The blogging game can look a lot like dating.
You put your best self out there into a world of unknowns: people, feelings, expectations, and results.
It can feel exciting and scary. It also can feel a bit lonely.
But, once you find your confidence and a formula that works, the relationship can quickly move from infatuation to true love.
If you want to build a meaningful long-term relationship with your blog audience, consider these 10 fundamentals and you’ll be off to a great start.
1. Show up consistently.
It’s important to consistently be present for your audience so they come to rely on you. So, whether it’s every day or the same days each week, a dependable publishing schedule will build trust and have your audience regularly coming back for more.
2. Make a good impression.
Just like a profile on [insert dating app of choice], a positive impression must be made or your viewers may be quick to move on to the next thing. Make sure your blog has a clean, simple design that’s easy on the eye. Break up your posts visually with compelling imagery, section headers, and white space.
3. Be yourself.
Authenticity is so important. If you try too hard to replicate others, you may come off as an impostor to your audience. There’s only one of you out there, so woo your audience with your unique personality. Learning how to convey your true self via text can be difficult. But if you focus on having a friendly, human voice, you will come across as relatable and willing to connect.
4. Spice it up with moments of spontaneity.
Consistency in style and type of content and how often you post are best practices. But, allowing yourself a moment of spontaneity can excite your audience. Don’t be afraid to test a new format (like a video blog!) or mix it up with a long read. Catching your readers off guard with something new can help keep your blog looking fresh, while also keeping you sharp in the creative department.
5. Don’t rush.
The blogging game is an exercise in patience. You may feel pressed for immediate success, but you can’t expect the results without putting in the work. Stay focused on what you ultimately want for you and your blog, stop focusing on what other bloggers have that you don’t and keep hitting publish. Just enjoy what you do – the people will come.
6. Appreciate the process.
You’re naturally going to go through phases. Sometimes you’ll be revved and ready to post great piece after great piece. Then you’ll likely go through blogging fatigue – wishing you could just curl up in sweatpants and a movie, rather than put in the work. Respect where you’re at and don’t try to fight it. Work through it by jotting down ideas when at your best, so that you have something to go back to when you’re at your worst.
7. Read the signs.
Pay attention to what’s performing and what’s not. Are some posts getting more views and others getting more shares? Are some post topics just not resonating? Replicate what works to keep your audience intrigued. If a certain topic is important to you but isn’t working, incorporate tactics from other formats that do work and see if you notice a change.
8. It’s OK to pull back sometimes.
Everyone needs a break. If you’re not sure where you’re headed or just need the time off, it’s OK to step back and reevaluate your game plan. Just be sure to give your readers a heads up so they’re aware of where you are. They’ll likely miss you and excitedly welcome you back with open arms.
9. Seek out trusted sources for advice.
Readers may impose their ideas about upon you about how you can be better at the blogging game. Some of the advice may be helpful, but it’s best to reach out to a trusted source who truly understands blogging. Connect on their success and test the waters with some of their ideas. Not everything may work for you, but the learning moments will be priceless.
10. Have respect.
Show love to other bloggers when you can by posting genuine comments to their blog. If your readers are commenting or reaching out to you, take the time to listen and reply. Looking for a filler post? A simple “thank you” blog can go a long way with your readers. After all, healthy relationships do require some give-and-take.
Note: This is an updated version of a blog post published on Beyond Bylines in February 2016.
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Anna Jasinski is manager of audience relations at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter at @annamjasinski or on Snapchat. You can also catch her sharing the latest news in journalism and blogging on @BeyondBylines.