How to Write a Blog Post That Wins Your Audience’s Undying Loyalty
- Sophie Lizard
This post is a finalist in our Ultimate Guides Contest. Show your support for this, or any of the finalists by commenting, sharing and joining the conversation!
You want hordes of screaming fans hanging on your every word like you’re a charismatic cult leader. Admit it.
OK, maybe they’re only screaming on the inside and there’s nothing scary in the Kool-Aid, but you want loyal readers devouring every word of your blog posts, right? Same thing.
We all know that building a devoted audience of hardcore fans is one of the keys to marketing success. And blogging is a way to do just that; if we can attract that loyal audience, everything else will work out fine…
At least, that was the plan.
In practice, attracting readers to your blog posts turned out to be harder than you thought. Even when it works, holding their attention long enough to read a whole blog post is tricky.
Do you know why that is?
It’s because people aren’t loyal to a blog post. They aren’t loyal to a website or a business.
People are loyal to people. If they don’t think of you as a real live human being, your blog post will be forgotten.
Also, people are loyal to themselves. If your post doesn’t align with their perspective – at least at first – they’re not going to spontaneously defect to your point of view, no matter how nicely you write it!
There are three distinct phases to creating a blog post that captures hearts and minds…
Phase 1: Align and Intersect
You might’ve heard this phase described as “researching your target audience”, as if it’s something you do to them.
Forget that shit. It’s accurate but unhelpful because this is marketing, not Assassination 101. Your mission isn’t to stalk readers and get them in your sights.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find your alignment with your reader so that you can walk together in the same direction. And here’s the joy of this part: if the values and objectives you express in your blog post resonate with your reader, they’re naturally inclined to walk with you, too.
Identify the places where your ideal audience hangs out online. Read their posts and responses. Soak up their attitudes and make a note of the words they use when they talk about your chosen topic.
While you’re there, talk to them! Learn to understand the audience you’re blogging for – how they live, think and feel – so that you can figure out where your offering fits into their world.
Once you’ve found your alignment with the audience of your dreams, what you need is an intersection.
[Somewhere, somebody’s pointing out that two lines going in the same direction won’t intersect. Just for that person, here’s the trick: if you and I both walk due South, we’ll bump into each other at the South Pole. Isn’t geometry awesome?]
You’ve looked at what your ideal audience has to say, and how they say it. Now compare that to what you’ve got to say, and find the places where the two overlap. Those intersections are where you can say something that matters to your reader.
Want examples? If you’re blogging about the benefits of baby massage and your ideal reader is worried about their baby’s sleep, that’s an intersection. If you blog about grammar and your ideal reader has an essay to write, there’s your intersection.
It’s not all about problems; your reader’s equally interested in pleasure. If you blog about baking and your ideal reader wants to serve up a luscious blueberry pie at the weekend, that’s an intersection too.
One intersection is all you need, but the more you can find, the better – save the rest for future blog posts you’ll write for your loyal audience.
Phase 2: Write It for Them
OK, now you can break out your best keyboard and say what you’ve got to say to your ideal audience about one of those intersections you found.
There are two keys to getting this phase right:
- Don’t write for yourself.
- Don’t waste words.
I know, you’ve got a point to make. It’s an important one, too. But if you want a crowd of loyal readers walking with you as you blog, don’t neglect them by merely writing what *you* think.
Outline your audience’s feelings and desires about your topic’s intersection with their lives. Show that you’re paying attention to them. Your research from Phase 1 will help you explain your point in a way that aligns with their perspective. Write the post they would’ve written if they could speak through you.
This doesn’t mean you have to hide your personal opinions or your personality — far from it! Remember, people are loyal to people. Be yourself, but do it in your audience’s words just as much as in your words.
The reason you’re using their own words to write for them is simple. This is how you make your alignment clear right from the start of your post, and that’s what attracts them to read more. To engage them all the way to the end of your post and beyond, pour honesty and energy into your writing. Break through the reader’s haze of boredom and borderline internet addiction. Leave them feeling more alive than before.
