Reader loyalty is one of the most important—and yet most elusive—features of your content marketing campaign. If your readers are loyal, they’ll keep coming back for more, and almost every new reader you get has a strong chance of becoming a permanent addition to your audience. Without that loyalty, your readers will be nothing more than temporary blips on the radar, showing up once with no intention of ever coming back.
The problem is that writing “good” content isn’t enough to encourage reader loyalty. In fact, loyalty is earned through a variety of different factors, few of which perform predictably or straightforwardly. Still, there are several tricks you can use to increase your readers’ loyalty:
This should be a given for your content marketing campaign, but in case it isn’t, take corrective action immediately. Every piece of content you produce should clearly demonstrate your branding. For example, in your infographics, you can use your brand colors and your logo in the presentation. In your videos, include a clear acknowledgement that your brand was behind their creation. In your written articles you’ll have to be more subtle—evoking your brand voice in the tone and focus of your writing—but it’s still essential to include. Anyone reading your content should immediately be able to recognize it as one of your brand’s own; otherwise there’s nothing differentiating you from your competitors.
Reader loyalty is a relationship, and relationships can only develop through conversation. Your written articles are one-sided conversations, and although they can serve as a great jumping-off point, they offer little to no interactivity that can keep your audience engaged. To start actual conversations, turn to the comments sections. Invite your readers to contribute as often as possible, and if people aren’t talking, make it a point to start conversations yourself. The more you talk with your readers, the closer they’ll grow to your brand, and the more likely they’ll want to come back for more.
One-off articles can and should always be a part of your content cycles, but recurring features are one of the easiest ways to invite readers back to your blog, especially if they’re new. Take, for example, a detailed piece you’ve written on the state of marketing on Twitter. By splitting that piece into two or three smaller pieces and extending the title of the first to simply say “part one,” you’ll immediately pique the interest of your readership and inspire them to come back to check on the status of the inevitable “part two.” Going a step further, you can also feature weekly content formats—such as a weekly interview or weekly infographic.
Few people visit individual blogs to get updated. Instead, they rely on the content that’s shared on social media. But not all people use the same social media platforms, and not all will go out of their way to find you on those platforms. That’s why it’s your job to make it easy for your readers to get involved with you socially. Claim your profiles on as many platforms as possible, and update them regularly, especially when you have a new post to submit. Similarly, you’ll need to include your social icons prominently on many pages throughout your site, and make it easy for people to share your work to their own social profiles (this will also increase your audience volume in addition to reader loyalty).
People feel closer to organizations and groups when they feel that they’re an active member in the community. Getting your readers to contribute directly to you blog can make them feel even more tightly connected with it—and you’ll get the added benefits of new content and additional promotional outlets. You can be as selective or as open as you’d like, depending on the goals and direction of your brand, but it’s worthwhile to pursue at least occasional community-drawn guest posts.
One way to get your readers to immerse themselves in your brand further is to create an easily navigable network of your own posts. You can do this by including embedded links in each post that link to other posts that elaborate on your points. While you don’t want to bog down your posts with obnoxious links pointing all over your site, showcasing your history as a content marketer and guiding readers to additional value can help breed loyalty and increase their perceptions of you as an authority.
Direct rewards never hurt. Let your ongoing readers know you appreciate them by offering promotional giveaways, discounts, or even contests on your blog. this will keep your readers involved, give them value and incentive to keep coming back, and will make your brand seem more friendly and appreciative as well.
None of these tricks will, individually, suddenly turn all your readers into fierce brand loyalists. However, if implemented together and implemented consistently, they should have a significant impact on your reader retention levels. Because every company and therefore every audience has different needs and unique qualities, it’s impossible to make any steadfast prediction on how your readers will behave. These tricks will get you started, but the rest of the burden in understanding and meeting your readers’ needs rests on your shoulders.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.