These days, the blogging world is a very competitive industry. That’s why it is important to make yourself and your site stand out from the crowd. There are many ways to do this, but one of the best is to communicate with your blog readers!
In today’s post, we will be looking at why communication is so important and ways in which you can communicate effectively with your readers.
Why Is Communication So Important?
One of humans most unique characteristics is our ability to communicate with each other, whether it’s the sharing of ideas, information, or just social interaction. Without communication, we wouldn’t be the species that we are!
That’s all well and good in a universal scientific sense, but what about from an individual’s point of view? Why is communication so important for me and my website?
Well, as a blogger, you are choosing to communicate with the public. You are writing and publishing your opinions for the whole of the internet community to read and comment on, whatever the subject matter is. There is not a lot of difference between blogging and standing on a soap box and shouting out your opinions, just that the internet allows you to shout at more people!
But communication is not a one way thing, you need at least two people to have a conversation with. I think some bloggers forget this! You may be regularly publishing your posts, but you need other people to read and comment on your site.
You may not be talking face to face, but the cycle of – you writing, people reading & commenting, you replying back, you writing, people reading & commenting, you replying back, etc. is the form of communication that makes blogs work. Without this, you may as well not bother blogging in the first place.
I’ve said it many times before on this site, but blogging is a community! You have to work to build a community of people around your site to run it successfully. Communication is a vital part of a community life, and your blog should be no different.
How To Communicate With Your Readers
So, we talked about why communication is so important, but how do you go about it? How do you connect with your readers? Well, lets take a look.
No surprise to see this on the list, because social media is a great way to communicate and interact with your followers. This may sound obvious, but it’s a lot harder than you think. I myself am still getting to grips with this and there is still a lot that I need to learn.
Well, to start with, you need to make it easy for people to connect with you on your social media sites. This means that not only do you need to be on more than one (i.e. Facebook AND Twitter AND Google+, etc.) but you need to allow people to easily find you and connect with you. A simple way of doing this is to display links to your social media profiles on your website.
I display a Facebook ‘like’ button, Twitter ‘follow’ button and Google+ ‘follow’ & ‘+1′ button at the top of every page of my site (feel free to ‘follow’ & ‘like’ this website!) in my sidebar. This way, anybody that visits my site will see these, making it easy to click onto and become a follower/fan. I also display links to all my social media profiles in my website footer, as well as on certain pages/posts on my site, which just make it that little bit easier for people to connect with me.
However, getting people to follow you is the easy part, the hard part is keeping them as a follower in the long term. To do this, it helps to be active on your social media sites. Tweet not only about your own content, but about other relevant content that your followers might find useful. Post interesting links on your Facebook page, share posts on Google+, etc. This helps to keep people interested you as you are prepared to share other interesting and useful things, not just self promote your own content.
This process is hard work, especially when you have multiple social media profiles. I myself have struggled with this, as I have tended to concentrate more on Twitter, but I’m trying to share more content on my other sites.
Also, you should make an effort to reply to people who share your content/mention you on their own profiles. This can help to build relationships and people may be more willing to share your content if they know that they will be appreciated.
Your blog is essentially your online voice. This is how you communicate your ideas to your readers. This is why you should spend time trying to perfecting your writing style. The best writers are able to take the most boring information and make it interesting, sometimes even funny, for their readers.
Your writing style develops over time and you get better the more you write. I don’t pretend to be an amazing writer, but I do think that I have gotten much better from when I first started.
Things like; spelling & grammar, writing in the first person, active voice, story telling, using anecdotes, quotes, metaphors, etc. all help to improve your writing. But also try to ask questions within your writing, so that the reader can think about what you are writing. This can help to spark debate and people may be more open to leaving comments. Which leads me nicely into my next point…
The comment section is an important aspect of any website. This is where readers can give you feedback and express their own opinions about your articles. Not only is this a great way of seeing what sort of reaction your posts are getting, but it allows you to directly communicate with your readers.
Discounting SPAM comments, people will let you know what they think, whether good or bad. They will ask questions, ask for your opinion, add their own opinion, respond to other people’s comments, etc. All this feedback gives you the opportunity to reply to individual comments and start a discussion.
People value bloggers that communicate back with them. Think about it, wouldn’t you rather leave a comment knowing that you were going to get a reply, rather than leaving a comment on a site where you will be ignored. If you can spend the time replying to comments from people and answering their questions, those people will be more willing to re-visit your site!
I get a lot of emails from people every day in relation to my site. Whether it’s people wanting to send in a guest post to be published, contacting me to ask questions, asking for help & advice with their own website, advertising opportunities, etc. I make sure that I reply to every (legitimate) email that I get because someone has spent the time to write to me. I like answering people’s questions and helping them out, but it also helps to win people over and convert them to being regular readers. It’s the same principle as answering comments, people value bloggers that communicate with them.
Of course, this depends on how you are communicating with them. If you appear to want to help them by trying to answer all their questions, or at least point them in the right direction to where they may find what they were looking for, then they will value your feedback. If, on the other hand, you appear to be annoyed that they are wasting your time by asking daft questions, then they will go elsewhere.
Answering emails also gives you the opportunity to include a unique ‘signature’ at the bottom of every email. Many bloggers use this as an opportunity to include links to their website and social media profiles. This way, people may be more likely to ‘follow’ you because you spent the time replying to their email.
Obviously, for you to receive any emails from your readers, you need to have a ‘contact’ page on your site. This way, people can easily contact you should they need to.
Hopefully, you’ll have noticed that the underlying theme that runs throughout all these points on improving communication, is to be helpful! People like it when they are being helped, whether it’s answering peoples questions or writing a useful blog post.
If you can be helpful and interact with your website community, then they will be much more willing to come back for more and recommend you to their friends, which in turn helps to grow your website!
But what do you think? What other aspects would you say are important in communicating with your readers? Do you disagree with any of the points mentioned? Please leave your comments below and I’ll try to answer all your questions!