How to Pay Special Attention to a Reader

Today’s episode is about how to deepen engagement and interaction with your readers by making at least one reader feel a little bit special and loved. Paying readers a bit of extra attention is a great way to grow your community.

In this Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). Today we talk about:

  • Three powerful benefits paying special attention to a reader can bring to your readers, your blog, and to you personally
  • Real-life examples of how other bloggers are doing this well
  • Nine different ways you could pay special attention to a reader and make them feel famous

Further Resources on How to Pay Special Attention to a Reader

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
It’s day 22 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog and the 22nd episode of the ProBlogger Podcast. Welcome. My name is Darren Rowse. Today, we are going to spend a little bit of time paying some special attention to one or maybe a few of your readers. We’re going to give them some love. This is a great day of building engagement and community on your blog. You can find today’s show notes at where you also have the opportunity to share with us your reaction to today’s podcast episode.

Hi, this is Darren from ProBlogger and welcome to day 22 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Today is all about your reader and paying them a little bit of extra attention. In the early days of ProBlogger, I used to give two pieces of advice quite regularly. In fact, I probably gave them too much, but they were catchphrases for me. One of them was to make your readers famous. The other one was love your readers to death. Both of these really were about the same thing, about deepening engagement and interaction with your readers in some way or another. Today, your challenge is to do just that or (at the very least) make one of your readers feel a little bit special, a little bit loved.

On day five of our 31-day challenge, we did this by emailing a reader. Today, I want you to take it a step further and publicly pay attention to one of your readers. Day five is all about shooting them a private note, something that was in private completely just between you and them. Today, I want to challenge you to pay attention to one of your readers in a public way.

This has three main benefits. Firstly, it has an impact upon your reader by taking a little bit of time today to step out of your busy routine and show that one reader that you value them could have a real impact upon that one person. That may sound like a little action, but if you do this on a regular basis, it adds up. You never quite know who that person is and how your action today might have an impact on them and has on-going benefits. I actually did this with one of my readers back in 2005 and that reader became a business partner, just because I paid them a bit of attention.

The second benefit of doing this is that it has an impact on your other readers as well. When you publicly value one reader in front of everyone else, it shows that you have a genuine interest in your readers. It’s infectious. It goes to help create a positive and inclusive culture on your blog. What you will notice is that if you are welcoming and you are valuing individual readers, your readers will begin to value one another as well.

The third benefit is one that’s only really just hit home to me in the last year or so. This activity will have an impact on you. Any interaction that you have with your reader is going to have an impact on you as well and that’s really important. Many times as bloggers, we fail to see our readers as individuals. We look at our Google Analytics and we see the number of readers as our audience. The reality is that behind that number are human beings. It’s good to be reminded of that.

One of my favorite blogging stories is that of Jada Selma, who, after years of trying to create successful blogs was not really getting any traction on them, joined with another blogger Jane Hanson, to create a blog called Simple Green Smoothies. You may have heard of it.

One of the things that Jane and Jada did brilliantly in the early days was to really pay attention to serve their readers. Jada spoke at World Domination Summit last year about her journey and one of the take-home messages that really stood out to me from her message was the phrase, choose love over metrics. That really resonated with me because it’s so easy to choose metrics over your readers and to forget that on the other side of your reader number are human beings. Today, the challenge is designed to remind you of that as much as anything else.

I want you to pay particular attention to one of your readers today. It may actually be more than one, but that’s fine. Just start with one. I’ve tried this many different ways over the years, as I’ve tried to love my readers to death, as I’ve tried to make them famous. Some of the things that I’ve done have been quite big. I’ve ran meet-ups and I’ve had competitions. I remember one time we ran a competition here in Australia with a local tourism board to fly 10 of my readers from around the world to spend a few days with me here on the Gold Coast and on the Great Barrier Reef. That had a big impact on those 10 readers. They actually flew around the world to hang out with me and to get some training. That’s a big way of doing it.

I know here in Australia, there are bloggers who run meet-ups and have morning teas with their readers. At our events here in Australia last year, we tried to do some surprise and delight with our readers and we chose a couple of readers to fly down to Melbourne and spend a day with me and my team. Paying attention to readers in that way has a big impact and we saw it as we spent time with those bloggers.

