In the wide world of the blogosphere there are quite a few different ways that one would be able to consider themselves “successful.” If you run a sales blog, success may mean units sold. A photoblogger may rate success by the number of views a certain photo on his site has received.
Now, there is one sure fire sign that you are in charge of a popular, successful blog - the size of your online community.
So how can you get an idea of the size of your online community? I’ll give you a hint: it’s more that just hits. A real online community shows its strength in post comments and on message boards.
For those of you bloggers out there looking to develop your online community, I have good news for you. All you need to get your community off the ground is something that you are already familiar with. Email.
Here are a few tips on how you can use email to promote your online community.
Before you can get cracking with your community building email campaign, you need a strong email list. There are plenty of articles out there that can help you choose an email template and show the best ways to gather email addresses. The more important thing is that your email looks professional.
A blog post roundup does exactly that, it gathers all the best posts from the previous week or month in one place for all of your subscribers to see. An email roundup is useful for a couple of reasons. First, not everyone has the time to check your blog everyday, which means that they may be missing out on some fantastic content.
Sending out an email roundup with summaries of your favorite posts and links back to your site will keep people in the know. Secondly, if you add a few social sharing buttons, you give your subscribers an opportunity to share your content with everyone in their social network, turning your simple email into a powerhouse marketing tool.
Archive Your Emails
Making a special place for your previous emails on your web site is such a simple idea that it often gets overlooked. But think of it, if all of your past emails are in one place, the odds that someone will land on your site through a Google search is increased by leaps and bounds, not to mention how many more hits you are going to get if you add links back to your homepage. Also, don’t for get to add those social sharing links I mentioned before, and an email signup form wouldn’t hurt either.
I’d be hard pressed to think of a better way to build your online community than joining a sizable online community that already exists. There are a large number of sites, some free and some you have to join for a small monthly fee, that let you post your emails to their web site at which point, it becomes visible to all of their other members.
Show Off Those Comments
The most impressive sign that a blog has a strong following/online community is the number of people that comment on blog posts. It’s incredibly important to keep the lines of communication open between you and your readers. This simple act shows them that you are interested in their comments and their opinions, so make sure to respond to comments left on your blog every once in a while. Then, put some of those comments section conversations together and send them out in an email. Once people see that you encourage conversation in your comments section, they’ll be more likely to leave a comment themselves.