Building a community around your blog is vital for its success. You could be creating and sharing the world’s most interesting and innovative content, and it wouldn’t be anywhere near as rewarding as having a loyal and consistent readership to read, interact with and promote your content.
Repeat readers will become brand ambassadors for your blog if they’re satisfied, and so providing them with content that’s useful should always be your main focus. In addition to this, there are other things you can do to ensure that your community doesn’t stagnate; to ensure that your audience and your blog is always growing. Below are twelve tips to help you build community around your blog.
Have a Well Defined Theme & Brand – What’s going to attract readers to a blog, first and foremost is ensuring that your blog is helpful. All good blogs will have a clearly defined aim; one central idea. For example, if you are a marketing blog, you might cater specifically for rural businesses or if you are a foodie blog you might only review restaurants in a certain area. Once your focus is chosen, it’s easier for you to focus your branding too. Your branding is about your tone, your voice, your color palettes, your name and your titles. All of this needs to say something about who you are and what you’re about. People remain loyal to brands that they can identify with so making this clear and concise is going to do wonders for you community building.
Create a Series – You could try creating a blog post series – something that covers a topic in-depth. Creating series in this way encourages people to ‘stay tuned for more’, it gives readers a reason to return and so it’s great for community building. It will also provide you with a change to create some high-quality and unique content for your readers.
Use Social Media Sharing – Social media is the new space for bloggers to share and promote their content. It’s now vitally important to have an active social media presence if you want to build any kind of audience. This means posting regularly at least once a day to maintain your relevance. You could either share a link to a blog post or marketing content that encourages sign-ups. Post scheduling is a good idea for busy people where you can trigger a post without having to manually do it each time.
Take in Guest Contributions – Blogging is all about networking and guest contributions and swapping guest posts are a perfect medium to do that because you add value to your own blog and are provided with an opportunity to harness other audiences too. Reach out to people that are in your industry but provide different products. Eg. If you’re a nutritionist you could guest post with a local farmer or organics expert.
Start weekly/monthly polls – People love to have their say on particular topics and polls are a great outlet for this. It boosts community by letting readers feel valued, where they are not simply just reading your content but interacting with it and thinking about it on a higher level. Choose a controversial or interesting topic for the best results. If the topic is interesting enough, you might even spark discussions and be able to create an additional blog post from it.
Add a Forum or Encourage Comments – Forums and comment sections are also great for all the reasons mentioned above. As well as this, they encourage readers to interact with one another as well as your content. They provide an outlet for reader feedback which is extremely valuable for both innovation and relationship building with your readers. Another tip is to end your articles with a question – this will directly elicit replies and comments for your readers.
Identify Your Best Times to Share – You’ll find lots of different software online that will help you analyze the best time for you to share your blog posts, simply by monitoring when your audience is most active and what content has been most successful at what times. In doing this, you’re ensuring that you get the most interaction you possibly can.
Share Useful Content – No matter how much time you spend investing in innovative ideas of your own, there’s always someone out there doing something better. When you’re building a community, you’re really creating a hub of information where people constantly come to source valuable and relevant information – so it makes sense that the information won’t always be yours. Acknowledging that other useful content exists and embracing it means that your blog becomes more helpful to your readers. (Just be sure to attribute properly!)
Reward Loyalty – When you’re looking to build out your community, it is just as important to focus on retention. Loyal customers should be rewarded in order to feel valued. Remember to send discounts or freebies once in awhile to show them they are valued.