Blogging can seem like a lonely thing. Locking yourself at home and working alone from the comfort of your favorite armchair can be tough. But the fact is, even lonesome blog writers need company and inspiration. This is where the blogger community comes in.
Just as if a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to hear it, is a blog really a blog if nobody reads it? Blogging is about reaching out to people, educating them, informing them, and entertaining them. The important part of all of the above is the people part.
Sure, your mom, your buddy, and the occasional Facebook friend count as people. If you wish to grow your audience, however, you need to be reaching people that aren’t in your immediate friend and family circle.
What is a Blogger Community?
A blogger community is simply that – a community of bloggers. While the word “community” tends to suggest a bunch of folks who have nothing in common and simply share a space, a blogger community is a little more structured than that. While in your neighborhood community you might live next to an atheist, across the road from a gay couple and behind a hardcore biker family, a blogger community creates a group around a central or shared interest.
Sometimes the shared interest is simply blogging. Some more general sites can host a variety of communities, and have sections for different niches, such as tech, health, food, parenting, etc. This does mean that there can be an incredibly varied bunch of people on the site, but either way, you are going to be spending the majority of your time interacting with the people who blog in your niche.
Blogger communities are like social media networking sites for bloggers. You can share, like and comment on blog posts, and build a network of bloggers around you.
Getting to know blogs in your niche while creating your own
It may sound boring to constantly be surrounded by people who have the same interests as you, but if you’re serious about blogging, you’ll realize the value in interaction and networking with other bloggers.
Having opportunities to speak to and learn from like-minded people is invaluable. Not only does the community help encourage writers and share ideas, but it also opens up chances for collaboration, and as a blogger trying to get your blog posts out there, this is huge.
You can get referral traffic to your blog via social media and guest blogging. Joining a community of bloggers, though, is the best and easiest way to promote your blog. It also opens doors to guest blogging, which puts you on the fast track to getting eyes on your articles, and traffic to your own website.
Apart from getting traffic to your own blog, these communities are supremely useful for simply finding some inspiration when your blogging brain is having a slow day or two. There are endless ideas to be found for blog content and topics, and plenty of experts online to learn from. You will constantly be exposed to blogs in the same niche, which will bring in new ideas all the time.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to answer questions, and to share information. Bloggers are usually eager to help out, give advice, and engage with each other.
Joining A Blogger Community
Before you leap into any community you can find, there are some things you should consider – your niche, and your goals.
- Relevant information
- Discussions that are of value
- Potential for collaboration with the right people
Of course, the key to finding the best blogger community for you is shared interests. If you blog about knitting, there’s no point in diving into a technical blogger community. Step one, therefore, is to find YOUR community – the blogger community that revolves around your niche.
You don’t want to waste time reading conversations and threads that actually don’t matter in your field. That’s a recipe for frustration and time wasting, so be sure to do your research on this beforehand.
Some blogger communities are specific to certain niches; others are a bit of a free-for-all. It is totally up to you which you would prefer. Remember, though, even going into one of the more general communities; you would still be targeting other community members who fall into your particular area of expertise.
- What is your reason for joining the community?
- Seek out and interact with relevant people
- If you have to post separately to your normal blog, set a schedule
Now that you’ve made sure you’re in the right place, step two is to decide WHY you are actually there. Do you want to learn more? Want to keep up with the latest trends in the niche? Are you looking for connections to write guest posts for? Aiming to attract more traffic to your blog? Or are you just looking for a blogger boyfriend/girlfriend?
While I wouldn’t recommend using blogger communities for the last one, it is important to know what you want out of the experience of being part of this community. Time is precious (especially if you’re a freelancer) and the more meaningful, relevant interactions with community members you can have, the better.
Of course, you don’t need to be super serious all the time. Simply be aware of your own goals and gear your communications towards them within the community.
How To Get To Know The Blogger Community
So you’ve taken the leap and joined a blogger community! Congratulations. Now the next thing is important, so listen carefully. There are two types of community members – those who interact, and those who don’t.
It’s fine to take a bit of time to look around, but you have to start talking to people if you want this to work to your advantage. You can spy on threads all you want, but it’s not going to help you or your blog to sit quietly in the corner. If you want to get traffic to your blog, you need to be interactive and get to know people.
So, how do you get to know the blogger community?
