Blog 101: Building Community with Your Blog
After a lot of deliberation and several emails asking for insight into penning a successful blog, I’ve put together “Blog 101: tips for successful and intentional blogging”. My hope is that, over time, we’ll conquer the business of blogging together with gusto! Whether you’re a brand new blogger or you’ve been posting regularly for years, I’ve got you covered with tricks of the trade and a few lessons learned from my tenure here at Chelsea & The City.
One of the most important and rewarding parts of blogging, for me, has been the ability to build a community of creative and talented ladies (many of who I'm proud to call friends and some of who are guest posting for me next week). This post isn't about growing your readership (though I will get into that soon!) but nurturing your relationships with readers/other bloggers you admire.
1. engage - Engaging your readers is crucial to both making connections and gaining momentum with your blog. Asking your readers questions gets the conversation started! A question gets them thinking about your content in terms of their life. When appropriate, I end my blog posts with a question (that I'm genuinely interested in hearing the answer to) like, "What are your plans for the weekend?" or "Would you rock this trend?".
2. reach out - Half the battle of building community (in life and online) is the initial meet. Are you inspired by a certain blogger's Photoshop skills? Reach out to her! Think someone has a cool personality and you would totally hit it off? Tell her! When I come across someone that I know would make a great friend I send a quick note and let her know. "Hey so and so, your blog is fabulous! I'm so inspired by your serious skills and feel like we could totally bond over a cup of coffee in real life." It may seem silly but sometimes putting yourself out there is the hardest part. When I first started blogging I wasn't thinking about networking or making many connections and then, something clicked: you need to initiate things and build your own community of inspiring people!
Lately, everyone is caught up in making relationships that get their blogs to the next level. What can this person do for me? How can we collaborate? There's nothing wrong with working together but sometimes friends mean so much more when you're just supportive of one another.
3. reply - This one is important! I can't tell you how many times I've written comments on websites and never heard anything back... or worse, sent a lengthy email and never heard back. When readers take the time to share with you, take the time to respond. I
always try to respond to every comment and question with a quick answer, even if it means dedicating a specific time to returning emails at the end of the day. When I can make another bloggers' journey easier, I do.
4. be genuine - This point goes without saying... but I'll say it anyway. It's easy to get caught up in being the coolest/best/most seasoned blogger on the block but readers and other bloggers want to know you for you. Your voice (on your site and in all forms of communication) should be genuine, friendly and approachable. We all want to know what's unique about you!
I’ll be sharing more Blog 101 posts in the future! Need advice on blogging with intention or making your site successful? Don’t hesitate to reach out via email and I’ll get to your question ASAP.