Cultivating a Blog Community in 10 Steps – Part 1

15 comments

Getting into the competitive realm of the blogosphere is not a decision to be taken lightly. There are many things that you need to consider before jumping into this market if you plan on being successful. Taking a blog from its birth to its maturity is something that any blogger, SEO or SEM can be proud of. In order to make your blog popular, traffic worthy and link worthy I have put together a list to consider when entering the blogshpere.

1) Network yourself : Networking can open many doors for you as a blogger. Networking is not just something you do in person. This is something you do online as well. If you are going to build a blog about cars then get to know who the industry voice is for automobiles. Find out what blogs are the authority on the topic. Stay on top of whats going on in the industry and most importantly contribute to these authority blogs on a regular basis. If there are conventions then be a part of them. If you are known in “real life” you are known in the online world. Most importantly by networking you will enlist “power readers” which can help drive traffic and authority to your blog.

2) Know your community: Study your industry using mybloglog. Find related popular blogs and see what their community members are saying. What are their community members looking for and what their needs are. Do readers respond better to open ended statements or hard facts. Studying your community will help you gauge your reader and community response when creating a new blog post.

3) Your Content: Give your content a personality. Give opinions, and do your research before posting. Read as much as you can and give your brain the time and resources to think of great content. Check out Darren’s post on “how to think outside the box and develop great content” post to learn more. Your content is your voice. You have to stand out above the noise to establish credibility and longevity which is especially true for new bloggers. With quality content you can get an explosion of traffic and inbound links.

4) Think long term: When you imagine where your blog will be in a year or two it helps you set realistic goals along a time line. Setting goals and time lines will help your blog grow in leaps and bounds. You will see improvement over time and by meeting your goals it gives a sense of personal satisfaction and is a powerful motivator. Some long term idea’s are, create a custom WordPress theme, creating a branding, creating a weekly newsletter, releasing paid content, achieving a high PageRank, your first post to go to the front page of digg, hitting 1,000 RSS subscribers etc.

5) Retaining visitors: Retaining visitors can be difficult. I do it by interacting with my users. If I see someone came to my site via mybloglog I contact them or leave a comment, thanking them for stopping by my blog. If people have bookmarked me or created a post on a forum about me I will contact them or respond in their forum post thanking them for quoting me or somehow further engage them. Link bait can be another effective way of retaining visitors. Another way to attract return visitors is to do blog post’s in series. If you do this right then you will attract readers to frequent your blog for your blog post series and can help create some viral marketing.

6) Increasing comments: Increasing comments is another form of networking. In your blog posts you can invite comments, reply to comments left on your blog and reply to comments left on other leading blogs in your industry. Try asking question’s in your blog posts. Finally, one technique I have used and seen used, which is very effective, is to create controversy.

7) Title bait: Be a blog that inspires posts, comments and forward thinking. Talking about controversial topics and interesting blog post’s will form as content bait. Combine this with a unique and interesting post title you can create a swarm of traffic to your site by just creating the right blog post. Some title bait resources, wolf-howl, Copy Blogger and SEObook.

8) Leveraging Social Media: Get a FeedBurner account and start gaining RSS subscribers. Get a digg, stumbleupon, newsvine and del.ici.ous account and start becoming active members in all of these sites. Try not to submit your own pages but just participating in these communities will give your blog the exposure it needs to help push traffic, links and money to your blog. Darren Rowse from Problogger.net gives some good advice on how to cultivate a digg community. This is a complete article by itself so in the meantime check in at pronetadvertising to see how Social Media Marketers handle social media sites like these. If you can leverage quality content with the power of social media you are going to set yourself up for tons of traffic, inbound links and exposure for you and your blog.

9) Link baiting: If you create tools, games, tests, polls and other forms of link bait then you will increase your return visitors, you will start a viral marketing buzz that can increase traffic, branding, sales and in time create a reinforced authority. Make it unique, interesting and engaging. Here are some resources for link baiting; SEObook and here, also Andy Hagans.

10) Ad Networks: If you are selling a service or a product you may want to think about using ad networks like AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing. If you are just looking for a subtle way to increase exposure then try stumbleupon ads. The key to using stumbleupon ads is that you need to have valuable content on your blog or people will give you a thumbs down. The higher quality of your blog content the more people will give you a thumbs up. It is inexpensive and targeted traffic.

