Every writer, every blogger, every social networker wants it. But it seems that some get it easily while others struggle to grab just a piece of it.
What is it?
Who wouldn’t want to get more engagement?
Some may write just to please themselves, but most (serious) writers painstakingly pen their best content to please someone else. So, naturally, they would love at least a little feedback.
There’s nothing quite as discouraging as spending valuable time writing your heart out only to hear crickets chirping long after hitting the “Publish” or “Post” button.
I know. I’ve been there. And I didn’t like it.
And I’m guessing that you don’t like it either.
So what do we do?
We focus on our readers.
They are the reason why we’re writing, right? At least they should be the reason why. So it’s really all about them and what they need. I’m sure you’ve done your homework and you already know the problems your target market faces. You already know what challenges they face day-in and day-out. You already know their greatest needs and desire.
So now, all you have to do is write about those things.
They want solutions. They want to be inspired. They want to get better because they’ve spent time with you.
There are many things you can say to your readers, but here are the top 5 things your readers need to hear you say:
The way you welcome readers to your site, the tone of your posts, the words you write, and how quickly you respond all say “you matter” or “you don’t.”
Your site – When visitors first land on your site, is it easy for them to determine where to go first? Do you have a welcome message? Do you offer them anything for free?
Your posts – Do they address your readers’ needs or is it all about your great product or service? Are you writing about topics they want to read or about subjects you find interesting?
Your site colors – Do they hurt the eyes? Is it difficult to read some words? Is it so busy that it’s hard to focus in on any one thing? Are you being seen as energetic or peaceful? What do your brand colors say about you?
Your font size – Do your readers have to squint to read your posts? Are your paragraphs long and tedious to read? How much white space do you allow on your site and within your posts?
Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and ask, What would let me know that I matter?
If you show that they matter, then your visitors and readers are more likely to stick around.
I Know You.
Your ideal reader or customer should feel that you know them when they begin to read the content of your posts, articles or book. The research you’ve done to identify all about them should shine through in what you write.
The reaction you want is for readers to say, That’s exactly what I needed to hear today.
Visit the forums and groups where your target market hangs out and see what types of questions they ask. Look at the comments they make to determine their needs and challenges. Then use this information to come up with topics to write about.
Research is good, but it won’t work unless you actually use the research results.
I Understand What You Need.
Now that they can see that they matter to you and that you know them, show your readers that you can empathize by sharing your own experiences. Let them learn from your mistakes, and invite them to walk alongside you as you learn something new.
You show others you understand them by being vulnerable, not by trying to appear perfect. (Tweet this!)
I Can Help You.
Here’s where you showcase your expertise. Show your readers how you can help them. Offer them solutions. Give them actionable tips. Share case studies or testimonials.
Readers sometimes need proof that you can actually help them – afterall, their problem is unlike any other.
And if you aren’t the expert in a particular area that relates to the problems you do solve, then don’t be afraid to refer them to someone who can help them (I share a little more about how to do this in this post).
I’m Not All About the Money.
We’re all tired of trying to be “sold” to in every article or post we read. If you are really in business to help others, then show them that you really want to help them.
This doesn’t mean giving everything away for free, but it does mean balancing out the times you share and the times you sell.
My rule of thumb is to give 3 times more than you sell.
Your rule may be different, but try to give more than you ask. It’s just good manners.
So if you want your readers to engage with you more, whether that’s commenting on your blog posts, retweeting or replying to social media posts, or by buying your book, start by saying the things they want to hear.