Do you speak to your readers? Do you listen to what they want? Do you believe that reader engagement matters for you as a blogger?
Blogging is something I love with a passion. It’s one thing I consciously make time for, or at least try to, every week. With a personal blog as well as a Medium blog to manage, things can get a little out of hand if I’m not conscious about my time investment. So I try to keep my expectations realistic and my goals simple.
Here are some easy ways I work on increasing reader engagement on my blog and how they help me.
Maintain a Blogging Schedule
Wait, how is this going to help reader engagement? Sure, it’s going to help the blogger. You’d be surprised how the two are interlinked. Since I have 2 blogs, I try to space out my posts accordingly. I try to blog at least once a week on Medium and once a week on my main blog.
So how does this help with engagement? Readers are now aware of my schedule and can anticipate when I’ll publish what. This sense of familiarity helps tremendously, where the blogger is concerned. Readers come back to check if the blog’s been updated and every time, I can be assured of thoughtful, relevant comments or shares on my posts.
Write quality content
This one seems like a no-brainer, because yes we all want to write killer posts. However, I do find that people tend to write on instinct, dash off the post in a hurry and sit back, grinning. I’ve got nothing against this, mind you. It’s perfect to write that way. The only problem is sometimes, the posts have typos, grammatical errors leap out at me and the content seems very half-hearted, almost as if the person put together something for the sake of it.
Readers are smart. They can smell bad content a mile away. They’ll know if you’ve managed to put thought into a post or carelessly slapped together something at the last minute. This hurts your readership more than you know.
Converse with your readers
This is probably the most important thing, I find. You need to allow for open and engaging conversation on your posts. Let people comment and listen, really listen to what they’re saying.
In case you don’t have comments enabled on your posts, invite them to engage with you over email or social media, if you have an active presence there.
Ask a question at the end of your post
Depending on the nature of your post, of course, this is a valuable tool. After you’ve made your point on a topic, ask a question inviting your readers to share their own thoughts and experiences. What this does is put control in the reader’s hands. They will want to engage in a meaningful manner
Respond to comments/emails
Since I don’t have comments on my WordPress posts, I make it a point to reply personally to every single person who emails me.
It’s true. I reply to all emails and I used to reply to all of my comments when I had them turned on. It’s the one thing that kept my readers completely tuned in with me, the person.
Out of the 15–30 people who comment on a post, perhaps 2 or 3 will come back to see if you’ve left a reply. Trust me, you don’t want to disappoint them. It’s your way of saying, ‘Hey, I care about what you said and I thank you for this.’
On Medium? I respond to every single comment. Really :)
Use Social Media as a Person
People enjoy what you write. Let them know the person behind the blog. Having multiple social media handles is a waste if you’re not leveraging the power of that medium, to be honest.
Not every update or tweet can be about what you wrote on your blogs or what book you’ve published! Streams of retweets and automated posts put me off too. Be kind, motivate others, share in their joy. In short, be human. Nobody likes a robot and a self-promotional robot is the worst of them all!
I enjoy blogging. Wait, I’ve said that already. But, yes, I really do. It’s the connections that make it worthwhile for me. It’s not just about saying things out loud and leaving it in the void for people to find. It’s about so much more.
Originally published at https://www.shailajav.in on March 6, 2016.