Building and Engaging Community Around Your Blog -By C.C. Chapman

Building and Engaging Community Around Your Blog -By C.C. Chapman

  • 27 April 2007

Expert: C.C. Chapman, crayonville.com

#27 of 30

  

About the Expert

C.C. Chapman is a prominent figure in the community of podcasting and podsafe music. From his home studio in the Boston area, C.C. hosts the independent music-focused podcasts, Accident Hash and U-Turn Cafe in addition to a social marketing and new media show called Managing the Gray. When he's not busy with his podcasts and his personal blog, C.C. is Vice President of New Marketing at Crayon, a mash-up of consulting, agency, advisory, thought leadership and education worlds specializing in new marketing. C.C. has been invited to speak about subjects such as Second Life, new media topics, as well as podcasting, podsafe music and music licensing at meetings and conferences around th world including Portable Media Expo and Podcast Hotel. Chitika is pleased to have C.C. Contribute to the Blog Bash with a topic near and dear to his heart, writing for others in your blogging and giving back to the blogging community.

I'm a huge fan of building communities and then working with the community for continued growth and success of everyone in it. TheBlogosphere is one large community filled of thousands of smaller ones. When I was asked if I could contribute to this new community about blogging I jumped at the chance. Everyone defines community differently, but I simply view it as any group of like minded individuals gathered together and connected in some way. Sometimes they form around an event, charity, people with similar likes and desires or even around an individual or a company. But, in the end a community is made up of people and they are the most important thing. The minute you post the very first post to a blog, a community will start forming around you. It's a strange concept at first when complete strangers will react and post comments. You'll notice that as you link out to other people and sites they more often then not will swing by and say hello right back. Over time through the power of new media more and more people will start reading the content you write and a small or potentially large community will form. I am a fan of the quality over quantity philosophy. You should not write a blog just for the sake of building the community, but rather let it happen. Does it really matter what the number is as long as the people are committed, active and engaged in the conversation with you? I know some would argue that you must have at least xxxxx number of readers to be deemed a success, but I have never bought into that. It's important that you reach out and get to know your community. After all that is the only way it will grow and expand. Just writing to your blog every day and ignoring the comments and conversation happening around you is not going to work. If you do not want to engage your community then I suggest you stop the idea of a blog right now and return to a paper diary as your not ready to embrace what is ahead of you.

Now, this next point depends on the sort of blog you are writing, but at the same time holds true for them all. You need to determine if you are going to write posts for yourself/company or for the community. What I mean is that when you write about a site, service or topic keep in mind that people are reading your content because they are getting something out of it. Give it to them! Share information and ask for feedback. Engage them and give them a reason to be more active in the conversation with you. If the community around you grows to be very large or very dedicated (it's amazing when both happens) you'll also begin to realize that you can make things happen through a simple blog post. I saw this happen last year when I began raising money for a charity walk I was doing. Through a blog post and a mention on my podcast I suddenly hit my goal in one weekend. You need to realize that this is a responsibility that many forget about because if you activate this community too often or for the wrong reason they can turn on you just as fast. The important thing is to just get out there and do it. Write from the heart, be honest, be transparent and keep the conversation going long after you hit the publish button and the post hits the web. People out there want to engage with you and they want to read what you have to say. But, you need to remember that it IS a two way street and they will be expecting to be able to engage with you.