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.
SUPER important. As bloggers and online business owners we have to show our trustworthiness very uniquely. It’s not always easy to show “Trust me” online, but there are ways we can do it.
Research shows we only have a few minutes to gain the trust of our customers and clients. Once they land on our website it’s up to us to help them believe in our products and services. It’s easier said than done, so I thought I’d offer a few ways we can start implementing these strategies for our business right away.
Be super honest
This is my first-and-foremost go-to strategy of all time. Seriously. If all else fails, honesty will not. You may have set yourself up as an expert in your industry, but folks can smell dishonesty from a mile away, which is why it is so important to remain true to yourself.
I know, I know- it’s difficult to see this play out in the business marketing world where it seems everyone’s credentials are over-the-top and egos are over-inflated, but there really are a segment of online marketers who believe in integrity and honesty. Make sure this is part of yourbusiness model and you’ll see great results.
Your client trust factor will go through the roof because you aren’t afraid to show your failures, your hangups, your hiccups, your uncertainties. Be approachable and relatable all the while offering great value. Which leads me to my next point…
Bring loads of value
Why do your clients love you? If the shoe were on the other foot and you were the client, why would you be interested in your own services? Do you see how you are bringing value to your clients? You can bring value in many different ways: through free information, helpful emails and follow-ups, phone calls and coaching sessions, webinars, a YouTube channel or a podcast, and of course, your blog.
Bringing value to your client will make a tremendous difference in your trust factor. They trust you because they love what you offer to them, and they trust your expertise. So don’t be afraid to bring it on!
Clients also love to know that you are stable. You’ll be there even if they don’t hear from you in a few weeks. You are around. You haven’t closed shop. You will contact them again and offer them more value. Stability means everything to your business and momentum will keep things alive and well for you.
When your clients know they can count on you to follow through on your offers or that you’ll do exactly what you said you would, they trust you even more. What’s great is you are likely to receive referrals as a result! What a great way to expand your business- by word of mouth. Stability will take you a long way.
Now, I’ll admit (in an effort to be more relatable and transparent) I haven’t always been as stable with this blog as I would have liked. I got busy and I just haven’t truly worked my blog like a business this past year. Sure, I was working on business activities and making money, but I could have done so much more with my blog…so I’m working to change that this year, and I am excited for what’s ahead!
Being a blogger means you need to find your tribe. What is a tribe? Your tribe is your network of followers: viewers, listeners, readers, that love you and what you offer. So yes, you have to know who your tribe is and get them on board with you! But, just how do you go about doing that?
Find your tribe through social networking. You’ll want to find like-minded peeps by checking in at social media groups and working those groups until you’ve gotten to know the people. I run two completely different niche blogs. So, in order to find my niche audiences I have to go where they are. For me, that results in a lot of time spent on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. I am also finding success with Pinterest and attempting to resurrect my Twitter. One of the best ways to find your tribe is to figure out where they are and go hang out with them. It’s only through socializing with your tribe that you’ll get to know them better and figure out what their needs are. This leads me to my next point:
Find your tribe by listening to them. [tweetthis]Find your tribe by listening to them.[/tweetthis]Your tribe wants to feel heard. If you spend your time where they congregate you’ll begin to hear their needs loudly and clearly. You’ll hear their complaints, their questions, their problems. You’ll figure out quickly what their needs are and get ready to serve them in a phenomenal way. You listen by congregating and connecting. Drop in and say hi to someone on Youtube and leave a comment on their video. See what folks are discussing on Instagram. What seems to be the greatest needs of your tribe as you listen to their questions on Facebook groups? Really listen to their problems and understand that you may very well have the solutions they’ve been waiting on.
Find your tribe by offering solutions.
What kinds of questions are others in your niche offering to their tribe similar to yours? Go read their blog posts to see some possible solutions based on theirs and gather some ideas for your own solutions. What can you offer to your own tribe that will solve their problems? This is what sets you apart from the others! When you have solutions to offer, you’ll begin attracting your best audience…and you will find your tribe!
Watch my list building video to understand why I believe it’s so important to get that list started if you haven’t already!
Why is it important to start your list building strategies?
You want to get your prospects coming back to your site over and over again. Repeat traffic is especially important in Google. Also, you’ll want to share your content with the same readers again and again who enjoy your offerings. If they’re on your list, you can let them know when you’ve come out with something new just for them.
Your list is your #1 asset. You can export and take this list with you to any mailing list provider, and this is your list. These are your followers, your interested subscribers. They absolutely want to hear from you because they signed up to do so. What if someone signs up just for your freebie and walks off? That’s okay, too. Count it as a loss worth the investment. You’ll have more people interested in your offerings than you will those who are just mooching off your freebies.
Lastly, in list building, you’ll want to be a solution. When building your list, remember the reason your prospects are signing up with their email. Not everyone is on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. You can’t reach everyone through social media, but you can reach your true tribe of followers when you send them a personalized email. They signed up because they needed a solution to a problem. If you offer that solution, you will be a gem to them.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. I love bringing you tips that motivate and inspire you to keep on doing you, mompreneur!
I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing Carol Dunlop, a social media strategist and web designer, on today’s podcast episode.
Who is Carol?
