It’s Not Enough to Create Content on a Blog

This is a guest post by Chris The Traffic Blogger.

“So did you read that awesome post I wrote yesterday on 101 ways to motivate bloggers to write better?” I asked into my Bluetooth during one of those random conversations on the road with my mother.

“No,” she replied, “why would I read your blog when I can just ask you questions that I have in person?”

Dumbfounded that my own mom didn’t read my blog, I began to realize that I was missing a very large piece of the blogging puzzle which helps grow and sustain a blog of any size: reader interaction and engagement.

In a single word, my blog was missing conversation. If all I had to offer was my opinion, then my blog was more like a column in a newspaper than a place for people to interact with myself and others in order to discuss the ideas I brought forth in my writing.

Lead, Don’t Dominate Conversations

How can you build a community out of your blog where discussion is paramount? For starters, you need the right mindset. Instead of just writing for random strangers, you need to start writing to a specific group of people.

Start including questions, comments and concerns of your audience in your writing. Break down the fourth wall and make the readers of your site an integral part of your post creation process.

As readers feel more valuable and integral to the process of your post creation, they will in turn feel more willing to engage in conversation with you. In essence, you need to start leading a conversation directed at the people actually reading your blog already.

What’s more, you need to allow your audience to have their own two cents instead of having just your thoughts completely dominating the conversation.

Lead Outside Your Own Blog

As you include readers in your post creation process and begin leading conversations instead of dominating them, your readers will want more ways to interact with each other than just the comment section of your blog.

For starters, I would recommend creating a forum for the members of your site. This has worked wonderfully for me in the past and it’s a great way to encourage your audience to interact with each other. A forum can also become a great place for you to ask questions, interact with your audience and get ideas for future posts.

Besides creating a forum, you can have other channels for discussion including things like polls, social media accounts or any number of other online activities where you can get on the same level as your audience. As a blogger, you are the defacto leader of your site, but being able to get down to earth with your grass roots supporters and still lead the conversation to the benefit of all is a sign of true
leadership.

Grow through Conversation and Leadership

Once you have the right mindset and the proper channels in place to have productive conversations on your blog, it is now time to grow your community through these activities. The best way to do this is to spread the conversation to other bloggers and their own communities.

Guest posting is a simple yet effective way to do this, and part of guest posting is sticking around to actually respond to comments left on your published article. Besides this simple method, you can also get into more complicated routes for sharing your ideas with other communities.

Blogging carnivals are a great way to encourage other bloggers and their communities to take part in the conversations you are leading at your own site. By hosting blogging carnivals and encouraging blogger to blogger interactions slowly over time, these other bloggers will allow you to lead them in conversation as well, which will naturally establish your blog as a leader in communicating the solutions to your niche as a whole.

Once you start a healthy conversation online, it’s difficult to ever truly stop it. That is the power of the internet and the power of having a vibrant community. Is your community lacking in conversation? Have you considered yourself the leader of your blog?

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Comments

    • says

      Hi Hyderali,

      For starters, have you ever been a member of a forum community in the past? They tend to be very hard core into their subject area, which translates into awesome fans should they choose to follow your leadership.

      A forum that ranks well on google can provide you with a lot of traffic, even if all you do is post a few times per day. Not all forums are equal, but I have seen quite a bit of traffic just from posting once or twice a day on various blogging and internet marketing forums.

      Like everything else, posting on forums is about quality over quantity, but unlike guest posting, it is far easier to get your content out there. No waiting on email, just signing up as a member, writing and publishing.

  1. says

    Hi Chris,

    That is quite true. There is no point is just writing and publishing blog posts without letting others to actively participate in your blog. A blog should actually be a place for conversations through comments and every blogger should encourage active participation from their readers.

    Well put, we must lead conversations :)

    Cheers,
    Jane.
    Jane just posted How About a Professional Guide to your New Blog

  2. says

    I’m not too sure about forums just yet – I feel that you need a large readership and stable following in order for this to work well! Though, guest blogging is a wonderful idea and can have people feel as if the blogger of that website is much more approachable.

