Without your readers, blogging would be about as rewarding as fishing in a puddle. For that reason, it’s about time you said thanks!
Simply writing the words “thank you” isn’t enough. While it’s certainly a worthy first step, it’s not enough on its own to leave a lasting impression. It doesn’t help your readers, or provide them with value.
This Festive Season, why not say thank you by doing something remarkable?
Here are 15 clever ideas to get you started.
1. Write a free report or mini-eBook. A 5 – 10 page .pdf might essentially hold the same content as a few blog posts (or one really long blog post) but the format makes it seem a little more valuable. Offer it as a free gift for your readers. It’s a nice way to thank them, and as a bonus, there’s a chance it could go viral.
2. Give away a service for free. Take what you’re good at and use it to help your readers. Whether you offer advice, free logos, gardening tips, Karate secrets, code snippets or ideas, all you’ll be giving up is time. How much you can afford to give is up to you. Even if it’s just a little bit, your readers will appreciate it.
3. Send out Greeting Cards. Offer to send out greeting cards to those readers who want them. Once they provide their postal address, you can send out a Christmas card, a New Years card, or whatever kind of card they’d like. You could share a tip, draw a little cartoon, or include a cool quote, then sign it. It’s a nice, cheap, down-to-earth way to connect while saying thank you.
Cameron’s Note: My company printed a few more Christmas cards than what was needed, so if any of the readers would like me to send them one of our cute ‘Christmas greeting cards’, just drop me an email at hello [at] northxeast [dot] com. Leave your name and address (that is kinda ‘necessary’) I’ll print off some more if many of you want one; postage and handling are included
4. Leave comments on the blogs of your commenters. This might seem like a small thing, but leaving a comment on a reader’s blog is something that’s often really appreciated. It’s a nice way to say thanks and return the favor to your frequent commenters.
5. Share a secret. Share something really valuable with your readers. What’s been the key to your success? What’s the most important thing anyone interested in your niche should know? Don’t hoard your best-kept secrets. Share them with others who can benefit from what you’ve learned.
6. Share your best idea. If you’ve got a wonderful idea you don’t think you’ll ever be able to make a reality, give it away. You might even see it become a reality.
7. Run a competition and gift-wrap the prizes. If you’re planning to run a competition in the near future, take the time to gift-wrap the prizes you’re offering. It’ll make the process of receiving them that much more enjoyable for the winner.
8. Send out personalized letters. A twist on the Greeting Card idea above, you could also send personalized letters or postcards to readers who want them. Some ideas on what to include: a tip, a quote, a doodle, the answer to a question, or a personalized thank you for the reader’s contribution to your blog.
9. Create a links post dedicated to showcasing reader blogs. Many bloggers are in the habit of posting a weekly round-up of links to other destinations on the web. Instead of plucking links from your bookmarks, why not hunt down the best content on blogs authored by your readers? One of the most appreciated gifts any blogger can give is traffic, after all.
10. Let your readers choose the content. You could provide five different ideas for a big resource list post and let your readers vote on the one they like best. You should then turn the winning idea into a reality. Readers will feel they’ve helped shape the content on your blog. Let your readers know that the resulting post is a gift to them.
11. Make a post highlighting your favorite reader comments of the year. Delve into the comments on some of your favorite posts and pick out five or ten gems you can then turn into a ‘best of the comments’ post, giving your most interesting and eloquent readers some time in the spotlight (and if they have blogs of their own, some traffic!).
12. Take down ads for a day. As a gesture of thanks and goodwill, remove your advertising code for a day. You’ll be giving away the content on your blog without expecting anything in return. It’s a great way to say thank you.
13. Give a product away for free (or cheap). For an hour, or a day, or a week, give away something that used to cost money for free. Alternately, you could sell it more cheaply than you used to.
14. Give readers a leg-up on social media. Take requests for social media votes, or hunt down the best posts on your reader’s blogs and vote for them. I’d recommend StumbleUpon for this because, unlike Digg, a single vote usually sends traffic. Send along a message letting the reader know that you’re the source of the traffic they’ve just received!
15. Ask for questions, give answers. Set aside a day, or a pocket of several hours, where readers can ask you any question they’d like to have answered. Of course, you can set any conditions and parameters you like.
You can receive questions and send answers via comments, or via email. Either way, it’s important that you answer questions soon after they’re received. Take the time to make the process as rewarding as possible for those that take part.
If you have any other idea for how we can thank our readers, I’d love to hear them!