How To Love Your Readers To Death

How to Love Your Readers to DeathWhen I was at Blog World Expo a couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to sit in on a presentation by Darren Rowse of Problogger.net. During the session he explained that one of the vital keys of successful blogging is to “love your readers to death”.

I thought this was a fantastic way to summarize the ideal relationship between a blogger and his or her audience because if you take care of your people, your people will take care of you.

I think we all have an idea of what it means to love your readers to death, but really how does one do so?

Here’s my quick take.

Provide Content That They Want or Need

Many bloggers (including myself) sometimes get “off track” and begin writing for ourselves, our computer screens, or search engines rather than for our audience. It’s the community and relationships you build with your blog that make it successful, so giving your audience exactly what they want to read (or listen to or watch) is the key.

This means:

  • Understanding who your audience is. Before you can provide content, you’ve got to know who your audience is. I mean, how can you love someone before you even get to know them, right? By understanding their wants, needs and desires, you’ll know exactly what information to provide.
  • Providing Unique Content. If what you’re writing is something your audience has seen before, then it’s not going to make a difference. Yes, I agree that content can hardly be 100% brand new and something that no one has ever talked about before (heck, most of the stuff I present on this blog isn’t totally brand new material), but the way you deliver that content can be 100% unique.
  • Providing Undeniable Value. And of course, what you present should be of the highest value. If you can write something that leaves your readers in awe, feeling more knowledgeable, or enlightened, you’ve done the job.

I know it can be tough to determine exactly what your audience wants to know, but there are a few simple things you can do to find out:

  • Just Ask. Asking questions in a blog post, newsletter, on Twitter, Facebook or any other place your audience congregates is one of the best ways to make your readers feel included and get an understanding of exactly the kinds of things they want to know.
  • Just Listen. On the flip side, it can be as simple as taking the time to read through your comment stream (or the comment stream of other bloggers in your niche) to find out exactly what people want to know and what questions are being left unanswered. Forums related to your niche are perfect for “listening” too.

Reciprocate

When someone does something for you, you should do your best to do something in return. For example:

  • Respond to Comments: I’m a strong believer that a blogger’s work is not finished when they hit the publish button. In order to build a relationship with your readers, you must become a part of the conversation in the comment section of your blog as well. For a while, I was doing my best to respond to each and every comment on this blog and people did appreciate it. I was doing well for a while, but the rapid growth and totally active community of this blog (which is totally awesome! Please don’t stop!) made me slow down a little because it was cutting in to time I needed for some of my other projects. I do, however, always read every single comment and although I no longer respond to each and every comment, I do respond to quite a few, especially to those who have questions.
  • R.A.O.K: This stands for “Random Acts of Kindness”. Every once and a while a reader will perform a random act of kindness towards you or your business. When this happens, you must do your best to repay them somehow. By giving back, you’re strengthening the bond with those who have already taken the time to help you, and chances are they will be happy to help you out again. This can be as simple as a retweet exchange on Twitter, or even giving away some of your products for free because they really helped you out.

Skip The Sales Pitch

Not too long ago I was really pumped to meet an old friend from high school who said he was starting his own business. I was stoked to share some of what I’ve been up to also and offer some advice, so we met up for some coffee.

After some good catching up, I asked him what his business was about. Five minutes later I realized that I was sitting in on a rehearsed MLM presentation, all about how if I joined this program we could be making loads of money together, blah blah blah.

I politely declined, and although we are still friends, ever since that day I just felt like I was just there to be sold to, and it almost leaves a sick feeling in my stomach. Now that I think about it, we really haven’t made an effort to meet up since, and I would be worried that if we did he’d ask me about that MLM program again.

The point of this story is that people, especially friends and people who have learned to trust you (and double-especially people online) don’t like to be sold to.

They are tired of it.

As Corbett Barr from ThinkTraffic.net so eloquently puts it: “The best sales pitch ever is no sales pitch at all.”, and I truly believe in this statement.

If you haven’t already noticed, there are no sales pitches anywhere on this blog or in my newsletter, yet I’ve been able to generate over $15,000 in affiliate commissions last month in a way that leaves everybody happy.

One of the most successful pages on this blog is the Resources Page. This single page alone brings in $3500-$5000 in affiliate commissions each and every month. My readers are happy because they’ve found quality products that I’ve used in my businesses that will help them too, and I’m happy because I earn a commission from many of those resources. For example, out of the $3,510.00 in BlueHost.com commissions I earned last month, 41% ($1,439) came from the one link in my resources page.

