Best Bloggers Practices: 3 Things They Do That You Don’t

Steven14 responsesBlogging
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You probably have a blog or two bookmarked that you visit all the time. You can’t wait to see what they’re going to blog about next. If you’re smart, you’re doing more than just reading and enjoying yourself when you visit these blogs, you’re analyzing them to see what makes them tick. Why do these blogs keep pulling you back, day after day after day? And why don’t you have that same kind of loyal following? Here are three things those bloggers do that you don’t.

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They connect on a personal level

Over the years I’ve had thousands of comments on my blogs but the one that stands out in my mind the most is this: “I always forget I’m reading an article and I feel like you’re talking directly to me.” Look at the blogs you visit every day and see if they make you feel that same way.

I always tell bloggers to speak to their readers as if they were best friends, talking over a cup of coffee and some cookies. Instead of using words like “we” say “I”. Instead of using “You all” or “You guys” or “All bloggers”, use the word “YOU”.

Write like you’re having a one-on-one conversation with your best friend and use the words you’d use in every day conversation. When I’m blogging you’ll notice I use lots of contractions – because that’s how we speak. And I only use niche-specific jargon when it’s necessary, and when I do I try to include a definition.

They understand how to communicate

I’ve been disappointed more times than I can count when it comes to “How To” blog posts. Being able to do something and being able to effectively communicate the process are two different things. Again, imagine you’re trying to teach your friend. Imagine they’re sitting right there with you and they’re asking you questions. And imagine they’re starting from scratch, with no previous knowledge whatsoever.

Don’t assume your readers understand something. This may be the first time they’ve ever visited your blog. What may seem like an over-used industry term to you might be completely new to them and if you don’t explain it, they’re going to be lost, they won’t understand what you’re talking about, and they’ll never come back.

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They engage their audience

Engaging your reader has different definitions for different bloggers. I know some very well-known bloggers who never answer a single comment, they don’t respond to Tweets and they don’t even know how to get to their Facebook pages. Yet they have some of the most engaged audiences on the Internet. How do they do it?

First, they’ve learned how to connect on a personal level and they know how to communicate with their target audience. From there, it’s just a matter of using your imagination.

Some write a series of blog posts on a particular topic, which encourages readers to come back on a regular basis to get the full volume of knowledge. Some use polls or surveys. Some use Pinterest, believe it or not, because images make such an impact on readers. Some offer their content in a video format or in downloads or newsletters. And some use surprise guest bloggers, or blogging contests or blog carnivals to draw their community closer together.

Once you’ve learned how to connect on a personal level with your readers and communicate effectively so you can provide value, then more than half your battle is won. These people already like you, now all you have to do to keep them engaged is let them know you like them back.

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  1. Steven,

    So true about the importance of connecting on a personal level with your readers. Food for thought about thinking beyond responding to comments, and connecting with your target audience by knowing who they are and communicating something that resonates with them. Always interested to hear your take. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jesse. I’m always trying my best to connect with people…

  2. Susan Fox

    I think you are spot on.

    1. Thanks for the nice words Susan

  3. Agree with your points, especially “engagement”. That’s the whole point! And, before you get to the message, the look & feel is important. Your blog, for instance, is visually appealing, makes good use of color and white space. All important to draw you in.

    1. Skip, believe me, it took a lot of trial and errors before reaching this design. I like it because it’s simple and it puts the emphasis on content by making it clear and easy to read. Once your readers feel at ease on your blog, you’ve done half the job.

  4. Ronak Thakkar

    very nicely written blog post…I love the way u just make everything sound so simple..great going all the best…hoping to learn many new things from you..

    1. Thanks Ronak! I’m trying my best to explain things :)

  5. I completely agree. Engagement is almost an art. You can touch people in some ways you can’t for others, but the point is to find the way to connect most effectively with your specific audience.

    1. Sandy, I have been blogging for a very long time now, and I’m still learning new things every single day about connecting with an audience… Thanks for your comment :)

  6. Abdallah

    Great points made but I would be a bit wary of suggesting that great bloggers do not need to respond to comments on their blogs. There might be some successful example of bloggers who behave in such a way but they are the exception and not the rule. I find bloggers who respond to comments to be the ones most effective at building a community of repeat visitors as well as build relationships.

    1. I tend to agree with you that replying to all comments is a very effective way to build a community, but seeing the growth rate of my blog, at some point I will have to slow down on these replies or it will take my whole day. It’s not that I don’t want to reply, it’s just that I won’t have enough time to do so.

    2. Abdallah

      I don’t think replying to all comments is a viable option for all bloggers. I think replying to a set of comments and in the process starting a conversation adds tremendous value to the blog. Overtime, an active blog will generate its own community who in many cases carry on the conversations.

    3. Abdallah, that’s exactly what I said in my previous comment, as some point your blog will get too much traction and you simply can’t keep up with the growth and the number of comments that are posted… The good thing is that, at this time, the blog will most likely have it’s own traction and people will reply to each other in the comments.

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