Using Blogs and Social Media Is a Good Way to Get Involved With a Community of Individuals Who Share Your Passion
Right off the bat you may be wondering, “Why would I ever want to create a blog or website?” to which my response would be, “Because you can monetize it!” Setting up a website is more simply done than you may think. It doesn’t take years locked in a dark basement learning how to write code to produce something you can be proud of (I am using WordPress, which is fairly simple and includes tons of useful tools). We all have our own hobbies and interests that we engage in each day, why not try to make a little cash? Check out the following links for examples of people using blogs to share with their community:
• FlowingData – Explores how statisticians, designers, data scientists, and others use analysis, visualization, and exploration to understand data and ourselves.
• Pop-Up City – Explores ideas that shape the city of the future.
• Nerdophiles – A Collaborative Blog on Nerd Culture.
These are just a couple blogs that I have found to be entertaining. No matter what your passion there is a community to share it with. Starting your own website is a great way to build traction within a community and develop awareness of what you do. By creating a blog, and fine tuning it through social media, you will learn more about what you love, you will meet people who share your interest, and you might be surprised to find that you truly enjoy it. Hanging your thoughts out for the world to see can be a little uncomfortable at first, but realizing that people are actually listening is a satisfying reward. Following are a few website creation and sharing tips that I hope can get the creative ball rolling.
1. Do Your Research, Develop Your Voice, and Create Content People Want
Diving in and immediately promoting your interests, or business may seem like a good first step. However, many of us are overwhelmed and turned off by another’s attempt to sell us something. Your website shouldn’t focus solely on you. Your content should be developed around what potential users find interesting; can you spot any trends? If so, take advantage of trends and catch a wave to success. Do research on your subject, become a knowledgeable voice in your field.
Another effective way to position yourself amongst the current big dogs is to watch them. What are their goals, who are they reaching out to, what are their strengths, are they failing to meet a market need on which you can capitalize? By developing a well-rounded understanding of what potential viewers like, or don’t like, you can tailor your content to cater to those needs.
When creating a blog, it is important to remember that everything you share doesn’t have to be in print. If you have art you would like to share, heard a great new song (maybe you made one!), or saw a funny video, chances are that others exist in this world who will also find similar content interesting. Don’t be afraid to speak to your audience with passion. You have got to do something to break through the noise of every day life and be worth the time to read. When planning to speak to a group it is important to ask, “Why should they listen?” I may have valuable things to say, but so do a million others. Pair that with peoples’ limited time, and it becomes clear that being unique is very important to grabbing someone’s attention. Understand your audience so you can produce something that matters. Be inspirational, be different, and aspire to talk to your audience in a way that is not only interesting, but also valuable enough to share.
2. Social Media Useful For More than Sharing Cat Videos
Social media sites are great platforms for sharing with those who are interested in what you do (maybe that’s cat videos). People today spend a shocking amount of time on their mobile devices, computers, and social media sites. If you are dedicated to providing entertaining content, technology of today allows us to speak to millions at the touch of a button. That is POWERFUL. However, it will not always be easy and you may experience some failures (but that is ok, because they can be fixed). You may be surprised that your sweet new website fits seamlessly into this advantageous ecosystem designed for sharing. Social media is the best way for you to begin developing awareness of your message. Again, messages to your social media community should not be self-promotions. Do not become another advertisement that is ignored by your followers. Trolling for attention is not attractive either, so be mindful of their needs. Plug in to the topics that they are already interested in. Become content that users are excited to see because it provides them value.
Producing meaningful content will create a loyal following. Loyal followers will allow you to break the mold and can traction with followers.
3. Measure your message
Another great feature to social media and website driven sharing? It is measurable. There is a long list of tools that can be used to measure how interested a community is in your cause. Google and Facebook both provide software programs that will help you paint a clear picture of the way people consume your content. You can see whether or not people interact with your posts, how long to they spend on your site, where do users typically access your content? These are just the tip of the iceberg of web traffic measurables.
Measuring your users interest may seem tedious, and at times painful, but allows for us to make our messages better. Did your last blog post flop? Are visitors rarely visiting more than one page on your site? You can either guess-and-check, say a prayer and hope it fixes itself.
Or you can use simple analytic tools to do better next time. Create your site with an online platform like WordPress, Foursquare, or Wix, and they will likely have plugins that allow you to measure and optimize content. Google has powerful tools for measuring online behavior. Find groups and forums that have a shared interested in your topic, share your content with them, and use tools to measure who is responding. Provide more content to those who seem inspired. Alter messages so that they aren’t landing on deaf ears. It is smart to deploy two strategies with the same goal, and compare the two. What worked? What didn’t? You can start to play a game of leap-frog toward improvement.
4. Creating Interest Takes Time, Dont Get Discouraged
Chances are unlikely that you will create a good blog, link it to your social media, go to bed, and wake up to the new Facebook. Your content may be spectacular, your messages on point, and you may truly be making an impact on those who are listening; but considerable growth will take time. Hopefully you have chosen to create around something you find enjoyable, because success will require dedicated involvement.
Your content must be consistent; both in what it applies to and your timeliness. If you have begun to generate some interest, you better begin to generate more content! This is where all the available measurement tools come into play. Pay attention to trends, to your audience, and to your instincts. Encourage people to share by creating a community, and providing them with something they enjoy. At first it may seem daunting, but as the pieces begin to fall into place it becomes pretty cool. You just might find that in the process of providing others with something they enjoy, you can stumble upon something new and surprising that you enjoy. When you find it, pursue it. Don’t give up, just get better.
If you are interested in more content regarding individual growth, and business development, please check out my blog @ Protect Our Roots