Engagement from Scratch by Danny InyThe following post is an excerpt from my chapter in Danny Iny’s new book, Engagement From Scratch: How Super Community Builders Create a Loyal Audience and How You Can Do the Same.

It features lessons in community building and content marketing from the likes of Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, Mitch Joel, Kristi Hines, Gini Dietrich and many more. A review of the book will appear later this week.

I Would Have Posted Less Frequently

I started off writing a blog post a day (and sometimes I posted more than once on the same day). Sometimes this made me publish stuff that, in hindsight, could have (should have) been better.

In the middle of 2011, I made a conscious decision to post less frequently, and really ask questions of things in the stuff I wrote about. It made me a better blogger, and resulted in the ensuing comments going through the roof.

I Would Have Been More Honest

Let me rephrase that: I would not have been afraid to speak more honestly. There were times early on when I wouldn’t have said anything negative about certain people, since I (incorrectly) thought they were right. Turns out we all get blinded by vacuous respect. When I realized this, and began writing openly about bad practices and calling out bullshit, it once again raised the level of engagement through the roof, as others were clearly thinking the same thing. Be honest, and you’ll have engagement.

I Wouldn’t Be So Closed Off

One of the things many bloggers complain about is that social sites like Twitter and Facebook have seen comment numbers decrease, as conversations about a post shift there, as opposed to taking part on the blog. Heck, I even wrote a post about Twitter killing blog comments! But that’s missing the point – engagement comes in all shapes and sizes, and while your blog may be the most desired place for discussion, true engagement allows the discussion to expand in all directions.

If I was to do anything differently, it’d be to get active on Facebook sooner (and now Google+). Because, ironically, I’ve tended to find that the more willing I am to converse away from my blog, the more likely people are to click through and read more of my stuff. And that’s a win-win for everyone.

Engagement From Scratch: How Super Community Builders Create a Loyal Audience and How You Can Do the Same is available now. 50% of all profits from book sales go to support the teaching of entrepreneurship.

Sign up for free weekly content

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a weekly email with the latest blog post, recommended reading, quick tips and more. I respect your privacy and will never spam you.

Alternatively, click here to subscribe to the RSS feed instead.

Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.

163 comments
Michael | BuildinganOnline.com
Michael | BuildinganOnline.com

Hi Danny.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Wow, with all the activity you have on just a single article, I can see the commitment one have, if one dare to make a comment.

I think, it makes much sense not to write just to write, and your decision to promote quality rather than the quantity, I can fully endorse.

Now I do not know, how many visitors you had back in mid 2011, but for a new blog like mine, with very few daily visitors (yet), I think it would be devastating not to be highly active.

Of course, the quality has to be okay, otherwise you cheat your visitors - and yourself - and they will not return.

But a new blog is forced to build a loyal readership, and I do not think you can do so on the Internet, if you do not stick to.

You have a big 'fan club' here, so you can allow yourself to cut down on your input.

And I also believe, that your honesty is precisely what has created your 'fan club'. People in this industry is tired to infinitely of being filled with frivolities or even outright lies.

Personally, I prefer people like you, who dare to have their opinions and say them out loud. And then it does not matter whether I agree or not, as long as they do not just shut out all criticism, if I do not.

Regards,
Michael

Michael | BuildinganOnline.com
Michael | BuildinganOnline.com

Hi Danny. Happy New Year to you and yours. Wow, with all the activity you have on just a single article, I can see the commitment one have, if one dare to make a comment. I think, it makes much sense not to write just to write, and your decision to promote quality rather than the quantity, I can fully endorse. Now I do not know, how many visitors you had back in mid 2011, but for a new blog like mine, with very few daily visitors (yet), I think it would be devastating not to be highly active. Of course, the quality has to be okay, otherwise you cheat your visitors - and yourself - and they will not return. But a new blog is forced to build a loyal readership, and I do not think you can do so on the Internet, if you do not stick to. You have a big 'fan club' here, so you can allow yourself to cut down on your input. And I also believe, that your honesty is precisely what has created your 'fan club'. People in this industry is tired to infinitely of being filled with frivolities or even outright lies. Personally, I prefer people like you, who dare to have their opinions and say them out loud. And then it does not matter whether I agree or not, as long as they do not just shut out all criticism, if I do not. Regards, Michael

Janeth
Janeth

I am still trying to figure out what I want to write about and how you are able to be yourself when you write. ):

Janeth
Janeth

I am still trying to figure out what I want to write about and how you are able to be yourself when you write. ):

ChexSystemsAdvice
ChexSystemsAdvice

thanks for sharing your great experiences and your post are very much appreciated by beginners. the tips you have shared is very valuable.

