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How Finding Ten New Readers Can Lead to a Blog Traffic Explosion


Want more blog traffic? This post teaches you exactly how to leverage just ten readers to explode your blog traffic.

Finding new readers is the bane of my blogging existence, and I don’t think I’m alone. Without blog traffic, you might as well write in a private journal, because you certainly won’t make money or spread your ideas online. I’m constantly on the lookout for new traffic-building techniques, and today I wanted to share with you one of my favorite traffic-building techniques when your blog is new (and really, this technique can work for established bloggers as well).

Best of all, it only takes ten new readers. You can find ten readers, right?

Finding Ten New Readers

The first step in this process is to find ten new readers. This doesn’t mean convincing people in your current circles to stop by your blog more often. It doesn’t even mean reaching out to friends of friends. These people are already in your extended circle of potential readers. You want to find ten readers who are completely new to your blog.

My favorite way to do this is to find new bloggers in my niche and leave comments. Comments are not going to bring you a wave of traffic, but that doesn’t mean they’re worthless. You don’t need millions of new readers. You just need a handful.

Another way to find brand new readers is to participate in link parties or blog hops. These are especially popular in niches like parenting, DIY, and food. Again, you are likely not going to get thousands or even hundreds of new readers this way, but for this specific technique, you only need ten or so.

The Key to Traffic Explosion

Once you find the new readers—and this is important—you have to treat them like VIPs. Go the extra mile to make them feel welcome on your blog. You want to treat these relationships like they are the most important ones you’ll ever have.

Don’t be inauthentic during this step. Yes, you want to leverage your relationships for traffic, but if that’s all you care about, you’re doing it wrong. Never use people and then ignore them once you’ve reaped the benefits. I’ve seen people do this and I’ve had it done to me, and it is pretty upsetting. So build real friendships. Traffic is just the benefit.

Here are a few ways to treat your new readers like VIPs:

  • Find and follow them on Twitter and other social networks.
  • Interact with them on places other than your blog (social networks, their own blogs, etc.)
  • Reply to every comment they leave on your blog (you should be doing this anyway).
  • Email them thanking them for their comment. You don’t have to do this every time, but with especially good comments, reaching out via email is a nice gesture.
  • Continue to read and comment on their blogs.

Basically, build not just a relationship, but an actual friendship. Some people will be receptive to this, and some won’t. That’s okay. Don’t force it because you want traffic benefits. Just see how friendships form naturally. But the point is you can’t just sit around and wait for it to happen. You have to be proactive in finding new online friends outside of your current circle.

How and Why This Works

Once you start treating your readers like VIPs, your traffic will start to snowball. Why does this happen?

  • Readers will see how you treat your community and they’ll be more encouraged to participate.
  • Treating your newest readers like VIPs increases the chance that they’ll tell their friends about your blog.
  • Even if they opt not to spread the word, the special attention makes them more likely to become fans of your blog rather than just one-time readers.

It all starts as a trickle, but if you continue to roll out the red carpet, you’ll see the effects begin to snowball. Like with most things, this takes time and you have to be consistent. Building a community is hard work. But it all starts with ten readers (and actually, if you want to get technical, it all starts with one reader). Even if you’re brand new, you can use the tiny amount of traffic you get today to build momentum.

If you want even more traffic tips, check out the content we have coming up at NMX. We also have sessions on community, monetization, content creation, and more, so you don’t want to miss this event!

4 Ways to Write Engaging Updates on Facebook


engage your Facebook fans “How can I get more people to engage with my fan page?” It’s the first thing people ask me when they find out I wrote Facebook All-In-One For Dummies. But that question about engagement is a pretty big one and has many facets. It would take a few posts (or, you know, a book) to tackle every aspect. I can give you some advice to get you started, though.

Every platform has its own best practices. Twitter is great for sharing concise information and links. Your blog is great for sharing more in-depth philosophies and discussions. On Facebook, people move quickly. They constantly scan their News Feed or lists and only interact with the most attractive or easily accessible content. The updates you post to Facebook can make or break your community because without good updates, you get lost in the feed. The key is to share the right information to establish yourself as the authority in your niche. Your goal is to be the go-to Facebook Page for information related to your niche. To do that, you need to

  • solve a problem
  • educate your audience, or
  • entertain your audience.

