7 Critical Ways to Turn Readers Into Die-Hard Fans

by Jonathan Cooper · 44 comments

Every blog needs die-hard fans.

You know, the group of people who continously read, comment, and share your articles.

It doesn’t have to be a huge group—as Derek Sivers said, you only need one.

Why do you need these readers?

They lead to more exposure, more readers, and more fans of the same breed.

So here are a few ways you can turn 7 ways to turn active readers into die-hard fans.

1. Respond to every comment

You don’t know who will be your next die-hard fan, but you can make sure you don’t lose out on one by responding to each comment on your blog.

It’s simple and easy, but it makes a huge difference. People like to see a blogger who steps down from his throne to get to know each one of his readers.

2. Comment on your readers blogs

If your commenters engage with you, why not do the same for them?

Some blogs get no readership, so when you visit one of your fan’s blogs and leave something as small as a comment, I promise you they’ll take notice.

If your readers aren’t commenting on your blog, then search twitter & other social networks for people that are sharing your content. Find out where they blog, and leave an insightful comment for each of them.

3. Find influential readers

The easiest way to the top is to find your readers with influence, and engage with them. Remember, if they’ve commented on your blog or shared your content, they’re probably interested in both you and what you’re doing.

If you’re regularly interacting with your commenters, both on your blog and on theirs, you’ll see who has the influential blogs.

So, once you identify them, try and build those relationships through email, twitter, and Linkedin.

Once these people with influence get to know you better, they’ll be more likely to share your content, and if you continuously crank out great content, there’s no reason why they won’t become a die-hard fan.

4. Send your readers a quick “thank you” email

I did this a couple weeks ago, and I was happy with the results.

On my blog I have about 10 people that have left a ton of great, insightful comments, and I wanted to show them how thankful I was.

Because you have to leave your email when commenting, I found their emails through the comments section in my dashboard and wrote up a personalized thank you letter to each. Here’s an example of one I sent out:

(Name),

I know it might have been just a few minutes you spent reading and commenting on my blog a few months back, but I’d just like to say thanks. It really means a lot that out of all the SEO blogs out there, you decided mine was important enough to read and comment on. Also, the comments on my “as a link builder, I’m disappointed” post you left gave some great insight that your fellow readers and I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was wondering if there was anything I could do for you? Whether it’s any questions you have, and advice you might need, or anything else you could think of, I’d love to help out in anyway I can.

Thanks again (Name)!

Jon Cooper
Point Blank SEO

It took me a few minutes to write up each email, and I’ll bet my commenters never received something like that before. By showing them I care, they’re much more likely to consistently read and share my content.

5. Reader Hall of Fame

I saw this on a post about a year ago, and it really resonated with me.

If you see a reader that’s going above and beyond in consistently leaving comments or sharing your content, reward them for it.

Create a monthly “Reader of the month” post, interview them, give them a few links to their blog, and maybe even a free t-shirt.

Add them to your Reader Hall of Fame section, and I guarantee they’ll become one of your biggest fans.

6. Surprise your readers

Do something so awesome for your readers that they’ll be too excited not to tweet and share what you did with all of their friends.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be overly impressive; look what Charles Sipe did for Ian Lurie, and look at Ian’s response post.

7. Give away free stuff

You know why I’m such a big fan of Appsumo?

They constantly give away free stuff not only on their website, but also via twitter.

For those with a big budget this might be doable, but for others on a tight budget it’s not. For me, I’m planning to give away free link building services in a contest over the next few months. Sometimes your time is worth much more to your fans than a $10 giveaway.

Conclusion

The power of one is enormous, so take the time to get to know each of your readers and to nurture each one of those relationships.

You never know who’s going to be the reader that’s going to get your content seen by some of the top influencers, and when that happens, your success is exponential.

Do you know any other ways to turn active readers into die-hard fans? I’m dying to hear them in the comments below!

About the Author: Jon Cooper is a link builder who blogs over at Point Blank SEO. If you liked this article, follow him on twitter and add Point Blank SEO to your circles.

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{ 44 comments }

Megan Heaney

Great advice Jon. It doesn’t have to be complicated when you step back and think about it. All you need to do is connect with people.

I think a lot of people have a mental block when the internet is involved, they start looking for tips and tricks, but if you think about how you connect with people and build relationships in ‘real’ life, then it becomes obvious what you should do online.

I love the thank you email idea! I’d love to know what kind of responses you got from it.

Megan

Jon Cooper

You hit the nail on the head Megan! There’s no hidden code to relationship building online – it’s the same as it is in real life.

