Develop a writing routine

Blogging is a Team Sport: How to Build Community Online – and Why you Should

Kris Windley

Kris is a writer, editor, illustrator, teacher, mother of two amazing young ladies - and enthusiastic cat-belly snuggler. A certified teacher, long-time blogger and experienced brand consultant, she writes about Writing, Business and Blogging...and sometimes about Changing the World.
KrisWindley2020

Kris Windley

Kris is a writer, editor, illustrator, teacher, mother of two amazing young ladies - and enthusiastic cat-belly snuggler. A certified teacher, long-time blogger and experienced brand consultant, she writes about Writing, Business and Blogging...and sometimes about Changing the World.

Creative Live #BelleLive Blog Tour Writing Coach Moncton New Brunswick

Writing can be a lonely job

Writers spend a lot of time alone. We have to, in order to focus on what we are saying, but MAN it can get lonely in our ivory tower (of course, by ivory tower, I really mean messy home-office or local coffee shop – table for one).

Blog writing is no different…except IT IS! This is huge, my friends. HUGE! Not only will this make you happier and less lonely in your blogging tower – it will make your blog work better for your business too.

Yes, I’m serious.

Oh! But first, I have to tell you: I just had a phenomenal weekend in the sun. When we get beautiful weather here, in Atlantic Canada, we all freak out and run around doing ALL of the outside things at once, because we don’t get the sunshine often enough to waste it.

Our neighbourhood was buzzing with lawn mowers and happy kids; there were BBQs a-sizzlin’ and the leaves and foliage really just poured out of their buds to full-fledged summer beauty.

We spent our sunny days with some of our favourite people. One of my best friends just started a landscape business, and she was making my lawn more beautiful (and my neighbours less furious), while another best friend who just started her own hair styling gig was here too, making Bailey’s hair cotton candy pink, Bri’s a lovely ombré, and mine a yummy red. Then we went for a family BBQ and bonfire (Veggie Dogs – for the win!), and had a SURPRISE! visit from one of my favourite out of town friends and her two daughters.

It was fun having our little house full to the brim with people – coming in and out and being just a part of our world. I realize in these moments how much I love people, and how much I want always to be surrounded by the ones I love. It feels great to be a part of a community, right?

Online Community is just like that!

Recently, I was a part of an online workshop audience on Creative Live “Build a Successful Creative Blog” with April Bowles Olin, and it taught me at least 3 million things, but the first and foremost lesson I learned was really solidified after the class ended.

April explained to us – and then showed us through her interactions with Mayi Carles from Heartmade – how engaging and energizing it can be for a blogger to have genuine connections with other bloggers and blog readers. It was remarkable to hear about how they got to know each other and finally “met” and became business partners. It seems to me the kind of collaborative team every creative solo-preneur would die for; they’re freakin’ adorable.

And then the conversations and relationships that we were building in the Creative Live chatroom spilled out into a Facebook group where we got to know each other more and support each other in the process of building our blogs. It was reassuring, informative and exciting to see comments pop up on my new posts and my email list swell. It was even better to have a group of people who understood and kept me company.

Community offers companionship, opportunities for growth and learning, valuable conversation and the feeling that you are not out there shouting into the void, all alone. You can combine your differences and create something together that is greater than the sum of its parts.

If you continue on this blog tour today, you will see posts by photographers, computer programmers, designers, artists, authors and enthusiasts of all different types – we all have something in common and that is a need to create.

It’s an Important Part of Your Business Marketing too

When you build a community between your blog and others’ – you end up with a wonderful platform for your own creativity as well as a platform from which others can work as well. You have something to say, and this is your town square. If you fill it with people who share some common beliefs with you, the conversation will continue and out of that, even more conversation will come.

Click to Tweet: You have something to say, and your blog is the town square. Fill it with more people to have a better conversation! @TweetWithaK

You can use that voice to better the community, and you can use the connection to your community to hone and polish your voice. With every comment that you receive, you learn more about your ideal readers. With every reply you offer, you are becoming more trustworthy. You get to know what your clients and readers really value and need from you, and you can OFFER it to them.

The stats are clear on how beneficial activity (like a healthy comment section, social media likes and shares) can be for your site’s overall SEO. Building a community of individuals who add value to your experience as a blogger and get value from your experience in your field? That is beyond any statistical proof of value, in my mind.

Potential for collaborations, new learning avenues, finding the fastest way to grow your audience, offering the social currency of feeling included and special – all of these things come along with online community. And People! You get to hang out with real, live, actual people. And that is amazing to find sitting in your lonely blogging tower with you.

So fill your little house with people to the brim, and go visit their houses too. Sit down in their metaphorical kitchen and share a cup of tea. Get to know what they have to say, and enjoy yourself. This is fun!

