Why Blog?: No One Can Go It Alone

Most people blog for the wrong reasons.

Blogging is about far more than expressing your opinion, being heard and attracting visitors to your site.

Missing out on this key factor makes the prospect of having a successful blog almost impossible.

Why You Can’t Go It Alone

When I created my blog at the beginning of this year, I foolishly thought that having a blog was all about how many unique visitors I got every month. How wrong I was! I can partially attribute this misjudgement to coming from an affiliate marketing background where there is normally little or no interaction between you and your visitors. In my first month I had received 150 Unique Visitors with very little promotion, I was pretty happy! But 149 of those visitors had not left a comment. I was clearly doing something wrong.

So what is the real meaning of blogging? Why blog?

Being Part a Community

As humans, we love to feel like we’re a part of something. By March, I realised that my blog was not a part of anything. It was time to reach out to some people and start to form solid connections. One solid connection would be worth far more than hundreds of visitors who never returned.

How did I connect with people?

I came across one of Danny’s guest posts on Problogger and visited his blog, along with the other blogs that he recommended we check out in that post. I made what I believe to be an amazing discovery – the same people comment on each other’s stuff. I’d just found a healthy micro-network of fellow bloggers that were all significantly higher up the food chain than me.

I learned from their example, and my blog began to grow. Here are a few of the tried and tested methods that I used:

Interviews

Doing interviews seemed like a great way to connect, so I sent a quick email to ask five different bloggers for an interview. Within 10 minutes there had been three replies! It was inspiring to see how helpful these guys were being.

Interviews are a great way to interact within the community.

Five reasons why you should interview people with other blogs:

  1. Presenting your content in a different way (if you do an audio interview) keeps it interesting for your readers.
  2. Interviews are a great way to form a connection with another blogger, and this could lead to future opportunities and cross-promotion of your blogs. Remember not to expect anything in return and to focus on giving.
  3. You’re separating yourself from the herd as you don’t see interviews on many blogs.
  4. If you pick the right questions to ask, it’s a great way to add value to your readers.
  5. If the blogger you interviewed decides to share the interview (which they usually do), it can be a great way for you to gain new readers and subscribers.

Focus on Adding Value

With every post you publish, bear the reader in mind. I try to add value to my readers with every blog post that I do. The best way to do this is by writing posts that are thought-provoking, genuine and based on experience. Good content is ultimately the backbone of your blog. When fellow bloggers visit, good blog posts will make them more likely to comment on your blog, and hence increase your interaction within the community.

What else have I started doing?

Commenting on Relevant Blogs

Without looking very far, I found several blogs with awesome posts that I felt compelled to comment on. Many successful blogs have used this method single-handedly to grow their blogs into something pretty spectacular. Writing high quality, relevant responses on other people’s blogs will really help you to grow your readership. Add to the conversation with your unique perspective on the topic. Regular blog commenting is a great way to establish rapport with fellow bloggers, and will make them much more likely to visit your blog and leave a comment. Don’t comment for the sake of it.If a post doesn’t interest me, I don’t comment. However, most of the blogs I am subscribed to are really interesting and educational, and this causes me to comment on most posts.

Guest Posting

This is a great way to connect and get exposure. It is important to work with the person whose blog you want to guest post on, and making sure your content is focussed towards their readers. Someone is placing a great deal of trust in you by letting you guest post on their blog, so take your time to create a super high-quality post that will be well received by the blogger and their audience. Guest-posting is a great way to ethically leverage another blog’s readership – and it often results in an increase in high quality traffic hits that convert at a high level!

These are some of the most effective methods I have discovered for becoming a part of the community in your mini-blogosphere. Forming solid connections is the only sustainable way to build your blog and increase your readership and number of subscribers (it goes without saying that you need good blog content).

Remember, blogging is about being a part of something bigger. Your role as a blogger is to grow as part of the community, and help others to do the same.

Have you tried strategies like these?  What has worked for you? Why do you blog? If you had to try just one of these ideas, which would it be?

Robert is a full-time Internet Marketer and online Entrepreneur from the UK. He is founder of the blog BeliefandAction.com, which talks about Personal Development, Business and Blogging. The aim of the blog is to help people starting an online business. His motto is: "To succeed in life you must first get to know yourself, and then change for the better. That is the greatest point of virtue that you can achieve." This is something that Robert tries to do every day and remains mindful of this when producing content for his blog.

Comments

  1. says

     Hey Robert, all of these are excellent ways to build community around your social web efforts.

    For me, the one that stands out the most is commenting on relevant blogs. Here is where people can really start to get to know you and meaningful relationships can start developing. If you add value on other blogs, many of those folks will visit your blog so the conversation and relationship can broaden there as well. 

    Cheers to an excellent post!

    • says

      Hey Mark, thanks!

      Yes definitely, “blog commenting” is an extremely easy and effective way to build connections with other people. I know many people that have used that method with great success. Yes, people love when you add value to their blogs, and are likely to do the same in return. I think the most important thing to remember with commenting is comment to add to the conversation, not just commenting for the sake of it.  

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.  

      • says

        Hey Robert, I agree, the key is to add value to the conversation, and also to recognize that it takes a bit of time; a blog commenting section is kind of like a cocktail party, and you don’t always get noticed on your first attempt to get involved in the conversation. But if you stick around for a while, and you have something valuable and interesting to add, then pretty soon you’ll be welcomed into the circle. :)

        Thanks again for the fantastic guest post, Robert – very much appreciated!

        • says

          I think a cocktail party is a great comparison Danny, and if people treat it as they would a real life interaction  they are much likely to ethically tap into these “micro-networks” of bloggers. It can take a bit of time, but as you said, if someone offers a unique perspective and they add value, they’ll soon be an active and established member of the bloggers network!

