Some bloggers confuse online community with online audience. However, they’re not one-in-the-same. An audience is not social, interactive or two-way. It simply sits back and reads or watches passively, without sharing or participating.
A community, on the other hand, is a living, breathing, social, interactive entity, with the ability to hold two-way conversations. Yes, there are those who choose to passively read or watch. But, for the most part, community members enjoy participating as well as sharing with their friends.
5 Ways Online Communities Help Bloggers
There are numerous benefits for belonging to an online community when you’re a blogger. Here are just five of them:
Designed for SharingGood content is easily spreadable… like soft butter. Your content will be spread on various social networks, posted on community members’ blogs, sent to social bookmarking sites, etc…But, how exactly do you make your content sharable? Well, for one, you need to create attention-grabbing headlines. However, don’t try to be extra-clever or make it complicated. Just make sure that your headlines are relevant to your niche, as well as the topic of the content.Another important component for making your content sharable is having the proper blog plugins. You want your readers to have access to one-click (or two-click) methods for quickly sharing your content. If they can’t find your sharing buttons easily, they won’t go hunting for them.
Socially EngagingWhat are your choices when a reader leaves a comment on your blog? You can choose to respond, or simply not respond. Some bloggers never respond to blog comments. Then, there are others who respond to every single comment posted.It’s just a matter of common courtesy. These readers took the time to actually review your content, put some thought into and leave feedback about it. To ignore them is like saying that you could care less that they stopped by or how they feel. The most successful blogs encourage social engagement via comments, feedback and on-going conversations created by comments and feedback.
Enables Others to Help You Promote Your ContentSelf-confidence can be very attractive and interesting. However, your readers can only take so much of you tooting your own horn. How long do you think your followers will remain loyal if all you ever blog about is yourself or how “cool” your company is?Compliments and positive feedback and reviews are much more effective when they come from others. This is especially true when the feedback is relevant, useful and genuine. So, enable others to give you credit for your great work and solutions.
Mentioning Others and Informing Them about ItWhenever you mention something or someone in a blog post, make sure to let them know. Now, don’t interpret this to mean you should stalk them. Sending them multiple emails, private messages and direct messages won’t get you very positive results.So, how do you go about it the right way? Link to their content within your post. Then, simple send them a quick note to inform them about your mention. And, be sure to thank them for inspiring you. That’s it. Don’t ask them to share it or anything else. In the end, if the content is valuable to them, they’ll end up sharing it anyway, or someone within your online community will.
Guest Blog PostsGuest posts help to build your community by enticing new members to join, in both directions. When you become a guest poster on relevant blogs, you increase your online brand recognition and popularity. In time, you’ll grow into a trusted resource within your industry, instead of a hard-selling service and/or product pusher.Here are some keys for effective guest blogging:
- Post on blogs that are relevant to your industry, niche or solutions.
- Only submit high-quality content that will bring value to the community for which you’re guest blogging.
- Find tune your industry philosophy, and take it to the other people’s blogs.
- Provide education, informative content, as opposed to solution-pushing advertisement and sales material.
One of the most important things to remember as you blog is to always keep your readers in mind first. A blog isn’t about talking about how cool you are or about higher search rankings. Writing a blog is about sharing with a community of likeminded people in order to build awareness about the topic you care about. Remember, the Internet if full of noise. Make sure when you join a blogging a community you add valuable content, not just more static for people to sift through.