Welcome back to the last in my three-part write-up on my experiences at the Savvy Blogging Summit. On Monday, I debriefed my personal impressions of this top-notch blogging conference, while yesterday I discussed the first three out of five blogging lessons I learned at the Summit.
Just to remind you, those three were:
- Social Media Matters – But So Does Your Time
- Differentiate Yourself
- Find Your Authentic Voice
Today I’m going to finish out this list with #4 and #5. These two take-aways are a bit more monetization-focused, although there are probably good nuggets in here for those of you with more personal blogs as well.
4. Email Subscribers Are Your Most Loyal Readers: Respect Them & Their Time
One of the best sessions at the Savvy Blogging Summit was about list building for bloggers. The list building expert, Phil Hollows of FeedBlitz, taught us that a blogger’s most loyal, committed readers (overall) are their email subscribers.
He talked about the importance of serving those subscribers’ needs – and of creating opportunities for them to connect with you – and your content – in better, faster, more (mutually) profitable ways.
This instantly got me thinking about the whole discussion I had here on KOAB a few weeks about my email newsletters going out on Shabbat. As I said in that post: Yes, the newsletters are automated. And no, I am not posting on Shabbat.
I know that most of you get that already, but the more I think about, the more I feel that if three of my readers are bothered enough to email me about it, there are probably 30 more that are quietly irritated. With just over 900 subscribers, having 30 of the annoyed with me is not good. I definitely don’t want to be irritating my most loyal readers!
What that means for me is that I’m going to be switching to a new email automation feed. This change probably won’t take place until August (I’ve got some kinks to work out first) and you more than likely won’t notice any difference in your daily newsletter.
The real change is that I will now be able to pre-set the time for newsletters to send out – hopefully avoiding the Shabbat issue. This may get tricky in the winter, when we change the clocks, but I’m committed to tweaking this until I can get it right.
I’m in beta-testing right now, but when the time comes, I’ll let you all know. (And don’t worry, you won’t have to do a thing – I’ll handle the switch-over in the back-end.)
Now that’s a lot of technical stuff that may or may not be relevant to your particular blog, but hopefully it illustrates the following core point: Listen and be responsive to feedback from your email subscribers – if you can meet their needs, odds are you’re doing okay.
5. Initiate the Conversation
This is a quote I heard in a session about blog-brand relationships and it really stuck with me. With all things blog-related, and the business side is no exception, I need to work on taking the initiative more.
Sometimes this means reaching out to companies I’d like to advertise on my blog. Or pitching brands I want to partner with. Or just sending an email to another blogger I admire and asking him or her to share a post I recently wrote.
These things are all (far) out of my comfort zone. But I love this little blog – and I want it to succeed. So I have to get over my own insecurities and initiate the conversation.
Last Friday, I stopped into Trader Joe’s – which just opened in Kansas City two weeks ago. I am planning to share Trader Joe match-ups (!) once school starts back, so I spent a good deal of time milling around the store and writing down prices.
I also decided to do something that was soooo uncomfortable for me, but hey – it’s my blog, I gotta initiate the conversation. I went up to the manager, introduced myself, handed him a business card and told him about what I’d be doing.
He was super warm and friendly, told me a little bit about why certain products no longer have a hechser (like that pizza dough I mentioned on Facebook the other day) and asked me what I needed to be able to write the match-ups. (Oh, and he gave me a coupon for a free reusable grocery bag, which is seriously gorgeous – the bag, not the coupon.)
All in all, I’d call that initiated interaction a success!
I hope to be doing more of this out-of-my-comfort-zone initiation over the next few months. I believe it will be essential for bringing KOAB to the next level – which means not only achieving greater personal financial rewards for me, but also opening up more opportunities for you, my readers.
Questions, comments? I’d love to get your feedback on these lessons.