And lastly, if you love your readers to death and build strong bonds with them, when you do eventually come out with your own product or course, no convincing will be necessary because they already know exactly who you are and what you can provide for them.

To all of my readers out there, thank you for your support – and seriously, you know I love you to death. ;)

  • http://www.HectorJCuevas.com Hector Cuevas

    Really touching post Pat. :0D I have to agree with Corbett too. No Sales pitch = Best sales pitch. It goes hand in hand with the saying, “People Don’t Like To Be Sold To, But They Like To Buy.”

    So the easier you make it for someone to buy from you, without being pushy, the better of you’ll be.

    Thanks for another great post Pat
    talk soon
    Hector

    • http://ninetowhat.com Fernando

      “People Don’t Like To Be Sold To, But They Like To Buy.”
      This is so literally true. Great quote Hector!

    • http://www.moneycrush.com/ Jackie

      Great points Hector :)

      And people *want* to buy from someone who provides useful things in a friendly way. They’ll look hard for ways to do so, but why not make it easy?

    • Pat

      Dude, quote of the day. I love it man. And, congrats on the new podcast and showing up in the New & Noteworthy section in iTunes!

      • http://www.HectorJCuevas.com Hector Cuevas

        Thanks a lot Pat. It’s amazing how fast it’s growing – over 120 downloads and 40 subscribers in a few days.

        By the way, just so you know, your post “Are YouTube Videos and Podcasting Worth the Effort?” got me to take action…

        So thanks again
        all the best

  • http://livelifebig.net David Berger

    Great post.
    Especially on a blog, where it’s all about building a relationship with your readers and your readers liking and trusting you, overselling is not the way to go.

    By the way, I hate those MLM guys. The most annoying thing about them is exactly what happened to you: Somebody seems to be interested in hanging out and catching up and suddenly turns it into a sales pitch.

    • Pat

      Yeah David, it really left a scar in my head (figuratively speaking). Also, I suggested that he do something similar to what I’m doing, because you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars every couple of months for “retreats” and you can make money from a passion, instead of from random items.

  • http://bizhax.com Keith

    If you truly connect with your audience, a sales pitch will NEVER be needed! (which you do connect Pat!)

    Also, I downloaded all of your podcasts and listened to several on a flight to Florida yesterday, great stuff bro!

    • Pat

      Awesome Keith – thanks for taking me along with you, hehe! Glad you liked the sessions! More to come soon :)

      Cheers and Happy Holidays!

  • http://www.consoleblogger.com Jason Young

    I think R.A.O.K or “Random Acts of Kindness”, is one of my main takeaways from this post, because giving back is the best way of strengthening your connection to your readers. I that that everything is easier and they are more willing buy into what ever you offer or in this case display in your resource page. Besides giving them the best value you can; what else is there?

    Very Cool Post Pat

    Jason

    • Pat

      Thanks Jason! I can’t remember where I heard about RAOK before, but it definitely fits in the blogging world and helps us biuld strong, deep relationships in this often faceless world. Cheers!

  • http://www.youngprepro.com Onibalusi Bamidele

    Awesome post Pat,

    Really great points. I love your point about the RAOK and sometimes it is very easy to overlook these, but once acts like these are repayed it will build a stronger bond with you and the fellow. Concerning responding to comments, I also find it difficult responding to all comments so I only respond to comments that truly need reply…

    I’m still trying my best to write my best content and I know things will work together with time.

    Thanks so much for the awesome post,
    -Onibalusi

    • Pat

      Thanks for the comment, as always, Onibalusi.

      You’re one of the youngest bloggers I know, and you’re doing FANTASTIC work. Keep it up, because you’re headed places. Cheers!

      • http://www.youngprepro.com Onibalusi Bamidele

        Hi Pat,

        It’s really great and humbling to hear this from you…you never know how much I appreciate this.

        Thanks so much,
        -Onibalusi

  • http://www.websitetooltester.com/ Robert (WebsiteToolTester)

    Thanks Pat, I really appreciate that you don’t do all these sales pitches, launches and pop up banners that annoy me on so many other sites. They often just look like copies of each other. In fact because of that I have recently done a little clean-up in my RSS reader.
    And I agree, there is nothing worse than “friends” who want to sell you stuff all the time. Completely wrong direction.
    Your blog is all about a long-term relationship and quality. Keep it up!

    • Pat

      Thanks Robert – I’m doing my best not to fall into those traps that other blogger have fallen into. I think money is a primary motive in their decisions, and my business model is always the reader first, and I know readers don’t like popups and being sold to, because, well – I read too! Hehe.

