05 — Interaction
An experienced blogger once told me that I should think of my blog as more than "just a blog". If we're speaking in terms of sales, my blog isn't the product, I am. I'm selling myself, my ideas; my blog just happens to be one way of doing it.
Honestly I don't really like that analogy too much. It makes me feel like a blog is all about making money, and that my audience is just the means to that money. Personally, money has never been the goal of why I write. Don't get me wrong: it's nice to earn a little by doing what I love, but I wouldn't manage to keep doing it was only for the money.
That's why I think interaction — genuine interaction — is important. Building long-lasting, meaningful connections. I'm thankful to everyone who makes the effort to tell me they enjoyed a post of mine or how it inspired them. My audience are people just like me, not money-making machines.
I realise this attitude might not be the fastest or best way to monetise a blog, but it's one of the core values I'll stick with. I also believe it helps me write quality content, instead of falling in the trap of writing crappy stuff just to earn some quick cash. I believe that interaction with my audience is an integral part of my blog. It takes as much time, if not more, as writing itself. I consider it "part of the job", or I should better say "part of the hobby".
Of course, it's not possible to stay in touch with people throughout all channels. I listed several categories of channels in the previous chapter, and I admit that I'm not able to interact on all of them.
I do indeed use some channels to just push my content out to the world. I do try to read all comments, but I'm not able to react to all of them. No shame in that though, I always make sure to mention where people can reach me if they really want to. Like via Twitter or via e-mail.
One advantage that comes for free if you engage with your audience is the feedback they provide. Not everything you write will be the best thing ever, and sometimes your audience will tell you. Listen to that feedback, even if it might hurt your ego (I know it does hurt mine a little every time). Those who take time to reach out to tell you what they didn't like are most valuable. If you've kept an open line of communication, it'll be easy to have a meaningful conversation with them. It can only improve your blog in the long run.
So that's where I stand: invest in genuine online relations, it's the better way to long-lasting success. It might not be the fastest way, but I believe it helps build something you can be proud of in the end. How to manage those relations will be the topic of the next chapter.
- Your audience are people, not just a means to make money.
- Invest in genuine online relations to build a quality blog.
- Listen to feedback, the people who dedicate time to criticize you are valuable.
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