Every now and then I like to take a look at successful blogs to see if I can identify the specific reasons for their success. One thing that I almost always come across when I’m looking at a successful authority blog is that the blogger has been able to attract and develop a highly responsive audience.
A responsive audience can be observed in a few different ways, including an active comment area on posts (number of comments and quality of the discussion), mentions on social media and social networking sites, other blogs and websites linking to posts, high response to products and affiliate recommendations, and the general perception of the blogger and how readers tend to trust him or her.
A responsive audience is critical for achieving a high level of success with your blog. When your audience places a high value on your opinions and they trust your recommendations, all kinds of possibilities will exist for selling your own products and services, and for promoting affiliate products. In fact, the responsiveness of your audience is much more important than the size of your audience. Having a ton of visitors may allow you to sell ads to other companies, but with a smaller and more responsive audience you can make even more money with other methods aside from ad sales.
An example of a blogger who has built a highly responsive audience is Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. Pat always has the best interest of his readers in mind, and that is obvious to readers by his approach to the blog and by how he communicates. The result is a high level of trust, and a ridiculously high income for Pat from promoting affiliate products. Pat’s readers know that he only promotes a few select products that he uses and trusts, and they know he won’t compromise their trust by promoting a bad product.
So how do you go about building a responsive audience of your own? The truth is, it will take some time. No blogger can instantly gain the trust of readers, but there are things you can do to earn your readers trust gradually. We’ll take a look at a few of the keys here.
Always Respect Your Audience
The most important thing that you can do to build a responsive audience is to always respect them and keep their best interests in mind. Provide the highest quality of content possible on your blog and be active at responding to comments on your posts, as well as to comments that you receive through sites like Twitter and Facebook. Encourage interaction, even when people may not agree with you. Be respectful and don’t talk down to those who respectfully disagree with you, and others will feel more open to sharing their own thoughts.
Interaction on your blog (or on social networking sites) has kind of a snowball effect. If not much is going on in the comments area most of your visitors will not feel the need or the desire to participate. But when you get a few good comments and some discussion is developed, other readers will see that and will be more encouraged to get involved.
Respecting your audience also means that you never take advantage of them to make quick money. You could blow any trust that you have worked hard to earn by promoting an affiliate product that you are unfamiliar with just because you think it will make some sales. If people take your recommendation, buy the product, and are disappointed with it, that will negatively impact their opinion of you. Be careful that you are never placing short-term profits over the long-term respect and trust of your readers.
Produce the Highest Quality Content Possible
In order to build a successful authority blog you will always need to have an eye on the quality of your content. You shouldn’t publish something just because it has been a while since your last post. Make sure that everything you post has a purpose and that it positively impacts the reputation that you are working hard to develop.
There have been times in my own blogging where I have had a post ready to be published and as I am reading over it one last time I decide that the quality just isn’t good enough. Instead of being published these posts have been deleted, or in some cases reworked to improve the quality.
On the other hand, there have also been a few times where I’ve written a post, not been particularly excited about the content, but published it anyway. In most of these cases I’ve come to regret publishing the post, sometimes very quickly, because I realize that it’s not my best work, and sometimes readers realize it too.
Not every post you publish has to be a masterpiece that will turn your industry on its head, but you do need to be very careful about the quality level of posts that you are publishing. It’s easy to get comfortable with your posting schedule and to focus more on simply having something to post, but you need to stay dedicated to quality.
Authority blogs depend on quality content. Without that quality content you won’t be able to establish yourself as an expert or to stand out from other blogs in your industry. However, with quality content you’ll build a following and you’ll open up plenty of possibilities for making money from the blog.
Even if there are a lot of blogs in your niche or industry, readers may still not be getting the level of quality that they are looking for from those other blogs. If you’re able to provide a very high level of quality in your content, building that loyal and responsive following is much more possible.
Show Your Personality and Connect with Readers
One of the best things you can do to build a responsive audience is to connect with them on a personal level. Readers like to be able to connect with the person writing the posts that they read, and they tend to be more responsive when this is the case.
Even if a reader hasn’t had any direct contact with you (such as personal emails), if they feel like they know something about you they can feel more connected to you. Don’t be afraid to use some personality in your writing. Blog readers aren’t usually concerned with formalities. They’d much rather see the personality of the blogger.
“About” pages or “Bio” pages are often a good way to share more about yourself and to allow readers to connect with you. I wouldn’t encourage overly personal posts, but in some situations it is fine and even helpful to mention some personal details or to put a personal twist on the subject. Social networking is also great for this. At social sites like Twitter and Facebook you may be able to be a lot more personal than you can on your blog.