â€œSo did you read that awesome post I wrote yesterday on 101 ways to motivate bloggers to write better?â€ I asked into my Bluetooth during one of those random conversations on the road with my mother.
â€œNo,â€ she replied, â€œwhy would I read your blog when I can just ask you questions that I have in person?â€
Dumbfounded that my own mom didnâ€™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, Donâ€™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.
Whatâ€™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 itâ€™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
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, itâ€™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?