aka how I interact with an online community.
Welcome bloggers! What a title to kick us off in our month of Love Your Blog eh? Don't be scared, drop your link, discover some new bloggers and help me demonstrate how the blogging community is very much alive and thriving.
When I launched the Love Your Blog Challenge, I was instantly greeted with the question "Isn't the blog dead?"
You know what? I knew that question would come up. In fact, it's why I chose 'Community and Interaction' as our first topic of discussion because I really want to talk about it. The fact that you're here today, dropping your links and picking up a new prompt (see end of post) shows me that the blog is certainly not dead. It just changed.
In 2004, the word 'blog' was declared word of the year by the Merriam-Webster dictionary and it seemed that blogging was the way forward online. However, over the last 2 years I've been reading article after article asking if blogging has hit saturation point, citing stats that show younger audiences are switching off from blogging and instead interacting on social media. (I've pinned some interesting articles on this subject here if you want to read further).
There's a fair few pointing the fingers at sites like Pinterest which have a strong emphasis on a visual story telling that often means that interesting content is grouped by type rather than chronology. From my own blogging experiences, I know I've seen a fair few of my previous posts and podcasts get a lot of attention months after I hit publish. When I look to see why I almost always find that someone has been sharing something that excited them on social media and it's stuck around like some kind of yesteryear beacon on Pinterest or similar. Similarly, if you take into account that Instagram recently announced that it's community is now 2 million strong after only launching in 2010, it's fair to say that social media is getting us pretty excited about online communities.
So perhaps what has happened is that now all those interactions and feedback that used to happen on your blog page have now spread across a digital structure on the internet. Don't panic though, it means that really, your voice and community just got bigger! Just look at all the tweets, instagrams, blog comments and forums posts this blog challenge generated for example. It's been so much fun!
Here's my top tips for making it feel manageable and to keep you indulging your love for blogging:
- If you like social media and use it a lot, include a blog link on your profile page. It is often the case that even people who don't consider themselves blog readers will click through to find out a bit more about you. They might stay or interact if they like what they see.
- Keep things different- Don't hit publish then share the same message on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Use different platforms for different ways to interact and keep your blog for what you do best- writing in depth. Consider it like a conversation starter rather than an end goal.
- Start a conversation. What did you last blog about? Did you provide an opportunity for your reader's to interact with what you said? It doesn't matter if it's a comment or a Tweet, if you're communicating that you value your audience talking to you, they'll find a way to do just that.
- STOP LOOKING AT THE STATS COUNTER. Seriously. There are so many ways that people are finding you and this is helping you to build your social presence. Don't stress that you only have X amount of subscribers. Maybe not everyone is following your blog but they're finding you somewhere else I can guarantee it.
- Remember the joy of writing- tell stories, share great images and keep the creativity and love apparent. If you like writing, just write and see where that journey takes you. You know what? I bet your readership goes up far higher when you're being true to yourself and your online community.
Now I'd love to hear your thoughts on Community and Interaction!
Ready for your next prompt?
I'll see you for your link drop next Monday and I can't wait to see what you've all written! Happy Blogging!
ps. tune in all this week to discover bloggers who have been keeping their blog voice loud and clear for years. I hope you find them as inspirational as I do.