Why Engagement is the Key to Being a Better Blogger

Guest post Laura Feasey

Blogging can be daunting.

Just like the cool girl crowd at school, bloggers seem to move in circles. They have tribes, girl gangs, avid followers, and upon first glance, to infiltrate them might seem like an impossible task. That is, until you actually start to do so.

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I became a blogger a few years ago, and at the time, it was for one reason only - to showcase my work as a writer. I had stories but I had no audience, and I believed blogging was going to deliver them in their droves. So I set up a WordPress blog, I delved into my stockpile of writing notes, I edited my stories, I started to find my voice. 

I waited with baited breath when I published that inaugural post.

For days I waited, and then I waited some more, and the crowds failed to suddenly descend. The story got a few 'likes' and a comment or two, and at first, this excited me, but a few posts in and a few followers down, I wanted more. Where were the hordes of people I had read about, you know, from those notorious bloggers that just set up a blog for fun and several million visitors later were in their dream jobs with a huge audience? They seemed to have somehow bypassed my blog.

So I went on the hunt for them.

I visited blogs that had followed me, I visited blogs that had commented on mine, and I started to see that they too weren't swimming in thousands of readers, but that they did have a dialogue with loyal followers beneath each post. So I replied to my first commenter. She 'liked' more. I visited her blog, found a poem I liked, and tentatively told her so, and she followed me. I went to the next commenter, and I followed the same pattern until I had a few more followers and some further interaction on my posts.

I won't lie; at first, it felt a bit weird. I could barely like a photo of an old school friend on Facebook that I hadn't spoken to for years, just in case I wasn't qualified enough as a friend to participate in their moment, so how was I supposed to start interacting with complete strangers? But after a few replies, I let it go. I found writers I liked, I found writing I liked, I found photos, essays, art, and if I liked it, I told their creator so. And so slowly but surely, I began to find a following. I even started to do the same on Instagram - the queen destination of the tribe - and here more than ever, it finally started to take off.

But it wasn't all just about the numbers anymore. I now felt as though I had become a part of something. When I started to recognize repeat visitors, and comments turned into conversations, suddenly I had my own tribe. I didn't need to feel as though I'd infiltrated somebody else's.

I think that is one of the keys to being a successful blogger. If you find your audience, they are golden, so hold on to them, interact with them, let them know you're grateful for them, and belong.

Laura is a published fiction writer from London, who is currently working on her debut novel - a fictional tale inspired by her travels across America. Laura is also a freelance copywriter working for clients such as National Rail, Zalando and Debenhams, and has had recent pieces published with Perdiz Magazine, Popshot Magazine and the Hiive collective. She likes daydreaming, writing with pencils and has a self-confessed fetish for stationery. She blogs at ismithwords and you can also find her on Instagram @laurafeasey