I am one of those bloggers that like to talk about blogging. I have found that a lot of what I learned in school (I studied Public Relations), what I learned at my job (Advertising and Social Media) applies directly to blogging.
When I first started blogging I was unaware there was such a large community of bloggers that I needed to be a part of in order to establish myself. Sometimes the community seems small, like you can't break in. But in actuality, it's about building your own community.
In my opinion here is how you build and establish a community within your blog:
1. Actively seek followers
You can't just wait for people to come to you. Search online, on twitter, on Bloglovin, for blogs with a similar feel as you have. Reach out to them. Comment on their posts. Tell them what you like. The other day I was on Instagram. I follow an account called The Blog Baton (started by the brilliant Mason…Like The Jar), each day a different blogger takes over the account. There was a blogger who said she was going to a music festival I'm going to in September. Instead of muttering to myself “neat”, I messaged her and told her I was going to.
2. Comment on blogs
I'll say it once, and I'll say it many times: the reason I have any sort of following if because I commented on blogs. I know it's time consuming. I know you can't always do it. But how does anyone know you care about their blogs unless you leave a comment? They don't.
3. Answer the comments
I don't think you need to answer every single comment all the time. Especially if your response would just be “Thanks.” But responding with heartfelt insight or responding to questions is the best thing you can do after someone spent time reading what you wrote.
4. Sponsor Other Blogs
You don't have to shell out an arm and leg, so start small. You know those blogs that you've been commenting on or feel connected to? Sponsor them! In my opinion sponsorship works. Even if you don't get a lot of “hits” from a blog it's nice to get your name out there. Other people will see it and you'll become more recognizable. You should check out my sponsor options too (just sayin').
5. Utilize Social Media
I wrote once about Why You Still Need Facebook For Your Blog and I think that still rings true. Even if you don't have large numbers it's still important to incorporate social media so that people have a way to follow you if nothing else.
6. There's Room For Everyone
It's hard not feel some competition when you're blogging. “She has more followers/readers/comments than me.” But realize that everyone is unique and therefore all our blogs can thrive equally. Yes, some may grow faster than others. That should encourage you rather than feel jealous.
I've decided I'm going to start a “Blogging Success” series. It won't be once a week (heck, I don't know, we'll see if I can get my act together) but if you have any topics you'd like me to cover let me know!