As an adjunct to my “Monetizing Your Blog” series, I have a guest post for you today from Rob Greenberg.
Why create a community around your blog? A sense of community produces devoted and dedicated blog readers– your Army, in a way. This group of people will help support you, help you spread your word and invest in what you have to offer.
Social networks are a decent way of connecting and creating community, but you never have full control and flexibility as you do with your own blog. Social Networks have come and gone before, so they can never be relied upon to last. Having your very own Community on your blog, that you lead, is safer and more effective. Here are tips to do just that:
Engage your readers.
Interact with your readers. Some of your followers will email you – make sure to respond. Same with comments– make commenting your priority. The basic way of engaging with your readers boils down to replying to their comments. Make sure to at least respond to comments during the first few days after a blog post. This shows your readers that you are active and engaged and they will be more likely to be involved in turn.
In addition, you should visit your reader’s blogs. Take the time to read their own blog posts and reply with comments. It creates the feeling that you do care about your readers and about what they have to say.
Invite your readers to comment.
Ending posts with questions invites the reader to chime in with his or her thoughts. They get to express themselves and participate. Participation is the building block of your Community.
Make it personal, be more human, and readers will connect more deeply with you this way. Even if you have a professional blog; bringing out your human side can allow your readers to relate to you on a more personal level making for deeper connections.
Give stuff away for free. Give as a token of your gratitude to your readers for sticking around, and supporting you. It doesn’t have to cost you much, if anything. E-books, podcasts, special interviews etc. can all be cheap or free to make. Being generous in this way shows your community that you are truly grateful to them for following and supporting you.
Homework for your readers.
If you’ve got a how-to blog like this one, then giving your readers homework is a great way to make them feel more involved and make them more loyal followers. You can challenge your readers to take some sort of action, relating to the blog topic and report back. Of course not all of your readers will complete this assignment, but those who will, will be more devoted to your blog. Sharing their efforts will teach and inspire your other readers; this give and take is the path to a self-sustaining community.
Sharing on Social Networks.
When I read blog posts that teach me something valuable or inspire me; I have an urge to share them with my friends. Make this easier for your readers by having social network badges/widgets on your blog. Here is a video on how to add a Facebook badge to your WordPress blog.
Last but not least, it’s important to be authentic and conscientious when using the above tips. Your readers will sense if you are coming with a more baser, selfish motive and your attempts will backfire. Do everything bearing your reader’s best interest in mind and you can’t go wrong.
Creating a community will ultimately bring in more traffic to your blog. Human beings are social creatures and even online, we seek to connect, participate and belong. All your readers share common interest in what you have to say. Using the above tips consistently, you can turn that interest into participation and community.
Rob Greenberg works as a copyright consultant at a plagiarism detector software company.