I was working with a client a few days ago and they expressed a challenge that businesses have been encountering since the industrial revolution. That is, the challenge of building long lasting and meaningful relationships with customers.
Once upon a time, people had one on one relationships with their butcher, barber, tool manufacturer and more. As the industrial revolution rolled around, this connection with people providing goods and services became less prevalent and advertising dollars determined the success of a business instead of their customer relationships.
Today, we live in a world where competition is fierce and relationships with customers are more important than ever. Brands like Apple and XBox are prime examples of the power of developing deep relationships with your customers that drive loyalty and fanboyism.
Technology has presented brands with a great opportunity to build stronger and better relationships with customers. Once of the best ways to establish a brand and customer relationship is social media engagement. At the same time, one of the most underrated opportunities is building a connection through blogging. Here’s how you can do it:
Write The Way You Speak
When it comes to blogging, you need to let your personality shine.
You can’t be hesitant in talking about your personal interests and you can’t hold censor yourself to a point of no return. Write like you speak. Write how you feel and speak with a combination of your gut and your heart.
These brands recognize that people want to connect with people and that it’s important for them to show their human side to succeed. The most effective blogs are written in a way that could pass for a conversation you were having one on one with someone.
When you’re writing a blog, you’re not writing a term paper. Don’t get caught up in APA style formatting and all that gobbly-goop, instead focus on writing content that is easy to digest and worth sharing.
Here’s a test to know if you’re writing like a human or a robot.
Before you hit publish, read your blog post out loud and record it. Listen to the recording and ask yourself if that sounds like you or somebody else. If it doesn’t sound like you, go through it with a fine tooth comb and inject your brand personality back into it.
If that doesn’t work, drink a glass of wine and then start writing.
Strive to Inspire Emotion In The Reader
When you think of some of the most successful bloggers in the industry you think of bloggers who know how to build a connection with their audience. Furthermore, you find a group of bloggers like Neil Patel and Penelope Trunk who strive to not only add value to their readers lives but also stir up some emotion. You see, the best bloggers create content that more conservative brands or bloggers wouldn’t touch with a 20 foot pole.
When a marketing piece sparks a series of emotions in someone, it sets off a chain reaction that cannot be replicated. Whether it’s the emotion of anger, happiness or sorrow – emotions are one of the most powerful ways to connect with your blogging audience. A few ways that you can stir up emotions in your audience are things like:
- Stories about your own struggles and how your readers can learn from your mistakes
- Self reflection blog posts that give readers a deeper glance into your thoughts, perspective and life
- Blog posts that are going to alienate 15% of the population. Whether it’s a blog post that will offend people who are more conservative or a blog post covering a highly debated topic. Alienation = emotion.
- Give a deep look at data and information that most businesses or people wouldn’t be willing to share
Use Metaphors and Analogies
Everyone loves a good metaphor or a great analogy. All you have to do is connect a business or startup topic with a 90’s pop culture reference and you’ve got my attention. Yes, it’s that simple. And most people fall for analogies and metaphors just as easily.
What’s great about the use of analogies and metaphors is their ability to turn the unfamiliar into something familiar by linking the unknown to a known. By capitalizing on the known bloggers can more quickly describe the unknown, the abstract, and the profound to their readers in a way that makes sense.
By definition, a metaphor is a figure of speech that uses one thing to mean another and makes a comparison between the two. The most important part of this definition is that fact that it requires “one thing to mean another.” For example, when someone says “Your CEO is a monster” we know not to take this literally, even though it’s stated directly as if this person is some kind of scary creature; we know your CEO isn’t actually a creation of frankenstein.
An analogy is comparable to metaphor in that it shows how two different things are similar, but it’s a bit more complex and requires some details. I find analogies to be a great approach to blogging and have used several analogies on my own blog to make complex subjects easier to understand.
Whether I’m comparing social networks like Twitter to a cocktail party and LinkedIn to a networking event – analogies can make things that are initially foggy, clearer than ever before.
Develop And Nurture A Quality Mailing List
Newsletters are a great opportunity to connect with your audience directly in their inbox.
Not only does it allow you to establish trust but it also gives you a chance to share everything there is to know about your business without any cost.
Whether you use pop ups or sign up forms at the end of your blog posts, capturing emails from your readers is a great way to build a stronger relationship. Yes, it’s not going to happen over night but having that ongoing interaction with your customers or readers allow you to build a connection that will last.
When you implement an email initiative for your blog you can use it as a way to keep the readers updated on your posts or you can create an email drip system. A drip campaign is a series of emails that are automatically sent to your subscribers over time. These emails tend to educate the customer base on your product and should strive to drive conversion as much as possible.
Channels that can help you in developing drip campaigns include services like MailChimp, Aweber, or SendGrid. Once you’ve found a channel that suits your needs it’s time to start strategizing around what type of content you want to automatically be delivered to your readers mailbox. The folks at Pardox showcase the basics of a drip campaign to get your started. Once you understand the basics, check out this ultimate drip campaign guide from the folks at ConversionXL to take your efforts up a notch.
Blogging can drive great results for a business not only as it relates to loyalty but also revenue. You just have to understand the value of building a relationship with your customers before going in for the sale. It’s not enough to just sit back and watch your unique visits and pageviews. You need to focus on the relationships you’re building and focus on improving those relationships as often as possible.
We all know the saying that people do business with people they like. If you want to succeed as a blogger you can’t put page views first you have to put the people first. You have to look at your audience as the most valuable asset you have and think about how you can maintain that asset over the long term.
Strive to build a deeper connection with the tips and tricks highlighted in this post and you’ll be further ahead than most of your competitors. Not only that, you will be able to go from a blog with hundreds of readers to a blog with hundreds of loyal followers.
Do you know of any other creative ways to build a connection with your blogging audience?