Jan Gordon
September 16, 2015

12 Ways To Turn a Blog Reader Into a Blog Subscriber

By Danny Brown

There are many success metrics when it comes to blogging – number of comments, social shares, visitors, etc.

Yet one that comes at the top of most blogger’s lists is subscribers – not just the amount of subscribers, but actually turning readers and visitors into subscribers.

After all, anyone can read or share or comment on a post. Subscribing, though, is another level of commitment by a reader, and validation for a blogger that their content is meaningful.

But what turns a blog reader into a blog subscriber? Instead of offering my own take, I decided to open up the question amongst my Facebook friends, to see what the tipping point was for them.

Given they have multiple tastes and preferences when it comes to content, I thought it’d be interesting to see what the collective reasoning was, as well as individual reasoning.

Their answers are below.

The Value Proposition

Everyone talks about blogs and bloggers needing to offer value. Yet value is defined in different ways – what may be valuable to me may be the biggest waste of time for you.

That being said, a blog’s value remains key in turning readers into subscribers.

Lisa D Jenkins quote

Kelsey Vere quote

Frank Strong quote

Three different people, but the definition of value remains the same – the info shared within the content needs to instill action, and be consistent in that action.

The Relationship Proposition

As someone whose moved more into personal blogging over business blogging (though I will still tie the two together), I often talk about how the relationship between blogger and reader is key for that type of content.

Yet relationships are so much more than like and/or love. They’re intrinsic to making the switch from reader to subscriber.

Amy Tobin quote

Nancy Davis quote

Paula Kiger quote

In the past, I’ve spoken about the “relationship to the sale” – it’s clear if you want to “sell” your content to a subscriber, the relationship with that content is core when it comes to a reader jumping into the subscriber boat.

The Voice Proposition

We’ve all heard it – “you need to find your voice”, “your voice matters”, “why you need to have a strong blogging voice”, etc. We hear it so much, the importance of what exactly your blog voice is, and why it matters, is lost.

But if you want more subscribers, having a voice is essential.

Janet Fouts quote

Brian Meeks quote

Liz Scherer quoteWhether it’s the way the blogger “speaks” to us, or the way they describe something in a way no-one else really does, that “voice” is an important piece of the reader-to-subscriber puzzle.

The Variables Proposition

Of course, if it were as easy as getting three things “right”, we’d all have tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of subscribers, whether by email or RSS, right?

But there will always be the variables – the subscribers who decided to make the jump after finding something to their liking that others may not have considered.

While not as clear-cut as style, originality and voice and how they sway a subscriber’s decision, these variables still play an important role in making a reader a subscriber.

Mila Araujo quote

Clay Morgan quote

Tinu quoteThe three quotes above are quite telling, in that you’d think they’d be so obvious that every blogger is already doing them. But you’d be surprised.

To Mila’s point, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve landed on a post, really enjoyed the content, and only found an RSS option to subscribe (I’m an email guy).

Or to Clay’s point, while you don’t need to be specific about one topic, do be specific about the content, its goals, and how it will help the reader once subscribed.

And to Tinu’s point – a quest for blogging greatness is impossible, no? After all, we can’t publish greatness every time, can we? Except we can – make every post something you’d want to subscribe to, and that will come over to your reader.

Make Them Want to Subscribe

I’ve shared 12 examples here of what my friends look for when deciding to subscribe to a blog. Each of the categories and reasons are valuable, and come from people who have been in the content “business” for years.

The great thing is, even with multiple viewpoints and decision-making methods, one thing is abundantly clear – you have to make your reader want to subscribe to your blog.

Content, voice, relationship, variables – individually, great reasons to subscribe. Integrate them, though, and you’ve pretty much covered any uncertainty over whether you’re a good subscription choice or not.

Mission accomplished.


This piece was originally published as “What Turns a Blog Reader Into a Blog Subscriber?” on Dannybrown.me

Danny-Brown-150x150Danny Brown co-authored Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find him on TwitterGoogle+LinkedIn.


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