Peculiar, isn’t it?
There are over 152 million blogs on the Internet. Why is it that some blogs have hoards of followers while others struggle to find a readership?
The truth is, it’s not peculiar at all.
The blogs with many followers offer their readers something that other blogs don’t.
They offer their readers an incentive for following them.
You might wonder why it is necessary to entice your readers into becoming blog followers.
Recently, a reader sent me this comment:
…allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming posts.
My understanding is he wants to keep my blog in his reader. However, by doing so, I am relying on him clicking his reader to read my posts in order for me to get his traffic.
If he were to sign up for my blog, he would automatically get the posts in his Email.
My post How to Write a Killer About Page That Will Attract New Followers explains you should offer a free item people will get for following your blog and advertise it on your About page.
Which Incentive Should You Offer Email Followers?
Many choices exist when deciding which freebie to offer potential readers.
1. A free, private cheat sheet that sums up many of your posts
Here is an example of my About page. Click to see the incentive I offer. Scroll down to Click to Get Free, Private Cheat Sheet.
A cheat sheet, summarizing your most useful tips, will save your new followers hours of reading your blog posts.
I made potential followers an infographic using Easel.ly. My Easel.ly tutorial explained How to Make an Infographic in 5 Minutes. That’s all the time it will take to make an infographic that will increase the chances of turning visitors into followers.
Busy people and visual learners both benefit by reading this freebie. Busy people benefit since hours of information are in one compact visual. Visual learners benefit by looking at the pictures on the infographic.
2. Depending on your blog’s theme, you could make and send your readers a template.
Use Microsoft Word to make a template that relates to your blogging niche. For example, you could create a resume of a template and attache it to an Email.
3. A checklist
My post How to Grade Your Blog contained a 15-point checklist for successful blogging. Those 15 points could have easily served as a freebie–a checklist of what new followers could do to achieve their goal, have a successful blog.
4. A case study
Is there someone who has been particularly helped by your blog? Write a description of someone who has been a source of inspiration for others. Let readers know that they, too, can achieve that kind of success by following your blog.
5. A special post
One of the benefits of conducting an expert round-up post is just that–it rounds up experts who all contribute ideas in one post. These types of posts often generate high traffic for this reason. The interviewer is finding the experts, conducting the interview, collecting and sorting the answers, and publishing them.
I have conducted two expert round-up posts. Either could have served as my incentive.
6. A YouTube Video
I made a YouTube video called Blogging Basics. While it wasn’t my incentive, it could have served as one.
7. A goodie bag full of a combination of many of these ideas.
How to Get the Incentives to Your New Followers!
When potential readers click my “Free Cheat Sheet” link, it takes them to MailChimp. At MailChimp, I designed a template that would enable them to type in their Email. MailChimp notifies me, and those are the people I send my incentive to.
I attach my incentive to an Email welcoming them to my blog.
Since I use WordPress.com, I am unable to put in an opt-in box for new followers to type in their Email. If I paid MailChimp $10.00 month, they would send my freebie for me.
This post began by explaining that successful blogs offer give-aways. So, if you offer a freebie, how are your odds any greater than theirs of gaining new followers. They aren’t. However, it will keep your probability of success the same as the successful blogs.
All the incentive choices have one factor in common–they include a plan of action your readers can take as soon as they get it which will bring them closer toward a desired goal.
One very important criteria exists that must characterize your chosen incentive. It must be relevant to your theme.
My first incentive was not my current offer. Initially, I was going to send new followers a post that explained how to avoid gaining weight on a cruise ship.
I wrote it and advertised it. Months past, and maybe three took me up on the offer. I didn’t understand since I had heard incentives have such a strong effect in growing blog readership.
Then, I read it had to be relevant to your topic. Recently, I made the Blogging Tips Infographic that is now my current incentive. This substitution of a relevant incentive has helped my blog readership grow.
The choices listed above are easy and free to make and offer. Having an incentive has dramatically increased my blog following, and it can for you as well.
Readers, if you believe others can benefit from this advice about how to make an incentive, please share.
Do you have any other ideas for incentives that have resulted in your readership expanding? Which of these seven incentive ideas do you think you might try? I look forward to your views.
Jon Morrow, BoostBlogTraffic.com