OK, you’re getting your point across to your ideal audience. You can almost feel the connection with your future readers while you’re writing your blog post! Now, don’t go nuts with it. Elmore Leonard said he always tried to “leave out the parts people skip”, and that’s good advice even if your readers are devoted fans.
Everyone who visits your blog is a paying customer. They pay for your blog content with their time and their attention, so don’t let them down! Avoid reader’s remorse — that moment when your reader realizes they just wasted their time reading yet another post that doesn’t give them what they need. Don’t, for example, promise a post about how to tie-dye, then spend it talking about your favorite shirt instead of giving instructions.
Don’t promise to show people details, then give them only a vague overview. If you’re not ready to write the ultimate edition of your post, either reframe it (perhaps as a beginner’s overview or a 60-second guide) or break it down into smaller topics you can write one at a time.
How’s that draft coming along? 😉
When you get to the end of your post, don’t let it fade into oblivion. Remind people to comment, share the post, email you, download your infographic, opt in for your free sample, smile next time they look in the mirror, or whatever action you want to encourage.
Choose ONE action to ask for, and ask clearly.
If you’re keen to send out those free samples, say “I’d love to give you a free sample of my product. Just let me know where to send it.” If you’d like to spark a conversation, say “What do you think; is this making sense? Did I leave out anything you need to know?”
When your post’s drafted, we’re into the final phase.
Phase 3: Publish and Follow Up
There’s no point going to all this effort to write a brilliant blog post unless you publish it at a place and time your ideal audience is likely to notice it. If your blog doesn’t have many readers yet, consider offering your post as a guest contribution to a blog whose audience you’d like to share. That’s not as difficult as you might think – check out Mirasee’s guest guidelines!
You already know the next part: you can’t win undying loyalty from people who don’t realise your new blog post exists. Tweet about it, Facebook it, share it on LinkedIn or Pinterest or the Beacons Elite Community Forums, or wherever your audience likes to hang out online.
This part’s even more important: reach out to people who already have an audience you believe will appreciate your post, and invite them to share it if they agree it suits their audience.
Don’t be too shy to say, “I think your readers will like this. Would you mind sharing the link with them?” If someone chooses not to share it, that’s not a problem; others will be happy to help your post find its audience. Reach out to me! I read all kinds of blogs and share interesting posts when I find them, so tweet a link to me if you’d like me to check out your post.
One of the simplest ways to follow up and increase reader loyalty is to answer every comment that isn’t spam. No matter how banal, bitchy, misguided or inscrutable some comments may be, they show a desire to connect, so give them your attention and a thoughtful response.
Look up your commenters on Twitter or Google+ and follow them. If they’ve given their own blog URL, you can also go and leave a comment on one of their recent posts — I’ve made some great friends that way. People who take the time to leave you a comment are some of the most likely to become your loyal friends and readers, so let them see you’re paying attention and make them feel at home on your blog.
And that’s that. Keep walking with your ideal audience, keep providing what they need, keep connecting, and your reader loyalty will keep on growing. For a reminder of how the 3 phases flow, download the free “60-second guide” graphic version of this blog post and keep it in sight when you’re blogging.
Listen, this stuff only works if you go and do it. Start researching, today. Start planning your next blog post, today.
Your loyal readers already exist. Let’s go and find them!
92 thoughts on How to Write a Blog Post That Wins Your Audience’s Undying Loyalty
Great post, Sophie. As soon as I saw it was from you I just had to come read it – which was really funny considering the subject material.
That’s something I would like to point out. I started off as a freelance writer, and while I wasn’t following you (Sophie) from the start, I have been following you for a few years. Now I’m about as far from freelancing as I can get, being in the spiritualism and life coaching niches now, but I STILL follow you. I read almost everything you put out, and it’s because 50% of your writings have less to do with the act of writing, and much more to do with what’s going on in the brain.
So, a perfect example for you right there. 😉
Oh, it’s ALL about what’s going on in the brain. Otherwise, writing is just shapes on a page. 😉
Thanks for the comment and for being with me all this time, Lindsey!
