Everyone wants to build a community on their blog, but many sadly fail. Maybe they’re attracting the wrong readers, and maybe they’re simply too focused on me, me, me. There are many different variables, but we first need to look at the difference between an audience, and a community. An audience is a group of people who may follow you, and (hopefully) enjoy what you have to say. A community is a group of people that not only follow you, but they have a larger interest, and are your most dedicated supporters.
When it comes to blogging, you want dedicated supporters, not just window shoppers. With anything, building something of value takes time. You cannot expect to build a community overnight, and you’ll be lucky to build one in mere months. However, the payoff is well worth it, and this community can follow you even if you completely change careers.
High Quality Or Go Home
Content is at the heart of every single blog, and the quality of said content will either make or break you. As the saying goes, “Go big or go home”. There is simply no time for mediocre, run-of-the-mill blog posts. Whether you like to keep an eye on your competition or focus on your own path, the reality is there are thousands of others just like you writing about the same thing. And you know what? Many of them are doing an extremely good job while others are doing the bare minimum.
Don’t do the minimum. Pour your blood, sweat, and tears into creating the absolute best content, causing people to say “Wow!” (Tweet This). If you put out great content, people will be far more likely to come back for more. If you put out somewhat okay content, there is simply no differentiating yourself from others.
This is often a major mistake that bloggers make. They go about creating content, but forget about getting people to interact with that content. To build a community, you need to encourage participation. There are various ways of doing this, and it generally starts with asking questions on the post itself, and on social media.
Stick to using open ended questions, questions which don’t just require a yes or no response. This creates a better dialogue, and allows for potentially many more conversations to follow. Using a commenting system like Livefyre will give more of a live chat feel, helping to increase the amount of engagement you receive on blog posts.
Show You Care
In order to truly build a community, you have to actually care. There is no formula for caring as it’s something you either do or don’t. Instead of always talking about me, me, me, engage with people in a more intimate way. For example, don’t just ask how someone is doing. Ask how their family is, what cool things are they working on, and so on. It helps to build a better dialogue, and you’ll develop a deeper connection with your community which leads us into the final step.
Be A Connector
As you build a community, you’ll notice many similarities among each other. Help this person to connect with that person, and create new friendships among this inner circle. While it’s great to create value through rock solid content, it’s even better to create value through your ability to help people make connections, further enhancing their own quality of life.
Photo credit: Jeff Kubina