Although I left my full time job (s) in July to pursue my dream of becoming a full time blogger, I was not always my ‘own boss’. I worked in advertising and promotions, alongside writing for magazines, newspapers and online media outlets as a Freelance Journalist, but I always felt undervalued in my job and knew that I could amount to more. I felt degraded and not because of the nature of the job but because we were never rewarded for our ‘hard work’. I was consistently called out on being a top performer and yet the top performers were never rewarded for their contributions to the ‘companies growth’. When we had ideas on how we could improve our companies performance in the business sector, our comments were shut down and instead they stuck to their ‘traditional, outdated forms of advertising’ that quite frankly were stuck five years in the past. And I was right, their sales are still struggling and they still do not acknowledge their employees success, which to me is such a shame.
Although I am my own boss now, I still seek to reward my readers who follow me as well as rewarding the clients that work with me. I give others shout outs, I interact with other accounts and recommend other bloggers for jobs, opportunities, product reviews and events, because I believe it is nice to reward those who need it the most. And while ‘blogging’ might not have the same dynamics as a ‘traditional 9-5’, I nevertheless still feel that we should be rewarding our readers, because they are the ones who made your career happen. Without my beautiful readers, I wouldn’t be blogging full time or have met some wonderful blogging friends who I am proud to call my friends. But why is it so important to reward your blog readers for following you?
It Makes Your Readers Feel Valued
It might seem like a simple point to make but by acknowledging the effort that the reader has taken to read and engage with your content, it shows that you value them as readers. And while some readers might not comment, you should nevertheless reward your blog readers for ‘awarding you time’ out of their day, because it is important to show them how much you value their support. Not only does rewarding your readers-whether that be through giveaways, shout outs and social shares- demonstrate that you are giving something back to them, but it also creates the idea of a ‘loyalty programme scheme ‘. For example a ‘new reader ‘ comments on your post and as a token of thanks you too engage with their blog, until eventually you will automatically both engage with each other’s content creating authentic communication. The idea of a ‘loyalty programme’ exists in the notion of you rewarding each other for your ‘shared interactions’ thus giving more interaction, more recognition, more traffic and above all a genuine connection. Who knows your virtual buddy might even become your real life friend, it happened to me.
Some of my biggest supporters followed my blog and would ask whether we could meet up in person.We soon became fast friends, so my point being that not only can your readers feel valued but potentially you could be real life buddies too!
It Shows That You Care
Being able to ‘appreciate’ your reader’s loyalty shows that you care. Unlike celebrities who seem so untouchable and ‘out of reach’ bloggers are just ordanairy people like me and you, yet it saddens me when some bloggers act otherwise. As their followers grow they seem to forget about the followers who put them there in the first place;not only do they not interact with their followers at all, but I have witnessed how some can be at blogger events. Of course it might be a generalization believing that not interacting with audience shows that you do not care, as I am sure to some extent they are grateful to their readers. However that being said, even if it is just replying to a few special comments a week, it is important to reward your blog readers and show that you do care about them. Be humble… show your appreciation
It Shows That You Are Humble
And speaking of humility, rewarding our readers for reading our blogs or interacting with our social channels, not only helps you remain grounded but it also reminds you of your roots. I don’t know how many times I have to say this but following is not everything. In fact the whole reason that you get to attend cool events, are paid for your time and even invited to exclusive press trips is because of the readers who have supported you on your journey. There has been a multitude of times where I have met bloggers I had admired and respected online and yet they would freeze me out and pretend that I was ‘just some little fan girl’, when they were the ones who had followed me LOL. Or another instance where I was friendly with a micro-blogger, who after starting Youtube a few months ago became ‘Insta-Famous’ and immediately unfollowed me (and others on everything) and pretended like we hadn’t been friends in the first place! Everytime I would meet her again at events we both attended, she would pretend like she didn’t even know me and be ‘over the top ‘ in her niceness towards me . It saddens me especially when her subscribers comment on what a nice person she is, and yet she acts like a celebrity. It does not sit right with me.
My point being I have very sage words of advice for you: Success is not defined by how many followers you have… instead success is defined by happiness. And to me, nothing makes me more happy than recognizing how fantastic my readers really are. It beggars belief that some people are surprised how I ‘act’ exactly the same as I do online and yet I can see why they might be surprised. After all when you meet some people in person, you do realize that they can be hiding behind a persona.
