5 Transparent Integrity Strategies For Your Blog That Your Readers Will Love


I just finished unsubscribing from a bunch of email lists this morning. Some of them were lists of people who are pretty highly regarded online. You’d know the names if I typed them.

Why did I do that? Honestly, I’m just tired of the constant, hokey, salesy, automated messages. “Gary – Join me for my new ‘how to get everything you ever wanted out of life’ FREE webinar.” Yeah. No thanks.

The automation and insincerity can get a bit much for me. I don’t intentionally block off time to go online and use machines to talk to machines. I like to go online and use machines to connect with real people. I suppose it’s a matter of perspective.

I’m going to share with you five big-time Transparent Integrity Strategies that your readers will love. I have used them successfully, and the blogs that I follow blindly use most of them as well. Try them out. You’ll notice a difference…and I guarantee your readers will notice.

1. Show That You’re Real

Most bloggers present themselves as infallible experts. Constantly asserting and reiterating your expertise gets old – and raises suspicion that maybe you’re compensating for something. How about showing some vulnerability? Write about an important lesson you learned one time by really screwing the pooch. Drop in a relevant detail here and there about your family or your personal life. Don’t overdo it, but show that you’re a real, imperfect person with a real, imperfect life. Show that while you may be an authority figure, you make mistakes just like everyone else. Here’s a post about my imperfect life. It’s one of the most popular ones I’ve written to date.

2. Thank Your New Social Media Followers Personally – Not Just Automatically

People are smart. They know what an automated message looks like. When you get a new follower on any social network, take the time to thank each person with a hand-typed message. Be very cautious with automated messages because they can come off as slimy. Sure, typing a personal message takes longer – but it’s a great way to build relationships and capture loyal readers who share your content with others.


3. When Someone Subscribes to Your Email List Send Them A Personal Email

Yes, I know that you spent a lot of time on your autoresponder welcome email series – and I’m sure it’s awesome. But again…we all know what an autorepsonder email looks like. We don’t mind getting them, but we appreciate personal attention much, much more.

When you see a new subscriber, type a few sentences to them by hand like, “Hey Bill! This isn’t an automated message – I just saw a notification hit my inbox that you subscribed and I wanted to personally say thanks. I don’t give my email address to just anyone, and I assume you don’t either, so I appreciate that very much.”

Then you can go into asking questions about them, about their impressions of your site or whatever you want. The point is that you will make a much bigger statement and make a much better impression by taking a few minutes to write a short, personal note.

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4. When Appropriate – Mention Your Readers In Your Content

If you can make a point that’s relevant to your topic and use one of your own readers as an example, do it. Not only does it make that individual reader feel good, but it broadcasts to everyone that your blog is a tight-knit community.


5. Research And Engage Your Readers

Not STALK your readers…this is crucial…just research. I don’t mean find out where they live on Google Maps or check their credit scores or anything like that. What I mean is that most people have some sort of online presence – and most have a web site.

Spend some time on their Twitter or Facebook pages and go read their site if they have one. Shoot them an email about things you see there that you like. Ask questions about those things. I have built some great relationships and picked up a few tips for my own blog by engaging my readers via email.

The point of all these moves is to treat your readers as more than just an open wallet. Sure, sell ebooks, or coaching, or training – or whatever it is that you sell. But the number one thing you should be selling is you. Strong relationships are the key in any business. Not only is it better for your business, but you’ll make some amazing contact with some amazing people along the way.


What about you?
How do you engage your readers on a personal level?
What impersonal online stuff drives you crazy?
What other personal touches have you seen that you’d like to share?

About Gary Korisko

Gary is a battle-tested sales and marketing pro, copywriter, coach, and business strategist who teaches how to create worthwhile work on Reboot Authentic. Connect with Gary on Google+ and Twitter.

12 Replies

  1. Gary, I hope you are right about this. All too often, I’m beginning to think that the successful folks are the ones who create the appearance of being larger than life, crazy successful, which then actually creates that success. I mean, just look on TV, where people buy a belt and some cream that they think will make their stomachs go away without doing any work– people are attracted to the fantasy of success. Plus, notice that the “A listers” all interview each other, link to each other, and create social proof for one another. Anyhow, another excellent post.

    1. Thanks, Mike.

      I can’t disagree with any of your comments.

