Community building is basically communicating with users in your niche, whether online or off, by engaging them in conversations important to them and the market, offering advice or any useful content to make their lives better. Its about becoming a leader in your industry, with whom other users can relate to and rely on. Its about building trust and relevance in a fast paced and ever changing environment. Yet, as bloggers, how do we achieve this? Where do we go to find the users and environment for building that closely knit and profitable community?
Well, the easy answer is that its everywhere. Wherever users have a voice and are free to connect and express themselves with others, you’ll find an opportunity to engage, extend your reach and grow your community. Although communities are all over the web there are some sites which will help you gain much better results and better connections.
Don’t know where to start? Here are 2 powerful places.
Search.twitter.com – Twitter’s Powerful Search Engine
This is a tool I rarely hear anyone talking about but it’s a powerful tool for discovering conversations on the Twitter community which spans 645 Million users across almost every country on earth with about 58 Million tweets per day. That’s a lot of talking! How many of the users in your niche can you engage? Just think about it.
Twitter’s search engine allows you to search the entire landscape of tweets currently published in real time relating to your search queries. So if you’re passionate about beer, for example, or some other beverage and have a blog dedicated to that, you can enter a search query like “I’m thirsty” and take a look at the results of which I’ve posted a small screenshot.
In the results above, I know some of those people might not be talking about “thirst” in same context as we’re using, but you get the picture. Instantly you’ll see hundreds of people talking about “thirst” who you can begin talking to. The site is rich with conversations and opportunities to offer yourself freely in conversation and assistance. Just think about the value of this to service providers, especially those who have new products to launch.
I can’t express enough the importance of not going about this in a spammy salesperson way. Be authentic, show real interest in what people are talking about and express yourself. Forget about selling and just enjoy talking about the topics within the community. As you extend your reach opportunities will show up for sales, collaboration and traffic to your blog. Give it a try and start talking.
Try Exploring a Blog Directory
Commenting on other blogs is still a powerful way to connect with others in your niche. It presents opportunities to be discovered and acquire functional links back to your blog, provided you’ve got some useful content. However, commenting an any old blog may not work, you need to spend your time on the best, the communities with lots of eyes and connected users. So how do you sift through the plethora of sites and determine who’s popular and influential?
Try using a blog directory like the Eaton Web Directory to compile a list of blogs to target. The uniquely useful feature about this blog directory is that it rates blogs based on 3 very important metrics to help you determine the value of the potential communities: Strength, Momentum and Overall metrics. Strength presents the powerful, mostly influential blogs, momentum shows the rate at which the site grows or shrinks and the overall metric takes everything into consideration.
The site is simple and user-friendly and it’s fairly easy to begin compiling a list of sites in your niche to start networking. This is a vital step in preparing your battle plan as you market yourself and your brand online, get organized, start talking and position yourself to start earning money through blogging.
Go forth, engage!
There are many free tools available online to help you discover rich communities and opportunities for reaching an unlimited number of people across the globe, all without a marketing budget. Your blogging strategy needs to include community reaching activities and these 2 tips are perfect starting points.
I love hearing about what other bloggers are doing online to expand their reach, unique ways they connect with readers in the community and sharing on how to do everything better; so leave a comment and let us know what you’ve been up to.