Building community with your blog is one of the best ways to increase readership, promote awareness of your brand, and share your brand’s voice with your audience. Unless you are a major corporation or well-known influencer in your space, people don’t know about you until you raise your hand and show them you exist. How do you do that online where there is so much competition for the blogging atmosphere? We’ve already discussed sharing your posts on social media and engaging with others on social media. Today we’ll cover engaging with others’ blogs.
Think of this like attending a networking event where you are learning about others in the room and seeing who you can connect with. You aren’t going to connect with every person who has commented on your blog, but you want to visit their sites, see what they are posting, and see if something sparks your interest. If you see several posts that spark interest, follow them by clicking on their “Follow” button, subscribing to their email list, or adding them to your RSS feed so you can engage with them often. Be sure to visit the blogs for everyone who stops by and has a connected blog. (Some folks will sign up for accounts only to be able to comment. They won’t all be other bloggers unless you are blogging on a platform where only other bloggers are allowed to comment.)
If someone isn’t really posting a lot that is in your interest area, chances are they will post something you enjoy. If there is a post that catches your attention, like it and comment on it if possible. This is especially important when you are a blogger by trade, a coach, or a solopreneur. Building community is especially important when you are young in business because when new prospects stop by to view your blog, some don’t realize that many business owners are too busy to maintain a blog and will think lack of community means you aren’t good at what you do or that you aren’t knowledgeable.
When you leave a comment, put some thought into it, please! Don’t just say, “Nice post”. Instead, find something within the post that you connect with. If the person posts about things way outside your comfort zone but you found the post interesting, say that. “I don’t usually read articles on this topic but your post caught and kept my attention. Thank you for sharing valuable content.” That will go a long way to the person who wrote the post because sometimes the writers of blogs can feel like no one is reading their posts when they are starting out or are within the first year or two as they start to grow.
Think of this more like walking through the park. You may not have time to walk with everyone but there will be some people who catch your attention and you will want to visit their blogs and see if they share something that sparks your interest. If they do, like and comment on their post so they will know you stopped by. Chances are they will recognize your name and stop back by your blog. This is how community begins.
Let’s say you get a LOT of comments on your blog, so you don’t have a lot of time to visit the people who blog during business hours. If your platform has an app that you use, visit the folks while in line at the grocery store, while waiting for the doctor, or while using the bathroom (come on…you know your phone goes with you so you can play Best Fiends; this allows you to use the time for something more productive).
When people come and comment on your blog, it is so important that you engage with them. I understand as you grow your blog, it will become impossible to keep up with all the comments that come in. There will be a point where you will want to hire a Virtual Assistant or Community Engagement Assistant to keep up with commenting and listening to your community. While it’s just you doing all the positions for your company, do what you can by setting aside a specific half hour each day for engaging in community building activities we discuss this week.
The beauty of reading blogs is that you can do it from anywhere! Use your downtime as mentioned in the previous section. For most bloggers, the blogs will be under 1000 words. Some platforms even tell you how long it will take to read the blog! (That’s a super cool feature for when you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate and for when you’re reading longer blog posts.
While doing some research for the links in this post, I came across this article that provides some nice statistics to help with your blogging strategy for this year. From the website Impact, the article shares 28 insights that will help you understand how others are using blogs. Read through it and then think of how you can apply the tips to your blog. If you need help, connect with me and we’ll do a blog strategy call. This month (March), I am offering 1/2 for all who would like to ensure they are ready for success with their blogs and read this series. Just tell me that you saw this offer and I will apply the discount for you.