That’s true. We’ve all seen what writing without serious thinking turns into . . . so many random scratches. 😉
Whoo, it’s live!
Hope you enjoyed the post and it gave you some food for thought as to how you can apply some of these ideas in your writing & marketing.
I’m feeling energetic today. So I’ll probably be up late tonight, and I’ll check back here plenty if anyone wants to chat in the comments. 😀
Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg
Hi Sophie.This was great! I just wrote a blog post that only got one comment and that was from a reader who basically said, “not for me.” It got me thinking…and you hit it on the head. A recent guest post I did got shared about 500 times and had tons of comments. I responded to every single comment and the engagement got more and more authentic and honest. I’m heading over to share this one right now…
Hey, at least your reader was engaged enough to let you *know* the alignment wasn’t there for them!
Where’s your 500-shares guest post at? I’d love to take a look. 🙂
Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg
Hi Sophie…yes…I was grateful that she let me know. The post is actually about my crazy, wild, amazing life (the very short version)! It was featured at http://www.thechangeblog.com/what-i-might-have-been/
I would LOVE for you to take a look at it! Thank you Sophie!
Kathy H Porter
500 -shares post is very cool. Just clicked on the link to read it and then share w/my twitter followers. Wow – quite the life-changing story.
PS Thanks Sophie (and Danny) – I follow both of you – always appreciate your stellar insights.
Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg
Thanks for reading it Kathy! I am honored you would take the time to read and share it. Have a wonderful day!
Dang, Linda. 500 comments. That’s impressive, but not surprising b/c your post was very well written. Congrats…
Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg
I just went back and read your post again, Linda – still gets me thinking about how lucky I am to have left the harder parts of my past behind.
If you accept musical recommendations, check out this song by Nick Drake; the lyrics may resonate with you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOv5NAhLbms
Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg
Thanks Sophie! I’ll listen to it now! :o)
Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg
Sophie…LOVED IT! Thanks for turning me on to Nick Drake…brings me back and that song really hit home. :o).
This post was just what I needed this morning, Sophie. I’m working the ABM program and am reading and commenting on sites for whom I’d like to guest blog. That’s your step 1 research. It’s been enlightening for me to see how others in my niche talk about the issues I write about. I now force myself (doesn’t come naturally yet) to revise a blog idea into language and focus that matches my potential readers. I’m going to check out your site now too–I see I could learn a lot from you.
Glad I could help, Jagoda. 🙂 After a while, you’ll be able to slip in and out of that reader-aligned language without much effort at all!
LOVE the humorous slant! You had me laughing and crying at the same time, and the tears were probably gratitude. Seriously. This is not Assassination 101! You get that! Thanks so much. I’ll be sending you a post, soon.
Ooh, do I get bonus points in the contest for “tears of gratitude”? Let’s hope so.
Looking forward to checking out your post, Katharine.
Thanks for showing us how to write an epic blog post that wins your audience’s undying loyalty by actually doing it with this post. (“Do what I’ve done here.”)
I also like the format you used = motivation – information – action.
Thanks, Sophie, though, I suspect it’s not as easy as you make it seem. (:-)
Thanks Raspal! Things are often simpler than we think, but you’re right – simple isn’t quite the same thing as easy. 🙂
Doh! Just realised I called you Raspal, Rohi – sorry about that. This is what happens when you answer comments with a phone in one hand and a toddler in the other. 😉
Hi Sophie! : )
‘Align and Intersect’… the perfect analogy and it really ‘sticks.’ You are a ‘professional motivator’…I hereby give you that title to add to all the rest of them!
I love your writing, your personality, and even your ‘poo poo’ words that always make me giggle.
Thanks for another inspiring post, for the support you’ve given and for making writing fun.
You make *me* giggle when you use the phrase “poo poo words”, Lynn. 🙂 Thanks for all your kind words and thoughtfulness.
Wonderful post, Sophie! I think I’m a decent writer but I know I need a regular reminder about properly intersecting with my audience’s desires (instead of going off on a nerdy digression!) I’m definitely re-thinking my blogging and general content strategy for the new year. 🙂
Intersecting with your audience’s desires is far easier if you’re naturally well aligned. Instead of censoring your nerdiness, maybe you could focus on the segment of your audience that enjoys nerdy digressions. [Did you notice mine in this post?]