You are in the middle of a community movement right now: we’ve decided to have a blog tour. That means that we decided on a theme, and are all writing on that subject. This post is part of the “What #BelleLive Taught Me” Blog Tour. To continue your tour click on Graceful Life Photography’s Post: How a Blogging Workshop Jumpstarted My Business or Eleanor Hoh’s Post: How Blogs can Help you be a Wokstar. Or, for a full list of the participants click on Jo Cavagnis’ Post: It’s all About YOU (this is all about you baby). 

Comment below and tell us all the greatest ways you’ve ever connected with a community: online or off. And don’t forget to Share, Like, Pin or Email this post if anyone you know could use a little community in their online life.

If you’re new to Keyboards and Kickstands, sign up to receive the Writing Tips With a K worksheets, tips and advice I send out every Tuesday.

xo

K

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You mad? Excited? Have a perspective to share? Please do!

44 Comments

  1. […] have taken online courses from April before. You’ve heard all about April’s blog course on Creative Live, and the League of Supers course she and Mayi Carles gave during the […]

  2. […] loved it! She changed the way I looked at Keyboards and Kickstands, and opened up a world of community and support I couldn’t have dreamed of before the […]

  3. April on June 9, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    This post is so very AWESOME! I love that you wrote about community. I can’t even imagine where my blog and business would be if I hadn’t focused so much time on relationships. For sure, it wouldn’t be as successful.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to be apart of this blog tour–and watching my course. THANK YOU!

    • KrisWithaK on June 9, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      No way, April! Thank YOU for giving such a great course. Your business soul-mate relationship with Mayi inspired a mega goal to find my own. You guys look like you’re having the BEST time, and getting biz done 😉 Thanks for stopping by!
      xo
      K

  4. Sarah Shotts on June 6, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I guess I was so busy taking notes I missed out on the FB group! Is it still going?

    • KrisWithaK on June 8, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      It is! Search “New Blogger Group” and Hannah or April should click you in! 🙂
      xo
      K

  5. Wok Star Eleanor Hoh on June 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Kris, I’m going to have to revisit all your posts on prewriting a blog etc. which will give me a good kick in the you know where, thanks for sharing! Yes, community is important and mine is a little unique in that my audience are mostly executives who don’t do social media or choose not to engage on those platforms. So, for me, my newsletter is my platform to engage with them. However, since Facebook page has changed their algorithm and reduced viewership to my followers, I’m going to use my blog in a more aggressive way. Everytime I meet a follower in person, they always tell me how much they enjoy my newsletters. So, that’s my platform for my community and I’m glad I have one.

    • KrisWithaK on June 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      That’s fantastic, Eleanor! I hope the comments section of your blog starts to become a nice community…full of great cooks! I’ll be right there!
      xo
      K

  6. Renay on June 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    I recently joined twitter, and it seemed like twitter was constantly suggesting new people to follow. I wasn’t really sure how all that worked yet, so, for the most part, I didnt follow too many of the suggested people. However, one day I felt compelled to follow a gal, and all of a sudden I have found that we tweet back and forth, and have actually begun to build a friendship beyond twitter! Holy cow! (Oh, and I love Mayi too)

    • KrisWithaK on June 8, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      It’s great when you connect with a person that way, Renay – and so cool when those friendships move into the “real” world too 😉
      xo
      K

  7. Beth@That One Mom on June 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I totally feel the “ivory tower” thing. I feel alone a lot of the time and I think that’s why I’m having difficulty being consistent. I really don’t have a community…I always feel like I’m bothering people by asking questions!! That’s something I need to get over, for sure!

    • KrisWithaK on June 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      You just need to invite people in, and we can hang out in your ivory tower together, eating cookies 🙂
      xo
      K

  8. Stephanie on June 5, 2014 at 2:34 am

    I LOVE the image of your blog as the town square. I’m a big fan of April’s and was bummed that I missed out on Creative Live but it’s inspiring me so much just to see the passionate community that’s spurred up from it. It’s so true that blogging can feel so lonely at times, especially when just starting out, but you hit it on the head, girl: it IS a team sport. Absolutely. We creatives need each other SO greatly – I believe we can’t do it alone. I get so excited meeting other kindred spirits online, it’s truly one of my favorite parts. Do you have any tips for communities of creative, inspired entrepreneurs and bloggers? I’d love to connect more with passion-driven people in the blogosphere, if you have any suggestions.

    Thanks for your inspiring article. So happy I found your blog through April and looking forward to following you!
    Warmly,
    Stephanie

    • KrisWithaK on June 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Yaaay! It’s great to find kindred spirits, for sure, and so exciting when we get to feed each other’s creativity. If you follow me on Blog lovin’ you will be able to see some of the blogs I follow too; I get a lot of inspiration there. I get a whole lot of inspiration at CreativeLive.com too. Check out their constant learning platform. It’s pretty amazing.
      xo
      K

  9. krystalskitsch on June 4, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I’m a part of a few blogging communities, and they are all supportive. It is nice to have someone to help out with the tech stuff!

