Missed the first posts in this series? Check them out here.
#6 Build Community
If you want to build a successful blog, can I encourage you to stop focusing so much on building a platform and instead throw your efforts into creating a community?
Listen to Your Readers
A community is where people feel welcomed, heard, accepted, and a part of something. You have a voice. You have worth. You have influence.
The worst thing you can do as a blogger is to write a post and then disappear and never come back to interact in the comments. Blogging is a two-way street.
I’m not saying you have to respond to every single comment, but do take time to engage with your audience. Let them know that you appreciate them, that you care about them, and that you’re reading what they have to say.
This blog has changed a lot since its early days. I’m no longer a one-woman show. In fact, I have some of the best and brightest people working for me. I’ve delegated a lot of tasks so that I can have a healthy balance in my own life and have margin to invest in my own health, marriage, and children.
But one thing I’ve chosen not to delegate is reading and responding to comments and managing my Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts. Yes, it takes time to keep up with all the comments on the blog and on my social media channels (and I don’t always get to respond to every one like I’d like to!), but it’s so very worth it because you all are my community. (Please note: I’m not saying that everyone should make the decisions I’ve made here, but I know that this is one decision I have yet to regret in the least.)
This might sound a little weird, but it’s true: I love you all. I care about you all. And I want to know what you all are saying — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
If dozens of you don’t like a post, I want to know that so I can step back and ask myself, “What did I do wrong?” and “What can I learn from my mistakes?” If a number of you found a post really helpful, I want to know that to so I can keep it in mind as I contemplate future post ideas and series ideas.
Ask for Your Readers’ Input
Reading what you have to say has taught me so much. I’ve grown as a person, my mind has been expanded, my understanding of the world has been broadened, and I’ve picked up more frugal tips and suggestions than I could ever count.
Truly, you all are so brilliant and amazing. I learn something new from you each and every day.
And that’s why I love asking for your input. I want to know your ideas and suggestions — because they are often a hundred times better than I could ever come up with on my own.
Best of all, your comments and emails provide me with a never-ending stream of blog post ideas. If you ever run low on blog post ideas, try asking your readers for suggestions — either for post ideas or just asking for their input on a decision you’re trying to make, even if it’s something rather small (like what to do with all my canned biscuits). This makes your readers feel like they are more a part of your life and it helps to provide you with blog fodder, too. 🙂
Value Your Readers’ Suggestions
Don’t just ask for your readers’ input; really listen to what they have to say. Learn from them. Engage them in discussions. Ask for their advice and input.
If your readers know they are valued, they are much more likely to interact in the comments, send you emails, and stick with you for the long haul. And this will guarantee that you’ll have an endless string of new blogging ideas coming your way for years to come!
Just a Little Thank You
It’s only fit that I end this post with a thank you note to each and every one of you who read here regularly. You have no idea how much your comments and emails mean to me. I don’t always get to respond to each of them, but I read and appreciate every one.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a part of this community. As always, if you have suggestions or ideas for how we can make this an even better community, I’d love to hear and consider them.
I’m blessed by you every day. You’ve enriched my life more than you’ll ever know. Just thank you.
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