Engagement: The Magic Ingredient You Need For Success Online Today

By Yaro Starak
50 Comments

Engaged Audience

I was blown away by the responses to my article on How To Remain Productive When You Feel Like Giving Up.

So far we have over 100 comments to the post, and these are real heartfelt comments too.

It seems a lot of you are sitting at home in silence, struggling with all kinds of internal turmoil, trying to make this whole Internet business and blogging thing work.

I realize it’s a challenge for everyone to keep on carrying on in the face of slow growth and little financial reward. We’ve all been there.

As human beings, most things in life worth achieving are difficult and slow to attain, but of course, that’s part of why we do it. If it was easy, then it wouldn’t have as much value. The same goes for building a great blog or a great business.

The Day I Knew I Would Make It

There’s one moment – one ingredient – I believe that is the only indication you need to know if your blog can be a success.

It’s not traffic or links. It’s not making your first affiliate sale, or signing up your first sponsor. It’s not about making your first dollar in any way.

See if you can guess the ingredient from my story…

One Very Important Email

The day I knew what I was doing with my blog was right and I would eventually have all things I wanted – like traffic and money – was the day I received an email from a person who had read my blog.

The email wasn’t anything unusual but it was critical proof that I had what it takes to be a success.

The email began by saying that they had read my blog from start to finish (or close to it). They had came across my blog via a link to one article and were compelled to keep reading. They dug through my archives and loved everything so much that they had to email me.

But that wasn’t it.

Not only did they spend a few hours just at my blog (how’s that for a bounce rate!) they also asked me a question. A serious question, not just “how do I make money” or “how do I set up a blog”. They spent the time to tell me a bit about themselves, explain what they were trying to do and felt that I was someone they could trust, that I knew how to do something they wanted to do and wanted my help.

That was all I needed to know that my blog would make it.

What Is The Magic Ingredient?

That email from one of my early readers demonstrated something to me that I believe is the number one ingredient for any successful blog.

I call it ENGAGEMENT.

Engagement means that people who read your blog are not only entertained and informed, they come away truly benefiting from your output. Their life has been enhanced in some way and they want more.

This is about more than just attention. This is prolonged focus leading to action. It’s not easy to cut through all the information on the web and grab attention and it’s even rarer for people to be so compelled that they take an action just as a result of reading your words.

But it goes even further than that.

Not only do you elicit an action, but that action is a cry for more. You’ve managed to convince this person through the content on your blog, that you are someone they can respect, who has authority about a topic and has done something that they want to emulate.

This is key, because it tells you that you have something of significant value. Value can be sold, it is the heart of a sustainable business, and while most bloggers give away everything for free, when you create engagement, you have all you need to establish a thriving online business – you just have to work your way there (and start selling something for more than free!).

Do Your Readers Ask You Questions?

One of my best Blog Mastermind students is Fran Kerr, who writes a blog on natural acne treatment and skin care.

High on Health - Natural Skin and Acne Treatment Blog

A few months ago she decided to buy a webcam and try video as a method for marketing her blog. She discovered that she loved doing video and has diligently pumped out great video content both to her blog and her YouTube channel ever since.

Fran knows a thing or two about her subject, having immersed herself in skin care and health for many years. As a result she has a huge store of knowledge in her head that she is slowly publishing to her blog and of course, helping many other acne sufferers along the way as a result.

Fran’s still quite new to the blogging game – she’s at about month 4 of taking it seriously – but I’m very confident she will succeed because she has the magic ingredient – engagement.

I know this is true for Fran because of something she recently told me. She said she was in a popular forum for her niche and someone referenced her and her blog as reputable sources of information about her topic. Not only that, but every day she receives emails and comments to her videos in YouTube asking for help and thanking her for her work. These are genuine comments filled with long background stories from her readers who look to her as an authoritative source of information.

This happened in just four months of consistent blogging and YouTubing.

As a good Blog Mastermind student, Fran is building an email list via her blog and has just about finished her first e-book she intends to sell. She has a membership site planned for this year too. All that stands between her and success is engaging more people, and she can do this just by continuing to blog and produce video. It’s a matter of time for her.

