Yesterday we looked at some of the benefits and costs of building community on a blog – today I’d like to move onto some of the ‘how to’ by examining the stages of building community that I went through on Digital Photography School.
Build a CULTURE of Community – Not Just Engagement
Let me start by repeating the advice I gave yesterday that building community and reader interaction on a blog takes time. It won’t happen over night but develops day by day.
It is also something that YOU need to take the lead in as a blogger.
‘Be the community you want to have‘ is advice I regularly teach at our live ProBlogger Training Event because what I’ve found is that readers often take a bloggers lead when it comes to engagement.
If YOU are obviously engaged with your content, passionate about helping your readers, interested in who they are, writing in an inviting way and willing to interact with others then you’ll be on the right track to developing a culture on your blog where interaction is normal.
Note: I really want to emphasise this idea of building a ‘culture‘ of community on your blog. This goes way beyond using certain ‘techniques‘ to get comments or engagement.
Engagement is great – but the most successful bloggers I”ve come across go beyond that to build something deeper with their readers whereby readers not only interact but have a deeper sense of belonging, ownership and where they embody and live out the values of the blog with one another.
The Stages of Building Community on a Blog
Stage 1: You
In the early days of your blog community generally looks like this:
Yep – just you.
Maybe if you’re lucky you have a partner, or a parent, or a friend who drops by once in a while – but it’s largely you. This is totally fine and normal. I remember my first 10 or so blog posts going up to the deafening roar of silence – I couldn’t even get my wife to read them!
In those very early days you can still write in an engaging way – but probably more important than lots of reader engagement is you writing engaging and compelling content so that when people do arrive they’ve got something to read.
This is also an important time to get your mindset right. Identify what type