That means your updates are going to be a mixture of things. I’m going to discuss four ways to increase your status update engagement:

  • Use strong calls to action (and provide the means to follow through)
  • Post photos and video
  • Ask questions
  • Extend an invitation

Give a Call to Action and Provide a Way to Follow Through

People skim Facebook and it’s likely they’ll skip interacting with your updates unless you tell them what you want from them. If you want fans to click a link, Like your update, or buy something, tell them. And then be sure they can follow through. For example, if you talk about your new product or sale, then ask your fans to buy something, be sure you link to the website page where they can do that. Or, if you want your fans to sign up for your newsletter, install an app on your Facebook Fan Page (so your fans can sign up right from Facebook), then link to that tab.

TIP: Each of your custom app tabs has its own URL. Using the newsletter example, if you have a newsletter sign up app on your Facebook fan page, it may be overlooked since few people visit your actual page after they’ve Liked it. To remind people to sign up for your newsletter, write a status update asking fans to sign up for your newsletter because you share important information or unveil products there first, then link to the newsletter sign up tab. That kind of status update does three things. It tells your fans

  • what to do (sign up for the newsletter)
  • why they should do it (you’re giving them privileged information), and
  • how to do it (click a link to the newsletter sign up app on your Facebook fan page)

Post More Photos and Video

Facebook is incredibly visual. Anything that is eye-catching (e.g. photos or video) trumps text because it’s easily digestible. Keep in mind, too, that when people are visiting Facebook, they don’t want to leave — they want everything right there at their fingertips. Clicking on a text link may take them away from Facebook, but clicking on a photo or video doesn’t interrupt the overall flow of browsing information.

TIP: Facebook updates with photo or video are 5 times more engaging than link updates, but what do you see in your News Feed? Text. That’s because typing is the easiest way to update. Instead of typing your next update, take a little time and create more engaging content that resonates with your core audience by sharing a photo or asking a question via video.

Ask Questions

Asking questions is the go-to solution for encouraging engagement. Ask anyone how you can garner more engagement on Facebook and they’ll tell you to ask more questions. The problem is that you can’t ask just any kind of question. Some questions work better than others and how you ask a question is important. Remember that Facebook isn’t the place for philosophical discussion. It moves fast and people are ready to move in and out. Instead of asking questions that include “why” or “how do you feel about” ask questions that fans can answer quickly — yes/no, either/or, or use the Facebook Question feature to create a quick poll. As people respond, be sure you’re part of the discussion. As the discussion gets going, you can ask more in-depth questions within the comments. If you want your fans to engage with you, you have to be present and visible.

TIP: For text updates like questions, shorter is better. Keep updates to about 80 characters. Buddy Press did a study that showed shorter Facebook updates perform 66% better than longer updates.

Extend an Invitation

As a community manager you have to see your fans as more than a Like or a number; you have to view them as your community and take a real interest in what they’re doing. When you do, you’ll see your engagement increase.

Extending an invitation to my readers is my favorite way to encourage engagement. I ask people to share their links in the comments. My goals when I do this are to help drive traffic to my fans’ sites, introduce my fans to each other, and introduce them to new sites. It takes some time on my part because I really do go through everyone’s links and follow them or comment on a blog post, but the result is that I have a stronger bond with my readers. They feel like I’m available to them and interested in what they’re doing — and I am. I usually ask my readers to share their own links, but sometimes I ask them if they’ve read anything by someone else they can share. That opens a whole new window of opportunity.

TIP: Not sure what to invite your fans to share? You can ask your readers to share links to their:

  • Pinterest boards
  • G+ accounts
  • Twitter profiles
  • Blog
  • Facebook fan page
  • Most popular post of the month on their blog

At the beginning of the year I asked my fans what their goals or resolutions were for their blogs, then in July I revisited that topic and asked how they were coming along.

Regardless of how you update, my best advice to you is don’t set it and forget it. Don’t automate all of your posts. Take the time every day to interact with your fans and share things with them. Respond to their questions and comments; invite them to engage. Be a part of the community you’re creating.

Do you have advice about how to encourage engagement on your Facebook fan page? Please share with us in the comments.

Gawker has a Content Problem, Not a Comment Problem


Over the past month, the Gawker family of sites has introduced a brand new way to comment. Called Kinja (previously called Powwow and not to be confused with their 2004 commenting system also called Kinja), this commenting system highlights the comments where conversation is happening, rather than the most recent comments.

It’s an interesting concept. With this system, commenters are encouraged to join existing conversations where people are already talking about the topic, rather than starting new threads. It’s like taking comment nesting to a new level. Kinja is more like a forum under each blog post than a commenting system. In fact, internally, they’ve banished the word comment, imposing a $5 fine whenever someone uses it.

A comment revolution is perhaps exactly what the world of blogging needs. But is Gawker the one to lead it?

