Friday, December 16, 2011

Join in the Conversation!

a guest post by Holly Jahangiri

Join in the Conversation!

You’ve spent time building your blog. You’ve written killer content, found or created an attractive template to show it off, baked cookies, sent out engraved invitations, and…what? Now you wait?

If only that were enough! Here are a few tips for bringing readers to your blog:

Research other blogs – not only blogs in your niche, but blogs run by your readers.

Every time you visit a blog, do as many of the following as you can spare the time for:
  • Leave a meaningful comment. Never just say “great post” or “interesting” unless you want to be mistaken for a spammer. Refer to the blogger by name. Mention something specific you liked or didn’t like about the post. Share a story of your own.  This is a great way to leave “breadcrumbs” back to your own blog, especially if you’re lucky enough to be commenting on a blog with CommentLuv+ or CommentLuv Premium. (If you buy CommentLuv Premium, you will always get a choice of 10 posts from your own blog to choose from when leaving comments on others’ blogs.)
  • Share the posts you find interesting. If there are share buttons, use them – Facebook “Like” or share; Twitter; Google +1; LinkedIN, and StumbleUpon.
  • On Twitter, be sure to share useful information. Try a tweet that starts out, “Did you know… “ and follow it with a grammar tip or publishing statistic. Every fifth tweet or so, plug your book or your latest post. Use Tweetdeck (it’s free!) to manage multiple Twitter accounts (perhaps your characters, like @Trockle, have their own?) and schedule Tweets to space them out throughout the day.

Part Calling Card, Part Writing Sample

Remember that every comment and link you leave on others’ posts is your “calling card.” As a writer or other book publishing professional, you want to make a good impression – and comments are forever. So before you Submit, be sure to proofread your comment. It doesn’t have to be perfect every time, but you ought to make an effort. Try not to criticize others’ spelling, grammar, or punctuation though. About 80% of the time, the more critical the blogger the better the odds of his own comments containing grievous errors!

Backlinks Beget Backlinks

When crafting your posts, reward great content and interesting or helpful bloggers by adding links to their posts. Make sure your “anchor text” (the text that a reader clicks to get to the other blog) is meaningful and also something people are likely to be searching for online, and make sure that it opens in a new tab or window so that readers of your blog won’t get whisked away, never to return. A good backlink might look something like this:

For a great bedtime story to help kids get over their fear of monsters under the bed…

To code that, you’d type the following:

For a great <a alt="Trockle is a great bedtime story to help kids get over their fear of monsters under the bed." href="" target="new">bedtime story</a> to help kids get over their fear of monsters under the bed…

The alt tag is used to help visually impair readers understand more about the link. A good screen reader program will read that to them. Search engines look for that information, too. Just make sure that when you put keywords in alt tags, they’re helpful to both people and search engines!

The target tag ensures that the reader won't be yanked off your page to go read the other blogs you've recommended in your post. They'll be able to refer to both - side by side, if they want to!

Just remember - it's not enough to build it and hope for readers to come. You have to show them the way and make them feel welcome.


  1. Thanks for the post, Holly. Good advice.

  2. Dear Holly,
    Thanks for the post. Wordpress had Akismet to take out the Spam. Addressing a comment to the person who wrote the blog, as you recommend, is really helpful in keeping a comment out of the spam folder.
    A nifty idea to have a Twitter account for a book or character.
    You are jam packed full of great ideas.
    Enjoy your day.
    Never Give Up

  3. Great tips, Holly. I never though about having twitter accounts for the books. Thanks.

  4. Thank you all! I'm just now making the rounds - I pretty much collapsed in bed with a good book after this contest ended! I'm glad I was still up to pulling a few useful tips together, this late in the game! :)