All bloggers want a couple of things: traffic and revenue. This is a given. The one thing that leads to both of these benefits is what we non-SEO-obsessed writers like to call “readers.” (Yes, they are more than just numbers. Contrary to popular belief). You see on Google Analytics that a ton of people are, in fact, reading your articles, and one or two are sharing and commenting. But, usually, you login to your WordPress and just see that Akismet has captured a bunch of spam comments with links to male enhancement products. Then, you feel like your blog isn’t touching real people, since your readers aren’t saying anything to you!
Well, I feel like I have some information that I can provide on the topic of getting more reader interaction on your blog. Until very recently, my personal blog on geek culture had been seeing a major lack of reader interaction. No real comments, and very scarce sharing on mediums like Facebook and Twitter. Less than two weeks ago, I saw a huge spike in Facebook shares, Tweets, legitimate comments, and the amount of people looking at more than two pages. I am no expert on this subject, as I am just beginning to see this kind of interaction, but I know what factor was the catalyst in this spike of reader interaction, and I think you can learn something from my story.
So, What Happened?
Recently I wrote a post on how you can get quality writers blogging for your site in just a day. This post was spurred by the fact that I had recently gone onto the Problogger Jobs Board and posted a job for my site on which I was willing to pay $10 per post with a 300 word minimum. One of the things that I stressed on the advertisement was that I needed to have people that were truly “geeky,” and not just content writers who claim to be able to write about any subject. (Just a side note – avoid these types of writers. You want specialized guest bloggers who really know exactly what they’re talking about).
What does this job offer have to do with that spike in reader interaction I mentioned earlier? Well, the jump was a direct result of the posts that I was getting not from the paid writers that I had chosen, but from the writers that I had rejected.
You see, when I put that job offer on the board, I got over a hundred applicants, many of which were qualified. I don’t make a ton of money on my blog as it is, so I offered to just pay $100 per month total to writers, and am currently receiving ten posts per month, each at $10. I distributed these posts to five different writers. So, what did I do with the other hundred or so? Sent them a nice form email, of course, but with two important aspects.
One, I said “thanks for applying,” and attributed their rejection not to their skills, but to the fact that I was overwhelmed with emails. Also, I added that I would keep their name on file in case a job opened up. These statements put you and that person on a good path, and they will be more likely to respond to the second part of the email, in which I invited them to write a guest post.
The Importance Of Connecting With Your Audience
All of the applicants I received were undoubtedly “geeky,” in fact, some of them happened to be readers who had seen my job ad. Some of the people I rejected were not professional writers – just geeks with a passion for talking about being geeky. It turns out that these articles resonated extremely well with my readers, since they identify more with these people than with real writers. And that, my friends, is how you can really see a spike in reader interaction.
Of course, it’s important to be a good writer. People get ticked when there are tons of spelling and punctuation errors in a post, or when they have to read it twice to understand what you’re saying.
But, if you’re just a writer, and you don’t really connect with the topic you’re writing about and the audience you’re writing to, you won’t see much of a push from your readers.
Take Darren Rowse for example – he is a great writer, but the real reason people love his articles is because he has gone through what they have gone through – he has had the same experiences. This has two implications: he knows what he’s doing, and readers can connect with him. If you can write articles that do both of these things, or can find writers that can accomplish these tasks, then you will definitely see a jump in reader interaction.
Sometime, step back from the article that you’re writing and remember that you’re not writing for Google bots. You’re writing for real people, so don’t be afraid to act like it! Add anecdotes, personal experiences, your name, and other things like this! Make a connection with your readers! This should be easy to do, since they’re interested in the same things you are, and you are like-minded! Go for it, and increase reader interaction on your blog!
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Hi Jack, what a cool observation. I get a ton of requests for guest post and I have my own set of rules and requirements. But there are times when I read a post and just throw caution to the wind and post it. I’m really surprised to see how well they go over with my audience. Thanks for the encouragement. Nicely done.