Today’s task in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge is all about building community on your blog and making an impression upon readers by giving them some personal attention.
The task is simply to email a new reader (or more than one).
While the tip sounds simple – too simple – it is actually a technique that I used in the early days of this blog (ProBlogger) and it really helped build up reader engagement.
What I found is that when you pay personal attention to a reader it significantly increases the chances of them not only returning to your blog but also spreading the news of your blog through their network.
So look over the most recent comments left on your blog and identify a reader that you don’t recognise the details of. Shoot them a quick email thanking them for their comment.
Make sure you include a link back to your blog so they know who you are and make the email relevant to their comment (ie answer a question they asked or add to their comment in some way). You might also like to point them in the email to your RSS feed (converting them to a loyal reader). While there are some tools out there that email new comment leavers automatically for you – the more personal you can make it the better.
Two Ways to Take this Further and Make a Bigger Impression
The above technique can really be worth investing time each day into – but here are two ways that you can extend this:
1. To make an even greater impression if the person has left a link to their own blog in their comment click that link and leave a comment on their blog. Again – this is another technique that I used in their early days of my blogging and it was certainly a factor in getting the ball rolling for me in terms of building readership.
2. Another quick thing to do is to respond to the comment ON your blog. Sending the email is great on making an impression on the person themselves but leaving a comment in your own comment section shows other readers that you’re interested in engaging in conversation. It also helps build comment numbers which can build social proof and show your blog is active.
Rinse and Repeat
If you’ve got a few extra minutes today – do this with a handful of new readers – the more the better. I’d also highly recommend adding this task to your daily routine – 10-15 minutes a day on this task could make an impression on thousands of people a year.
This simple tip takes just a moment to do but can create a loyal long time reader. Do it at least once a day (or set yourself a higher target) and you’ll build your blog consistently over time.
Is this Tip Not SPECTACULAR Enough For You?
Last time I shared this tip with a fellow blogger they rolled their eyes at me and told me that they didn’t want to find just one more reader for their blog – they wanted hundreds or thousands.
This blogger failed to realize two things:
- Loyal Readers Spread the Word – I’ve found that in many cases a single reader quickly becomes numerous loyal readers because when you make an impression on people it’s likely that they’ll spread the word about you. They do this through their own blogs, word of mouth, Twitter and other social networking sites.
- Loyal Readers Build Page Views – One loyal reader can potentially view your blog hundreds (if not thousands) of times. A daily visit from that reader for a year brings an extra 365 page views to your blog. Gain an extra loyal reader every day for a full year and the numbers start to add up.
While there’s nothing wrong with attracting thousands of new readers to your blog quickly – the majority of times they’ll come and go very quickly.
Build loyal readers one by one on a daily basis and can be a lot more fruitful in the long run.
Don’t have any comments on your blog yet?
I know there are a number of very new bloggers doing this challenge that might not yet have people leaving comments on their blogs to email. If this is you – don’t worry, I have another mini task for you to do today.
Spend 10 minutes visiting other blogs on your topic and leaving relevant, helpful and genuine comments on their blogs. The more helpful your comments the better – make an impression with quality comments raises your profile and can potentially drive traffic to a blog.
- 10 Techinques to Get More Comments on Your Blog – for those who are still trying to get readers commenting.
- Should You Respond to Comments via Email or in Comments – two options for interacting with readers – both have their place.
Update – Find out how others are doing with this task over at the forum! Day 5 – Email a Reader
This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.
Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.
Well, so far I haven’t been able to do this because I haven’t got any comments on my blog. Heidi tried but enountered a problem. So we exchanged email (which means she has fulfilled this assignment – go Heidi!) but I have not. I fixed the problem but still don’t have any comments to which I can either respond or to whose writer I can send email.
I guess I will have to skip this assignment for now.
I try to respond to my comments either on my blog or via email. Although it’s pretty easy for me because most of my readers are lurkers. Not many of them comment.
I wonder how all of you feel about automated email messages that are generated when you comment on someone else’s blog? I understand that the blogger’s trying to be personal and automate tasks when and were they can but it feels like spam to me. Honestly, it’s stopped me from commenting on blogs where I know that I’ll get an impersonal “thank you for commenting, sign up for my RSS feed advertisement.”
E-mail a visitor? I’ve never thought of that.
My blog is new, so I do not have any readers, yet. I went on and completed the task for new bloggers, it was simple. So far, because of your challenge. I am able to take notes on what to do. Thank you.