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

I'm posting (almost) daily on our company blog. Lately, I'm finding that a tad bit difficult, so I'm writing shorter posts. Still, I'm thinking about spacing them out to say 2-3 per week but longer, and meatier posts.

Anyway, I think a commitment to quality is better than a vague commitment to a certain number of posts (if that makes sense). So that's what I'm going for...

Latest blog post: The Sandbox

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

I'm posting (almost) daily on our company blog. Lately, I'm finding that a tad bit difficult, so I'm writing shorter posts. Still, I'm thinking about spacing them out to say 2-3 per week but longer, and meatier posts. Anyway, I think a commitment to quality is better than a vague commitment to a certain number of posts (if that makes sense). So that's what I'm going for...

dj münchen
dj münchen

thanks for your experience and sharing !

dj münchen
dj münchen

thanks for your experience and sharing !

markaylward
markaylward

Hey Danny

I couldn't agree more. I just started a post about this topic of being "real" versus posting what you think people might like. It's so obvious in hindsight that you want to kick yourself for not realizing sooner that people really want to hear your "honest" opinion. Those are usually funnier anyway:)

Mark

markaylward
markaylward

Hey Danny I couldn't agree more. I just started a post about this topic of being "real" versus posting what you think people might like. It's so obvious in hindsight that you want to kick yourself for not realizing sooner that people really want to hear your "honest" opinion. Those are usually funnier anyway:) Mark

bdorman264
bdorman264

I started with one post a week and will probably start tapering off from there........actually, and even though it might not look like it yet, I am not sticking with a schedule. I'm trying to write and post when inspiration strikes and not plug it into a certain day 'just because'.

Good advice indeed and I'm sure it is a great book based on the people you have mentioned.

Hope all is well, and thanks for sharing this.

bdorman264
bdorman264

I started with one post a week and will probably start tapering off from there........actually, and even though it might not look like it yet, I am not sticking with a schedule. I'm trying to write and post when inspiration strikes and not plug it into a certain day 'just because'. Good advice indeed and I'm sure it is a great book based on the people you have mentioned. Hope all is well, and thanks for sharing this.

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

The concept of an editorial calendar still eludes me. I'm admittedly wildly inconsistent at times with my posting frequency or even times when I post. If I wrap up a post on an evening, I'll publish right then and there, promoting it via FB and Twitter several times throughout the day to keep the content buoyant. I'm a wee bit envious of @ginidietrich ability to crank out quality content day after day, not to mention the network of guest bloggers to fill the gaps.

#2 in particular resonates with me - and it's something that I've noticed over the past year or so since I've been really active in the social space. But I'll take it a step further: there seems to be a tendency for people get trapped by sharing & commenting on the same core group of blogs. I despise Triberr for this very reason because I see people crapping out the same old stuff and sharing it again and again and again. There was a time (even just a few months ago) when I was chomping at the bit to get into that inner circle of Triberr-ers for the traffic and reach bump but that's no longer the case. And don't get me started with Tweet Old Post. :)

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

The concept of an editorial calendar still eludes me. I'm admittedly wildly inconsistent at times with my posting frequency or even times when I post. If I wrap up a post on an evening, I'll publish right then and there, promoting it via FB and Twitter several times throughout the day to keep the content buoyant. I'm a wee bit envious of @ginidietrich ability to crank out quality content day after day, not to mention the network of guest bloggers to fill the gaps. #2 in particular resonates with me - and it's something that I've noticed over the past year or so since I've been really active in the social space. But I'll take it a step further: there seems to be a tendency for people get trapped by sharing & commenting on the same core group of blogs. I despise Triberr for this very reason because I see people crapping out the same old stuff and sharing it again and again and again. There was a time (even just a few months ago) when I was chomping at the bit to get into that inner circle of Triberr-ers for the traffic and reach bump but that's no longer the case. And don't get me started with Tweet Old Post. :)

