A few of you have emailed me beautiful messages about this series and how you've noticed a difference in your blog statistics and the engagement on your blogs. Congratulations! How exciting. It's all you though. I just sit here and tell you what I've learnt. What my blog friends have taught me. What my readers have taught me. Your comments about turning this series into an e-book have not gone unheard. It's something that I've filed away, maybe once the PhD is done. Thank you for continuously pushing me to be a better blogger and person!
Week Six: Engaging, Connecting and Reconnecting
It's easy to get excited with all the new traffic and engagement as your blog grows, that's normal. It is exciting, you feel like your place as a 'blogger' has been solidified. It's easy to carry on being excited and concentrating on blogger meet-ups, spending money on your blog, embracing your blogger tittle a little tighter, continuing to focus on your content and posting and using social media to promote your blog. One of the greatest lessons I learnt as my blog grew was that it was important to stop all of that every now and then.
I often take a week off from posting but spend that time looking at new blogs and engaging with other bloggers by leaving comments, sending emails and through social media. As my blog grew I found that I didn't have as much time to visit all my favorite blogs. Yes, I go back and visit the blogs of every single person who leaves a comment on mine but as my blog grew I wasn't able to leave as many comments on blogs I love (whose bloggers didn't comment on mine). And yes, I still engage on the blogs of people who do not necessarily comment on mine! I think too many bloggers get caught up in just engaging with bloggers who engage with them.
For a whole week every couple of weeks I dedicate my blogging time to connecting with new bloggers. Sometimes I do a Google search, sometimes I click through on sponsor buttons on my favorite blogs, other times I ask my blog friends. The point is just to open myself to bloggers I haven't come across before. In addition to engaging with new bloggers, I also use this time to reconnect with bloggers I may have been close to in the beginning but with whom I may have lost touch. I also engage more with bloggers I sort of know, but would like to know better. It really is about creating and maintaining relationships, regardless of whether the blogger actively engages with my blog. I give these blog relationships a damn good shot!
What does this do for your blog? I'm not sure it directly does anything for me. It did mean I had a few new people clicking through. I think this is more like smiling at a stranger on the street or saying hello to the bus driver. When I do this 'activity' I'm not expecting anything in return. It introduces me to new content, I'm usually inspired by these new to me bloggers and it also keeps blogging real for me. It reminds me that it's not all about my blog. It's about the relationships and the community.
Maybe this 'activity' isn't for you this week or maybe even next week, but I do encourage you to take a chance. Put your blog aside and engage and interact with other blogs and bloggers (outside of those you normally interact with). Pretend that you don't have a blog. Maybe something wonderful will happen. You might make a good friend. You might discover a great blog...what goes around may come around...
Is not blogging for a week and engaging, connecting and reconnecting with blogs something you would consider doing?
Do you already do something similar?