- 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog
- #31WBGB: Write an Elevator Pitch for Your Blog
- #31WBGB: My Elevator Pitch
- #31WBGB: Make List Posts Work for Your Genealogy Blog
- #31WBGB: Promote a Blog Post
- #31WBGB: Analyze a Top Genealogy Blog
- #31WBGB: Contact a Reader
- #31WBGB: 27 Must-Read Tips for Genealogy Bloggers
- #31WBGB: Write a Link Post
- #31WBGB: Interlink Your Old Blog Posts
- #31WBGB: Participate in an Online Genealogy Group
- #31WBGB: Set Up Monitoring Alerts
- #31WBGB: Come Up With 10 Post Ideas
- #31WBGB: Develop an Editorial Calendar
- #31WBGB: Update a Key Page
- #31WBGB: Find a Blog Buddy
- #31WBGB: Solve a Problem
Week 5’s topic is about building a community and making an impression on readers. Darren Rowse titles this chapter “Email a Blog Reader,” but it is really offers several different tips for making contact with readers.
Pay attention to new readers and it will substantially increase the chance that they will return to your site or spread the word about it through their network. I think this topic is especially important for genealogy bloggers, because our readers may be part of our extended families and they could have information, photos, documents, etc. that we would like to have. At least part of the reason that most of that most of us write genealogy blogs is to connect with others who are researching our same family lines.
4 Ways to Make Contact
- When you spot a comment left by someone that you don’t recognize, shoot that person a quick email thanking them for their contact. Be sure you include a link back to your blog, so they know who you are, and make the email relevant to their comment (maybe you answer a question they asked or follow up in some way). Also, point them to your RSS feed in the email, in case they missed it on your site. You could probably find a tool to do all this for you (I feel certain there is a WordPress plug-in), but I’m going to discourage that. People recognize automated replies. Do it yourself and make it personal.
- If the person left a link to their own blog in the comment, then leave a comment on their blog. By doing this, you start to build a relationship with the other blogger (and possibly with their readers).
- If they included their Twitter ID, then start following them. Again, you start to build a relationship with that person.
- Respond to the comment on your blog. This shows other readers that you will engage in conversation.
Make it a Routine
As with some of our previous lessons, you don’t need to do all four methods with every comment. But do some of them every day. Darren suggests spending 10-15 minutes a day on connecting with readers.
Isn’t this just Common Sense and Good Manners?
That was my first thought as I was reading this chapter, at least in relation to leaving comments on their blogs and responding to their comments on your blog. I had never sent an email thanking a reader for their comment, unless they shared genealogy information with me. Then I got to the next section in the chapter and it clicked for me.
“Is This Tip Not Spectacular Enough For You?”
Yes, it is common sense and good manners. Common sense and good manners are not spectacular (at least they shouldn’t be). That’s why we should do this.
- Spend 10-15 minutes connecting with your readers, either via email or comments.
- Make sure at least one contact is with a new reader.
- If you don’t have many comments on your blog yet, then spend 10-15 minutes visiting other genealogy blogs and leave “relevant, helpful, and genuine comments.”
If you are just joining us, then “welcome.” You can read the kick-off post about 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy blog here. Feel free to start with this week’s reading and action items – you are not behind!
This week’s prize is a t-shirt from Geni.com.* To enter this giveaway, leave a comment with your thoughts on this exercise (or a link if you blogged about it). All entries for the giveaway must be located in the US, (although everyone is welcome to comment). The contest will be open until 11:59 pm on Saturday, August 6, 2011. The winner will be chosen randomly.
*This t-shirt was a blogger gift at SCGS Jamboree. I have no affiliation with Geni.com.