August 21, 2008
Liz published this at 12:13 pm
by Scott McIntyre
Last week, I considered which features of your blog itself can create a positive first impression and be welcoming to the offline customer.
To briefly recap, I suggested that it is of benefit to both you and the non-blogger if they feel at ease on arrival at your site. By making it as simple as possible to navigate your pages, the first-time visitor is guided to your best quality content. This is further helped if you file that valuable information into relevant, streamlined categories.
It is also worth avoiding the use of too much ‘blog jargon’ which can confuse and make the blog experience ‘difficult’. And don’t forget to tell the new visitor, in easy-to-understand terms, of the value in subscribing to receive your carefully crafted content!
If you are mindful of all these elements, you will be well on your way to ensuring that your online offering is a place where the non-blogger wants to return.
So, how else might you develop a successful relationship between yourself and the offline customer? How can you begin to involve them in your community of readers? I’d love for you to share your views in the comments section below.
As I mentioned last week, the comments section is where the exciting activity takes place. There, your audience is able to have a conversation with you. The reader can shape the very content itself simply by leaving a comment. It’s a very powerful idea. But, how best can you encourage the non-blogger to participate in this dialogue?
Today, I’d like to consider five methods you can adopt.
Involving the Non-Blogger in Your Conversations
Imagine for a moment that you have come across your blog for the very first time. You eagerly read the articles. Then, you notice that lots of people have left messages with their views. ‘What’s all that about?’, you might ask. Even more bewildering is that box at the foot of the article asking you to share your views. What is the non-blogger going to do? Here’s a few things you can try to assist them to add their voice:
- Don’t say it all.
A comprehensive coverage of the issue at hand is one of the hallmarks of quality content. Your readers will be informed, educated, and provoked if you succeed in giving them the fullest background that they need. However, if every piece you write comes across as if you know everything about the topic, what else is there left for the non-blogger to say? Those other bloggers who leave comments know what commenting is all about. They are quick to join in. But, the non-blogger is likely to feel that their lack of expertise will not be considered valuable. If you leave enough words left to be said, then the non-blogger might just be brave enough to say them.
- Ask questions.
There is no more effective technique of encouraging a response than to ask a question, is there? There will most certainly be areas upon which your non-blogging reader has much insight to share. How can you assist them to do so? Ask them. This was how I first came to make my first ever comment right here on Liz’s blog. The writer of that article asked a question about which I believed I could help answer: How to attract the non-blogger to your blog? If you’re not used to it already, why not try posing relevant questions in your articles? You may be surprised at who shows up for the party!
- Answer questions.
One of the aims of your online offering might be to build your position as an authority within your niche. Being the ‘go to’ person in your industry can have immense benefits to your business. A good way of convincing your readers of your qualifications to be this person is your willingness to share your expertise with them. Ideally, either through your blog or via other communication channels, you can try to answer queries from your audience. There is, of course, a balance between doing this and the other demands on your time, but the advantages in your availability to reply to readers’ queries are considerable.
- Reply to comments.
I realise that every blogger has their own approach to this. Whatever method you adopt for interacting with comments is perfect- if it is what your reader expects. Some of you might reply to each individual commenter, while others ‘batch’ reply to comments. And there are some bloggers whose names never appear in their own comments section. Which approach do you think might appear most welcoming to the non-blogger and convince them that you want them to be part of your community?
- Offer a friendly comments box.
At the end of this article — and on yours too — there is the ‘Leave a comment’ section. From the non-blogger’s point of view, this can be a potential barrier to drawing them in. When you ask them to leave their email address, it is helpful to state that this will not be used by any 3rd party. When your comment box requires them to ‘Enter your url/ website’, some may leave their email address. I know that the majority of you have non-blogger friendly comments boxes, but with the addition of a few welcoming words, you might just gently nudge the offline customer into having their say.
As with any invitation to talk, encouraging the non-blogger to join in your conversations means making them feel that their input is valued. If you can help them to feel at ease with the idea of commenting, you both can strike up a long-lasting and fruitful relationship.
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a blogger, leave a comment to let me know how you involve non-bloggers in the conversation? What might you do to encourage non-blogging customers to participate in your comments section?
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a non-blogger, tell them what they can do to make you feel part of their blog community.
Next week, I would like to take a reader’s question and discuss it a little further here. So, if there’s a particular issue you’d like me to explore that relates to connecting with offline customers or non-bloggers, please leave a comment and I’ll aim to write about it in the future.
Week 1: Connecting with the Offline Customer: A Non-BloggerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Perspective
Week 2: Targeting the Offline Customer: Do You Blog for Non-Bloggers?
Week 3: Reaching the Offline Customer: Do You Promote Your Blog Offline?
Week 4: Attracting the Offline Customer: Why Do You Promote Your Blog Offline?
Week 5: Top 10 Social Media Tips for Connecting With Non-Blogging Customers
Week 6: Welcoming the Offline Customer: Does Your Blog Create A Good Impression?