          You’re welcome. Thanks so much for the opportunity Danny, means alot! :)

    • says

      Hey Mark, thanks!

      Yes definitely, “blog commenting” is an extremely easy and effective way to build connections with other people. I know many people that have used that method with great success. Yes, people love when you add value to their blogs, and are likely to do the same in return. I think the most important thing to remember with commenting is comment to add to the conversation, not just commenting for the sake of it.  

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.  

  2. says

    Hey Robert: Great suggestions and I think you hit on all the important fundamentals of blogging. I really appreciated what you said about being a part of a community. It really is super important and at the end of the day one of the most rewarding things about blogging. 

    • says

      Thanks Sibyl, glad you enjoyed the post. It’s nice to see like-minded people such as yourself agree on the importance of community, and yes there are great rewards that come with being part of one. Thanks for commenting :)  

  3. Anonymous says

     Interesting post Robert, sorry this is a bit off topic.

    I found I started reading this post thinking it was Danny and because I have liked his past articles, I was much more receptive to it. By the time I realized it wasn’t him I was already enjoying the article.

    Don’t know what I am saying but maybe other blogs should leave the introductions on a guest post until the end of the article. 

    If I know straight away that it is a guest post, sometimes I am less interested and a bit more sceptical about what is being said. 

    So by leaving the introduction to the end the guest blogger gets the benefit of the goodwill to the blog and more of a chance to be judged purely on content. Going to check out your site Robert.

    • says

      Hi there.

      No problem. Yes I very much enjoy all of Danny’s posts also. I’m very flattered that you think this post is up to his usual standard and I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it :)
      Danny certainly knows what he is doing when it comes to blogging, and I think that it is a good idea to leave the introductions to the end when the post has just been read. He has done many things for me out of his own “goodwill” since we connected, this guest posting opportunity being one of them!

      Thanks for stopping by, look forward to seeing you on my site!

    • says

      Hey buddy. First of all, I’m flattered!

      Second of all, you’re right, I’ve noticed myself doing the same thing. On sites like Copyblogger, I’ll often click through my email update to see who wrote the post, and if it isn’t a name that I know, I just skim to see if it’s an interesting subject.

      Of course, I should be giving new authors (hey, like myself!) more of a chance – thanks for making me aware of that behavior. :) 

  4. says

    Hi Robert… Can totally relate with your short bio *thumbsUp*

    Real nice of you to share your experiences… I would say I’m presently in this phase myself, and working on it fervently! The community can be likened to an incubator I suppose, where like entrepreneurs, bloggers can grow!

    Thanks and cheers!

    • says

      Hey Tyna,

      Glad you liked the bio.lol

      I think it’s essential to integrate our experiences into our blog posts, one way or another.

      That is a great parallel, the community is one big “incubator” where we all grow and help each other, but everyone is at different stages of growth (which is not a bad thing!)

      Thanks for passing by, glad the post was of value :) 

  5. says

    When I started out I had that “Affiliate” background myself, but at the end of the day if no is talking back to you, your just talking to “yourself”. Blogging is so much more then just posting up content and hoping people see it. You have to really put yourself out there and connect with others. It took one relationship for me to get that right off the bat if I want to stay in this industry. Now, I really enjoy interacting with other bloggers, learning from them and fueling that energy to someone else starting out like me. I love it when I write something and someone reacts to it saying they know exactly how I feel. That’s priceless and you can’t buy that.  

    • says

      Sonia, thanks for passing by and adding so much value to the conversation. That’s precisely it, having no interaction means you are just talking to “yourself”. It’s all about putting yourself out there and forming connections. 

      Yeah some people have an initial inertia when considering networking and connecting, but it’s a component that is vital to the success of any blog, and worth every ounce of effort. As I’m sure you’re aware, once you start it’s really not that bad; and people in the community are unbelievably receptive and helpful. 

      Yeah, the hope is that one day when we’re the “rock stars” of the blog world we will be able to help others that are starting out, and so the cycle continues!

      It is great when someone else completely understands your point of view, and even though it doesn’t always happen, it’s one of the many positives to having a blog. Flip side of the coin, I also enjoy a good debate if someone has opposing views presented in an non-confrontational manner! If a blog posts arouses someone to comment and add value to the conversation, that’s enough for me :)

      • says

        Robert, thanks for your reply! Your right about continuing the cycle because when you started you got help from those already in it…so giving back is what makes me feel better when I learn some kick ass stuff! 

    • says

      Hey Sonia, I just clicked through to your site, and is it me, or have you given it a facelift? It looks really great!

      Also, a question for you – you mentioned your background is in affiliate marketing – would you mind shooting me an email to danny (at) firepolemarketing (dot) com with a little more info about your background?

      I’m looking for someone with an aff. marketing background to help on a side project – maybe we could do something together. :)

  6. says

    Robert nice going! I started this year too and have used all these techniques to grow my blog. Hits are great but useless if they don’t stick around. That’s why I don’t actively focus on Stumbleupon. It can and does huge traffic but the nature of the users is to keep clicking to the next site. The ways you mentioned are more natural and will have more of an impact in the long run.

    Keep it up man!! I know it does take time but once we’ve got momentum on our side, watch out!!

    • says

      Hey Benny, 

      You’re another great example of the success achieved by focussing on community, in a few months you’ve come a heck of a long way! Exactly, just thought of a great quote (I always do when I’m round Danny! lol ) “Focus on people not on traffic.” Google will never subscribe or leave comments, but people will. You can’t put a price on forming a good connection with someone. 

