Blogger: Mary Keeley
Recently I’ve been taking a closer look at a few writers whose followers and audience have consistently and significantly grown over an extended period of time. I wanted to find out one thing they are doing to keep their readers loyal and continually growing in numbers.
Sure, there are the anomalies of being in the right place at the right time when they launched their first book–when timing, topic, setting, and factors out of their control combine to bring a surge of readers their way. But these are serendipity occurrences that can be hoped for, yet rarely orchestrated. And even though a few authors are fortunate enough to experience this phenomenon once, what are they doing to keep these readers loyal and anxious to purchase their next books?
They give back to their readers.
I’m not referring to contests and giveaways. These are helpful strategies and have their place in marketing your book after it is published. I hope you utilize them. The kind of giving back I identified in these authors is a giving of themselves to their readers in special ways.
One author writes about a particular people group. She did the basic research early on by visiting them in their various locales and learning their history and struggles as a whole. She then went a step further: she got to know them as real people and established a caring relationship. They trust her to write inspiring stories whose characters are endearing and struggles are realistic. This group is her primary loyal audience, and she gives back to them by being aware of their small businesses and promoting their festivals and small industries. Each benefits the other.
Another example of a caring relationship between author and audience is a writer who built an audience of loyal readers before she ever wrote a book. She is a trained expert and blogs about a healthy eating plan she created. She now is near to receiving a contract for her first book and already has a huge group of enthusiastic followers who are anxious to purchase the book for themselves and additional copies to give to others. She grew this loyal group through her website and blog, where she answers visitors’ questions and gives them dietary suggestions to improve their individual health issues. Her passion for helping others improve their health is evident through her transparency in talking about personal lifestyle and health issues that motivated her to become an expert on health through natural foods. The testimonials listed on her website speak of transformed lives.
In both of these examples the authors let their readers and followers get to know them on a personal level, and relationship formed. Add to that this special ingredient: The authors are benefiting their primary audience in some way. They are giving back to their readers.
Technology enables you to connect with your readers personally through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and blogging, among others. Follow that up by contemplating the general needs, challenges, and interests of your primary audience. How might you benefit them? The effort to give back will not go unnoticed, and reader loyalty will deepen.
What about you? Did these examples inspire ideas you can apply to benefit your readers or future readers? What is your greatest challenge in knowing how to give back in a way that deepens your author-audience loyalty?