Most freelancers would agree on the value of building a strong network through blogging. Besides providing value through content, blogging is also very valuable by providing community.
A strong network isn’t possible without interaction. You can write the most compelling article each time, but if it doesn’t spark conversation, your blog isn’t going to cut it as a networking platform.
In this article, we will explore five ways that work quite well when it comes to increasing reader participation.
The End Is the Beginning
We have heard it time after time that the opening statement is of utmost importance. However, we tend to ignore the power of the closing statement.
The ending of each and every article on your blog is of as much importance and value as the opening statement itself. This is where you spark and energize your readers to come join and discuss in the comment section.
Your article might be the best, but if it doesn’t create the urge to participate you are losing out on valuable members that could become a part of your network. There is a beginning to each article and an end. Once you reach to the end there needs to be a new beginning — interaction.
Create an ending that is as strong as your opening statement. Ask your readers what they think, what their views are, what their opinion is and how they would challenge your opinion or idea. Make them feel they need to connect with you and share what they think.
Once you’ve written a great ending of your blog post, you may want to move on to my next tip, which is to give your readers and incentive to interact.
Give Your Readers an Incentive
By incentive, we don’t mean prizes or contests. Something as simple as a plug-in that will show their last posts is a good incentive.
When someone prepares to leave a comment and share their thoughts on your blog post, they are giving up their time for you. They are letting you know what they think and how you might have helped them through your article. Their thoughts and their time have value, maybe not a financial value, but there are other kinds of value. Show your appreciation by rewarding them for their comment.
Although I am not very big on contests, at times contests can also boost participation. Your main objective is to keep your readers engaged so they come back for more. Give them incentives, anything that you think might work.
This brings us to our next point, which discusses how to make blogging fun.
Make It Fun, Make It Worthwhile
When I first started blogging, my main formula to engage readers was through games. By games, I don’t mean like playing a video game or anything of that sort.
Rather, I created games such as “ Blogging Tips A – Z “ in which readers would leave tips on blogging starting from A to Z. On other days, I would create games that would engage readers by trying to solve a puzzle. I’d mash up a blog’s name and ask them to find the correct blog name. It was fun for me and it was fun for my readers.
Personally, I have found fun to be one of the best ways to energize readers to participate. The best aspect of it is your readers come back to see what others have to say as well.
Another important point is the blogger’s presence on the blog.
If you have children, you need to show them you care. You need to take them out to the park and do fun stuff as well. The same is true for your blog.
As I have mentioned earlier, your readers are using their time to share their thoughts by leaving a comment. You should do the same. We need to let our readers know we care and that their opinion matters. Readers want to connect to a real person, “YOU.” The way to do that is by engaging in a conversation with your readers. Use your comment section as a place to interact.
Give it a try. Take some time out and start participating in your own blog. You don’t leave your guests unattended when they visit you at your place, why do that on your blog? Show them you care and appreciate their time.
Another point is to remember to check the blogs of your readers.
We Are In It Together
You already know this — most of your readers have a blog. Our main goal in blogging is to convert our readers into subscribers, or at least get them to visit our blog first.
Your readers are no different. If you see a link tied to a commentator, click on it and pay them a visit. Read their articles and leave a comment as well. This is a great way to show appreciation. It’s a win win situation.
Have you ever seen those link exchange sites? I bet you have! They might help you rank better on search engines, but blogging is really about expanding your network. This strategy of interacting with other bloggers will help you create a strong network that will bond for a long time. Connect with your readers. Give and get … that’s the best way to make your readers participate.
Always remember, your blog is by far the best social media channel that is out there. Everything else is secondary to creating a strong personal brand.
Your Turn to Share
Do you think the above mentioned ways are effective in engaging your readers?
I love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you have any other tips on how one can transform a blog into a networking hub, share with the rest of us through your comments. With that, I will let you take over this blog post in the comments section.
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