The One Great Key to Building a Blog Community and Changing Lives

by Marcus Sheridan is one of those posts that has been on my mind for many, many weeks. Heck, it’s actually something I’ve been thinking about for months but the time is right to delve deep into a principle that I really feel 99% of bloggers don’t fully understand—but if they did, the blogosphere would never be the same…..

A Love Story

Recently, I came across Mark Schaefer’s 500th post on his inspiring blog {Grow}. The article was called ‘How to REALLY Build a Blog Community: A Love Story’, and as soon as I read the title, I couldn’t help but smile.

You see, I understand exactly what Mark was talking about. Without question, I love my community here. Does it sound cheesy? Yeah, sure it may to some, but for anyone that has poured their heart and soul into growing their blog and community; they get exactly what I’m talking about.

But before I delve too far into the core of this article, I need to make a little analogy that some of you may appreciate.

Adam Sandler Would Have Been the Greatest Blogger in the World

Have you ever heard of Adam Sandler? Yeah, of course you have (unless your name is Gini Dietrich ;-) ). He has done a ton of movies over the last 15 years such as ‘Waterboy’, ‘Grown Ups’, ‘Billy Madison’, ‘Happy Gilmore’, and many more. And if you’ve been watching any of these movies, you’ll notice a similar characteristic in each—many of the same actors keep appearing again and again.

You see, Sandler owns Happy Madison Productions, which is a film production company. But because he started on Saturday Night Live as a relative ‘nobody’, with a bunch of other ‘relative nobodies’, Sandler formed a strong bond with many of the young comedians, including Rob Schneider, during this time period.

Such is the case so often times when we are just beginning and struggling to make it big in any field—we form relationships with incredible people that will on some occasions last forever.

Because of Sandler’s love for this initial circle of friends, and also due to his general loyalty to the people within his comedic community—he now takes every opportunity to promote these actors by feeding them roles in almost all of his Happy Madison movies.

As you might imagine, it is because of acts like these Adam Sandler is one of the most beloved actors in all of Hollywood by his peers—and it’s well deserved.

Simply put, Adam Sandler understands community.

Community Goes Far Beyond Hollywood

But the principles that Sandler is using in Hollywood do not only apply to his particular industry. In fact, every industry is made up of its networks and circles, and those persons that know how to build the strongest network of friends through the power of support and promotion, often times find themselves with the most loyal of fans, friends, and community.

And it is this same model that I apply to all of my blogging here on TSL. As I’m sure many of you have noticed, I care as much about promoting other people on this blog than I do myself—it’s just the way my mind thinks, and it’s also why this blog’s growth has exploded these last 6 months.

A little over a month ago I published what I still feel today is the best article I’ve ever written on TSL—How to Network Online Like a Superstar….and Grow BIG! The reason why I’m so proud of this piece is the fact that it was one of the first articles on the web (from what I can tell) that truly broke down the essence of building community through different levels of online networking. As some of you may recall, Levels 3 and 4 discussed a blogger’s ability to shine as much light as possible on others through links, mentions, etc.

It is for this reason that before every article I write on this blog, I ask myself the most important question any blogger can ever make:

‘Who can I help today?’

It is because of this question, just as with Adam Sandler and his friends, you also see many of the same names pop up again and again in my articles. These are people that take care of me and I do my best to take care of them as well. They’ve become my friends, supporters, and in some cases—business partners(more on this soon). It’s the digital version of the Law of Reciprocity, and it’s an amazing principle when used correctly.

How Much Difference Can One Person Make?

In order to help you fully understand exactly what I’m trying to explain with this article, I’ve taken the time over the past week to gather the Google Analytic stats of some of the websites/blogs I’ve promoted in my articles. After emailing some (I’ve actually not included many of the blogs I’ve promoted here) of my blogging friends and requesting the number of visits they received from links coming off of TSL during the months of March and April of this year, I received the following results back:

# of Visits from The Sales Lion, March/April 2011

Tristan Higbee from Blogging Bookshelf: 162 visits

Mark Harai: 74 visits

Troy Claus: 19 vistis

Steve Scott: 121 visits

Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks: 253 visits

Danny Brown: 73 visits

John Falchetto of Expat Life Coach: 107 visits

Brankica Underwood of Blog Like a Star: 129 visits

Davina Brewer of 3 Hats Communications: 144 visits

Lori Gosselin of Life for Instance: 72 visits

Diana Baur of A Certain Simplicity: 75 visits

JK of The Hustler’s Notebook: 182 visits

Jason Hughes of Skyward Blog: 53 visits

Srinivas Rao of Skool of Life: 27 visits

Mark Schaefer of {Grow}: 135 visits

Ingrid Abboud of NittyGriddy Blog: 195 visits

Total Visits to Other Sites: 1,686

Now granted, such numbers may not seem like a big deal to some, as I’m certainly no Chris Brogan,  but let me assure you that these visits lead to each blogger receiving tweets, comments, promotions, subscribers, and more than anything—loyal supporters. In fact, the average time on site for visitors from TSL was almost exactly 5 minutes. For those of you who have ever studied the relevance of ‘time on site’, you know just how impressive this number is.

That’s what the social web is all about folks. We must embrace the power of networking and community. We must stop thinking about ourselves so much and shift our mind to the big picture.

In a Coming Day…

To close, allow me to be brutally honest in saying I look very much forward to the day when this blog has thousands upon thousands of subscribers. I say this not because such stats will lead to greater fame or fortune, but rather it will give me a platform to, with the click of a mouse, send thousands of visitors to some obscure yet amazing blogger that is just waiting to catch a break and be noticed by the masses. I’m not exactly sure when that day will come folks….but be rest assured I can see it, I know it will happen, and I know it will change lives for the better.

Editor’s Note and Amazing Update****: Serendipity struck me this morning exactly 10 minutes before this article was scheduled to post. Allow me to quickly explain the story– Just a few weeks ago I came across a blog that I found to be magically written by a lady named Diana Baur. So impressed was I with Diana’s writing style, as well as her expat story of moving to Italy to open up a bed and breakfast, that I felt strongly prompted to let others know of the treasure I’d found. Therefore, the next day when I posted an article on TSL, I briefly mentioned her in the first paragraph and asked my readers if they would please give her a visit. If you look at the stats mentioned above, you’ll find that 75 of you did just that, and the next day Diana emailed me to sincerely express her gratitude. But this gratitude pales to the pure joy Diana felt this morning when I got a direct message from her on Twitter saying one of my readers had just booked for their parents a 5 day stay at her B & B. Upon reading this news, my eyes got a little watery knowing that a simple link from my blog had touched and impacted lives……This is what it’s all about folks. This is why we do what we do. And my joy is full. :-)

Your Turn:

OK folks, some important questions for discussion, and I’m really hoping that if you’ve read down this far you’ll take a moment to add your thoughts below. What actions are you taking in your blog to promote others? Also, can you mention a time that another blogger(s) promoted you and it helped you in some way? Finally, why do you think so few bloggers truly understand the power of promoting, networking, and community? C’mon folks, it’s your turn to make the magic happen. :-)

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