How to Build Deeply Personal Relationships with an Online Audience

You’re a marketer, online communication specialist or digital content creator. You’re great at what you do in many ways, but for some reason, your blog posts and other written content just aren’t impacting readers the way you want them to.

So far, you haven’t been able to create content that resonates with the audience on a deeply engaging level.

The goal with online content, whether it’s blog posts, social media, or even web copy is to almost be able to do the impossible, which is to make the reader feel as if you’re in a room talking to just them, and you completely understand what they need or want. Despite the pervasiveness of online content in the marketing and communication world, building this personal relationship is still something that proves elusive for even the best in the business.

Why?

For one, many marketers just don’t know quite how to move the relationship to a more personal level with blog posts and articles. Another reason it’s just not clicking? It’s possible marketers and communicators are focusing more on quantity than quality. Also problematic? Marketers and executives might not know how to measure their results and really quantify what works and what doesn’t.

Many marketers tend not to be able to agree on how to define engagement, either. For example, according to statistics compiled by Marketo.com, 63% of marketers see engagement as customer renewals, repeat purchases and retention, whereas only 20% define engagement as top of the funnel awareness or a means of emotional brand building. This is where so many fall short in their efforts. They don’t have an accurate understanding of the emotional connection that’s required to build the relationships that signify engagement.

So how can that be done?

Write for the Skeptic

Building relationships with your readers requires that you understand just how skeptical they are. The average consumer of online content is going to be bombarded with blog posts, social media links, and more information than they can ever possibly consume. The key is to cut through the noise and build content that allows them to view you as an honest, credible and valuable resource amidst the tremendous competition.

Writing for the skeptic can involve long-form content but not written in such a way that it’s simply words put online for the sake of having them there. The best long-form content needs to be original, deeply researched, and consistently valuable throughout. It also needs to be written in such a way that even though there’s a lot of information and research to back it up, it’s also easily digestible.

Think About Intent

Want to post content that’s going to attract meaningful relationships with readers? Stop thinking about keywords. You probably already realize the old days of keyword-packed posts are long-gone, but how do you write in such a way that is still going to allow you to show up in search engines without turning off readers and diminishing credibility?

Write with an eye toward the intent of your audience. Think about what your audience will ask and how they will want their questions answered. When you’re writing or commissioning content, make sure that it’s built on a framework of reader intent.

This is not only a natural way to create a connection with your reader, but it’s also an excellent way to integrate keywords logically because you’re developing content in a way that’s directed by the concepts the reader is going to be looking for.

Tell a Story and Create a Conversation

Often, the marketing tactics that work most effectively in terms of building a connection with readers are the ones that are built on storytelling and doing so in a way that’s conversational.

Timothy Sykes is an excellent example of this. He’s a stock trading professional, but he’s built a huge following for his blog. The reason? It’s in large part not just due to his financial know-how but also because his blogs are deeply personal  and include anecdotes, stories and experiences from his own life and career. He writes them in an informal way that feels like he’s looking right at you and talking to you.

Integrate a Sense of Generosity

Finally, marketing guru, Neil Patel, recommends this strategy  and also uses it with his own marketing and when writing content.

Patel points out that generosity can be done in financial terms but also through time. He says that his goal with the guides he publishes on Quick Sprout is to give away thousands of dollars in information for free and to truly help people. He also holds regular free webinars and events and takes the time to answer reader questions directly. He feels like he’s willing to go above and beyond to give what he can to his audience.

The result?

His readers feel like they know him and like he’s their ally in terms of whatever advice or content they’re turning to him for.

Summary

At the end of the day, anyone who works in marketing or publishing faces the same obstacle: trying to forge a relationship with whoever happens to be on the other side of the screen. Once you can create that connection, by using tips like the ones above, the result will continue to pay off. Your rewards? Long-term loyalty, more shares, and the capacity to organically grow your following.