two drops of ink buidling a bridge cement

Comments Cement the Relationship Between Writer and Readers

 

 

By: Marilyn L. Davis

Cement Your Relationship with Readers

“To cement a new friendship, especially between foreigners or persons of a different social world, a spark with which both were secretly charged must fly from person to person, and cut across the accidents of place and time.” George Santayana

 

Comments Cement the Relationship Between Writer and Readers two drops of ink marilyn l davis

George Santayana, Spanish poet, philosopher, and Harvard professor, knew much about making and keeping friends and relationships That spark, the shared moment, as well as our everyday experiences, meander through his writing, whether in English or Spanish, an essay or poem. We can all relate to his words.

Granted, not all who see a particular title will cross that metaphorical bridge and read, but many do. And what should they find waiting for them on the other side? Something they want or need.

Unlike the Bridge to Nowhere, a feature of a particular California hike, nowhere is the last place we want to aim for in our writing, let alone take the readers there. We want to arrive at a logical, exciting, educational place and feel positive, entertained, or enthused.  So, how can we write in ways that span the distance between our thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and the readers?

By understanding that we are building a bridge to a potential reader each time we publish, we are filling the gap between our words and the readers. Click To Tweet

There are some effective ways that we construct our bridge while writing.

  1. Invite the Readers to Meet You Half-way

When I write, I don’t consciously think about my readers, but they seem to hover in the recesses of my mind. I’m not sure if my muse is a potential reader, but, often, I’ll back up and think, “Will this resonate with the readers”? If not, then I know I’m not invitational.

Inviting Writing is my term for giving the reader enough words that make them want to continue reading. It’s an invitation from me to learn along, take a break, ponder, or spend some time wondering. When it sounds inviting, I’m sure they’ll stay until the end.

So, how can you encourage a reader to follow the post until your last killer sentence?

  1. Make the Readers Comfortable

two drops of ink marilyn l davis cement the relationship Have you ever gone to a party and not felt comfortable? We all have, and frankly, I’ll leave rather than be uncomfortable. One thing that makes readers uncomfortable is when the writer lectures them.

I’m not talking about an informative post. It’s the kind of post that when I read it, the writer acts as if I don’t have a brain cell in my head. Nope, I’ll leave.

There is a way to educate without being preachy, pedantic or sounding like this year’s online-writing-guru.

  1. Make The Readers Think

However, I do think we should challenge our readers. When I’m writing about addiction and recovery, I do have to use imagery or life examples that make people cry, get angry, or feel ashamed of their similar behaviors. It’s how it’s written that lets my readers know I’m also referencing my actions in my addiction, so no lecturing from the lofty place.

When I write from experience, my readers are comfortable sharing their difficulties, feel secure in responding, and soon, we have a relationship via the comments.

  1. Encourage the Readers to Reply

two drops of ink marilyn l davis cement readersWhether I'm writing about addiction or writing, making the post conversational encourages people to comment, and in doing so, starts the conversation. Click To Tweet

We also have to realize that readers do not always share our opinions, and for the reader who disagrees, you must keep your feelings off your shoulders. I get it; there’s a lot of effort that we each put into writing, revising, editing, and publishing a blog. We work hard, and then, to have someone disagree with our findings? Just realize that you disagree with many things, too. Don’t take it personally, and move on.

  1. Ask the Readers Questions

Conversations involve more than one person, and although our writing is more like a monologue, when we actively engage a reader with questions, we’re more likely to get a response.

One of the most effective questions you can ask your readers: What other examples can you give about _____, and then name your topic. You'll usually get comments. Click To Tweet

It demonstrates your understanding that there are multiple perspectives on any subject and that you are open to hearing more about your topic. When a reader adds to the intent of the post, or gives additional insights, be gracious and thank them for adding value to the post.

