43 responses

  1. Ross Walker
    September 20, 2012

    Mark,

    You asked “hardest aspect to building an online community if you’re a business?”

    I would say building that first level of followers / friends / fans (FFF) . The first 20-50 is easy with employees and family. I think the hardest (maybe because I am not kwon for patience) is from 50 – 200. After that I feel like the snowball really gets rolling, but that first nudge is rough.

    Thanks again for the great blog/podcasts.

    Ross

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      Ross, love your point here and it’s spot on, and something many bloggers never quite understand.

      Appreciate it bud, and keep pushing…

      Marcus

  2. Mitch Mitchell
    September 20, 2012

    Good stuff Marcus.

    It’s interesting when I think about it. I have 5 blogs, but only one has developed into much of a community. The one blog I’d always hoped would build into a community is one I’ve been writing for 7 years, and I think the subject is one that many people probably can’t relate to. And that’s okay because I have gotten some business from it here and there, but I always thought that maybe that one would work well for whatever reason.

    NO problems though; one out of five isn’t all bad. lol

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      Nope 1 out of 5 ain’t bad at all my friend!!!

  3. Jason Diller
    September 20, 2012

    That’s a lot of site audits.

    —————————-
    “””5. My tribe of loyal friends and supporters continues to grow– something that is critical if I’m ever going to get where I want to be.”””
    —————————-

    Dude, you’re already where you want to be, aren’t you? If I told you two years ago when we first spoke that you would be doing what you’re doing…you would have been pumped! Goals change I guess…

    I’m trying to get to where you were 6 months ago.

    Must.

    Keep.

    Blogging.

    Hope all is well my friend. :)

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      Good question brother. Honestly , I’m not there yet because I guess w growth one’s vision is expanded…and the potential within seems greater than ever.

      Dude, we need to have a chat soon…I’d really like that.

      Marcus

  4. Ryan Biddulph
    September 21, 2012

    Hit the cyber pavement hard. Build a community by engaging and detaching from outcomes. Thanks for sharing your prospering experience Marcus.

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      I’ll like how you put that Ryan–detaching from outcomes.

      Yep, that’s exactly it.

      Appreciate it brother!

      Marcus

  5. Matthew Stock
    September 21, 2012

    I think building a community is somewhat overrated for a brick and mortar industry like basement waterproofing. I’ve seen an explosion of traffic, but only a few comments per blog. Doesn’t look like River Pools is much different.

    Now for internet marketing companies like TSL and my new venture, I do see some value. But it seems that most of these communities consist of other internet marketers. They don’t pay the bills. Customers do. IMHO I think the best way to reach them is thru targeted niche blogs, like mine below.

    Am I missing something here? Does more comments = community building?

    Isn’t building a paying client list priority #1 counselor?

    One of us needs to catch up on sleep, just not sure who!

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      To answer your question Matt, you may want to consider how you and I met and what made you decide to contact me in the first place. To me, you were a part of the community, but the hidden one.

      In fact, that’s where your email list becomes so important. These 200+ email responses were all businesses. Some were ideal clients, some were not. Either way, they fall in the silent community that doesn’t comment, but does sit back, read, and react. Both parties have value, no question.

      As for River Pools, yes, few comments indeed. But thousands of readers. So again, it’s there, just behind the curtains.

      Make sense?

      Marcus

  6. Danny @ Firepole Marketing
    September 21, 2012

    Amen, Marcus.

    I hear all the time that it’s “too much to give away for free”, but you and I both know that this is exactly the fuel that drives our businesses – both the relationships with our audiences, and our own awareness and understanding of what they actually need.

    So yes, absolutely – this was a golden experience to have gone through, even if it was a bit exhausting (I can imagine!) – well done! :)

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      Danny, great seeing you brother and I hope you’re well.

      You’ve been a phenominal example to me Danny of someone that is willing to pay the price and time towards establishing those relationships.

      Appreciate you man,

      Marcus

  7. Laura Foley
    September 21, 2012

    The most difficult thing for me is that as a sole proprietor it’s very hard for me to fit all of my social interaction, admin, prospecting, and actual work in the span of my day. I know I need to blog more and I keep on plugging away at it. But hey, if you can do it with four kids, a whirlwind schedule, and your paying gigs then I can do it with two kids and no travel plans in the immediate future. If only I could learn to be productive at 1:00 am like you are…

    Thanks for all you do and all you give back to the community.

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      Everyone is different Laura, and I think if you’re pushing yourself hard, but maintaining the right balance, then that’s great. But as for late nights…try the elliptical then writing technique ;-)

      Have a great day,

      Marcus

  8. Ryan Hanley
    September 21, 2012

    It ain’t easy bein’ greasy homey…

    If you want to dent the world you have to be willing to do things that others see as pointless, fruitless, purposeless, or valueless when you know in your heart you’re making a difference.

