Today’s post, HBBBS Part 3 is about engaging with your blog community. There was lots of talk at Blogalicious about quality over quantity. Yes we all want to see our hits and followers go up. But don’t you want more than that??? Don’t you want to see the length of time people spend on your page increase? Don’t you want to see the number of comments you get on your posts increase? Don’t you want to see the quality of those comments improve from “nice post, please follow my page” to actual commentary on what you are talking about? I want all of those things. How you get all of those things is by not worrying so much about the number of people visiting your page or following your page, but instead engaging with the people that do visit your page.
What do you think would be more fun to recite a soliloquy to a group of people or to have a conversation with them??? If you are like me you’d definitely prefer the convo. As much as I like my own thoughts and opinions it is more worthwhile to find others who feel the same way. It’s also kind of fun to sway someone to your way of thinking. On occasion it is enlightening to be the one swayed towards a new opinion. All of these things can happen when you have a conversation. What do you get when you recite a soliloquy? Applause from the like minded, grumbles from the opposition, sweaty palms, and upset stomach, and whatever other side effects you get form public speaking. Basically nothing all that worthwhile.
What does this have to do with blogging you ask? Well when you write a blog post and then don’t respond to the comments it is the same thing as giving that soliloquy. You have just blogged your heart out about grannie panties, co-sleeping, blogging or performing acts of joy and then walked away without acknowledging what anyone else thought about the topic. You have said my opinion matters and you should listen to it but I don’t really care if you agree or disagree. Is that the message you want to send? I DON’T. And although I have been really bad by not responding to comments as I should have, it was about my lack of knowledge early on and now my lack of time management. (I will do better with responding to your posts. Please oh please give me another chance **ok getting up off knees now**)
In addition to responding to comments on your blog you can become more engaged with your community by actually checking your readers out. When someone comments on or follows your blog. Go and visit their blog or profile. See what they are talking about. Join in the conversation they are having on their page. Remember that online is not all that different than the “real world”. While it is nice to entertain friends at your place, on your blog, it is also nice to see them on their own turf, their blog, and find out where they are coming from. This will give you an idea of what your readers are discussing, who your readers are, and what they might like to read about. Are most of your readers mommy bloggers? If so that lets you know to throw in some parenting or child care info when it fits your topic. Do most of your readers blog about working outside the home? Then maybe that crazy thing that happened in the office the other day is worth writing about.
Another way to also really engage with your community is to not be stingy. While there are many other blogs and websites out there fighting for readers attention, there are plenty pieces of the net to go around. Tell your readers about other blogs that are awesome. Link to them in your posts. Give them a shout out like I did above (see grannie panties, blogging, and co-sleeping above). This gives people more of a reason to read your blog. Because not only are you talking about your ideas and opinions you are exposing your readers to other people’s as well.
Don’t forget your mom and besties, I mean readers who are not bloggers. Stay up, current, and relevant on what is important to them. Take note of important issues that fit the theme of your blog and talk about them. If someone mentions topics in their comments check it out and see if you can relate. You might find a new post idea. Talk about some of the universal day to day things that we all, bloggers and non-bloggers can relate too. Write about how annoying it is when someone grabs the last fresh turkey in the market, and you are stuck buying a frozen one for your thanksgiving meal.
In doing all of these things you want to be genuine. Take a genuine interest in who is taking an interest in you. In the spirit of being genuine I do want to say however, that I am not a believer in you follow me so I’ll follow you. You don’t have to follow back just because someone followed you. I want people to follow my blog because they actually enjoy what I write. I don’t want to be just another blog listed in your Google reader because I followed you and you now feel you owe me a follow back. Follow the blogs that you like and comment when you have something to say. The good thing is, I have discovered that many of the people who have commented on and followed me share a similar view, way of writing, sense of humor, or have some other indescribable allure that does lead me to become a follower of their blogs as well. But know that it is a genuine follow and not one out of obligation.
And last but not least. If people Email you RESPOND! This is a no brainer but one I know I am sometimes guilt of overlooking.
How would you like to see your favorite bloggers better engage with you? If you have a blog, how do you engage with your community?