Hi Sophie, very nice and understandable post, I like it for its simplicity yet its quite complete. 🙂 I’m already retweeting it!
Thank you, Carlos!
I really enjoyed reading this and it made me consider starting up my own blog as writing is something that I enjoy very much. Now I have a much better idea of how to create that following for a new blog.
Excellent – let us know where we can check out your new blog when it’s ready!
Great post, Sophie. Congratulations on winning Danny’s blog challenge. All the best in the new year.~Carol
Thanks Carol! This is only one of the finalist posts in the contest – don’t forget to check out the other Ultimate Guides, they’ve all been superb so far.
Fantastic resource, Sophie! Bookmarked and added to the must-read list for anyone starting a blog. Congrats on being included 🙂
Thank you Dana, you rock as usual. 🙂
I very much enjoyed reading your keen perspective. You deserve to be a finalist! The straight-from the hip writing was refreshing and content very helpful. I now know why I had a negative feeling finding my target market. Congratulations!
Yep – if you feel like you have to push and push to get a response from your audience then you may have misidentified your niche or misunderstood your readers’ desires. When you’re aligned everything pretty much glides instead of sticking. 🙂
Intersection, intersection.. Finding your audience intersection and writing a post on it.
Sophie loved this word makes the whole thing comprehendable.
Also loved the aspect of finding your audience from other blog in your niche. That’s why I tell people that promotion is better than creation.
What I mean is that to build your audience you need to look for the intersect point. And you can get this done through guest blogging as you Sophie has done.
That why I disagree with the 20:8O concept of Mark Schaefer
Promotion and creation are both essential – there’s nothing to promote if you don’t create, and there’s nobody to show it to if you don’t promote. 🙂 I don’t know that 80:20 is a mathematically accurate representation, but the *idea* of promoting more than you write makes sense.
Better words were never spoken, Sophie! Because of the buffer the Internet provides, we sometimes forget that we are interacting with real, flesh-and-blood human beings. We get so wrapped up in the content we want to provide and forget that sometimes we just want to connect with other humans and feel understood.
Thank you for providing such an inspiring post that keeps us focused on what truly matters!
Exactly, Valerie. Thanks for reading!
Wonderful post! I love your reminder that it’s people not number we should be focusing on.
Yep – if you had 100,000 website visitors tomorrow, would that be a good thing? Totally depends whether they like what’s on there. For your visitors to like what they see, you have to be a bit more discerning and *choose* the right audience. 🙂
Great post! Thanks Sophie, I got alot out of it 🙂
Glad to hear that, Claire – thanks for taking the time to say so!
Hi Sophie. First, as a writer who truly LOVES the written word, I adore your humorous and ‘real’ writing style. Second, I LEARNED much about why my blogs haven’t picked up steam even with me pouring my heart into them. Many ah-ha’s here. Highly recommended read, and yes, I will be following you from here on out.
The a-ha! moments are what make it all worthwhile, Diane. 🙂 When you find your alignment and start giving your audience their own a-has, there’ll be no stopping you.
Thanks for sharing, Sophie. Your points have helped me realize where the difficulty is with my audience–they are non-native English speakers and don’t use all the usual websites that we do, so that is why I’m having a hard time connecting with them. They’re very active online, but just not in the same online spaces that I use. So, I’ll have to figure out how to get into their “space”.
Get into their webspace, then use what you learn there to get into their headspace. 😉 Remember to adjust your language to suit them, too – and keep us posted about how you get on!
There is a fine line between writing with your personality and writing for your readers. You really hit it with your words about aligning values. THE most important part of any connection, on or off line.
Knowing the readers well, sharing the posts on many platforms – this stuff doesn’t happen over night. I jhave to keep reminding myself of this!
Thank you for an awesome post, Sophie.
There’s a fine line, and then we dance all over it until it gets kinda blurry. 😉 I’ve read your blog and your personality is what makes it. You’ll do just fine.
