Blogging, texting, SnapChat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – what do they all have in common?
They are all forms of communication.
So for one second, let’s imagine that you’re trying to run your online presence and you don’t communicate with your audience.
What would be the point?
Whether you’ve been blogging for five years or five months, we’re all aware of how competitive our industry is today. It’s never been more important to make ourselves unique and stand out from the crowd.
One of the best ways to do this is to communicate with your blog readers.
Communication is a key value of ABOH. Through this you can turn one-time visitors into everyday visitors. You can turn people who just visit your profile into followers. You can turn people who mention your brand once, into people who mention your brand all the time.
So today, I wanted to talk to you about why communication is so important online and give you some ideas for communicating with your audience in the best way possible.
Why Is Communication So Important?
Something incredible about every single species in the world is its ability to communicate. This is especially true for us as humans – without communication, we wouldn’t be who we are. Think about it – from a glance, to a touch, to words, we communicate every single day.
It’s even more important for you as an individual.
We spend so much of our time online that it’s probably become easier for us to communicate on there than it has in real life. Most of us are comfortable joining in with a conversation on Twitter with people we’ve never come across before. Would you do that in real life?
It’s interesting to compare the two.
As a blogger, we can target specific people to attract – but whether you like it or not, once your website, brand and online presence are out there, you are choosing to communicate with the public. Everyone. You are writing and publishing your ideas, thoughts and expertise for the whole of the community to see.
It’s just that some blogs get ten thousands of views, and some get hundreds of views.
Something I always see bloggers asking is how to become successful. What they don’t realise is that there isn’t a formula. There isn’t one single recipe to success that works for everyone. Look at some of the “bigger bloggers” now – they don’t even reply to comments.
I believe that one of the key elements to being successful as a blogger (and blog reader for that matter), is communication.
Nothing will work without it.
But a crucial factor that has been lacking lately is that communication is not a one way street. You need more than one person to have a conversation with.
With the endless self-promotion and link sharing that we see everywhere nowadays, this seems to be something a lot of bloggers have forgotten.
Would you agree?
It’s all well and good publishing regular posts on your blog. But they won’t work unless other people are reading them, commenting on them and sharing them.
That’s why it’s so important to write for your audience – write a blog that you would want to read.
True, you’re not talking face to face. But the continuous cycle of you writing, people reading and commenting, you replying back, writing, people reading and commenting, and so on – this is the form of communication that makes blogs work.
This is the form of communication that makes blogs successful.
More than anything, blogging is a community. One of the hardest things about being a blogger is working to build a community of like-minded people around your online presence in order to run it successfully.
We are nothing without our readers.
Communication is a vital part of your everyday interaction with real people. This should be no different for your online presence.
After blogging for more than two years, I know the difference between average communication and outstanding communication. So here are some ideas to generate effective and brilliant communication with your readers:
RESPONDING TO COMMENTS
There are two ways you can respond to comments as a blogger – in a limited way and in an open way.
The comments section is one of the most important parts of any website. It’s where your readers can give you feedback, share their own opinions and real relationships can begin to be formed. This is one of the best ways to communicate directly with your audience.
But blog comments seem to be lacking lately, because the idea of communication in the blogging world has less importance currently.
If you don’t comment on other sites, fewer people will comment on your own.
Lately, I’ve started to make more of an effort with commenting. Now, every single blog post I read thoroughly, I comment on. Simple.
And it’s working.
Look at these comments on one of my latest blog posts:
These are two brand new readers – one of whom found me via a comment on another blog.
Fact – commenting works.
There’s also a huge difference in replying to a comment saying “Thanks for the comment” and this:
Blog comments are crucial – not only do they let you form relationships, they also give you brilliant ideas for future blog posts.
These are your readers – what they’re saying, you need to write about.
People notice bloggers who communicate. Wouldn’t you rather leave a comment knowing you’d get a reply, rather than leave a comment on a site that’ll just be ignored?
If you spend time forming a detailed response to all your comments, these people will be much more likely to come back to you.
Yes, they all have different functions, but they’re all still forms of communication.
Social media is not only great for communicating with your existing audience, it’s also fab for communicating with potential new audience members.
But it’s actually a lot harder than you think.
The first thing to do is to make it easy for people to connect with you on social media. Take a look at your site and make sure you’ve got your social buttons in all these areas:
- Sidebar (near the top)
- At the end of every blog post
- Email signature
- About page
- Contact page
- Any other important pages
Your readers don’t want to have to search for things – doing this makes it really easy to help them find what they are looking for.
It’s getting people to hit the follow button that’s the hard part, right?
There’s no “one size fits all formula” for building your social following.
There are, however some do’s and don’t’s.
Like, don’t just share links all the time.
But you don’t just want them to be a follower – you want them to be an active follower in the long term. Which means you’ve got to be active on your social platforms.
Tweet not only about your content, but other bloggers content that you love and that your followers might find useful.
Share interesting and relatable stories on your Facebook page.
Share behind-the-scenes footage on Instagram.
Get people talking.
This is key to help people stay interested in you and your online presence.
It’s hard work, I won’t lie. I’ve recently reached over 1,000 Twitter followers – one of my goals before the end of the year.
But it wasn’t without hard work.
And like with comments, people notice if you make a real effort to interact. I share so much content on Twitter from other bloggers and am met with “Thanks so much for sharing this!”
But look at the different between that and this:
Not only did Rebecca include much more substance in her reply, she also asked a question.
This is how relationships are formed – through communication.
It also makes me more likely to continue sharing her content, because I know it will be appreciated.
Think about it the other way around – what if someone thought about you that way on social media?
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not yet at the point where people are emailing me every day asking questions.
But the emails I do get, I make damn sure I give them a great response.
If someone sends you a direct email, that means they’ve taken the time to write it to you. Not only does that give you a good enough reason to reply, it also helps to convert these people into loyal audience members.
It’s exactly the same principles as comments and social media – people value bloggers that communicate with them.
Giving away your secrets is one of the best ways to developing a strong, engaged audience.
It’s the difference between someone asking for CV tips and you sending general ones...
...and you actually asking for the person to send you their CV and giving them personalised tips.
Answering emails also gives you the chance to include your unique signature, which is also a place to include your website and social media links. This just gives people another opportunity to join your community.
I've given you the tricks. Now go out into the world and communicate.
They're waiting for you…
Please share your thoughts and other ideas in the comments. Let's see what you think the key to communicaton is! (And let's use them to inspire one another to bringing communication back to the hear of the blogosphere.)