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!