  1. Be an Authority, Not a Know-It-All

There’s a fine line between an authority and a know-it-all. An authority has broad-based knowledge about their subjects. A know-it-all is merely arrogant about their knowledge, and some writers come across as condescending and conceited. They write as if they are doing us a favor. Who wants to have a conversation with someone like that? Again, not me.

While you may be an authority on your topic, if a reader poses a problem, another way to answer is to invite other readers to comment. You may have their solution, but again, keeping the dialogue going is facilitated better when there are multiple answers given. I’ve learned another perspective from readers who provide additional answers through comments on my addiction blog.

  1. When You Are Wrong, Admit It

I got a private message from another writer in a Facebook group once who informed me that a link I used was not good. This happens now and then because posts are pulled down for various reasons. However, the entire emphasis of this particular post was updating your obsolete information, and guess what? I missed one. Was I embarrassed? Yes. But I was also grateful that she didn’t point out the oversight in a comment for all to read. So, I graciously thanked her and fixed it quickly.

After I responded to her, she told me that she was initially hesitant to point out my mistake as she’s  a new writer and thought I might be offended. Again, I told her that it was I who was wrong when I didn’t check my update and that she was correct to point out the problem, and how appreciative I was that it wasn’t all over the group’s discussion.

  1. Read the Comments

two drops of ink marilyn l davis cementI know that you’re thinking that this one goes without saying, but I’ve written comments on other people’s posts, and the response clearly indicated that the writer didn’t read my comment.

In one, I asked a question to get further clarification, and the responding comment from the writer was, “Thank you for the kind words.”

No greeting. No personalization. Nothing but that comment. I haven’t been back. I looked up the information myself. Then I found another writer who specializes in treatment for families in crisis stemming from addiction. They responded quickly to my questions, plus, they spelled my name correctly. I’ll visit that writer again.

  1. Connect with the Repeat Readers

All of us would like loyal fans and followers, and when we get them, we should take the time to let them know that we appreciate them stopping by again. Whether they’re “liking” our posts, commenting, or subscribing, they encourage us to write in our unique ways.

Review your subscriber's list, take the time to click on their Avatar, and then send them an email to let them know you value them. Click To Tweet

I’ve done this and found out that a long-time reader was going through a divorce and thinking that no one cared about him. That small gesture on my part helped him see that people did think about him.

Number 10?  Now It’s Your Turn

How do you process comments? How do you cement relationships with your readers? I just know you’ve got ideas about building and cementing relationships with readers. I’d love it if you wrote them in a comment, and maybe, we’ll end up with a compilation post in the future of the “Best “X” Number of Ways to Relate to Readers.”

 

In case you don’t want to co-author a post but want to write one for Two Drops of Ink, it’s easy. Here are the submission guidelines, and look for me to comment.

 

Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

 

 

 

 

20 comments

  1. @Marylin
    If you watch a movie and never talk about it after it’s over then that either means the movie was not good enough or it means you’re not a real movie buff. You’re certainly missing out on a part of the enjoyment. And the same goes here. You’ve very aptly explained the fact and told us about the ways how it should be done.
    It was great to read a fresh article like this.

    Really wonderful!

    Rajesh C Pandey

    • Hi, Rajesh. What a gracious comment. I am honored that you considered it, ‘fresh.’

      Your blog, Write2Rich is also full of fresh, concise writing.

      You are right about missing out on the enjoyment of sharing a great movie – or book – with friends. I’d not ever thought of that as a way to re-enjoy the two.

      I hope you visit us again.

  2. Thanks for your wisdom shared Marilyn. I enjoyed reading your post. I guess the more popular a blog is the more comments likes interaction it receives. I’ll just have to keep persevering until that change comes and hope meanwhile I do not come across as preachy! Like you, I do not want to stay at a party where I am made to feel uncomfortable! 😃

    • Hi, Carol. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and of course, for commenting. You have never struck me as preachy, and I know it when I see it – and have probably been guilty of it, too. Perseverance is key, but it can get frustrating to put our posts out there and get crickets. Since your blog is purpose driven, are there LinkedIn groups that have commonality? Or even on Facebook? Scott, and several regular writers here belong to writer’s groups, and I’m in about 15 groups for my addiction and recovery blog. I’m sure you’ve thought of those, but sometimes, I need a reminder so just giving one.