      Thanks for stopping by Benny. Don’t worry I’m going to keep going, the momentum is already here! I can see it is with you too! Look forward to seeing you continue to grow in the coming months.

      Thanks for stopping by man.

  7. Anonymous says

    Hey Robert! What a guest post, I’m very impressed with this!

    Two things stood out for me here, amongst the rest. The first is “interviews” – I’m quickly realising that these are the next step for me. They’re an awesome way to connect, and to really get to know a blogger better. It’s one thing reading someone’s content, it’s another thing entirely to hear their voice and realise that “Yes”, this is a real person. I’m looking forward to our ‘little session’ on Friday ;-)

    The second thing that stood out was your reference to “micro-networks”. When I first started out, I didn’t have any ‘loyal’ readers for a while; there were only one-time readers or (if I was lucky) comments. They didn’t return again. Slowly but surely, I started entering a personal development micro-network, and this fulfilled me in terms of getting that connection. But then, I started to get to know people like Mark Harai, Paul Wolfe, Danny Brown, etc, and suddenly I was taking part in a whole horde of micro-networks, from personal development to social media, and from ‘blogging about blogging’ to freelance writing.

    I enjoy this; it helps keep me fresh, diversifies my exposure, and ensures that I always meet someone new. We could talk about this on Friday, maybe?

    Take care Robert, great read :-)

    • says

      Stuart, its my first ever guest post, glad you enjoyed it and thanks for adding so much value to the conversation. 

      Yeah as you can probably tell I think that interviews are great! They play a great part in “humanising” bloggers and show people a different side of their personality that is sometimes hard to put across in writing. Looking forward to talking on Friday as well :) .

      I was exactly the same when I started out, no loyal readers and practically no comments whatsoever. I realise that I’ve still got a long way to go but I understand exactly what I have to do and have better focus now, but as we all know nothing happens overnight. Yeah, very fortunately for me this “micro network” was the first I found, and I genuinely feel so thankful and grateful to be a part of it, there are some really great guys in this circle of people.

      Yeah definitely something to talk about on Friday :) . Thanks so much for passing through!    

  8. Anonymous says

    Hello Robert, Very nice post and I love the title.  It is lonely out there at times especially for many of us that are working virtual.  I love the suggestion about interviewing, I listened to one that was done here with Robert Kiwasaki and I enjoyed it.  I learned something about him – his love for hockey and then read about it on another blog! Interviewing is truly something I have been wanting to do for a while but have made the effort so THANKS for the inspiration that my thoughts were on the right path.  

    I also found another way to grow a community of bloggers is to join blog challenges.  I did that last month and have made a few really great friends and we are cultivating our relationships. It’s quite a bit of work to blog everyday for 30 days, a big commitment but there are many benefits that made it worth it.  I am joining one next month again because it was a great way to help me focus and I found some awesome blogs I never would have noticed before.  Have an excellent day – I will be subscribing to your blog!

    • says

      Hey Michelle, great to see you here! (and looking forward to your guest post here as well!) :D

      I’d love to hear more about these blog challenges – I’m not familiar with the concept. What’s involved?

      P.S. We interviewed Guy Kawasaki, author of Art of the Start and Enchantment. Robert Kiyosaki wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad. :) 

    • says

      HI Michelle

      Yes it can get lonely, but there are millions of other people in the same position as us, it’s just about getting out there and connecting, something you clearly understand if you are engaging with the amazing community that Danny and Peter have built here at Firepole Marketing.

      Yeah Danny’s interview with Guy is awesome, one of the things that really put this site and blog on the map! As I’m sure Danny will explain to you sometime, there is a very interesting story behind the Guy Kawasaki interview, as well as a number of other things that Danny and Peter did at the time to get the word out about this blog, which in my opinion is one of the best blogs on the entire web! :)

      Any online venture involves a great deal of work front-end before we see any results, blogging is no different. But if we stick at it and keep working it’s always worth it in the end :) . Glad you enjoyed the blog challenges, never  really looked into them but eager to learn more about them, from what you say sounds like a great way to connect and stay focused.
      Thanks in advance for subscribing, and thanks for commenting on this post. Looking forward to your guest post on here will be keeping an eye out for it! :)

  9. says

    Robert, this is a great post.  I don’t have anything useful to add other than, it didn’t click until i started connecting. I started my blog a couple of months ago as a compliment to my sleeping mask business but then as i strted commenting on other blogs i met real people and am making real connections. Then, i suddenly understood. 

    I had only lurked around blogs trying to figure out their secret ad i was never really engaged in the community. But once i was engage that’s when i really got passionate about making connections over getting unique visitor. I stil want visitors, but i’ would rather have quality over quantity right now…

    cheers
    Annie

    • says

      Hey Annie, it’s great to see you here!

      Yeah, it’s all about the connections, and to be honest I didn’t really get it for a long time either. I’m still not completely on top of it, but at least I’m starting to get there… :) 

    • says

      Thanks Annie. Yes I know exactly what you mean, it’s kind of one of those “Eureka” moments when you realise and then think “Dang, how did it take me this long to figure that one out!” lol.

      That’s what it comes down to – real people and real connections. As I said to Benny a few comments down, it’s all about the “Focus on people not traffic”. Danny was one of the first people to teach me this when I interviewed him. I’m the same, I’m all about the connections now. Stats and metrics are important but pale into insignificance compared to engaging with the community and forming your own at your blog. 

