Maybe you think about this all of the time. Maybe you haven’t thought about this at all. Maybe you have thought about this, but you’re not sure what the answer is?
As a writer I carefully choose and arrange my words on the page, say a little “Writer’s Prayer” and hit the almighty “Publish” button…and then I wait. You know the drill. You do it too. We all do. But, how many of us actually try to figure out what more we can do to retain our existing readers while generating new ones?
The saying, “If you build it, they will come“, doesn’t really apply to us writers — especially blog writer’s who are in competition with literally millions of other blog writers. We can build and build, but if we don’t find ways to get our masterpieces in front of a lot of eyes, sadly no one comes.
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If no one comes, no one reads. If no one reads what the heck did we write for?
I know, I know…some of you write for yourselves, I get it. Most of us however, write because we want to be read. Right?
Not everybody is going to like what we write. That’s a given and that’s OK. But each of us has a core readership we have built or are building (if you are new to blogging, don’t worry it will happen). These faithful followers are the readers we can count on to consume the letters we string together, interact by way of comments, and maybe even share our work with someone else each time we publish a piece.
Having readers is great, but here are three things having a readership obligates us to do in order to keep them:
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1. Keep Each Reader Satisfied
Chances are you have readers who are diverse from one another. It would be an easy assumption that these readers have similar tastes since they after all each read your blog. This may or may not be true. Is your blog about a singular topic? Or, like my own, does your blog cater to a variety of topics? Are you paying attention to which articles have gotten the most traction (views) by dissecting your stats? Have you thought about why they did and have you since written others that compliment the ones you wrote before?
At one time, each and every one of our readers found something on our blogs that made them hit the “like” — and hopefully the “follow” or “subscribe” buttons. In other words you got their attention and they liked what you had to say. What have you done to make them like something new or even something different? Keep trying, but don’t forget to cater to what you know they liked in the first place.
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2. Keep Each Reader Loyal
Consistency and great content breed loyalty. So does your participation on their blogs (if they have one). Writer’s who post infrequently have a harder time building a readership let alone keeping them around for each successive post.
If writing and posting every day is too much or doesn’t fit into your schedule, then do so every other day or once a week. But, whatever you do, do it consistently so your readers know when to expect something new.
If your readers have their own blogs take the time to pop over and do more than hit the “like” button. Show some love and leave a relevant comment on something they have posted. Interact with their reader’s comments too if it applies.
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3. Encourage Each Reader to Share
Some bloggers will say they hate to read blogs that ask readers to “share” their posts via social media or re-blogging. I disagree. Utilizing the “share” features available on WordPress further shows a reader’s approval of your work because they find it worthy of sharing in their circles. In addition, if they too have a blog and are trying to generate more (new) readers, then they understand the importance of getting your work in front of other eyes.
Did you know that those with active social media accounts like FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest do not have a big cross-over of readers to their blog? It’s true. Social media provides new readers best when other people share your stuff. Besides, if you are using the tools yourself, you have already shared your work with your network when you posted.
What it All Means
Having a readership is an awe inspiring thing. Any writer worth their salt holds their readers dear to their heart and will bend over backwards trying to maintain their interest. When someone reads your work, they are giving you the most valuable thing they have, their time and I for one am eternally grateful.