I have a similar problem with The Word Seeker as my blog doesn’t have that many readers/commenters. But for those that did comment on my blog, I normally reply to their comments and if they have a blog, will also post a comment in their blogs.
“The Journey towards a better you”
I think this is a very good tip! It shows your involvement in your own blog, and shows that you are blogging for your readers, not just for the stats or the money.
I also make it a task to personally thank everyone who comments on my blog. And, as many ask for some extra or personalised information, I take the time to investigate, and reply to their questions.
this one is a bit tough as my feedburner e-mail readers and my commenters list is almost starting from scratch since this is a brand new blog.
I am more on leveraging on readers of another blog I am running to get in touch with. Will continously work on it… will surely have more to say at the end of this challenge.
I only started this blog for this challenge and don’t have many readers, old or new. And most readers – I’ve found – don’t leave comments. So it is difficult at best to work with this day’s subject.
If I had a huge following already, I probably wouldn’t have taken up the challenge. If I was already successful in driving readers to my blog, I wouldn’t need to take up this challenge. I’m left here feeling like if I don’t twitter or facebook or myspace or get into some inane networking thing that will actually take me away from writing and being productive, I don’t have much of a chance to succeed at a blog.
So, in order to succeed at blogging, I have to spend all my spare time driving people to read what would now not be worth reading because I spent all my time marketing and no time writing. This is sad.
I don’t often receive comments, however I did receive a great one from a fellow 31 DBBB participant, and it was great to shoot her a personal email, and check out her blog. I think this advice is fantastic, and I aim to do this as often as possible when comments are left.
A Unique Means To Hold Your Beans
This is a great idea to communicate between writer and readers. My Host Chart site doesn’t really have “readers” per say, but it has viewers… I will have to try to incorporate this.
I think I prefer to leave comments on my readers sites, or email them even if it’s not related to the blog. I try to respond to any comments I receive.
So simple, yet so powerful.
I’m sure this will get me some loyal readers, and if they’re already subscribers, this short email gives them a good feeling.
One of my favorite bible verses supports exactly what you are saying ” Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty” Proverbs 21:5
This applies to anything that can be built up over time. There are no short cuts. Quality relationships with folks one at a time will build numbers – but numbers that are earned. Thanks for this tip.
By the way, I had already done this through Twitter with one of my bluegrass picking friends after she referrenced my blog.
I agree – loyalty is HUGE! Readers who enjoy my blog and want to share it are the most valuable readers. Most of my followers are family and friends who are generous with input and feedback which helps me improve each day.
Great tips. I don’t get many comments on my blog, but I do have two “followers”. (thanks Sheila and Maggie May!). I’d love to get some comments from any of you!
I am a bit behind schedule on that one – but finally got to it. Untill now I have rarely sent a personal e-mail to the readers of theSkyKid.com – but at the same time I always try to address the comments they leave on the blog.
I found on a successful blog that the blogger was very active in replying the comments, it generated hundreds of comments on his simple posts. So I also do so, I do reply to comments but have not tried to email the readers, I think this will be a fun!
Secondly, a blogger left a comment on my blog with a link, I deleted that comment and tweeted him that you are spamming on my blog, so he has never returned to my blog. Now I think that I should have not done so! :(
I like this one. I write all my readers on my blog and, if they have blogs, I visit it to write too
I have to say I love this idea. I’ve been replying to most comments on my blog, especially if there is something meaningful to respond to, but I like the idea of a personal touch. This is one of those ideas where you say, why didn’t I think of that?
I have focused on my subscribers by taking their notes to me and actually answering them on the blog. This creates excitement because they are in print.
When they email me I also tend to answer them directly. Those who comment usually get my comments back at their blogs and I enjoy the exchange.
Enjoy the twist and in-depth process of this assignment even though I am a few days behind.
I’ve read in multiple places that suggest removing the ability for readers to leave comments if your not receiving any comments?
The premise behind this idea is the perception by visitors of the popularity (or unpopularity) of your blog? Do agree with this idea? Thanks in advance…
This evening another artist commented on my blog. So I emailed her and went to her blog and commented. Wow. I’m doing the exercises now!
I haven’t had a new commenter in a few days, but I’ll definitely jump on the next opportunity to initiate email contact. I reply on the blog itself to almost every comment received, and I’ll continue doing that. I need to be more active in seeking out related blogs to read and comment at. I admit I have fallen behind lately in commenting in general, even on blogs that I read daily.
