Just Heather
Live Blogging Blissdom: Connecting with Your Community of Readers

I’m thrilled to hear about developing real community with my readers, from fabulous gals who got it way right, from the start. One of my favorite old school bloggers is on the panel—meeting Mindy in person was such a blessing. Real life hugs, finally! This is a live blog so you’re reading my unedited notes from the session. I promise to come back later to correct grammar & spelling errors.


Laurie Turk, @TipJunkie
Amy Clark, @momadvice
Stephanie Precourt, @babysteph
Mindy Roberts, @themommyblog

Amy: It’s about writing authentically. “People like to know you’re a real person.” People stick around because they get to know you.
Stephanie: Figure out your niche, what your readers are interested in. It doesn’t always have to be *about* that specific niche, but it’s a good common thread to build community. Your readers can start forming their own relationships too.
Laurie: Blogroll on her sidebar – “Find other creative women”

The Golden Blog Rule:
Stephanie: Be generous, genuine and respectful. To get to know my readers, I read their blogs and leave comments. If it’s always getting comments and not giving back. Don’t leave generic comments; find something relevant to connect with.
Laurie: Be your true self on Twitter & Facebook.

Sharing Your Full Experience:
Mindy: “I write the same way I speak.” It lets people know they aren’t alone. Create triumph out of your trials—if you post about things that you wouldn’t necessarily talk about it person, it resonates with people.
Laurie: People want to be invested in you.
Mindy: Get to know your readers and continue conversations by email. It can develop real friendships.

Building a Blog Alliance:
Laurie: It can really unite all of your communities. “We don’t have to compete with each other because there’s enough to go around.” Collaborate with “competitors” on separate projects. Feature your top 10 referrers—they already love you, but give them a little link love back and say thank you.
Mindy: Email people who send you a lot of traffic.

Landing Page:
Amy: When you are featured in anything—a newspaper, magazine, television show—create a landing page for new visitors who found you through them. Include your favorite links, posts you’re most proud of, info on how to subscribe. Top 10 list at the end of each month—top referrers, best posts, etc.
Laurie: Google already likes your top 10 posts. Featuring your top posts also helps your readers connect.
Mindy: Has started featuring “On this day in…” posts on her sidebar.

Community Tools:
Handout available on Blissdom Conference website
Laurie: Have a Facebook fan page for your blog
Amy: Join every single community that is relevant to you, not necessarily your blog.
Laurie recommends Link Within but I find it to be very, very tough on your database. I use YARPP—Yet Another Related Post Plugin instead.

Engaging Readers:
Amy: The Notebook—features cool things from people in her niche each week.
Stephanie: Do something you enjoy, create linkups. Be original, but establish yourself first. You can’t create an awesome linkup and expect people to participate if you don’t have readers.
Laurie: Email is a great way to establish relationships.

How Your Community Affects the “Business of Blogging”
Stephanie: Your readers know you and pay attention when your ads & revenue are conflicting. Cloth diapers her kids so it wouldn’t make sense to display disposable diapers ads or take a trip sponsored by a large diaper company.
Mindy: Keep your integrity when you write product reviews.
Amy: Really read the pitches you get very carefully.
Mindy: Doesn’t use everything she receives and will only talk about items that she personally uses in her life.

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