How to Keep Readers on Your Blog

One of the issues I had as a newbie blogger starting out years ago was finding ways to keep readers on my blog. What I discovered in 2005 (yes- that was when I first started blogging and podcasting) is that an audience just wants to get to know the real person behind the screen.

“Who is on camera? Who is behind the microphone? Who is that behind the screen, clicking away on the keyboard? Can I trust that person to give me advice? Does that person really understand my needs?”

These are all the questions my audience was asking themselves. I found out quickly that the way to connection was through bridging the gap of distance between myself and my reader.

Here are a few tips for how I did just that and ended up with my first few thousand listeners on my very first podcast for Christian women back in 2005.

Talk to the right people

First off, it helps to know who you’re talking to so that your audience really can trust you. Who are you showing up to serve and why do you wish to serve them? Make sure you’ve really narrowed down your niche so that you have the right tribe following you.

Getting the right readers on your blog is the first step to keeping readers on your blog.

Keep great content flowing

Once you have the right readers, you’ve got to just start cranking out that awesome content. So…if you don’t like writing you might want to reconsider blogging. In order to have a successful blog you really have to like talking (and writing) about what you love.

Keep the content flowing weekly. Daily, even at first. Here’s how I would do it: first, set up a plan of action and goals for your overall blogging vision. Ask yourself: “What do I plan to accomplish in a year, 6 months from now, 3 months from now, a month from now?” Then write down your answers in a special notebook. (I like to use a planner, a fancy journal, or my goal-planning worksheets like the one below that I created just for you!)

Pick up your goals worksheet here

Next, set up a checklist that will help you accomplish all of your blogging tasks each week. Again, use your favorite goal-planning system (a paper planner, digital planner like Trello, or checklist.)

Create sticky content

Sticky content is that stuff that sticks! It’s what your visitors want to read and keeps them coming back for more. This is the awesome sauce you want on your blog.

Here are a few ideas for creating sticky content:

Podcasting and Vlogging

My first podcast was in 2005 which I created as an outlet to encourage Christian women in their faith. I needed this podcast as much as my listeners said they did, because as a new stay at home mom to a toddler it was such an inspiring and motivating activity to wake up to each morning. Podcasting became my world. I needed this outlet and reaching out to women all over the globe via my bedroom in my humble home was simply life-changing.

It was then that I learned that it didn’t take much to make a difference in the world. It just took a few things like: motivation, a touch of inspiration and a desire to help others. (I also needed to learn the tech part of podcasting which was a bit trickier back then).

Nonetheless, all I needed really was the desire to connect and to be heard. Learning to podcast gave me that opportunity to blast my message nationwide and even worldwide without ever leaving my house.

Podcasting also served as a really “sticky” connection between me and my audience because now they had a voice to pin my picture to. I wasn’t just a fly-by-the-night online character nor was I hiding behind a logo. I was a real human being with a real picture and a real voice. To the early digital world (before social media) this was huge.

Later in 2012 I began my first vlog on YouTube with a different niche: this time in homeschooling. Again, there’s just something about connecting the voice and the face with your audience and letting them into your world.

Podcasting and vlogging are likely the easiest ways to create sticky content and keep your audience coming back for more.

Internal and external linking

When you link to other posts within your blog, it does exactly what you want it to: keeps readers on your blog longer! Make sure each of your posts has internal linking built in. Always make sure you have a running list of your post topics at hand so that you can easily cross-reference and link out to other relatable posts within your blog.

I would recommend you do the same for external linking. Find credible sources to link to (other blogs in your niche, for example) and link to some of their posts related to your topic. I typically keep a running list of blogs I love and comment on with my Feedly account. By upgrading you can search your subscriptions for relevant topics which can help you to link out to specific posts.

You can also use a related posts plugin that gives your readers a chance to select from a number of different posts on your blog to read…right at the end of that post. Giving your readers options to keep reading just makes your blog even stickier.

Here’s a video on how to display the related posts plugin on your WordPress blog.

Add a CTA (Call To Action)

What action do you want your readers to take after reading your blog post? Should they download a workbook? Follow you on social media? Join your challenge group?