Since my last contribution to this very blog, I have had 2 comments on mine.
I did e-mail a few comment leavers directly to thank them for reading. I tend to respond to comments and this generates traffic.
I have at times disagreed with some commenters, since their views seem to be different from mine on Obama (hehe).
Another thing I`ve seen which is neat for making readers feel special is the Say It Forward program at 5 Minutes for Mom. Basically, you highlight a reader . . . put their photo and a little about them with a link to their site on your blog. It`s a really neat way to thank those who take the time to comment and could be used in addition to these tips you`ve given.
I’ve been doing this a lot. I always respond to my “followers” and people who leave “comments’. What’s odd is the ones who “follow” but don’t have a profile or blog I can see, so I don’t know how to thank them, or see what their up to.
Great idea. I had a new reader comment on my list post from Day 3. I think she found me from Facebook so I’ll contact her that way. I’m so new at all of this social networking that any contact to encourage readership seems important.
Oh, my God, thank you so much! I sent one reader one e-mail, and he’s back commenting.
I am running behind on the days, but keep working on them in order as I have time!
E-mailing readers is a wonderful thing. I have done it many times and it really does build relationships between blogger and readers. I have made new friends because of it! Great advice!
This is such a great idea. I never really thought to email people who comment, but it makes sense. I just combined this with a promotion I am doing with my regular (site) list– giving my loyal readers a discount on my products (which I promote with the blog!) Thanks again Darren.
This is a great idea Darren. I have tried it several times and it worked and still works.
This is good (and it works) though it’s definitely something I’m already doing. It just takes a few minutes a day, but makes a big difference!
To me today’s exercise highlights the communal aspect of the blogosphere… Not something I’ve been exploring enough, but am going to work on. I commented on a followers’s blog today… the first time I’d done that. It seems so obvious now! Thanks again Darren.
I don’t often get new comments so when I did, I made sure I checked out her blog and commented back on hers. I replied to the statement she made and really like what I saw on her blog, so made sure I told her so. I subscribed to it as well as I found it really interesting.
I’ll definitely do this to every comment I get, it’s a really great way of starting rapport and conversation :)
My blog is really new and I wasn’t getting any comments so I set up a giveaway of a Ben 10 toy. It ran for 2 weeks and only got 2 comments so I’m thinking if I can’t get people to comment whilst offering them a prize what hope have I got expecting them to comment just for the sake of it – aagh!!! Anyway I did e-mail one of my 2 commenters today as he had won the prize. Hopefully that e-mail will be well received and I will certainly e-mail future commenters! Since starting this course I’ve been commenting on other blogs too.
I had the opportunity to guest post on a blog much bigger than mine last week, and was flooded with comments (60, compared to my usual 10).
I took about 2 hours and emailed the people who left comments, to say thanks and to encourage them to come back.
It has paid off so well. Half of the comments I get now on my blog are from new people.
Wow, that’s awesome!!!! Tyler!
I have been doing this for a couple months now and my readers and followers have both increased as a result of this personal touch.
So simple in it’s concept!
My blog is only new so I haven’t had the opportunity to build up comments yet (Although I will be waiting with baited breath for the first one to filter through ;p )
Thanks again for offering this resource!
I always respond to comments on my blog by making a further comment. Once in a while I would email someone who made a few pertinent comments and then no more comments to tell them there were more replies if they were interested, and of course to thank them for their input.
I just received a personal email from a reader wishing me happy birthday. I don’t even remember how they knew and how they got my email address. I asked him and he said that once I had emailed him and he added me to his contacts and was impressed by my personal attention.
I did this all before taking this challenge but it puts it into perspective. We got an interesting discussion going here and for this task I emailed everyone back to thank them for their input. We’ll see what happens.
I prefer to reply to every comment on the blog and if a post generates significant discussion then email early commentors to thank them and also let them know there are more comments.
I don’t focus much on my RSS feeds, but that is because of my habits. When I read RSS feeds I almost never comment. It is too burdonsome to comment. I read sites like Lifehacker and Web Worker Daily in RSS feeds just for the info. Any site I think I might comment on I go to the site.
Is there an RSS reader that allows you to comment in its own interface?
I found this approach not only to be helpful for my blog but I’ve also made some great connections with people. It has also helped inspire ideas for posts.