by Scott McIntyre
Last week, I offered a few ideas on how you can make commenting a little easier for your non-blogging reader and asked whether you make room for non-bloggers to comment? Having a lively, inclusive conversation with all of your readers- whether blogger or not- is a goal that many of you are working towards.
To recap briefly, I suggested that your blog comments section can be made more user-friendly by including guidance that describes what ‘Having your say’ is all about. I also mentioned that welcoming a non-blogger’s first ever comment with an acknowledgment email is likely to encourage them to come back again. Finally, if you offer a little coaching on what makes an ‘ideal’ comment, you can draw in the offline customer and encourage them to become fully involved in your community.
I was delighted to read in your own comments that so many of you are passionate about building vibrant communities. It was great to hear from those of you who recalled your perspectives as non-bloggers. After all, even the most seasoned blogger was once a fresh-faced non-blogger!
It can be a very enlightening exercise if you consider your blog and its content through the eyes of that information hungry, inquisitive but tentative, first-time visitor…
If you intend to connect with offline customers as part of your blog’s strategy, it is useful to research what this target audience is looking for. For example, what are their specific needs and how can your blog satisfy them? What questions might the non-blogger have and how can your online offering answer them?
While one-off visits are fine, the ultimate aim is to build an ongoing relationship with the non-blogging reader.
Today, I’m going to consider what the offline customer is likely to be searching for in a worthwhile relationship with you. I’m also keen to learn of the kind of things you, as bloggers, hope to gain from these mutually beneficial interactions. It would be great to hear from you in the comments section below.
What Benefits Are Important To Non-Bloggers?
By spending some time working out what your ideal non-blogging audience wants, you will be in a much better position to first attract- then win over- this target reader. Alternatively, you may come to the equally valid conclusion that your content is not suited to this demographic. Of course, deciding this sooner rather than later will save you from investing resources without any decent return.
The following five basic questions will help you to focus in on what benefits the offline customer is likely hoping to gain from your blog. In any relationship, however, knowing what you both hope to achieve is the first step to building a mutually beneficial interaction. Anything less than a two-way engagement is likely not going to end up in long-term satisfaction for either of you.
- Do you offer the non-blogger quality content?
The most basic need for someone looking for valuable information online is that it provides first class answers to their questions. With the sheer volume and variety of pages on the internet, it is inevitable that a large proportion of these will be sub-standard and unlikely to satisfy. By ensuring that what you offer always seeks to be well researched, informative, and reliable, those non-bloggers being inundated with places promising to give them what they require, will recognize the obvious value in what you are providing.
- Do you supply the non-blogger with a fresh source of information?
The internet is awash with second rate, cloned articles and boring posts which offer no new points of view. It is not enough these days to simply repeat and copy the opinions of others. The quality conscious non-blogger is really desperate for some original thinking around those topics which interest them. If you can be the blogger who speaks to them in an original voice, you will definitely stand out in the crowded blogosphere by regularly giving innovative articles which offer consistent value over time.
- Do you create an attractive place for the non-blogger to visit?
I’ve mentioned previously how important it is to have a well designed, easily navigated, and user friendly website. Should your online offering have features which are difficult to understand and negotiate around, there is a risk that the non-blogger with little prior knowledge of blogs will be confused enough to just click away and continue on to somewhere else more sensitive to their lack of expertise.
- Do you build a welcoming community for the non-blogger?
As you’ve probably realized by now, I personally believe that a vibrant comments section and lively readership are two of the main factors which distinguish a blog from any other type of media. It is a very powerful benefit to the offline customer if you can demonstrate that it is possible for them to play an active role in shaping the content they are reading. Non-bloggers are excited at the potential offered by blogs- if the blogger takes the time to point out the advantages and helps to make their participation easier.
- Do you encourage the non-blogger to return?
A one-time only customer is never ideal for an ongoing, profitable business. Whatever you might be offering online- be it information, products or services- the perfect scenario is to create such a positive buzz that the first-time visitor returns again and again. A good way to do this is to promote upcoming content and special features you are planning to run on your blog. Having a series of articles, for example, is a perfect way to stimulate the interest of someone and get them to come back. No one can resist the benefit of a promise of good things to come!
The above questions can help you begin to assess what it is that the offline customer hopes to gain by embarking upon a relationship with you. If you are, in turn, able to provide these benefits, your blog will become a much desired destination for repeat visits. Along with this, if you decide your own aims for connecting with the non-blogger and can communicate these effectively, your first meeting will most probably be the beginning of a worthwhile engagement for you both.
If you’re a blogger, leave a comment to let me know what you would like to achieve from a mutually beneficial relationship with a non-blogger? What do you believe to be important considerations as you seek to build these two way interactions?
If you’re a non-blogger, tell them what you are actually looking for in a long-term relationship with their blog.
Last week: Week 9: Offline Customers: Do You Make Room for Non-Blogger’s to Comment?
See the entire Blogging for the Non-Blogging Customer Series on the Successful Series Page.