In the 60s and 70s, most things were sourced locally and consumers loved it. People went to the corner store and made small talk with the owner “Mr. Fred”. Then other locals would pop in and before you know it, it’s a party in aisle 2.
On the other side of town was a bigger store that had more options, but the service couldn’t match up to the local corner store so you stayed loyal to Mr. Fred. Then in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, mass production hit – Forever 21, Target, Walmart, etc. People went crazy over abundance and pretty soon the local corner store was soon forgotten about.
Flash forward to today and we’re back to wanting to feel the same way we did at the local corner store in the 60s. We will search high and low for the perfect item (hello Etsy) or the perfect bit of information (hello Zanita Studio) that meets our specific needs.
In the current state of the market, bigger is not necessarily better.
For example, a blogger with a following of 100k is only valuable if those 100k followers have a personal, meaningful connection to that blogger. If those followers don’t trust the bloggers they follow, they’re both useless. On the other hand, a blogger with only 10K may be extremely valuable because that blogger has formed a stronger bond with his/her followers, resulting in a high conversion rate.
Taking all that into consideration, the #1 goal all bloggers should have in 2017 is to…
Build a community
Building a community does wonders for your brand. First, you have people’s attention, which is super hard to get today. Next, you have authentic engagement, which is also hard to get. Finally, through a community you have loyalty and loyalty is what will help turn your blog into a business.
The thing you have to realize is that building a community doesn’t happen overnight, so you need patience… sometimes years of patience. You build a community through collaborations, valuable content, and authentic engagement which all takes time. But the harder you hustle, the faster you’ll get there.
You ultimately want your blog to be a specific and safe place for your readers to come to and connect with one another. You want to inspire a conversation for action within your community.
When your readers take action and tell you about the positive changes in their lives because of your content, that’s when you know you’ve built a community.
I recently had 2 bloggers in a comment exchange on one of my posts about how they were going to collab together in the future. It was so amazing to see! A true community is one that engages with you (the facilitator) and each another (the audience).
Even brands view community as a huge opportunity because you have the attention they want for their brand. You have developed a demand for what you offer through your community, and that demand is what brands look for when working with bloggers.
How to build a community
The key components to developing engagement and building a loyal following are being likable and adding value. You must have a great personality with a lot to offer if you want to make a long lasting impression.
Adding value allows people to trust what you say because you give them something they were missing before or you solve their most difficult problems. Your followers then think of you as the go-to source in your niche (fashion, beauty, food, fitness, etc.). But in order to even get people’s attention you have to create high quality content…
You need sizzle and steak. The sizzle is the surface stuff like pretty pictures, catchy titles, and creative videos, and the steak is the value beyond the surface. When you create both of those things on a consistent basis, your followers will begin to engage with your content by sharing, liking, commenting, etc. – that is the start of building a community.
And if you want an even bigger community, grow it through collaborations. Email every single blogger, magazine, and online publication that has a solid following and high engagement rate because when you collaborate with these people, their community becomes your community.
If you follow these steps and nothing happens, don’t get discouraged. Like I said before, building a community takes time and patience. And if you’re really cut out for the blogging biz, your community will find you no matter what.
What questions do you have about building a community? You ask and we’ll answer in the comments below!