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  10. Aaron Andrews says

    Great post Robert,

    I don’t have a blog at the moment, but I still enjoy reading great articles like this one and commenting.  I genuinely like meeting new people and I found a lot of people are very helpful on the net.  When I do build my blog,  I plan on interviewing often, I think it’s great for all parties.  You help someone else while connecting and having the chance to form a relationship.  

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Aaron.

      Yeah commenting is a great way to form relationships, and interviews have a different impact, but all the interviews I’ve done so far have been well received :) . It’s a great chance to get to know someone and let their readers really get to know them too, all whilst making a connection with the person.

      I highly recommend you start building your blog as soon as you can, if you’re already commenting on this blog and others you obviously have a clear understanding of what is needed to build a successful blog. It takes time, but why don’t you get started as soon as you can, and if you have any questions me or one of the other bloggers would be more than happy to help you :) .

      There’s no time like the present! Thanks for commenting. 

      • says

        Hey Aaron, welcome to Firepole Marketing!

        I agree with Robert – there’s no time like the present to get started, but I think you’ve already gotten started by interacting here, and on other communities. To a certain extent, blogging is an exercise in personal branding, and by being active and contributing in comments on other blogs, you’ve already got that train moving. :)

  11. says

    This is  an EXCELLENT post for both start-up bloggers and those who’ve been at it for a while but just feel like they hit a wall. The two things I’ve found to be most helpful are adding value and commenting on other blogs.

    Adding value separates you from the link farms (isn’t that what the kids are calling it these days?) and headline skimming. I’d rather be a day late posting about a new innovation in the industry if it means I can put together a well-written post with additional commentary and research beyond a regurgitated press release. I’ve recently started dipping my toes into interviews and guest posting. Between those strategies and making two posts a day, the Quality Logo Products blog (http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog) has become the number one search result for “promo blog” on Yahoo, Google, and Bing!

    Another great perk of the interview strategy is that if the interviews are conducted over email, it also makes writing the post itself easier. Just cut and paste! A good interviewee with add solid commentary to the topic at hand, and you’ll be able to crank out more content.

    Thanks for laying these all out in a really easy to read way. Which one have you found the most helpful? Is there any real way to separate out the impact of each strategy? Looking forward to reading more posts at this blog, and so glad I stumbled across it!

    Best,
    Jana

    • says

      Jana, speaking of adding value, thanks for stopping by and adding so much to this conversation.

      I think that adding value in blogging, and indeed in business, is essential to our success.

      Wow that is some regular posting, you deserve to be #1 for that phrase when you’re putting that sort of work in – well done on that though, nice to see evidence of the success your hard work as brought! That phrase gets 3600 global searches per month on Google alone so I can imagine your blog traffic from that keyword alone is pretty impressive! Like your readers, Google likes regular structure to your posting! lol

      In terms of interviews, personally I feel that audio interviews are way more interesting, and it allows another blogger’s readers to get to know them in a completely different way. There are things that are hard to get across on paper which will “click” with their readers and followers when they hear that blogger speaking. It is very “humanising” for both the interviewer and the interviewee. Also, if you’re cracking out alot of written content, the occasional audio interview breaks the monotony.

      I think that the best way to measure the impact is to see how many new people you have commenting on your blog after the promotion. As Danny said to me when we I interviewed him a couple months ago, it’s how much your traffic bottom line increases, the spike isn’t important, it’s how many NEW regular visitors you get AFTER the interview or guest post that matters – see it as new visitor retention levels.

      In terms of what has been most effective, this is my first guest post so I can’t say, but many bloggers love guestposting as cross-promotion. I think it’s great, but I don’t have enough measurable data to compare it to the results from my interviews. I love doing interviews and I’m going to keep doing them, actually got two more scheduled over this next seven days! You still can’t beat good old-fashioned blog commenting!

      In my opinion, it’s better to measure effectiveness in terms of community rather than just statistics – as people are far more important than statistics! Many bloggers look at this aspect too objectively and favour high traffic stats over real connections, nuh uh! If you are establishing and forming new connections with new visitors to your site after the interview or guest post, that is cold, hard evidence that you are succeeding. :)

      Thanks Jana, and great job on your blog. Speak soon

      • says

        Robert,

        Thanks so much! I would love to take sole credit for our skyrocket to the top but I do work with a team of awesomely talented people that put up posts on a twice-a-day schedule. I have the advantage of working for a place that REALLY prizes the blogging/social media aspect of networking (which is surprising considering most of our sales are B2B), which I know is not an advantage many bloggers have.

        We also found out today that we jumped up 40 spots in Google’s search rank for “promotional products blog,” which is HUGE.

        In terms of audio interviews, I think that particular sword can cut either way. While there’s a more “human” connection in hearing a voice versus reading text, there’s also the added technology involved. Some companies may have removed speakers/disabled sound on computers in order to avoid “e-slacking,” and even some of those that do have audio capabilities may not want to disturb others in their cubicle village. Also, the written word allows you to skim the page for the important parts if there’s not a lot of time, rather than abandoning the link altogether. Just a few things to consider.

        As far as new visitors, we do get the occasional “outsider” posting, but most of the comments are “in house.” We’ve been working more on reaching out and posting on blogs to build networks, but while we try to be “repeat customers” for commenting on blogs, the few that stop by ours are only one hit wonders.

        Any tips for increasing the comment count from outside commenters? I make it a point to ask questions throughout/at the end of articles to spark conversation, but we’re still getting a low return. Any strategies would be appreciated.

        Take care,
        Jana

        • says

          You make some great points here.

