It takes a village to raise a brand.
Your blog’s best asset is your community. It’s important to regularly show that you honor the visitors who continually come back to your blog. When you give back to your community, it’s like saying a big “thank you” to all of your readers.
There are some people on the web who are doing some really cool things to give back. And who better to draw examples from than my own community?
I wanted to write this post to give bloggers ideas on how to give back to their community while giving a shout out to some of my audience members for their extra efforts. So let’s go!
#1 Give them a shout out on social media
Sometimes all it takes is a little tweet or comment to share how much you appreciate a community member. A great way to do this is by sharing their useful content, even if they are in your niche
#2 Link to their post in your blog post
Sharing a link to their blog post will help with their brand visibility as well as their SEO. With evergreen content (aka content that has long-term success), a link can be helpful in consistently bringing traffic to their site. Talk about a thank you!
#3 Interview them on your blog
Everyone loves to be featured. Hosting an interview series on your blog means you're sharing just how cool a reader is with your other readers. My friends at Ladypreneur League do an amazing job with this. They even featured me a year back when I was a newbie (and under the name exPRession PR - flashback!)
#4 Let them write a guest post
Give your community members a place where they can tap into your audience. A few months ago, I had the lovely Olivia Adams come on the blog to share her tips on how to navigate post-grad life. Because I was still in college at the time, her perspective allowed my audience to learn about an important subject I hadn't experienced yet which helped us both gain influence.
#5 Comment on their blog post
Instead of just reading a community member's blog post, let them know your thoughts in their comment section. There is no one more active with blog commenting than Gina Alyse. She puts a high importance on interacting and it shows. Giving back encourages others to give back too. It's a beautiful cycle.
#6 Create personable vlogs with big value
Written content is awesome, but nothing lets your audience get a peek into who you really are and what you do quite like vlogs do. It's a great way to share your knowledge while showing your personality. Maya Elious has a strong archive of business vlogs that help you learn 5 strategies to complete various tasks in every 5 minute vlog.
#8 Meet them for coffee
If you can take an online connection offline, do it. I recently met up with Anthony from Break the Twitch, a minimalism blog, and learned so much more about his mission than I could have by just browsing his website. If you find other bloggers in your area, think about hosting a local meetup.
#9 Host a free webinar
A webinar is a great way to take your blog topics a step beyond your written content. Regina from byRegina is a rock star at this. Give your audience something of value and they will keep coming back for more.
#10 Create a freebie printable
Do you have a knack for design and want to create something beautiful and useful for your audience? Freebie printables could be your answer. Alisha Nicole offers freebies on her website and they are wildly successful. Giving back pays off for everyone.
#11 Allow readers to ask for advice
We've all been in situations where we need outside advice but don't know exactly where to turn. Shannon of Awash with Wonder is changing this. She invites her audience to ask questions and does an advice column on her blog every week on various topics. You could do the same with your audience and tailor it to your niche.
#12 Host design critiques
Website design is so important for conversions. Sarah of xoSarah hosts web design constructive critiques every Friday and calls it Fix it Friday. She's done 25 of these so far - wow! That's dedication. It's also very popular among her community. If you have an eye for design, this could be a great option.
#13 Make a resources page
Your audience is highly interested in the tools you use to make your blog run smoothly. Trust me. A resource page is a wonderful place to do a quick roundup of your favorites. Shanice Cameron has done this and it's extremely helpful for her readers.
#14 Give away a free ebook
Take your blog topics a step further and create an interesting ebook that your audience can't wait to consume. Marianne of Design Your Own Blog offers a free ebook for email subscribers. Think about taking your most popular blog posts and expand on each topic.
#15 Write a testimonial
Did you work with someone recently that did amazing work? Do you want others to know how impressed you were with them? Write a glowing testimonial for them so others know how much your recommend their products or services. Testimonials are money makers so it will be well-received.
#16 Conduct a reader survey
Bloggers who really care about their audience will do a reader survey from time to time. This allows your readers to have a voice on the direction of your blog and to give you suggestions for moving forward. Jess from The Fire Stokers conducted her own reader survey recently and her humor helps make the survey more fun.
#17 Do a Q+A
Anytime you open your blog to answer questions is a great thing. You are giving your audience real value for actual questions they have. I did this after my rebrand to my full name last July and took questions from my Twitter community. You can do a Q+A at any time, but it especially helpful during launches.
#18 Send a nice email with no agenda
When is the last time you wrote an email that wasn't a pitch? I challenge you to write at least one email every week to a blogger you adore just to tell them how much you appreciate their content and what they do.
#19 Design a free wallpaper
If you are a rad designer or just love playing around with Photoshop, think about creating a freebie desktop or mobile (or both!) wallpaper for your audience. One of my favorite wallpaper designers is Kory Woodard. She consistently creates beautiful wallpapers every month.
#20 Collaborate on a project
Two minds are better one. We can do so much more together than we can apart. The next time you think about starting a new project, take a look at your community members and see if any of them could be a good fit for a collaboration or partnership.
#21 Hold office hours
Office hours are a great way to show your expertise while also answering your audience's burning questions. My friend Erika of Olyvia.co holds office hours in the comment section of every new blog post. That is majorly cool of her.
#22 Create a blog challenge
A blog challenge with steps to improve blogging efforts is very useful for your audience. Jen of Jennypurr creates blog challenges for her readers to help them step up their content and focus in on their niche. This is a good option if your blog posts are DIY focused.
#23 Start a podcast
Podcasts have been blowing up lately. With a podcast, you can reach your readers when they are driving, exercising, cooking, and doing other activities. Sarah Bagley started an insightful podcast to help people fight perfectionism and pursue a B+ life. She even interviewed me for an episode on rebranding!
#24 Connect them with others in their niche
Introductions are a beautiful thing. I love when my readers hear about other bloggers, PR professionals, and poets, and then connect me with them. It doesn't take a lot of time but it's very thoughtful.
#25 Make a graphic for them
My friend Stephanie of The Authorship Program did this recently for #createlounge and I shared it with my audience. It then inspired others to create their own visuals. Give your readers the freedom to use their creativity for great things.
#26 Create a group Pinterest board
Pinterest is often the number one referral source of traffic for many bloggers. Use that influence to create a group Pinterest board that your readers can collaborate on. #fireworkpeople does this and it's become an inspiring collection of pins.
#27 Include them in link roundups
What's better than having a list of amazing content all in one place? Amber of Ember and March puts together link roundups every week in her Sunday Morning Coffee series to give shout outs to awesome posts she's read throughout the week. Many bloggers do this to give back as it's a way to give link love as well as filling a space in your editorial calendar.
#28 Give them a referral
There will be times when you'll be sent a project that doesn't quite fit your schedule or needs as a creativepreneur, but you think it could be a great project for one of your other BBFFs (blogger best friends forever). This is when referrals come in handy. Everyone wins!
#29 Build another community platform
Take your blog to the next level by creating a community platform! Whether this is in the form of Facebook groups, forums, or Google+ communities, crafting another space designated for your readers shows how much you care.
Giving back is a time investment, but a very noble one. Your audience will take notice and love you even more for it.
To get more ideas for how to build your community platform, sign up for instant access to 10 episode audio series on community building.
What are your favorite ways to give back to your blog audience? Let me know what you do for your blog community in the comment section below!