      But I wasn’t so much making a comment about breaking into that group as I was making a statement about what I feel is the right way to engage an audience for long-term success. Not just an audience on a blog – but also in business and in life in general.
      There will always be those who are gullible enough to fall for get (rich/thin/happy) quick claims. Let me ask you this though. Those people who buy that belt you mentioned in your comment…Will they get the results they want? When they don’t, do you think they’ll still like that company who lied to them and took their money? And do you think they’ll be in a hurry to send that company more money?
      I guess I’m saying selling one thing to someone once is not a success. Having people come back to you time and time again because you’re real and you’ve proven yourself is success. Great relationships that last take time. Those are the kind I want here. And that’s what the 5 tips are about.
      In my career I’ve seen businesses supposedly succeed wildly…and very visibly…for a while…only to go *poof* later. Shoot for the long haul, my friend.
      Remember that most of the “A-Listers” have been doing this for what? Two, three, four years? Hardly what I’d call longevity. Time will tell…as it always does.
      Thanks for commenting, Mike!

      1. Clearly they won’t get the results they want, but how many people who follow to the letter the established leaders in the online space get what they want either? I’m just thinking out loud here, but how many commenters on “A list” sites are commenting because they are engaged vs. commenting in a way to try to get noticed? That really isn’t a relationship. Are the comments there the equivalent of throngs of people standing outside to catch a glimpse of a celebrity?

        Everything that you say in this post is spot on and I know you are earnest about what you say. I’m just trying to deconstruct some of the larger successes I’ve seen online and in some ways once you peel back the onion, there just isn’t much there– in many cases, the money is made by selling the fact that you’ve made money, primarily through the selling the fact you’ve made money. It’s the Carleton Sheets phenomenon in the internet space.

        If anything, I’m trying to establish exactly the thing you describe here– why else would I post an income report each month that shows me making $30? Again, great post that once again made me think!

        1. I hear you – and I agree.

          Let’s see what real time-testing does on some of these supposed successes. There are a few who really provide awesome value who I just love. I’m sure they’ll be successful no matter what they choose to do.

          Then there are the others…the clones if you will! You’re right that there is a weird “follow the crowd” thing going on. There’s for sure a lot of commenting to be noticed instead of commenting to engage.

          So…thanks for engaging! Hopefully as my audience grows here, it continues to grow as it has so far – with real, engaging thinkers. So far so good here. I love the group who has found me here.

          Always a pleasure, Mike! 🙂

  2. Gary, this is why I love your blog. You are so REAL, and that is so damn refreshing.
    You actually use these strategies you talk about – and it shows. But for me, they don’t feel like “blog growth strategies” – they feel like being a real, caring, connected human being. That’s what I like about it. The blogosphere is full of tips and tricks, but I know I can always find realness (for fear of saying authenticity 😉 ) here.
    It’s taken me a year to realize this, but I was only half-in with my blog. I’ve been half following their rules, half trying to be myself, and it nearly made me quit. I think this list is a great resource to help me step into it my way, 100% (in addition to the blog re-design, watch out!). It shouldn’t be a numbers game – it should be about real human connection. Thanks for the reminder, Gary. =)

    1. Wow. Thanks for all the kind words, Kaylee.

      I’m approaching this project the way I’ve approached my sales career over the last 20 years: At the end of the day, it is a numbers game…but not JUST a numbers game. You need strong relationships, great products, and great service. If you have that then the numbers seem to work out eventually.

      Plus..engaged people tend to stick with you for the long haul. I’m betting this works in blogging, too. Time will tell, right?

      Great to hear from you & can’t wait to see all the changes you’re working on!

  3. Hi Gary, this is so on the nail and gave my a little kick in places too- one I would like to add is own your own voice/style of writing, I have noticed that with all the content out there the language can become all very similar – like any clicky group..of course this one you demonstrate with flair 😉

    1. Thanks Joanna & it’s great to see you back here!

      Totally agree about not becoming…well…a clone 🙂 with your writing. Thanks for adding that!

  4. IncredibleZen

    Thanks – there’s a couple of things I need to do on that list (personal emails and social media thanks) that I don’t yet do, so I will be adding them to my daily actions. The one that inspired me in this list though is No. 4 – I often get insightful comments on my posts, and it is a fantastic idea to actually write a blog post inspired by a reader’s comment.

    One thing that really bought a grin to my face was a term in your first strategy, to write about ‘screwing the pooch’ – you do know that translated to British English this means ‘having sex with a dog’, don’t you? 😉

    1. Thanks for the comment and sorry it took so long to reply. Not sure how this one got past me.

      And yes, I’m familiar with the literal translation of ‘screw the pooch’ but it’s also a saying that means to make a huge error. Rest assured I’m not promoting human-canine cross-breeding! 🙂

      Thanks again for commenting & hope you visit again ion!

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