06 — Stay in Touch
To interact with your audience the way I described in the previous chapter, it's important that your readers have ways of reaching you. You need to teach them how to stay in touch. Not everyone prefers the same way of staying up to date though, which is why you need at least a few options.
Imagine being a reader on the internet, stumbling upon a great blog post. What will make it so you'd want to stay? Even if it's one of the bests posts you've ever read, chances are very small you'll actually further explore this blog, let alone leave your email address or follow the writer on social media.
The internet is a fast place of consumption, and your audience wants to spend as little effort as possible on figuring things out. They probably won't even read the whole post. So you'll have to remind them that, if they like what they read, they should probably do something. Something like this?
Do you like what you read?
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Now, I realise not everyone wants to subscribe to a newsletter, and that's totally fine. Thats why I'd advise to have at least three ways for people to stay in touch with you:
- Via RSS, which is the smallest form of commitment
- Via at least one social media channel
- Via mail, which definitely is the most personal but also the biggest step for many people to take
The advantage of having three ways of reaching people, is that they are automatically categorized. People who subscribe to your newsletter are probably your most loyal audience. You could ask them directly about supporting you and your content, for example by asking them to share your newest blog post.
Social media on the other hand (Twitter in my case) has the advantage of a faster growing audience, but it's not guaranteed that all followers will be as invested. That's ok: you can use social media to remind your follower base there is a mailing list available, in case they'd like to opt-in. I also use Twitter to get a feeling of what my audience is interested in, what topics they like and which not. It's an easy way of sharing an idea and getting a reasonable amount of feedback in a short amount of time.
Given that your newsletter subscribers are your closest audience, it's important to treat them right. Don't spam them with content they aren't interested in, and generally don't send more than one mail a week, at most. You could also share your content on your mailing list a few days before you send it out to the world: after all, it's an exclusive place to be.
Starting a mailing list isn't difficult, by the way. You could start with the free Mailchimp plan, but it becomes rather expensive to use after you've gathered more than 2000 subscribers. I personally use Mailcoach these days. It's much cheaper and I'm very happy with all features it offers.
Whatever technical setup you choose, make sure to offer your audience several ways to stay in touch, it's one of the best ways to grow your blog.
- Having several ways of people to stay in touch increases the chance they'll return to your blog later.
- Make those options clear in your content, people don't want to search for links somewhere at the bottom of a page.
- Treat your audience right: don't spam them. Give mailing list subscribers an exclusive now and then.
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