Hello! This week’s Friend Friday is about reader connectedness. I must admit I’m not totally sure what that means: My readers feel a connection with me? They actually have a connection with me? With each other? I’m going to try to answer as best as I can, but if I have completely got the wrong end of the stick, please do come forward and tell me!
1. How important do you think reader connectedness is to the success of your blog?
As I keep saying, one of the things I enjoy most about blogging is the interaction with readers and other bloggers, so I’d say pretty important. It feels like most people who read my blog I also read theirs, but then again, it’s difficult to tell, because people may be reading and not commenting, so I don’t actually know that they’re out there. Every now and then someone will come out and say that they’ve been reading for ages, which is nice!
As to whether people who read feel they have a connection with me, I don’t know! You’d have to ask them! Personally, I don’t keep coming back to a blog unless I feel that blog has something to offer me, which could be a feeling like I ‘know’ them, a semi-personal connection, but doesn’t have to be, it could just be that they keep covering topics I’m interested in, or take photos I like seeing. Though I guess that’s a sort of connection too!
2. What do you do to draw readers in and create that writer-reader bond?
I’m not sure I do anything specifically really. I always aim to stay true to myself and talk about what I like and hope that people will too. I’m pretty sure my personality shows through my posts, particularly in the posts where I ramble on about what I think.
On the other hand, this is not the kind of blog where I write about everything I got up to, and I do keep some parts private. Like I rarely show pictures of my friends on here. The blog only presents part of me, the colourful outfit loving, photograph taking, fashion musings part, and not others, like the part of me at work, the part that freaks out because Dave doesn’t have a job come April and the Tories hate civil servants and if I get made redundant we are properly screwed, the part that judges people because they don’t know the difference between parliament and government (though I am slowly coming to accept that this is not in fact required general knowledge). And I think that’s ok. But the blog isn’t ‘me’ in it’s entirety, and people might be disappointed if they met me in real life, I don’t know.
Oh, and the other thing I do is I interact with other bloggers, and respond to emails and comments where they have questions etc. I don’t do this as much as I would like to, but it’s always a toss up between doing more of that, or spending more time on content. I feel I’ve got the balance sort of right though, for me.
3. What is one way you could improve this connection?
I could interact more directly with readers through things like twitter (I feel pretty left out because I’m not on it, actually). I could show more of my personal life/background in the posts, when I did ten things about me, people did seem to like that a a number of people said that they didn’t know anything about me. Maybe I could also step up my interaction with other bloggers, take part in more challenges, or write more posts inspired by others or responding to others, more guest posts.
But I have considered all of these things, and while I try to do elements of them, there are limits to my time (which is the main reason why I am not on twitter) and I am ultimately happy with the way this blog works as it is. I do want to keep spending time thinking through things that I am interested in, just for me really.
And I also want this blog to be the kind of place where you can just drop in for a one-off visit if you’re interested in a particular topic, and have the kind of posts that make sense without the reader knowing anything about me. I think sometimes dropping in on a blog where the blogger and the readers know so much about each other and there is a lot of assumed knowledge can be quite intimidating to new reders (this has been my experience as a reader, anyway). You don’t always have to be completely connected!
4. Is there a blogger you think does a great job creating that writer-reader bond? Why?
Loads and loads, so many of the bloggers I visit regularly really let their readers into their lives, I don’t even want to pick anyone out. Plus, I am always particularly in awe of slightly ‘bigger bloggers’ like Retro Chick and WendyB, who manage to be really interactive and friendly and normal despite having so many readers!
5. What do you do to cultivate new readers? How do you get them to your site in the first place?
When someone new comments and they have a blog, I always visit their blog, and if I like it, I start follow it, and sometimes we become ‘friends’. I also occasionally click through random links on other people’s blogs to find new blogs and if I comment or follow sometimes people will do the same to me. But honestly, I don’t do this to gain new readers. I actually prefer my blog to grow organically, as I said last week, I try to avoid getting sucked into a competitive feeling of growing my readership quickly.
What do you guys think? Thoughts on connectedness? On your connectedness to me? More/less personal stuff? Can you give example of bloggers who do it really well?
For a roundup of this week’s posts on the topic, visit ModlyChic.
Illustrations via here.