This Blogger’s Dirty Little Secret and What You Can Learn from It
I’ve been carrying around a dirty little secret for a while now that I must confess: I barely read or comment on anyone else’s blog unless I’m researching information for my own post.
*Ducking as tomatoes fly*
I know. It’s horrible. I’ve been living in a selfish blogging world. But my goal in 2011 is to break this dirty habit.
It’s not that I don’t really appreciate the readers of the BCI blog (because I do!).
It’s not that I don’t aim to always create value for you, the business community. And it’s not that I don’t love when people leave their feedback on a post.
Finally, it’s not that I’m not grateful for all the awesome blog posts out there that help build a stronger Internet marketing community.
So, why am I selfish? A woman named Janet Jackson once said, “What have you done for me lately?”
I have a 90-pound monkey of guilt on my shoulders that I know won’t scamper until I start being more social and helpful, not just to our readers, but also to the Internet marketing and blogging community as a whole.
First, let me tell you about some ideas I had on how to build community around a blog, and then I would love feedback on what’s worked for you.
Following Your Followers
Who are these people that follow you and do they engage in other social networks? If so, track them down, friend them, follow them, do whatever it is that community deems makes you connected.
While you’re at it, send them messages on that social network, let them know you saw their comment on your blog, you appreciate their voice. This shows you took the time to find out who they are and that they are valued.
This one step can help bridge the gap from your blog to other communities your readers participate in. And after all, that’s who’s important.
Promoting Your Followers
Keep a log of all the people who are actively engaged with your blog — their names, their websites, their blogs, etc. You know, the people who either tweet your posts on Twitter often or comment on your posts in the blog – the people who you have come to know by name.
And aside from the obvious of replying to their comments or thanking them for their tweets, the question is: How can we do something extra for these people? Is there something we can help promote for them in turn?
For example, perhaps they left you a really great comment, and you want to tell all your followers on Twitter that this person did so. Mention the person, give the accolades and link back to the comment.
Or, maybe they are launching a service you think is valuable. Tell people about it. It’s that simple.
And of course, always cite your sources in your blog posts. If you got a really great idea from someone, include a link back to that post through anchor text in your content to give them credit.
Reaching out to Your Followers
Once you start keeping track of who your peeps are, you’ll begin to notice waves of engagement. You might have a reader who consistently comments for months at a time and then disappears.
It’s then that you can reach out to those people and tell them that you miss hearing from them on your blog. This is how you build relationships.
In fact, I can think of a handful of people I could do that to right now.
You can also use your followers as a sounding board to discuss ideas for new posts. Everyone loves sharing ideas and if it can help either one of you create the next best blog post, great!
Talking with Your Followers
Guess what I love. I love when people actually take the time to comment on our blog posts. So I get frustrated with myself when I don’t do the same.
Any comment is a form of outreach, whether they stopped by to just say “Hi” or added their own perspective to the story – whatever it is, they took the time out of their busy lives to let you know they were there.
A comment can add such a valuable touch. I’d personally rather have meaningful conversation with people than just see a traffic report in analytics to gauge success, because this is why we blog — to make meaningful connections.
And I don’t know about you, but blog comments can sometimes mean more than just a tweet about your post; 1) Because it takes more effort to comment than tweet and 2) Because you know they made it through your barrage of words and got something out of it. And that’s special.
So, why not do the same for them?
If they have blogs, go there. Read them. If you find a post you like, comment on it. Then, go to that person’s social network and your social network, and tell other people about it.
Managing Your Time Managing Relationships
How much time will it take to do all this? Depends on how many people are active in your community and how many other bloggers you want to start building relationships with.
I suggest setting up daily, weekly and monthly task lists. For example, what are the items that you can do quickly either first thing in the morning or at the end of your day?
You know that you can probably track down new people who have commented on a post quickly on Twitter or whatever social network they are on. So, this could be a daily task.
Some of the more in-depths tasks might occur weekly, like going through all the blogs of the people who commented on your posts and engaging in their turf.
And monthly, perhaps it’s your goal to set aside some hours to peruse industry bloggers that you haven’t made a connection with yet, and start forming relationships by reading, commenting and promoting their posts.
The business world has always been about relationships. But in the tight-knit world of bloggers and Internet marketers, networking and spreading each other’s knowledge is key to building community.
And now, I’m asking you insightful people once again to chime in and tell me and our readers how we can be better bloggers.
Please share your thoughts!