Beyond Giveaways: 4 Unexpected Ways to Engage Your Readers

shutterstock_106824347Many digital marketing programs focus on acquiring brand advocates, and for good reason. The average social customer has 130 Facebook friends, so even a single social media mention can carry significant reach.  Studies have shown that brand advocates are 83% more likely to share information than the average internet user, and that 54% of advocates view information-sharing as a form of relaxation. As a blogger, gaining a devoted readership and turning those readers into advocates is a crucial component to gaining traction with your personal brand and blog. And, one of the best ways to build enthusiasm, interest and loyal readers is to directly engage with your audience in ways that make them feel seen, valued and appreciated.

Traditionally, many blogs have relied on the idea of a product giveaway to entice readers to leave comments, drive social mentions and drive new traffic. However, giveaways, while a great way to build relationships with willing brands and give your readers a few new goodies, can also result in “give-away seeker” traffic that may not bring you the kind of target audience you are looking for, the kind that sticks around when there isn't something to win. So, what are the other options?

Reader Spotlight

Why not dedicate a corner of your blog to highlighting your amazing readers? Whether you request outfit photos, “what's in your purse,” favorite fashion memories, or do a full-blown Q&A-style interview, creating space where you celebrate your readers not only give you great content, but you can promote this content through social media and your featured reader will do the same across her networks. How can you involve your readers in your blog content?

In-Person Events

Even though you likely have blog readers from all over the world, why not schedule a monthly meet-up with blog readers in your local area. You can go thrift-store shopping, have a picnic, or check out a new boutique opening. By giving your readers the chance to connect with you in-person, you provide an element of access and connection that is rare, and always welcome. If you are a world-traveler, set up coffee dates with readers in that area. Is there an upcoming event you could invite your readers to attend?

Virtual Hangouts

In addition to in-person events, a recurring open forum using Google Hangouts, Spreecast or a free conference call is a great way to answer reader questions, share your latest news, and allow your readers to get to know one another a bit better. From the comfort of your own home, you can break the barrier between the written word and virtual connection to build rapport and learn what's on your readers' minds. How might you set up and structure a virtual event?

Thank You Notes

Each time you receive a particularly kind comment or social mention, reach out via email with a heartfelt thank you. Going above and beyond will surprise and delight the recipient, and is a great way to cement a loyal reader. Much in the way that you leave blog comments and write notes to those you admire, and equally effective strategy is to communicate your gratitude to those who do the same for you. Who are three people who would love to get a note from you?

Advocates for your blog are not only interested in building a stronger connection with you, they enjoy being helpful and introducing others to their favorite blogs. Give them the opportunity to do so by providing multiple ways to help spread the word about your blog while soliciting their opinions and experiences and integrating them into your content and promotional strategy.

How do you build relationships with your audience?

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

 

 

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13 Responses

  1. Venussmileygal

    After reading about the readers spotlight I stop reading and went to my blog and add recent comment widget. And then I return ofcourse to read the rest of the tips. 🙂 This is so useful. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Jodie Marie Davey

    Love these tips! They have given me back the enthusiasm to reengage with my readers more,I’ve been seriously neglecting them 🙂

    Reply
  3. Joy

    this is useful, i think you people must be personally writing this blog for me cause every time I am having issues on a topic you write about it…. thank you!!!
    lovejoystyles.blogspot.com

    Reply
  4. John Smith

    As reader are prominent part of blog , we must take care of our reader by interacting with them to get their view on different aspect of a blog, but it is very difficult to find a right way to interact with our reader. This post has given various way interact with your reader with explaining the right way to approach our reader.

    Reply
  5. CynthiaCM

    I tried events a couple of times. The first one had mediocre results while the second one was an EPIC FAIL. I had no idea that there was a product launch from a high profile brand that same night and by the time their PR sent me an invite, it was too late to cancel/move mine. Thus, my event was a complete waste of money 🙁

    Reply
  6. Johanna

    Thank you for the amazing ideas to make readers feel loved, definitely trying some of these! ♥

    Reply
  7. Lydia

    This is really good. These tips are really helpful in helping me take my blog to the next level. Keep them coming! 🙂

    Lydia
    doubleescapades.blogspot.com
    Malaysia

    Reply
  8. Kayte

    Loved hearing that other people are trying to engage readers without just giveaways as well. I host a photograph something weekend challenge and feature my readers on the blog every Monday! It’s always exciting to see what they have been up to over the weekend and I know that my other followers enjoy seeing their pictures.

    Feel free to enter this weekend by visiting massmusingsblog.blogspot.com

    Best,

    Kayte 🙂

    Reply