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What exactly is an online community? And how can building one help you grow your blog? Bex Band, adventure blogger at The Ordinary Adventurer and founder of the women’s adventure community Love Her Wild, explains how you can grow your blog by building a community…
What does building a community mean?
Building an online community is simply about creating a group of people who are interested in the same passion you are promoting. For me that was adventure. I started out as an adventure blogger, but the real turning point in my career was launching an online women’s adventure Facebook group.
That was the start of the community now called Love Her Wild. It has given me a much more engaging platform to share and inspire and has led to so many incredible opportunities from leading women on expeditions, winning awards and meeting some wonderful people who I now call friends.
Why is building a community a good way to grow a blog?
I think the real power of a community is that it stops being just about you. Rather than having passive readers, I now have an active space where followers can actively engage. This really increases the value of what it is I’m offering.
How have you built your community?
I launched the community with a unique offer. I put out a blog post inviting women to join me for a 5 day adventure called the Everest Adventure. Over 5 days we would attempt to climb the height of Everest in the Lake District.
Over 100 women applied and I narrowed that down to a team of 6. In the process though, hundreds of women joined my Facebook community and were excited to hear about this new community and what other opportunities might be coming their way.
Creating opportunities has been key to growing my community. In between those I do the usual – produce engaging and regular content, make sure I’m replying to posts in the group and have built a nice website to go alongside our Facebook group.
And what impact has building that community had on your blog / business?
In terms of my blog it has definitely helped me cement and grow a following. My site stats and social media have seen a steady increase.
I think what has been most key is the awards and press recognition I have got from the work I’ve done setting up and running Love Her Wild. It’s been really celebrated that I’ve created a group to support women in adventure and am using that to do good things.
What tips can you give bloggers who want to build a community?
- Find your niche!
- Think about your value… What is it that will excite people to want to join your group?
- Be bold! Try and launch with something big like an event or a stunt.
what tips do you have for building a successful Facebook group?
The initial success of my Facebook group was down to the opportunities I was creating. They got shared lots on social media and this really helped the group grow organically.
Replying to comments in the group and scheduling posts will help keep the engagement active. Every couple of weeks I have a post where I invite members to share their latest adventures.
Ask your members to invite their friends and family. Run giveaways and competitions.
How has PUBLIC SPEAKING helped you build your community and what tips can you give?
I don’t think it’s help specifically with building my community, but I think it’s helped my profile being seeing as an expert and professional in my field.
Really it all comes down to confidence and putting yourself out there. Firstly decide what the message of your talk will be and then look for events where you think this would be a good fit.
It’s then just a case of sending the organisers an email and asking if they’d be interested in having you as a speaker. You will get lots of rejections, especially when starting out… but you need those rejections to get the successes!
If a blogger did just one thing towards building their community, what would you recommend they do?
Organise an event or gathering that would be of interest to your followers.
How can people find out more?
You can read my book: Gather: How to Build a Mission-Driven Online Community*
I’ve shared a lot of honest tips and advice on everything from launching a Patreon account to growing social media on my website. You can check out those blog posts here.
- How to be your own best publicist: PR tips from Honest Mum
- 7 reasons why your blog needs a USP
- How to treat your blog like a business (and start actually making money!)
- PR for bloggers: be more visible, create more opportunities
- How to start and grow a successful Facebook group for your blog
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