Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fan Month: Why Bloggers Need You

If you’ve been around for the last week, you know that in just a few days Fan Month is starting up. There’s still a signup, still a giveaway, and you’re welcome, if you want to learn a little more about what exactly we’re going to do.

the reader
Flickr Credit: Caroline
But before you go look, perhaps you should take a moment and think about why I might go out of my way to promote a linkup like this. Everyone puts their own spin on this task; as for me, I’m jumping in all the way. No posts. Only sharing other people’s stuff. Being a reader first and a blogger second.

Why that sacrifice? It boils down to one simple idea:

Blogging requires a reciprocal relationship. 

It’s a little bit like getting married—if you think more about what you will get than what you can give, you’ll be in trouble.

(By the way, this doesn’t imply a union should be some kind of slavery, either—there should be a balance. If one party is dominating then maybe you should have a heart to heart talk with the Civil War and reestablish the federal government in your relationship.)

This principle applies to all blogs, too—not just the book blogs, or the teen personal blogs that you may be accustomed to seeing. Yes, that’s one option. But at the same time…
  • business blogs need to cater to their customers
  • writing blogs need to give useful advice
  • humor blogs need to make you laugh
  • financial blogs need to teach and guide responsibly
  • political blogs need to make a statement
  • book blogs need to share things people will (or won’t) read
  • personal blogs need to make you care

Except for that last one… They ALL need to make you care. Because whether your blog is trying to sell something, say something, share something, or simply help someone—it isn’t really worth it if the people on the other end aren’t interested.

That’s only half of the relationship, though.

Because, you see, if there aren’t people on the other end in the first place, then a blogger is trapped. Without you there to read the blog, the reciprocal relationship never happens.

As a blogger, sometimes I spend so much time being a blogger that I forget to be a reader, as well. I spend a lot of time looking at other blogs, but my interest is passing. I want to get back to what I’m doing.

However, if you try to blog on your own little island, no one will ever row over to visit.

So, Fan Month is a month to be a reader. A month to remember that, hey, we’re all in this together. A month where we can settle back and enjoy other people’s work without being preoccupied with our own, and a month to remind ourselves that other bloggers are just as important as we are.

This, of course, leaves the big question—what are you supposed to do about it? I brainstormed.
  • write a comment (this, by the way, has got to be the easiest one of them all)
  • share on Twitter
  • share on Facebook
  • pin on Pinterest
  • share on Tumblr
  • share on ALL THE PLACES
  • follow the writer on social media
  • take the time to read older posts
  • shoot them an email just to say hi
  • request a guest post
  • check out the blogs they love
  • check out the books they love
  • check out the music they love
  • offer praise
  • make a sock puppet of their face
  • write a review for their blog
  • write a review for their writing
  • give shout-outs in your own posts
  • specifically recommend them
  • take their advice and give them feedback
  • consider their advice
  • follow up on one of their posts
  • make a craft they recommend
  • buy their merchandise
  • share said merchandise
  • put their button on your community page
  • share their link(s)
  • propose a blogging toast
  • give to an organization they care about
  • give them food (if it wouldn’t be creepy)
  • thank them, often

Not a conclusive list—there’s plenty more you can do to tell someone you’re grateful.* And Fan Month is meant to serve others with that grace. Many people can’t join, and for some people, stepping out is hard.

But, at the same time, I have to believe that promoting that relationship is worth it—for all of us.

Hands Across Time
Flickr Credit: Bill Gracey

What do you think? What do you think is the best way to promote a reciprocal relationship in blogging? Will you join Fan Month? Or #FanMonth, since other people decided on a hashtag over on Aimee’s blog, I think. 


*the list is just thinking; it could be a bad idea to send someone food unless you knew that blogger in person, and it’s not like you have to do it all the time—but if you needed an idea for ONE thing, at least you have some ideas

16 comments :

  1. I notice that you very cleverly slipped in make a sock puppet in the second list. *smirks* You do have a talent for repurposing socks, Heather.

    I think another great way to support bloggers is by participating in tags and link-ups they're hosting. (Like Fan Month!) These events really depend on the audience to become successful, so I always try to squeeze them into the blog schedule.

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    1. I like socks, okay? They're great. And my feet are cold sometimes.

      You're absolutely right! Not only do they do what you said, but they help grow and nurture an audience as well—definitely another one I didn't think of!

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  2. Yes! I love your list of things, because they're definitely ALL ways you can support a fellow blogger. It's really easy to forget that we're all awkward insecure little bloggers (well, most of us) and community really helps. Love this!

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    1. :D Absolutely—we all can find a way to support someone else, and we can all find something to do to build each other up. Kaboom.

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  3. ...Make a sock puppet out of their face? That made me laugh. xP

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    1. Just checking to see if you're reading. ;)

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  4. I agree that blogging really is a reciprocal relationship because readers aren't just going to come to your blog. You have to show genuine interest in the blogs of others (which really isn't that difficult because there's so many amazing blogs out there), before others can do the same with your blog. Besides, reciprocal relationships is one of things that makes blogging so much fun.

    I love your list of suggestions. I always find myself reverting towards commenting because I love getting to share my thoughts and getting replies back. It's another one of those things that really makes the whole blogging experience a lot better.

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    1. I agree: there are awesome blogs and bloggers out there that you can show your love to, and people are usually willing to repay that price. And, like you said, it's fun!

      I'm hoping it will be useful. Commenting is definitely one of the easiest and shows the most promising results (not to mention measurable). I can't blame you for loving that one, either!

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  5. These are some really great suggestions! These are great things to do all the time, too. And, just for fun...
    Famous Blogger: "If one more person makes a sock puppet that resembles me..." XD

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    1. I hope that people find them doable! And they're good to spread out, I think, so perhaps that will be satisfactory.

      Yes, yes. XD It is an amusing idea, no?

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  6. This is a great idea. All too often we spend too much time in our own world, don't we? It's time to realise that there is more to the blogging world than just your own blog!
    I'm definitely going to do something these idea. Once again, amazing idea:)

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    1. Exactly right—as my father might say: there's no such thing as a self-made man. Let me know how some of these work, because that list took me fifteen minutes to make, tops. xD

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  7. Sweet idea! I suppose I'm sort of doing it now, by commenting. :') but seriously, I totally agree about it being a relationship. :)

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    1. Absolutely! Commenting is just one of the ways we do that!

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  8. Hi, this is a really nice idea!

    I am new to your blog and found it via Blogs By Kids and am really impressed with such an idea.

    Great list, and make a sock puppet, cool (definitely NOT wierd!)

    - Lexie ~ 10 ~ www.whatlexieloves.blogspot.com

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    1. I thought so! Thanks for telling me where you found the post—I'm glad I looked it up; I hope you think about doing something nice for someone else!

      And yes, sock puppet would be awesome! :D

      Thanks, Lexie!

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Check it out, comments and stuff. I love to hear from readers, and I always respond to commenters! Here's the fun part—if you leave a link to your blog I'll show up and comment back. I have just one rule down here: Don't Be a Problem. This spans the entire umbrella of rudeness and crudeness, so I reiterate: Don't Be a Problem. Thanks for stopping by!