Why Gawker’s Comment System is Different

Gawker isn’t the only company playing with the concept of a new commenting system for blogs. Comments have been evolving for several years. When I started blogging in 2006, most blogs didn’t even have nested comments, which is a pretty standard feature these days. Now, there are several commenting plugins you can install, including Disqus and LiveFyre.

What Gawker is doing is different. Why? Because it has to be.

Gawker’s new commenting system gives the house keys to the readers, so to speak, as Kat Stoeffel notes in the post linked above. They’re invited to create the content, not just respond to it, and staff writers hoping to keep their jobs have to take part in these conversations. Comments are arranged using a “secret algorithm,” which I’m guessing is easy for the Gawker staff to manipulate, and conversations can be controlled by those who start them – you now have the power to “dismiss” any reply you don’t like.

Gawker’s commenting system has to be different, has to be formatted in a way that gives both users and staff members more control, due to the choices they make with their content.

I’m a big believer that you get what you give. Trolls can – and do – attack online no matter how thoughtful your content might be, but if we stop demanding more of ourselves and instead cater to trolls, the problem is going to be rampant, as it is on Gawker’s family of sites. When you’re little more than an online tabloid and gossip mill, you can’t be surprised when you need a more closely controlled commenting system.

What is “Good” Content?

I don’t think all Gawker writers are bad, nor do I think that everything they post is without merit. But let’s take a look at what’s on these sites right now. The very first thing that comes up for me? Scorned Wife of Director That Kristen Stewart Humped Takes Sadness to Social Media Outlets

Seriously? “Director that Kristen Stewart Humped”? There wasn’t a better way to say that, especially in conjunction with a story about his wife, who had no part in the indiscretion and is likely going through one of the worst events in her life right now?

It’s not just the headline though. The entire article is full of conjecture rather than fact. Worse, it is full of misleading statements. For example, the post ends with:

Ross’ latest dig at The Huntsman starlett? An instagram photo of a less-than-pristine looking Snow White with the caption: “Not so pretty or so pure afterall …..” Burn.”

If you actually click on the link to read the story, however, you learn that this was “an Instagram photo from the user “libertyross” (which may or may not actually be Ross, who is the director’s wife).”

As a long time gamer and previous writer in the video game industry, I’ve seen similar problems with Kotaku, another site in the Gawker family. Headlines are often misleading and rumors are presented as fact. Furthormore, writers on all of Gawker’s sites seem trained in the art of getting a rise out of people. I believe the term spin doctors might apply here; perhaps they aspire to careers in politics. At the very least, Gawker’s writers seem to understand the rhetoric required in blog posts to elicit emotion.

This in and of itself is not a bad thing, but rhetorical power in the wrong hands leads to…well…posts about the wife of a man Kristen Stewart is “humping.” It’s almost like readers are being trained to be trolls.

Good content is not only that which seeks a neutral stance. Controversy, when done correctly, can be extremely effective. But quality has to come before the spin. Reporting is still important, and fewer and fewer bloggers are retaining this skill. When a large “media” company like Gawker doesn’t value quality, it hurts the entire industry because they’re sending the message, “This is okay. This is what blogging is about.”

It’s Time for Better Commenting

It is, in fact, time for the blogging industry to embrace new ways of thinking about comments. Kinja might be the start of that, but there are still some problems. Peter Stern of the Columbia Journalism Review writes,

“The goal is to erase the traditional distinctions between writers, editors, readers, subject, and sources,” Denton told CJR in a Gchat. At the same time, he insisted, “our goal is to help our writers each achieve greater influence and reach with the same amount of work.” So which is it—does Denton want to empower writers or replace them?

But the future of commenting is here, and we can’t just ignore it completely. We don’t have to embrace it, but as bloggers, we can work to understand it and improve it. Says community management and social media strategist Natalie Rodic Marsan from Broken Open Media,

This is the natural progression of comments, and in fact, I’m thrilled to see that the thinking around blog comments is catching up to the AI-driven, algorithmic social web as we know it. I’d say this is the first step in what will be an even more customized approach to how each viewer can interact with a post and ensuing comments. While sites like Mashable, HuffPo, and now even LinkedIn are encouraging us to customize the news and updates we receive, as well as the other readers/members we want to follow, the natural progression is for these choices we make to also affect the comments we see on any given post (especially posts with upwards of hundreds of comments).

As Gawker continues to tweak Kinja in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see how readers react. Gawker’s content issues pose a huge problem to us, though – can we really understand the value (or lack of value) with a system like Kinja when readers are trained to be trolls?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this with a comment below. And yes, we still call them comments here on the NMX/BlogWorld blog!