Always include a call to action even if it’s just to invite your reader to keep on reading.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on how to keep readers on your blog. Check out some of my recent posts:

MIH 017:How to interview niche-stars for your podcast or blog!

Listen to “017:How to interview niche-stars for your podcast or blog!” on Spreaker.

In my last post I talked about the mistakes I’ve made in interviewing guests- and I had a few mishaps along the way.  Read about them and see how you can avoid them.  Meanwhile, you might be wondering some of the steps I’ve used to find interviewees and get them on my podcast. So on this post I’ll share with you how to interview your guests- step by step.

Approach them gracefully.

Gracefulness is pleasant, and who doesn’t like to be pleasantly approached?  It’s not about hunting anyone down, it’s about finding out if you have similar audiences and if being on your show would enhance their business project.

Introduce yourself, tell them what you offer your audience, and ask if they would like to participate in a x-minute interview. And be sure to let them know the kind of interview you’ll be setting up.  Personally that means a lot to me as a mompreneur if I know in advance if I’ll be expected to interview via webcam or on the phone.  (Kids running through the house screaming during a video call is not cool.)  Help your interviewee figure out these things in advance.

Know your schedule and know it well.

Ask for their time and immediately schedule it.  In order to do that, though, you’ll need to know your own schedule.  Go ahead and plot out your times of availability for an interview and try to leave it as open as you can.  Remain flexible.  Remember you may not be in the same time zone or even in the same country.  If you want to land a great interview, you have to be willing to work with your guest’s schedule.

Prepare thorough and thoughtful interview questions to send.

Don’t surprise-attack your guest with questions they weren’t prepared for.  To avoid this, go ahead and plan out a set of interview questions to send them.  This means you’ll need to research your guest thoroughly and get to know them through their own website.  Outline questions that are meaningful and bring the best out of your guest.  Be sure to send the questions way in advance of the interview so that if they have any concerns or edits need to be made you can do that ahead of the scheduled recording.

Be on time, ready, and available for your interview.

It pays to be on time.  I think there’s no greater pet peeve of our guests than to be no-shows to our own scheduled interviews.  Due to schedule mix-ups, this has, unfortunately, happened to me before.  Not only is it embarrassing, but drains on your interviewee’s time and schedule as well as you have to work to re-schedule the interview all over again.

Make them feel at ease before, during, and after the interview.

Start with some small talk (un-recorded) and ask if they have any questions before the interview begins.  A short conversation before you launch straight into the interview always eases tensions and causes our guests to feel more relaxed.

Thank them for their time and what to expect next.

After the interview is over, let them know what to expect next.  When will the interview be posted?  Let them know when they should expect to hear from you again.  Be sure to let them know a bit in advance before the interview will be posted so they’ll work it into their social media marketing schedule.

Finally, promote, promote, promote.

You always want to make sure you set up lots of promotional social media posts.  Pin it, tweet it, announce on Facebook, and especially get the word out in your Google Plus circles.

Did this information help you?  I sure hope so.  If you’ve interviewed guests for your podcast or blog, please share a favorite interview in the comments below!

MIH 016:My biggest podcasting mistakes

Listen to “016:My biggest podcasting mistakes” on Spreaker.

I’ve been producing online radio shows and podcasts since 2005 and along the way I’ve made quite a few mistakes.  I thought if I shared some of my failures with you that it might help you to feel more confident in producing your own show- if you haven’t begun already.

We all make mistakes, and life is about living and learning.  So here are a few of my podcasting mistakes:

Not deciding on a recording platform and sticking with it.

In the beginning I started with Cool Edit Pro (now Audition which I use)- a snazzy little piece of expensive software my husband happened to have on our desktop. I learned the ropes with this but realized I needed something different for the interview piece.

So I started with free conference calling software, and eventually switched  to a few services like Talk Shoe and Blog Talk Radio. Before long I had a string of several different feed URL’s with different services, and no one really knew which feed to subscribe to in order to hear my podcast.

I learned quickly that the best solution for me was to house all of my audios in-house and connect it to my one beloved feedburner account.  This way I would never lose a subscriber again based on feed confusion. Although I said goodbye to talk Shoe and BTR, I have nothing against them- and it’s a great way to begin podcasting.  Just know that it’s in your best interest to  “own” your feed in case you stop using their services.  Feedburner has always been my go-to solution for feed ownership.  If I switch services or blogs it doesn’t affect my Feedburner which remains the same even when I don’t!  If you need more help with this, I can explain more- just shoot me a message.

