Community is one of the most important things in the blog world. When you break everything down to its most simplest parts – you, people, and the internet remain. You see, without readers your blog is a journal and thus really not a blog. HOWEVER there is no magical number of readers that makes your blog real. Your family who reads to stay updated, your friends from college who love looking at your little ones, the community of other bloggers who read yours for daily inspiration, the stories you write for your kids to read when they are older, the pageviews & comments, no matter how large or how little, are all part of your audience.
Today I want to talk to you about networking and encourage you reach out and build your community. This is not to blow up your pageviews or skyrocket your bloglovin’ followers but to truly connect with others. I want to encourage you that your reach is valuable. That the people who read your blog, comment on your posts, and pin your pictures are important in your community. Authentic growth means so much more than any artificial numbers or scams. And people LOVE blogs that a “real” because we can trust them. While trying to grow your blog, don’t lose yourself. Because you matter and your readers matter. Here are some tips for authentic networking & growth!
COMMENT ON OTHER BLOGS
PARTICIPATE IN COMMUNITY EVENTS
SWAP BLOG BUTTONS & ADVERTISE
- Only ask to swap with blogs that are around your same size, smaller, or who have a similar audience & are open to swaps. Some blogs who have large readerships (blogs like A beautiful Mess, CaseyLeigh, Living in Yellow, etc. ) only can do paid advertising because of the large number of brands and blogs who want to work with them. They put a lot of hard work and effort into getting their blogs to where they are today. Don’t under value their work by asking for a free $100 advertising space.
- If you want to work out something with larger brands, you can ask if they would be willing to give you a discount on advertising in exchange for a free ad on your blog. This way you acknowledge that their readership is much larger but that you are still interested in working with them.
ADVERTISING: The other way of getting your button out there is by purchasing advertising space. You may see this as “selling out” or “buying your readers” but I strongly disagree. First off, you are never making anyone follow your blog so you are not really buying anyone. Secondly, how are people going to find you if you are not around? Advertising puts you in front of a whole new readership and is a vehicle for you to connect with new readers and friends. There are many different advertising packages and the vary depending on the blog.
Related: Purchasing Advertising Space
ALWAYS RESPOND TO EMAILS & COMMENTS
I know this one sounds a little legalistic and the truth is that I don’t even do this all the time. I wanted to say always to emphasize the importance. If people are in your little corner of the world interacting with you, you need to acknowledge them or they will leave. As I have grown it has been harder to reply to every email & comment but I made it a priority when I was a smaller blogger to respond to every comment and I try to do it as much as I can even now.This does not need to be an instant thing or even a day of action. I give myself a week to respond to emails and comments so that I don’t go crazy trying to reply to all my comments as they are coming in. This also does not mean that every comment needs a reply but it does mean that if someone comments on your blog every day, you should have interacted with them at least a couple times.Your readers understand that you are busy and you don’t just sit at home waiting for an email or comment to come in to reply to and they will give you more grace than you do yourself! But if you want to create a life giving & inspirational community, you need to give life and say hello.
Don’t let the no replies or the “I am sorry but not this time” get you down. If you never ask, than you never know! I am finding this out more and more – people are excited about being contacted and usually are up for something fun. Be creative, organized, and confident in your requests and people will jump on board!
WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR GROWING COMMUNITY?
Obviously you cannot do it all, but you can take steps toward growing and nurturing that community. Take care of the people who are already there and invite others in! I believe in you and I know that you can do it!
Yara Miora says
This is such a strong post and very useful too. I feel like my fear of asking others for help or for contact is that my closest friends from college hardly ever read my blog and I felt so disappointed because I know that if they’d blog I’d be so excited and share their posts and comment on every single thing. I think I figured, if even THEY aren’t interested, why would anyone else? I’m trying hard to build a community but I feel like its really hard when everyone is busy doing they individual thing. Thank you so much for always posting such insightful things and for building community.
Lots of love,
Oak & Oats says
You got this! Interact, engage, reach out, and be brave!
This is such a helpful post Elizabeth! I’m good at commenting on other blogs and responding to my emails. But in the last 3 months I’ve finally gotten my blog where I want it visually and aesthetically and have been searching for ways to share my content more. I’ll def look into the swap idea especially — I know a few other small bloggers like me who would undoubtedly be excited by that idea too!
Ashley || Sed Bona
Oak & Oats says
YAY! I love that! Engaging is so important! You’ve got this!
This was so helpful and encouraging! Thanks so much for sharing!
Oak & Oats says
YAY! You are so welcome! I am glad you were encouraged!
Julie Hood says
Responding to comments is huge–totally agree! (But I can understand why it’s unrealistic to as a bigger blog). I also love leaving comments on the random blogs I find via Pinterest 🙂
Oak & Oats says
I love to do that as well! I also try to comment more on instagrams I love too!
Yes yes yes! I still haven’t gotten into the swaps and advertising, but I totally agree about responding to comments, engaging with other bloggers and of course my favorite is just the friendship that are born from blogging! A great post!
Oak & Oats says
Yes!! So true!!!