Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I look at other blogs and see the dozens of comments posted on every blog entry. I wonder why some bloggers consistently receive 20+ comments on every blog post and I get maybe 3 or 4. It's not a matter of competitiveness. I really just want to connect with my readers in the same way they seem to. Recently, I've been studying these blogs and their authors to understand what draws readers and compels them to leave comments. Three things I've noticed are:
1. Focused material. Jody Hedlund does a fabulous job of consistently providing wonderful content for writers and authors. She is an excellent teacher, not to mention an award-winning novelist, and her advice is always spot-on. She takes topics of interest to writers and puts a spin on them, or presents them in a new way. I've also noticed she offers a lot of numbered lists, like 5 ways to do something, or 6 tips on something else, or 3 pieces of advice for such and such. This creates easy-to-understand and easy-to-implement tools that help us improve as writers. It's obvious that this type of teaching resonates with visitors, as Jody's blog followers currently tops 1,600!
2. Getting personal. If you know the name Terri Tiffany, you probably know she has an incredibly tender and sincere heart. Terri shares her testimonies, her struggles, her fears. Readers relate to her because she's real. She's not an award-winning novelist (yet), but she has several writing credits to her name, including many stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul and other anthologies. Terri talks about her writing, but she rarely offers tips and advice. Rather, she shares her own personal experience and often asks a question at the end of her blog entry, inviting readers to share their experiences, too. When Terri jumped back into blogging after taking a looong hiatus, her readers were right there to welcome her back with open arms. She has almost 500 blog followers and dozens of regular comments on every entry.
3. Interaction. The thing that perhaps draws readers in the most is regular interaction. Responding to comments, hopping over to other blogs and leaving comments of our own. I'll admit this is something I could improve on. We've all heard the phrase, "if you want a friend, you need to be a friend." The same thing is true in blogging. "If you want blog friends, you need to be a blog friend." People want to feel as though you're invested in them and truly care about getting to know them. For me, I think it's a matter of being too distracted with "stuff" I need to get done that I don't make the time to connect like I should. I do get around in the blogosphere. People may know my name. But I need to work harder at making a more personal connection.
I am currently seeking God on the direction to take regarding my blog. I'd love to provide freelancing content, but I could do that over on Examiner.com, where I'm the National Christian Writing Examiner. I'd love to continue promoting Christian fiction, but I could be doing that over on Examiner.com, where I am also the Grand Rapids Christian Fiction Examiner. I'm thinking that duplicating content is not a wise way to manage my time.
So what do I blog about? I certainly don't want every post to be about self-promotion, although I'm not above a shameless plug now and then. I'm feeling more drawn towards blogging about my personal stuff and how it ties into writing. Maybe including a scripture reflection. Perhaps I could blog about topics within my book. Mind over Madi deals with insecurity, childhood hurts, family, and going through this crazy little thing we call life. It also includes humor, which is an excellent way to sometimes deal with the crazy little issues of this life. Lots of potential there.
I will be praying about this in the next week or so and hope to come up with something concrete by December 31st. I'd love to start out the new year a little more organized and focused in the area of blogging. Maybe even have particular themes for particular days.
For now, I have a couple of questions for you.
What do you do to connect with blog visitors? And what type of content would you most like to read on my blog?