Carol Dunlop is a published author, web designer, graphic specialist, entrepreneur, expert blogger and social media strategist who mastered the tools of visual communication and design long before computers and the Internet became viable resources for small businesses. Drawing on over 20 years of experience working with nearly every web technology and design software, including good ‘ole pen and paper, she is able to take a simple thumbnail sketch or jumbled client notes and develop it into the creative project her client envisions. While taking a break from the web industry madness, she became her own best client for web design, development and marketing. She returned with a renewed sense of purpose and now shares her insider’s knowledge with small business owners who want to make their website a successful and profitable part of their business. Carol can frequently be seen, heard and read about in one of her numerous media appearances be it TV, radio, magazines or newspapers.
Our podcast conversation
One of her favorite quotes is by J.K. Rowling.
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
How she got started in business:
She began her journey of entrepreneurship as a Mary Kay consultant.
Working with businesses with “champagne” ideas but with no budget, she decided to move on and feed her passions through a new venture which fed into CSI.
What exactly is a social media hub?
The social media hub is essentially your website. You need a centralized place to send prospects to your great content- which is home base.
What type of website is best for an entrepreneur (free, paid, static, or blog)?
Carol recommends self-hosted Wordpress. Free is not always the best because you can’t make money with your free WordPress blog. If you’re really serious, you should set up your company site using WordPress.
So be sure to figure out your goals and how you’re going to make money with your blog.
What are the best social media platforms for businesses to use?
Carol recommends that you have your business on Facebook. With over 1.2 billion people she believes you should not neglect this platform.
She also suggests that we use Twitter. She has met many of her prospects on this platform.
Thirdly, she highly suggests that as a business, you should be on Linkedin.
Pay attention to the culture of each, get used to certain platforms, then branch out into others.
Is email marketing dying out?
No, it’s not dead- and Carol says that if you build a loyal list it doesn’t matter if you have a smaller list. Engagement is key. Definitely email marketing is still alive and kicking!
What is the best kind of information to share?
You should share the information your audience wants to know about. Use surveys, ask them questions, and find out what they need.
As an information provider you become the source for your subscribers.
How do we find the time to post at our blogs?
You don’t find time- you make it. You’ll need time to research, write about, and post what your audience wants. Carve out time and use tools such as Hootesuite to help you schedule your social media postings.
Carol’s business challenges
One of her challenges is finding the time to work within her business while helping her clients plus balancing the time to keep up her own site content. It’s a juggling act but she is able to keep her vision going and help the visions of her clients’ businesses as well.
Favorite aspects of her business and what inspires her to move forward in business
She enjoys designing! She loves what she does, and she also loves getting paid! Helping her clients be their best also helps her to be the best she can be.
How she balances her business and her personal life
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 while her husband also suffered a stroke the same year, she developed a resolve that she would not make any more excuses. She and her husband spend time together in the morning at the gym, she works, and when he returns from work they hang out together after dinner. Carol has developed a simple approach to life while living it to the fullest.
**Carol is offering a free social media marketing analysis
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jimmie Lanley and speaking with her about social media and her experiences as an entrepreneur and her appreciation of Google plus.
Who is Jimmie?
Jimmie Lanley co-owns a social media business, iHomeschool Network, that connects bloggers with each other in a supportive environment and connects bloggers to companies in mutually beneficial projects. She started 2014 with a radical decision for someone in the homeschool niche– abandoning her Facebook business page with over 10,000 likes. Instead, she and her network are investing where they see long-term results: weekly G+ Hangouts on Air, podcasting, Pinterest, and YouTube. You can connect with Jimmie on Google Plus or learn more about her professional services at jimmielanley.com.
What we talked about
We start off the show with an ice breaker. One of Jimmie’s favorite quotes is by Zig Ziglar.:
“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”
How Jimmie got started in online business. Jimmie is the mom of one teenage daughter. She got started in social media as a blogger which she believes has helped to consult with other businesses in social media.
Jimmie shares a few Google Plus nuts and bolts
Jimmie has over 44,000 followers on Google Plus! We talked about the different reasons Jimmie is attracted to this platform- including: privacy, idea-centeredness
What is Google authorship? Taking advantage of your introduction section on Google Plus+ is optimal.
We talked about some of the benefits of entrepreneurs using Google Plus.
The shelf life of Google Plus postings compared to other social media platforms.
What are Google Plus circles?
How can Google Plus help a business with online networking?
Jimmie also shares some tips on conducting and attending Google hangouts.
Jimmie shares about her business
One of Jimmie’s business challenges: work is seasonal for Jimmie’s business in a type of ‘feast or famine’ way. She also spoke about the discouraging aspect of having to convince companies of their need for her services. Through this challenge, she found that inbound marketing and content marketing has been much more helpful to her in bringing clients to her business who are already convinced that they need her services.
Jimmie’s favorite aspect of your business: she enjoys working one on one with clients. She also enjoys managing Google Plus pages for clients.
Jimmie’s inspiration that motivates and keeps her going with business is bottom line: making money. 🙂 She also has figured out a system to take care of herself and make time for her family and friends.
Words of encouragement/advice for solopreneurs: Get outside of your comfort zone, and just go for it!
If you enjoyed this episode, I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think about the show (or leave me a message in my Speakpipe!)
Hi, I’m Demetria– podcaster, blogger, mompreneur of two daughters and Navy wife. I’m passionate about blogging and helping women start an online business through blogging. To learn how to start a blog you can read my book, take my course, or get coaching. I’m here to help you!