    • KrisWithaK on June 8, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      The tech stuff is always scary, Krystal. The technical side of writing can be a wonderful foundation for the creative side, so stay tuned 🙂
      xo
      K

  10. […] 7. Blogging is a Team Sport: How to Build Community Online and Why you Should by Kris Windley […]

  11. Nela on June 4, 2014 at 7:14 am

    As usual, so wonderfully written, and I always admire how you manage to weave the threads between things from your life and the topic you’re writing about (I totally want to be able to do that too!)

    Can you tell so many of us were triggered by the “relationships” thing? 🙂 I have yet to find a post in the tour that hasn’t at least mentioned it.
    And since many of us work from home and communicate with our clients through online means, it has even more impact on us than on your average Joe, perhaps.

    • KrisWithaK on June 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks so much, Nela! It really is the biggest thing, I think, that we all crave. You really hit the nail on the head. I’m so glad to have met all of you 🙂
      xo
      K

  12. Connie Hanks on June 3, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Ok girly, I was already creative-crushing on you (you had me at Washi tape!), and reading about your great weekend with friends and loved ones? I *totally* wanted to be getting my hair dolled up with you 🙂 Love that your a-ha moment came through about the relationships. They really are beyond important and totally grow our world so beautifully.

    As for connecting with an online community, I belong to a scrapbooking community (ScrapHappy.org) and the connections I’ve made with these women all over the world really is genuine and real. Through our layouts, we’ve seen each others kids, spouses, friends, family, events, celebrations, losses, ups and downs, and more than just seeing the photos, we’ve read (more like devoured) so many stories about each others lives. We know each others humors, sensitivities, accomplishments and struggles. Most of us haven’t met in real life, but the friendships and bonds that have formed over the past couple years is amazing and feels like sisterhood!

    • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Ah! I love this 🙂
      1. Creative crush is mutual
      2. Come to Canada and pick your favourite colour. Mindy’ll doll you up anytime.
      3. You TOTALLY nailed the online thing – the way we are so involved in the process of expressing our lives. I can only imagine how much that would be ramped up with scrapbooking and all of the beautiful memories and moments that entails, automatically.
      Thanks for such a thoughtful comment 🙂
      xo
      K

  13. Michael on June 3, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Your blog is beautiful!!! I love the way you drove home the point of the power of relationships in life and business! And being from Minnesota I also can relate a bit to the need for sunshine! Thanks for sharing!

    • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      Thanks Michael! It really feels great having a friendly neighbourhood around our online homes, doesn’t it? Thanks for stopping by!
      xo
      K

  14. richelle on June 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Yes! When you treat blogging like a team sport, it is SO much easier and a lot more fun! I work from home and it does get lonely. And it’s difficult to keep writing your blog when you feel like you’re the only one who is ever going to read it. And maybe your Mom.
    Love the blog, and I am going to attempt to use the editorial calendar. Hard for me because I am so in the moment, but going to give it a shot. Opting in now!

    • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks Richelle! I promise, I’ll try to avoid the chalkboard paint 😉
      I haven’t posted any photos of it (because I’m still working on my iPhone-ography skills), but I made an editorial calendar on a white board, with post-it notes for each monthly theme or message. I’ve got a bit of a commitment phobia, but I can totally move the post its around whenever I feel the messages are in the wrong spot. I’ve moved a few and even added new ones a few times already 😉
      xo
      K

      • richelle on June 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        OMG I regretted saying that as soon as it was out of my mouth!! Well, there’s a perfect example of me being me. geez.
        Have you checked out photojojo.com? Lots of iPhone tips.



      • KrisWithaK on June 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

        Hahaha! NO! I totally knew what you meant by it though. There is always one trend thing that is *everywhere*, and it is just not necessary for all of us to jump on board. You be you, Richelle! You be you 🙂

        I will check that out right now. Thanks!
        xo
        K



  15. Vivayne on June 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Well ladies, if I could ball up a bit of sunshine to send your way, I would! I’m in Las Vegas. It’s always sunny here. Lot’s of people complain about the heat here, but I just love Vegas life. However, when it rains!!! Now that’s when we flow out into the streets for a little singing in the rain!

    Great takeaway on community, it does makes it fun & more full!!

    • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      SINGIN’ IN THE RAAAAAAIN! Oh I would love that 🙂 We have a couple of hot hot weeks every summer, and the big crashing thunder storm that breaks our (albeit sad and short) heat wave, it is just so much fun.