Not briefing myself on how to use a recording software before I conducted an important interview.

Wow- this one cost me and my interviewee time.  And you just can’t get your time back. In the process of switching over to a new Skype-recording software I had very little time to properly brief myself on how to set the recording and save it to my desktop once the call was over.

The sad thing is- we had a great call and a wonderful interview chat!  And I lost it.  Right after I hung up with her I assumed I had saved my recording, and realized the file was nowhere to be found.  At some point, I had inadvertently clicked the huge red hang-up button thinking it was the record button right before we ever began the interview- and while my Skype was timing away just fine in the background, my recording software was doing absolutely nothing.

What happened in the end?  My interviewee was pretty understanding and was kind enough to agree to a second interview within the week, so I really lucked out on that one.  But it was a hard lesson for me, and one that I hope not to repeat again.

Lesson learned: figure out all the recording and calling kinks way before you get on a Skype call, and make sure you practice with a family member or friend ahead of time.

Being hesitant about asking for interviews.

This is one that cost me relationships I’ve been wanting to build early on but was too afraid to ask.  What I’ve found was that no matter my perceived notion of how many blog viewers I felt I needed to have in order to be “eligible” to ask for an interview, for the most part everyone I’ve asked to interview (with the exception of one person) has given me a “yes”.

Surprisingly, I’ve also had opportunities to interview well-known industry leaders within my niche without ever having to ask for the interview.  This is due to some simple strategies I’ve set in place on my blog to ensure my readers know that guest bloggers and podcast interviewees are welcome.  I’ve set an open-gate policy in order to maximize opportunities to connect.

I admit- it’s still difficult to get out there sometimes and ask for the interview- especially if you feel pretty ‘small’ online compared to the guru you’re going after, but look at it this way: it’s always a win-win situation for both of you.  You get the interview, and they get the promotion- and even if your audience is not huge there is always the growing potential your podcast has as it gains listenership over the course of a year or more.  Additionally, if you’re doing it right you could garner enough attention via your other social media outlets to make their time worthwhile.

So, at least try.  Get out there and ask for the interview.  And what if you get a “no”?  99% of the time, you won’t.  The 1% “no” is only a small percentage of your time, so you can easily move on and ask someone else.

On another post I will share how exactly to interview those stars in your niche.

So what do you think?  Would you like to begin interviewing people in your industry for your blog or podcast?

Remember, I’m only a message away.  Feel free to ask me questions and set up a 30 minute consult to see how I can be of help to you.

Using Free Audio Editing Software (Audacity)

audio editing software

I’m all about the free tools out there to get started with online marketing techniques that will help your business.  When I first started podcasting on a shoestring budget I was unable to invest in studio equipment or expensive audio editing software.  Using the free tools available to me, however, I was still able to record my podcasts.

Although I’m now using Adobe Audition, I chose Audacity in the beginning because of the options available to still professionally record and edit audios.

I made a video showing how you can easily install and begin using Audacity as your audio editing software right way.

Steps to downloading your free audio editing software

  1. Go to Audacity
  2. Download the installer
  3. Download the Lame mp3 encoder

Steps to recording in your free audio editing software (Audacity)

  1. Open the software and begin recording (click the red record button)
  2. Edit as needed
  3. Save your project
  4. Export your file as an mp3
  5. Upload to your server

That’s it!  It’s really that simple.

If you would like any help with setting up your podcast, don’t hesitate to contact me, view my podcast coaching and consulting services, and see how that I can be of help to you.

MIH 004: Four Reasons Why You Should Start Podcasting

My last podcast episode gave you 5 surefire reasons to start a podcast.

In this podcast, I’m sharing 4 more reasons why you should start podcasting.

start podcastingCapitalize on the power of audio.  

Audio is still a learning style of preference for so many people.  With nearly 70 percent of smartphone users listening to music on their phones (according to a report by Paradigm Sample), you have a wide-open opportunity for a potential audience of listeners who are only one click away from downloading your podcast- music or not.