    I have a feeling you’re not going to leave a dent in this world Marcus. You’re going to reshape it…

    …and it’s amazing to watch.

    Keep it up dude.

    Hanley

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      You’re incredibly kind to my Hanley. Seriously man, thank you for that….and if I can live up to a smidge of what you’ve said I’ll be doing alright ;-)

      cheers brother,

      Marcus

  9. Linda
    September 21, 2012

    Good afternoon, Mr Sheridan.

    I sincerely hope your brain is feeling better :)

    What I can’t figure out is how I managed to miss the newsletter with the invitation on!
    Is there somewhere that I should have signed up for it, but haven’t. Point me there now, please, Sir!

    For me the hardest part of building an on-line presence is – like many people – getting readers. But maybe the fruits of your research will enlighten me on where I’m going wrong and why I’m unable to generate any interest. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have identified.

    Kind regards,
    L

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      Hi Linda! And thanks for stopping by. To subscribe to the newsletter, just go to the ebook form/page and enter your email, and you’ll be added to the list, which only goes out once every two weeks.

      I’ll take a look at your blog but make sure you read the newsletter (link found in this article) about titles, because I’m pretty sure you’re like most in making that mistake.

      Talk soon,

      Marcus

      • Linda
        September 21, 2012

        Thank you, Sir.
        You are most kind and indeed I’ll have a look now at the link.

        L x

      • Linda
        September 21, 2012

        Hmm… it says I’m already subscribed. Must have been on autopilot delete when the newsletter came through! Too many 1:00 am finishes and 4:00am starts!

        L :(

  10. Harriet Cabelly
    September 21, 2012

    Hi Marcus,

    Can I still take part in your offer of looking at my site and getting some feedback? I’m blogging for almost 2 years with very little growth. I recently did an ‘updo’ to my site. I post once or twice a week and do interesting monthly interviews which I love. Not sure what I’m not doing to continuously keep getting the same lack of engagement.
    If it’s too late for your offer, I totally understand. I hadn’t seen the newsletter offer till your post today.
    All the best in your continued success and tremendous impact you’re making.

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      Sure thing Harriet. Give me a day or two and I’ll let you know. And thanks so much for stopping by :-)

      Marcus

      • Harriet Cabelly
        September 21, 2012

        Really appreciate it. Thank you for your time.

  11. Ben
    September 21, 2012

    Great article as always Marcus!

    I feel networking is a critical factor for growing a community. It’s easy to become “selfish” when owning a blog. Getting jealous when people comment on other blogs and not their own. But the fact is, you have to be apart of communities that are not your own in order to grow yours.

    From your own experiences you know exactly what I’m talking about right!

    Well written Marcus!

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      No question Ben. It’s pretty hard to be a social recluse and build a vibrant community. Good stuff bud!
      Marcus

  12. Deb Prewitt
    September 21, 2012

    I have an on-line business http://www.bluetwigstudio.com and 2 blogs, one connected to the business and one more personal that I had before I started the business. They are both quite small blogs and I am slowly growing them. I know it takes time for most of us. My biggest problem is getting more comments and engagement on the blogs. People will tell me they read my blog and like it, but I get few comments. Sigh!

    • Marcus Sheridan
      September 21, 2012

      I understand Deb, I do. Btw, have you read my post on getting comments? It’s shown in the popular post sidebar and you might find it helpful.

      But keep in mind too that comments don’t necessarily equate to blogging or business success, and I’ve met many bloggers who had many comments but a failing business at the same time.

      Good luck!

      Marcus

  13. Jeevan Jacob John
    September 21, 2012

    The hardest part, Marcus?

    Oh, yes.

    The hardest part is when we realize that community building is not really about us, when we realize (And act upon that) that community building is about spending time with your readers and building relationships with them.

    Sure, in the short term, it may not add up to much, but in the long term, it all adds up.

    The relationships.

    The trust we gain.

    And the satisfaction we get – by helping others.

    Oh, I wish that every company realizes this and acts upon it (then again, if that happens, the competition will get more fierce :D).

    It’s a great thing you did there, Marcus (I am just sad that I missed out, anyways good :D).

  14. Ruth Zive
    September 21, 2012

    Well Marcus, I’m not surprised at the outpouring of interest – your feedback and insights are top notch. And what your experiment proves is that blogging and social media is ultimately about building relationships, engaging your stakeholders and solving their problems. I suppose that overlooking this is the #1 mistake that business make with their blogging and social media efforts.

    Great to be back visiting – lots of changes over at my site/business….check it out!

  15. steve werner
    September 21, 2012

    I am going to go with getting readers and fierce competition.

    I feel like I write some pretty compelling stuff.

