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Online Community Development: From Loyals to Fanatics

Online communities are most successful when loyal members transform into fanatics. Unfortunately for website managers, this is no easy task. There are many theories on how to collect loyal users and feed them the content they are looking for, but there are only a few best practices that consistently work.

Blog World Expo 2012

At BlogWorld New Media Expo, online community expert Dino Dugan shared his insights on which best practices deliver results.

Emotions are key: Being vulnerable, genuine, helps build community

  • Make community members feel welcome by facilitating, answering, connecting, and thanking.
  • Create a special language that makes users feel included.
  • Helping is the new selling : Give away what you know. Helping will make users feel supported.
  • Recognize value. Showing that you understand that users are looking for quality will make them want to come back. In essence, create content that inspires and lives up to user expectations.
  • If they’re doing something for free, that means it’s not about money … it’s about passion.
  • Strive to be somebody’s favorite. Be specific in your blog. General content doesn’t cut it.

Be sure to have a CTA (call to action)

  • Experts say that eyeballs are over-rated, and that page views should not be a goal.  Convert viewers into fanatics by prompting them to respond.
  • Building community comes down to intention: What is the intention behind your community?
  • Fill in the blanks: because of this Blog, <specific audience> will <specific benefit>
  • Then observe “after visiting this blog I want readers to do (this), and then second to do (this).”

Be different. Change it up!

  • Using awards and rankings are another way to generate unique content & draw viewers.
  • Do the blog headline exercise: write 50 DIFFERENT headlines that answer questions for your audience.
  • Publish at least 1 non-standard post a week: interviews, videos, podcasts, presentations, and surveys
  • Avoid “Superbowl” mentality (one ad that goes to many). Use many highly targeted ads to segmented audiences.

Look at your community in the long-term

  • Consider your blog in years, not months. Be specific to be someone’s fave.
  • Create a cohesive business model: social -> blog -> speaking -> clients.
  • Be consistent. Keep to a schedule.

Thanks for sharing insights BlogWorld friends: @jaybaer, ‏@CLRochelle, @nateriggs, @cspenn, @dino_dogan, @angiegassett, @jasonkeath, @justinlevy, @heidicohen and ‏@pcgdigital !

Build your blog, brick by brick | Blog World Expo

Did you know that 33% of Americans follow brands on Facebook and Twitter?

Blog World Expo 2012That number has doubled in the past 2 years. It’s clear that a company’s online presence is more important than ever. Brands that transcend social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter see a strong following on blogs. This happens because blogs offer more thoughtful and carefully curated content. Building a successful blog isn’t an easy task, and followers will only join if there’s a benefit for them. There are, however, ways for bloggers to improve their sites. The key is is look from inside out. At the Blog World & New Media Expo, a talked called “Building an Authority Brand” touched upon the must-do’s for serious bloggers.  We’ve recapped some of the hot topics at this exclusive event:

It pays to understand the blogger culture

  • Bloggers feel they aren’t treated as professionally as media. Be aware of this, and be respectful.
  • Not all women bloggers are mommy bloggers. It’s almost a derogatory term these days.
  • Don’t think campaign. Focus on relationships when reaching out to fellow bloggers. Having mutual respect for bloggers will enhance your community. So, give a little, and you will benefit in return.
  • Bloggers deserve respect, especially when pitching. There’s no lack of ideas about what to write so keep that in mind when pitching.

Interactivity is key

  • When you find a great blog, comment on the posts you like. Comments are “blogger crack.” If they comment back on one of your posts, thank them, and keep the commenting going.
  • When you get a “no” to the right idea, it’s a no to your approach. You don’t yet get what they need. Switch up the approach to enhance activity on your page.
  • Keep a spreadsheet of bloggers with details about their blogs and any follow-up activity. Note things like: Where did they come from? Why are they on your list? This might help you reach out to and understand prospective followers.

There are plenty of budding blogs and blogger tools to learn from

Thanks for the insight, @CENTURY21, @tamadear, and @rzazueta!