Last week I traveled down to West Columbia, South Carolina, to take part in a blogger luncheon sponsored by my client, Lexington Medical Center. For a couple of years now we’ve helped Lexington Medical Center to develop and then manage their Every Woman Blog. One thing I’ve learned over the years managing blogs is that it is common for bloggers to burn out – to run out of steam. That necessitates the recruitment of new bloggers to join the fold every so often.
At the end of 2013, Lexington Medical Center held a contest to recruit new bloggers who would then join our existing group of women writing for the Every Woman Blog. This blogger luncheon was to welcome the new bloggers, provide orientation and communicate expectations. But the real reason for the event is to begin the community-building process.
You see, when a new blog is launched, or someone starts blogging for the first time, it can be a very lonely business. You start with no readers. Zilch. Zero. Nil. Nada. One of the benefits of launching a blog with a number of contributors is that they can all support one another while the blog builds a following. During their orientation, we suggest to the bloggers that they make a concerted effort to comment on each others posts, to share links to those posts on their personal Facebook pages, and to Tweet out links on Twitter. In this way, each of the bloggers gets positive feedback and kudos from day one, making the process less lonely.
By bringing the bloggers together for the luncheon, they immediately have the opportunity to start building community and identify shared interests. Without fail, the bloggers ask that we share all the email addresses with the group so they can directly contact each other. This process of community-building is a fascinating thing to watch. I love being a part of it.
Here are a few other tips we share with the new bloggers:
- Great blog posts can be short. So don’t try to make each post a major work. If you can share the relevant information in one paragraph, so be it.
- Include photos with your posts. Images are compelling; but please don’t swipe them from the Internet. The best option is a photo that you’ve taken.
- Keep a running list of blog post ideas as they come to you. I do it using the “notes” app on my iPhone.
- Write about what’s important to you. It should come naturally. Write about your life and those things that strike you as being interesting, odd or simply share-worthy.
- What seems mundane to you, may be highly relevant to other people facing a similar situation or challenge. So don’t be too quick to judge events in your life as mundane. Then we tell them the clogged toilet story. A blog post about unclogging a toilet may seem mundane, but…
- When it comes to the appropriateness of the topic, ask yourself if it is something you would share with your family around the dining room table. For our blogs, that’s a good measure of whether or not the content is suitable for our audience.
- Invite comments and ask for others to share their experiences.
- Don’t use the blog as a platform to attack individuals, businesses, or organizations. That’s not what this is about.