Ever thought about your blog becoming a blog community?
Blogging is, and should be, a community based project. After all without your readers your blog can’t exist. Its raison d’être is to communicate with its readers in such a way that makes them come back for more.
A blog’s purpose is to provide content its readers want to read. It serves to fulfil its readers’ desire to learn new information and be entertained.
Readers look for blogs that answer their questions, solve their problems and are enjoyable to read while doing this. It is a whole experience that needs to be totally reader-centric if it to succeed.
Is your blog community-ready?
I’ve created this quiz for you to find out whether your blog is community-ready. It should give you a bit of an insight into how your blog works in relation to its readers.
Remember to be thoroughly honest about your blog when answering the questions, otherwise the result will be skewed away from reality (however horrible it may be!):
Whatever the outcome of this quiz, here are some pointers for you to take note:
How interesting in your blog’s subject?
Very simply, can your chosen readers relate to your blog’s niche? Or even the other way around? A blog community needs to have an affinity with its ideal readers, so the subject matter of its posts need to reflect that and give them what they want.
You could have a very specialised blog specifically aiming at a small selection of readers with similar interests, and this would create a compact blog community. This could be an online home from home where like-minded people could gather to discuss the latest post, and offer their points of view in the comments.
And sometimes a blog community arises from a celebrity starting up a blog. This is a focal point for the fans to congregate to read the latest rantings of their idol. This self-indulgence satisfies an already existing audience, who welcome the chance to be part of this phenomenon’s domain.
But what these blogs have in common is that the subject relates to its readers who are prepared to regularly visit to read the next instalment.
How do you incite interaction?
A blog community needs to have its members interacting with the posts, and even better with each other. Blogs were originally designed to be commented on, way back in the realms of Web 2.0. This was exciting before social media came along with its real-time commenting facility, which blogs couldn’t provide.
If you are lucky to have amassed an amazing readership, remember to ask them to comment at the end of your posts. Give them a reason to comment within your call to action (which all posts ought to have). If you don’t ask, you won’t get, as not all of your blog’s readers will feel compelled to leave a comment.
This needs much more of an incentive rather than just telling them where the comment box is. Ask them a question to whet their appetites. Make a controversial statement to encourage a reaction. Offer a discussion point to get a suitable response.
Do you respond?
A blog community will fail to exist if there is nothing forthcoming from its source. As the main author of the community, you need to be on hand to respond to all comments you receive. And fairly promptly too, if you want to keep the interest factor going.
Replying is vital to maintain a blog community. It’s important to let your audience know you are accessible to answer questions, and respond personally to all comments and feedback. Make an effort to show your appreciation and how you and they relate to each other.
If your community starts to take off, find a way to provide live commentary from time to time. This could be in the form of a Facebook Livechat, in a webinar format or through a chatbox plugin. Record your answers to FAQ and publish the video within a post, as this is something that always goes down well with your readership and fans.
How visible are you elsewhere?
Ironically, you don’t need to be only on your blog to cultivate your blog community. Your followers may be elsewhere and would welcome alternative interaction on different platforms. This will not undermine your blog, as it’s important to show you are sociable, especially on social media.
Why not supplement your blog community with a group on Facebook or LinkedIn? You may capture other followers that way, especially if you share your posts there or repost on Pulse, Medium or other similar blogging platforms. The more visibility you get, the bigger the community.
Try and incite interaction by asking questions, pasting up intriguing images, stating controversial statements, inviting discussions, posting memes, setting up polls – anything to get followers back onto your blog.
Can your followers relate to you?
Believe it or not, it is very likely your personality as the blog community owner that may have attracted your readers to join. This may be both instead of or in addition to the subject matter of your blog.
This means you need to cultivate and work on any vulnerability or quirkiness you may have. This isn’t detrimental, as it allows your readers to feel an affinity with you, especially if they can relate themselves to you and what you stand for. The bigger the connection, the higher the retention.
Show off your individualism through writing stories, swapping anecdotes, sharing experiences and relaying your failures and mistakes. If you can insert humour into your posts, all the better (but make sure it is funny). This makes your followers feel more comfortable with you and with the rest of the community.
Involve your blog community
Remember to include your followers in your activities. Ask for their feedback and opinions as comments or in any other format they choose.
This could be FAQs, guest posts, contributions to round-up posts, and using or acknowledging content you’ve gleaned from their responses. Your fans will love to be mentioned in some way. And if you can set up some sort of forum on or associated with your blog, this could be another way to get more interaction from each other.
Get your followers to do things for you and for themselves. Set them a challenge – it’s amazing how many will respond to that! Get them to send in ideas for posts. Ask for their favourite contributions on a particular topic. Make them feel thoroughly part of your community, and they will respond in droves.
So what about you?
Let me know what you think about blog communities. Do you have one on your blog? Are you a member of one (or several)?
And if you haven’t already, why not participate in my quiz? If you’re brave enough, reveal your result in the comments below, I would love to know!