Have you ever heard someone say “I wish I had less traffic on my blog?” or “It’d be great if fewer people were on my mailing list.”
Of course not.
Before you can share, sell, teach, train or whatever else you’re trying to do online, you can’t do that until you have an audience.
5 Ways to Take Care of Your People (and grow your audience)
I’m a long-time fan of Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast. I’ve been listening to the archives while working and wanted to pass along a few tips from an episode discussing how to grow your audience by taking care of your people.
In this episode, podcast host Pat Flynn discusses 21 small things you can do for your audience that can lead to big results for your blog, brand and online business. If you want to hear all 21 (plus a bonus #22!), you’ll have to listen for yourself, but here are five quick takeaways I wanted to share with you.
1. Reply to people
If someone makes the effort to comment on your blog post or send a personal message via social media, reply to them. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate response, but making the small gesture of replying lets people know their comments aren’t lost in space. It helps facilitate a relationship with your readership. If someone knows you’ll respond, they’re much more likely to engage you in the future.
Keith over at WM Web Design does a great job of this. Go ahead, try it. Leave a comment on one of his posts and see…
2. Use names
See what I just did there? In that last paragraph I tagged someone who’s been a resource and example to me and shared it with you. When someone hears their name, it grabs their attention, so be generous with shout outs to your readership, followers, fans, or folks that are in your network. You’ll see a big bump in interaction as a result!
3. Make navigation around your site easy
I’m in perpetual redesign mode here, but one of my main goals is to make it easier for my readers to connect with content. I’ve simplified the navigation, added a search feature, and included related posts with each article.
If people can easily find the right content on your site, they’re more likely to visit longer. If you run ads on your site, then you know the longer the visit, the better!
(By the way, if you have suggestions for ways I can improve navigation, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear your opinion!)
4. Be honest
To build trust with your readers, tell them what’s working for you and what’s not working. I take part in various affiliate programs, so it’s important for me to be upfront about the good, bad, and ugly on products I recommend. I believe over the long haul it increases my credibility and will lead to greater affiliate income. Not to mention, being honest is just part of offering good customer service. I’d rather a waiter tell me when something’s terrible on the menu than discover it the hard way.
5. Invite participation
Ask questions and encourage your readers to respond or take a particular action. Creating conversation around a topic or post can improve its value and make it even more interesting.
Small Things, Right?
With the exception of #3 (which might take some redesign efforts), all the above can be implemented with minimal effort. The result can be big: grow your audience and increase engagement with your readers/followers.
If you take care of your people, your people will take care of you. Small gestures can make a big difference. – Pat Flynn
The podcast wrapped up with a single call to action (see #5) from Pat: Do something kind for someone today.
For my act of kindness today, I donated $5 to Michael Erlewine, author of the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP). It’s a free plugin I use and value and know Michael’s spent a lot of hours to offer it for free to the WordPress community. Thanks, Michael (and good luck with your PhD)!
I thought I’d end this post with the same invitation. What’s something kind you can do today? Maybe offer a hand or buy a coffee or even answer a question in a support forum. It doesn’t have to be monetary and it can take only a moment.
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!