Just a few short years ago, blogs were just an online version of personal journals. People used them to share their feelings with friends, family members, and even total strangers. Someone saw the potential for using blogs to build business relationships and immediately set out to turn blogging into a valuable business tool. Now, it’s rare to visit a business website that does not have a blog or some other form of customer interaction. When you start a business blog, it is important to keep your customers in mind every step of the way. This guide will help you build a loyal blog audience right from the beginning so you do not have to struggle to recover from serious blogging mistakes.
- Listen to Readers
- Special Promotions
- Get Readers Talking
- Solve Reader Problems
- Pay Attention to Post Layout
- Details Matter
One of the best ways to build a loyal following is to listen to what your readers want. If several people ask for a new feature or ask you to answer questions regarding a previous post, it is a good idea to consider these requests. Blogging is a great way to interact with your readers, but you need to listen to them to keep them willing to interact with you.
Contests and promotions are an easy and inexpensive way to increase reader loyalty. People like to be rewarded for visiting your blog consistently and participating in comment discussions. You do not have to spend a lot of money on prizes to run a successful contest. If you run a book-related blog, offer a free copy of an inexpensive book to the winner. The prize can be something as simple as a free t-shirt or a free handbag. You can pick a winner in one of several ways. The most unbiased method is to use a random number generator. You enter a number range and the generator returns a random number within that range. Match up the number with the numbers in your comment section and give the lucky commenter the prize. Some business bloggers select prize winners based on essay entries or reader votes. Whatever you do, keep the contest fair and transparent so that you gain the trust of your readers.
When you talk down to readers and act like they have nothing important to contribute, they really have no reason to keep reading your blog. There are thousands of blogs out there, so these readers can go elsewhere for their content. Talk to readers in a conversational tone and welcome their comments and opinions. When you can show readers that you value their opinion, they will have a better reason to value the information you provide.
One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make is trying to sell something in every single post. If you have ever read a blog post and immediately noticed that the writer was trying to sell something instead of trying to provide information, then you know how this can make people feel. Instead of focusing on sales, use your blog to solve your readers’ problems. Answer reader questions or give advice about issues in your particular niche. This will make your blog a valuable resource.
Readers do not want to read through a wall of text. Use special formatting and design elements to break up the content and make it easier to read. Bold headings, bulleted lists, graphs, charts, and photos all serve to make it easy for your readers to digest your information. Avoid distracting advertisements, as they pull attention away from your posts and may annoy readers to the point that they never return to your blog.
When you write for a personal blog, you do not have to worry too much about formal grammar and formatting. When you want to use a blog for business, however, you have to present yourself in the best possible light. Make sure you spell words properly and use proper grammar in all of your posts. Avoid using jargon that makes your posts difficult to read. Proofread your posts carefully before hitting the publish button so that you do not make embarrassing errors. If you make the wrong kind of error, you could lose some of your readers forever.