YouTube as a Community, Not Just a Platform


If you’re creating a web series, you’re likely uploading content to YouTube. While this is a great platform to reach new views, if you’re justthinking about YouTube as a platform, you’re doing yourself an injustice. Instead, it pays to think of YouTube as a community. Today at BlogWorld New York, this was one of the topics discussed by moderator Joseph Warshaw and panelists Maria Diokno, Colin Evans, and Donnell Riley at their session, “Social Media for Web Series.”

Growing Your Web Series Through the YouTube Community

Because YouTube is such a large and open community, you can easily connect with others in your niche to grow your own subscriber numbers. The key, according to Joseph, is to network in a smart way, using connections to grow slowly. If you have 2,000 subscribers, start by connecting with people in the YouTube community with 4,000 subscribers – not a million subscribers. As you grow, you an approach people who are more popular, but it makes sense to grow slowly.

Reaching Out to Local People

Don’t forget that even though YouTube is a huge community, you can also make it very “small.” Reach out to local users, because you can easily collaborate with these people. This is beneficial to both of you, since you can easily cross promote on one another’s channels. To go along with this tip, you can also reach out to local aspiring actors, who will often jump at the chance to be a guest on your web series. So, find your local community on YouTube and connect with these people.

This is just a small piece of the tips and tricks these panelists discussed. Want to hear the entire discussion? Pick up a virtual ticket today, and you’ll get recordings of this and all other sessions from BlogWorld New York 2012.

Using Your Podcast Content as a Gateway


Today, podcasters Jay Glatfelter, Jack Glatfelter, Rob Cesternino, and Zach Logan joined moderator Darrell Darnell to talk about Building a Successful Fan Podcast. One of the most interesting topics they covered was how you can easily use your first or main podcast as a gateway to build your community around other podcasts as well, which is also possible for web series and blogs. So how can you do it? Here are some tips from the guys:

  • Think about what makes your content unique.

One of the most important things to think about as a digital content creator is what makes you so special. Your community cares about more than just your content. Jack and Jay, for example, started another podcast just to ramble, since they did this on their Lost podcast. You need to bring your community together in a way that goes beyond your topic.

  • Be entertaining.

To go along with the first tip, as a podcaster, you need to realize that your fans want to listen to your podcast because it’s from you. Says Rob, “If you’re entertaining and people enjoy listening to you, you can talk about any subject.” So realize that you can promote your content to across the board (as long as it makes sense). In other words, if you have a podcast about gaming, you can use it to talk about your television podcast, as long as you can find that tie-in.

  • Feel strongly about your content.

One of the points Zach talked about was how important it is be passionate about your topic and podcast about things you care about. This doesn’t have to be about charity work (though it certainly can be), but create a campaign for something you care about. When you have a passion for your topics, fans will come together to create a community and you have that common bond, so they’re more likely to follow you to your other content as well.

Of course, this is just a small sample of the content from this panel. Interesting in learning more? You can get access to the session as well at the dozens of other sessions at BlogWorld New York by picking up a virtual ticket (or adding it onto your live ticket if you’re already here at BlogWorld but missed this session). Check it out here!

Review: Online Community Management for Dummies (Plus a Giveaway!)


What’s the difference between an online community manager and a moderator? More cowbell.

At least, that’s the answer BlogWorld’s very own community manager Deb Ng gives in her new book Online Community Management for Dummies. Deb was nice enough to send me a copy to review, and at the end of this post, she even has a special giveaway for the BlogWorld community!

Online Community Management for Dummies is part of the best-selling Dummies guide series from Wiley. On the cover, Deb promises to teach readers how to:

  • Identify core tasks for community managers
  • Build and maintain positive relationships within your online community
  • Establish policies and transparency
  • Manager comments, respond to criticism, and evaluate ROI

I whole-heartedly think she fulfills these promises.

If you have blog, podcaster, business Facebook page, forum, video series, or any kind of other online content, you have a community – people who enjoy what you do and feel a sense of camaraderie about your online presence. A lot of people make the mistake of never engaging their community or even acknowledging their existence, but without these loyal people supporting your work online, you’re dead in the water. Deb’s book is all about how to interact online in a way that thanks your community for their support, builds your network of fans, and helps them thrive.

