May 12 2009

How to Create Intense Fans With Your Blog

Published by at 3:54 pm under Blogging,The Author-Audience Connection

Chris Garrett has some intuitive ideas about how to turn readers into intense fans that will spread your message and convince other people to check out your material.  I agree that this is a very important goal, but his suggestions are very skeletal.

  1. Provide value and delight your audience.
  2. All of your posts and interactions with readers should be professional.
  3. Be genuine, approachable and friendly.
  4. Let your readers know that you appreciate and value them.

Except for #1 (which is too vague to be useful), these focus more on how to treat your fans than how to create content for them.  So how do we create content that will attract and build enthusiastic fans?  Here are some ideas.

1.  Be indispensable. It’s much, much harder to inspire intense loyalty if there are already ten or twenty great sites that do what you do.

2.  Fill a specific niche that meets a goal of your readers. Strangers don’t want to read your aimless, personal musings.  This is why diary-style websites tend to suck.  Please focus on meeting a reader goal, because that will give readers a reason to find you and come back.  For example, you probably found this website because you went to a search engine and tried some variation on “how to write a superhero story” or “how to market a book with a blog.”  In contrast, no one will go to Google and search for “B. Mac’s random observations about life.”

3.  Make your readers feel like part of your team. For example, most of my writing articles are inspired by a question from my readers.  That works out well for everyone; I get ideas to launch new articles, and my readers get content that is well-tailored to their interests.  It also strengthens the author-reader relationship.

4.  Be consistent. Try to post at least once every other day, ideally once a day.  Your super-dedicated readers will want to come back every day, so it’s best to have something new in store.  Depending on your niche, that could be a new piece of advice, a new observation about writing, a new chapter (or even just a page) of your work, etc.

5.  Keep your grammar and spelling clean. Nothing says “I’m worth reading” like careful writing.

6.  It might be helpful to provide some personal details about yourself… but please stay away from anything that readers will find weird or irrelevant.  This depends on your target audience.  If you’re doing a diet blog, then your readers will probably care about your struggles with your weight and body-image.  That’s something they can really relate to!  In contrast, if you’re doing a writing blog, your weight probably isn’t relevant to your audience.  “What is this, Oprah?”

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “How to Create Intense Fans With Your Blog”

  1. Mr. USAon 12 May 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Is the Web Animation category of blog indispensable?

  2. B. Macon 12 May 2009 at 9:47 pm

    I did a Google search for web animation and got 24 million hits. There’s probably a lot of quality competition out there. What’s your angle? For example, I think “how to do Flash [or another kind of web animation]” would be an effective concept. If you’re looking for something more general, perhaps “how to do web animation” would work.

  3. Mr. USAon 13 May 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I have a web animation that updates via blog. What of that?

  4. B. Macon 13 May 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I don’t think I understand. Is your site up yet? Can you show it to me?

  5. Mr. USAon 13 May 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Where I make videos, and then post them, on a blog. And the site is still under construction, but I will give you a link when I’m finished with the construction. Thanks B. Mac! 😉

  6. B. Macon 13 May 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Ok. In that case, I figure that your website will probably be more of a comedy (or maybe a drama) site than a how-to site. If the movies are primarily meant to be funny, please be warned that your competition is very strong. Youtube, CollegeHumor, the Onion and Saturday Night Live are very good at what they do.

  7. Asayaon 13 May 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I have finally kick started my blog, haha! It’s basically about writing and drawing on angels, demons, spiritual warfare and stuff that would be considered ‘supernatural fiction’, I think.

    But aside from that, how crucial is SEO to a person’s blog and how do I do it? I’m having trouble finding my own blog on a search engine, and that’s kinda scary….

  8. B. Macon 13 May 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Search engine optimization is pretty important, but I wouldn’t expect immediate results. It took us about half a year to place high for “superhero novel,” and superhero novel frankly isn’t that competitive. We’re still around #50 on Google for “superhero,” and that’s in our title and URL!

    My main recommendation is that you try to use popular search-terms regularly, particularly in article titles. We place very high on searches that include the word “superhero” and “novel” because we use those words so often. In your niche, I would imagine that the most popular kind of search query would be something like “supernatural fiction” or “writing paranormal fiction” or maybe “ghost stories.” In time, Google Analytics will give you better information about what searches lead people to your website.

    Another important SEO factor is the age of your website. Websites that are a year old tend to place substantially better. It took me about 10 months to beat Time Magazine for a search on “Superhero Nation.” Ick!

    Finally, if you have any friends with blogs, I would ask them to throw you a link that includes some of the search terms you want to place on. For example, “Asaya just started a blog about how to write supernatural fiction. I’ve already learned a lot about how to make ghosts, demons and angels work!” or something similar. If you have links, Google will regard you as a more authoritative website.

    However! At most websites, links within comments will not affect your Google standing.

  9. Asayaon 13 May 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Alright, thanks a ton B.Mac.

  10. B. Macon 14 May 2009 at 1:26 am

    Ooh, also. If you have any particularly important search terms, I’d recommend including them in your title. If the search term is *extremely* important, you might also want to include it in your URL. For example, most of the people that come to our site include the word “superhero” in their search, so we include “superhero” in our title and URL. That helps us place higher for searches related to superheroes.

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