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Email a Blog Reader [Day 5 – 31DBBB]

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of April 2009 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Related Reading:

Update – Find out how others are doing with this task over at the forum! Day 5 – Email a Reader

Want More?

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.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. As a result of this day’s challenge I had some very nice and interesting conversations as a reward.

    This is great. Can’t wait on the next thing.

  2. Commenting on others blog are the best way to get comments on your blog. But you comment, you should make sure that you comment on the topic discussed. If your comment is a disagreement to the post, make sure that you give sufficient information to prove your disagreement.

  3. This can make a real difference. If you’re looking to monetize your blog as soon as possible, you’ll probably be frustrated with this suggestion. But, if you’re interested in making real connections with readers – I believe this is one of the best ways to do it. Thanks for the tip, Darren.

  4. I always try to respond to my comments–because I have so few. Lately I’ve been leaving comments in my favortie blogs–I figured since I was lurking then maybe others are lurking on mine. I have gotten more hits since then.

  5. now i realize the important of loyal readers. thanks a lot! =)

  6. I do this on a regular basis! I have been blogging for about one year, but don’t have a huge amount of comments. I do get some new readers now and then, though. I make a point to respond to every.single.comment. Yes, it takes time, and yes, sometimes I’m a day or two late in responding, but I always do it. And I always visit a new commenter’s blog to pay it forward, so to speak.

    I also try to find new blogs to read, and leave comments with them. I’m not looking to monetize, but I would like a larger readership.

  7. Hi Darren

    Thanks for some great advice. I co-indecently started my first WordPress blog 5 days ago and have been following your posts with excitement, but wrestling with php code at the same time. *finished at last*

    I now feel that the site finally looks and functions as I intended, so now I’m free to focus on implementing your snippets of fantastic advice to build and promote the blog.

    I’ve written a grand total of three posts. Woohoo, but at the bottom of each, I’ve pasted “I’d love to hear what you think of this article, please make a comment below.” So let’s see what effect that has.

    Looking forward to your daily emails. Thanks so much *coach*

  8. This is so absolutely true. I have a personal blog, so this is something I do ALL the time. I have a plugin so I can reply in the comment section and it also emails the person I’m responding too. If I notice someone new commenting regularly, I try to get over to their blog and leave a comment or two as well. I’ve been a bit lax this week with my commenting, so I’m going to spend a couple hours this morning visiting the blogs of my readers and leaving comments. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. Done.. Email the reader that commented on the list post that I promoted.

  10. Hi Darren

    I’m getting a much higher hit rate but very few comments – I reply to each one. So I trying out your tip and commenting on other blogs in my field – fingers crossed!

    Thanks for all this

  11. I’m running a little behind, but I tried it out yesterday… great way to build those relationships with fellow bloggers!

    A little bit can go a long way.

  12. Yet another great post!

    I find that usually getting one loyal reader a day is a lot better than getting a thousand half-hearted ones. Most of the time, the thousand will fade away, while the one will continue.

  13. Hi Darren,
    just found this 31 days project and still catching up.for the previous 4 days.
    I am new to blogging and have very few comments on my blog but I am start leaving comments on people’s blog.

  14. I’ve done this task on Day 4 as I received a comment on my blog from one of fellow 31 DBBB too (thanks so much,Darren!), and have visited her blog back and left comment as well.But I haven’t sent email to those who left some recent comments yet, I will,tomorrow! From now on I will also make sure I will response all comments on the same post they left it.

    I also love to shout back to people who sent a shout mix on my blog. And you are absolutely right,loyal readers are those who we communicate with and response back when they gave time to leave a comment on our blog. One of my loyal reader is from USA and he’s the one actually who told me about this 31 DBBB! Isn’t it great!

    On my previous post thanking Indonesia http://www.beeamazing.com/thank-you-indonesia/ as my biggest readers,I addressed my feeling about how come my own friends never bother to leave a comment on my blog, but with your Tips I’m sure I will see my blog improves day by day.

  15. I usually reply to serious comments on my blog by simply replying to the comment. And I usually look at the commenter’s blog and comment on that too.

    It’s surprising how many visitors I get from blogs that I’ve commented on – I’m still getting visitors from a blog I commented on once about a year ago!

    I’m not so sure about emails. If I get a technical enquiry I might reply via email but if I sent an email reply to a trivial comment then I might encourage a trivial correspondence which I haven’t got the time for :-(


  16. When I have commented on other blogs and the blogger has responded via email to me, it has really made me feel a personal connection and I’m a lot more likely to keep visiting that blog. So I agree with your recommendations wholeheartedly and agree that it’s important to build this into the daily discipline of blogging.