It Creates A Higher Retention Rate
The more that you reward your blog readers, the higher a retention rate it creates. Think about it this way; if you are in a 9-5 job and your boss wants to ensure that you stay ‘loyal to the company’ as well as showing that they ‘appreciate you’ it is likely that they will install some sort of ‘incentive system’ where the more sales you create, the greater your chance of reward is. And because we all like to feel valued, rewards will make us more likely to ‘stay on at the company’. Now when it comes to blogging, the idea of a ‘loyalty scheme’ in order to ensure your readers stick around, is very much something to take into consideration. While the most obvious choice might be to create a ‘giveaway’, giveaways do not create the most ‘loyal readers’, thus not creating a higher retention rate. But the idea of a comment exchange, personalized emails or shout outs, will make them more likely to come back to your blog, because you have shown how much you value and appreciate their readership.
I mentioned earlier that I often do shoutouts across social media; while my aim intrinsically might not be motivated by the aim of ‘creating a higher retention rate’ and is rather motivated by the ‘want to help others’, it does mean that these ‘spotlighted readers’ are more likely to want to interact with me again, because I too took time out of my day to ‘give something back’. And it’s not hard, it can be something as small as replying to their comments but in doing so they will potentially come back to your blog and be a long term reader.
It Improves Your Own Productivity As A Blogger
I am motivated by my readers overwhelming kindness and support and truly I cannot thank them enough for how much love they have given me. I feel inadequate sometimes in how much I can give back, but regardless of financial circumstances, you don’t need money to show your readers how much you adore them. And speaking of which the idea of a ‘compliment’ or a positive action, reinforces that we are doing something right, resulting in a higher level of productivity for both you and your readers. For example your reader feels more productive because you have rewarded them for interacting with your account and in turn you feel happy because you made them feel special, which motivates you to work harder and be a better blogger.
I was so surprised looking back at why my readers stood by me; after all being the self-critical woman that I am, I found that I hadn’t yet found my blogging voice, my pictures though unique were not amazing and while I worked hard, I did not regularly post in the early days. Yet by some miracle, many of my readers are still with me today, because they believed in me and knew I could get better, even if I didn’t believe in myself. I remember having a conversation with a PR, who also happens to be a friend, telling me how proud she was both as a brand and a personal reader, to see how far I had come in the space of two years and how quickly I had grown. I felt like I would be big headed if I acknowledged that she was right but it is true. Time and hard work makes us better workers but it is my readers who make me the most productive blogger that I can be. Even on days where I am ill or am feeling low, knowing that my readers are still there waiting for me is the motivation I need to reward my blog readers.
It Helps You Establish What Types Of Posts Perform Best
When we analyze audience metrics like ‘post views’ , number of comments and likes and shares, we can establish what type of posts perform the best. But how does this relate to being able to reward your blog readers,I hear you ask? Put simply, the more that readers interact with a certain type of post i.e. blog tips, the more it shows that you can reward your blog readers by choosing to write blog content that they would be interested in reading. For example if I was to write a post on how to grow your following on Instagram- Oh wait I did that- I would see that my readers are interested in reading a ‘post that helps them grow’ because we all love ‘how to and tips posts’. Indeed if I was to look at my top 5 most viewed posts, I can quite easily establish the best performing genres, which in turn shows that I am rewarding my bloggers, by creating content that they want to read.
My Top 5 Posts
- How To Grow Your Following On Instagram
- A Letter To My Aunty On Valentines Day
- 35 Blogging Platforms & Groups That Pay You To Blog
- Why I’m Quitting My Full Time Job To Blog Full Time
- 10 Types Of Fuckboys That You Will Find In The Dating World
By looking at this ‘top 5 posts’ I can already determine that ‘blog tips’, ‘personal posts’ and posts about dating are what perform the best on my blog, because that is what my readers are most interested in reading. Thus you will notice, that while I do have a lot of fashion posts-which also perform well- my most liked content is centered around my personal life and how I can help my readers grow ( i.e. how to posts that answers readers questions) . So naturally, most of my content is what I like to call ‘reader approved’.