(By the way, I’m running a $100 guest blogging contest next month. You should enter.)
🙂 I’m aaaallll over it, Sophie !
I am so glad I found you. What a great post. I love reading about writing and capturing the hearts of my readers.
I will be following you, not in a stalker kind of way
Hello, new non-stalker! If you have any specific questions, I’m only a tweet away.
Excellent post, Sophie! Clear, well thought out, and helpful. And the three steps make this manageable. I love the printable too. Delighted that Danny spotlighted you so I found you. Looking forward to more!
Someone liked the printable! *happy dance*
Thanks Elise, you just made my day. 😀
Sophie – you’ll be delighted that you made me laugh so hard that I spit water everywhere when I read “forget that shit” re: researching your target audience. So friggin’ true. Your post was fun, factual & user-friendly. Many thanks…
People who laugh when I say shit like that = my ideal audience. 🙂 Welcome aboard, Marcy, make yourself at home.
Sophie – what a brilliant post you have a beautiful way with words. And so true – align and intersect. Thank you.
Thank *you*, Faye. 🙂
Love your style. Crisp, insightful, and witty!
You’re one of those people I write for, Roy. Thanks for being around. 🙂
Loved it, as ever. I am in awe of your work. Thank you for another inspiring contribution. Mel
Thank you, Mel. It’s always good to hear that I’m doing something right!
You never disappoint. I LOVE your voice, which is why I’m so captivated by each and every one of your posts.
My voice is something I really have to work on and stop sounding so super serious. I love how laid back you are.
Thanks, Alicia. For most people, it takes time to start sounding like yourself in writing. And as a freelance writer you have to put on and take off other people’s voices when you work, so it can get confusing!
One of the reasons I love blogging is the “open letter” style of it –blogging feels more like a conversation than most forms of writing.
Funny that both you and Carol T. have recently written posts that reaffirm why you are my mentors. Even after a year, I’m still having a hard time figuring out who my blog’s audience is. I’m getting closer! And the folks who do read and comment are very dedicated people.
You’ll get there, Willi. Your determination to succeed is an inspiration. 🙂
Jim Bessey | SoWriteUs
Great job with this one, Sophie.
I’ve seen bits and pieces of your advice scattered among a hundred different blog-writing posts. The way you’ve brought all of this together in one place, clearly explained, adds tons of value.
I also love that you S-bombed right near the beginning. 🙂 It’s not something you see very often here on Firepole, but it’s trademark Sophie and your readers just plain expect that.
Why do I keep reading your posts? First, because I decided I LIKED you. Next, because you offered solid answers in your unique style. Of course, I had to find you first. All of those pieces matter, don’t they?
One thing you said really struck home with me — that every reader “pays” with his/her time and attention. Great point!
Thanks, Jim! Yep, time isn’t money. Time is a commodity you can *never* get refunded, so a commitment of ten minutes to read a blog post on the spot can be deeper than a commitment of $10 for an ebook you never get around to looking at.
So You Think Parenting Is About The Children?
Sophie I loved this post and I am in total awe of your comment-answering super-powers!
I am loving blogging and have written a book on my topic. Even though I totally get that it’s vital to make yourself known – and that takes effort and marketing – I find it painful to think of it all in such a hard-core ‘marketing’ way. I wish there was a more organic approach to getting known and gaining loyal readers. Rather than plan and intersect and push into action I’d like to leave my readers with food for thought in a less directive way. Say my piece (in a way that they can relate to) and then let them come to their own conclusions. Does that mean i am destined to remain unknown?
I’d love you pop by my blog and give me feedback on this question.
I guess the big question is, what do you want them to do *after* they’ve come to their own conclusions? There isn’t a writer in the world who wants their readers to remain completely unaffected by what they’ve just read.
You can follow the classic tip of “show, don’t tell” by laying out the facts for them and letting them decide, but you still want your readers to… what? To think about it before they move on? To talk to you? To make a change in their lives? Your call to action can be as simple as saying, “Let me know what *you* think.” 🙂
So You Think Parenting Is About The Children?
