Authors, before you had a following, do you remember how that first comment felt? What about your first subscriber? Or realising you had your first true fan?
The chances are those first felt pretty good.
If you have your head screwed on right, what you did was pay attention to your first few reactions. If it was a comment, you followed any link back home and checked out the blog of the person that left a comment. Likewise, you probably replied to the comment to show that the comment was valued.
You did do those things, right?
Readers are a bit like cats
Human beings are alike in that we respond to appreciation very well. Like cats, if you want a human to do something more often then you need to validate them the first time. Unlike cats, a quick stroke and a “who’s a lovely kitty?” is probably not going to cut it.
Which is why a wise blogging author will validate comments and reply to them.
This is why, if you want a following, you will give a little love to those who take the time to appreciate your work.
It is also why genuine appreciation can bring you a huge following.
Let me show you the secret.
How being genuinely interested in others builds a following
I have several long-standing friendships with bloggers all over the world. What these friendships have in common is that we have never met but both invested quality time in reading and responding to the other.
Maybe I found them but maybe they found me. The thing is that someone made the first move.
What has resulted have been some great guest blogging opportunities, amazing conversations, and a back and forth between writers that drew in new fans for both of us.
You can have that same foundation to a loyal following. Just so long as you are prepared to invest time in other bloggers.
Be someone’s first
We all remember our firsts – first kiss, first reader, first rejection letter… The powerful secret to bootstrapping your following is to be what you need. Yes, go and be that first reader for another blogger.
I’m not talking about a driveby “nice blog” comment. I mean go and give a new blogger an investment of time.
At the very least you will have made someone feel nice about themselves. But who knows, maybe you will strike up a friendship. Maybe they will become your biggest fan (or you their’s). Whatever happens, the world will be a better place and your lives will both be richer for it.
You can find some great blogs right here.
Why not leave a comment here (with your blog link in the relevant field) and see if we cannot give the Christmas gift of first comments to a few people.