This was meant for a brief overview and outline to get new bloggers started and old bloggers on the right track. I will have more in depth information on all of these points in my upcoming blog series “cultivating a blog community”. I would love to hear how other bloggers have cultivated their blog community and see if anyone has any steps to add.

About the Author

Joe Whyte has been developing, managing and implementing successful, innovative, bleeding edge digital marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies for over 7 years.

Add Your Comments

  • (will not be published)

15 Comments

  1. Great article Joe! It seems so hard to get a good blog going, and attract/retain visitors in the age of MySpace, where everyone it seems has a blog. Your steps are sure to help on my way to total dominance of the blogosphere!

  2. Sarah Bushey

    Good article but I have had good experience with paperpost, blogexplosion and other forms of traffic generating.

  3. Nice post Joe, I think point 4 is key, you have to be in it for the long term!

  4. Networking is key for anyone starting out. Become a regular in participant in groups who share the same interests. People who know you will eventually want to read your blog just because they know you, and will share any good information they find to others.

  5. Great post, Joe. I am looking forward to Part 2 ;)

  6. Hey Sarah, I have used pay per post before and the results have been just "ok". I have seen some companies use pay per post and they have been really successful and they found success in "how" they marketed their pay per posts. How large your budget is will come into play with something like pay per post. Instead of doing pay per post I would suggest giving Stumbleupon.com/ads a try. Very cheap and very targeted ads. As for the other traffic generators like Blogexplosion.com I think its a nice idea and it could increase your traffic but its a traffic scheme and is less likely to convert to rss subscribers and viable traffic. Thats just in my experience. I would love to hear if other bloggers have been able to figure out how to capitalize on sites like blog explosion.

  7. Good stuff here, Joe - nice to meet you, too. With so many people blogging for professional reasons now, it's imperative to focus on building personal relationships. If you want to stay ahead of the game, you've got to *focus on building personal relationships*.

  8. Marie

    Great article - I am just starting a blog so this is very timely advice - looking forward to part II

  9. Garrett French

    wow! I love how you've pulled together all the disparate parts Joe - excellent article. I especially appreciate your comment about building community on Digg through participation. The main question I'm left with is scalability... all this hand-crafted work (what I'm currently doing) doesn't seem to scale well. I guess that's a little of my agency background thinking... what are your thoughts? G

  10. Some of my points I mentioned are definitely projects that take management. Some of them take full time dedication and development like networking, link baiting and PPC campaigns but if we are only talking about applying these topics to a blog then it is important to point out that the client (blog owner) needs to put forth an effort. Weather that means taking an active roll in networking, hiring people to post or gaining contributors to the blog that have a fundamental knowledge on whatever topic the blog is about. If they want to outsource everything then they need to pick a firm that has the resources to handle their needs. If you have a agency that specializes in cultivating blog communties and traffic then it would behoove them to departmentalize these topics and assign specific tasks to certain departments. I think this could be scalable with some work and integration. I would like to hear what people think about your question. It's a really interesting take on this post.

  11. From my experience, scalability is the biggest concern for many businesses when it comes to running a blog, forum or any other community cultivation effort. And that's a legitimate concern. As Joe pointed out, without serious effort, your blog won't succeed. I guess each business would have to look at the costs and benefits of running a blog and see if it makes sense in their specific case.

  12. Hi Guys To me blogs work like an early version of Social Media Networks. With a rising infulence of SMO (social media optimization) and SMM (social media marketing) on Search Engines especially Google, blogs have once again have a bigger role to play in coming months. It is absolutely depands on a Search Engine Marketer that how he / she design a SEM campaign by involving and integrating influentinal online marketing channels, including Blogs! Cheers Nawaz Shahzad Seo Consultant

  13. Very good read thanks for the info,i am just a beinner at blogging, i found your blog to b very helpfull thanks.

  14. Great article. I just launched my blog in January 2009, and now trying to build content and readers is difficult as stated. Many of these ideas are extremely useful and I can't wait to start putting these things into practice. Thanks for the great information.

  15. I've checked out MyBlogLog in the past, but it didn't seem to generate any real traffic for me. How are you using it exactly?