Many companies nowadays are online and for very good reason, being online opens up nigh limitless realms of opportunities that otherwise would be impossible to find and navigate, much less cultivate. Simply having a presence online is not enough; you have to remember the internet is a vast, chiasmic arena where only the strong will survive and prosper, everyone is vying for eyeballs, and when I say everyone, I mean everyone.
Blogs are one of the simplest ways of reaching out to your consumers and the internet as a whole, relatively inexpensive, blogs not only maintain your online presence but they have many advantages in our uber connected world of today. They can help your SEO rankings, create customer interaction and crucially they can create sales and give your company a voice among the incessant noise of the internet.
Blogging not only gives your company a voice but can establish you as a point of trust, if you show that you can consistently provide relevant, informative, high quality content then you will quickly establish yourself as a ‘go to’ in your field, someone who can be relied upon and trusted, a thought leader in your area. Your aim is to be the first place readers turn to when looking for information pertaining to their wants and needs at that time.
Quite simply, helpful content will lead to trust from your reader, once the reader has gained trust in you they will open the lines of communication which will then open up the option of the reader becoming a lead and therefore a potential consumer, once a consumer becomes a lead then they are more likely to partake in a sale which is the bottom line for every business, bar none.
After all, how would the reader have become a lead in the first place if they hadn’t engaged with you first?
So what can you do to increase reader engagement?
Firstly, this may seem an obvious point but write something worth sharing and ultimately reading, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer, what do they want? What do they need? What information can you supply to enhance their knowledge? What would make their life easier if they knew about it? Would you yourself find what you are writing interesting? If not then chances are either will the reader. Try and make your content speak for itself, the higher the quality the better.
Now when I say ‘be personal’ I don’t mean you have to start throwing around insults! No, rather you should write as if you are talking to someone in person, yes, it is all very well sitting listing off facts and figures and important information but would you do that if you were sitting one on one explaining something to someone? No, of course you wouldn’t, you would adopt a much more personable approach, you would still include all the content you wish to convey but you would do it in such a way that it is nearly a backdrop to the conversation you are having. Treat your blog the same, some people will have a natural flair for humor or just simply being personable, use these traits to the best of your ability. The results will speak for themselves.
Ask questions of your own
Asking your own questions is another strong technique when it comes to driving consumer engagement, when you are actively asking questions of your own you are leaving the door open for consumers to weigh in with their own opinions and thoughts, you will make the consumer feel part of the conversation, and as such encourage them to participate with the subject at hand. You can do this throughout the blog or at the end, it really is up to you, the important thing is to do it. Asking your own questions will undoubtedly lead to a rise in reader engagement. Find out what it is they would like to know, what is the current subject they would like to learn about? Find out what way you can help. How do you do this? By asking.
You have to make yourself available at every turn, wherever readers may be, that’s where you have to be. Whether that is across all the social networks, posting on other sites or simply leaving comments on other blogs and communities it is essential for you to be ever present. One important fact to remember here is to not to spread yourself too thin, measure how successful certain networks are proving to be. If you find that reader engagement is lower on certain platforms then others then maybe consider spending more time on the ones that are returning the most engagement.
Reply to comments
If someone has gone to the time to read your content and crucially leaving a comment, good or bad, then the very least you can do is to reply to their comments with a constructive, informative reply. Not everyone will agree with your point of view but that’s fine, we are all different with different opinions and mindsets, don’t take negative comments to heart or leave a scathing reply. Turn a negative into a positive, this will not only show you in a good light but will encourage further interaction from other readers. There is simply nothing that will drive consumer engagement like actually engaging them in conversation.
The world is online, many publications are both online and interactive, video and audio are destined to be major players in the content arena in the next 12 months and beyond. Are you and your publications ready? You simply have to maintain an online presence to stay ahead and keep up to speed with the rest of the pack. Have you got a publication that you would like to see online?