How to Make Your Audience Fall in Love with Your Blog

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How to Make Your Audience Fall in Love with Your Blog Geraldine DeRuiter | http://everywhereist.com | @everywhereist

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My name is Geraldine. I run a travel blog.

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With a surprisingly strong following:

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The blog has received a lot of attention (no one is more surprised than me)

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I’ve been blogging for 5 years and written nearly 1,200 posts.

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Good blogging is all about love.

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You can fall in love with anything.

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With an activity.

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With a place.

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With a message.

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With Jeff Goldblum’s abs.

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What does it mean to fall in love with a website?

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Does it have to be useful?

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Usefulness doesn’t necessarily equate to love.

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We love lots of things that aren’t useful.

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Does it have to be informative?

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Being informed is important, but I don’t love everything I’ve learned.

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There’s a difference between USING a site and LOVING it.

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Love is different.

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It can’t be replaced.

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It can’t be replaced. Probably.

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It has the potential to last.

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GoFugYourself is a site I love.

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I’ve been reading it for nearly 10 years.

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There are few things in ours lives that last decades.

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Average length of time from marriage to separation in Australia is 8.7 years.

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I’m invested in the writers.

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There is no replacement.

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You can’t buy that sort of loyalty.

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Loving a person is difficult. Loving a blog is easy.

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Figure out what you love. What can you write about everyday?

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If you are passionate about something, you are uniquely qualified to write about it.

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What if you don’t have a choice? Find a way to make it work.

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Legal explanations + Comics = Love Via Nathaniel Burney’s Illustrated Guide to Law

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Pop culture + Stock images = Love Via Shutterstock’s Blog

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Statistics + Online dating = Love Via OKCupid’s OKTrends Blog

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Find the intersection:

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Easy for me to say, right? My blog is about travel.

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Confession: travel is not my greatest love.

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This is. (Cake’s a close second.)

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My earliest posts are just about travel. They suck.

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This was the first great post I wrote. It’s about Rand … and travel.

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The only way to find out what works is to experiment.

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I tried everything.

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Some posts would work. Others didn’t.

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There are dozens of potential reasons why.

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Was the title compelling?

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Did I promote it? Where? Via Bit.ly

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Did I pick the right time to post it? Via Followerwonk

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Was it the photos?

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Did I rank for key search terms? (Maybe on accident?)

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Success is complicated. Not even the “experts” have it all figured out.

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“OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Neither does any other website. It’s not like people have been building these things for very long, or you can go look up a blueprint or something. Most ideas are bad. Even good ideas could be better.” -Christian Rudder, Founder of OKCupid

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Give your audience someone to connect to.

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Make an About page.

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Have a point of view.

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Not everyone will like you; that’s okay.

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If you express an opinion, people will want to share it. Even if they don’t agree.

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Use photos.

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Include pictures of yourself.

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These give your audience someone to relate to.

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And helps to create an on-going narrative.

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Consider including photos of your loved ones.

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When this happened, I cared:

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Subtlety can be powerful.

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Even if your blog is about other people, you can connect with your audience. "What happened to your arm?" "I was walking down the stairs and looking at the stars." (Amman, Jordan)

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“I knew you’d stop me one day.”

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Let people find you.

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Look at the sites that send you traffic via your analytics tool.

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Some referrers send traffic that really engages with you

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Tools like SimilarWeb can show you where successful bloggers in your field are getting traffic.

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Respond to people.

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Just reaching out a little can mean a lot.

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Emilio Estevez follows me on Twitter. I’m now a fan for life. You can be someone’s Emilio Estevez. BAM!

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Be relatable.

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Be imperfect.

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Mistakes = great stories.

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Use a conversational tone.

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Share stories about yourself.

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Be transparent.

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If you are, you can ask more of your audience.

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DON’T tell people how much like them you are.

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Don’t ask for too much.

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Limit calls to action. One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight

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Be patient

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An audience won’t show up overnight (at least, not a lasting one).

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Don’t write for the audience you have. Write for the audience you will have.

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I have addressed my audience directly as “you guys” in more than 70 blog posts. 6 times in my first year of blogging.

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Eventually, they read those posts.

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Create evergreen content inspired by what’s happening now.

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Be the thing you’ve been waiting for.

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You need to do the rest. Luck can get you part of the way there.

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If you search for something online and don’t find it … MAKE IT YOURSELF.

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Now I rank #2 for “brain surgery recovery.”

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Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

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There’s a payoff.

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If these tips don’t feel right to you, don’t do them.

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If something doesn’t work, change it.

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You are amazing. There are people out there, waiting to love you.

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“Those who truly love us will never knowingly ask us to be other than we are.”

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How to Make Your Audience Fall in Love with Your Blog Geraldine DeRuiter | http://everywhereist.com | @everywhereist Download: bit.ly/fallinloveblog