Nikki Parkinson from Styling You enlightened the audience at Problogger about how to create an online community that you love. And, at the heart of it all, the most crucial aspect is making your community feel welcome. Your readers should feel welcome as soon as they land on your blog. Not only that though, you should enjoy rocking up to your blog every day. You should love logging on.
To make this all a reality, Parkinson relies on her five pillars to building the online community that you love:
- Know your reader (current and ideal)
- Set the tone of your online space
- Engage with your community
- Give back (both to your community and the blogging community)
- Manage your time
Image courtesy of: www.stylingyou.com.au
1. Know Your Reader
Parkinson recommends that bloggers think about not only who their current readers are, but also who their ideal reader is. There is any number of ways to do this: check your Google insights, and review your Facebook insights. By using these statistics, you should see your existing and ideal demographics reflected right back at you. Parkinson’s tip: think about it like attracting the perfect customer for your business.
2. Set Your Tone
When it comes to blogging, you can, and should, set and retain your own voice. You can be funny. You can be inspirational. You can be caring. You can be thought provoking. You can be ranty. If a particular tone feels right for you, then make it work. Own your tone.
It goes without saying that other people have different experiences to you. Different opinions. Different stories to tell. So, ask your readers to share their experience with you, and with the rest of your audience. Parkinson makes sure that she asks a question at the end of every blog post. She says: if you always make the invitation, then it will happen. Eventually. At first, it might just be like crickets, but eventually the comments will start to flow.
Then, make sure that you listen to those comments – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Learn from them. When you are still trying to frame who your audience is, listening will help you learn exactly who your audience is. And finally, make sure that you answer. Politely.
Another effective engagement tool is asking your readers for content ideas. This is the perfect way to do market research and to really get your community involved. Chances are, if one of your readers has a specific question, then others will too.
4. Give Back
This particular tit-bit applies to every aspect of your life. The more you give back, the more you receive. And, according to Parkinson, when it comes to blogging, you should be giving back to both readers and to the wider blogging community.
When it comes to readers, there is a number of ways to do this: through giveaways, through free downloads, by talking to your community, by replying to emails. All of this takes time, but is definitely worth factoring into your workload.
When it comes to the wider blogging community, the ways of giving back are similarly varied: you can go to blogging events (like Problogger), you can share your knowledge with other bloggers, you can get around to other blogs and comment and share their content. You can join Facebook pages, participate in the challenges of other bloggers, create a blogging buddy group.
5. Manage Your Time
Make sure that you are consistent, and that you create a rhythm that works best for you. There is simply no point in looking over at the next blog to see what everyone else is doing. And make sure that you are working when your audience is online. Be online when they are.
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