[Guest Post] Every Reader Matters

Photo by goXunuReviews on Flickr.
 Today’s post on the value of readership comes from Avalon Jaedra at Writability. Thanks, AvaJae!

It wasn’t long after I jumped into the blogosphere that I realized blogging is very much about the numbers. The number of pageviews, the number of subscribers, the number of blog posts and comments and retweets and inbound and outbound links and the list goes on.

But blogging isn’t just about the numbers—it’s about the people. More than that—it’s about the relationships you build with your readers.

Because your blog stats may measure your readers in numbers, but your readers aren’t numbers, nor do they appreciate being treated like one. Your readers matter — every single one.

And really, when it comes to building your audience, paying attention to your readers is probably one of the best things you can do. Because an audience isn’t built overnight through some enormous explosion of people, it’s built one reader at a time. One relationship at a time.

So how do you build a relationship with your readers?

  • Answer comments. Yes, as in every single one. I recommend installing a commenting system that allows you to reply directly to comments rather than @ mentioning people, but either way you really do need to answer all of your comments if you want to build relationships with your readers.
  • Visit your readers’ blogs. I’m not suggesting you try to visit every single one of your readers blogs all in one day (although kudos to you if you do), but especially once you start to see people making repeat visits to your blog, take the time to see if they have one as well. You never know, you might just find that you like what they have to say just as much as they do you. (Fun fact: This is how I found Dan’s blog.)
  • Talk to your readers through other means. Do your readers have Twitter accounts? Have they liked you on Facebook? Do they have a tumblr or LinkedIn or a Goodreads account? Chances are they do, and taking the extra step to thank them for commenting on your blog via Twitter or whatever other site is a great way to reach out to your readers on sites other than your blog.
  • Repeat. You mean you’ve done all three? Great. Do it again.

Building an audience—especially a well-connected one—takes time, but if you make the effort you’ll find that not only do you have a growing audience, but you have a loyal one.

Without a connection to your audience, the numbers are useless. But don’t just take my word for it, think about it yourself. Would you prefer an audience of 1,000 readers who rarely comment on your posts and nearly never share it with others or an audience of 100 readers you visit your blog daily and comment often?

I know which I would choose every time. What about you?

Ava Jae is a writer, artist and X-men geek. You can find her weekly musings on her blog Writability, follow her on Twitter, or like her Facebook page.

Outbound, 11/12/11

Everywhere I look, people have clever, alliterative monikers for the days when they just post a mess of links in their blogs. Feverish Friday. Shameless Promotion Saturday. WTF Weekend. I can’t do it. I’ve  thought up, and rejected, approximately a dozen lame examples just like the ones above. No offense to your alliterative link day, of course, which is funny and inventive and the only reason I didn’t use it is because you got there first and I want us to be friends.

So I decided on “Outbound,” because if you read this, that’s probably just where you are. And it has the advantage of not being tied to a particular day — which is actually a disadvantage, as I’m sure you’ll be waiting breathlessly for these links every week like it was the British Invasion.

Anyway, links.

Got a Block? Try a WEDGE by Janece Herrington at WrimosFTW. Writing advice is objectively better with a snappy acronym, and this is the snappiest you’ll see today. But that’s not all. There’s also Take This Plot and SHOVE It and Fortune, Flames and FOCUS. Now how much would you pay? Janece is the Ron Popeil of writing advice.

10 Phrases to Purge From Your Speech & Writing via Passive Voice.

An Open Letter to Authors via jessica at downtherabbithole. A must-read treatise on how self-publishers need to bring their A-game.

Character vs. Trait at edittorrent. A concise guide to going deeper with your characters.

Blog Treasures via Gene Lempp. Links to more links. Now you’ll be here all day. You’re welcome. Seriously, some great stuff here. And Gene’s not alliterative either. Yet.

31 Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Writing via Leo Babauta. Babauta’s kind of amazing. If you haven’t checked out his stuff, you really ought to. See also Zen Habits.

Can You Write 200 Words? Then Read This via Start Your Novel. Tasty words.

How to Write Quickly via Ava Jae at Writability. Ava really knows how to start a discussion and engage her readers. I am transparently jealous.

Miraculous Freak of (Writing) Nature via Anonymous Legacy. Angela’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite bloggers. She’s also a blast to talk to on Twitter.

25 Things You Should Know about Suspense and Tension in Storytelling via Chuck Wendig. I’m not sure Chuck Wendig needs any more exposure, since everyone seems to have heard of him, and with good reason. Still, if by any chance you’re not familiar, here’s your chance.

Shooting for the Moon via Catherine, Caffeinated. Some invaluable advice on using traditional publishing expertise to leverage your self-publishing efforts.

Editing: Butchering Your Creativity? via Kristen Lamb. Anyone who’s ever been tempted to edit while writing is cordially invited to stop, drop, and roll with this advice.

Okay, that’s all. Have a great weekend. And if there’s anything cool you think I might have missed, do drop me a comment. I do love me some comments.