometimes your readers just want to know who you are and they want to be able to connect. Love your readers by devoting a little more of yourself and your time to them. If you aren’t avidly commenting back with your readers, start. If you’ve got some super loyal readers, make an effort to reach out to them personally. Direct comments to them. Send them personal emails thanking them for sticking with you. Give a reader something specifically, under the radar, just because that reader is dedicated. (You’ll never lose that reader, guaranteed.) If your readers have their own blogs, go get involved. Read their blogs. Comment on their blogs. Offer advice/tips/etc. if you have any that might even improve their blogs. Offer to write a post for them, or better yet, ask them to write a guest post for you. Send twitter shout-outs. If they’ve got local businesses, go “check-in.” Make personal connections and you’ll be able to show your thankfulness for reader dedication in a whole new light.
#3: Go Further
It’s easy to become complacent in blogging. Once you’ve built up a solid following who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and who seems to stick with your content as it is, the natural tendency is to just get by or get away with things as they are. But if you really love those readers, you’re going to keep going deeper, keep investing more time, keep looking for the really good stuff that’s going to help them, entertain them, teach them, benefit them. Don’t give them the generic and don’t give them the stuff that they could go find somewhere else. Because trust me, given enough time, they will. Imagine them as you do your kids or your loved family members and devote the same intensity and passion into delivering content to your readers that you would to your mother if she really needed it. That’s loving your readers.
In the end, loving your readers, while it may not seem like “monetization,” it is. Dedicated, happy, loyal readers will pay off. You’ll probably make better friends than you would from a distant blogging stance, you may learn a thing or two from them, and you’ll produce better content anyway. When it comes down to it, it’s win-win all around. So, go get busy. Go show some reader love.