Jamie L. Watts

A fine WordPress.com site

Building My Community

on June 9, 2013

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Photo Credit:  A Million Blogs (amillionblogs.com)

As a blogger, one of the most important things to do is build and maintain a community that appreciates your blog and it’s content. For my blog, a cookie decorating blog, here are 5 ways I plan to create a community that people enjoy participating in.

1. Create Categories and Use Tags

While cookie decorating is a topic that may seem pretty narrow, it can actually create a wide variety of blog posts. The best way to organize these and make them simple for my readers to follow is to use categories and tags.

  • I plan to divide my posts into categories such as recipes, tutorials, contests, giveaways, etc. so they can be easily found by readers.
  • Similarly, I plan to tag my posts with more specific words related to the individual post to further narrow down reader’s searches (for example, Christmas cookies, animal cookies, summer cookies, etc.).

2. Post Regularly and With Specific Themes for Specific Days

Tutorial Tuesday

Photo Credit:  Crafty Mumma (www.craftymumma.com)

  • To be sure that the readers who come to my blog stay with my blog, I plan to post at least once daily, following a theme for most days. (For example, Recipe Mondays, Tutorial Tuesdays, etc.). This way, readers know that if they are interested in a new recipe, Monday is the day to check the blog for that.
  • However, in order for the blog to not get too bogged down in the schedule and become repetitive, I also plan to post other, more random cookie decorating posts daily as well. This will allow me to create a routine or a blog schedule, yet also have some variety in what I post so as not to bore my readers.

3. Participate in the Comments

blog-comments

Photo Credit:  Eric-Lord.com (www.eric-lord.com)

Being approachable and accessible to my readers is something that is very important to me.  I want my readers to feel as if they can ask me questions, offer honest criticism or advice, or just chat with me at any time!

  • In a blog involving anything cooking or baking related, readers will most likely have questions on how something has been done. I will encourage my readers to post their questions (or critiques) of what I have posted in the comments section, and monitor and answer those questions as quickly as possible.
  • I will also provide contact information in the form of an email address so readers will always have a way to reach out to me. I think it’s really important for a blogger to be on the same level as the readers, and while I want my readers to see me as the “expert”, I also want them to see me as just “one of them” and feel comfortable to approach me with any questions or comments. I think by presenting myself as extremely accessible via the comments and email that will provide a comfort level with my readers that will work for all of us.
  • Additionally, I’m hopeful that comments or questions will provide me with ideas for future blog posts.  For example, if I receive multiple questions regarding my recipe for royal icing, I may decide that a tutorial outlining each step would be a good addition to the blog.  Once readers see that I am utilizing their comments to generate content they want, it should only make the community a stronger one to be a part of.

4. Use Social Media to my Advantage

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Photo Credit:  Nation’s Restaurant News (www.nrn.com)

Taking advantage of the variety of social media networks available will help me not only build my community, but stay connected with them even outside of the blog.

  • I will use sites like Facebook and Twitter to post links to all of my blog posts, as well as use it to connect with other cookie decorators.  By networking with others in the cookie world, I am opening myself and my blog to their community, in the hopes that their readers will visit my blog as well.  I will also use these sites to communicate directly with my readers, similar to how I will respond to them in the comments section of my blog.
  • I also plan to use sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube to post pictures of my cookies (in progress and complete), share recipes and tutorials of my creations, and post video tutorials as well.  These sites all provide another outlet to reach readers, and also provide readers with a variety of things that will keep me and my blog fresh in their mind as they peruse their own social networks.

5.  Host and Participate in Challenges/Events with other Bloggers

The cookie decorating community is continuously growing, yet so many decorators have different styles and voices, it seems there is room for just about everyone.  A fun way to be introduced to new decorators is through challenges hosted by one blogger, inviting other decorators to participate.

  • I will participate in these challenges (ones similar to LilaLoa’s most recent one) and link up to my blog post detailing my contribution on the host’s page as requested.  This will introduce me to readers of other bloggers who are participating, and hopefully grow my community.
  • Similarly, once I have become an established blogger, I will host my own challenges, inviting other decorators to participate.  This will entice their readers to visit my blog for the challenge, and hopefully stick around after that!

By following these steps, along with others listed in our lecture, I hope to begin to build my community.  Even once I have become an established blogger in the cookie decorating community, continuing to participate in things such as challenges and link-ups, as well as being completely accessible to my readers, will only help my community grow further.

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