Online Community Management for Dummies is 314 pages split into the following parts:

  • Part I: The Basics of  Online Community Management
  • Part II: Embracing the Community Manager’s Role
  • Part III: Building a Productive Online Community
  • Part IV: Growing Your Community
  • Part V: Assessing the Health of Your Community
  • Part VI: Taking Your Community Offline
  • Part VII: The Part of Tens (Ten Essential Community Manager Tasks, Ten Must-Have Skills for Community Managers, and Ten Best Practices of a Community Manager)

I like that this book is so encompassing and even covers the complexities surrounding specific types of communities, such as communities for children. The biggest negative, in my opinion, is that this is a Dummies book. I think Deb does a great job making the content interesting, but I personally tend to enjoy books that have less of a rigid structure and more personal stories about failures and successes. That said, if you’re new to community management, the structure of a Dummies book makes it easy to follow along and learn step-by-step, so don’t let this observation of mine deter you from picking up a copy.

I found the most helpful section of this book to be Chapter 7: Listening to Your Community. Writes Deb,

It’s one thing to watch and a whole other things to listen. During your rounds on the social networks, blogs, and community pages, pay attention to what people are saying. How many members are saying the same things? Members won’t come to you with every concern or request, but they may share ideas with one another. Pay attention to what they’re saying an take notes.

I think that’s where a lot of community managers fall short – they monitor, but don’t actually listen. Of course, this is not the only point of good advice in the book. Deb also makes a lot of stellar suggestions and observations such as:

  • Adding a community calender so members know what’s coming up
  • Rewarding loyalty with prizes and perks
  • Encouraging members to share rather than making it all about you
  • Using Google alerts to make sure you know what people are saying about you
  • Consider planning real-world meetups/tweetups
  • Avoiding the negativity trap

I could continue, but in all honestly, you should just pick up a copy yourself! 😉

Or you could win a copy! That’s right, Deb has agreed to give away a copy of Online Community Management for Dummies to one lucky winner. To enter, simply leave a comment below responding to the following community challenge:

You write a blog post that goes viral and starts bringing in hundreds of comments. As readers weigh in with their opinion and reply to one another in the comments section of your blog post, you notice that one commenter continually makes negative remarks and calls other people names. He’s not just trolling, because he actually has insightful things to say about the topic, but his comments are increasingly rude and hurtful not just to you, but to other commenters. What do you do?

Leave a comment below by Friday, May 11, 2012 at 5 PM EST and one lucky winner will be drawn to receive a copy of Deb’s book!

(Fine print: Winner will be drawn using Random.org and notified via email. Winner must respond within five business days to claim this prize. You may comment as often as you like, but only one comment per person will count as an entry. Commenting from multiple accounts and other attempts to cheat the system will result in disqualification. Only comments answering the above question will count as entries, though other comments are welcome. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. All decisions made by BlogWorld are final. Void where prohibited.)

15 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Managing Forums


Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Managing Forums

Back in the day, before social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, I lived on forums. I loved the ability to connect with other people who had similar interests, and some of the people I met on these forums are still people I’m friends with today, several years later. Although they receive less attention than social media platforms, forums are far from dead. In fact, if you have a thriving community, you could benefit from the addition of forums on your blog.

Before you jump into this world, though, take the advice of the below-linked brilliant bloggers. These are people who know a thing or two about managing a forum, and they have some great tips and opinions that could help you on your forum ventures.

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

How to Start a Busy Forum in ONE Day by Gary Mccaffrey

In my experience, the biggest challenge of any forum admin is keeping people interested. It’s especially difficult at the beginning, because people are always hesitant to get involved with anything if no one else is involved. In my opinion, it’s why some popular blogs continue to stay popular, even if there is better content at other blogs. People love to be part of something. In this post, Gary talks about how to create an environment where people are encouraged to participate, even from day one. This creates that momentum you need to keep the forum active. Writes Gary,

I developed this method after failing badly when I first attempted to start an online discussion forum.  It’s a pretty much fail proof method for getting a forum started.

If you’ve ever tried or even thought about starting an internet forum before, you will know that it is not easy.

After reading the entire post about starting a new forum, you can find Gary on Twitter @garymccaffrey.

5 Things Not to Do When Starting a Forum by Josh

Sometimes it’s not what you should do, but rather what you should avoid doing. In this post, Josh talks about some of the most common mistakes forum admins make when starting a new forum and managing members for the first time. Whether you’re starting a forum for your own blog or taking a new position with someone else as their new forum mod, these are great tips you can use to avoid killing traffic and participation. From the post:

Creating a successful forum can be a difficult task for any Admin, even though there’s loads of information out there about forum management. But while there is a lot of information about how to build a successful forum, there isn’t much information about some of the causes of failure.

Josh is also a moderator at Chaterrific. You can find him on Twitter @originaljlogan.