Do You Have Engagement?

While traffic is obviously an important metric, I would suggest looking at the level of engagement you have with your audience as a better assessment of success. This is especially true for people just getting started because your traffic numbers won’t be that impressive, however if you have just 10 people who have thoroughly engaged with your work, then you know the key ingredient is there – you just need more exposure to engage a larger audience.

The great thing about engagement is that it is a powerful force for viral events and word of mouth. People who are engaged with your work remember you, they talk about you and refer others to you if the subject matter comes up in day-to-day life. You become part of their consciousness in relation to a certain topic and when that topic arises, you are a common reference point.

Engagement is also a good indication of potential profitability, because only people who are engaged with your offer will make a purchase. We know people buy from other people they trust, respect and consider reputable. Engagement is all these things and thus the perfect environment for a sale.

Getting traffic is easy enough, but engaging with people requires you deliver something of real substance. It’s much better to have 100 people engaged with your blog than 1,000 casual readers who may read your words every day but don’t truly listen to what you say. This of course hearkens back to the discussion of quality versus quantity when it comes to readership, especially in business and marketing terms – and we all know quality wins.

How To Assess Engagement

If there is one drawback with engagement it is the difficulty you may have assessing its presence. For some people they just know when it is there and are very familiar with how to elicit it in others. It’s very much an intuitive thing that people with experience, who understand communication and social dynamics, come to know well.

Jeff WalkerA good example is Jeff Walker and the subject of Internet product launches. Jeff has been involved in so many of them he knows during a launch how well it is going to do long before the sales page goes live.

Jeff’s accumulated breadth of experience gives him an intuitive understanding and a feel for the rhythm and flow of a good launch. He knows what to look for, what’s working and what needs to be adjusted on the fly. It’s a very organic process for him.

As bloggers and Internet marketers we do have some practical signs to look out for that indicate engagement, such as -

  1. The number and quality of comments left to a blog post, video, podcast or any content.
  2. Any emails sent in response to a blog post or email newsletter broadcast.
  3. People trackbacking your blog posts, referencing you in forums or any publication.
  4. Responses to a survey request.
  5. Testimonials sent to you without asking for them.
  6. People asking you very specific questions that are more than one-line long (this can be in person).
  7. Purchases made upon recommendation of an affiliate product or the sale of your own product.

It’s important that you don’t look just at raw numbers when it comes to engagement. The way a person interacts with you, the language they use and the respect they demonstrate, indicates engagement.

It’s not about having ten comments made to every blog post you publish that are nothing more than one-liners, or paragraphs that talk about their projects as badly disguised attempts to generate a backlink to their own website. A better outcome is a handful of comments that offer in-depth feedback or additional ideas that come only from truly engaging with your words. This demonstrates your readers awareness has risen thanks to your content.

With Engagement Comes Opportunity

Bloggers, or any person who plans to become an information marketer (that’s anyone who wants to make money selling information), who manage to foster engagement with enough people, have a platform for a very profitable business. A small tribe of followers is enough to make you wealthy.

Watching the presentation
An engaged audience is a great platform for selling

The natural progression is to start a website or blog, deliver value, add an email list and deliver more value, establish engagement and then start leveraging that engagement for money. You do this via furthering the established relationship of benefit between you and your readers and profiting by selling them something (well duh!).

Affiliate marketing is one way to make money from the attention you have from your audience, as is direct advertising revenue from sponsors, but in this case rather than furthering your relationship with your engaged readers, you use your influence to introduce them to others. There’s nothing wrong with that of course – I do it all the time here with this blog and it can be very lucrative – but most people realize the real dollars are made when you have your own products because you keep your customers and build to an even higher level of engagement as a result.

Selling your own product to an engaged audience is THE recipe for financial success on the Internet today, in my humble opinion. I didn’t truly understand this until I started selling my own products – and this was AFTER creating engagement. In fact, I believe I wasted a lot of the early effort I put in by following a model that wasn’t sustainable and certainly didn’t really leverage my efforts at building an audience who loved what I did.