Atul Tayade

Hi,
I have just begun my blog journey. I have got a domain and in the process of establishing my website. As of now I am customizing it.

The tips mentioned here would surely help me in the future. Btw, I have a long way to go!! Wish me luck :)

Jon Cooper

Good luck Atul!

This post should help you in the very beginning – when you get your first fan/reader/follower, make sure you connect with them as much as possible. If you want to reach the masses, you have to first reach the individual.

Linda

I enjoyed your article. I have been so disappointed with my blog that I quit blogging. Reason is I get all kinds of comments but they are mostly automatic and don’t appear to be legit. The websites from the people that leave comments are not something I would want to pass on to my clients. Do I still answer them?

Thanks for your articles. I have saved all of them to reread.

Linda

Rod

Hi.. IMO it sounds more like spam rather than legitimate comments.

Pat

Linda, don’t get discouraged about not having comments… or only get those automated spam comments… every day i have to clean out my comments but once in a while there is something worthy to follow. It just takes time to get a good following. All the best.

Jon Cooper

That’s tough Linda, but comment spam is something we all have to deal with :( .

If they’re not on topic, and if you know they’re spam, don’t pay attention. I don’t respond to every comment – I respond to roughly 80%, because some of comments are either “good job!” or something similar. Just be on the lookout for the few people that do care, and do your best to get to know them as much as possible.

I really hope that you can put your troubles behind you and start blogging again! I’ve got faith that you can overcome this problem :)

Nasrul Hanis

Nice tips, Jon! By engaging personally with the readers and visitors, we are creating fans and prospects for our sites. Will implement these matters for my sites as well!

Jon Cooper

Awesome, thanks Nasrul! I really appreciate your comment :)

Tori

@Linda, Don’t respond to automated comments, delete them as fast as possible. When I go to sites that don’t do so, I immediately question their authority. I am sure I’m not the only one to do so. Good luck building a conversation.

Azzam

Jon you kidding right?
This is all idealistic and and quite possibly unrealistic of how things are done in the real blogging world.
Very few bloggers ‘care’ for the read base unless there in an inflicting self interest

Nikhil

Great insights. I really love the part where you sent out emails to your readers. Thats the most direct method of connecting and is most impactfull.

Connecting back to your readers is what that matters.

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

I’ve always been impressed when an author does #1 and or #4.

Typically made me put them in my RSS Reader!

Jon Cooper

Exactly. There are a few blogs that are average that I read ONLY because the author does a hell of a job to actually get to know me & their audience.

Thanks for the comment Rob :D

Pat

All good information. I really need to follow up every comment with a comment. As you suggest, it can lead not only to better communication with readers, but there is always the possibility of catching the eye of an influential reader who can help take your blog to the next level. Thanks.

Jon Cooper

Exactly! Thanks Pat, and thanks for helping out Linda above! I really appreciate your input :)

Tanya Malott

I think I have become a DIY Themes die hard fan. I’m still new to this stuff, trying to figure out what might work for me (my photography business is built on real relationships, not virtual ones…yet). In the past few months, I have started reading A LOT more blogs, and I get A LOT more newsletters into my inbox. And I have to confess, I am getting overwhelmed, starting to unsubscribe to a few, and just trashing others without reading. I am down to 2 that I always open. DIY Themes is one of them….and like I said, I’m not even sure how or if this stuff might work for me, but I love the smart writing and good thinking and easy to read posts. Oh, and I totally connect with doing crazy unexpected things for my favorite clients!

Jon Cooper

This is a fantastic blog (Derek does a great job), so I can 100% agree with you on that one.

I think you’re starting to find out that not every blog is worth your time. I used to read around 10 blogs like this one, but as time goes on, you weed out the ones that aren’t important.

On the other hand, DO read other blogs in your niche. I currently read 15-20 link building related blogs. This helps a lot with relationship building, because bloggers can tell whether or not you read their stuff.

Thanks for the comment Tanya!!

Urbivalist Dan

Anybody who this strikes a chord with should check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Thank You Economy.”

http://thankyoueconomybook.com/

All about the new social world that we live in, and just how far saying thanks can go (plus some interesting examples of how to say thanks).

Jon Cooper

Thanks Dan! I’ve considered checking out this book in the past, but I think I’m going to finally get it :)

Nicki Goff

Loved the Charles Sipe story – from #6 – Surprise your readers. Those unexpected acts can reap great rewards.
Yours is one of the few emails/posts I read over and over – thank you for your sharing and commitment to helping others. Rock on!

