This is a guest post by Yolanda A. Facio.
Getting readers to your blog who stick around isn’t enough. You want them to keep coming back and you want them to tell other folks about you. Here are a few ways you can start to attract more attention and get people talking.
This is a big one because people like things to be consistent. Think about McDonald’s for a minute and you’ll realize that wherever you are you can pretty much expect the Big Mac to look and taste the same as the one you had last week in your neighborhood.
I’m not particularly big on fast food, but anytime I travel by road I stop for something to eat at a McDonald’s or Starbucks. I simply know what to expect. For the most part there will be no surprises and I like that.
Your readers want the comfort of knowing that if they come to your site they will get what is promised and get what they remember getting the last time.
Make a posting schedule and do your best to stick with it. Keep the content on topic. Show up and respond to comments. Respond to emails. Be consistent.
2. Be Bold
Once in a while, just step it up a bit. Be a little bit bold; let it hang out a bit.
I remember hanging out in a skybox at the local stadium one night watching a Mega Death concert. There were five bands playing that evening and it wasn’t until Mega Death got on stage that the crowd really went wild.
From above we could see the mosh pit forming. The whole mosh pit was moving like a hurricane, very small eye with lots of bodies fanning out, moving in a circular motion slow but steady. Looking down at the crowd I became mesmerized by this community motion and then suddenly there was one guy moving steadily through the crowd…going the other way. Spiked hair, black t-shirt, dog collar…yes, I remember. Why? He was the one guy doing something different.
While I don’t recommend going the opposite way in a mosh pit – the consequences didn’t look too comfortable – I do recommend doing something a little different. Don’t scare your readers away by one day proclaiming you have some sort of fetish; but do fight the fear and inject a little controversy or fun or something you don’t normally do.
3. Solve Problems
It isn’t enough to tell someone how great your traffic is; show me how to get more traffic. We’ve all got problems. Some are big, others small. We all want solutions; in fact we will shell out big money for solutions.
A couple of years ago I was playing general contractor and trying to get a concrete pad poured for an addition on our property. We had very detailed drawings and very specific requirements. We hired a sub-contractor to get the concrete pad done. Basically – dig, rebar, put in some forms, and pour concrete all to the measurements on the drawings.
By the fifth day I would have signed over the title to my house just to have someone get the work done right. I spent more time, myself, directing workers than the supervisor did. They sized it wrong. They missed an entire corner. They scratched their heads a lot. I was frustrated and exhausted; worse yet, I got no work done. So much for hiring a professional to get it done.
I would have paid anyone during those days if they could just solve my problem.
If your blog is designed to show and teach, then do it. Step by step, clear and simple. Concepts are great and they help people think and formulate. But greater success comes from having an actionable plan people can follow to get results. Do that and your audience will throw money at you.
4. Know Your Reader
“I want to attract people who want to learn how to build a WordPress blog.” Sounds simple. But “people” is so broad and so big it’s like trying to reach and bond with every strand of straw in a bale. However, if you take just a handful of straw and spend your time reaching just those, you’ll spend less time and less money attracting their attention.
Sure we all want to get the A-Lister’s to notice us. We want all of them to notice us but we can’t possibly resonate with all of them. John Chow is not Brian Clark. Both are bloggers but with different styles, different markets, and different products. Your readers are the same way.
It is very hard to reach them both successfully and thoroughly.
The strategy here is to separate and conquer. Look at the people who comment the most. Review the people who re-tweet your stuff the most. Who are they? Visit their blogs, Twitter pages, Facebook pages, and begin to make a profile of the people who already connect with you. How are they alike? How are they different? Then, go find some more folks just like those ones.
5. Be Clear
Read and re-read. Proof and proof. Make sure that what you are writing is clear and actionable. Every post should have direction for the reader. Maybe you want them to leave comments, then you must ask them to or ask an open-ended question. Perhaps you want them to sign up for something, put a link right next to the request, don’t expect the reader to go find the link.
Be clear. If you want the audience to act in any specific way, tell them. You must be clear at all times because it is the most effective method for getting your readers to act. If I have no idea why I’m at your site, I’ll leave without doing anything.
If you are intending to make a living with your blog, then writing great stuff without a request of your reader to take action is a negative profit proposition. If your intention is to send your great content out into the universe for nothing in return, cool. But if you want to support your family, you’ve got to ask for the action, you’ve got to be painfully clear.
Take at least 30 minutes to assess your site. Click all the links, review all the pages. Now does everything fit together? Is everything clear? Are you stepping out a bit and being just a little bold? Try to hit all the points listed above in the post. If you aren’t sure about something then ask in the comments. If it all seems overwhelming then do one item a week until you get it done!
About the author: Yolanda A. Facio specializes in showing business owners how to get the customer and skip the boring stuff. Learn how to make marketing fast and easy with her free 10 Minute Marketing Motivator at MarketingUnhinged.com.