As you look deep into your blog searching for ways to keep it growing for the long haul, remember one simple fact…by continuing to bring people together through your blog, you are increasing your chances of long term blogging security. The social media aspect of blogging is what makes it so successful in the web world.
With the aid of micro blogging (Twitter) and social media sites (ex. Facebook), blogging has stepped up to a whole new level by bringing readers together from all over the world. Never before have their been this many great friends that have never met face to face. This modern version of pin pals is what is going to keep your blog stable, so it should be your #1 goal to bring more people together through your content and interaction. The more readers you bring together…the more blogging success you will see over time.
How can I bring my readers together?
The challenge as the blogger is creating an atmosphere that breeds interaction among readers. You can not just throw up a site and expect people to interact. You have to tweak your content and off site activities to foster these relationships. So how do you do it?
Content and Blog Articles
When you draft your blog articles, structure content that will encourage your readers to leave comments. By asking questions, writing about controversial subjects and having a defined opinion, you will spark conversation in the comments section of you blog and this conversation is essential to fostering reader relationships. Over time, you will start to see a trend of readers conversing back and forth through your comments and this interaction will persuade other readers to join in on the action.
Another way to jump start social interaction through your blog articles is to actually invite your readers to connect through social media outlets. Darren Rowse (Problogger.net) published an article in July of ’08 that was simply titled “Welcome to the ProBlogger Social Media Love-In“. In this article, Darren invited his readers to share the links to all of their social media obsessions (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). The article was a gigantic success as his readers from all over started following, friending and interacting from all over the world. It also brought out readers who never comment to join into the action. By giving a simple nudge forward, Darren was able to create a strong community through his blog on other social media outlets.
The fastest growing social media outlet on the net is now becoming the #1 source of relationship forming for bloggers, companies and casual iPhone users. By participating in events like #followfriday and interacting with followers by replying to Tweets, you can create a community atmosphere around your Twitter account. Over time, you need to provide quality content just like you would with any other social media site, but the direct, immediate nature of Twitter makes it much easier to create a community environment around your brand. From time to time, suggest people on Twitter to your other Twitter followers and you will start to notice that other Tweeters do the same for you. Before you know it, you have a strong Twitter following that directly benefits your blogging.
What started as a college student specific social media site has now grown to epic proportions. The decision to open Facebook to the masses was one of the smartest moves by the crew that founded the idea. Facebook is now the preferred outlet for friends, family and colleges to share everything that has to do with their daily lives. Many would argue that Facebook is an obsession that brings the idea of a community to a whole new level.
How can Facebook help your blogging? By friending your readers on Facebook and creating a Facebook fan page, you are extending your brand into the largest social portal on the net. The entire idea behind Facebook is creating community development and you can not afford to ignore this if you are going to build a community around your blog.
Forums, without a massive amount of secure traffic, are incredibly difficult to start, but they are still…to this day…the strongest way to build a community directly around your blog. With a forum, your readers are directly interacting with other members of the community…through conversation…on your url. Unlike comments on a blog article, forum members self generate content and interaction through topic creation. Your community goes on autopilot as your forum becomes a go to spot on the web for your niche.
The downside…you are going to need moderators and investment start-up time to get a forum moving correctly. If you are willing to put in the work necessary to get a fuctioning forum on the run, you will create a community around your blogging that can not be matched by any outside source. The largest sites on the internet are hugely successful forums…do you have what it takes to reach that super-stardom?
Do you see the trend?
You, as the blogger, have to actively bring your readers together and create the social environment that will eventually lead to a large community. People are drawn to larger communities that attract other people that have the same interests. The more you create this kind of atmosphere around your blog, the more readers will want to stick around and interact with other readers. This equals larger subscriber counts, more pageviews and more revenue, but…even better…it equals a worthwhile, helpful community that you have built from the ground up.