Today, I’m excited to bring you an awesome guest post from the talented Jayme Soulati! I had the pleasure of meeting Jayme this spring at SoSlam in Knoxville and we have become fast friends. She’s smart, fun and I guarantee you’ll learn a lot from her. Enjoy!
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Heh. That title is link bait if there ever was one. I don’t know how to build a blog community, but Ms. Laura Click seems to think I do, so I’m gonna act like she’s right. Here goes…
Before you can say you’ve failed at blogging, you must give it a year, and I’m talking about posting nearly every day. A lot goes on in that time, the most of which is you gaining confidence in your voice.
Having a voice is something that takes time; and, it doesn’t come easy, either. In the beginning, you’re likely afraid of your own shadow, and you ask people to stop in and give their opinion about design, or content.
At first, no one comes to visit, so you just write under the radar. That’s actually a blessing in disguise! Writing without knowledge that anyone is reading gives you the opportunity to practice. There’s one thing that’s certain — practice does not make perfect.
There are NO perfect bloggers!
When you finally become comfortable with your content, that’s when the comments will begin to pick up, and pretty soon, you’ll develop a community. I can’t tell you how many people are in my community; in fact, no blogger can. There are many lurkers who may make themselves visible at one time or another, but one never knows exactly how many there are.
Here are a few ways I can recommend to build a community:
- Do a roundup of your favorite blogs on a weekly basis and mention the authors and why you like them. In fact, Billy Delaney and PRinPink just did this highly successfully. I was invited to stop in via a Twitter direct message and the pingbacks.
- Comment, comment on others’ blogs and you’ll find others who engage with you coming over to see what you’ve got going on.
- On your blog, if you’re ready for a comment system, like Disqus or LifeFyre, it’s great to be able to use a comment feature that has a link to the commenters’ most recent blog post. Comment Luv offers this, for example.
- When you comment elsewhere, don’t promote your own blog, but leave a smart response and also engage other commenters after you leave your remark. People are always interested in finding new bloggers to follow, and if you’ve done a good job commenting, you’ll earn a few new readers.
- Guest post on occasion. You don’t need to over do the guest posting; because then people will think you’re over extended and trying too hard.
- One way to build community is to define something. I set out to define public relations, and it’s been my most popular post. That series took about a month to do right, and by the end I had tons of people engaged from all around the world. It was really rewarding professionally, and those readers flow in and out on a regular basis.
- If someone is inspired by a blog topic you’ve written and they want to contribute to your community and network, this is one of your greatest compliments. When you create community, treat everyone visiting with the utmost respect. Do invite their feedback, guest post and frequent comments.
- Ask an open-ended question at the end to invite comments. When a topic is engaging, people do want to share their experiences. As a blogger, ask them another question in comments to keep them coming back, as well.
- Don’t forget to have all the necessary badges, icons, likes, plusses, and more available to push comments to the sphere. People want to like another’s comment; some like rather than comment, and it helps you know who’s stopped in.
What can you share that has worked for you? I’d love to learn from you, too.
Jayme Soulati is president of Soulati Media, Inc., a PR shop of one blending social media and marketing with public relations at its core. Her blog, Soulati-‘TUDE! is nearly 1.5 years old, and she’s grown her community one comment at a time. Follow her all over @Soulati, on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Google+, and especially at her house.