    One point I’d like to make, since I am commenting on other blogs hoping to drive traffic to my site, it frustrates me when I can’t leave my URL as part of my sign in and I have to enter it in the comment text itself. I’ve noticed this mostly on blogger sites and I’m guessing there’s a setting that the blogger can use to change this.

  17. This task was intimidating, and I just completed it today. It was nice to see so many positive responses about emailing directly and encouraging to receive permission, but I felt I needed to put some things in place first. For example, I needed a form for readers to subscribe to the monthly newsletter, and I needed to create a go-to subscription page for the RSS feeds, email subscriptions, and newsletter subscriptions. I completed that today and sent my first email. Wish me luck!

    I do respond regularly to reader comments and comment on others’ blogs, as well. I have found this to be a great tool for creating community and conversation. Thanks to everyone for all of the great feedback in the comments section. It really helped me out in crafting my email and gave me the guts to hit “Send.” I’m going to try out Brendan’s “Thank Me Later” plugin, too. You guys are fantastic, and I am really enjoying participating in this challenge.

  18. What a great idea, Darren! Simple and no-brainer, yet overlooked by so many (including me).

    I have taken the time today to visit the blogs of a couple of people who have recently become “FoLMeGs” (Friends of Learn Me Good) to thank them for their reading.

    Thanks for the idea!

  19. I like the post.
    One more thing to get the comments and loyal readership is to give away free stuff.
    Like saying that free e-book for the comments or subscription to the rss feed.
    I am currently taking this campaign on my blog for free e-book
    So if you want to grab it then comment or subscribe at http://nikhilmisal.wordpress.com

  20. Thank you for the great teaching aids, I am finding them very helpful!

    My blog is only 3 mos old – blogging daily – and so far only a few comments from friends. I reply to each of the comments with comments in the blog as well as an personal email.

    I also am DM each of the new followers I get on Twitter and Facebook with a message and an invite to check out my travel blog. So far not much activity.

    Will keep at it each day and try all of your suggestions. Thank you.

  21. It’s good to know I’ve been doing at least one thing right, since I regularly exchange emails with commenters on my blog.

  22. No one reads my blog.

    I’ll go leave comments elsewhere.

  23. In slightly more than 10 minutes I read and posted to 3 beadweavers’ blogs. We don’t seem to blog much as a group. I know there are “painting a day” blogs out there. Maybe I need to start “pair of earrings a day” blog posts.


  24. My blog is http://artquiltmaker.com/blog and it is about creativity, design and quiltmaking.

    I always try to reply to my commenters in email and on my blog in the comments section. I figure that they took the time to read and comment, the least I can do is let them know I care. I think of my blog as putting stuff out there to create a conversation.

    Confidential to Patricia C: I liked your post about what color is your Wed. You might want to check the settings of the comment function as I had a hard time commenting. I will try again.

  25. most often I reply to comments with another comment, but it defeats the purpose if the comment-er hasn’t subscribed to further comments. probably best i follow it up with an email, too.
    i also used the word ‘comment’ far too many times in this comment.

  26. This is so simple, but it works! Recently I started commenting on other blogs more frequently, and found that other bloggers had followed me back to my site! Yay!

  27. I’m still working on researching similar blogs and updating my blog based on what I’m learning, but I wanted to say that I think this is a great tip. Too often we take for granted the cumulative effect that small actions can have. Simply letting readers know you’re listening and engaging with them will draw them back and keep them commenting and asking questions. I know that as a blog reader, I’m more likely to keep coming back to (and spreading the word about) blogs where I feel like my comments are read and I’m part of a conversation rather than just a passive reader. In fact, one of the main reasons I started blogging was because I wanted to “meet” new people and hear what they had to say, too.

  28. I haven’t been rolling my eyes at anything! I love all of these great ideas…I’m so excited to be a part of this awesome challenge. Thanks again Darren!

  29. I think that’s the most important tip we talke about >> more important and more effective …

  30. This was a great excersise and a reminder on how important it is to connect with your readers. I wrote the following blog post about my experience with the task:


  31. What comment tool do you recommend using to get the email addresses of commenters? I tried JS-Kit because that seems like the one that a lot of people use, but that doesn’t seem to help me either. Any suggestions? In the meantime I’m going to reply to the comments on my blog in the actual comments part.

  32. Great tutorial for today Darren! But I think there is a wordpress plugin which when you reply your commenter, the plugin will shoot the commeter an email telling them they have a new comment replied in abc… But I’m curious why the plugin doesn’t work in my current new themes..
    So, with this plugin, we don’t have to send them email manually to remind them their comment in abc, right? :)


  33. I really can’t begin to say how helpful and encouraging these blog posts are for any new blogger. My blog is only some months old and your tips keep giving me new insight that I would have never have known otherwise.

