Hey there Mr. Bigshot Blogger, it’s time for a few home truths. You might think you’re successful, authoritative and devilishly handsome. But you’re not. No, what you are, is a cheat.
Why? Because, whether you know it or not, you’re cheating your blog’s readers. They’re giving you adulation, adoration and probably a lovely wad of cash too. And in return you’re boring them, ignoring them and leaving them dazed and confused on the sidewalk.
So here’s the deal. I’m going to tell you how you’re cheating your readers and how you’re going to change. And in return, you’re going to make your blog even better.
How you are cheating your readers?
You’re Not What They Signed Up For
Don’t get me wrong, your last post was informative, entertaining and educational. But it lacked a certain something. Remember when you first started out? You were a firebrand, crackling with energy and writing in a way that made people sit up and listen. Nowadays, you’re mellower. Safer. Less challenging. That’s OK, but it’s not why people flocked to your blog. Take a look at your earlier work, and see if you can recapture that fire. Otherwise you’re dooming your readers to a long slide into mediocrity.
Readers are Here for Dinner, Not for Leftovers
I loved your post on “How to Produce an Attention Grabbing Post Title”. The first time I read it. Then, six weeks later, I liked “The Secret to Post Titles that Grab Attention!” – but it was wearing thin. If I’m honest, “Attention Grabbing Post Titles 101” and “Are Your Post Titles Grabbing Enough Attention?” weren’t my favourites – and “Grab Attention With Your Post Title (Here’s How!)” had me reaching for the unsubscribe button.
When you write a brilliant and popular post, it’s only natural to want to revisit it once or twice. But your readers are here for delicious fresh content. Re-packaging the same advice four times a year is handing them a plate of re-heated leftovers. Is that going to keep them back?
You’re Holding Something Back from Them
I appreciate that you’ve got that mailing list to look after, and that you’ve got to give the paying customers something really special. But come on, throw the freeloaders a bone. Just because they’re not paying you yet doesn’t mean you can throw them half-baked posts that your subscribers turn their noses up at.
And let’s face it. This time you’re cheating yourself too. Do you really think anyone’s going to fork out for subscription content when you’ve just served up something that took you ten minutes to scrawl out?
You Keep Them Coming Back… For Nothing
Sure, you’re busy. Maybe you write as an idea hits you, proof the post straight away and throw it online at any time of day. I mean, it’s your blog, right? Who cares that your posting schedule is unpredictable and irregular? You call the shots round here! Well, your readers care. And if you’re making them check back for a post that might not appear for another few days, you’re cheating them out of time they could spend doing something constructive.
You’re Cheating Readers out of a Chat
People are social animals. They like a bit of a chinwag – eespecially with people they respect. It brightens up their day, and lets them back in the warm glow of human interaction.
Except on your blog. Because you’re too busy to reply to comments. Or emails. Or Tweets. You’re busy beavering away on the next pronouncement you’re going to make from atop your ivory tower. And you’ve robbed your readers of a chance to have a chat. You think that’s going to give them a reason to come back?
You Take, Take, Take – And Give Nothing Back
You might have read this far and thought “so what?” I mean, what do your readers really do for you? Well. They ReTweet your posts. They Digg them. They email them to their friends. They print them out and mail them. It doesn’t matter how they do it, but your readers promote your website. And what do you give them in return? A few posts.
Cut them some slack. Stop cheating them out of their precious time, and start showing them some love. Dofollow comment links, tweets about their posts, free samples of your subscriber content. No matter how you choose to do it, start rewarding that loyalty.
Because when you stop cheating readers and start giving them more of what they want, they start to do more of what you want. Whether it’s the adoration, the free publicity or the cold, hard cash, your readers will come through for you. So stop trying to take them for a ride and start to enjoy where they take you.
If you have to share your thoughts, I would love to hear your comments.