Where Everybody Knows Your Name: Creating a Blogging Tribe
By Tina Russo Radcliffe
How many blogs are there? These statistics are from Snitchim.com
Tumblr.com shows it has over 101.7 Million blogs with 44.6 Billion blog posts
WordPress.com has over 63 Million blogs
Livejournal reports to have 62.6 million blogs with
Weebly states it has over 12 million blogs
Blogster has over 582,754 blogs
How do you rate a blog? By the number of followers? Subscribers? Commenters?
In my opinion, a blog should be evaluated by how well the blog is doing the job it was created to do.
Seekerville, a blog of 13 authors began in 2007. The blog was an offshoot of a Yahoo group we formed to actually pray and help each other into publication. The members were all inspirational romance contest entrants who knew of each other because of our virtual meets through contests. Most of us had never met in real time.
How did a group of strangers build a strong blogging community? Of course it’s a God thing. But good business principles played into our community as well. From our Yahoo group came the strong desire to give back.
"No Marine Left Behind – A mantra that speaks to teamwork, loyalty and brotherhood that exists between Marines.” Our philosophy is similar, in the context of writers. We add an additional facet of reaching readers in a very real way. This is our underlying philosophy.
But how do you create a successful blog? Joe Friedlander provides the best post I know of on this topic. No need to reinvent great content. I agree with everything he says!
1. Produce evergreen content.
2. Write with a plan.
3. Build community.
4. Foster interaction.
5. Build a list.
6. Give readers a path to follow.
7. Build traffic with guest blogging.
8. Write what’s right.
9. Provide practical help.
To this I would add that baring deadlines, natural disasters, internet fail and out of office days, we expect everyone to show up (the 13 Seekers), and we expect all posts to go up at midnight. Consistency counts.
Behind closed doors Seekerville is like an orchestra. I am the unofficial conductor. To be clear, I help direct the many instruments of Seekerville. But there is no Seekerville without each and every instrument. Over the years we have divided up the responsibilities among us, and this makes the blog run smoothly.
We have also learned something about the dynamics of our blog and its role and responsibility. Some lessons were learned the hard way, through stumbles. Here are some of our unwritten rules and rules written in our guest blogging guidelines that steer our daily operations:
1. We aren’t about controversy.
2. We know our target audience and direct our posts to that audience.
3. We rarely do interviews and we don’t do book reviews.
4. Our posts do not proselytize but we aren’t afraid to share our beliefs.
5. Our post content covers these areas: inspirational and encouraging or educational.
6. We are not about blatant self-promotion.
Personally, I think of Seekerville as Seth Godin’s, Tribes meets Ree Drummond’s, The Pioneer Woman. We are building a tribe, yes, but it’s in our kitchen, with coffee, snacks and a welcome to our house attitude. Why does it work? Because we sincerely believe in it.
These are two of the many features of Tribes that we utilize. (This pdf of Tribes Q &A can help you understand Godin’s book.)
Transparency. Another factor that creates our sense of community. There is no distance between us and our community. There is no outside looking in aspect. We are not experts doling out opinions. There are no levels of hierarchy. Additionally, we are real, and we share our triumphs and failures.
Tribal Pulse Taking. We do watch our stats and comments to evaluate which posts and speakers are impacting our community. We also take a yearly survey to determine what our community wants and needs.
From The Pioneer Woman we have borrowed the down-home, come to dinner quality we have in Seekerville.
Our mental image is a visitor walking into our house. You become our family. What’s the natural response to family? We greet you by name, we chat with you one-on-one. We commiserate when you have problems. We cheer your successes and we create opportunities for you to succeed. Finally, we provide a safe place for you to share.
Every good hostess has the responsibility to not only feed her guests, with good blog content and a welcome smile, but to send them home with something. This is why we do our very successful giveaways. They aren’t required of us or our guests. We also provide giveaways as a way to say thank you.
Another unique feature of Seekerville is that we often have several conversations going on in the comments. Most are directed for our host blogger in the form of questions and answers. But, a day in Seekerville means we share news and greet new faces.
Have you ever been a blog guest and no one shows up? Lonely isn’t it? That’s not Seekerville. We believe that if you are a guest, the Seeker who hosted you is responsible to ensure your visit is successful. We do the PR for your visit, and we stay and support you and encourage interaction.
Our successful tribe building is based on word-of-mouth. While we have begun to advertise, 90% of our new traffic is from word-of-mouth. I believe consistency, useful content, along with staying true to our core philosophy is responsible for our success.
I hope I’ve been able to share Seekerville in a way that encourages you to stop by. Go ahead and feel free to hum the Cheers song as you mosey on over, we’ll save you a seat and a cup of coffee.
Thanks to the Alleycats for having me today.
I look forward to your questions about forming your own tribe. And because I like to bring gifts for my hostess and her friends, today I am giving away a Tina Russo or Tina Radcliffe ebook of choice- one for my hostess, Julia Reffner and one for a commenter. International winners welcome.
Tina Radcliffe writes Inspirational romance for Harlequin Love Inspired and romantic comedy as Tina Russo.
Her next release, a novella, The Christmas Angel is available now.