You may not be able to do something quite on that scale. Start small, build small little actions into your weekly rhythm of blogging, and it can have an impact. A few ideas that you might want to try.

Firstly, you might promote a comment that a reader made into a blog post. If someone’s left a really good comment that’s insightful and useful, doesn’t have to be long, don’t let it just be wasted on the few people who chance upon seeing it in the comments make it into a blog post. Highlight your reader’s wisdom in some way. Put them in the spotlight.

You may want to ask permission from your reader to do that, although they’ve already made the comment publicly on your blog. Promoting it, in a sense, into a blog post has a big impact. I’ve seen this happen many times on my blog where I’ve done this. The reader actually really values that action.

Similarly, you might want to quote your readers either from the comments left on a post or from social. I’ve actually done whole posts which have been purely tweets from my readers who’ve responded to me asking a question. I asked a question on Twitter. I get responses and I just use those responses, giving credit, of course, to my readers in the blog post.

You might want to write a blog post about one of your reader’s blogs, business, or a project that they’re running. You might want to send your readers all over to someone else’s blog to read a post like a link post that we’ve already talked about in this challenge. You might even close the comments on your own blog to force people if they want to react to go over there and do it. You might want to give your readers a chance to promote something that they’ve done.

On Digital Photography School every Friday, we run a challenge, we name a theme, and we say to our readers, go away and take a photo and then come back and show off your best photo on this theme or this technique. We give our readers a chance to show off a little bit and show what they can do.

On ProBlogger, we did this many times on what we call group writing projects where we’d name a theme and send our readers away to write on that theme and then they would come back and share the link to their post.

My wife does this on her blog. She’ll name a color to go away and take a photo of you wearing that color in an outfit and then she collects those photos and puts some up onto a social media account.

Giving people something to do, to go away, and then highlighting what they’ve done in some way, is just giving them a chance to participate in your blog and that gives them a little bit of a moment in the limelight. You could extend this to do on-going challenges or projects. My wife, for instance, does this over a whole week. For every day over a week, she names a different color and people go away and wear that color, and then Instagram their outfits. She creates these collages every day over a week and then puts some on her blog at the end of the week.

There’s a great blogger here in Australia, Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim, who does a Photo A Day Challenge. She gets her readers to go away and take a photo, put it on Instagram, and it goes on the hashtag. Everyone gets their photos seen a little bit more.

There’s a whole heap of different ways that you can run these sorts of challenges. Another way you could highlight a reader and give them a little bit of a moment in the spotlight is to interview someone that comments on your blog regularly. Find out a little bit more about them. Put the reader in the spotlight.

The other thing that I did once on ProBlogger, which worked out really well, is I actually asked my readers to submit a tip on video. I gave them some guidelines. They had to make the video in two or three minutes, put it on YouTube, and then send me the link of that video. Once all the videos came in, I put it together as a post embedding all the videos in the post. My readers were there talking on my blog. It had a big impact. It was great to see the diversity of readers that I had as well.

Either you try one of those ideas or try something of your own, but pay attention to your readers. Make them a little bit famous. Give them a bit of special attention and see what impact that has. May actually find that you do something that has a big impact and that you want to do on a regular basis on your blog,

Thanks for joining us today on this podcast. I hope that you find today’s challenge to be useful in giving one, two, or maybe a few more of your readers a little special attention. I want to finish off today’s podcast by giving a shout out to Paul, who’s our listener of this podcast. Paul has left some great comments, but in episode nine he left a fantastic comment. That particular episode was on using forums and social media groups to build your blog. Paul left a fantastic comment with lots of really great suggestions on how to do that. He talks about his own experience of using forums to build his own business. Thanks to Paul for the insight. You can see Paul’s comment at where he left his comments.

Today’s show notes are also available at I look forward to chatting with you tomorrow on day 23 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog where we’re going to talk about calling your readers to action. I’ll talk to you then.

How did you go with today’s challenge?

How did you pay special attention to a reader? What was their reaction?

I’d love to hear your feedback on this approach to paying special attention to readers in the comments below. Maybe you have a success story you would like to share?

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