10

The Secrets to Long-Term Blogging Success [Part 10]

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

Welcome to the 10th part in our series on blogging success.  If haven’t had a chance to read the other editions, you can catch up on this page.

Today we’re going to continue our discussion of quality content that you provide your readers.  In the least edition I gave eight different types of posts that your audience will love.  Now I want to shift focus and discuss six tactics that’ll get your readers to create your content.

#1- Guest Posts

If you’ve noticed I’ve had a lot of guest posts in the last few weeks.  In my opinion, guest posting is a ‘win-win’ situation.  The author gets a full article to show off their expertise with a permanent backlink.  And you get a free, unique article for your site.

Currently I’m traveling through Europe till November.  I couldn’t do this without the help of guest authors from other sites.   (Of course, I’ll return the favor and do a lot of writing once I’m back in the States.)

The quickest way to get started with guest posts is to let your audience know that you’re open to it.  Write post about it.  Or do what I do and create a dedicated page about your guest posting policy.

#2- Poll Your Audience

I want to be honest here.  This is a tactic that I haven’t tried yet.  But I’ve seen a lot of sites successfully use polls and I plan on doing the same.

The trick to a poll is to ask a simple question and provide three to fourpossible responses. I recommend using this technique to gauge your reader’s interest in a particular topic.  Find out what they want to learn.  Then create content around this subject.

A quick way to get started with polls is to use this WordPress poll plugin.

#3- Run a Contest

A contest is an excellent method for getting your audience to participate.  As an example, I ran a contest early this month for a $100 Amazon Gift Card.  I created it because I wanted ideas for my first information product.  While the response wasn’t overwhelming, I did receive a number of great ideas that I’ll be using in the future.

You don’t have to break the bank with your contest.  In fact, you could give some away that doesn’t cost a thing, but still has value.  Like your time, services, or even a permanent backlink from your site.  Just think about what your audience would want the most and offer it as a prize.

#4- Ask a Question

This is another tactic that I just started.  With this method, you give a short background on a topic and ask your audience a simple question.  Then your audience will provide most of the content by voicing their opinion.

I did this when I was in Sardinia.  During that week I realized that I should do more video posts.   The problem was I felt lazy and didn’t want to do much talking.  So I asked a simple question and let you guys give me your response.

Now here’s a sneaky trick to really increase your number of comments.  After creating this post, link to it from your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.  Then send out a quickie email to your list.  Within a few hours, you could have dozens of responses with very little effort on your part

#5- Give them Homework

A number of popular blogs regularly give homework assignments to their readers.  This is extremely effective if you discuss a topic where there’s a lot to learn.

In your niche, I’m sure there is a major problem that people are experiencing.  Instead of writing a few blog posts on the subject, you could turn it into a mini-course and spoon feed information

All you do is break down this subject into easy-to-manage parts and give your audience something to do each week.  Your audience creates content by describing the results they see in your comments section.  They’ll list their challenges, what they’ve learned, and unique ideas.

Furthermore, this is a great technique if you’re thinking about creating an information product.  Regular participation from your readers will help you discover the ‘information gaps’ in your niche.  This will help you learn what your audience really wants. Then all you have to do is create something that’ll solve these problems.

#6- Set up a Debate

It’s simple.  Introduce a hot topic in your niche.  Give arguments for both sites.  Ask your readers for their opinion.  Then sit back and watch what happens.

We all have opinions…Especially on the things that matter.  With a debate, your audience will interact with you and most importantly, with each other.

What you debate about really depends on the theme of your blog.  You could use a current event.  Or talk about something that just happened in your niche.  Or even ask a simple question, and express your viewpoint.  The trick here is to find a topic that’ll get a strong reaction.

Final Thoughts…

These are just a few ideas for getting your audience to contribute most on your blog.  In my opinion, this is a technique many site owners tend to ignore.  We all fall into the trap of feeling like we have to be the sole creative force behind our sites.  By regularly getting your audience to participate, you won’t have to work as hard AND you’ll develop a higher level of interaction with your readers.

In reality, your audience is full of bright people who have excellent ideas.  By regularly engaging them, you’ll be surprised at how much value they can give to your site.

Take Action. Get Results.



{ 10 comments }

Karen

Hi Steve,

Some great tips here. I’m still waiting for my guest post, btw 🙂

I have run one contest successfully on my site. People want free things! But haven’t had a poll, yet. I try to ask questions of my readers in each article that I write to get them thinking and also to engage. There’s a ton of wisdom out there that we can definitely utilize to help each other out. I’ve seen the ‘homework’ approach only recently and only on a handful of sites, but it can be very useful.

Am loving the series so far!
.-= Karen´s last blog ..What Are You Waiting For =-.

Steve Scott

Haha…. you got me. I’ve been horrible about following up with guest posts of my own. I have a list of 20+ sites and it seems to be growing. Probably this week, I’ll get cracking with these.

I’m going to check out how you did the contests on your site. I definitely want to create stuff that’s more interactive here. I know James/Brandon do it extremely well on the T.I.P site.

Gail

Thanks for continuing to grow the business bueprint with yet more things to do, Steve. Still, at least they are in the content section of the blueprint, not in the research 😉

I’ve been giving homework for any readers who want to go through the process of creating their own business blueprint on the paying hobby blog over the past few weeks. To be honest, I’m not sure if anyone is following along, but if I ever decide to use the posts as the basis for a free pdf, it at least means I’ll be able to do it as a workbook rather than just a free report.
.-= Gail´s last blog ..Sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat Other times- Im not that focused =-.

Steve Scott

Sounds like a good idea. This also raises the perceived value which should increase the amount of people who subscribe.

ShortHairDiva

I like the idea of a debate but I think I’m too argumentative for that one. I’d probably wind up ticking people off.

Homework sounds fun though. I actually read a blog that asks the readers to submit photos or ideas for certain things, and then the blog owner posts them. It makes readers feel involved and creates more content for her own site.

Cool ideas.
.-= ShortHairDiva´s last blog ..Social Media Day 2010- Tampa Mashable Meetup =-.

Steve Scott

It’s definitely something I’ve seen other sites use with success. I guess the trick is to find something people are willing to work for.

Dia

Guest posting is crucial Steve, especially for getting traffic. I personally plan on doing some guest posts starting August. In regards to contests, I have seen some sites do contests and the results is many people participate in such contests, so it is a good thing to do. Thanks for sharing
.-= Dia´s last blog ..How to control your emotions and overcome negative thoughts =-.

Steve Scott

Thanks for the comment….I would have to to say both are crucial strategies to building a lot of interactivity with a blog which is something I plan on doing more once I calm down from my travels.

Mark of Success

I seriously need to work on these!

Just used polls on my latest post, and can’t wait to hear from my readers – especially those who are too lazy to leave comments. Just hoping that they are not too lazy to select an option and hit the vote button 😀

I found the idea about setting up a debate interesting. Have to give that one some thought…

This was one killer post, one of the best in the series.

Cheers!
Mark
.-= Mark of Success´s last blog ..Announcing the “Challenges -amp Experiments” Series =-.

Steve Scott

Thanks Mark! I’ll have to pop over and check out the poll. As you know, I just did my own first one and it helped me understand what people want.

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