          In terms of the written word – yes I think that all blogs should be predominantly written posts, with the occasional audio or video post to keep it interesting. Unless that person is Gary Vee (Vaynerchuk) or someone similar – then it’s still all about the written word. To be honest I never thought of this e-slacking thing because people shouldn’t be reading my blog while they are meant to be working anyway! So personally I don’t see that as a problem. But I understand what you are saying about the interviews, it is asking a great deal from people – as they have to take about half an hour of their valuable time out to listen. However, that is why I make sure I ask interesting and compelling questions – so the listener gets something from it. I’ve had good feedback from people so far, but I understand that the audio aspect of it might put some people off. But heck, you can’t please everyone!

          Glad you guys and your company value blogging and Social, I love to see companies that “get it”.

          I’m by no means any sort of expert on blogging, and these comments here are by far the most comments I’ve ever got on any post I’ve ever written! Saying that, I have learnt a few things. Nothing happens overnight, but as this post talks about its all about connecting with other people and reaching out into the community. It’s just important to realise that forming these solid relationships takes time. I also like to use Social Media to freely promote other people and other blogs as much as physically possible – However, I understand when you are running a business this can sometimes cause a conflict of interest. Obviously the content has to be unique and thought provoking.

          This is me talking purely from a personal perspective – I immediately get put off by blogs that are run by a business because I struggle to see the personal side as much as I would on someone’s personal blog. That may sound obvious, but I think it makes a massive difference. I prefer connecting with people not companies, and these business blogs it just seems to me like you don’t know who’s who or who you are talking to. With a personal blog its just one person, and for me it just simplifies this and makes it so much more appealing to connect with them.

          I think Danny and Peter have a great example here of how a business should be run through a blog. Even though Danny has a number of income streams, he is, in my opinion, a professional blogger. His blog posts are awesome, he does a number of guest posts and really goes out of his way to promote others – that’s why he’s so successful. He is the face, the person behind Firepole (as well as Peter!), so people have a point of reference. Yet, he still manages to run a successful business from his blog, but it’s done in such a subtle and effective way that the blog still seems personal and you can see how successful it is by the amount of traffic and comments he gets on every post.

          I think that Danny may be the best person to speak to about effectively intertwining blogging and business from the same spot. But if you keep going out and commenting, connecting and promoting with no expectations in return, you will see tremendous results in the long run. You’re already obviously a successful company if you have over 800 “Likes” on Facebook! Look forward to watching you grow, and will start visiting your blog regularly. Hope this helps – You may want to check out the post on my blog that complemented this one - http://beliefandaction.com/thatcword/ . Like I said, I’m not an expert but I think I’m starting to “get it”. Lol. Hope this helps, good to conversate with you :)

          • says

            Hmmm… I wrote the longest comment I’ve probably ever written in, and now it’s gone. Grrr… Okay, here we go again, maybe a bit shorter this time…

            You’ve both raised several good points here about interviews, namely that they take a lot of time for the listener/reader, and that within a work context audio is not as convenient to listen to.

            In terms of the time, I try to keep my interviews in the 20-30 minute range, to be as prepared as possible to make them as interesting as I can, and to edit them after the fact to make them as time-efficient for the listener as possible.

            I think it is also important to transcribe the interviews, though I realize that this is time-consuming/expensive to get done for interviews on a regular basis; it makes the content accessible to more viewers, whether because they’re hearing-impaired or simply at work, and it’s also good for search engines. The transcript can be edited for readability, and you can even add sub-headings if you want to (though we don’t go that far here at Firepole Marketing).

            Robert, I think that you also raised an interesting point that I was planning on turning into a post at some point, namely the role of the written word in the blogging world, when so much media seems to be turning to audio and video. I think that what it comes down to is that the costs of producing audio and video have dropped from very high just a couple of decades ago, to practically zero today. This makes it much easier to produce content in richer media, which is frankly more intuitive for us as human beings (it’s a lot more natural for us to talk than it is to write). That’s why so much is moving towards audio and video.

            At the same time, writing gives the audience a much better opportunity to control the pace of consumption (they can skim, jump back and forth while seeing the whole page, etc.), and for you to think through the quality of what you’re creating. While it’s easier to create audio content than written content, for example, it’s harder to create *good* audio than it is to create *good* text. So I think the barriers to entry in terms of quality of writing will be going up, just as the barriers in cost to creating content in other media have gone down.

            Jana, in terms of getting more comments to your posts, the real trick is to get the *first* comment, because once somebody has commented the first time, they’re dramatically more likely to comment again.

            To that end, there are a couple of things that you can do: you can change your *style* to prompt people to comment, and you can change the *content* to do the same.

            In terms of writing style, I wrote a post about this, so I’ll just link to it: http://www.biggirlbranding.com/desperate-housewives-on-writing-storytelling-and-selling/

            In terms of content, it helps to write posts (especially the ones that are meant to jump-start your existing readers to comment) that are just really easy to comment on. For example, my books for bloggers post on Copyblogger (http://www.copyblogger.com/books-for-bloggers/) has had over 200 comments (which is huge, even for Copyblogger). While I’d like to think that part of that is because of my writing, the truth is that a lot of it is because everybody has a favorite book, and it isn’t much work for them to mention it in the comments.

            Does that help?

          • says

            Thanks for your reply. I can definitely see where you’re coming from when you say you’re put off by company-run blogs. Our blogsquad (see, we’re people!) has recently been discussing more ways to make it personal, including (but not limited to) adding our pictures in the header. We’ve got a trustworthy look about us, so maybe seeing our smiling faces might take away that corporate sterility and maybe give someone the nudge to click on.

            I will definitely take the time to check out the bloggers you’ve suggested. After all, it’s all about building a community!

