Turn blog readers into super fans in 7 easy steps

Getting people to love your brand is easy. Be approachable, have one-on-one conversations, and get to know the people who share your content.

If you’ve been blogging for more than a few months, you have super fans. You might not know who they are, but you have them. You just have to keep an eye out. Fortunately, there some key indicators. Super fans:

  • Comment regularly
  • Send you personalized emails
  • Share everything you write

But simply knowing who your super fans are is not enough. You must cultivate them in the same way you water a plant. Here are seven ways to do so:

1. Be approachable.

One thing that will immediately set you apart from other bloggers is how approachable you are. As people become more well-known online, they seem to become less approachable.

Two approachable rising stars are Leo Widrich and Marcus Sheridan.

Widrich’s startup, Buffer, has been wildly successful in the last several months. The Wall Street Journal recognized it as the Twitter app of the year. I’m a huge fan of the Buffer team-they are some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Success hasn’t gone to their heads.

If you read {grow}, there’s a good chance you know Marcus Sheridan. Sheridan’s career has taken off in the last year. Go to The Sales Lion and you’ll see he responds to every comment and is extremely down to earth. Despite his recent online fame, he’s still very approachable.

2. Be vulnerable.

In the book “Click,” Ori Braffman analyzes the factors that lead to instant connections between people. One of those factors is vulnerability. Be human, and make yourself vulnerable with your content. When you do this, you put yourself on the same level as your audience and end up talking to your readers instead of at them.

A few weeks ago I thought about emailing Mark Schaefer of {grow} to give up my contributor position on his blog. I couldn’t meet his quality standards, and I was having trouble coming up with something original to say. I thought my recent writing was garbage.

When I told him this, he said I should write about having nothing to write. Other people have probably had this problem, too.

It’s easy to create a picture of success online, but when you let your guard down and expose your imperfections, people identify with you and become super fans. Vulnerability makes you human.

3. Get to know the people who comment on or share your work.

When someone comments on your blog or tweets one of your posts, do you only respond on those mediums? If so, you’re missing an opportunity to cultivate a super fan.

When someone you’ve never heard of shares your content or mentions your name on Twitter, make it to point to find out who he is:

  • Find out his real name.
  • Visit his blog.
  • Add him as a friend on Facebook or other social network.
  • Find out who he is beyond his Twitter handle.

You never know who you’re talking to.

4. Set up a circle, list or group of super fans.

In “Tribes,” Seth Godin says that while it is important to enable the members of your tribe to communicate with each other, the communication is usually limited to comments. A fantastic example of someone who causes communication between the members of her tribe is Gini Dietrich. It’s obvious if you look at the comments on her blog.

You’ve probably heard it’s easier to sell to someone who is already your customer than it is to sell to someone new. Anytime someone buys from you or is supportive of your work, add that person to a list, group or circle specifically for them.

5. Have one-on-one conversations.

In his book “Little Bets,” Peter Sims highlights Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank. Yunus was a professor of economics, but got the idea for the Grameen Bank by talking to people.

You will learn more in 20 minutes by talking to one of your readers or customers on Skype than you ever will from surveys and market research. If someone raves about your work in an email, set up a conversation with him.

6. Create content specifically for your super fans.

One of the greatest things about technology is the ability to customize a person’s experience with our content or business. Once you identify a group of super fans, one of the best ways to ensure they stay super fans is to create content specifically for them. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Ask them to submit questions, and answer their questions in a recorded podcast or video.
  • Write a report or free e-book specifically for them.

7. Highlight super fans in your content.

One of the nice things about creating content specifically for your super fans is that you will naturally highlight them in it. When you mention one of your fans, he will automatically feel a stronger connection to you. You can do this in a few ways:

  • If you have a blog, link bank to something he wrote.
  • If you have a podcast, mention him in an episode.
  • If you make video, mention his name on camera.

Cultivating super fans comes down to one thing: Listen to your audience. If you look back at the points above, you’ll notice all of these ideas are about becoming a better listener.

Srinivas Rao is the author of the The Skool of Life and the host/co-founder of BlogcastFM. A version of this article originally appeared on {grow}.


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