Guest Post By Candace Rose Rardon
What’s a blog without the people who read it – without the community behind it? You know, people who are genuinely invested in your site, your brand, and your vision. Building a community around your blog takes time, but in my own experience, I’ve also found it has its rewards. The more I connect with the people I’m writing for, the more energy and momentum I actually feel to keep going…which is not always an easy task. Although I’ve been blogging for five years, it has only been in the last year that I’ve really felt a community build up around my blog – all because of a little mental switch I made.Here are four ways to start thinking of your blog as a journey, not just a random account of updates and stories – and how that will help you build a community around your company or brand:
1. Invite your community on a journey
I come from a travel blogging background, where it’s easy to take this literally – I put together a physical trip and invite readers to follow along through updates and posts. But you can also think of any creative project as a journey, and then invite your community to join you on it. Maybe you’re putting together a book, launching a new line of products, or even re-designing your site – whatever project you’ve got in the works, let your readers know when you’ve kicked it off and keep them posted on how it’s going.
2. Ask for tips and advice
When you’re planning a trip to a new city or country, one of the first things you do is ask friends who have already been there for advice, right? Right – so you can also do the same on your blog. When I was self-publishing my first book of sketches last summer, I tried to include my community on many of the major decisions I had to make. Whether it was choosing a format and size for the book or selecting images to use for accompanying products such as notecards, I would go to my blog’s Facebook page, ask readers to weigh in with their opinions, and then incorporate those into my final decision. This gets your community invested in your project along the way, and evenmore excited when it’s time to launch.
3. Share your low moments and mistakes
There’s no such thing as a journey where nothing goes wrong – and in the creative life as in travel, the worst moments often make for the best stories. Open up to your community and share your mistakes with them. Not only will this give readers insight into your experience, but it might also help them on their own journey. While putting those notecards together last summer, I kept running into printing issues and had to delay launching my book. Instead of calling it quits (which I was very, very tempted to do), I ended up writing a post about it and found it really resonated with my community.
4. Celebrate when you reach your destination
Although we all know the journey’s more important than the destination, there’s still no greater feeling than crossing the finish line. When your book’s finally back from the printers, your greeting cards are ready to hit the shelves, or your new site is set to be unveiled, your blog’s community will be right there with you to celebrate – all because they will have joined you on the journey.