To be completely honest, one of my personal blogging goals for 2015 has been to build a more authentic community. I entered “the blogesphere” the same way as most of you and read everything that I could get my hands on that showed me how to grow my community – because it’s all about those big numbers right? WRONG! I did all of those follow threads that helps my social community grow, jumped on the giveaway bandwagon, and then started to panic mid 2014 whenever I started seeing stagnet numbers and no engagement.
Truthfully, we are living in the age of blogging, where there are many blogs that are great and consistently updating and delivering fresh content to their readers. They are our competition. With so many competing blogs, brands are paying much more attention to the levels of engagement that you have, which comes from having a truly authentic community. I have been on a journey since mid-2014 to change this for myself, and here are some tips that will help you do the same.
1. Find your authentic voice.
Being 100% authentic with your voice is the very first place to start. Think about portraying yourself just as you on the pages of your blog and in your social media posts, not someone else. I think that in many cases, people tend to blog how they hope people will see them and their life, instead of being real and showing their readers who they actually are. Lastly, if you have a team of contributors, an editor, etc, make sure everyone is on the same page and understands how this voice must be consistent and shared.
2. Think about giveaways differently.
Giveaways are obviously a great way to grow our community, but are you actually reaching your community through the giveaways you host? For instance, if you are giving away cold, hard cash, we all know it’s something that everyone loves and will enter to win. You will probably get a huge spike in traffic and they will follow you on all your social media channels, but what happens when the giveaway is over? Will they all unfollow you? Will they ever return to your blog? Probably, if you give away more cash.
If you consistently run giveaways to help build your community, as most of us do, make sure to give away prizes that are aligned with what you blog about and what your audiences comes to you for on a regular basis. Otherwise, these new community members are just dead weight and doing nothing besides bringing your Facebook organic reach down even further.
3. Remember, people are nosy!
I probably don’t need me to remind you of this, but its a fact! People follow you and read your blog because they are interested in what is going on in your life and what you are writing about. If you stop posting personal pictures, only write sponsored content about brands, and write about off topic subjects – you will lose what your readers came to you for. People are nosy and want to know about your life, so give it to them!
4. Show interest in them.
Don’t just make it all about you. Make sure that you create an authentic balance between sharing and reaching out for information about what is going on in their lives. People like to know they matter, and if they are taking time out of their day to read what you are saying, take value in reaching back out to them. I promise that something as simple as asking their opinions or to share a similar experience with you will help turn them into loyal readers.
5. Respond when people comment.
This seems so simple, yet so many bloggers overlook it. We yearn more comments on our blog, facebook posts, and now tweets – so whenever it happens, take that opportunity to engage.
My last tid bit of advice – do what works best for YOU! If you have found a certain blogging method that is working, keep at it! Don’t ever change things just because someone told you to. Everyone grows their audience differently and at various rates.
Author: Allison Cooper
Allison is the Co-Founder and CEO of INTRO NYC and Founder & CEO of Project Motherhood (www.projectmotherhoodnyc.com), an online resource helping moms love their post-pregnancy body and always rock their #MamaStyle! She loves educating new bloggers and connecting them with brands to help their business grow!