Top Ten Lessons I’ve Learned About Managing an Online Forum by pops

I think this post shares some really important experiences about managing an online forum from someone who’s been an admin at two very different kinds of forums. Not every “rule” out there is going to work for every forum, just like not every “rule” out there is going to work for every blog. However, despite differences, a forum is a forum is a forum. So, take a look at the lessons you can learn from this blogger’s experiences to better your own forums. From the post:

Starting a forum is a lot of work and the financial rewards come slowly and irregularly if at all. During the lean times, your passion is what will sustain you. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be YOUR passion. Both of my forums were someone else’s idea. Initially I was just along for the ride. It was their commitment that dragged me (and the forums) through the tough times.

This blog also has a really great post called Tips on Promoting Your Forum that I recommend checking out.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about managing forums? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link.

Next Week’s Topic: Paper.li

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

What Howard Stern Can Teach You About Building Community


A couple of months ago I bought a new Ford Explorer (I love the SYNC system but that’s another post). Anyway it came with a free six month subscription to Sirius/XM radio. I have been a big Howard Stern fan for a couple of decades now but quit listening when he left terrestrial radio in 2006. So I tuned in to see what I had been missing all these years.

Guess what, I hadn’t missed a thing. The same cast of characters were all there. Baba Booey, Robin, Fred, Ronnie the Limo Driver and all the rest of the gang. But that’s just the crew. He has all the same fans too. Jeff The Drunk, Miss Howard Stern, Big Black, King of All Blacks, MaryAnn from Brooklyn, Eric the Midget, Bigfoot and scores of others. Yes new characters have joined the Stern community and some have left, but for the most part it was like stepping back in a time machine. It was like coming home to your crazy family’s house for Christmas.

I never called in, but as a listener to the show I always felt like I was a part of this community. I loved these crazy guys. Sometimes Howard offended me. Usually when he was being mean to someone he used to be friends with for one reason or another. Or some poor sucker who became the butt of his jokes. But like family you get over the things that make you mad and you still love them almost no matter what they do. You can even hear some members of the family trying to mediate disputes between other members from time to time. How many communities have members that are that dedicated to one another?

There are some very important lessons here. You can offend your community from time to time, but you can’t be fake. You have to be you and what they expect you to be. Howard does that like no other. Yes it’s a lot of schtick but that’s what we expect from him and he never fails to deliver.

If people really feel like they belong to a community, then it’s not just your community they are a member of. They are not just loyal to you, but to each other.

But there is more to building a community than that. Other people absolutely hate him. Have tried to ban him, are disgusted by him. Howard Stern knows how to elicit very strong emotional responses from people. I have heard movie stars, rock stars and regular schmoes cry, shout, throw things at each other they are so angry and laugh until their sides hurt.

Guess what, his community loves him all the more and will defend him in some cases to the death against those that hate him. If you were talking about anyone else you would say that last sentence was hyperbole. Not in the case of Howard Stern. No one has actually died yet, but if he asked don’t you think there are those that would?

People have gone to jail for him. Just to pull off a gag. That is a community that very few people can equal.

So this morning I see this story: Howard Stern personally calls Twitter fans on New Year’s Eve. Read the tweets from some of the fans Howard called:

“Howard Stern just called me! This new year rules already!”

OMG! It was like the best thing ever! I started crying after we hung up!”

This wasn’t that difficult to do. But how many celebrities do you know who would drunk dial their fans on New Years Eve?

Howard’s community loves him because they feel loved by him. He shows that love by delivering amazing content. Absolutely make you fall out of your chair laughing funny stuff. He makes people feel like they are part of a family. A family that needs to stick together because the rest of the world is out to get us. It is us against them.

By the way do you notice how many quirky members he has in his family? Do you think that is an accident? Yes he mocks them, makes fun of them, ridicules them he makes racist jokes constantly; but he also accepts them with all their flaws, all their differences. Some of these people are flat out crazy. But Howard accepts them into his community. All you have to do is accept Howard for what he is and you can be a part of this family.

You see anyone can be a part of this community / family. Most communities have some requirement to join, some common interest, some disqualifying factors. Howard’s community does too. Just one; acceptance. Howard Stern is a genius when it comes to creating content and more importantly in building community.

Do you agree or am I just being a fan boy?

The Power of Community in Your Podcast


Christmas is a time for giving, and that’s true for your online communities as well as family and friends in real life. Just before the holidays started I was reminded of the connection that a show can have between the listeners and the producers.

This time, I was the listener, and looking forward to the Christmas show from Radio International. It’s one of a number of sites based around the Eurovision Song Contest, and hosts a weekly podcast and radio broadcast in the Netherlands, and a few days before the festive broadcast I learned that JP, the host, wouldn’t be able to run the Christmas show – one that everyone was looking forward to.

So I volunteered.

