20 Ways To Build Blog Community

Creative Commons License: Dr. Kelly Page

This blog, Soulati-’TUDE!, has the most amazing community, evah. Not lying; it’s vibrant, insightful, buoyant, supportive, accustomed to a good blog-jack, and full of ‘raderie. I love this community, and it wasn’t built overnight.

I’ve been “accused?” of being an excellent community builder; I cannot lie, I had no idea what that meant when someone shared that with me the first time. So I started to pay attention, and here are my tips on how to make your blog community blossom:

20 Tips to Build Blog Community 

1. Engage with a commenter! So often when I hit a new blog and leave a comment, it’s crickets and I never go back.

2. Genuinely thank people for taking their time to come by and leave a thought. How many blogs are there now? A couple million? Good grief.

3. Be exceptionally welcoming (not drippy) to newcomers. You know who they are! It’s so cool when someone new stops in; thank them.

4. People’s time is so valuable; you have to respect those who stop in…until you get to know them, and then you can become more personable.

5. Mix up your topics. I did a test that Ralph Dopping was aware of…I wrote a post that was purely about public relations and he was the only one who commented. We deduced the post was not general enough and didn’t appeal to a wide audience.  A general topic promotes more engagement; people feel more comfortable participating because the topic isn’t over someone’s head.

6. Do what I just did…take more time to go to someone’s blog and grab their latest blog post and insert it as a hyperlink in your post. When you do that, I’m getting a pingback, and I know automatically I’m coming over to say thank you.

7. Don’t just put a Twitter ID in your blog post when you mention someone because they are totally unaware they’re being called out.

8. Send a note on Twitter to the folks you really want to read your post; ask them/invite them to your blog. Kaarina Dillabough is perfect at this practice when she guest post; she’ll send me a note and I try to get there as often as I can to support her. She also informs me when I’m tagged in an article.

9. In comments, ask another question like Shakirah Dawud does. She’ll comment on your comment and then pose a question back to bring you back. Smart commenting.

10. Join Triberr. Can’t say enough about Triberr. You may think you don’t need it, but every blogger needs Triberr. I’ve written about this too many times to go on a Triberr tirade here; just trust me on this one.

11. Your comportment says so much about the community you’re trying to build…are you personable, laughing, flirtatious, serious, professional, funny, witty, open-minded, welcoming, consistent, paying attention? (Yes, blog communities demand all of that and more.)

12. Do you comment and return that favor on others’ blogs? I believe that commenting IS quid pro quo…you comment at my house, so I better show up at yours. What do you know about that? I’ve done some experimenting and have deduced it’s true. Commenting on others’ blogs definitely leads to community building.

13. I have often wanted a roll-call menu so I can tick off my name to say I visited; sometimes I don’t want to leave a comment, but I want the blog owner to know I stopped in. So, when you stop in and don’t leave a comment, think of something anyway and do let the blogger know you’ve come over…it’s like a courtesy. Commenting is not ding-dong-ditch!

14. Make a point of remembering peoples’ writings and recall that in comments.  I cannot stress this enough. When you engage in comments and recall a post about someone recently wrote, then that visitor is impressed because you’ve made a point to make them feel special.

15. Ask for help, opinions, insight and expertise. No blogger knows it all; your community is a resource for you. When you ask for that knowledge, then you can build on it in a new post.

16. Reward your community with lists. Wait! Don’t yell at me…apparently, people hate lists that are link bait. I get that, but I don’t adhere to that practice. I do do lists and I do them infrequently; yet, when you see one here, it’s the real deal, written from the heart.

17. Help a newbie! When you see someone in your community struggling to get readers, commenters or topics, take them under your wing and try to help. Ask them to write a guest post for you, single them out in comments, use commenting systems that enable you to tag someone so they stop in…there are many ways to keep a community growing, and these are mine.

18. Add Comment-Luv or Lifefyre or another commenting system that allows commenters blog posts to be visible when leaving a comment. It’s a courtesy for visitors, and I love it because I can see what others are writing and jump there with one click.

19. Blog! You have to blog consistently to build community; no kidding. If you post once per week or less, or your blog has fallen off for more than a three-week hiatus, you’ll find your community disappearing or never growing. The consistency of posting is the secret sauce.

20. I’m done…no more tips! What’s your 20?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind Every Blog Is A Person

Yesterday, I permitted my fears (unfounded or not) to come directly to these pages for all the world to see. I asked for a hug, and you came out in my support. You also came out to whoop me upside the head and say “snap out of it already.”

Yes, I needed that and thank you.  I also needed to be a person, a human with fears and emotions, and needs. I needed to know if there was comfort in my future or uncertainty? I needed to vent the unsettledness that ruled me yesterday and the days prior to clear the way for the get-up-and-go ‘tude you all have come to expect from me.

Did you read The Jack B today? I just did before I sat down to crank out this post. He’s certainly sharing some thoughtful, personal, frightening, raw thoughts because he is a person behind his blog — real, fighting for his family’s future and his own.

We learned of the passing of someone’s child via a blog post recently, and this threw everyone into a tailspin. We heard of another losing his job with four children at home, and that provoked support and encouragement. We learned that a Twitter pal had found love and employment, and that has put him on a path of happiness.