      Thanks for the support Robert. Cheers!

  • http://www.blokube.com Devesh

    Really awesome post pat. You’re really doing great work and glad to see you’re making good income from resource page alone. You’re really doing awesome work man.

    I really like your points about ROAk and responding to comments.
    Replying to comments helps to build great community. I don’t why many people ignore this.

    Thanks for providing the awesome value Pat. Have a powerful day.

    Keep Rocking!

    • Pat

      Hey Devesh, I don’t know why either. I mean, isn’t that the best thing about a blog, is that it can really become a community? Oh well, hehe. Have a great day too!

  • http://ninetowhat.com Fernando

    Pat, awesome post once more. I have to say I completely agree with what you say about the comments, I think making a relation with your readers is one of the most important things when making your blog. It’s a bond you really have to take care of.
    See you around Pat!

    • Pat

      Thanks for the comment, as always, Fernando! You’ve got to treat your readers like your friends, and you wouldn’t ever ignore your friends, would you? Have a good one!

  • http://www.EndingTheGrind.com Steve Roy

    Pat,
    You hit it the nail on the head here. It’s ALL about your readers. After all, if you aren’t making them happy, they won’t come. If they don’t come, you have no site.
    It’s been obvious that you have put your readers first since day 1 and is the reason that you are the first site I look at every morning.

    Your blog has been a constant source of motivation for me and I can clearly see why you have seen so much success.

    Thanks again

    • Pat

      Thanks Steve, I appreciate the kind words! Wishing you all the best and a Happy Holiday too! Cheers!

  • http://www.investparttime.com Brett | Investing Part Time

    Pat,
    Good points here, as always. It’s great how well thought out your posts are! I’m always gonna be a fan!

    • Pat

      Awesome Brett – thanks! If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know. All the best!

  • TrafficColeman

    People want to be understood and cared about and not sold to. We have have some starting point in our lives when it come to marketing online..soon as you understand their needs..then you will have an heather relation ship.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Pat

      Hey Coleman – I noticed the change in your signature from what it was before. How’s that working out for you?

  • http://www.Sensophy.com Jacob Sokol

    LOVE U 2

    • Pat

      Thanks Jacob, and for anyone else out there who wants an inspiration story about how Jacob got the chance to go to a Jets game with Mr. Gary Vaynerchuk, you can read all about it here!

      • http://www.Sensophy.com Jacob Sokol

        Pat you rock. I would never have gotten to that game if it wasn’t for your inspiration. Thank you for making better men and women outta’ us. And next time i’ll see if i can get an extra ticket.

  • http://www.nicolasdecorte.be Nicolas

    Very interesting post, and also very true. People want to be seen and treated as an individual, that’s why it’s so important to listen and reply. This will create a tight community where readers will regularly come back.
    But in the end I still believe that the content remains the most important. Even if you had crappy design and did not respond to any of your readers, if you have fantastic content, you’ll be selling big.
    It’s a bit the story of the supermarket and the grocery store. People like to go to the grocery store because it’s personal. The person behind the counter knows who you are, what you do and how you probably feel. But still lots of people go to the supermarket because every product is available and at a good price.

    • Pat

      Yes, of course – content is very important, but without the relationships that the content can help build, that content is pretty much worthless. They go hand in hand.

  • http://67dollars.com/ Jason

    Whoa, o_O

    Love them, but love them to death? Too much love borders on insanity. ;)

    • Pat

      Haha…love hurts dude.

      • http://67dollars.com/ Jason

        …love scars, love wounds and mars;
        any heart not tough or strong enough,
        to take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain…

        …OK, I get it. ;)

  • http://www.2writewithpassion.com I Write

    This sentence says it all, “if you love your readers to death and build strong bonds with them, when you do eventually come out with your own product or course, no convincing will be necessary because they already know exactly who you are and what you can provide for them.” Nicely written post. Thanks.

    • Pat

      Thanks so much, I appreciate it!

  • http://www.ipassedmybarexam.com Dustin

    Excellent, thank you! I dislike going to a site and seeing pop-up ads. It makes me want to run for the hills!

    • Pat

      You won’t see any here Dustin. :)

  • http://www.wealthyaffiliaterevolution.com Mark | Wealthy Affiliate Revolution

    Pat,

    Your blog in my eyes, is the high water mark, the golden standard. I love your approach and delivery. I love that you talk from experience and don’t push products. That’s a huge differentiator! So many other blogs from reputable people make that mistake by trying to push product as soon as you enter the door. Big turn-off which makes you immediately question their intentions.

