5 Musts for Maximum Reader Engagement


With all of the talk about platform and it’s importance as an author, I’d like to suggest that more important than platform, is reader engagement. While I agree we need to spend some time and energy building a “voice,” I think it’s also incredibly important to engage the reader and build relationship with them.

In todays frantic, social-media world consumers are sending a clear message—“If you give me what I need (honesty, respect, affinity, and trust), I will give you what you desire from me (my loyal support).” People hunger for basic human values and many have unmet needs. Unfortunately many are not experiencing or receiving help in their day-to-day lives. They don’t need to be shouted at; they need to feel trusted and engaged.

There are five musts I feel we as authors and publishers need to understand as we seek reader engagement:

They want access. They are saying, “give me a solution; help me out of my bind. Help me feel like we’re connected (identification, affinity).”

They want experience. They want authors to establish intimacy with them by giving them or doing something no one else can do.

They want to trust. They don’t have time or energy to go looking for answers to their need. They want someone they can trust completely to provide it for them.

They want remarkable content. They are saying, “Inspire me with an assortment of great products with insights, plots and answers to my needs.” They will not remain engaged with a steady diet of what they already know about.

They want to be served. They want content and product customized to their needs. They want to receive it how they want to receive it—text, social media, email, YouTube, and sometimes, all of the above.

Should you work on your platform? Absolutely as you can, but don’t forsake building the highest level of engagement with your readers that you can build. As a friend of mine said the other day, “I’d rather have four quarters then 100 pennies.” True engagement is not about numbers or shouting your message. True engagement is inspiring someone to join you in the journey. It’s giving them access, experience, trust, remarkable content and serving them, from their perspective.

Wayne Hastings is a publishing and author consultant as well as an author of several books. His latest, The Way Back From Loss is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.


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