I’ve gotten a number of IM’s and e-mails about how cool this series is. Thank you, and huge thanks for the comments throughout the week. Unfortunately, it’s not very healthy for me…. check out this IM transcript from this morning:
Phil801 says: i feel guilty that i haven’t taken time to comment, but i consider just reading blogs to be a distraction right now, commenting is out of the question
Jason says: i understand. It is amazing how getting comments boosts a blogger’s ego though. It’s probably unhealthy for me to get the comments
Phil801 says: lol – that’s VERY true
(you can follow Phil801 at his blog (locally, Phil is kind of like Cher and Prince… he’s a one-namer. I always call him Phil801 and usually forget what his last name is :p)
Kidding aside, thank you very much for contributing. I’m not alone in thinking this way… Pete Johnson, HP.com architect and author of Nerd Guru pointed a group I’m on to Jeff Atwood’s post which had a really profound sentence:
It’s an open secret amongst bloggers that the blog comments are often better than the original blog post, and it’s because the community collectively knows far more than you or I will ever know.
That leads me to today’s secret: build a community. I’d like to say the secret is HOW to build a community, but I’m not sure I know. The secret is simply that you should build a community. End of post.
Bonus material – here’s how I think I’ve built a community. It involves a lot of risking. Reaching out to others. I’ve blogged about relationships, leaving comments, developing a brand and having an abundance mentallity. When you roll all of these up you are led to a simple yet time-consuming tactic – include others in your posts.
Including others is cool for two reasons. First, I can’t imagine what Jason Alba could write about for so long without including others. Honestly, more than once I’ve thought “I’ve just run out of ideas! There’s nothing more to say!” Second, blogging about others is a way of putting your virtual arm around them and walking them over to your community, with a warm-fuzzy feeling. How to do this?
- I’ve had a few people write guest posts. I thought this would be easy but it was a little harder than I thought. When you have someone write a guest post you make them a community creator with you – they have some kind of vested interest.
- I used to link out a lot! I wish I could say that I still do but I’ve been really busy with the book and other stuff lately that I have slacked off on this. Want to know a really easy way to link out? Here’s what I do if I have an extra twenty minutes: After I write my post I go to blogsearch.google.com and search on various keywords from my post. Remember, I care a lot more about linking to a blog post than anything else, that’s why I go to a blog search engine. Anyway, I check to see if any of the hits are on a clean (not dirty, or lame) blog, and the post is interesting and relevant, and then I link back to it. I’ve met a lot of people just reaching out to them in this way (because they usually get an e-mail notifying them that someone linked to them).
- I call people out by name. Can you find examples in the posts this week? I’ll give you hints – Pete Johnson from today, and Andy Sernovitz from Monday. Come on guys, do you really think that guru and superstar Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing reads my blog daily? No, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. But he has commented on my blog every time I’ve linked to him, or mentioned his name. He either has google alerts set up on his name or he gets the e-mail from his blog saying I linked to him. And he responds because it’s good for his brand and his marketing (I do the same). Do you have google alerts set up on your name and other industry topics? You should!
- caveat: this doesn’t always work! So if the person you are calling out doesn’t respond don’t worry about it. I’ve been tagged multiple times and only found out when the author simply e-mails me to tell me I have been tagged. So if there is no response, don’t fret.
- I Take something from a comment and make it into a blog post. I sometimes feel sorry for my RSS readers because they’ll miss incredible discussions found only in the comments. Make sure to cite the commenter and link back to their blog or website, if you can. Never link to their e-mail address (if that’s all they left) – consider that private and confidential.
- Similarly, I take a line or an entire post from someone else and create my own post based off of that. Wow, how flattering is it to find out that one of your brilliant thoughts spawned a post on someone else’s blog!! One of the best people I’ve seen do this is Bengt Wendel. He’s done this a few times from posts I’ve written, but what really impresses me is when he finds some of my profoundness (:)) and updates one of his old posts! It shows that he is connecting lots of dots and really cares about his content (whereas, if you ask me what I wrote two weeks ago, I can’t tell you… my brain just doesn’t work that way!). End result? I’m a huge fan of Bengt’s because he has flattered me time and again.
- I Work on non-A-list relationships. All bloggers would love a mention in some A-list blogs, and drive tons of traffic. Kelly King Anderson, the Startup Princess, got a complete post out of Seth Godin once and got a ton of new traffic to her site (read her side of the story). TechCrunch, Boing-Boing, Guy Kawasaki and others can drive huge traffic to your site, even with a mere mention! But guess what … it’s really, really hard to get ink on their blogs. So my advice is, don’t try. It is not low-hanging fruit. And there are so many B+ bloggers out there that it’s easier to get their attention. Here’s the secret though… you should develop relationships with these B+ bloggers in your niche! I am always looking for bloggers in the employment space, which is quite broad. I want to know them, be familiar with them, and hope to get on their radar. All I want is a line in their blog like this “I love JibberJobber!” That’s it. But it will all start with building a relationship.
- I Don’t neglect D-listers. These are the bloggers that … well, are just starting out. Shoot, I’ve seen a lot of sharp newbie bloggers with incredible blogs start up in the last year, and they are so passionate that I’ve been way more impressed with them than some A-listers. Guess what folks? A-listers of today were newbies at one time. If you develop a relationship with D-listers now who knows what that can turn into in a couple of years.
- I had some blog buddies. These are people who I followed every single day, and who followed me (informally, of course). There was a lot of link love going around, and commenting on one-another’s blog. I know that it is lonely to not have any recognition on a post, and having a blog-buddy that was watching me each day was enough flattery and ego-building to keep me going. Who was my blog buddy? For many months (it’s no secret, just look at the early months) it was Carl Chapman, executive restaurant recruiter. We still chat on IM but we don’t follow each other’s blogs as much – that’s okay though – I think we really helped one another during that time (I know he helped me a ton).
Again, this is simple relationship building stuff. I really, really recommend you get a free account on JibberJobber.com. I use to it log when I communicate with bloggers, set follow-up dates with them, and a host of other things. If you are trying to develop a bunch of relationships without a CRM tool I feel sorry for you. Head on over and sign-up on JibberJobber for free now, won’t ya?
Finally, when I was with Liz Strauss and the SOB people in Chicago earlier this year I found that there are a ton of really cool, less-known bloggers out there that are doing this stuff every single day. When you have about an hour free, check out these blogs and bookmark your fav’s. There is a lot to learn from these folks (man, would I love to hear their secrets and tips about what I posted on this week!), who are very dedicated to blogging, relationships, etc.
SOBcon2007 Chicago Attendees:
David Dalka – Mobile Search Marketing
Sabu N G
Dr. Rob Wolcott
SOBcon2007 Chicago Speakers:
Ok, one more day of secrets left (then, I’m out of secrets)!
Awesome San Francisco jobs await you at San Fran Jobs.com.