Was it the same show that JP would have put out? I suspect not – a three hour show, with music, chat, and news has its own vibrancy derived from the host in the chair. Besides, I was sitting in the Belgian studio with JP’s music collection, but up in Edinburgh with a slightly more esoteric Scottish flavoured collection.

But with some help from many of the listeners I reached out to, a playlist was put together, guests were told of the new arrangements, and I sat down with a few spare hours and made sure that Radio International had their weekly show.

The community contributed to the show in the best way possible, and for me that was one of the best shows I have done. It also shows that everyone’s online shows are about more than a one to many broadcast – they are about personal connections, interactions, and friendships that flow in both directions.

That’s what makes new media so unique, special, and personal. And that’s what makes it an amazing space to continue to explore as we head into the new year.

The 12 New Media Days of Christmas 2011: 7 Community Managers a-Managing


During the 12 New Media Days of Christmas, we’re counting down the days until Santa comes by featuring some of the best blog posts of 2011 from awesome writers within the BlogWorld community! Skip to the end to read more posts in this holiday series and don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve written a post about today’s topic!

Okay, so today’s title doesn’t necessarily roll of the tongue…but I think we need to give it up for the topic: Community Management. Community managers have one of the most difficult jobs in the new media world, in my opinion, and they often go unrecognized for the long hours they put in. If your blog or business is a one-man (or woman) show, you’ll need to wear the community management hat from time to time, and trust me; it isn’t an easy job to do. So today, I’ve collected some posts some helpful posts to get you started.

Oh, and by the way – she’s super modest about it, but our own Deb Ng recently published Online Community Management for Dummies, which you should totally check out!

Post too long? Head to the Quick Links section for just a list of the links included in this post without all the analysis and quotes!

1. What’s a Community Worth? by Ilana Rabinowitz at Social Media Explorer

Before we even start talking about community management, we have to first understand community. Ilana’s post is a great place to start, because she writes about why community is a vital part of your success online. Think your blog/business will be fine without a community? Think again – the community is the powerful, strong backbone of your brand, and when you need them, they’ll be there for you – if you’ve build something worthy of their support. Writes Ilana,

As business people, we tend to think about our connections as an audience, but if we want to be social, that won’t be enough. We need to build a community to assure the long-term health of our business. Businesses, like people, need to nurture relationships in the context of a community. It can make the difference between success and failure when you need it most.

You can find Ilana on Twitter @ilana221. She also blogs about social media at Marketing Without A Net and is the vice president of marketing for Lion Brand Yarn.


2. The Anatomy of a Community Manager by Adi Gaskell at AdiGaskell.com

This post goes over all of the important qualities you need to successfully manage a community. Some are common sense (for example, you have to be a good listener, of course), but others might surprise you. Are you able to focus on output over input? Do you have “political” influence? Do you challenge the status quo? These, and other skills Adi lists, are all important to be a successful community manager, whether you’re managing the community of your blog or the community of a multi-million dollar international business. From the post:

Community managers often have to be all things to all people.  They’re required to have good technical skills, strong emotional capabilities with an encyclopedic knowledge of their subject area.

After reading the rest of Adi’s post, you can find him on Twitter @adigaskell. He writes for a number of other social media related blogs, including Social Media Today, Technorati, and Social Business News.


3. Engaged Community is a Healthy Community – Best Practices in Internal Social Networking by Maria Ogneva at Social Media Today

Maria is the head of community at Yammer, and her experience in this area shows in this post! If you’re considering building a community from the ground up, this is a great resource of tips to help you get started. I especially love Maria’s WIIFM tip. People always want to know, “What’s In It For Me?” and if you want them to continue being a member of your community, you have to make that question easy to answer. Otherwise, your community runs the risk of simply dying before it even begins. In this post, Maria writes,

“How do I ensure continued engagement in this network? How do I get people to come back and participate?” I think this is a key question to ask yourself, and if you can formulate a plan of action prior to rolling out the community, you will certainly be setting yourself up for success.

In addition to working with Yammer, Maria also runs her own blog at Social Silk. You can find her on Twitter @themaria.


4. The Discomfort of Becoming a “Public Person” by Emilie Wapnick at Puttylike

Before we go a step farther talking about community, I think this is an important post to review. Although it’s not about a traditional community management topic, it is a topic that community managers need to consider. When you take on this role, you become a very public online personality, and that’s not something easy to handle, even if you’re an outgoing person. Community managers need to always do what is best for their communities, even if that means being a bit uncomfortable at times. Writes Emilie,

When you’re faced with a choice between preserving your ego and doing what’s best for your cause, choose the latter. Don’t let fear be the thing that decides your actions. Put yourself out there, allow yourself to be momentarily embarrassed, and then move on.

