How do you Create a Strong Fan Base?

By , February 15, 2010

I really want to know because it’s what makes the difference for success. When I become a fan, I stick with the object of my affinity, be it a movie, actor, artist or whatever. Needless to say I’m pretty picky about what I give my affections to.

Before I continue, I have to say that I am not in any way claiming to be the ultimate judge of what is good taste. I am however quite knowledgeable on what moves me. For example, one of my all-time favorite movies is The Mirror has Two Faces, starring Barbara Streisand, (who also directed the movie), Lauren Becall, Jeff Bridges, Brenda Vaccaro, and many other greats.

I have the same sticky response to businesses and blogs I enjoy and find useful. Consider that your audience is picky and they picked you. Do business, run your blogs from that position, and many things will fall into place.

A Life Long Dream

The New Orleans Saints winning Super Bowl XLIV was 43 years in the making. In my home, even during the Brown Bag seasons, my dad answered the phone “Saints Headquarters” and close with something like what can I do for you or how can I help you. Because of our parents, grooming, our fan status was fated to be 1. for the Saints before any other teams, and 2. never reduced to fair-weather brand.

Two ingredients in having a strong fan base.

  1. Presenting something that people will want, find useful or gain some sort of benefit from.
  2. You have to have the right audience, people who are receptive to the benefit you offer.

It’s a tall order to have fans when you offer a really sucky item. So when you offer crap and you have an unswerving fan base, then you really have a gift. It’s a good idea to work on giving something back.

In work, you probably don’t have the 43 years the New Orleans had to improve your offerings. So, you have to do some fast grooming, endearing yourself to your visitors early and consistently so they become part of your community. Be vigilant and be good at what you offer. You don’t have to be the best, but you do have to be willing to learn and to improve your offerings, to stay competitive.

Our Big Game Plan

Recently I took off to celebrate the Saints in the Super Bowl. And I had a great time in New Orleans for the Super Bowl. My mom rode with me. And we stayed in a hotel, even though New Orleans is home and we have friends and family there. It was very convenient to stay downtown and it paid off, since everywhere I needed to go was within walking distance.

The plan was to be home for the New Orleans Saints’ first trip to the Super Bowl. It was the best plan of action. I stood for the first half of the game, in Masquerade, an area of Harrah’s Casino. My family was spread out, and I was with strangers. Several people mentioned where they traveled from. One man stated that he was from New Jersey and didn’t want to be anywhere but home for this event. You see, he was born and raised in New Orleans.

One young man proclaimed to me that he was “…so happy to be home with New Orleans Saints fans for this game. I was born and raised here, but we live in Oakland. I didn’t want to be in Miami for this game. I wanted to be home. I’m so happy to be here!” I shared with him that we’d driven in from Houston for the game. Two of New Orleans most prominent Jazz musicians Terrance Blanchard and Branford Marsallis made the local news with a similar proclamation, as did other famous people. We were in this together.

The Personal Business

This is the fan base you want. Nothing fanatical, just the tried and true, through thick and thin audience. Create in your audience, friends who visit to see what’s going on with your work, your writing, with you. Even business blogs are somewhat personal. This is the place people visit to connect with a person of the company. Your voice matters and your life matters.

Comments

When people take the time to share their thoughts, especially when you have low comment numbers, be sure to take a moment to answer. Acknowledge that you appreciate their comment and their time.

The Good and the Bad

Recently, on another blog, I received a comment about my blog setup. It was the complaints of a person who decided that it was important to tell me of her sheer frustration about an admin choice I made. I deleted the comment because it offered nothing of value to my readers.

In another comment she left, she started with an offensive (though not profane) exclamation, and another reference to the setup of my blog. While I didn’t want to edit her comment fully, I didn’t want to have that exclamation on my post. I deleted “Well, crap” leaving the rest of the comment in tact. Then I replied to the rest of her comment.

It’s all in it. You’re not going to be loved by everyone, and a bad comment doesn’t mean that you’re not appreciated. Take it, learn from it, and grow in your ability to respond professionally.

A Caveat: Consider Email

For the Reader: While it is important to be honest about your experience on a blog, if you’re going to take the time to write something, try to be positive. Be useful. And if you simply must send a negative rant, especially if you think it will be helpful, look on the blog for an email address.

For the Writer: On my contact pages, I put email addresses for just such occasions. Make sure when you update your contact pages, you keep an email address posted. I noticed that mine was left off this last version, so I’m definitely adding it back. It lets people know that you’re interested in what they have to say, without forcing them to leave a comment when they’d prefer to send a more private email.

So, what do you think? How do you create a strong fan base? Do you provide your community an email address to reach you?

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