Many businesses still don’t have blogs. Many of those who do blog, don’t do a very good job of it. And of course there are those who create great content, but don’t do a good job of connecting with their readers. It’s one thing to publish the content, but another to get it out there, get readers, and then connect and engage with those readers. How you do that can vary, depending on who your audience is, and what your overall goals are.
But it is important to move beyond merely just creating and publishing content. In fact, if your small business is blogging, why not go the extra step and have a little fun with your readers and audience. Sharing moments of fun can be great for community building.
So with that in mind, here are five ways you can have fun with your blog readers:
1. Go off topic in comments
This might not work for every business, but if you start getting comments, make sure you respond and ask more questions. As you get to know the commenters, feel free to veer off topic. You can facilitate this by using a commenting plugin like Livefyre, which encourages a more real time type of commenting. Some of the blog communities I’m involved in excel at this, with commenters and bloggers having multiple conversations involving jokes and more. Some purists would say that all comments should be on topic and serious. I used to think this. Not anymore. I’ve seen how people can become more like a community.
One caveat: too many inside jokes and a failure to include newcomers can turn people off. You want an inclusive community, not a clique.
2. Turn the blog over to them
Guest posts are great, but even better when they come from your pool of regular readers. As you get to know your readers, let them take the reins. Invite them to submit posts based on their own experiences. Not only will it free you up a bit, but your readers will appreciate the gesture. For instance, since tomorrow is the Friday Blogging Experience, and I’m doing lists of five this month, I’ll be running a guest post from a friend of mine that is a little…different. But, you’ll just have to wait until then to find out.
Even if you don’t use your readers as guest bloggers, you can pick their brains. After all, they are your readers. That makes them smart, right? And since you’re writing for them, why not ask them what they want you to write about. In fact, that’s what I did with this post. I wasn’t really feeling the post I had started so I went to Facebook and asked my friends and readers for help:
I fully expected all sorts of goofy answers, which is what I got, however the very first response from Jamie Wallace was the title of the blog you’re reading right now. I liked it, and I wrote it. And the conversation went on for some time with some rather interesting and funny responses, involving me buying pizza for all of my friends, bacon, hippies, goats, and more. Yeah, I know; I need new friends.
4. Interact with them off of your blog
This is exactly what I was doing when I was crowdsourcing on Facebook. I do this fairly often, and also interact with my readers on other platforms. In fact, some of the local ones have become friends, and some are even clients. This gives you a chance to get to know them better (and vice versa) and let your hair down a little. No need to always talk about the topic of your blog, after all, you’re all multidimensional with a variety of interests, some of which you might share with one another.
Oh, and the interaction doesn’t have to be online, it can be offline as well.
5. Have them take you out to dinner
Once you get to know them, you can hang out with them and even let them treat you to dinner. What’s more fun than that? So who’s first? ;)
Those are my ideas, now how about yours. How do you like to have fun with your blog readers?