            I’ve bookmarked your blog post on community and will be passing it on to fellow writers. I don’t think anyone can value community enough; ticks on a counter are super, but ultimately mean nothing if the content is forgettable. I think my problem here is being patient with the process. Time for some deep breaths. :)

            I really appreciate you passing on this valuable information – we’re still pretty new to this more-engaged involvement with blogging – and directing me to additional resources. Thanks so much!

            Jana

            • says

              Awesome, sounds good! Yeah there are some great bloggers in this community thast you can easily connect with.

              Thanks, glad you enjoyed my post on Community :) .

              From a business perspective, its easy to place great importance on Search engines, I know as I come from an affiliate marketing background (as I mention in this post). However, Google will never share your content, subscribe or buy anything from you. Someone visiting that has found your site on Google is much less likely to comment on your blog than someone like myself is, who you have made a conscious effort to reach out to. So I think it’s best to concentrate on building long-term relationships via the blogging community and Social Media, and everything else will follow :) .

              If you need any help or advice with anything don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll do my best to help. Glad you found the advice useful, I wish you guys all the best in building your blog and your business.

              Robert

          • says

            You’ve both raised several good points here about interviews, namely that they take a lot of time for the listener/reader, and that within a work context audio is not as convenient to listen to.

            In terms of the time, I try to keep my interviews in the 20-30 minute range, to be as prepared as possible to make them as interesting as I can, and to edit them after the fact to make them as time-efficient for the listener as possible.

            I think it is also important to transcribe the interviews, though I realize that this is time-consuming/expensive to get done for interviews on a regular basis; it makes the content accessible to more viewers, whether because they’re hearing-impaired or simply at work, and it’s also good for search engines. The transcript can be edited for readability, and you can even add sub-headings if you want to (though we don’t go that far here at Firepole Marketing).

            Robert, I think that you also raised an interesting point that I was planning on turning into a post at some point, namely the role of the written word in the blogging world, when so much media seems to be turning to audio and video. I think that what it comes down to is that the costs of producing audio and video have dropped from very high just a couple of decades ago, to practically zero today. This makes it much easier to produce content in richer media, which is frankly more intuitive for us as human beings (it’s a lot more natural for us to talk than it is to write). That’s why so much is moving towards audio and video.

            At the same time, writing gives the audience a much better opportunity to control the pace of consumption (they can skim, jump back and forth while seeing the whole page, etc.), and for you to think through the quality of what you’re creating. While it’s easier to create audio content than written content, for example, it’s harder to create *good* audio than it is to create *good* text. So I think the barriers to entry in terms of quality of writing will be going up, just as the barriers in cost to creating content in other media have gone down.

            • says

              Thanks for joining the conversation Danny.

              Definitely, great points! It’s certainly much better to have a transcript, and that sounds like the perfect time limit for an interview, although its sometimes difficult to keep it to that time limit, as I’ve found out on several occasions :) . From now on I am going to have a transcript or at least a summary transcript for every single interview that I do, it is time consuming but so worth it.
              Yeah I think that would be a great post, about the advantages of the written word. For most people it’s definitely easier to write an excellent post that convey it in audio or video, definitely, although Ryan at iMark is doing a good job on his podcasts and videos – always a few exceptions to the rule!

  12. says

    Great post Robert, when all these points are implemented, you could be on your way to becoming a visitor attracting machine. Writing great posts, or even sometimes being off topic can break into great discussions and all involved can learn a thing or 10.
    It’s all about being part of the community, and it is surprising how bloggers seem to intervene amongst each other in discussions, which in turn draws great traffic and exposure.

    • says

      Thanks!

      Exactly, but you only get those great discussions if you’re part of a community in the blogosphere. I think that the most important thing is to concentrate on community and provide excellent content, and the rest will follow :) . Unlike some of markets online, the “business of blogging” is all about ethics and good intentions (as well as hard work and promotion) – as someone like Danny shows. Working hard but doing it in the right way and going above and beyond to help other people is a sure recipe for success when blogging!

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  13. Gabriella - The Stepford Wife says

    These are some intereesting points on creating traffic for your blog – there would be great content meaning repeat-traffic in addition to unique traffic hits.

    • says

      Hi Gabriella, thanks!

      It’s important to recognise that the focus of this post is to concentrate on community rather than just creating traffic, but yes these techniques combined with a focus on community certainly increase your blog traffic! :)

  14. Diana Simon says

    Hi Robert,

    I completely agree that without a community it’s hard to get your blog off the ground. Another point about the community is that you learn so much from them.  It’s amazing to see the collaboration and I see it as “One For All and All for One”. 

    I have started doing interviews and do a series every Sunday to feature a blogger in one of my blogging communities.  To not only know them as blogger but as a person.  Also, I have the chance to interview Brankica Underwood the winner of the recent Traffic Generation Blogging contest.

    To be honest, I want to try my hands at guest posting but a lot of fear is coming up.  The fear of not writing a post that is good enough because I have only been blogging for two months.  Any tips to overcome this?
     

    • says

      Hey Diana, thanks for stopping by.

      Yeah that’s a great attitude to have “All for one and one for all” – That’s exactly what this is. We’re all in this together and we can help each other to grow.

      Wow, sounds like you’re doing really well and making great progress if you’ve only been blogging for a couple of months and you already do interviews, have a feature on your blog every Sunday (which is a great idea, I’ve seen a few people doing it and I might adopt it myself! ;) ) AND understand the importance of community; you are streets ahead of most people already! 

      Definitely check out the two awesome links that Danny has posted in reply to your comment. 