      Again, thanks for all of your contributions to Two Drops, both writing and being an active reader. I appreciate both!

      • Hello Marilyn,
        I appreciate your feedback about my writing cos I’m aware we can have blindspots. Thank you for the tips about LI and FB. I haven’t tried joining groups because I struggle finding time to write posts and am not even managing to put in a regular appearance with the social media groups I am currently meant to be part of.
        It is my pleasure contributing to and participating at 2 Drops whenever I can.

  3. Marilyn, a great list of reminders! This is bookmarked on my browser! I have discovered when I feel like no one is reading my work it’s usually because I’ve been head-in-my-book focused. I have to take a deep breath and go to my favorite bloggers and communicate. My mom always said, “You have to be a friend to have a friend,” and “How do you expect to get any letters if you don’t write any?” Thank you for the encouragement!

    • Hi, Rachel. You’ve given a great reminder, too. Both of my parents wrote letters to their relatives. I asked once why the letters if we were going to see them in a few weeks. My mother said it meant that my grandmother was current and a visit was that, not a recap. I still feel special when I get a card in the mail.

      Wow, bookmarked. Now I’m feeling really special. Thank you.

  4. Be an authority, not a know-it-all. I love this advice. Great article here Marilyn. Since I don’t get many comments on my blog, the best that I do is be timely in answering anyone who does.

  5. Hi Marilyn – This Post is just chocked full of good information! Thank you! Like Michelle, I am struggling to add anything to it! I guess for me, the way I cement relationships is to respond to the comments readers In a genuinely sincere way, as well as to show up for their blogs to read, learn, ask questions and engage in conversation with them on their turf. In this way I hope to let them know I value them as people, as writers and as readers.

  6. Lots of wise information Marilyn. Thank you. I find it takes time to build genuine relationships on blogs and social media. Knowing my limitations has been key for me. There are only so many blogs I can follow and I have cut down a lot on those through time. I now have a lovely core group of supportive friends. Happy days. 😊

    • Hi, Brigid. Thank you for reading and commenting. I think you’ve made an excellent point. My father said there was a difference in acquaintances and friends. Friends required nurturing. We demonstrate that by giving them time, listening, and talking. In this day of tweets, texts, and typing, I sometimes miss the talking. Ah, the good old days.

      Before I get too nostalgic, l’d like to tell you how much I enjoy your gardening, herb, and healing posts on your site. My first sponsor in my recovery was a 74-year old Native American who believed in ‘nature’s medicine cabinet’, and introduced me to Bach’s Flower remedies. My current sponsor is a natural remedy practitioner. Teas are her specialty.

      Again, thank you for commenting and for contributing guest posts to Two Drops of Ink.

  7. Hi, Michelle. Thank you. Good point about showing interest in our readers’ lives. So, keeping your excellent advice going, can we expect to see a post about your recent trip overseas? Your post from your last mission trip is one I remember.

  8. Marilyn, clearly your tips presented here are all about creating authentic relationships. I’ve discovered taking my time to genuinely engage with writers, readers, both seasoned and novice in a meaningful conversation. What I have learned from this experience is how much value you give another by caring enough about them and not coming off as a know it all person. It truly builds great relationships when you offer someone your time. I prefer one on one. It may take longer to build friendships that way, but it’s worth it.

  9. Marilyn,
    You have given such good recommendations for building relationships with our readers, I am struggling to think of ways other than what you mentioned! I guess I would have to say commenting on their posts, be it Facebook posts, Instagram, or other social media posts. Not every reader is a writer, so finding those who are regular commenters on my blogs, and then showing an interest in their lives in some small way lets them know I hear them. 🙂

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