Monday, May 5, 2008

How to Engaging Readers

Blog Content Ideas

If you are blogging for a purpose it is not enough just to attract attention, we need things to happen as a consequence. That means at least providing the right content to the right people.

As I have said many times before, while many people are looking for “traffic”, you can often be more successful with a smaller audience.

One of the challenges we face when launching a new blog is what our theme or subject should be. What will attract a good audience for what we have to offer?

The simple answer is to follow the diagram at the top of this page

  1. Find out what readers want to know
  2. Narrow it down to what you can credibly provide
  3. Provide it
  4. ??
  5. Profit

It can be that simple, but to be truly successful, and to really stand out from the crowd, and actually achieve the goals you set out, you need to do more.

What is that missing element? Engagement.

What is Engagement?

I was going to say “not in the marriage sense” but actually that’s not a bad way of looking at it. You want your audience to stay with you in a relationship for the long haul, not be casual here today gone tomorrow flings!

Most blogs, in fact most websites, have that hit-and-bounce-away effect. We need to create an environment where people want to stay around.

Attract attention, employ occupy (person, powers, thought). Emotional involvement or commitment
– Oxford Illustrated Dictionary.

the act of sharing in the activities of a group; “the teacher tried to increase his students’ engagement in class activities”

Engagement is simply the elements of your blog that cause readers to be more involved:

  1. Motivation - Rather than talk to “interest”, can you answer a real need?
  2. Attraction - While traffic isn’t the only answer of course it is part of the mix
  3. Incentive - What do the visitors expect to receive in return for giving you that attention?
  4. Encouragement - How well do you get your readers involved?
  5. Interaction - Is the blog a two-way discussion or a one person soap box?
  6. Value - Are you providing real and original value?
  7. Community - Do people feel a part of something?
  8. Loyalty - Is there a willingness to return repeatedly or even bring friends?
  9. Connection - How much of a connection do people feel with you?
  10. Experience - Most important, is frequenting your blog a positive and rewarding experience?

If you can answer all of those ten points positively and confidently you are onto a winner. Otherwise you need to work on developing your blog into a better culture. Blog culture begins with you and it requires you to be

  • Present
  • Involved
  • Interested
  • Open

It’s about putting yourself into your blog and not seeing it purely as a cash delivery device but as a way to interact with your audience and provide them with what you promise. It’s about valuing and respecting your reader.

When you succeed in creating a valuable, interactive, welcoming resource that meets your readers real needs that is when you create an engaged and loyal community.

source : chrisg