To put it simply, I had people who wanted more from me but I never made the offer of more. As they say – I left money on the table – and I’m still doing this today, though I’m working on creating additional products to rectify the situation.

Hopefully you are planning a way to leverage the engagement you foster that goes beyond just AdSense Ads. I expect if you are, you intend to release a product (or products) of your own so you have something to offer people who want more from you and of course, so you can create a real – and profitable – Internet business.

Engagement On Steroids

I realized last week while thinking about Product Launch Formula, that Jeff Walker’s system – and good marketing in general – is an attempt to create engagement at warp-speed.

A product launch is designed to create excitement and buzz, and at it’s core, is a system implemented to elicit a very high level of engagement, in a short period of time.

You deliver powerful content using powerful language and mediums of communication, demonstrate preeminence and then open the doors to a paid product for people who want more – and you do it all in the space of a few weeks!

This has proven to be a successful formula again and again, in hundreds of niches, and it’s used every day by big companies too. One such example that I read recently from Andy Jenkins of StompetNet fame, was about a non-Internet product that nearly everyone buys at least once a month – a ticket to the movies.

People at the movies
A seriously engaged audience at the movies

The movie industry relies on product launch tactics each time they release a film, using excitement, teasers and big name movie stars (credibility) as a way to engage an audience even before they see the movie.

Jeff’s application of the product launch principle in the Internet marketing industry was certainly not based on anything new, but he packaged it up into something he could stamp his authority on, and it’s served him well – to the tune of a million dollar business.

The Engagement Toolkit

In my opinion the best methods to build engagement online today are through blogging, and if you intend to release a product, the product launch formula. Obviously I’m biased since I’ve used these two tools myself and they have both made me thousands of dollars.

Of course it’s not just thanks to these tools – after all they are just made up of technology, tactics and strategies – it’s because of my own experience, skills, willpower and dedication to a purpose (plus a little unique Yaro magic) that I was able to leverage these tools, but without them as a framework, I’d be less than what I am today.

There’s no guarantee of success even with the best tools, the top strategies and a good work ethic, but provided you leverage something unique about you and apply what has proven to work in your unique situation, the results will come.

If nothing else, stick to what is currently working for you and do more of it. If you haven’t found ways to engage your audience, then keep testing new methods and when something works, keep doing it.

That’s all most bloggers and Internet marketers do: We follow the advice and example of those we want to emulate and keep testing until something works for us too.

If you are true to your motivation and cause, engagement will come, it’s the natural result when humans interact with other humans in an authentic way.

Yaro Starak
Engaging

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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50 Comments

  • Hi Yaro! You’ve articulated something essential about the business of blogging. Engagement is a great way to say it. In my first video, for Darren’s mashup, I poured myself into creating engagement, and as you can see, I am grateful to you, Brian and Darren for engaging me!! As your student in the Mastermind series, I find that your teaching style keeps me engaged, and that translates directly out to my own content. Here’s the video link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wJIetAoQII
    Suzanna

  • Another great post Yaro! I’ve been writing an ezine for a few years and engaging with my readers through that. However, now I’m blogging as well, I hope to reach and engage even more, if only through the follow-up comments because it’s easy to do.

    Also, thanks for the reminder to have my own products ready to sell!

  • Great post once again Yaro. I have been blogging for about a year now with around one post per month average. The comments I get are more regular to my hubpages hubs than to my blog…….”Love is one of the best medicine of anything else. Before, i have a very strong fear and shame. Eversince i started studying because of the condition of my skin. But now this conditon of my skin the one brought me a goodluck of my life. I am so thankful for the Fruitfull Love i have now. I mean I found a man who love me for what I am. Gave me a brand new life and taught me how to love myself…….” This is one of the comments I received recently which was not trying for a backlink. The woman is not asking for help or more information, but I think my post has struck some emotional chord. Think I should stop thinking of niche blogs and making money and start “engagement.” Thank you once again.