Explore the Community
Have a look around, read blog posts, search some members who are in the same niche as you. Get to know the site, and figure out how to read and comment on other people’s posts, and also how to write your own.
Pinpoint some community members whose blog you like and who you would like to form a professional relationship with. Follow or enable notifications for these members, so you will always be informed of when new posts are up. Remember – the members of a blogger community are many and varied. You will find new bloggers, and you will find influencers. This refers to people who have a large following and are very well-known in their genre.
Don’t be afraid to make contact with influencers as well as newer bloggers. Networking always leads to new opportunities.
Interact With Bloggers
Don’t just read other bloggers’ posts and carry on with life. Leave a comment! As a new member, you need to be the one to make the first move to get to know people, and thoughtful comment on someone else’s blog post is the best starting point.
Sometimes your comment will simply get a like or a thank you, other times it could be the beginning of a bit of a conversation thread. Either way, you are getting your name and face on other bloggers’ posts. Whatever you do, don’t spam a fellow blogger with promotions of your own blog.
The key is to interact, start conversations, show interest and get to know each other. You want these relationships to be organic and not forced, and if you only promote your own blog and don’t add valuable comments and ideas. Well, you’re not going to find yourself well-liked in the community.
Get writing! Sure, you may be busy with your own blog, or with paying work, but if you really want to get known for your own writing, you need to … Well, write, and share your writing with others. Members are not typically going to just head to your blog if they don’t have any idea of how you write, what you write about, or who you are.
Some sites automatically post your latest blog posts to them, and some require you to write new posts for them. If you need to write, set yourself a schedule so that you can fit this in between your normal work and stay active on the site.
Commit to contributing regularly to your blogging community. I will take some time to get some traffic to these posts, but that’s where your comments on other blog posts are important. Bloggers do tend to be a reciprocative bunch, and if you take the time to leave some of your thoughts on someone else’s post, often they will return the favor.
Just get your name, face and writing out there! The more you interact, the more eyes will land on your profile, your posts, and ultimately your own blog.
Once you’ve started leaving comments, sharing posts and creating virtual relationships with other bloggers, the time is right for some collaboration. You will find yourself naturally forming blogging relationships with certain people, and once you know each other (and each other’s content) fairly well, the opportunity may arise for guest blogging.
Don’t be shy to bring up the subject with fellow bloggers. Some may be very open to it, and others may not be too comfortable with it, but you won’t know until you ask. (Or wait for them to ask, but being proactive is key here!)
Remember, guest blogging is all about collaborating to help each other out and to widen your audience. If you have formed some good relationships with other bloggers, don’t simply ask for a guest post and leave it at that. This needs to be mutually beneficial, so find out if they would like to do a guest post on your blog, or if there is some other way you could help promote them.
Another way to help each other gain more traffic (and to help your own SEO) is to link to other bloggers’ sites, called backlinking. This can be done to any site, regardless of if you have a relationship with the blogger or not, but if you know each other, this could work to both of your benefits.
There is a multitude of different blogger communities out there. As mentioned above, some are quite specific (to niche and area), and others are far more general. You can find communities for just about any niche, though, so it’s worth having a look for something specific.
Some specific blogging communities:
- Food (such as Food Blogger Pro)
- Small Business (such as BizSugar)
- Fitness (such as Fitness Ambassadors)
- Freelancing (such as TalkFreelance)
- Affiliate Marketing (such as Associate Programs)
- Woman Bloggers (such as BlogHer)
- Making Money (such as DreamTeam Money)
- Photoshop Design (such as PhotoshopForums)
- SEO (such as SEO Chat)
- WordPress (such as WordPress Forums)
- CEOs (such as CEO Bloggers’ Club)
- Canadian Bloggers
- Indian Bloggers
Some general blogging communities:
- Google+ Communities
- Blog Engage
If you are looking for something very specific, make sure to do your research. Communities can vary by area, member count and general activity, so it may take a little while for you to find the best community for you. It is worth the research though – you will be getting in touch with like-minded people from the very start.
If you don’t find anything suitable, there are also Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups dedicated to certain niches. These are likely to be very active, so it may be worth joining a few of these as well.
Joining a blogger community doesn’t have to be intimidating or scary. Simply join, interact, stay active, forge relationships and help each other out. Don’t wait! This could be the next best step to promote your blog.
Are you currently a member of any communities? Let us know in the comments below!