I’ve been observing it on numerous websites; business and personal blogs alike. People are embracing the power of community and conversation.
People are happily sharing others’ messages and leaving their insightful comments on other sites.
It’s a good feeling that it’s happening here and it’s fun because I’m becoming better acquainted with some of these “Avatars” behind-the-scenes.
OK, so you’re saying: “Jon, gimme a break. People have always done these things.”
Stay with me for a minute here. Yes, these things are common but I think the approach is pleasantly evolving.
Lately for me, emails have been pouring in.
Skype sessions are igniting.
Guest posting opportunities are finding me.
I co-founded a minisite building community.
Real community building is underway and on different fronts. All these things have been happening as a direct result of building a community using the technique I’ll share in a moment. But is all this:
- Possible for you
- Actionable (starting today) and
- Will you see fast results?
Yes to all three. And here’s the back story.
A new community
On Monday, I shared with you the important revelations about community that I’ve had. It’s no secret that no matter what you’re doing online these days, you can’t work in a vacuum. You have to reach out to others ( it’s simple: no traffic = no interaction or sales) and show them you exist.
Today I’m giving you something you can sink your teeth into immediately.
I joined the Blog Marketing Forum recently and it has shown instant results. It’s free and registration is still open. The comment count and shares of my recent posts, and the new faces around here, show that this community helps spread awareness and boost social proof.
What happens in this community is we all commit to publishing quality content. Then, we all read each others said quality content (share it if we so choose) and leave insightful comments. That’s it.
Why did I join if I’ve already been doing this on my own?
It’s a time saver and I’m meeting folks with similar goals. I joined and instantly was connected with like-minded people passionate about growing their businesses and communities. They’re also passionate about helping me.
There’s no hunting around or simply hoping that, by chance, you’ll find someone else that values community.
It’s a new “tribe” for me but I have strong hopes. It also has a solid measure of accountability; people are keeping each other honest to ensure everyone does their part.
Commenting on articles isn’t new to me. I’ve watched the movers and shakers do it since I entered the game several years ago on my other projects. It’s something I’ve been doing daily since almost the beginning of the year to build awareness about what I’m doing here.
How I know this works
I track my progress. Since January 20th, 2011 I’ve kept screenshot evidence of my Alexa global rank (click here for more about Alexa).
Also, nearly every single comment I leave is recorded, by site and date, on a spreadsheet. Those records may further be cross-referenced with Google Analytics to derive more useful metrics.
I’ve been outsourcing some link building but I rely heavily on blog commenting to build quality traffic and authority to this site. It’s a brand new domain so I didn’t buy one that was “seasoned” and thus benefit from its age.
No A-Listers or big industry leaders have taken me under their wing.
This has required me to invest time and care.
In the image below, please take a look at: “Rank: 6,720,508″ (captured on January 20th although the post was published on Jan 19th).
Here I took another capture for you on March 15th, 2011 with my current ranking:
The status bar displaying my website’s figures in the pictures above is courtesy of the free Mozilla Firefox add-on: SeoQuake.
Now, I can’t promise the same results for everyone. You may even do better. I can’t say that the results are typical or that commenting alone did this.
However, with over 400 comments left by me on dozens and dozens of sites since January 20th (driving reciprocal comment traffic here); I’m calling this a win for blog commenting.
I still have a long way to go.
You: So what, a crowd of people leave comments and click your share buttons. Did they buy anything?
Us: We’re spreading our ideas, learning more about each other, spotting strategic moves down the road, and sharing our audiences. This will all lead to future business with the added possibility of lucrative joint ventures. It’s already spawned new joint-ventures (at least for me even before this new community).
You: I run a “so-and-so” company and I don’t see other people in my industry doing it and I don’t have the time.
Us: Most of the offline world has a long way to catch up. They also don’t understand how interconnected we all are here and the power of sharing, goodwill, and subsequent benefits to your brand awareness. What’s more, it only takes a few minutes to read a fellow website owner’s article and leave a thoughtful comment.
You: Where do I sign up?
It would be wrong to make a blanket statement and say that article commenting and building community is what everyone should do. Mainly because I know that a lot of people would abuse the system and use the community to constantly pitch their business ideas or affiliate products.
Luckily, the Blog Marketing Forum is being kept on close watch to filter out this kind of spammy behavior.
You don’t have to be running a personal blog to join; any of you business owners looking for:
- A new place to meet great like-minded people
- An opportunity to share what you’re doing
- Free promotion (yeah, you like that four-letter word)
Are all welcome.
I look forward to mixing it up with you on your website soon. Any questions?