Converting Casual Readers into a Thriving Community
Flynn opened with a definition of what a raving fan actually is. Just in case you don’t know, a raving fan is someone so dedicated and so loyal that they will read every single post you ever publish, listen to every podcast, watch every video. They will defend you and your brand from trolls and haters as if their life depended on it. They will promote and grow your brand organically. And, if you ever stop blogging, they will feel as though a part of themselves is suddenly missing.
According to Flynn, the best way to visualize your fan community is through the use of his ‘Affinity Triangle’. In order of fandom (from least to most), the triangle includes:
- Casual audience: these readers come to your blog through social media, or a Google search.
- Active audience: these readers like what you have and want more. They usually already subscribe to your log and your email list.
- Connected community: this is where the magic really starts to happy, where culture starts to breed. Readers in this group identify themselves as someone who reads your blog (think Trekkies or Little Monsters or Twihards).
- Raving fans: this is where most your blog and social media activity occurs. These are the people that actively share and like your content. If you sell products, these are the people that are buying. These are the people that you should focus on.
Flynn had one big caution though. A caution that overlays everything. Raving fans are not created the moment that people discover your blog. They are created by the series of moments you generate over time.
So, how do you create raving fans?
Image courtesy of www.patflynn.com
According to Flynn, there are three pre-requisites that you must have when people land on site:
- Amazing first impression: if your blog looks bad, if it doesn’t feel welcoming, then you can have the best content in the world, but no one is going to read it. The best way to check whether your blog is working on this front: every now and then, ask people what their first impression was when visited site.
- Unique content: if your blog content is just like everyone else’s, then your readers will most likely be raving fans of someone else’s site. You need to make sure that your content include your voice, that you put your own spin, your own twist on things.
- Be consistent: above all, be consistent. Consistency is the fuel that drives people up the triangle. If you stop producing content, or are inconsistent, then people will simply fall out of the pyramid.
How to turn a casual audience into an active audience.
Talk to your audience directly.
“If you can define the problem, better than your target customer, then they will automatically assume that you have the solution.” Jay Abraham.
What you want you readers to think is, ‘Wow: this person gets me. I felt like you wrote this post just for me.’ Once you know who your audience is, and what their needs are, you can provide solutions for them.
“If you want to change someone’s life, start by changing their day first.”
Commonality = best friends forever. A great way to do this is to put some of yourself into you blog. Be human. Share some of your real self with your readers.
How to Turn an Active Audience into a Connected Community
According to Flynn, readers in the connected community bracket are engaging with you, leaving comments, connecting with you. And, in return, you are encouraging participation, making it easy to for them to communicate, facilitating discussions by doing some of the following:
- Ask THE questions: people watch game shows because they love to play along. So, give your audience the opportunity to give the answer (if they know it).
- Community decision: give people in your community the opportunity to actually help to influence the content in your blog. Ask them what type of content, or what type of blog post they want. If your readers feel like they have a part, then they will have a part. You need to show that you’re listening to your community, and letting them get involved.
- Show the ‘behind-the-scenes’: show your readers what’s going on behind the scenes. Show them how much work goes into your posts. That way, your readers will remember that when they read your next post. Authenticity and transparency are very important in blogging.
- Create events: by creating an event, you and your readers then have a shared experience. Give your readers the opportunity to get involved, to meet you, to meet each other. It doesn’t even have to be a live event – it can be an online video event, just as long as its something cool that people can participate in.
- Reach out and highlight people in your community: if you have readers that have taken your advice, and been highly successful, then highlight them. Give them a shout out. It creates another point of connection for your audience.
How to Turn a Connected Community into Raving Fans
According to Flynn, the best way to turn a connected community into raving fans is to create a memorable moment by surprise: the random stuff is the stuff that stands out creates magic for their fans. So do something unexpected. Do something special for your super-users to turn them into raving fans.
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