Women are busy, and listening to something while you’re busy doing something else, like washing the dishes or driving your kids around town is an optimal way to make good use of your time.  We multitask to get things done.

(Raise your hand if you know this to be true!)  In fact, you’re probably doing something else right now while listening to this- like maybe  balancing your checkbook, or checking your email.

Let’s face it: multitasking is the key to getting so much done with so little time available.

Listening to audio is still a favorite for many people.  With the availability of audiobooks it’s never been easier to download audio to our portable mp3 devices and smartphones so that we can enjoy listening to our favorite content while on the go.

Just think: if smartphone users are prone to listen to music or news or audiobooks on their devices, it’s a pretty good guess on my part that downloading a podcast is only one step away.

You’ll encounter new opportunities and possibilities as a result of your podcast.

With a podcast, you’re more likely to be invited as a guest speaker on another podcast or other venue, speak with guest interviewees you wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to, and develop business relationships and even form lucrative contracts had it not been for your podcast.

Somehow just having a podcast puts you in a category that allows people to step back and assess your content on a deeper level.

You make more meaningful connections as your listeners engage with your voice and connect your podcast with your blog and other projects.  For this reason I think there is a certain level of respect you might ascertain as a result of owning a podcast, and many times it could lead to open doors and opportunities for your business.

Generate more leads back to your website through your podcast.

It’s no secret that Podcasts tend to rank high in Google, or at least they do  now in 2014 and I suspect it will be that way for some time. It never hurts to have content that Google loves which in turn brings more of your ideal customers to your website.

Also, never underestimate the power of audio.

As your listeners hear you mention key recommendations, they’re more likely to trust you, as opposed to someone they’ve never heard.  Not only will you generate more leads but expect leads to turn to conversions more often than not as a result of your messages via podcast.

 

Build a loyal, bigger audience.

Finally, podcasting will not only add to your audience, making it larger, but will bring you the loyal listenership that again proves beneficial for your business.  If you want customers who trust you, tap into the power of the audio message, begin a podcast, and see if that won’t make a difference for your business.

Have you begun podcasting for your business?  If not, what’s holding you back? Let me know and I’ll be glad to help you get started.

Podcasting is HOT- and it’s back!


My last blog post dealt with goal-setting.  But in this post I’m going to jump right into a topic that will help you go from setting goals to putting your online marketing strategies into action.

How podcasting helped me

Back in 2005, when I began my first podcast, I didn’t realize the full benefits of what podcasting would do for my business until months later.  I quickly woke up to the fact that podcasting was doing so much for me, such as:

  • increasing my business leads
  • gaining the loyalty and trust of my listeners
  • building my fan base, and
  • increasing my income.

I wasn’t turning back.  Podcasting was hot back then for a reason!

But…sadly, podcasting took a downward turn around 2009-ish and many devoted podcasters (myself included-having started 6 of them) decided to pull away from the podcasting scene for a while.

Thus, the death of podcasting was looming and many of us found other ways to strategize our businesses.  Instead, we turned to content marketing and video.

Podcasting is back!

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but podcasting came back with a vengeance recently- and once again, it’s HOT.

If you missed it the first time around, you can’t miss it now, because it’s even better than the original, first-generation version.

Why podcasting is better today

This time, creating a podcast has quite a few more benefits than it did circa 2005.

For one, smart phones weren’t as prevalent back then.  Nowadays everyone is downloading media to their phones and tablets.

Secondly, podcasts are not as confusing any longer. Today, nearly everyone can tell you what a podcast is. And if they can’t explain it, they at least know that there’s some content out there in audio format that they could easily download to their device, which is essentially all they need to know.

Why it’s important to you

What you need to know as a business owner is how important this aspect of online marketing can be for your strategy.  You simply have to take advantage.

All it really takes is time, and depending on how much quality you want for your shows you could start up for free and expand as your podcast grows.  But no more excuses.  You can do this! 

My next podcast episode will be about reasons podcasting is hot (and why you-the internet-based entrepreneur-need to tap into this mode of connecting, branding, and increasing your business.)

I’m leaving you with just a little taste so you’ll want to hear more on the podcast!

To your web success!

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