by Aaron Agius, Search, Content and Social Marketer
Do you know the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle)? Essentially, it states that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your inputs -- or, in practice, that 80 percent of your revenue comes from 20 percent of your blog readers. While that’s great in theory, it doesn’t always apply if you’re an entrepreneur that’s just started a blog.
When you first launch your site, you’ll have two brand advocates (if you’re lucky). Who? Your mother and your best friend. And I don’t know about you, but when I first started out, these loyal advocates just weren’t sharing my stuff with the people I needed reading my work.
Growing a blog can be frustrating in the beginning. You spend countless hours planning, preparing and optimizing your posts. You’ve heard about how epic content should:
Create raving fans
But instead, you just feel like you’ve wasted your time.
If you feel like you’re not getting the results you want, don’t give up just yet. You may just need to position your content to your audience in a slightly different way. If you really want to convert those casual readers into advocates, you’ll need to employ the following techniques.
1. Write hyper-targeted content.
Too many new bloggers waste their time writing broad, generic content. Look at that Buzzfeed headline. You’ll know within seconds whether it relates to you. Why? Because it’s targeted content.
Without targeted content, you’re just writing to a mass of random people. Trust me, that’s not going to generate results for you.
Instead, start by crafting audience personas that speak to the specific needs, challenges and pains of your audience. That way, you’ll be in a much better position to write content that attracts the right people to your blog at the right time.
2. Infuse a bit of flair in your writing.
Don’t be boring. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, there’s no reason to create boring content. Adding a bit of fun to your writing will keep people engaged and coming back for more. But most importantly, it’ll make an impression.
Your content will take on a life of its own and people will feel more connected to it. That’s the perfect recipe for creating advocates. After all, no one wants to become an advocate for a faceless brand that lacks personality. Find your voice and share it with the world.
3. Train readers to get involved.
Once you have your targeting and voice down, it’s time to go a bit deeper. Becoming a social advocate doesn’t happen overnight. Before visitors can become advocates, they have to take that first step -- or, in this case, make that first share. That’ll only happen if you ask them.
Subliminal messages are a myth. You can’t hint at what you want. If you want people to share your content, ask them. As my mom always says, it never hurts to ask.
4. Develop deeper connections.
Sharing is the first step. Now it’s time to start transforming your visitors into advocates -- and you’re going to need a more personal relationship with the reader to make that happen.
The following are a few of my favorite ways to forge a deeper bond:
I like to imagine that I’m writing to just one person. If you want to do the same, keep that person in mind as you write the post. This will create a more casual feel, and will naturally include more personal, connection-building pronouns such as you and I.
I also like to call or email my five best customers and make sure they’re happy. During the course of the conversation, I’ll ask about their latest business challenges and how they’ve overcome them. I take this time to really listen. You’ll be amazed by what you learn and how it can help you create even more valuable content.
5. Reward sharing with sincere gratitude.
Once people really start connecting with your blog, the advocates will naturally rise to the top. It’s vitally important that you reward their efforts with sincere forms of gratitude. In fact, sincere gratitude is one of the best things you could ever do for your business.
People have spent time reading your blog post, which is an investment in and of itself. But then, they took that a step further and shared your content with their audience. Don’t ever take that for granted.
A few ways to show gratitude include:
Reaching out with a thank you on social media.
Offering an exclusive deal via email.
Sending them a personalized video response via Twitter.
Whatever you do, make it sincere. Not only will people appreciate the gesture, it’ll make them more willing to advocate on your behalf again and again in the future.
“If you build it, they will come” is perhaps the biggest lie in the blogging world. You’ve got to get others to spread the word for you.
Which of these techniques will you use first to transform those readers into raving fans?