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March 14, 2013

Want Consistent Readers? Create a Feature

Bloggers are always asking me how to build their audience and keep traffic coming to their blogs. One of the top tips I received early in my blogging was to have a posting schedule. When people know when you will have new content they will make more of an effort to come to your blog to read it. Think about it. Why was Must See TV so popular or why do people routinely buy the Sunday paper? They knew that on Thursday nights, NBC would have a full schedule of sitcoms. And the Sunday paper always has the Funny Pages and Coupons. There was no guessing to what viewers would find.

The same is true for readers of blogs. Just like a show that's bounced around the television schedule is almost always guaranteed to fail, if readers have to guess at when you have new content, they won't come as often.

Weekly features are a great way to establish a schedule and let your readers know exactly what they will find. My readers know on Mondays they will get to meet an author, Wednesday will have writing/publishing advice, Thursdays is for blogging tips, and Friday will have something creative. If you want to start a weekly feature, here's some tips:

Be Regular
Set a schedule that works for you and stick to it. It may be weekly or maybe every other week or even monthly. Whatever you feel you can regularly commit to. It's ok if you occasionally take a break through the year. Television shows are pre-empted for holidays and specials. Just don't take too long of a break or let your readers know when you will be back.

Be Consistent
Choose a day for your feature and consistently post on that topic each week (or whatever your schedule is). I started with just Tips on Thursday and I made sure I didn't post anything else that day. When publicists/authors would contact me about tours and such and I would tell them any day by Thursdays. If you do need to post something "off topic" then don't post it at the time you would normally do your feature. I post at 7:30 am, so if I need to post a book blast or something I do it much earlier or later in the day.

Be Bold
Tell people about your feature. Advertise it during the week. Put it on your side bar. Create a graphic. Naming your weekly feature will help people identify with it. As you can see from mine, I like pairing the titles with a day of the week. Memes do this to help people remember what day each meme happens - Teaser Tuesdays, Monday Musings, etc. Even if you don't pair your title with a day of the week, a name for your feature will make it easier to advertise. A catchy title will also help your readers remember the feature. 
If your feature is for guest posts, let authors know when they contact you about reviews, interviews, guest posts. You can also advertise in author groups on Goodreads, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

If you are looking to build an audience and increase traffic to your blog, consider a weekly feature. The consistency will aid not only in letting your readers know what to expect, but help you create regular content. Start with one feature and once it's established, you can consider adding more.

While creating a feature may sound daunting, as long as you are regular, consistent, and bold, you might find it is actually easier to do the feature than any other blogging.
 
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5 comments:

  1. Excellent advice! I learn something new everyday!

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  2. Donna I love your blog, so many fantastic advise :D I've been wanting to do a Blogger and/or Author Spotlight but I'm scared that I'll get a whole heap of Bloggers/Authors at the start but start struggling after awhile. I'm still in the thought process, so I'll work through and see how I go.

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  3. Great tip per your usual! I'm awful at this! I don't have the same days off every week (and I know that's an excuse) but I swear it makes it harder to be consistent! I try to work on bloggy stuff on days off but I'm always squeezing stuff in at the "last minute" anyways. I love blogging and I want to be good at it but it is a lot of work! You always make it look easy peasy and I know that's no small task!

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  4. Good advice. I tend to model a lot of what I write after your blog. I'm just 'borrowing' you ideas! :)

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