In my previous post in this series, I introduced my concept of the 10 Cs of blogging. These are guidelines that can serve as a framework to create your ideal blog. Consistency (maintaining a central focus) and Continuity (the regular addition of new content) were discussed in my last posting. Today we will be tackling an important concept for every blog: Community.
Nearly 50% of the bloggers who responded to my survey listed ‘Connecting with a Community’ as their number one purpose in having a blog. And for those of you who have other goals in mind, such as professional exposure or showcasing your own art, creating a community of readers will better enable you to achieve these aims as well.
Blogs are the perfect venue for developing a community. However, it is up to the blogger to foster a connection with their readers so that the readers want to be a part of the blog experience and return again and again. In the very first post on my own blog I wrote ‘…I believe that the conversation that I am hopeful that this blog will generate will become an integral ingredient to the creative mix.’ I felt then, as I do now, that a community is based on communication. Here are some steps you can take to get the conversation started:
Begin by making ‘community’ a goal for every post on your blog. Before you hit ‘publish’, ask yourself ‘does this post invite the reader to share their thoughts, reactions, or feedback?’ If not, hit the ‘edit’ button first.
Let your personality show through. Even if your focus is professional rather than personal, people would rather spend their time with somebody they feel they know, rather than just a generic artist. This is one reason blogs have become so much more popular then websites. When asked ‘which is the most important in terms of your favorite blogs’, 60% of respondents said the blogger’s artwork and 40% said the blogger her or himself. Why not show both your art and your personality and capture 100%?
Reach out to the community yourself. Showcase the work of other artists on your blog. Regularly visit other blogs and do your best to leave a comment when you are inspired. It makes sense to leave comments for others if that is what you hope others will do for you. Invite another artist to write a post on your blog. In the survey, 74% of respondents said they would like to write a guest post for a blogger they admire.
While your posts need to be an honest reflection of you, be sensitive to the ears and eyes of others. 37% percent of those surveyed said that they stop visiting blogs where there are too many ‘self-absorbed, negative rants’ and only 4% said that they always read this type of post. Share the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly…but be aware that many readers will be turned off by too much negativity.
Create a unique series of posts that keep your readers wanting more. Don’t just show a completed artwork, create a series of posts that show the work in progress. Designate one day a week for a special series of posts and invite people to do the same on their blogs. For example, ‘Texture Times Ten’ or ‘Weekly Work in Progress’.
Today’s homework: Think ‘community’ while you are writing each and every post. Brainstorm three new and creative themes that can serve as the basis for several ongoing series of blog posts unique to you. And as always, be yourself.
Next month: Content.
MORE RESOURCES FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS