Blogs are great but they go so much further than just creating and consuming content. The words on the digital page are definitely important, but even more important is being able to leverage those words and readers into something bigger: a community. Building a community means higher reader retention, more engaged readers and ultimately more leads. So what exactly does a blog based community look like and more importantly, what’s the magic formula for creating a community around your blog without breaking the bank?
Community means interaction
Maybe you are getting good web traffic and a few shares – that’s great, but not necessarily the mark of a successful blog that can form a cohesive community of users. So what’s a good metric for measuring community? Well, interactions are key here. So, actions are great, but ongoing interactions are even better. This is the difference between web traffic that comes to your site once before disappearing forever and readers who frequently comment on your blog and talk to each other about your site content. At the end of the day, community goes far beyond what you create or produce and becomes something larger and much more powerful.
If comments and interactions are the gold standards for creating and measuring an online community what can be done to encourage and foster them? If you have any type of blog you probably realize there is an inbuilt comments section. This might not be your best bet. Yes, it’s free and yes, it’s right there but we encourage you to leave the comfort of your blog platform and look at a world of amazing available plugins. Why should you do that? Well, for starters, most automatic comment sections are fairly standard text-based affairs while downloading other plugins (and many are completely free!) can help you to go far beyond this and let your community communicate through rich media – that means video, audio, emojis and photos. Allowing users different ways to communicate is a great way to grow the conversation on your blog.
Leverage social media
A blog-based community doesn’t have to mean that the community is only ever on your blog. You can easily use other platforms to widen the conversation and give users a greater chance to interact and share content. You can even open fan pages around your blog so users can talk about content simply and easily while scrolling through their social media feed. This is also a great channel to get more community members interested in and knowing about your blog.
Include your readers in your blog
The conversation isn’t all about readers speaking to each other. You and your content should be there to prompt, nurture and sometimes guide the conversation. How can you do that? Well, for starters you can end blogs with questions, surveys or polls. Questions help prompt users to get involved in the comments section and polls and surveys get people signed up to your mailing list in a flash. Another great idea is to give a shoutout to community members about what they are doing. If a reader posts an awesome comment, why not mention it and them in your next blog? If one of your readers has just launched a new product, why not write something about that? The key is to constantly be on the lookout for ways to get people involved and coming back to your site.
Heyoya is a game-changing comments and reviews platform that brings voice to e-publishers and e-stores, improving sales and user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya’s new Receiver plan allows for quick and easy below-the-fold monetization through native advertising. Heyoya is a game changer for websites and is proven to increase brand affinity and the quality of user-generated content.
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