Guess. What. The fantabulous Alyssa agreed to share a few of her thoughts for #FanMonth—and, as always, she will entertain and educate you, today on recurring readers. So, without further ado, Ms. Alyssa. Enjoy!
Hi, I'm Alyssa from The Devil Orders Takeout, and I'm thrilled to deliver my take(out) on recurring readers here on Heather's blog!
The other day, I posted about #Followception, in which you follow like-minded people in hopes of building relationships with them. But this method would be very time-consuming in the long run; imagine spending one hour, two hours a day following people, RTing them, congratulating them, etc., but not putting out any content.
So why not merge the two? Produce content that engages others. And if you do this on a consistent basis, not only will people be paying attention to your pretty profile picture, they'll also look forward to reading your blog posts. And those, ladies and gentlemen and otherwise, are recurring readers.
But why are recurring readers important? If you're bent on world domination, you need mooks and minions to carry out your bidding and cheer you on. For less ambitious types, a fan community can still cheer you on. Imagine if you wrote an awesome blog post and twenty people commented on it. But then you wrote a less-awesome blog post, and none of them returned. So you have to write equally awesome blog posts every single time.
Recurring readers are like recurring revenue, a term in marketing which means "earning money while not doing stuff." Not kidding. If you can bribe your minions well enough, they'll subscribe to your blog and read all your posts, awesome or not. And now, let's resort to Heather's favourite: LISTS.
1. Reply to your comments, and comment back if possible.
Commenting back is another way of showing your gratitude to your readers. This can get overwhelming, but it guarantees that the other person knows you appreciated their comment. And because you're a nice person commenting back with no agenda whatsoever, they're more likely to follow you. Because we are nice people. *nods*
2. Cater to their interests. Don't waste those comments.All right, you reply to comments and you comment back. You actually feel like people are listening to you. But what are you going to say?
Chances are, those very comments will show who's in your demographic. If a lot of book bloggers are reading your blog, then probably they're interested in readerly content. Write a post about a book haul and gauge their reaction. Maybe they like cheesecake more than chocolate, for some strange reason.
Sometimes, your readers might actually ask for more or a specific post on a related topic. Those are golden opportunities. Write that post. Link to them. Tell them you've written it. Not only do you seem much nicer (one closer step to PR and world domination!), you automatically gain one reader's respect and gratitude. It's happened before: I asked Topaz about marketing, which prompted #Followception, which prompted this post.
3. Actively blog hunt.None of the above methods will work effectively if you just sit at your desk, post random things, and stare at your blog stats. You need to write interesting content, and you need to learn how to reply to comments, and you need to know who might become your recurring readers. This is the most time-consuming part, but also the easiest. Just find a few bloggers you really admire—I'm not going to lie, Heather was one for me—and read their posts. Observe how they interact with their readers. You'll learn something from them: something good, something bad, or even a bit of both.
After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I will remember that when you try to steal my throne.
Takeout: be valuable, and others will value you.Recurring readers aren't just a statistic. You can't point at a pageview or a subscriber and say: That's it, that one's a recurring reader. But when you smile at a commenter's name, or you predict what they will say, and somehow, they're more than words on your computer: that's a recurring reader.
@AlyssaC_HK) is a high school student in Hong Kong. She doesn't have a day job, but at night she breathes ink and paper and Kindle. In between bouts of writing, she dabbles with laboratory bacteria and blogs at RandomMorbidInsanity.