You see, each of us has to be human at some point or another. Without that kind of persona occasionally peeking through, a blog would be merely mechanical and cold.

I want to say that your comments from yesterday’s post assured me we’re all in this together, regardless of whether we live in Costa Rica, Canada or Sweden. When someone is going through a rough spot, and seeks a bit of acknowledgment that it’s all going to be okay, a community becomes more than family. It becomes a hug.

So, while I allowed myself to show a bit of unusual behavior recently (stemming from a financial decision I made that has me fearful and positive), you saw a human behind this blog.

Thank you, kind family.

Blogging For Community Or Clients?

By Jayme Soulati, Chicago River, Wendella Boat

It’s summer, and I prefer a laissez-faire approach to blogging that matches my inability to be super productive because, as all of you know, I’m a #MomInSummer with no help.

What that means is the writing of pretty easy blog posts suitable for my community which get everyone thinking (none too hard) and generate a bunch of comments. In addition, I’m not doing too much hard work to add proof points and evidence that my opinion matters as evidenced by big data or research.

Is this a problem?

When I look at the really established bloggers with hundreds of tweets for each post (and often very few comments), it gives me pause. Should I be writing heavier content to impress would-be clients to show I know my stuff in business-to-business social media marketing with public relations? (Had to stuff that key word phrase in somewhere, didn’t I?)

Or, can I go ahead and offer up thinkable topics that align in and around the community while being accessible and sharing ‘raderie that I so love to do? There are times when I am hit in the face with hard business topics, and these require a different approach to writing; that’s when the smarts really show up, and it gets peeps thinking or running away. Comments become fewer, but traffic is there. People don’t often find the need to say anything because, well, I don’t know the because…this has often baffled me…the posts that say a lot about nothing; the bare-your-soul posts; the I-have-a-problem-and-maybe-you-can-help-me posts; the simple-non-thinking-fill-space-posts; seem to ALWAYS get the most comments.

Why?

What does that say about communities? Would people rather alight on a topic that’s airy and fluffy or get fodder that contributes to business topics?

In my thinking about this post, four heavy-hitting bloggers come to mind:

Heidi Cohen

Shelly Kramer

Adrienne Smith

Wonder of Tech

I love these four women who write the same all the time; hard-hitting news, tips, reviews, educational material, and more. I can count on them for good insight, and I can learn from them, too. Laura Click came over the other day and said she knew she was writing for clients and not her peers, and that’s why her comments from peers were fewer than when she launched her blog and engaged her peers more.

What that says to bloggers is a good lesson to heed.

If your blog is lackadaisical in approach, topic, content, goals, then take a look at these five women bloggers and look at their consistency of style. Are you writing for your community or your clients? Do you care?

Blogging Under A Rock

I hope these key words in this headline don’t draw more readers…no one wants to blog under a rock, least of all moi. But, that’s what I’m accusing myself of absolute – I’ve been oblivious to anything outside of my immediate purview – client billable work, drafting content for my blog and a few guest posts, too, and that’s about it.

Here’s what prompted this post (and Steve Farnsworth and Paul Roberts thought I was kidding):

On Friday afternoon Steve tweeted me this awesome PR33 Blogs List from Paul Roberts’s blog. I thought, cool, I need to see this; thanks, Steve. Lo, I read the list to find myself included, much to my utter amazement. (And, thus the over-the-top thank you in comments that likely included my embarrassment at being late to the party.)

You see, I had not previously met Paul Roberts (that I knew of; unless we had drinks one night, Paul?), and here he had amassed an incredibly influential list of PR bloggers with insightful comments about each. (Again, thanks, Paul.)

AND, I DIDN’T KNOW IT!

So, I’ve been blogging under a rock, and that rock has bashed my head. Here’s what I’m guilty of and will attempt to change:

Problem: I use Triberr religiously to comment on bloggers in my tribes, and rarely do I hit others’ blogs to extend my reach. (I still like Triberr, and we’ll address that topic another day.)

Change-Up: Form another tribe with new folks and interact with their writings as much as original tribes.

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Problem: I go to familiar blogs with familiar communities who frequently come to my house and return the comments in familiar ways.

Change-Up: Get out of your comfort zone, Jayme! This becomes too routine; change it up, Girl!

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Problem: I realize the labor intensivity of extending blog reach, and while I sometimes comment on new blogs, it’s often isolated and not consistent.

Change-Up: Quit your whining and add “subscribe to comments” on all those blogs to keep you engaged.

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Problem: I go where I’m invited;  if you ask me to come, I’m there.

Change-Up: That’s not a problem; just stop waiting for an invite – insert yourself on more occasions.

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Problem: I am failing at a consistent focus on Facebook community building, and now that Google has slammed all of us with forced participation, I’m worried how I’m going to manage enhancing all these channels.

Change-Up: Anyone got a solution to this one? I’m overwhelmed and want to go back under my rock.

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Problem: I’m a Twitter girl to a fault; I keep it open all day long, attempt to work the stream and open new conversations on occasion, yet my faves column is filled with just that – faves! Twitter is my first love, my first channel (even before a blog), and I won’t let go of it, but maybe a little less here and more elsewhere?

Change-Up: Hah. Yes, create a new column called “Tweeps To Know” and head in their direction each day.

What problems and change-ups might you include to ensure you’re not blogging under a rock?