When you’re using a blog for self help and personal development, it’s important that you not narrow yourself to your sole point of view. The goal is to grow as a person, and that requires a different perspective from your own.
Sometimes, that can be achieved through analysis and reflection on your actions, behaviors and thoughts. But other times, you may get stuck, and having outside input is vital to your quest for change.
To get that kind of support, you need two things – traffic to your blog from relevant readers and engagement from them. We’ll talk about how to find your audience (or get found by them) later.
For now, let’s talk about what makes people want to add their $0.02 once they land on your blog, read about your journey, and realize they have something to say that may aid you.
Many bloggers don’t understand how to get engagement and it’s not as hard as it may seem. You just need to be informed about it. You don’t want a horde of lurkers on your blog.
That’s not a bad thing, but for an evolution of mind and soul, it’s not beneficial to you. There will always be some people who only read and never comment and that may be because they’re shy or just not comfortable discussing certain things online.
Once you do get the ball rolling with engagements on your posts, you’ll start to see a community of sorts developing. The people commenting will get to know each other and recognize each other’s names and points of view.
That’s when your blog becomes a safe haven for like-minded individuals all there to share and lift each other up. And of course, if there’s ever a bad seed, you have the power as administrator of your blog to delete their comments and ban them.
Make Sure They’re Technically Able to Support You
This may sound obvious, but if you’re new to blogging, you may not grasp the technicalities of it all. When you set up your WordPress platform, you’ll have settings that you can choose from that determine how your readers can engage.
It’s under the Settings and Discussion tab, and that’s where you can choose to allow people to comment on new posts. You can make them fill out a first name and email and even register on your blog if you want them to.
And you may want to set it up so that before anyone’s comment is approved, it gets emailed to you first so you can give it a thumbs up. This may be especially helpful on a blog with the slant of self help.
You also want your contact form set up correctly. That’s a plugin you’ll add called Contact Form 7, which allows people to reach out to you privately and directly through email.
Have You Asked for Engagement?
Once you know everything is in working order, you can address the other issues. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking for engagement from your readers. People don’t often automatically know you want their input.
They’re there to read and get informed and unless you specifically ask for them to get involved, they may not. So what kinds of engagement on your blog can you ask for that will help you?
Some bloggers simply ask people to “Like and Share” their blog post. When you set up a blog, there’s an option to install a plugin for social media buttons. These are the things like a “Facebook thumbs up” that lets people know you read something you enjoyed.
When they click the button, such as Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, for example, a box will open up that shares your content to those platforms and allows them to also say something to their audience about what they just read.
This helps your blog get even more engagement and views. So when and how do you do it? First of all, you can simply ask for it. Say something at the end like, “If you enjoyed this post, be sure to click the button and share it on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!”
You also want to make sure the buttons are easy to see as reminders. Some bloggers fail to do this, only putting their share buttons at the top of the blog post. But if it’s a long post, and the reader has scrolled down to read it in its entirety, then they won’t be seeing the buttons when they finish reading.
So you can choose to have the buttons at the top, at the bottom – and even floating beside the reader as they scroll, in case they decide they want to share it in the middle of their reading session.
This may happen whenever someone realizes they don’t have time to finish the article but they want to read it later, so they’ll share it to their social media account so they can easily find it.
Ask the reader to be sure to comment below when you finish writing a blog post. You can tell them you’d love to get their take on it and see if they have any advice for you. Or, ask a question and tell them they can answer it in the comments section below.
You don’t want to just blurt out “Comment below.” Be more genuine in your request and say something like, “I’d love to hear what your thoughts are – do you think I’m being overreactive or am I justified in feeling this way?”
People love to include their $0.02 on things, so engagement will increase and that makes more people tune into your blog because it’s a relevant place to be where others are communicating.
Make sure you’re also asking for the sign up. If you’re building a list of readers using an email autoresponder system, so you can email them whenever you want to, make sure you remind them to sign up on the form below your post or in the sidebar of your blog.
Make sure you don’t just use words when you ask for engagement. You can also have graphics created that use arrows showing them where to engage and that are visual reminders that catch their eye.
Create Engagement-Worthy Content
If your content is just so-so, it won’t give most readers any reason to offer any kind of engagement – from a simple share to a comment. They’ll simply read, shrug and move on to something more interesting.
You want your content to give so much value that the reader can’t resist the urge to add their opinions or even just thank you for taking the time to reveal your inner thoughts about something.
Your blog posts don’t have to have a certain number of words. Some bloggers get so caught up in word count, they miss the point of the post completely – to provide value to the reader!
Focus on making sure you thoroughly explain your topic at hand. If you’re blogging about a fear you have, don’t just disclose the fear and end your post. Instead, dig into how it affects you, how life is changed because of it, where it stems from, and what you plan on doing about it.
You want to generate good will for the people visiting your blog and taking the time to read your words. If you merely slap up a reminder to yourself about what you were thinking that day, it does everyone – including yourself and your readers – a big disservice.
Do your research on the issue and discuss the options you’ve uncovered. Then go into why you will or won’t be pursuing each one. Ask if any of your readers have any experience with any of the solutions to get them to engage with you about it.
Consistency is key in building trust with your audience. If you invite them on your journey and then suddenly disappear for months at a time, it won’t give them much reason to tune in again in the future.
The best thing about getting your audience to engage with you is that it’s going to help even more dedicated followers find you. Google and other search engines sit up and take notice when a blog gets interaction from an audience.
They can gauge the number of likes, shares and comments you get – and they can even tell how long someone stays on your blog post, so all of that factors into their decision on which sites to show to people who go to their search engine and type in a phrase for the type of content they want to find.
Search engines want to serve their audience well, so if they have to choose between a blog like yours that’s getting a lot of engagement and interaction versus a stagnant blog nobody cares about, their choice will be easy.
Share Your True Self Online
Don’t launch a self help blog to explore your journey and then keep everything sterile in nature. The audience is there to connect with you, so it’s best if you can open up and be genuine about your experiences, your feelings and thoughts.
Showcase your personality and don’t worry as much about perfect grammar as you do about being authentic in your storytelling endeavors. Blog like you’re writing a letter to a friend – because that’s what many of these supportive individuals will become to you over the coming months and years.
If they comment on your post and show care and concern – or even kick your butt as a wake-up call, make sure you acknowledge them and thank them for their input as you analyze their recommendation.
If you’re struggling and you can’t find the kind of success you’d hoped to share, don’t use that as an excuse to give up and disappear on them. Be honest. Talk about how you’re facing an obstacle that you can’t seem to get past.
It’s in your darkest times that a self help blog can benefit you because it not only awakens the spirit in you to overcome what you’re dealing with, but it inspires your readers to be there for you and support you on your journey.