What you will learn:
- The importance of reader retention
- How to get readers to keep coming back to your blog
- Simple strategies to create a loyal audience
As fun, fulfilling and profitable a blog can be, the unfortunate truth is, many blogs fail. But before we continue with this post, let’s define failure first. As subjective as success can be, failure is rather objective. Failure in terms of a blog has two parts to it.
One, it’s not fulfilling because your content isn’t being shared or found. You don’t have traffic, nor do you have a readership.
Two, it’s not profitable because your content is either not being found or your content has not been monetised.
The result of both of these failures make blogging horribly tiresome. So now, a blog isn’t fun, isn’t fulfilling nor is it profitable. At this point there’s little to no motivation to keep going. That’s when bloggers give up, and blogs fail.
Now that you understand the above, you can start to understand how to avoid blog failure. You need to get traffic and you need to monetise your content. Easier said than done, if you’re a new blogger that has no experience or knowledge in both areas.
That’s where this post comes in.
You can’t monetise your blog if your readers aren’t coming back again and again, that’s because most people don’t impulse buy from a blog. Impulse buy in real life, sure. Impulse buy on a big online store like Amazon, sure. But a small blog, no.
A lot of people need to visit and consume a lot of a blog’s content to do any sort of monetised behaviour. That means you need a reader to not just visit your site, but to keep coming back.
There’s a few way to do this, but every way has the same idea. You, the blogger can communicate and access your reader at any time, instead of being passive about the whole exchange.
Method 1: Social media follows
Getting your visitor to follow your social media accounts allows you to have regular communication with a reader. You can tweet several times a day, post an instagram photo every day or a facebook post and this keeps your blog fresh in the memories of your readers.
It’s a great way to build a community, because you instantly give your reader another platform to interact with you.
It’s also very effortless, a simple click of the button is all it takes most of the time.
But the downfall of social media follows is your content might not actually reach their eyes if they stop interacting with you on the social media platform. A lot of social media companies are getting more and more sophisticated with how they manipulate your feed. They won’t show you stuff that they think you don’t like.
All of this means, your access to the reader isn’t guaranteed if people aren’t active social media users, or they don’t interact with your social media content directly.
Method 2: Push notifications
Push notifications aren’t very common but it’s a simple way to access your reader’s device. I have it setup on this site where you can see a small bell icon at the bottom right corner. If this is the first time you’ve been on my site, there would be a prompt for you to receive notifications from me.
Many people prefer this because it’s less intrusive compared to social media or emails. The reader doesn’t have to give up any of their personal information to the blogger directly, but they still get to know when new content is published.
However, this method also has a big downfall. When a reader sees a notification, it is not under their control, which means a lot of the times the notifications get sent and then get ignored. The big reason for this is because your reader is most likely already preoccupied doing something else.
The person sees the notifications and they proceeds to close it and goes back to whatever they were doing prior. By the time that’s finished, they already forgot about your notification.
Your notifications become borderline spammy. (especially if you post a lot of content frequently)
Method 3: Email lists
The last method is by creating an email list. This gives you direct access to your reader’s inbox and they get to choose when to read it without forgetting about it. Your email will always be there unless they delete it immediately, in which case, that individual is mostly likely not even your target audience.
So an email is a powerful and effective way to keep your readers coming back, but like everything else, there is a big drawback.
Getting a person’s email is arguably the hardest out of all three methods. Social media such as Instagram or a facebook page is still impersonal enough for people to be happy to do. A push notification is even more impersonal, but an email is different.
Giving your email to a blog is almost like giving your number to someone. They can contact you anytime they want. Of course all email subscribers have the right to unsubscribe, but most people don’t actually do that.
The best way to overcome this is to provide a lead magnet, a.k.a a freebie. The freebie is a great way to start building an email list because it does two things.
One, it encourages the reader to subscribe and two, it reconfirms the niche of your audience. The last part is really important because there’s no use of having a huge email list if the majority of the people on the list don’t like your content. The freebie acts as a confirmation to let you know this reader is interested and invested in the topic and niche you talk about.
There’s a lot ways to keep your readers coming back and they all involve regular communication through gaining access to them. At the end of the day, a good blog is one that can create a community and a community needs various flows of communication.
New bloggers should be trying to build as many forms of communication with readers as possible but focusing on one or two. One of them being email lists because it’s the most effective at reaching the audience you want.