Are You Adding Value To Your Readers?

It depends on who you ask, but I have believed blogging began sometime in the early 1990’s and began it’s explosive evolution sometime in the late 1990’s. I published my first blog post in March 2003. Since it wasn’t until 2005 that the word “blog” was actually added to the dictionary, I’ve always felt myself to be some sort of pioneer.

When I first began blogging, it was because I had something to say (and that hasn’t stopped since), however, since those early days, blogging has become one of the most popular forms of “word of mouth” advertising around. Much like when your friend shares a really good deal they’ve gotten on a product or service, bloggers are sharing those same juicy tidbits with their readers.

This has worked very well for both affiliate marketers and advertisers. So much so that a blue-million fake blogs (flogs) and spam blogs (splogs) have emerged. Thankfully the FTC is taking effort to wrangle those under control.

Over the course of eight years I’ve been blogging, the one thing I’ve noticed most often is many, would-be great bloggers get bit by the bug, start a blog and within a few months they give up and abandon ship for one of two reasons (or both) – not enough traffic and not earning.

The most absolute single ingredient these bloggers have failed to recognize and administer is VALUE. Successful bloggers must give value to their readers. They must do it consistently over time. Readers want to get to know the writer, trust them, trust their opinions, develop a real, yet virtual relationship with them before they will ever begin converting into “customers.”

The most money I have ever made while blogging came from my heartfelt efforts in a micro-niche where I was considered an “expert” – I was passionate about the topic, I was a trusted name, I had a face, I had a story and my readers knew me. They knew me on a personal level – in fact, on several business trips, complete strangers would approach me knowing who I was and once they’d share their email address or online name, I knew them too.

I never intended for those efforts to convert to profit, they just did.

I guess my point here is if you are passionate about a topic – IF you would write on that topic regardless of whether it made money or not – IF you establish real relationships with your readers and become of value to them – the money will follow almost as if by magic.

That, in a nutshell, is the secret to successful blogging. Value!

If you need a bit of inspiration to learn how you might add value to your readers, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Interaction – Ask questions, provide answers, respond to comments.
  • Solve Problems – If you keep a close eye on your niche, you will see problems that need solving – you’ll find opportunity.
  • Respect – In order to receive respect, you have to give it.

What are other ways you can provide value to your readers? Please share your thoughts.

As always, I am committed to my readers. If you leave a comment on any of my posts, I will visit your blog and “share it” in some way whether on StumbleUpon, Twitter or Facebook depending on if I can find a nice fit. This is my way of saying thank you!





11 responses
  1. Samantha Bangayan Avatar

    Gayla, this was such a great article, especially because you set an example through it. This is the first time I’ve read one of your articles, but I immediately appreciated your final note on how you personally value your readers by sharing their blog in some way. That’s a perfect example!

    To build on the idea of interacting with readers, I’ve heard that giveaways and contests also show your appreciation. In the end, establishing a relationship with your readers through regular and meaningful communication seems to be the key!

  2. Clara Avatar

    As a tranisitional career blogger, I feel like I’m giving my readers true value. How it feels & what I’m doing to transition from a nurse to freelance writer/blogger. I also offer expertise in the field of writing via guest posts and so forth.
    I appreciate my readers and I hope they appreciate what I have to offer via my own growth…

    1. Gayla Baer-Taylor Avatar

      Clara, what a great transition. No doubt your experiences and knowledge are of value to your readers. I did want to mention that when I clicked on your name, the link to your blog didn’t work. I was able to click on your last blog link to get there and went exploring from there. 🙂 Might want to check out the name/link thing to make sure you don’t miss any visitor opportunities.

  3. Gayla Baer-Taylor Avatar

    Samantha, Thanks for your comment. There have been times I have conducted giveaways and with great success. I always made an effort to tie the product and giveaway in with the theme of my blogs. It always seemed to work out very well. I did stop over to check out your blog. I can tell you put a great deal of heart into your writing. 🙂

    1. Samantha Bangayan Avatar

      Wow, thanks Gayla. I really value your feedback as an experienced blogger!

  4. Rob Avatar

    Because my clients are all businesses, some time ago I did a little experiment and applied some of what I’ve learned about SEO to one of my blogs. At the same time, I monetized it. My attempts to increase traffic succeeded, but my attempts to sell products failed miserably and I lost credibility with my already established modest readership. I’m sure the reason was because I put marketing ahead of heartfelt content.

    Your advice echoes what I’ve learned from other successful bloggers. Many of them stumbled across success long after they started blogging. They knew nothing about keyword optimization or article marketing, but everything about their subject and their primary goal was to share their knowledge with others. It’s always good to be reminded of that. Thank you.

    1. Gayla Baer-Taylor Avatar

      @ Rob – I’ve found there are certain groups of readers who will take to ads and marketing efforts graciously and there are those who are almost offended by it. Across the niche sites I have, I have learned by trial and error to customize my monetization efforts. It’s not easy, as you’ve learned. I see you write for EzineArticles, obviously you’ve had a good experience – as an expert. Nice!

  5. Stephanie Suesan Smith Avatar

    My biggest challenge has been to get readers to interact with me. I just do not get many comments. Perhaps my site is too didactic for that, but I would like to get more.

  6. Jilly Prather-Nehls Avatar

    I love your well thought out posts. You indeed provide value to your readers.
    I think new bloggers give up too easily. It takes dedication to keep going in order to monetize and keep finding topics that will give the reader good information and ideas to keep them coming back for more. Sometimes I don’t feel like adding more to my blogs, but realize that if I don’t keep up the momentum I will lose in more ways than one.
    Anything worth having means making goals and working doggedly, never giving up, and knowing that readers are waiting for your next bits of writing that will help them.
    Keep up the good work! You’re truly an inspiration.

    1. Gayla Baer-Taylor Avatar

      @ Jilly – Thanks for commenting. There really are lots of times that I just don’t feel like I’m up to part or like I have anything of value to extend to my readers – it’s at the times I do feel very useful that I try to stock away ideas for posts or actual posts in a file to use. We all have bad days. It’s good to plan ahead. When working for a major blog network as an editor, I had writer who actually blogged ahead over 6 months. She was a machine! I always envied her. BUT she created content based on the calendar, holidays, seasons and it worked well.

      I love the concept of your blog. Having worn many hats as a mother. Family balance is the most difficult of challenges I’ve ever tried to wrangle.

  7. Mary Jo Manzanares Avatar

    Value is so easy to think about yet so often to lose sight of. It can be delivered in so many ways, but once you abandon the idea of providing value to your readers, it’s hard to regain their trust.

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