I have good news.
Let me explain.
Why do people not trust infomercials on a product but trust a mommy YouTuber’s experience with it? Why when there’s travel guide books do people still look for bloggers posts on a location to plan their trip?
As bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, etc. we have an advantage over large businesses and even celebrities because we’re relatable, we’re real people, we’re not faceless corporations and we form personal connections with our readers.
People enjoy reading blogs or watching videos to learn in which order make up goes on (#thestruggleisreal) and inspire their outfit choices from someone ‘just like them’.
Okay, so now that we know there’s great potential in content creation to make a valuable impact on others, now on to the question of the hour.
No amount of page views matter if your bounce rate is 99% and people spend an average of 0.02 seconds on your blog. And it doesn’t matter how many people click your YouTube thumbnail if viewers start dropping like flies 6 seconds in.
An engaged audience is without a doubt the most valuable aspect of your content marketing strategy!
Not only will an engaged audience encourage you through those tough days when you just don’t feel the motivation to keep creating, but you will also feel the purpose of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Feeling like you have a purpose and are helping others is important both with your content and you know… in life.
I have 4 specific strategies you can use today to up that engagement, so let’s start with the easiest strategy first…
When you give people a simple thing to respond with, only 2 options that will take all of a smidgen of a second to respond with, they’ll give you their opinion.
Here’s an example of what I might ask my audience as a website designer…
“Which website platform do you prefer? A or B? ShowIt or Squarespace?”
Be sure to do this on a platform with a low barrier to entry.
FYI: A barrier to entry is the level of annoyance it takes to interact.
So if on your blog, they have to login, input their name, type out their email address, tick a few boxes and then comment, that’s a high barrier which is time-intensive and annoying.
Social platforms or the comment section of your Youtube video have a much lower barrier to entry because a person has already had to log in in order to view that content, they’re used to commenting on those platforms and it only takes a smidgen of a second to interact, no hassle included.
Action step: Give two simple options and ask which your followers prefer.
Story time: A massive, massive, gazillions of followers blogger held a webinar that I attended.
In it, he mentioned how surprised he was that newer bloggers in the industry didn’t reach out and introduce themselves to him. ♂️
Of course I hadn’t ever thought to do this…I mean the guy was hugeeeee in his industry, I didn’t know I COULD email him.
I would have just assumed that some random new blogger’s email wouldn’t be important to him.
The same goes for your audience!
If you don’t tell them you welcome their emails, they don’t know they CAN email you. They don’t know its encouraged and that you’ll respond.
Once a month, finish off your blog post, video, or podcast with a quick reminder you’re happy to receive reader mail and that you reply back to them all.
Let’s use a Beauty Blogger as an example…I’d say something like:
“I LOVE receiving reader emails and I reply back to each personally. If you’d like a suggestion or help picking the perfect haircare regime, spas in LA or just feel like chatting, send me a message friend! email@example.com.”
This is so simple to do, and what do you know just a couple days after I started this so many more reader emails were making their way into my inbox!
Action step: Invite readers to reach you directly at your email to ask a question.
Ask permission to use that person’s question in an upcoming piece of content!
(ie. “Jessica from NY asks ‘What brand of mascara do you recommend for people with short lashes?’”)
Use your post, video, or podcast to answer the question for everybody in your audience to be able to benefit from, instead of just Jessica in your inbox benefitting from it…your audience will start to thing “Wow, she’s really listening to us out here!” (Instead of just writing what YOU want to write about).
Seeing you are helping actual real-life people just like them will increase their level of trust and buy-in for your brand, and they’ll want to return to your blog again and again
(Because who knows!? Maybe you’ll be answering their question next!!)
I believe that people inherently like to be helpful towards others. So in this strategy we’re going to (ever so nicely) put people’s good nature to use by asking for genuine help.
First, turn your followers into a tribe by giving them a name.
The travel blogging Vagabrothers call their Snapchat followers their ‘SnapSquad’.
Whenever they post a new travel video they hop on Snapchat, give a behind the scenes look at them uploading the video, explain what the video is about and give a strong call to action to their ‘Snapsquad’. They say:
“Hey SnapSquad, we want to see what you can do! Get over to YouTube and I want you to blow up the comments with fellow SnapSquaders.”
Notice they give a subtle challenge, tell their followers exactly what to do and address them ‘by name’.
While it’s not possible to address each follower by name, you can give them a tribe name, make them feel part of the tribe and give engagement calls to action from there.
Action step: Give your tribe a catchy name & ask them to help with something specific!
To share why this next strategy works, let me share an example of a time that a content creator had me personally raving over their content!
Jenna created lifeinduesseldorf.com. She writes for foreigners who are new to the city of Dusseldorf, Germany.
When people show up to Dusseldorf and don’t speak German, they want to be able to find information in English on where to find an apartment, what the best bars to meet other foreigners are and good trips to sight see outside the city.
That’s exactly what Jenna provides.
Why was this?
Because Jenna was providing for a specific need and was helpful. If you can solve readers problems and provide for a real need, the engagement and success will come naturally.
How can you do this? Frame your blog posts so they’re helpful to others.
So since we’re on the topic of travel, I’ll use a travel blogger for my next scenario/example. So say our travel blogger is deciding between writing a post on: ‘My Trip To Oktoberfest’ and ‘5 Essential Oktoberfest Prep Tips’
Which is more helpful to their reader? #2 of course! You took the same trip, experienced the same things but rather than just flexing about your vacay, you framed the post in a way that it was actually helpful to others hoping to someday make the trip!
Action step: Frame your next piece of content to be specific & helpful based on what you know about your audience and their goals.
(If you can really nail this one the engagement will flood in).
I hope you’ll use these tips in your next blog post, podcast episode, or YouTube vid!
Oh, and I’ll take my own advice here. PLEASE EMAIL ME at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question, or if any of these tips helped you or you’d like to leave a kind word! If it’s not me getting back to you personally, it will be my delightful customer service gal, Amy!
We LOVE to take your awesome questions and turn them into ideas for future helpful bits of content, so ask away!!