Building a Community Around Your Blog

“Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about,” Canadian blogger Cory Doctorow said.

Sure, you faithfully post to your corporate blog five days a week, and you spend hours researching topics and adding in your own creative spin. But if you’re counting on the “publish” button to magically distribute your words to thousands of readers who anxiously await your brilliance, your efforts could be going to waste.

Building an engaged community around your blogging and social media efforts is a long and difficult journey — and frankly, it doesn’t always end in success. Danny Iny took on the daunting task of defining a strategy for this journey in his recent posting on Copyblogger, “How to Build an Engaged Audience with Content Marketing.” With input from over 30 field experts, this article is a must-read for marketers attempting to take on the world of social media. We’ve included a few highlights here for marketers in each stage of the process.

For starters… If you’re just entering the “blogosphere,” the (rather obvious) first step is to define your audience. Here are few questions for B2B marketers to ask themselves:

  • Do you want an audience to feed an existing business?
  • Do you want an audience to drive a new business?
  • Are you just trying to get the word out about a product or service?
  • Will success be measured in followers, in conversations, or in conversions?

Once you’ve thoroughly defined your audience, you can begin to determine the type of content that will be of greatest use to this audience.

What’s next? When your blog is established and you’re regularly cranking out valuable content, it’s time to take a second look at how you are branding yourself from a social standpoint. Social media is just that– social. So don’t be afraid to add personality to your postings. “Don’t genericize yourself,” Danny says. “Be different, and be unique.” You can have the greatest content in the world, but if you don’t draw readers in with intriguing posts it’ll go to waste.

Don’t lose focus. You did it! You started successful a blog and your comments section tells you that your posts are read and appreciated. Don’t rest easy: maintaining an effective blog means constantly researching and reassessing the needs of your readers. “Take the time to research what [your readers] really need, and how their needs are currently being met,” Danny advises. “It’s the only way you’ll be able to offer a better solution.”