Writing quality content for your blog is a given, if you want to engage your followers and continue to have them revisit your site. However, the blogosphere requires interaction, as much if not more, than producing informative and well-written posts. Because it’s an informal setting, followers expect to be able to offer feedback, ask questions and learn from the author. Fellow bloggers like the inclusiveness of the blogging community, and want to “share and share alike” with other bloggers. So here you have this amazing social atmosphere, ripe for the picking and ready to promote your message – be it personal, educational or professional.
Join the Community: No one blogs in a vacuum. Blogging is about outreach, not introspection. Announce your presence. Brand your blog and the name of the author(s) and/or company it represents. Don’t be shy. This is a community where people want and crave the opportunity to get to know each other. It’s your chance to attract and sustain attention for your blog and whatever you hope to achieve with it.
Build Relationships with Commentators: Actively respond to comments from your audience. Listen and promote dialog by responding attentively to what they say, and encouraging them to say more. Do not limit your replies to conversation closers, or one and two word responses. Choose something in their comments to focus on and respond to. If there’s nothing there, click on their name and find something, anything, which allows you to expand the conversation. Take an interest in your followers and respond to them as real people, not tally stats listed as visitors and commentators on your blog.
Visit Other Blogs: Make the rounds in the blogging circuit. When someone comments on your blog, click on their name and make a point to comment on their blog too. Even if you are taken to their Google+ profile, make a point to let them know you stopped by. Show a valid interest in the blogs you visit. Make it about them and what they’re writing about, not about you and why they need to visit your blog.
Participate in Blog Hops: Blogs are a dime a dozen these days. There is no way to discover them all. However, if you participate in blog hops, at least you have a starting point, a place to begin meeting other bloggers, as well as their followers who might be interested in following your blog too, depending on any commentary you leave behind.
Use Your Manners: Being polite and welcoming goes a long way toward engaging and communicating with blog followers. Fellow blog writers enjoy feeling appreciated, well-received and respected. Sometimes our Internet culture can be a little gruff. Your blog can be a friendly place, a safe and inviting respite from the harshness of the world. People like to feel good, and if visiting your blog makes them feel good, you can bet they’ll not only be back, but they’ll probably be much more inclined to engage in the conversation too! ~MJ