1. Promote others
See someone doing something ace? Give them a shout out. Maybe it’s on social media, maybe it’s on your blog… Wherever it is, make it sincere and explain why you like the thing/person/idea. Promote the people you admire and help other people find them. Help them grow their community and somehow, magically, it’ll come back ’round for you too!
Carly Findlay is always generously promoting the bright ideas of other bloggers.
2. Talk back
It’s really hard to find the time to reply to comments. I totally get that. Imagine if you were a reader though… You are reading and following the ‘call to action’ to provide feedback on a blog post or have your say. And then…. crickets. No response. There’s only so long even the loveliest reader can handle talking to a brick wall before they start to take things personally. Make time every few days (or more often) to respond to your readers. You’re putting in all that work to write or create great content for them, make sure you spend some time getting to know them too!
FoxsLane is especially good at replying on Instagram and in her blog comments.
3. Platform hop
It used to be the case that blogs were the hub of comments and interaction for bloggers. The advent of social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter have diluted the conversations between readers and writers and taken them further afield. You’ll find that readers will have their own preferred platform where they’ll interact with you. It would be so great if they all chose the same platform, but they don’t so you’ll need to start hopping about and talking to readers all over the place if you want to grow your community. This can take up a lot of time but again you can’t beat sincere, personal interaction. It’s what friendship and community are all about.
Megan Morton does this really well on Instagram.
Invite your readers to do things with you. It might be a meme you can all join in on? A hashtag movement? Sometimes the online world can feel a bit isolating. Group projects are a great way to bring people together and work en masse towards a similar creative goal. Working together is also a great way to gather buddies and inspiration. You’ll meet people you didn’t know and hatch ideas you might not otherwise have thought of. Connect through a cool project or idea!
Chantelle Ellem is the queen of the clever, creative hashtag!
5. Listen carefully
Blogging is not just about broadcasting. It’s about listening to other voices too. Listen to your readers, follow them on Facebook, be sure you give a toss about what they are doing. They are your people!
Also, seek out other voices that make sense to you. Be a reader and contribute to other writer’s blogs. It’s not all about your blog and your community has SO MUCH to offer you if you prick up your ears and listen to the good things others are doing.
6. Join in
Don’t see other people’s cool projects and memes as a red flag, a sign YOU should be doing the same. Be generous and JOIN IN with their cute idea. Tag along and be a good blog buddy. Help them achieve what they are trying to achieve. The cleverness of others should not always be a prompt to compete. Think of it as prod towards collaboration and everyone will win.
Lots of great bloggers are doing this via this 52 project.
7. Hatch a life-changing, charitable project (or join someone else’s!)
If you’re feeling a bit caught up in a bloggy narcissistic bubble, turn it all on its head and look further afield for someone to help. Even if your blog only has a small readership you can tell them about issues or non-profits which are important to you. Better still, look for other bloggers who are doing great, charitable things and join them or promote the work they are doing. A community built on making a difference is a useful and meaningful one.
I love the way Cate Bolt does this.
8. Go free
Not everything has to have a dollar value attached to it. Create useful products or posts and give them away to your readers. Think of it as a way to thank them for their loyalty and interest in what you are doing. Go free and do it regularly. Not only does it show your readers they are valued, it feels good to gift something great to great people!
My Poppet does this a lot. Thanks!
9. Make it real
When you can, take things offline and meet other bloggers in the real world. You can keep your ear to the ground and look out for blogger events via various Facebook groups (Aussie Bloggers or for example!) If you have a great mini-community of blog pals already you could create your own blog meet or InstaMeet.
Look at how The Blog Society is doing just that.
10. Get amongst it
Even if you are a well read blogger, don’t lose yourself in the spin. Your readers are probably JUST as interesting and clever as you, if not more interesting. Don’t talk down to your readers. Don’t deliver addresses from the lofty heights of YOU.COM. Remember to stay humble, be sincere and honest and never assume that you’re top tier. There’s always something to learn from the people who are blogging or reading alongside you. Step down and get amongst it.