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.
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:
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)!
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.
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.
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.