Thanks so much for your reply. I guess it is that simple. I must say that after reading this I did ask people to pass my next post on to others they thought might like it and guess what? They did.
So it works – as long as your content is actually something they think is worth passing on. Apparently it was. Hooray!
Thanks again. I’ll keep reading your posts 🙂
Double hooray! A lot of bloggers worry that it’s bossy or pushy to let people know what you’d like them to do. But if you don’t say, they can’t guess! 🙂
Thanks for sharing such a great post Sophie! I really loved the ideas you have shared to write a blog post to win your Audience’s Undying Loyalty. I am sure I am going to use these ideas for my blog too.
“People are loyal to people. If they don’t think of you as a real live human being, your blog post will be forgotten.” – It is the great thought for me!
Thanks, Oleg. Sometimes being human is more impressive than appearing superhuman. 😉
Excellent, Leith! Let us know how it goes. 🙂
This is helpful. I think the branding issue keeps tripping me up. I have three blogs – all so different – thus three “brands.” I don’t think people know where they fit in with my writing because they keep seeing three “faces” even though the blogs all have one “heart.” Lots to think about in this article, Sophie. Thanks.
Hi Dawn! I thought I’d check in on this post in case there were any new comments, and wow, there’s quite a few.
I feel your struggle — multiple blogs by one person still tend to have a connecting thread. Think of it in terms of whether your blogs’ *readers* want the same thing and think of it in the same way. If so, you only need one brand even if it publishes 3 blogs. If each blog has a noticeably different readership, then you may want to give each blog its own distinct brand.
This post might be helpful: https://mirasee.com/blog/multi-passionate-customer-profiles/
Shauna L Bowling
Hey, Sophie! How nice to bump into one of my favorite cyber-ladies on this page. 🙂
I love your advice regarding listening to how your ideal reader speaks, then incorporate that language into your blog. I’ve read so many blogs about blogging that I haven’t taken the time to check out blogs in my niche, which is environmental issues. It makes perfect sense. Now it’s time to redirect some of the attention I pay reading, to reading what will get my readers’ attention.
As you so fondly say, “Brilliant”!
Thanks Shauna, I can see you totally “get it”! 🙂
I’m so glad I read this wonderful post before I started my blog.
I totally agree with what you’ve written and adore the way you wrote it, with much humor and insight.
I will be following you from now on, I know I will learn lots.
Thanks, Louise – welcome aboard. 🙂
Thanks for netting it out like that. Sometimes I start off reading a blog post, wondering if it will be a waste of my time… THIS was an excellent time investment! I want to write like you for my audience. Thanks for the inspiration and guidance!
You’re welcome, Christi! Glad to hear there’s no “reader’s remorse” on this page. 🙂
This is one of the best blog posts I have read! The timing was perfect also. I told my followers that I was going to completely change the direction of my blog. I realized I was not writing to the correct audience. So I spent a few weeks researching and creating a bonus gift for subscribers and I am launching the revamped blog next week. “Writing for them” is going to be the top priority.
I’m following now and I look forward to your future posts. Many of the finalist posts are very informative, but I got the most from yours. I hope you win.
Thanks for all you shared!
Thanks, Richard — I’d love to hear how it’s all working for you!
I can easily see that you are definitely a product of Danny’s teachings at ABM!
I can see that you have modified research your audience to find your alignment with your reader. I like Jon’s insert , that to me has put the icing on the cake. Overall a good post. All the best in this competition.
Yep, Danny and Jon are responsible for my sudden rise to internet fame! 😉
Writing a blog means to express one’s view’s in a socially appropriate way. The job of the blogger is to express himself or herself to show how ones views are expressed . Nevertheless a good article.
Excellent post, Sophie! Clear, well thought out, and helpful. And the three steps make this manageable. I love the printable too.
Hi Sophie.This was great! I just wrote a blog post that only got one comment and that was from a reader who basically said, “not for me.” It got me thinking…and you hit it on the head. Now my Guest Blogs are going better.Thank you soo much!
biro jasa stnk
This information is very helpful thank me 😀
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