Wednesday, January 30, 2013

3 Ways to Build Up Your Community

When we talk about marketing your work, there is a lot of focus placed on becoming an active member of the communities where your readers hang out. This is super important. That said, I think sometimes we lose focus on building up our own communities. After all, we hope that our readers will want to come to our websites and engage with us and each other. The question is, how do we do it.

How do you get them hanging on your every word? Source


Here are three simple steps you can take to improve engagement in your writing community and create a place where people want to come back for more.

1. Respond to Comments
This is an easy step, but a lot of writers skip it in an attempt to save time. When someone visits your blog or website and leaves a comment, they are taking time out of their day to tell you they appreciate your content. Responding to these comments is an easy way to say thank you. It's also a great way to engage with your readers and let them know you care about what they think. The more you respond, the more opportunity there is for meaningful conversations, and that's a win-win for everyone.

2. Click the Link
When someone leaves you a comment, they have the opportunity to list their own website and their name turns into a hyperlink. Make it a habit to visit the website of your readers and comment on their own content. People like talking to other people, not untouchable entities who rain down words of wisdom from above. Visiting the sites of your readers says "Hey, I'm a reader, too."

3. Link to Others
Have you read a great blog post lately? Why not link back to that blog and give your own perspective on the topic? Linking to others is a great way to actively engage in the community and share the love. Plus, people are much more likely to re-post your content or help your marketing efforts when they see you are willing to return the favor. Never underestimate the power of the WAM principle.

These tips may sound easy, but that's because they are. In the end, it's the little things, not the grand gestures, that build a community people want to be part of.

16 comments:

  1. I have a question. I think most of my blog comments come from other writers. I love talking to them, but I'm not sure it's the best way to promote my book. Do you have advice for reaching your target audience, especially when that's a 16-20 group?

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    1. Great question, Beth. I have a post coming up soon on how to find your readers. :)

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    2. Finding readers is an arduous process. Or, at least that's what I've been learning for the last month. No instant success in writing a novel, that's for sure. Initially, I was overwhelmed by the 'net and how to utilize it. What I've learned so far is basically finding a method that fits with me, and then keep plugging away.

      Most important, I set a time limit, so I can get back to work on my writing. There's just so much good stuff out here on the web that I have burned hours and hours learning.

      But I have an editor waiting for a book, and the book is the most important aspect.

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    3. That's great that you found something that's working for you. There is no one size fits all method when it comes to marketing. And a time limit is a good idea.

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  2. These are really good points. I love it when someone finds my blog, and then even goes a step higher and posts a comment. I ALWAYS comment back, not just because they took the time, but also because they respond to something I've written, something that means a lot to me, and they're acknowleding that. What a wonderful tribute to the commenter, and to the blog author.

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    1. Yep, it's the simple things. Sounds like we are on the same wave length. :)

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  3. I love that my blog visitors comment on each other's comments, too. I want everyone to interact with each other and not just me. I do comment on every comment, and I visit the blogs of the people who comment. I find that makes people return.

    Great post, Sarah!

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  4. Community is important. I'm getting back to posting and reading posts after being swamped with work, and it's been a fun day for it.

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    1. Yep, I feel disconnected if I'm not checking in with folks. It takes time, but I think I get it back in inspiration and writer mojo. :)

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  5. Great post, Sarah. Thanks for sharing it. I'm really looking forward to your post about finding your readers.

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    1. It will probably be a few posts in February. :)

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  6. I was going to ask exactly what Beth did about the readers vs. the writers visiting my blog. I look forward to what you have to say about it!

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    1. I think it's a pretty common question. Hopefully, I'll have a few tips you can use.

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  7. Since most writers are readers too, I don't mind if most of my comments are from other writers. Honestly, I'm just glad to get comments at all! But I do appreciate that someone took the time to write to me, so I do my best to get back to them in a timely manner.

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    1. Definitely a good point. Writers tend to read a lot and they love talking about books. Having a readership full of writers is a great bonus. :)

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