  • well..actually i’m thinking… in terms of engagement..or rather, the level of engagement, does it mean that it’s the same for all kinds of niches?

    or rather, due to the fact that blogs are social animals, people are bound to interact and engage with your “broadcast” to the world?

  • Thanks for this article Yaro, that is so true! It really is the most exciting moment when someone emails you personally and opens up. It’s a real confidence boost (as a reference to your previous article) – the potential for success is an added bonus.

  • Engagement is a tough one to muster up. I have found that sometimes, this occurs on forums, away from your blog/main website. People will set up long and in depth discussions about your offerings. This is not ideal as it gives you less power over it, but it can also attract a new audience.

    My aims for this year are about building up my list and level of engagement before releasing a product around xmas time.

  • Hi Yaro,

    Kudos on two amazing posts.

    With the avalanche of information online, it’s tough sometimes to keep your focus which results in engagement.

    It requires first having a strategic plan, a game plan for who you’re really trying to engage, what information and relationship are they looking for, what problems are they trying to solve.

    I find I must constantly picture and imagine my “perfectly engaged visitor”… that individual who lands on my blog, spends hours gobbling up the information, and feels so excited they send me an email telling me how much it’s exactly what they’ve been looking for all over the Internet.

    Thanks for sharing your “engagement email”.

    It helps picturing this visitor much easier.

    Determine your unique strengths + understand your readers problems and desires + add focused effort and work= Engagement

    Walt

  • Hi Yaro,

    Wonderful follow-up to your previous post!
    Once again, thank you for the great content and information, which I feel most of us need to listen to.
    Now, on to creating my own engagements! I have had some small results from my own readers, so I know that for me, I need to polish what I write, make it more engaging, and then put it on “steroids”, so to speak.

    Best,
    Paul

  • Really excellent post Yaro! Really thought provoking.
    I also aim to build up my list and hopefully score an engagement by August and be able to create my own product.

  • Yaro, your article has given me enlightment. Keep up the great work!

  • Great article Yaro, I expect nothing less! And that’s the point isn’t it. I found your blog when I needed help with my blogging and became engaged with the amount of information you shared. I waited for Blog Mastermind to come out and found it invaluable for my blogging.

    Keep it coming!

  • Yes Yaro I have to agree that the first comment is inspiration and your previous post about being down was great too. It’s all most like you are a mind reader. You emailed it to me right on one of my worst down days in my blogging career.

    Thanks Much Yaro!

    Charles

  • Yaro, good point here.

    Your content separated the wheat from the chaff and once engaged, that person becomes someone you “reached”, and that is when you know you have good content.

    Good job.

    Dan
    http://danielmcgonagle.name

  • Hello, Yaro!

    Thank you for this insightful post! I also wanted to add that driving engagement is a key success strategy in all areas of life: school, work, home, relationships, and business (regardless of industry). When you have established “connection” that’s when things get done and the magic can happen. So many people miss this… thanks for sharing and getting them to think about it.

    Linda M. Lopeke
    http://www.smartstartcoach.com
    Success-to-go for people working @ the speed of life!

  • You hit the nail on the head. You, this one idea, engagement, is the one idea I’ve been really needing. My blog is going, but GOING is what I want. Now I get it. Thanks, Yaro….

  • Mayra

    Yaro,

    I really enjoy your style of writing, your articles come off as fresh, realistic, and honest. I hope to hear more from you and wish you the best.
    Dont’ give up!

  • The last two posts have been great Yaro, I have really enjoyed them. This idea of Engagement is one thing that people can focus on when they are having one of those days where motivation and vision have gone on holiday (and left you in the office.)

    I think that you have articulated the key to converting blog readers to sales, you have to leave them wanting more, to get their money out of their wallets and say “what more have you got?”

  • I totally agree Engagement of the reader of the blog and the more interaction between the reader of the blog and the reader the best.

    Ray Johnson

  • hey Yaro

    WOW, I actually read your whole article. I don’t do that often. Truly thought provoking content. I’m hooked! Keep it coming!

