Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Blogging: Connecting with your readers after a hiatus



We have all had those days. Those days when we don't feel like blogging. We say we will do it tomorrow, and tomorrow comes and still no post. This goes on longer than you realize and suddenly it's been a month. Two months. And so on.

Blogging can be a hobby for some. It can be someone's part-time job. Blogging can be your only income, if you play it right. But truth be told, just like any other "job" blogging can burn you out.

Most bloggers I know also juggle a full time job, kids, and other life responsibilities. We let this space slip for life. We become absent. We are less consistent. What does that do for our readers? For our blogging community?

Last year I was one of those bloggers. I burnt out. I tried to fit more onto my plate than I was capable of at that moment. I would come on here and tell everyone I was great and was finally getting my shit together and to expect X, Y, and Z. Bam. Crickets. I didn't follow through. I wasn't delivering my promises.

I saw the decline in my daily numbers. I was no longer generating conversation on my blog. You lost interest. I lost your trust. You didn't believe me anymore when I said I was coming out with a new series, or a fun topic on this or that. You kept coming back to my crying wolf and eventually you just got tired of me. You stopped coming.

I was upset. I wanted to blame everything but myself for this blog not doing well. Maybe people just didn't get me? Maybe I needed more posts on this or that. The reality was, I needed to step back and re-evaluate what I was doing here. I wasn't being consistent because I was losing interest in my own hobby.

Since the new year started, I have taken some steps to get back to a consistent schedule and work on getting you interested again. In the process I have come up with some great tips to help re-connect you with your readers, as well as your blogging community.

Comment, comment, comment

I cannot say this enough. When you come back from a sudden hiatus without any warning, your readers may have moved on. They may believe you are no longer blogging, so they have no reason to visit your blog.

By visiting all of your favorite blogs again, or maybe they were even your tribe in the blogging community, will alert them that you are back. Slowly they will start checking your page again. It may take some time, but the more you show interest in what they are doing, the better chance they are going to take another chance on you.

You should also be responding to your own comments in a timely manner. If people take the time to leave you a comment, you should be returning the favor by responding to them. It really makes a difference. Your reader feels valued.

Be consistent

Now that you have everyone's attention again, you MUST be consistent. Show your readers you are back for the long haul, and you have some great content to share with them. If you say you will post tomorrow, you best post tomorrow. If you can't post tomorrow, shoot out a message on social media. Let them know there was a change in plan.

I continuously told my readers I was going to do something, and then never got around to it. I'm sure that made me look like a complete brat. I was asking you to come back, and to what? No post. No explanation. Just woops I once again forgot to follow through. Riiiiiight.

Be honest

Let's be honest, life sometimes happens. If you are going to take some time away due to unforeseen circumstances, let everyone know. I know again, as a blogger, we have the right to not dive to much into our personal lives, but that doesn't mean you can't simply just say, I will be away this week. I will return next week. And that's it.

If you go the route of, "this is my blog and I can come and go as I please and do what I want", I'm going to say you certainly can, but don't expect people to stick with you. I'm not saying everyone will leave, but there are millions of blogs out there, all competing for the same people to read them over someone else. If you aren't delivering, someone else will.

I am starting to look at my blog as a business. Not in a sense that I am selling something, or making money for that matter, but as a way to remind myself to deliver. To sell my product by interacting, by being consistent, and by being honest. I'm showing up for you guys.

If you do the same, you will see people come back. You will see people who value what you are writing. They will want to read your thoughts, and will appreciate your comments. The connection comes back, and you will be back to those relationships you lost, while burning out quietly.

I really hope this helps someone out there. I know how it is to completely burn out, become very uninterested, and all together stop being involved. I am finally at a place where I can say I'm doing better. I'm working on it.

Let's be friends again?


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