Your blog should be an extension of your online community

by Martin Reed on 11 July 2011 in Snippets

You (should) already know that your blog isn’t just another channel for sharing press releases and promotional material. You should be using your blog to share content that will be of value to your readers, and you should be using your blog to draw attention to members of your online community.

Too many online communities have blogs but don’t use them to their full potential. As a community manager, you want to bring the community to your blog. Write about your members; talk about the great things they’ve done. Link to their websites and get your members to submit content.

Just Epals is a website dedicated to helping people make friends, so the blog offers advice on how to make friends. It needs to start sharing community news and talking about specific members who have made an outstanding contribution to the community.

Insomnia Land is an online community for insomniacs, so the blog shares the latest news and information about insomnia. Members of the community write product reviews and have their creative work featured on the blog.

These two blogs (for online communities I manage) rarely share promotional material. Instead, the focus is on providing value and talking about the community.

Your blog isn’t a place for churning out self-aggrandizing promotional material, or for talking about yourself.

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Dan July 15, 2011 at 6:48 am

I have to agree with most of this article. I’ve come across various community sites that are highly active, but then you go on their blog and it’s like a ghost town. They either don’t keep up with it, don’t advertise/promote it right or just completely abandon it all together.

And after seeing that, you sometimes ask yourself why go through all that trouble to get a blog attached to the community but abandon it or never use it?

Alease Michelle July 15, 2011 at 7:59 am

I totally agree with you. I also want to add that your blog should also represent your passion or otherwise your community will not be drawn or take interests in it. So write about something you know and love….be patient…and your community will grow.

Russell Davison July 17, 2011 at 4:01 am

I agree that your blog should be an extension of your online community. It takes between 3 months and 2 years to develop a worthwhile community. To attract people, during the first 3 months, it may appear that your blog is a place for churning out self-aggrandizing promotional material or for talking about yourself because your online community is just you, i.e. 1 person. As your community expands from 2 people to 100 people to 1000 people then the focus can be on providing value and talking about the new community that has been born over the previous 3 months to 2 years.

David July 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I’d like to add that blogging can *also* be done just for the sake of blogging. Not every blog has to be of any great value other than a bunch of words on the screen. Sometimes I think it is fun to just write for the sake of writing, and not wondering if/who/when someone else is going to read it. I like the points you’ve made, though. But some days, I just don’t have anything really significant to say, but I still want to write…

Caroline White July 26, 2011 at 8:55 am

Really interesting and helpful piece. I will be taking all this advice on board as I try to find ways of building the online community I manage (I’m new to this game!)

Tommy T May 10, 2012 at 4:12 am

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been quite sure on how to use a site blog when it came to the community. Wasn’t quite sure how it would fit in, so I simply didn’t have one.

Reading this article and your tips, though, I think I’ll give it a go.

Perhaps post a blog about a user’s article I’ve read, praising and highlighting the points I particularly found fascinating.

Fantastic idea!