  • lol, I almost spam blocked this blog post in my email because I read it as “Enlargement: The Magic Ingredient You Need…”

  • Yaro,

    You’re having a killer week so far! Truly helpful stuff. I’m going to print these last two posts for future reference.

    While this post is a good source of inspiration for dedicated bloggers, I think it’s a good reality check for some as well. I often hear advice given to new bloggers like “You don’t have to be that good of a writer to be successful blogging”. IMO, you have to be an engaging blogger (at least to your target audience) to achieve top results.

    I think back to my various teachers. I learned the most from the teachers that were charismatic and interesting. I remember sleeping through my high school History courses. They never held my interest.

    Then, in college, I had a professor who was fun and engaging. I not only did well academically in her class, I learned a great deal as well. I actually grew to love history as a result of her engaging personality.

    You have it, Darren has it, Tim Ferris has it, the rest of us hope we have it.

    Keep up the great work Yaro.

    Kevin Givens

    ————————————————

    LOL @

  • I’ve read through alot of your posts on entrepreneurship and business and there excellent, keep up the good work!

  • Ayn Elise

    Yaro-

    The last two posts have been fantastic. I would like to add here, a way that I see engagement. I actually see it as at least a 2-step process.
    First, someone has to find some kind of connection; to what they have read, maybe, on some level to what they perceive they feel they know of the author, or maybe the need they were looking to fufull. That need being iformation, help, knowledge, etc. I feel that they have to connect, first and foremost. However, if that connection doesn’t run deep enough, or over time, deepen to point that reflects within them, that person may only be engaged for a period of time. If that connection contines to unfold, then the person has moved fully in to the second stage, and are in what I’ll loosely say is ” full-blown engagement”.
    To put a short illustration to this; say I read the last two posts, and today I was compelled via my connections to those two posts to write this comment. However, I have not yet moved far enough into that process to comment on a more regular basis. Just an example. You are here, I borrowed you for the example.
    Thank for the opportunity to speak for a moment on how I see the process.

  • Yaro -

    Yet, another great post! Engagement is very important and not many are even touching on that topic.

    Thanks!
    Maria Reyes-McDavis

  • You keep me blogging yaro..!
    your post always good quality log article with detail.good job

  • Great article. The more one engages with their readers, the more the readers feels a sense of connection and affinity.

    Btw, I absolutely love your new sight makeover!

  • Hi Yaro,

    Love your site redesign – Nice!! Your Blog Profits Blueprint pdf is still the best. Now I’ll read the post. I was just excited to see your redesign. :)

    Bill

  • Yaro, you hit it pretty close to the mark.

    Beyond putting out good content, it needs to be focused enough to garner that engagement you refer to.

    Past that point it’s the ability to engage that not only makes you a player but creates the higher barriers to entry in your niche.

    best regards….

  • Great article Yaro, engagement is much more than just putting out content.

  • Another great and engaging article Yaro.

    And the new site design is terrific. I can see some of the bugs you’re still dealing with but the overall vibe is excellent.

  • ENGAGEMENT – can only be the perfect title for this post! Great post!

  • Maree Harris

    Yaro, sometimes we all need someone to say the obvious before we click. You’ve done it here. I have always been a committed networker off line and had a strong belief in its importance in getting myself known, liked and trusted so that people would do business with me. What you are talking about here is about doing that online. I have a blog but it is one part of my business startegy and I haven’t given it the attention it deserves. I’ve been inspired by your article on engagement to translate my offline networking (which is a way of life for me) into my blog and start “networking” better online.

  • Thanks. I couldn’t stop reading all the way to the end. And I agree with the testing of formulas until we find what works. That’s my personal formula for everything in life. I haven’t hit gold yet, but hey, what else is there to do in life except to continually self develop? Thanks again. This is extremely refreshing.

    Fara – http://www.pickmeuptoday.com

  • Well I would of probably sent you the exact same email. I dont think I have the level of engagement I like but it is probably because I am not spending enough time in writing my articles. I dont think i write witha good personal voice either but i think with mre experience and a few more good articles from you :) i will get there.