      Thanks for stopping by, Vivayne. Next time, you are welcome to bring some of your Vegas sunshine along with you 🙂
      xo
      K

  16. Amanda Sue on June 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Oh I love this analogy “your blog is the town square” I absolutely adore it. And it’s right in line with what Sandi Krakowski says all the time. When she talks about people who let nasty commentors on their FB pages, she says don’t feed the trolls…your FB page is like your own little Mom & Pop shop. Would you let someone come talk smack at the front counter? Uhm no. Don’t let them do it on your wall either…remove that junk! It clutters it up for your loyal customers/future-customers.

    And your website is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! <3

    • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      I LOVE that image, Amanda! We’re all having milkshakes at Pop’s, chattin’ up a storm 🙂

      Thanks so much! I’ve been tweaking and changing little bits and pieces of the site since April’s workshop, and I think I’m almost there. I’ve still got a few renos left to do, but you’re welcome to come by for milkshakes any time!
      xo
      K

      • Amanda Sue on June 3, 2014 at 9:29 pm

        If I may make a suggestion? An about page!!!! I’d LOVE to read more about you!!!! I was hunting all over for one. 🙂



      • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 9:46 pm

        Will do, Amanda! See all of the poor excuses on the Construction Zone page 😉 I am finishing up work on a pretty involved client project right now, and I have actually slotted a few weeks into my schedule ONLY to get my content done.



  17. Anastasia Parmson on June 3, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Hahaha! I laughed at the first paragraph: how did you know my home office is messy? 🙂
    Love the point you are making. As a budding blogger I can say that people’s comments, likes and shares are probably the greatest motivation. And when you’re at the stage where conversation is not yet taking place in your “kitchen” then it can be difficult to stay on track with posting regularly as well as making the extra effort to connect with others. I’m really glad we have our facebook group and hope it will stay as vibrant as it is right now!

    • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      You are absolutely right, Anastasia! Having that sense of responsibility to readers is SUPER motivating.
      …as for the messy office? Let’s call it an educated guess 😉
      xo
      K

  18. Lynne on June 3, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Like Jo, I can relate to what you said about the weather – I’m from New Zealand but am now living in the UK, and one of the things I really miss is the wall to wall blue skies! Having said that I look forward to reading more of your blogs because I really like writing and am always keen to improve!

    • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Looks like I need to visit New Zealand and Australia 🙂 I’m glad to help you, Lynne. Send me a note, and tell me what you struggle with most with writing.
      xo
      K

  19. Ann-Marie on June 3, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Thanks for this great info. I couldn’t do April’s workshop live (would have been middle of the night here in Perth, Western – I’m just not a night owl I’m afraid), so I went ahead and bought it instead. I just knew that April would be fantastic – and I learnt so much! As a relative newcomer to blogging I was so focussed on writing content that I hadn’t really focussed on the whole comments and building a community side – but now I am just starting to understand how much fun this can be – and I love it. I am so looking forward to learning more from your lovely blog.

    BTW, having lived in Sweden and England, I totally understand the need to just soak up the beautiful sunshine when it makes it an all too rare appearance. But now we are living back in Oz I spend much of my time just trying to avoid the sun – it is just way too harsh and hot most of the time!

    • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 11:32 am

      Thanks Ann-Marie! I really do hope I can help you. I send out specific Writing Tips for blogging, marketing and general communication every Tuesday, if you want to sign up for Keyboards and Kickstands (top of the sidebar). I’d love to hear about what stresses you out the most about writing!

      I had supper with a teacher here on our Atlantic Coast for a year, who is from Australia as well. She arrived here in January, and I fear it may have damaged her – our terrible winter. She is just now starting to feel as though the world isn’t actively trying to kill her, as our flowers are blooming and our sunny days are happening.

      I can’t imagine ever hiding from the sun, but it would likely be overwhelming to my pale pale self. I think some huge floppy hats and SPF 8000 would be in order 🙂
      xo
      K

  20. Jo Cavagnis on June 3, 2014 at 7:06 am

    OMG, I burst out laughing when I read about how you all run outside when the sun shines! It’s exactly the same in England. The problem is I live in Italy now and am finding it hard to break that habit and the Italians all think I’m mad lol! LOVE this post, the greatest way I’ve connected with a community is by joining our little facebook group…it’s full of fabulous people and I’m so glad i did!

    • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 7:37 am

      Oh Jo! I would be a lunatic in Italy. The sun! The language! The PASTA!

      xo
      K

      • Jo Cavagnis on June 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm

        Oh god the pasta..yeah…mmmm…I’ve put on about a 1stone (14lb) since i moved here,not good! Don’t think the wine has helped either but it’s must sooooo delicious 😀



      • KrisWithaK on June 9, 2014 at 10:09 pm

        We can pretend that all of the swimming in the Mediterranean will offset it, right? Right?
        xo
        K



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