  34. Darren,

    Your suggestion is right on and an excellent way to keep connected to the community we serve. This medium is about building connections and loyalty. Much appreciated.

  35. Darren,

    Again, I thank you for the insights you are bringing to us. I appreciate this task because it forces me to remember that the reason I want more readers is because what I offer has value.

    I have returned to Pro-blogger time and time again because you offer a great “product” but also because you come across as a “real person,” behind the content, who wants to connect with his readers.

    I have began to apply some of these suggestions more regularly, but I really like the suggestion to highlight a good comment on a subsequent post.

    Off to rinse and repeat.

  36. I have recently started answering every comment on my blog and find that it has the secondary effect of getting myself more engaged with the readers as well. I just added a “most recent comments” section to my sidebar and it’s great to see new comments everyday.

    I can see how the community build quickly by simply engaging.

    Can’t wait for the next tip!


  37. Thanks for the assignment, Darren!

    The wonderful opportunity to share love & appreciation with people around the world is the main reason I’m into online publishing.

  38. This was a fantastic reminder on why I wasn’t getting my blog readers to come back.

    I have written a blog post on it.

  39. These are great tips Darren, thanks for this.
    I am newbie to the world of blogging and community building – I am sure this approach would be great to start with.



  40. This will be an easy lesson for me because I always try to interact with my readers that leave comments. I was just sending personal emails but have recently been answering questions or comments with my comment. I can see the good in both so I will continue with both ways.

  41. This is something that I do on a regular basis! For the readers that I have engaged with, this has kept them coming back.

  42. Funny, the last comment that I had was from a post I’d written in March on this blog. I commented back to that commenter and left a comment on their blog.

  43. I had my first comments the other day so this is perfect timing.

  44. But Is it really necessary to email someone if you have already replied to their comment on your site? I suppose it’s showing even more personal attention.

    I have a few loyal readers that I fuss over, but I always thought so long as I commented on their comments it’s ok.

    Connecting with other bloggers does take up so much time, Sometimes I question whether that time is better spent researching good content…?


  45. Such an appropriate assignment today. I’d just checked my blog and found a comment from a new visitor. Checked his blog. But did NOT leave a comment on either til I read my lesson and got a kick in the pants!

    Thanks for the encouragement and motivation!


  46. I really loved this task
    I had no comments on my blog, so I went looking for someones to comment on and I came acoss anew blogger, it was great to see such writing skills.

    thanks Darren!!!

  47. I’ve been answering comments on my blog to keep the discussion going and also visit other blogs to comment on them.

    I think it’s a great idea to focus on commenting on other blogs for 10 min a day! I’ve been sporadic about that so far but I know how important it is as part of my social media marketing plan and just plain engaging with people.

    Drop by at http://coachtia.com and comment and I’ll be happy to follow back. Cheers!

  48. I decided to read each of the comments to this thread in reverse and look at each persons blog. For those blogs I felt I could comment on and add value to, I commented. I found some amazing blogs from non-famous bloggers who had zero comments to wonderful articles, after adding comments I have subscribed to their twitter and RSS feeds.

    Don’t worry if you are late to the party. Everyone in this challenge is motivated to comment on peoples blogs who comment on their blogs and more importantly “to add value” not SPAM. This is an amazing opportunity for even late starters to network and build a community.

    “If you help a lot of people get what they want you can get whatever you want”, Zig Ziglar

  49. Darren,

    I have been grappling with the problem of having lots of readers, but don’t have any comments on my blog yet. I have been using a number of means to drive traffic into my site. Obviously Twitter is responsible for the majority of the uplift in daily readership, but I have also carried out a number of measures like mail campaigns – I do like your thought about making it personal and specific, that I will adopt because past campaigns have been mass mailings.

    I will try the commenting on other people’s blogs to see if the reciprocate.

    Site: http://cio-perspectives.com/

  50. Darren: the post on related reading : Should comments be replied in comments section or via email is exactly what is going through my mind when I was doing this task.

    Just to share, I did both. I usually just replied over in the comments section but I realize some readers might not subscribe to updates of comments (including myself) I do not subscribe to follow up comments at all. So just now, I email the commentors as well. Which I think add in a pitch of personal touch. It leaves great impressions.

    I know you are someone who walks the talk as you personally replied to my email too! I was shocked and touched that such a celebrity like you bothers to answer my trivial question.

    “Action speaks volume”

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