Every blogger would like to have a committed community on the blog. Receive plenty of comments, likes, and warm words. How to get to this point? Where human sympathies are at stake, it is problematic to deliver a universal recipe for success. Nevertheless, there are some rules and guidelines on how to help yourself achieve your goal.
I won’t start with the basics in this article. Your blog should already have some marketing milestones accomplished, so I won’t be writing about comments on other blogs, promoting yourself on social media, content quality, or basic methods of link building.
The principle is to value people. If a reader writes a comment on your blog, or social media – respond. If a reader sends you a private message – answer. Don’t ignore people, but value them.
Define your needs
Do you need a committed community?
In the beginning, you have to consider what you need. Blogs are diverse, but one thing is the same. Every author wants to be appreciated and make sense of what he does. Even if blogging has some other purpose – such as selling goods or supplementing a company’s services – the writer wants to know that anybody read his texts.
Every writer wants to be aware that after a few hours spent alone in front of a monitor, other people will read at least a fragment of the written text. The writer pours a part of his soul into the text.
But the writer’s emotions and the company’s goals are not always the same. Unlike the writer, the company has less romantic goals. And here we come across the question: why do you need a committed community?
The influence of the type of industry
There are industries where the community is essential. In the fashion industry engaged community is crucial. In charity, such as those fighting poverty or protecting animals, the community is also critical. However, the more specialized and technical the industry is, the smaller the weight of the community involved.
Technology, business, or science blogs rarely have an engaged community. Readers of these blogs do not want to write comments. When they have a question, they prefer to ask the author personally.
What are your goals?
Another issue is the blog owner’s goals. If the blog belongs to a company, its goals are to sell or provide added value to customers. For a charity, the engaged community matters. If a blog has opinion-forming goals, an engaged community is as important as the texts themselves – and sometimes even more.
Another point you need to think about is how the community is engaging. Should readers talk to each other in the comment section? Is there any forum or Facebook group? Or is the community supposed to be engaging with another social networking site such as YouTube or Instagram? Or maybe keep in touch with you – via emails and private messages?
Knowing all of this will make it easier for you to take action to engage your community.
The rule of reciprocity
The foundation of high community involvement is the rule of reciprocity. It is simple: if you want to do something, do it 100%. No half-measures and no headaches. That is why you should become very involved in running a blog from the very beginning.
You ought to create content that would help people. If you are a photographer, help people take better photos. If your blog is about business, help people make good decisions and show helpful tools. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t see much traffic, many comments, and many likes. Just write and do your best.
Separate the creative work of writing and creating content from the analytical work of analyzing traffic and undertaking marketing activities. When you write, forget about Google Analytics. Spread your creativity wings, and throw yourself into the flow of words and ideas.
I am not suggesting you remove analytics and give up marketing. Just take it as separate activities and deal with them at different times. The rule of reciprocity says that if you go all out, this energy naturally returns to you. It’s not any trans-magic pseudo-law, but pure psychology. If you are involved in running a good blog, readers will repay you.
Does it always make sense to get involved?
It depends on the specifics of your blog. Engaging in creating valuable content (whatever it is for you) is always worth it, but we can not always expect the same effect.
Specialist vs Lifestyle blogs
Specialist and thematic blogs (culinary, photography, law, money, etc…) often have a very high percentage of hits from Google. The content of such blogs is the so-called evergreen – timeless, universal information. After all, the basics of photography have not changed since the time of camera obscura. The same with the basics of SEO, finance, and law. The majority of the text will be actual for many, many years.
If you have a lot of Google traffic, you rarely would have an active comment section. Considerable traffic statistics with relatively low user engagement are not a defeat but a feature of your blog. Perhaps advertisers will not be willing to run a competition, but a sponsored post with good SEO will be fruitful.
Anyway, think about the last time you searched for information on Google. Did you leave a comment to thank the author for his work, and commitment? Or did you add something of your own to the content? Exactly…
On the other side there are blogs with lifestyle content or opinion leaders. It’s hard to position the article “A week in photos” or a post in which you deal with current topics. They live only for a short time. On such websites, the majority of visitors are people who regularly visit to see how you are going, and what new things have you written.
Give something of yourself
No, I don’t mean special promotions or Facebook giveaways and competitions. It’s about giving your readers what they come for. Of course, within common sense and in harmony with yourself and your blogging plan. In other words, it’s all about commitment.
If your readers ask – you answer. If they ask for advice – you advise. They do not always agree with you; you respect it but don’t be false, show your opinion, too. A comment is often a greeting, an invitation to a conversation. To maintain engagement you need to conduct dialogues and talk through comment systems. It can attract or encourage new ones to leave their opinion, too.
If you prefer to animate your users to send you more direct messages then use your newsletter. The secret is to be authentic. Through mailing, you can share with your subscribers your thoughts and problems that never will end up on the blog. They will feel more private, closer to you. And there is a chance that they will respond to you.
Don’t pour out your regrets. Don’t let go of extremes. Just show your life and thoughts; write what good did you experience and what you are grateful for. Be honest, be yourself, and be a human. Don’t try to pretend that your life is perfect, with beautiful breakfasts, white linen, and fresh flowers every day. People like to watch such persons, but not necessarily to be friends with them. And you want the reader to be your friend, don’t you?
Well, it wasn’t a typical tutorial with check-off points. I didn’t want to write rules that you can easily find on Google. Nevertheless, I hope that I have sowed a few thoughts in your heads that may sprout into action, and these actions will make you harvest a lot of great comments from committed readers. I wish you this very much!
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