When you blog to inform publishing how-to posts and tutorials, and curating content with added high value commentary are part of your blogging strategy. But not all bloggers blog to inform and bloggers in all niches are now doing much more to attract, engage and hold an audience.
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Have you noticed how many bloggers now offer high value content in a variety of formats in addition to blog content? They are providing readers additional valuable content free of charge or by donation or for a price.
I am seeing more List posts with resource links and Resource link pages are replacing the old mile long Blogrolls that used to appear in sidebars. Interviews of and/or guest posts by thought leaders in related fields seem to be increasing too.
Studies reveal most blog readers skim read and may not become long term subscribers and few who subscribe will become commenters. Aside from product giveaways, contests and other inducements aimed at increasing readership it’s now common to see these being offered to blog readers:
- Newsletter subscriptions including product launch announcements and/or discounts.
- Document downloads including ebooks.
- Media downloads (graphics, images, videos, podcasts).
If you would like to offer documents downloads, see here for accepted file types. The following processes for uploading document files are particularly for bloggers, who wish to upload a document and add its download link to a blog post or page.
Additional Content Free of Charge, by Donation or For Sale
Publishers, agents and marketers tell us everyone has a book in them and advise that by publishing a book or an e-book, or creating any product that can be sold online, you can greatly expand your customer and client base. So if you are an author or a vendor or if you intend to become one, blogging to cultivate a reader base and encouraging readers to become clients and customers is recommended.
Neil Patel suggests 7 Tips: Convert readers of your blog into paying customers, Webinars and remarketing content, signups, free trial offers and more besides: Sidebar – by adding an email opt-in form within your sidebar, you should be able to convert .5% to 2% of your readers into an email subscriber. Blog posts – at the end of each blog post, you can add an email collection box. Typically .75 to 2% of your readers will convert into an email subscriber with this option.
It’s noteworthy that without a Business upgrade WordPress.com blogs cannot be equipped for e-commerce transactions. None of the three plans allow bloggers to initiate advertising contracts or FTP access to upload themes or plugins. If having readers pay for additional content is the aim then a self-hosted WordPress site is the way to go.
That being said, WordPress.com bloggers are allowed to sell any product they personally make or any service they personally provide. So WordPress.com bloggers can offer additional content to readers in three ways: free of charge, for a charge or by donation.
For donations bloggers can post an unencrypted PayPal button. While there’s still no financial cost for “free” downloads offered by means of contact form and a link to a password protected post or a password protected page, note that the takers must provide their contact information to get it.
To facilitate online sales of products they create, WordPress.com bloggers can set up a shopping cart somewhere else online first. Then create a custom menu on their blog and include custom link to it in their custom menu.
Amazon.com and other select affiliate links are now permitted on free hosted WordPress.com blogs, as long as they are not the primary content of the site in question. WordPress.com allows bloggers to insert their own text affiliate links within post and page content only to their own products in Amazon or other third-party affiliate programs. Image affiliate links in posts and pages and any affiliate links in widget areas, are still considered to be advertising and are not allowed on WordPress.com blogs.
Gain and greed as motivators
All blog readers want to gain something from reading any post. That’s why identifying your target audience and creating high quality content that engages them and encourages them to return to read more is important. In an informative blog it amounts to learning something new. In humor blogs the gain is entertainment. In a controversial blog the gain is an opportunity to exchange opinions. In personal blogs the gain is connection and sharing.
Humans continually seek to gain from any connection they make with other humans. Seeking knowledge is in our nature but it’s not knowledge alone that we seek. We are a bright and opportunistic species, so it’s no longer unusual to witness bloggers baiting the hook in their introduction and/or using a variety of marketing techniques to attract, engage and hold an audience.
- Did you offer additional resources to readers free of charge in 2013?
- Do you plan to offer additional resources to readers free of charge in 2014?
- Did you offer additional resources to readers in return for donations in 2013?
- Do you plan to offer additional resources to readers in return for donations in 2014?
- Did you sell your own products and/or services on your blog in 2013?
- Do you plan to sell your own products and/or services on your blog in 2014?