It Helps You Think Outside The Box
When your readers have the kindness to reward you with ‘their time’ it makes you think of ways that you can reward them in pleasant and unexpected ways, that go against the grain. Whether that be by setting up a blogger event, that hooks them up with brands and helps them create a bigger and more connected networking system or a chance to win a meal and drinks with you, it allows you to think outside the box. I have a blogger friend who has started a make up business because her readers were frustrated with the lack of diversity in make up brands, while another created a slow fashion site, in response to the consumerism in fast fashion of modern youth. So you see, our readers needs and preferences can help us think of new and exciting ways to capture their interest and retain their loyalty.
It does not necessarily have to be as forward thinking or as bold as creating your own makeup line, but even creating simple shout outs each week or dedicating a post to your ‘favourite colourful bloggers’ shows your audience that you are grateful and as committed to them as they are to you.
It Motivates You To Be A Better Blogger
My readers motivate me to be a better blogger, because if I didn’t have their encouragement and support then I wouldn’t be a full time blogger today. Your readers help you dream, your readers pick you up when you are feeling down and while you may never get to meet some of them, you share a special bond with those who have favored you with their love. Whether you get 600 views or 1 million , all you should focus on is the people, rather than seeing them as a collective number. They will motivate you to be a better blogger because if they did not interact with you, you might feel disheartened, if they didn’t follow you or send you messages, your following might not be what it is today and it certainly makes you a greater person, as you show gratitude towards your readers.
So in short here is why it makes you a better blogger:
- Praise is an incentive to make us work harder and thus become more likely to be successful at what we do
- It inspires you to create tailored content that you know will help your audience grow alongside you
- It teaches you the art of humility and to realize that your readers help you stay grounded, even in ‘crazy times’
It Helps You Develop A Genuine Connection With Your Audience
As micro-bloggers, we have a honed audience, meaning that they are not only more engaged in our content, but also engaged with who we are as a person. If you choose to message that one person out of the 2,000 people that might have liked that one ‘Instagram Post’ it helps them build rapport with you and your brand. In return, building a consistent and engaged relationship with your audience, helps to develop a long term genuine connection with your audience. While it might take me a few days to reply to some messages, I always aim to reply to every DM or email that my audience sends me-unless its a creepy dick pic in which case NO- because I want to show my readers that I am interested in what they have to say.
If your readers message you asking for help, help them out. If you see someone struggling recommend them to brands that you know are looking for bloggers. I know that myself and many of my readers do this , which shows what a kind audience I have, and I am proud that they are such a lovely bunch of people.
It Helps Boost Your Audience’s Morale and Self Esteem
It goes without saying that ‘to reward your blog readers’ is to boost their morale and self-esteem. We all love a boost of confidence and praising our readers makes them feel more positive and good about themselves which is always a great quality to bestow. Whether you notice that they have written a post on being in hospital and you have messaged them to make sure they are ok or notice that they have got engaged and you give them a shout out congratulating them, being nice is far better than ‘tearing people down’, at least in my opinion anyway. And when you boost your audience’s morale and self-esteem, in return it puts you in a positive frame of mind for doing a good deed!
You know how some random strangers do a ‘good deed Friday’? Well although I love the concept I believe it is important to give something back to others, regardless of what day of the week it is. Even when you are feeling low, sometimes helping others can make you feel a little bit better.
How Can You Reward Your Readers?
While this will be a separate post in itself, there are a few ideas below:
- Create Your Own Blogger Award Ceremony
- Create An Email Opt In With Blogging Tips And Tricks
- Create A Night Out For Local Readers
But what if I am the boss of a company outside of blogging and want to reward my employees for their contribution to my company?
Whether you are a blogger or journalist, regardless of occupation we would all like to be valued for the hard work we have put into our job. So if you are reading this as a reader who does not blog and is a ‘boss’, you can still show your employees that you care. Not only does it increase productivity and job satisfaction, but it also creates ‘retention’. In my job, there were weeks where the turnover rate was so high that I barely recognized my colleagues and it was a sad fact to behold. Yet I knew friends who worked in jobs where they were truly valued. There would be ‘team pizza nights’, bonuses for top performers and VIP invites to exclusive events and launches. But if you are worried about what the best way to reward your team would be, then contact Corporate Rewards who can help you create a team culture and award winning recognition, incentive and event programmes that inspire people to do more.
Please note this is a paid collaborative post in conjunction with Corporate Rewards but this does not affect my thoughts and all opinions are my own.
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