  • Great post! Personal engagement is the key to build a stable readership which really drive a return traffics. I think I not really drive a good engagement because of the content which is not focus and interesting enough for people to engage with me if it is a personal blog. However, a blog that show the you are the expert in that field will really help.

  • I keep thinking that video helps engage your readers a lot more. This is one area that I haven’t ventured into yet and it’s time to take the plunge. When your readers see you, know aht you look like and can hear your voice, they will make a much larger connection with you. I’m convincing myself here.

  • Yaro,

    Engagement – easy to discern, hard to achieve… LOL

    I conclude – blog is about content, and you have to either have a great topic to engage visitors or have a great writing skills that convert boring topics into a press release-like engagement.

    I guess you have those two, Yaro – that what’s separate probloggers to the rest of us :P – Need to learn a lot out of your blog posts.

    Cheers!

    Ivanpw
    http://www.noobpreneur.com – resources for entrepreneur
    http://www.englishfair.com – bidding web directory

  • Hi Yaro
    I have just downloaded your internet business package.I like the way you lay things out and there is a good feel to the overall message.I have read many pieces over the last few years but yours came around just as I have decided to at last go out there and start my own site.My passion is photography and my intention is to create a business out of somthing I love to do.You stated that so simply and it makes so much sense.My site is under-construction at the moment but your advice has made me realise that I can do one step at a time and tweak it as I go along and learn more and more at a pace which I can sustain and which suits me.It would be nice to see my dream come true.I will keep in touch.
    Kindest Regards
    Joe Lahart

  • [...] Starak presents Engagement: The Magic Ingredient You Need For Success Online Today posted at Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro [...]

  • You hit the nail on the head. Engagement, is the one idea I’ve been really needing that I’ve been missing lately. My blog is going, but going is what I want. Now I get it. Thanks, Yaro!
    -Jeff

  • Yaro – Thanks for another great article. I am actually working through some of your archives, as you may have noticed from my comments.

    My main blog has 800+ email feed readers (I call it the email newsletter and write for a non technical audience) and strong growth in pageviews.

    But I get very little engagement from my readers. I am worried that I have too many ads for my audience, but it could be they are just people who don’t engage much on blogs because they are non-technical people.

    The top 10 traffic generating posts all do well in the SERP, but they are basically resource pages designed to get people to other websites that have the info they are looking for.

  • I agree with this reflection of keeping the trust of subscribers first and then transact a business with them. It seems like a friendly negotiation between you.

  • Excellent use of internal linking got me here. I recall reading the “remain productive when feeling like giving up” article when it came out, too.

  • really enjoyed this post. Just recently discovered your site and been reading a bunch of posts. thanks

  • I completely agree about the importance of engagement in a blog, as much as we’re trying to come across as authorities, we also want to come across as people to whom our readers can relate and speak..
    I run (among others) a small music and subculture blog, it doesn’t have a huge amount of traffic, and doesn’t exist for business purposes (though growing the way it is, I might turn it towards that) but people keep coming back, keep getting involved simply because of the interaction between myself and them, they ask for advice, or my opinion, etc, and I help as best I can.

  • [...] Yaro Starak – Engagement – The magic ingredient you need for success online today – Yaro is one of my blogging heroes and has some fantastic articles on the business of blogging. This article is all about engaging with your readers and the relationship you have with them, for me it is one of the articles that can change the way you blog for good. [...]

  • GReat post!! This idea of Engagement is one thing that people can focus on when they are having one of those days where motivation and vision have gone on holiday (and left you in the office.)lol

  • This is really a coincident that I was figuring out the different way of online earning and was comparing all of them , right from Adsense, Email Marketing, Selling Space, PPC and PPL, Affiliate Marketing, Creating own products.

    This post just concreted my thoughts and comparison. Appreciating post ( I know other has already done this and u r habituated of) TC

  • […] other words, I was damaging the engagement I have with the majority of my newsletter subscribers just to reach a few hundred more people who […]

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