      Blogging is about being sure and confident in yourself, and guest posting is no different. Study the blog that you want to guest post on to see the writing style and what appeals to their readers. A guest post needs to be unique and interesting, yet appeal to the other blogger and their readers. It’s not a case of send it over and publish, you work with them to create a piece of content that you are both very happy with. You want your unique twist on things to be displayed in a way that appeals to their readers.

      It takes time to come up with a great guest post, but when you do the response is more than worth it – this one is my first one, and the response has been both flattering and overwhelming.

      To be honest, Danny is one of the best people to talk to regarding guest posting, I interviewed him and we spoke a little about guest posting, you can check it out here http://beliefandaction.com/danny-iny-interview-part-2/ . Also, I’d be more than happy to speak to you about guest posting, you can get me at robert@beliefandaction.com or contact me through my blog.

      I’m going to check out your blog when I get a spare two minutes.

      I hope this helps you, contact Danny or myself with any questions :)

  15. says

    Guys, I just want to say thanks to everyone for commenting – you turned a good post into a GREAT post, and really displayed the power of community. So thanks so much and once again thanks to the awesome Danny Iny for giving me the opportunity :D

  16. Stephen Guise says

    Robert, I think that people come to this realization or their blogs die young.  In the beginning, I commented because I wanted to help my blog (horrible motive, shame on me).  Eventually, I grew to love the blogging community and now comment (like this) because I enjoy being involved.  I’ve found that bloggers are some of the best people around – generally intelligent, funny, kind, and successful people.

    I worked with Danny on a guest post and I agree that he is great!  He does a lot of things right.

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by here Stephen :)

      Yes I agree with that, it’s impossible to build a successful blog with no focus on community.

      100% agree, I was just saying on The Sales Lion that I have met some of the best, nicest, friendliest and most helpful people through the blogging community. Danny is up at the top of the list :) 

  17. says

    All points taken are true and very realistic! Being Part of a certain blogging Community is thing I love in blogging where I get a chance to meet and share ideas at the same time learning from experienced and expert bloggers in the web. 

    Thanks for sharing. This post is very recommendable.  Shared! 

    • says

      Exactly Kira, thanks for stopping by! It’s all about community, and the more people that understand this, the better. Like you, I love engaging with others.

      Thanks so much for sharing, glad you enjoyed it :)

  18. says

    Robert my man, great post. I align specifically with becoming part of a community, but to break it down a bit further, becoming the “Linchpin,” as S Godin would say. 

    I’m realizing the power of being indispensable to people. There certainly is room for that one person in all communities (maybe more) that people start to feel like they would rather not be without. Spreading out, touching everyone and being a resource has helped me tremendously. 

    Robert my man..I was just doing a podcast about thought inducing posts and yes, kind sir, you’re in it!  

    • says

      Hey Ryan nice to see you on here man. Yeah Mr Godin puts it well, I’d go even further by saying it’s all about becoming the “ethical” linchpin, a leader and connector that is respected for all the right reasons.

      Definitely man. Being indispensable is such a powerful thing, and like you said in your recent podcasts, there are so many more currencies (and ways to give) than just money! It’s all about being a resource – definitely a good and powerful way for people to see you. Yeah I can see you fully get the importance of community, I always see you networking and connecting, even with some big names in the community – love it!

      Haha thanks, I’m honoured as usual, looking forward to seeing this podcast :)

      • says

        I like what you’re saying, Robert – “ethical linchpin” isn’t always discussed, but it’s really integral, because if it isn’t ethical it isn’t really sustainable. :)

  19. says

    Robert,
    I went through the same experience as you. I soon discovered that reaching out and connecting with other bloggers was the critical first step. I am working on writing guest-posts to submit to other blogs in my niche.

    My blog is a small part of a bigger whole and that is how I see it.

    • says

      Sounds good Justin, all the best with that :) . I definitely believe that community is at the core of blogging. 

      Thanks for passing by, if you need any help or want to talk about guest posting you can always speak to Danny or myself. All the best with your blog!

  20. says

    Robert,
    I went through the same experience as you. I soon discovered that reaching out and connecting with other bloggers was the critical first step. I am working on writing guest-posts to submit to other blogs in my niche.

    My blog is a small part of a bigger whole and that is how I see it.

  21. Jk Allen says

    Hey @socialmarketer7:disqus  you know I’m your biggest fan man. Congrats on this great guest post here at Firepole Marketing – one of the fastest growing blog on the net!

    I think you are only around the corner to some substantial growth yourself. Your mission is great, your methodology is great and you do it for the right reason…and you are about delivering value. Those are the things that I look for when I follow blogs (not that I’m anyone special, but my time is VERY valuable to me). 

    What I’ve done the most is comment on relevant blogs. It’s been great learning from others. I would say that I’ve learned more from my blogging peers than I did in college. bold statement, but I mean that!

    Keep up the great work Robert – can’t wait to feature your work at the Notebook (same for you Danny!)

    By the way Danny – you’re doing a awesome job! 

    • says

      You flatter us, Jk! And much of our growth we owe to great posters like Robert, and commenters like you!

      You’re right about Robert – this guy is really going places, and fast! He really gets that it’s all about contribution, and it’s been an honor and a privilege to work with him.

      Funny you should say that about learning online vs. college – as a freshly-minted MBA, I completely agree… :S

      • says

        Flattering comments from Jk! Thanks Danny, I can honestly attribute much of my mindset change and momentum of my blog to you. I always enjoy working with you, can definitely see more collaborations in the future, maybe even outside the blogosphere.

        Thanks for the encouraging words! :)

    • says

      Hey @hustlersnotebook:disqus , thanks so much for taking time out and stopping by, your time is VERY valuable to me also, I know you’re a super busy guy! Thanks man, so happy  gave me this opportunity.

