For any blog – personal or business – one of the key factors in its success is the community that’s built around it.
From readers to single-time visitors, subscribers to social network sharers, lurkers to frequent commenters – everyone that visits a blog makes up any success that the blog enjoys.
Without our communities, we’d just be talking to ourselves, and we can do that at home in front of a mirror. So wouldn’t it be nice to say thank you to our blog communities?
Here are some ways you could reward on your blog, for both subscribers and everyday visitors/readers.
Loving Your Blog Community
Face it, without a community a blog is nothing more than a broadcast platform. Your community nurtures the growth of your blog; it helps share with others; it defends if needed; and it keeps you growing as a blogger by sharing great insights in the comments.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal blog or more business-oriented – community is the real king (sorry, content lovers). For business blogs, community is the relationship to the sale – look after it and look after your business.
So what are some of the ways to reward a loyal blog community?
Most bloggers offer a newsletter or email subscription with exclusive content, although that may negate some of your occasional readers (although it’s a great way to build an even more loyal community on subscription too). Some of the things you could offer to your subscribers could be:
- A free ebook;
- White papers;
- Solid business or blogging advice not normally seen on your blog;
- Discounted offers on affiliate programs.
There’s a lot you can make exclusive to really say “thanks for being part of my community”. You’ll have a better idea of what would appeal to yours – all you need to do is put that into action.
The Freemium Model
Because exclusive content needs an exclusive outlet to really make it work, you run the risk of excluding the readers that visit every day, comment and are as just as important a part of your community as subscribers.
So how do you make sure that you’re not ignoring them and focusing on your exclusive content?
- Episodic content. This can work in two ways. You can either write a series of educational posts on topics your readers would find useful, or you can offer the first chapter of any ebooks that exclusive content subscribers receive. That way, “normal readers” still receive value and can decide whether to expand into the subscription option.
- Actionable content. Want to be seen as a thought leader or serious blogger in your space? Then offer action points that anyone visiting your blog can take away and make work for them. John Haydon does this all the time for Facebook strategies, while CopyBlogger offers solid tips on writing for search engines. Help others; help you.
- Highlight your community. Another way to reward your community is to give them some reader love. By coming to your blog every day and commenting or sharing you, your community is helping you grow awareness of you. So do the same for them. Have them guest post on your blog, or post about someone from your community frequently. We all like to feel appreciated; make sure your blog community knows you appreciate them.
Protecting Your Community
Growing your blog community is the first part; but it doesn’t stop there. Just as your community nurtures you and helps you, so you need to do the same in return, but take it to an extra level – by protecting them.
Think about it – if someone’s taking the time out of their life and schedule to read and share their thoughts on your blog, the very least you should be doing is making sure it’s somewhere that they want to hang out, and feel comfortable doing so.
- Make it clear you won’t tolerate abuse to your community. One of the best things about any blog is the comments section – so many great thoughts and ideas can come from here, and new friendships can be made. So making it a safe haven is paramount – protect your commenters, protect your blog.
- Have a comment policy. While having a comment policy may not be for every blogger, it’s definitely a way to lay some ground rules so everyone knows what to expect. Show that you value your community and won’t tolerate attacks on it (and yes, we’ll be implementing a comment policy here soon!).
These are just some examples of how you can use your blog to reward the people that make it what it is. There are a ton of other things you could do, and we’ll be looking at other ways in future posts.
You could use some of them; you could use all of them – the main thing is you’re at least doing something to reward your blog community.
After all, they reward you just by stopping by each time – thanking and looking after them is the least you can do, no?