Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.
(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)
This week’s theme: creating a strategy for your blog
Because this week’s theme was pretty broad, we talked about a myriad of strategy-related topics during #blogchat, but one came up again and again throughout the night – as a new blogger, how does one gain readers and build a community? For that question, I love the following advice:
@KarlaAntelli: take care of your “apostles”, send them an email, ask about them write on their wall or tweet or just generally pay attention
Unless you’re already well-known in your niche for some reason, when you start blogging, you’re not going to have many readers. You’ll get some traffic from search engines, and you’ll also be able to build your subscriber numbers through social media, guest posts, social bookmarking, etc., but the fact remains that it takes awhile to get some traction.
The first sign that you’re getting somewhere is often that you’ll have a fan or two who is always there for you. They retweet nearly all your links. They comment on all of your posts. They want to write guest posts for you, despite your lack of huge traffic numbers. These are your apostles. Show them some love!
This is a place where I’ve fallen flat in the past, and that’s a mistake I’m trying not to make here at BlogWorld or – more importantly – at my own blog, After Graduation. On one of my past blogs, I had this one fan who was there every single day without fail. She commented over and over again on posts I wrote. Personally…well…it wasn’t that I didn’t like her, but I didn’t care for her blog. Because I wasn’t a fan of her site, I didn’t make an effort to interact with her on mine. She stuck around for a good long while, to her credit, but eventually, she disappeared.
I don’t blame her at all.
You don’t need to read your readers’ blogs. It pays to check them out, because you might find a blog that you love, but most readers aren’t actively trying to become a part of your community because they want you to read their blog posts. Sure, they would love that, but if you don’t, they’ll still be on your blog. They’re there because they like you already, whether you’re a reader of theirs or not. They like learning from you. They like interacting with you. They like telling others about you.
They’re your tribe.
Reward your tribe – your “apostles” – by showing an interest in what they have to say as part of your community. No one’s forcing you to interact with them outside your community if you don’t want to, but if you ignore them in your space, you’re not saying, “I don’t like your blog.” You’re saying, “I don’t care that you read mine.” And that’s a feeling no one wants. Eventually, people will leave.
It’s like inviting everyone to your home for a party and then ignoring half of your guests because you don’t want to go to their party. Giving your tribe some love is not saying that you want to have a sleepover at their house. It’s just saying, “Thank you for being here at mine.”