The secret to creating an outstanding blog is to cultivate a strong community of fans that helps generate new traffic.
In this post, I will lay out some tips to creating a bustling community around a blog. I’ll also share tips on monitoring community growth and how to use it to your advantage.
Why should you create a community around your blog?
Here are the benefits to having a community of bloggers or readers around your blog.
- A large number of readers encourages social shares which in turn can generate more traffic to your site.
- Comments left by fans helps to position the blog as an ‘authority blog’.
- A community is social proof and can help attract leads.
- By nurturing true relationships with your readers this increases the chances of them linking back to your valuable posts. This adds to SEO value.
- Interaction with a large number of readers increases the time spent on a single page, which is also valuable for SEO.
- A strong fan base will recommend you to their own communities.
How to build a community around your blog
1. Build it on a single powerful idea
If you speak in a crowd, nobody will listen to you, but if you are talking to a group of like-minded people, they will applaud you. It is the same with blogging. Blogs focused on a specific topic are generally more successful.
Writing blog posts on one topic (say, sports) for a week and another (like astronomy) for the next week will drive your readers away. They will find it difficult to connect with you.
Make sure your blog is about something you are passionate about. Passion spreads like a wildfire, and is a powerful emotion to connect your idea to the right audience. This helps to cultivate an audience who knows what you feel and understands what you write.
This very sense of being connected will build the foundation of your community.
Problogger’s Darren Rowse has successfully evolved his blog problogger.net because he is focused on one single idea – blogging.
Rowse never tries to merge it with his other passion, photography and has a separate blog for this. The second blog too has a large community around it but with a very different audience set.
2. Make them feel comfortable
Lectures are boring and so are one-sided blogs. Nobody likes to read a blog that rants about its success and strategies and does not include the readers in it. Such blogs eventually die out.
If you want people to be active in your community you have to make them comfortable and feel at home. Here’s how…
a) Be personal
Nothing connects more with your readers than being personal. Being personal doesn’t mean sharing private details, it means writing as though you are communicating.
Make your tone humanized. Tell stories related to the post. Use words like we, you and me so that it comes across as if you are talking directly to your reader.
b) Be approachable
Give your readers the privilege to reach out to you as and when they want. This will invoke a sense of being heard. You can also encourage your subscribers to speak to you via email.
For example, Noah Kagan, the man behind Appsumo, encourages his subscribers to speak about their experiences with him.
This creates an emotional bond with his subscribers and helps to grow his community.
3. Include your audience in your blogs
After your audience is comfortable interacting with you and your blog, make them feel more included by creating a strategy to weave your readers into every thread of your blog. Here’s how:
a) Ask readers to comment
After writing a blog post, encourage your readers to take part in it. Ask them for solutions about the problem you address in your post.
People like to be seen as a source of knowledge. Give them this chance by asking them how they would solve the issue being discussed in your blog.
b) Quiz people
Quizzes are smart and fun ways to keep your readers hooked to your community. According to OkDork, eight out of the top 10 most shared content in 2015 were quizzes. The increased share count is also a factor that people love your content, which pushes the blogs popularity even higher.
This is because people love to share things that boost their own credentials and identity.
For example, this marketing buzzwords quiz on the ClickZ website has been a top trending post for the past two weeks. (Have you taken it yet?)
4. Brew an ongoing challenge
An ongoing challenge, like this 30 days to powerful blogging, is a good example of how to use a challenge to build a community around your blog.
Challenges are great because all the members of it have the same pain point. They have similar issues and similar goals. Through this, they develop an emotional bond.
In the end, you are solving a common problem for your readers with your own challenge.
5. Offer value
One of the biggest problems in community building is expecting too much from the community. You need to add value to the community by offering solutions to your followers.
Your community members are more likely to recommend you if you offer something that is valuable.
You can do this by:
1. Writing in-depth posts on your blog. You do not want your readers to go to a second blog for solutions to the same problem.
2. Giving exclusive industry insights. Social Media Examiner uses a weekly post to display all the noteworthy social media news and reviews of new social media tools launched that week.
This helps the reader to save time.
3. Giving a blog backlink can be the best way to tell your fellow bloggers and influencers that you care for them. This way you can use influencer marketing in your blog community building. But beware, only link to articles that are high quality and useful to your blog readers. Linking unrelated posts and low-quality ones will do more harm than good.
6. Monitor ROI and lever your connections
You should always measure your efforts in a campaign and see if you are working in an effective way. A good place to start is measuring conversions and the number of people you were able to connect with.
You can also track your strategies to see what worked and what did not. If social media isn’t your thing, try an organic traffic method. You can also try email lists to communicate with your community members.
7. How to use your community power
There is no harm in benefitting from your community. This holds true for so long as you are providing them with value. Do this by:
- If you are writing a great problem-solving post, there is no harm to suggest an affiliate product to your audience that you think will help them.
- You can also develop a product that you can upsell to your community after you’ve impressed them with your work.
- If none of these applies, ask your audience to spread the word about your blog, share your posts and recommend you to their own community.
Over to you
A thriving community is always a proof of a great valuable blog. The most popular blogs already use this hack to increase their readership and ranks. With the above tips, I am sure you can build a community around your blog and use it to increase your traffic and sales.
If you have any questions around anything I have discussed today, feel free to get in touch by commenting in the comments section below! I would love to hear from you.
Please note: this is an abridged version of an original post published on our sister site ClickZ: How to build a community around your blog.