You started your blog and you even have a few followers. How will that translate into business for you…
First and foremost you are building your community. Your on-line customers and followers are no different than the people you deal with face-to-face. They need to be nurtured.
Secondly, you are in command of the messages that your followers will receive and you know this is a direct pipeline to them.
So two critical success factors to keep your blogging audience engaged are: consistency and relevance.
- Consistency – If you want them coming back give them a reason. Are you blogging hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. They need to understand the approximate frequency or it is just happenstance. If they come to your blog daily and you publish monthly, they will have 29 negative experiences and one positive one. If you plan to publish very sporadically then maybe use an email to notify folks that there is something new to read. This avoids disengagement. The better strategy would be to set up an editorial calendar to keep you posting regularly – even if just brief messages. Consistently and frequently are not the same thing. Maybe you only publish once a month but it is on 15th of each month. However if it is 4 times a year – don’t make it 4 times in one day then nothing for 364.
- Relevancy – The other success factor is relevance. Find out as much as possible about your target market and your real following. They may not be the same thing. One could be sub-set of the other or your followers could be several distinct groups. For example in my sportswear business I have two distinct markets – a young crowd who ride for speed and an older crowd who ride for comfort. But perhaps if only the younger crowd reads my blog, I could be totally turning them off by writing about old folks. This is where categorization of your blogs also helps to relate specific messages to certain markets.
Determine as much as possible what your readers want from you – not what you want to tell them. In the ideal world these two will marry and live happily ever after. But in the real world 50% of marriages end in divorce so you have to work at getting the fit/mix right.
A few tips to determine what content will bring your audience to your blog, and eventually make them a loyal follower (and that could be also a loyal customer, but not always):
- Check out what your competitors are writing about. You don’t necessarily want to copy them but it may give you a sense of trends and hot topics amongst a specific demographic. It may also give you an idea of topics to avoid or ideas to challenge with a different (preferably your own) perspective. These are ways that you can differentiate yourself from the others.
- Ask your readers questions and listen to their answers. Loyal followers love to give you advice.
- Ask your readers for questions. These should be answered. And dialogues are a way of engaging your audience. When you get a collection, you can create a list of FAQ and present it as a blog on to itself or make a PDF available for download on a blog post or your website.
- Every time you write a message that you want to deliver- ask yourself “is this something my customer wants to hear?” And have I written it in a clear an understandable manner or is it full of techno-speak? If you are introducing a new product ask them to tell you what they like most about the product or concept. You might be surprised!
- Be part of a larger community. Write blogs based on expertise in your industry (remember to give attribution). Ask guest bloggers to write for you. Look for synergies between your organization and others and do some cross-blogging. Look for ideas generated from the comments on your blogs or others If the topic engaged someone, then it may have relevance to a wider audience.
- As part of that larger community, write about events and activities that are not necessarily related directly to your products, company or customers – but that may be of interest to your demographic reader. For example, a tax cut that could impact them, a local sporting or charity event happening in town, or an award that someone you admire has received. Again, if you reference other websites and/or blogs give acknowledgment and/or provide links to original content.
- Post about sponsorships, social responsibility and philanthropy. It positions you as a member of that larger community. Caution: do not bore your readers with a nauseating tirade of self-congratulation.
- Write about topics that excite you and will likely excite your readers too.
Tell us your best tip for creating content that is audience-appropriate.