Tips to Build your Blog Community


This article is an annotated version of the article Managing Your Blog By Walking Around (MYBBWA) first published on Technorati.

I love taking concepts from one industry and applying it to another. My latest example is a business-world idea I've adapted called Managing Your Blog by Walking Around.

Sound strange?

Well, it's not as odd as it sounds. There's a concept in business called Management by Walking Around (MBWA). The idea is that to be a good manager you can't just sit in the corner office. You have to get out and about - be around the people who are working for you so you can understand what they're doing and be a stronger member of the team.

Managing Your Blog by Walking Around borrows from MBWA principles to help bloggers build better communities with their readers. Here are the main concepts from MBWA that can be applied to your blog:

Take a walk. MBWA suggests that being out and around the people who work for you is important. You can use this concept in managing your blog by making sure you take a "walk" around your blog. See it through the eyes of your readers. How easy is it to make comments on your blog? Is it difficult for readers to learn more about you or what the blog is about? 

Be relaxed. MBWA encourages managers to stay relaxed in order to set the right tone for the work environemnt.  Although it's important to pay attention to details, you also don't want to be so uptight that you let the "perfect become the enemy of the good."

Encourage Sharing. MBWA prescribes for managers to encourage staff to share what's working well in their departments. Find ways to encourage your readers to share as well. For example, leave room in your writing for your readers to comment. On my blog, Namely Marly, I write a lot about names and I recently wrote a post about pop songs with personal names in the title. I kept this list down to my top 20 so that my readers could fill in some of their favorites too. It’s ok to leave your posts a little open-ended, especially if that encourages your readers to share their comments.
Be Yourself. MBWA suggests that managers be personable with their staff and share about their families and hobbies. Your readers will appreciate learning more about you too. On one of my favorite blogs, La Mia Vita Dolce, Grace does a wonderful job posting recipes and pictures, but she also shares these wonderful stories about her family. So many of us are lacking community in our lives and your blog can help provide that for them.
Ask for Feedback. MBWA recognizes that the only way to get better is to get feedback. As a blogger you can survey your readers to get feedback on your blog. This can include anything from an online survey to user feedbacks from comments, or even one-on-one discussions. 
Give Recognition. MBWA recommends giving praise for a job well-done. You can do this on your blog by linking to other blogs in your community, either in your posts or your blogrolls. 
Shared Vision. MBWA instructs managers to share their vision with their staff. You can do this on your blog by realizing that people want to connect with you. Share your vision with your readers - either through a tagline, in your "about" page or throughout your posts (or all of the above). You'll be surprised at what connection that can give your readers.
Enjoy yourself. Last but not least, MBWA reminds managers to have fun. Laughing is such an important part of our human existence. It helps us bond. Share your sense of humor with your readers and hopefully they'll share their humor with you too! 
MBWA provides some wonderful tools to help build better communities with our blogs.
If you'd like to read this article in it's entirity, please check out the full article Manage Your Blog By Walking Around on Technorati.