In case you haven’t noticed, people are social animals.
(As an aside, having just graduated college, the question of whether they’re more social or more animals is still up in the air haha).
As social animals, a part of us seems to yearn for connectivity; to share, to be acknowledged and to acknowledge others.
This, my friends, is blogging.
The Wrong Turn
Many bloggers view blogging as a means to an end, as a way to make more money, receive more praise, or achieve a goal they’ve set. To me, this rips the heart out of it. Of course blogging can be used for any of these three (I have to admit, I’ve never really been a huge fan of the word “use”) but when this becomes the primary purpose and motivating factor behind creation, then the creation itself becomes lackluster.
Friend Group 1 & Friend Group 2
Think about it. We have friends, and then we have friends. What’s the difference? The first group we use, not in a vindictive or evil sort of way, but they function as a means to an end for us. They connect us to the information, sporting tickets, job performance rating, or free concert that we desire.
The second group of friends? These are the ones that we call just to call, that we find ourselves asking “How are you” and then really listening for the answer. These are the ones that mean something and who challenge us to grow, experience life, and… are you ready for it? INTERACT.
Interaction is what makes a good blog. Heck, interaction is what makes a good life.
Which friend group is more fulfilling and drives you to invest more, be creative, and discover your passion? You know the answer.
Content IS NOT king
Contrary to popular belief, blogging isn’t a newspaper or encyclopedia and content IS NOT king anymore. At least not the content most people are describing when they use this phrase. What is king now?
If you want to build a sustainable blog, no matter the niche, you’ve got to build relationship. This throws people off because relationship, just like in the real world, takes time.
A Sprint or A Marathon
Viewing your blog as a sprint to reach some imaginary finish line causes you to burn out just like it would with a “real” relationship in the physical world.
Picturing your blog as a marathon where there is no finish line and you’re running simply because you love to run? Well, in that case, don’t be surprised if some other runners start running with you, if you make some friends along the way. (The movie Forrest Gump comes to mind).
How To Build Relationship
Be Personal and Be Personality:
We all have our own personality. Whatever yours may look like, let it shine through. Speak from a position of “I” and to the reader as “you” and “us.” If you’re in a service industry or niche, tell people why you’re providing them with the information you’re providing; because you care about them and want to see them succeed. Then, and here’s the clincher, actually care and help them succeed.
A Little Goes A Long Way:
With the fast pace of the world people aren’t used to others actually desiring to have a relationship with them. What does this look like on your blog? Slow things down, type the extra word, and respond to every commenter if possible. Relate an old comment a user made with a new one they just posted. Don’t get to know the comments, get to know the commenter. Notice someone’s work, and yes, they feel proud. Notice someone as a person, now that’s relationship.
“Thank You” Are Your New Favorite Words!
Plain and simple, people want to be heard. When you take feedback and implement it, when you take a comment and turn it into a post, when you acknowledge a contribution, no matter how big or small, people feel heard. They feel important and they feel that their relationship to you matters, that it makes a difference in the grand scheme of things. Pick a reader and send a personal email of thanks once a day. Over time, it’ll change your community.
Pulling It All Together
In the end, there’s no magic pill. Blogging isn’t a different form of communication from what we experience in the real world, it’s simply an extension. To create something you’re truly proud of, you must create a relationship that isn’t self serving.If you want to be successful, be patient and invest in others. You don’t have to “use” your community to achieve your goals. Treat them right, and they’ll work with you. Content is only still king in as much as it leads to relationship.
So, leave me a comment, I’d like to know what you think. More importantly than that, I’d like to know who you are 😉