    What you do fly’s against the norm. Conventional wisdom tells us that we have to push products to sell them, yet you do the complete opposite with phenomenal success.

    If I were to summarize your business plan in one sentence it would be:

    “You have built a Reputation which has garnered Trust which results in Sales.”

    RTS – Let’s coin the phrase. ;)

    It’s clear that you followed your conscious when you started your site and made a commitment to do what felt right. You probably sacrificed a lot of sales during the early days of the Smart Passive Income blog with this approach, but it is clear that your patience has paid off.

    Thanks for creating a proper model for people to follow. I hope more people recognize and leverage your design. I know I will.

    -Mark

    • Pat

      Thanks a lot Mark, really. It’s just kind of crazy to think that me being transparent is the “different thing” to do. I know I may have “sacrificed” sales because of my methods, but I can be confident I’ll have a longer term business and deeper relationships because of it, and maybe even turn out to make more in the end.

      Again, thanks for the comment Mark, as always, and all the best to you!

  • http://experimentsinpassiveincome.com Moon Hussain

    Pat, one of the best things about SPI here is that you don’t sell us products. I’ve been following SPI for a long time and have loved watching the site bloom. You deserve all this success!

    I do believe in what you suggest here: love your readers. Excellent reminder ;)

    • Pat

      Thanks Moon – and although I will eventually sell products, it won’t be how you traditionally see products being sold online. I appreciate your support! Cheers!

  • http://FoolishAdventure.com Tim Conley

    Great advice, Pat. Izzy and I have been able to build an audience of a few thousand by caring–really caring, about our listeners. And in turn they have cared for us.

    • Pat

      And also by providing great, high-quality content as well. Thanks again for having me on the show for an interview the other day!

  • http://clickclackmom.com Amy

    What a great post! Last night I was thinking how exciting it is that you are coming up with a plugin that I can’t wait to try. It struck me how odd that is because I don’t even know what it does!! You offer so much value on your site, that whenever you do sell a product, you will have terrific success because of the value you offer to readers.

    • Pat

      Hehe – that’s cool Amy that you were thinking of the plugin, because yeah I’ve kept it a big secret, LOL. I hope I haven’t made the expectations too high and I fail to deliver, but I’m definitely excited about it, so hopefully other people will be too.

      Thanks again for the support Amy! Wishing you all the best. Cheers!

  • http://thefamilyceoblog.com Julie @ The Family CEO

    Thanks so much for the reminder about the resources page. I started building mine today!

    • Pat

      Sweet Julie – it looks good! Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.artofwoodshopdesign.com Bobby

    I’ve noticed the things that have the largest effects are those that I myself would appreciate such as no hard sales pitch, people retweeting my stuff, linking to my blog, etc. I simply do those things for others. If I would be annoyed by my own blog, then I need to change it.

    • Pat

      It’s the Golden Rule Bobby, the Golden Rule ;)

      Well said! Cheers!

  • Welner

    Hey man thanks much for all that you are doing! I found you through the podcast and by the way it’s awesome! Keep up the good diligent work man.

    Ps. I’m a dude and speaking on behalf of all your readers(I think) We love you too!

    • Pat

      Thanks Welner! It’s cool to hear you found me through the podcast, that rocks! All the best to you! Thanks!

  • Pat

    Tony – very well said, and you’re absolutely right! Everything starts with trust and it’s the most important part of long term success, like you said. Trust is hard to come by, which is why some people don’t have the patience or give themselves enough time to become successful.

    All the best to you!

  • http://unlockthedoor.net Stuart

    I think you’re doing a great job Pat, not many people can claim to get 50+ comments on a single post in two days, but you’ve managed to do so! And I believe this is by offering consistent value, being openly honest about what you do, and treating all your readers for what they are: human beings. Keep up the amazing work Pat :-)

    • Pat

      Thanks Stuart – and I have people like you to thank for their contribute and interaction. Thanks for your support! Happy Holidays!

  • http://Www.smartaffiliateincome.com Chris Green

    Pat … if you ever bought your own IM product out you’d make a bucket load of sales and you’d deserve them all matey.

    • Pat

      Thanks Chris! We’ll see what happens :)

  • http://www.megabizflakes.com samuel

    Awesome post Pat! Yeah, that’s just the fact. Always give them what they want, which is quality and informative content. If you are able to do that, You will be a successful blogger. Sure, I love my readers to death! even when i die i will always remember them!! :)

    • Pat

      Definitely Samuel. Love them always and they’ll love you back.