      Thanks Jk, that means a great deal coming from you, and I think you’re right, going to keep focusing on providing value and community, and see where it takes me :) . There were valuable lessons that I learnt about community and blogging from speaking to you and Danny, as well as the other guys I connect with, so thanks a million for that – you guys helped me understand “The Real Meaning of Blogging”; something I will be eternally grateful for.

      Yeah you’re known for your awesome blog comments, I know that’s played a key part in growing your awesome and expanding community at HN.

      Man that is a bold statement, but I have to agree! You guys are some of the most genuine, helpful and friendly guys that I have ever met, and there’s plenty more people like you in the community. Where else can you find a community like that? Nowhere I know.

      Thanks Jk, will be a great day when I can guest post on HN, and hopefully by then you and Danny will want to guest post on B&A too! lol

  22. Brad Harmon says

    Great tips here, Robert.  I love it when a post serves as its own example – suggesting guest posting in a blog that is itself a guest post.  Walking the walk.  I was amazed at how quickly you received responses from your potential interviewees.  I really need to do more of this on my own blogs.  Thanks for the reminder. ;)  

    If I had to choose one of your tips, it would have to be the one about becoming part of a community.  The more I blog, and read the blogs of others, this seems to be the best indicator of long-term success and almost forces you to do many of the rest of your suggestions to boot.  Thanks for the great guest post.

    • says

      Brad,

      Thanks for stopping by. Big apologies for the late reply, I haven’t checked this post for a few day.

      Yes I like to be a person that practices what I preach. I think that is essential in blogging as well as other aspects of life.

      Yeah I got a great response, I highly recommend them. 

      Very true Brad, I’m placing community at the centre of my blogging efforts. It’s impossible not to, and I absolutely love engaging with the awesome people in the community.

  23. Wong Jia Jun says

    “blogging is about being a part of something bigger. Your role as a blogger is to grow as part of the community, and help others to do the same.”I really like this sentence. I’m new in Firepolemarketing, and the first few things I’m checking is the few top posts in this blog. 
    Robert, I have to say you successfully create my interest to fully read your post and leave a comment here. Haha. It’s the power of writing huh? 
    When we focus on creating values, others will follow, including traffic, loyal readers, and new opportunities; as we’re attracting them. :)

    • says

      Hey Wong, I’m sure Danny won’t mind me saying “a warm welcome from both of us!” This is a great community, nice to see you here buddy!

      Sorry for the long reply, hadn’t checked this post for a few days, awesome to see people are still commenting, makes me really happy!

      Thanks, I really believe that. Blogging is about being part of something much bigger than just yourself.

      Glad you enjoyed my writing, all Danny’s posts are great examples of how to catch people’s attention and write an awesome post.

      Yes Wong, I believe that it is essential to have the correct intentions when you blog. Nothing happens overnight, but focussing on community and helping others does have huge rewards in the long run.

      Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you on here or my blog again sometime soon :)

  24. says

    Very informative indeed and touchy too. I see myself currently as you described – alone. It seems that I need to start focusing more on what the readers want rather than what I would like audience to read. Now I am a fan.

  25. Joni Douglas says

    Thanks for stopping by man. Study the blog that you want to guest post on to see the writing style and what appeals to their readers. Well thank you, Robert. Thanks for laying these all out in a really easy to read way.

  26. says

    Robert, You have put it well…and its bang on. Blogging in its initial stages was all about the individual and his opinion. But all that has drastically changed today. If one really wants to enhance the presence of his blog, it needs to go beyond; beyond the self, beyond inhibitions and beyond the comfort zone. Much like the real world, the blog-verse works on the principle of co-existence. Apart from that, be a giver. The more you give, the more you get…!

  27. says

    Every blogger wants to add value to their posts, but it’s not that easy to do, and many of them just get distracted by other trivial goals, like attracting the most number of visitors

  28. says

    The internet is now flooded with blogs. This is why standing out in the crowd is quite harder now than ever. Thus, adding value to your content is utterly important to establish a name in the community.

    Spatch Merlin
    How to Blog Guide

  29. says

    Hello! This post describe the most important human activity: communication. As a new blogger myself I can see the purpose of commenting on other blogs and guest posting. Why I’m trying at this point is adding value to my blog, and I just set up an interview. I also registered to HARO and next on my agenda is … guest posting. Thanks to give us a chance to be art of a community (which is so well described in the book Start from scratch!).

  30. says

    Hi Danny! Sorry to ask, but when commenting how do you add a thumbnail photo? I think it’s important to show one when commenting on posts! Thanks.

  31. says

    I used to guest post just for the backlink and getting traffic back to my blog. Then I realized yeah, it’s something bigger. It’s about building connections and relationships. Guest posting opens the door to effective communication through emailing and blog commenting. That’s pretty straight forward if you ask me.

    Looking at the bigger picture, the relationship building is super important. As a friend told me once, “The internet is like a world filled with people, and marketing inside is just about making friends”.

  32. says

    You are so dead on. Very great tips about our blogging community. For anyone who is serious about having a successful blog like me, you need to get yourself out of the bubble and connect with your readers. Joining in the community of bloggers is a lot of fun. Just as much fun as actually writing our posts. And yes, you do have to make sure that every post is filled with quality and something that is going to hook your readers in and stay for the duration.

  33. says

    I’m new to Blogging, and I just loved your idea of doing interviews. It leverages the power of my personal rolodex perfectly, and gives me a reason to learn more about the strategies of the most successful people I know! #salesxpert

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    [...] Posting – I did my first guest post this week . Some people are very worried about guest posting, but in reality all you have to do is [...]

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