Anthony D. Nelson

You should treat people online the same way you do in real life. If someone leaves a comment on your site, you shouldn’t ignore them. If someone said something to you in real life, would you ignore them?

Be kind, care about other people and appreciate any attention they give you online. There are plenty of other sites they can visit instead of yours.

Curtis

To give evidence to your insights. One person left this note on our blog following my response.

“Thank you for your response. It was wholly unexpected.”

I believe we all like to be taken seriously. We want to be addressed. We want to be addressed personally. Because it rarely happens, we are surprised when it does.

I understand blogging as a dialogue not a monologue. I am not making announcements. I am opening a conversation. Relationships make all the difference.

As you can tell from the feel of what I have written. I addressed you. I spoke to you. My response is more than an exercise in intellectual gymnastics, it is the other side of a conversation. Relationships make all the difference.

Erica

Jon, thank you for reminding me to think outside the box. Sometimes we get so glued to our computers we forget there’s a real world of people out there dying for a human connection.
Thank you : )

Ana Hoffman

Pleasure to see you in this neck of the woods, Jon, and shining as always.

Loved your post – wish more bloggers would follow these simple steps.

Truthfully, I loved the additional links even more; now my blogging mind is churning out post after post!

By the way, your scrape rate post is a culprit for a post I am writing; will let you know when it’s published.

Jon Cooper

Thanks Ana! I saw the post you wrote on it; you nailed it :)

Tinh

Two points listed I love the most is #find influential readers and Send your readers a quick “thank you” email. Do you know any plugin that helps to automate sending thank you emails after curtain of time?

Jon Cooper

If it’s automated, then it’s not personal :( .

You can, however, use the comment notifier for first time commentors. I use this on my blog. Remember to make the email unique and fun though!

Laura

I do most of those things and I do have regular readers, but get few comments. Sometimes it’s a little disappointing but I can see my traffic count and I know people are reading and lurking. If I were the type of person with that social energy I would get more comments, more interaction.

I do have books I could give away but I think it would cost too much to mail them. My budget is pretty tight.

“So here are a few ways you can turn 7 ways to turn active readers into die-hard fans.” – Proofread your post.

Raymond Parker

Laura, have you considered eBooks that your readers could download?

Jon Cooper

Encourage commenting more – try changing the comment system you use (whether it’s regular commenting, Disqus, Livefyre, etc.), adding the commentluv plugin, or doing whatever it takes. If they’re there, then you can get them to comment if you play your cards right.

Suzy Oge

Thanks! The timing is just right for me. My sites in the past have always been more focused on business topics, but I’ve recently started a site about strength training and weight loss. This is a much more personal and sometimes sensitive subject for people. Initially people were sending me emails and private messages about my posts, now more have dared to share online so I want to be sure they know how much I appreciate that and potentially how much their comments might help others.

Your 7 tips are simple enough to implement & should do the trick! Thanks so much!

Jon Cooper

Awesome, that’s great news Suzy! Keep it up :)

Brendan @ BJJ Gi Reviews

Really great tips here. These are all things that I have done and are doing. I can see how it would become a burden when you have a huge following though. But, for now, it’s easy!

Jon Cooper

Exactly. As my blog has grown, it’s put a lot more strain on this process, but I’m OK with it :) . But imagine what it’s like for guys like Gary Vaynerchuk (900k followers on Twitter) who responds to just about everything…

Harrison

These are great advice Jon. I’m planning to do more of #2, and go on to do #5 & #7. Blogging world is all about sharing and helping each other out :)

Jon Cooper

That’s great to hear Harrison :) . Thanks for the comment!

Lee Buck Miller

Jon, this is a great article on relationship building. When I had an office based business I would often send out Thank You notes to people. Now I will start doing this with my web based business as it grows. Thanks for sharing this great tip. People love to be appreciated.
Lee

Jon Cooper

Glad I could help Lee! :D

Gabriela

Hey Jon!

I really appreciate how you outlined these strategies in such a wonderfully simple way. It squelched my bewildered, overwhelmed feeling of “how on earth do I promote discussion?!” and gave me a practical and effective list to implement! Going to put these tips to work in my blog asap!

Thanks!

Jon Cooper

Thanks Gabriela! I hope they have as much success for you as they’ve had for me :D

Keith Jones

Upgrade instructions appear to have been changed recently, I do not think they are quite correct. With regards what number to go to depending on your previous version of Thesis.

Keith

Beatriz

this are good advise, i am a new blogger and i need this kinds of help to drive more traffic to my page, thanksssssssssssss