by Mia M.
**Insert mandatory disclaimer about blog numbers not being everything, enjoying blogging for you and not worrying about how people are seeing your content if you enjoy producing it; in turn, disregarding the entire bloody premise of this entire post and being really rather hypocritical in telling you not to worry about things that I am quite clearly worrying about and that, in all honesty, you actually do need to worry about if you want to be a “professional” blogger. Obviously, you don’t need to worry about being a professional blogger unless that’s your ultimate goal, but you hardly need me to tell you that. Disclaimer done.**
(Yes, we’re sticking with photos of tea when I write blogging-related posts. Because I’m . . . “spilling thetea” on blogging. Get it?)
Hello, fellow rebels of the “STRANGER DANGER” movement. In case you missed the lengthy disclaimer and the rather large title, today’s post is going to be about engagement.
While in a fantasy world, we could all claim to write for ourselves and entirely not care whether people read our content . . . I mean, that’s just incredibly unrealistic. Why? Three reasons:
So we can all agree to shed that demeanor of “I don’t care about blog stats; I’m not falling into the trap of judging myself by numbers!” for this post, right? It’s a great premise – and I agree with it on a lot of things – but if you’re trying to grow your blog or eventually use it to support yourself or as a career, numbers absolutely do matter.
Now, I like to think that I have a pretty engaged audience. Posts you guys like reach 70-80 comments and I (try) to post once every 2 or 3 days, so there’s not much time for comments to build up or for me to spend ages promoting each post. Obviously, I’m not the best blogger out there and a lot of people see more engagement, but I know a lot of people are in a similar boat to me (full time work, other commitments, social life, travel, etc. on top of blogging) so here are my tips on how to increase engagement.
Pin that for me, babies?
This one is not going to be for everyone; I’m actually incredibly lucky that it works as well as it does for me. What you’ll notice as you produce more content (especially as a lifestyle blogger that covers different categories) is that your audience often responds to certain types of content more than others.
For example, you guys tend to really like DIY, food, room decoration, travel and productivity. Fashion is generally well received but not your favourite thing. I’ve only done a few beauty-related posts and they don’t do amazingly well, but some people enjoy them; playlists and music related things are hit and miss. All of my audience’s interests align with mine and, while some of my interests (such as graphic design) might not be things my audience would love, I have a good enough range that I can produce a variety of posts.
When I met Maria, we had a really interesting conversation about this. Maria is a lifestyle blogger, who’s previous blog had a lot of emphasis on food and fitness (her blog is also linked, so feel free to have a nosey around!). She was noticing how her audience responded really well to certain posts (recipes, if I remember correctly) and, while she loves recipes, she didn’t want to get trapped into a niche wherein she was unable to write whatever content she likes because she’d built an audience who only reads her content for a certain type of thing.
This is a legitimate concern. Blogging is only fun for as long as you can do the things you enjoy; a lot of people who are in a strict niche can get uninspired, or burnt out, or just lose passion because they’re limited in what content they can create. Creativity is fun because it’s limitless. So I’m not saying to only produce content for your audience, but being aware of what they like and producing some content that aligns with both of you is a good idea. This leads me onto the next point . . .
Some lucky bloggers may have a massive audience that find them, but most of us have to work for our audiences through promotion and networking. Instead of just following any bloggers nilly-willy (and cluttering up your Reader), try searching for tags related to your content and interacting with blogs under relevant categories. That way, the people that then follow you are people that are going to be interested in your content . . . which then means they’ll engage!
I’ve seen similar posts (mainly on how to grow your audience) mention commenting on other people’s blogs in large quantities, but I personally disagree. Why? Because this might get you a quick click-back or even a follow . . . but it likely won’t get you engagement.
For me, the biggest advice I can give to you is genuinely network. Make friends with bloggers; stay interested in their lives and their blogs. Don’t follow everyone – because you simply aren’t going to relate to everyone. It might be a slower way to gain an audience, but you’ll build a genuine community and it’ll make your blogging experience so much better.
And this leads me nicely to my next point . . .
This one is key! At the end of the day, we are all creators that put hard work into our content and if you want people to support you, you should support them. Gaining a follower doesn’t mean you ignore them and absent-mindedly press like when their posts appear on your reader – you still need to interact with people.
Put it this way; if every time I refresh my WordPress reader, there are 40 new posts, what seperates them? Bearing in mind I work, when I get home after settling down, eating, etc, I probably only have a few hours to spend browsing so reading them all is likely impossible.
If I see a post from someone who consistently interacts with me, nepotism kicks in and makes me go “yes, I’ll happily spend 20 minutes reading your post and interacting with you”.
On top of this, and I’m purely using myself as an example here, a lot of the time with work, freelance work, social life and content creation, I genuinely won’t have time to look through the WordPress Reader for a couple of days . . . but I consistently read and comment on pretty much all of my community’s posts. Why? Because they all interact with me – so I make a concentrated effort to check on their blogs. This is largely why I sometimes won’t reply to comments for a day or so; if I reply to your comment, I’ve opened your blog in another tab and am about to read your latest post and leave a comment. So a lot of the time I use my blog comments as a starting board to find blogs to read.
I don’t exactly know why this works . . . But it really does. At the end of your posts, asking your audience a couple of questions can often encourage them to leave a comment.
Personally, I find posts that are maybe a little more personality-filled, or where I let a bit more of my humour shine through, tend to do better. Letting your audience see the real you allows you to have more of a relationship with you – which, in turn, encourages them to interact with you!
This one is a massive boost for me! Most of your readers won’t be online at the same time you publish a post, so republish it the next day, or later on during the day. My posts go live at 10am and I try to reschedule them out later on (at like 2 or 3) but I always publish them the next day too. This gives you the chance to reach a wider audience!
Fortunately for you poor people that have been stuck reading this post, those are all my tips!
Now, on a completely unrelated side-note: I’m looking for people to collaborate with over April. I feel like I’ve been super absent in le blogging world (mainly because . . . I have been) so I’d really love to do a month of collaboration-only posts (admittedly, I didn’t give myself enough time to figure that out . . . but a girl can try, right?). If you would like to collab just let me know down below!
Okay, so I hope you guys found this post at least somewhat helpful; did you gain any useful knowledge? What are your tips for getting good engagement? Which of these tips was your favourite? Let me know your thoughts down below!
About Mia M.
I'm going through a bit of an existential crisis right now, I'll tell you about myself when I figure out if I'm real or not.
tattoo lover, plant hoarder, DIY addict and overall stoner grandma