Remember when I recently talked about the 4 pillars of a strong online community? After writing that post, I realized there was an important part of a strong online community that got left out – and that's the blogger ego.
As bloggers, we're building websites and communities around ourselves, our interest in a topic, and the desire to share it. As our sites grow, we develop a readership, and begin working with brands, it becomes really easy to develop a “I am center of my [blogging] universe” mentality because our content IS the center of that activity! And that's a great thing.
I'd argue that an online community begins with our ego. But what do we need to do to keep it happy, strong, and growing? Sometimes, to keep a healthy balance at your site, we need to give ourselves a little tough-love ego check! Whenever I find my own ego getting the best of me, I remember 2 things:
No one succeeds alone.
As bloggers, we often feel like a one-man island. It's easy to think that blogging is a solo activity – and the back-end of it tends to be. But a successful blog, by no means, is built alone. We are all piggybacking on the work of others – whether the people who created our content management system, the superstar blogger who shared our little link, or the friend who takes our photos.
Over the years, I've seen many bloggers lose sight of that as they've gotten larger. They lose sight of their community. They disable comments; they're really defensive to the slightest criticisms; they're standoffish towards other bloggers & brands who showed them support in the past.
They've forgotten that, for as hard as they worked, success wasn't built by them alone. They may have built the site, but success was built by the readers who read the content and commented; it was built by bloggers who saw something great and shared it; it was built by brands who took a chance on them.
Every once in awhile, I find it useful to take a step back – and remember that more than me, it was others who helped me build my blog.
Remember to Give Back.
I love the idea of giving back, and to be honest – I need to do more of it my life. Give beyond your comments. Give to other communities. As much as I'd love to pretend otherwise, I'm not the be-all, end-all of information! Blogging is so much about experiences – we can only share so many perspectives. Bloggers depend on readers, just as much, to contribute, share information, and share their experiences!
I'm also really guilty of saying, “I don't have the time.” When I'm honest with myself, the reality is that I'm choosing not to make the time. The periods in my life where I said, “I don't have time to reply to comments” have caused my blog to suffer. If I say, “I don't have the time to get on Twitter,” then I'm choosing not to make the time. We should be conscientious and choose how we use our time wisely. That will vary from blog to blog, but your analytics will give you a great idea of how to start!
If you want more ideas on how you can give back, here are 10 ways to give back to your readers, fellow bloggers, and brands this holiday season. You don't have to limit these ideas to the holidays – they're perfect for giving back to your community all year round. And you should do it all year round – because blogging is a give and take process.
The holidays are a wonderful period for reflection and humility, and one I always take seriously each year (in blogging AND in my life). I'd love to hear others ways you “check your ego” when you feel blogging has taken control!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]