It wasn’t that long ago that blogs were little diaries of someone’s unique experiences and observations. While tons of that type of blog still exist, blogs are now recognized more as legitimate business communications tools. When you have something to say—particularly to one or more targeted audience segments—your blog becomes your voice. Your sounding board. Your platform. Your soapbox.
Reader retention depends on some simple, yet critical factors. Here are eight to consider.
1. Know your audience, and create for that audience. This basic rule of marketing (and business, and communications) is just as true here. Your readers will have the best experience if they get what they expect. If they come to you for advice on cooking, make sure your blog is heavy on cooking. You can occasionally have an observation in another direction. Just make sure it is occasional!
2. Consistency over brilliance. The morning newspaper. Network television news. Talk radio shows. Magazines. They have schedules, and they maintain them. And while readership/viewership is waning for all, they established the expectation that still exists: If you have something to say, you will say it regularly. Your blog is the same. For users to return to (and recommend) your blog, you must write consistently.
3. Mix short with long. The good news is that every entry doesn’t have to be a treatise. Sometimes—many times—entries can be short. If you have a lot to say, write a lot. But there are times when one thought is enough. Seth Godin knows this well.
4. Curation is the sincerest form of blog flattery. One of the great things about a blog is that a post is a post. Whether it’s your original thinking, or something you read and agree with, your readers get it from you. Scour the landscape and find content that matches what your audience is looking for. Then use it. See No. 3 at Social Media Examiner.
5. Give credit where credit is due. Curating is not creating. If you use an entire post, provide a link. If you use a line, provide the link to that post, or a link to the source blog.
6. Encourage sharing. Although there will always be a place for copyrighted material, much of what you do will not monetize (directly). So encourage your users to share your content. In today’s economy, reach is far more important than proprietorship.
7. Categorize with zeal. Create categories, and categorize each post. This will do three things. First, it will allow you to expand the breadth of what you write about. Second, it could improve your blog’s SEO performance. Third, and more importantly, it will allow your users to find what most interests them. Make it easy!
8. Invite comments. Conversations are currency in today’s marketplace. Start a conversation and you have the opportunity for engagement. Engage, and you have the opportunity for success.