    • says

      Hey there Gabriella, I put it to you this way:

      If you have something worth saying on a guest blog, won’t a forum receive it in a similar fashion, and you’ll get 100% of the credit? (Sometimes people read a guest post and assume that the primary author wrote it, even if it’s spelled out that he or she didn’t)

      Personally, I choose guest blogging over forum posting, but every once in a while I still create a good discussion starting topic on a forum. These tend to lead to a surprising number of hits, and if your discussion ranks on google for a popular question it will send you traffic for a long time after the fact. In terms of solving a problem, I find that forum posts fare better than guest posts but in terms of sheer volume of traffic guest posts typically win out.

      There’s good and bad to both, but there’s also something to be said for diversifying your traffic methods.

  3. says

    Good post, Chris,

    Though I have a slightly different angle on this.

    Instead of creating conversations, create influence.

    Most conversations out there don’t interest me – no offence :)

    However, those who influence me I read every day…. And I rarely read what others have to say in the comments.

    How to do this?

    Think like a publisher, not like a blogger.

    Writes stuff that’s quotable, that’s ‘remarkable’.

    Remarkable means writing material others will remark on.

    See the difference?

    • says

      Good spin on it Ivan, I couldn’t agree more.

      There are three things I try to teach people to do online when they venture off their blogs to find their audiences:
      1. Ask great questions
      2. Answer great questions
      3. Influence Others (I modified this one to fit your spin, and I like your spin better!)

    • says

      And I think that we can all agree that people are bringing up great points in these comments and interacting :D

      Publishing vs Blogging, that is an excellent way to look at creating ‘remarkable’ content. Well done.

  4. says

    Good advice, Chris. The whole point of social media, including blogging, is to encourage and foster two-way conversation. Giving your readers the opportunity to weigh in, ask questions and even (gasp!) disagree, will make them more engaged and willing to go to bat for you.

    It takes some time, for sure, but the interaction can often lead to great relationships and even potentially customers for your business.
    Laura Click just posted How to get the results you deserve for your business

    • says

      Well said Laura, very well said.

      I wrote elsewhere that sometimes it is just as important what you DON’T write about in a post as compared to what you do write. The reason for this being that if you leave some stuff out, people will likely comment to fill in the blanks.

      Conversations in comments are the same as anywhere else: a place to show your leadership and guide the discussion.

  5. says

    Hi Chris,

    you are making a good point here. Conversation is key for the success of a blog. Conversation engages the reader and brings the post into life. Your idea of creating a forum is great. A forum offers more freedom to your readers than the comments.
    Matthew just posted Coupon Promotion for Bistro MD

  6. says

    Chris,

    That’s the bottom line. I think this relates a lot to social media, and more specifically to why companies have a hard time integrating it into their business functionality: they’re stuck in broadcast mode.

    I’m in love with the fact that presence isn’t enough anymore. It makes us push ourselves, engage with more people and therefore learn new perspectives, make more distinctions and better navigate an ever changing social and technologically driven world.

    Good post.
    Ryan Critchett just posted A Social Media Mind Hack

  7. says

    All very valid thoughts. I think I’ve done a TERRIBLE job of inviting community because part of my whole reason for existence is my personal feeling that parenting (in my case specifically about kids and sleep) has gone off the deep end so my take is sort of “cut the BS and let’s fix this, yes?” So I don’t really encourage comments by having a “everybody has a valid point” tone in my posts.

    To be clear – I’m not DEFENDING what I’m doing, I’m ACKNOWLEDGING that I probably need to tone it down a bit and be a little more inclusive ;)
    Alexis just posted What Everybody Ought to Know About Baby Swings

  8. says

    Very True! Same for us in the business industry. It’s not about us it’s all about what the customers/readers/audience wants! What they want to hear.