You can find Emilie on Twitter @emiliewapnick and like her blog on Facebook to stay connected. She recently launched Renaissance Business, a book about combining your interests to create a viable business, rather than choosing just one niche.


5. Are You Really Talking To Your Prospect? by Francisco Rosales at Social Mouths

Do you know the members of your community? I don’t necessarily mean individually, but do you know the average type of person who is a member of your community? Or, more importantly, do you know the type of person you want to be a member of your community? Until you define your community, it’s hard to connect with them through blog posts, social media, or any other means of communication. In this post, Fransisco talks about how to focus on reaching your community members, why you should ignore some people, and more. He writes,

Put all your knowledge, talent and experience together and deliver it to the people that needs it. If somebody says “I already knew that” then that person is not your target.

Producing content for the wrong audience is very time consuming and leads you to no sales.

You can find Francisco on Twitter @socialmouths and add him to your Google+ circles to read more from him.


6. 5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Community Manager by Dave Cayem at Cayem.com

Reading this clever year-end post is a great way to ensure that you start 2012 off on the right foot as a community manager. I especially like Dave’s tip about measurement. Yes, your community efforts can be measured. A lot of community managers avoid measurement tools like the plague, but I think those who do strive to keep track of community data are the best in the business. Dave also gives some other great tips on community management as well. He writes,

2012 is nearly here, and lots of people are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. It’s also a great time for community managers to think about what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve.

You can find Dave on Twitter @DaveCayem, as well as connect with him on Facebook and Google+.


7. How to Select Moderators and Staff Members on an Established Online Community by Patrick O’Keefe from Managing Communities

You’ll be hard pressed to find a post on Managing Communities that isn’t worth reading if you’re interested in learning more about online community management. I’m picking this post to highlight because it covers an important topic that isn’t touched on by the other community posts on this list – you’re likely going to need help. As your community grows, it is important to hire the right people to help you manage it, and often these people come from the community itself. This post gives you the step-by-step process to ensure that the people you choose to help you are going to keep the happy community ball rolling. Writes Patrick,

Your staff can be a vital part of your community, can help you to cover more and do a better job of maintaining the standards that you set for your community. The members of your staff will change, just like your friends in high school, your coworkers at an office or the neighbors on your block. From time to time, you will look to bring new members on board.

After checking out Patrick’s tips, you can follow him on Twitter @ifroggy or follow the blog’s Twitter stream @managecommunity. Patrick is the founder of the iFroggy Network and co-hosts the SitePoint Podcast.

BONUS: Free Online Community Management Resources On The Web by Richard Millington at FeverBee

Holy. Cannoli. If you’re looking for online community management advice, this is a one-stop shop. Not only does Richard run a great community management blog with tons of advice to check out, but this post links to dozens of great resources for community managers, including other community management blogs, published papers about community, and ebooks/reports about community management. Oh yeah, and it’s all free. Seriously, check out this blog post now.

(Richard is the founder of The Pillar Summit, an exclusive course in Professional Community Management and the the author of the Online Community Manifesto. You can find him on Twitter @richmillington.)

Quick Links

For those of you short on time, here’s a list of the links covered in this post:

  1. What’s a Community Worth? by Ilana Rabinowitz (@ilana221)
  2. The Anatomy of a Community Manager by Adi Gaskell (@adigaskell)
  3. Engaged Community is a Healthy Community – Best Practices in Internal Social Networking by Maria Ogneva (@themaria)
  4. The Discomfort of Becoming a “Public Person” by Emilie Wapnick (@emiliewapnick)
  5. Are You Really Talking To Your Prospect? by Francisco Rosales (@socialmouths)
  6. 5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Community Manager by Dave Cayem (@DaveCayem)
  7. How to Select Moderators and Staff Members on an Established Online Community by Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy)

BONUS: Free Online Community Management Resources On The Web by Richard Millington (@richmillington)

Other posts in the 12 New Media Days of Christmas series will be linked here as they go live:

12 Bloggers Monetizing
11 Emailers List Building
10 Google+ Users a-Sharing
9 Vloggers Recording
8 Links a-Baiting
7 Community Managers a-Managing (this post)
6 Publishers a-Publishing
5 Traffic Tips
4 New Media Case Studies
3 Must-Read New Media Interviews
2 Top New Media News Stories of 2011
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

You can also check out the all the posts from 2010 and 2011 here , and don’t forget: If you wrote a post in 2011 about today’s topic (community management), PLEASE leave the link in a comment below to share with the community!

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