    I might have to become more of a problem solver than story teller

    thanks

    sw

  16. Margaret Adams
    September 21, 2012

    I’m one of the newsletter subscribers who took advantage of Marcus’s offer. Thank you again for your observations.

    It’s so useful having a different pair of eyes looking at one’s site. It’s even more useful when the person is an expert in the field of content marketing.

    Great offer! Thanks again.

    MA (One website has already been changed; I’m mapping out the changes for the second.)

  17. Gordon Robinson
    September 21, 2012

    Hi Marcus,
    I am just starting out buiding my site – I promised myself I would write a new blog each day on a topic related to online business or something related to making money online and starting a business from home. Thats were I am headed.

    I have written about 60 blog posts to date and have had a few visitors but not a huge amount of engagement!

    Any advise for a newbie blogger on what to expect …. I have read through your posts … must say I have aspirations on your site ;-)

    Thanks for all your great info!!

    Gordon
    http://www.workwithgordon.com/blogging/

  18. Caleb
    September 21, 2012

    Marcus – I just came to your blog from…gosh, I already forgot where! Reading your background about moving from a service business to online parallels my journey, even down to using Hubspot.

    The point in your blog is great. Reminding managers of my businesses to continually engage their customers from different approaches is both my largest challenge (delegation) and the best way to build a loyal customer base.

    Wonderful offer (free) as a call to action to unstick some people from seats!

  19. Jordan J. Caron
    September 22, 2012

    For me the hard part is trying to stay focused on one task or method for growing my community at a time. To my own fault I overloaded myself with content and knowledge the last 12 months. During this span I’ve followed 12 different marketing & blogging blogs and read over 15 books.

    As Chip and Dan Heath say, the curse of knowledge has gotten me! I have so many different ideas but not enough focus to implement them. Although I’ve never been great at sticking with something for long and executing a plan.

    Another thing that is a challenge for me is not getting discouraged. Writing what I think is great content on golf and seeing little traffic improvement and very few email sign ups can hurt.

    However I’m just a blogger trying to push my “brand”. No product or service to sell yet. I do plan to monetize with a golf coaching program which I want to roll out by January.

    I know it’s all about pushing through and staying up beat. A few months back I remember Chris Brogan did a post about his rise. He said it took him close to 8 years to receive his first 100 subscribers.

    Marcus,

    Thanks as always for your work and thoughtful posts. I’ve cut my following back to just two people and you are one of them.

    Cheers!

  20. Wade Balsdon
    September 22, 2012

    I must echo Ryan’s sentiments. I was excited to recieve your feedback regarding my site Marcus. I was talking about you to my wife this morning just saying how I like your style, integrity and confidence. You keep inspiring me. Thanks a ton.

  21. Ralph
    September 22, 2012

    Hey Marcus,
    I am one of those guys you replied to and thanks for your feedback. I am not a business but I may want to be at some point so building a community now is very important to me for the future.

    Practical, realistic and relevant content is what I get over here and the solid advice in the form of real experience goes a long, long way.

    Keep on keepin’ on, sir.

  22. Joyce
    September 25, 2012

    Having church teams work together on some smaller projects like the ones listed here will strengthen your church and prepare your church teams to handle tougher projects, such as helping the community rebuild after a natural disaster.

  23. Anton Koekemoer
    September 25, 2012

    Hi Marcus,

    Personally – Building a network is easy when using spammy techniques etc. – But the quality of the community will suffer and won’t be targeted – Building a legitimate network with authoritative users that actually offers value in terms of relationship and engagement is a whole different type of ball game. Keeping the user interested is also something that has be worked on and takes a lot of time. Great post – Thanks for sharing the valuable insights.

  24. Jon Birdsong
    September 27, 2012

    Marcus,

    Just checking in. Last time we talked, I downloaded your book and read it. There was some awesome info in there and tons of new strategies I’m using. Also, talked to Dharmesh of Hubspot about how awesome your book is at Dreamforce.

    Keep writing, I’m loving everything.

    Best,
    Jon Birdsong

  25. Sanjib Saha
    September 28, 2012

    Hi Marcus,

    Never build a community with some immediate ulterior motives. You may succeed initially but will lose out in the long run. This method will never help you in building relations among the community.

    Regards,
    Sanjib Saha

  26. Cliff Pollan
    September 30, 2012

    Marcus – Great post. You are a great example that building community takes passion and a real desire to learn, share and teach. Those need to be #1. The outcome is that business will grow.

    • Marcus Sheridan
      October 1, 2012

      Appreciate that Cliff :-)

  27. Bill Layton
    September 30, 2012

    Hi Marcus, and great post! I have two clients I am helping with community building right now. The toughest is in an industry where use of the internet is pretty variable and probably mostly via Mobile Phone. We’ve been mulling a survey of the industry locally but stalling out on how to hit it…

    Thanks!

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