  • http://fastandeasyonlinemarketing.com Chris | Online Marketing Blog

    Hey Pat, Great post. Thank-you for all the wonderful information you provided in this post and all of your posts. It’s awesome.

    Thanks,

    Chris

    • Pat

      Thanks Chris, I appreciate it!

  • http://www.delonghiespressoreview.com/ yosi@delonghiespresso

    Hi Pat
    I’m your new subscriber and I just want you to know that your post always depth and detail. I know you from Christ gutrie, I like the way you describe a subject, so a newbie like me easily understand although the subject that you explain complicated. Thanks man, I love you too but to death (my wife will be jealous if I say that to you :-P)

    • Pat

      Thanks Yosi – your wife has nothing to worry about because I’m married and I don’t swing that way :P – thanks for the support! All the best to you!

  • http://TILblogs.com Kevin

    Pat,
    Being somewhat new to the blogging scene, I know you say you’re using Bluehost as a good income for your site(s), but do you suggest starting ads on a new site, or wait until you get a steady base of visitors, and then add the ads? What would you suggest?

  • http://www.socialrockstar.co.uk/ Brandon

    Nice post Pat, I really appreciate the way you’re not like a lot of other internet marketers who are constantly pushing you to buy some product. You just leave it up to the reader, and that approach seems to work really well judging by your income report.

  • http://diapersandbusiness.com Summer Killebrew

    Great post, Pat! Your love for us and constant quality without pitches is why yours is only newsletter I get that I actually get excited to see in my inbox! You’re an inspiration and I sincerely appreciate the reminder that it’s all about the readers and not just about the what keywords are good. I need that sometimes!

  • http://ninetowhat.com Fernando

    Hey Pat, is there any way I can join the Niche Site Duel as well?

    • Pat

      Yeah dude, of course. Just shoot me an email with the link to your first report and I’ll throw it up on the hub. Cheers!

      • http://ninetowhat.com Fernando

        Nice Stuff Pat, I will be emailing you soon!

  • http://wellnessinthenow.com Mitch Straus

    Being that you write a passive income blog I’d think you’d be at least somewhat interested in MLM or teaching people about MLM. I don’t use MLM to create passive income personally but I do know people who worked hard for a year or two and now have a solid stream of passive income.

    Has your blog become a make money online/seo/affiliate marketing site? You tend to focus on that as the only way to make passive income. Ever think of writing about real estate pyramiding as a way of passive equity building?

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  • http://www.wrightcomputing.com Paul Wright

    Hi Pat, Nice blog again. I like the idea of no sales pitch, that is one thing I hate doing. I am good at what I do but really don’t like having to tell people about with a sales pitch. I think I will add a resources page to my new website once I get a little bit more content added.

  • http://newbielifeline.com Sheila Atwood

    Pat,

    It is a pretty simple formula. Being interested in your readers. I know it keeps me coming back to your site. I always walk a way with more value than expected.

    Then I get to share that with my readers by directing them to your site.

    Thanks

  • Justin Hammonds

    Hey Pat,

    I love you to death too, and No I didn’t ;)

  • http://victoryunlimitedshow.com/ Victory Unlimited Show

    Yo Pat,

    Long time reader, First time commenter.

    Hey, I’m writing you this just to let you know that there are some of us out here that get a lot of value from your products, blogs, and podcasts that have absolutely NOTHING to do with the “make money online” niche. My website is actually the headquarters of a broadcast that’s designed to inspire and motivate men into becoming BETTER MEN——-especially in the areas of dating, relationships, and life strategies.

    What I appreciate about you and your approach to business is that you have found a way to build relationships while at the same time retaining your authoritative status in your niche. This is NOT an easy feat to accomplish, but I think you’re doing it. And this is the delicate balance, the “fine line” that I’m commited to walk in my own niche.

    Much continued success to you….SOLDIER ON!

    Victory Unlimited

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  • http://www.crunchbase.com/person/tej-kohli Tej Kohli

    Such a nice one lines to describe a blogger and its responsibility , But now a days I had seen that Blogger try to look their post something very commercialized besides saying unique lines

  • http://www.motherfitness.com Kellie

    I know I am late to the party, but this is really wonderful information. I had to laugh at your MLM experience. I had the same thing happen to me, but it was with a fellow blogger. She tricked me into getting on the phone with her and then trapped me in a 45 minute MLM speech. I cut her off and now avoid her like the plague because she pressed the issue for 2 weeks. I felt duped.

    Anyway, I love the reciprocity factor you added. So many people forget to return the love.

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