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Running with your not wanting to be closed off, does that include accepting comments that may be construed as spam to some? If someone writes a genuine-appearing comment but with a name resembling "Executive Gifts" or "Toronto SEO," would you accept the comment or mark it as spam today?

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Running with your not wanting to be closed off, does that include accepting comments that may be construed as spam to some? If someone writes a genuine-appearing comment but with a name resembling "Executive Gifts" or "Toronto SEO," would you accept the comment or mark it as spam today?

Faissalhaithami
Faissalhaithami

I must agree with your first point, I see bloggers that posting stuff everyday but they don't deliver the information due to the very little time they spent on them, this may case losing their readers. On other hand, 2 or 3 well explained articles can do a massive job in term of engagement.

I have been seeing reviews about this book everywhere i'll need to get my copy :D

thanks for sharing.

Faissalhaithami
Faissalhaithami

I must agree with your first point, I see bloggers that posting stuff everyday but they don't deliver the information due to the very little time they spent on them, this may case losing their readers. On other hand, 2 or 3 well explained articles can do a massive job in term of engagement. I have been seeing reviews about this book everywhere i'll need to get my copy :D thanks for sharing.

Brankica
Brankica

Love all three things, although I obviously don't have a problem with #2, haha.

Moving conversations to other venues sometimes worries people but bottom line, the more you talk to them on Twitter and FB, the higher your Klout will go, right @Danny Brown hahahaah... you know this is a joke but it was just hanging here ;)

Latest blog post: test

Brankica
Brankica

Love all three things, although I obviously don't have a problem with #2, haha. Moving conversations to other venues sometimes worries people but bottom line, the more you talk to them on Twitter and FB, the higher your Klout will go, right @DannyBrown hahahaah... you know this is a joke but it was just hanging here ;)

penneyfox
penneyfox

Like the others, I've struggled with how many posts per week or sometimes, per month to write. Good to hear the advice that you've slowed down to posting less frequently - gives me some comfort to know that I'm on track as I'm figuring everything out and finding my voice.

My question to you and the others is this ... how does everyone make the time to write? Between growing a business, working with clients, teaching workshops AND taking care of my son, it feels more and more like my time is limited. How do you find the time to fit all this writing into your world?

penneyfox
penneyfox

Like the others, I've struggled with how many posts per week or sometimes, per month to write. Good to hear the advice that you've slowed down to posting less frequently - gives me some comfort to know that I'm on track as I'm figuring everything out and finding my voice. My question to you and the others is this ... how does everyone make the time to write? Between growing a business, working with clients, teaching workshops AND taking care of my son, it feels more and more like my time is limited. How do you find the time to fit all this writing into your world?

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Oh, Livefyre is back. You off probation? We can fix that 8)

Great advice Danny. I tried to blog more and wasn't finding the time. So I am infrequent but still blogging. I also am working on seeing if my G+ biz page can help by not only posting my blog links but other news and blog links of value to hopefully attract interest and conversation. And ..ahem...Google is adding features to blogger which I am curious might help my work since I still use that old fangled platform (so much easier than Word Press which is way confusing to me).

and yes your content and engagement I feel grew in stature when you got more confident in being a source for saying what so many people want to say but are too chicken too,

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@markaylward It's just one of the things I love about blogging, mate, the fluidity. If something's not working, or you feel you're becoming stale, you change on the fly. Try doing that when you're writing a book under deadline. ;-)

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@markaylward It's just one of the things I love about blogging, mate, the fluidity. If something's not working, or you feel you're becoming stale, you change on the fly. Try doing that when you're writing a book under deadline. ;-)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@bdorman264 I'm such a dumbass, mate - I was asking myself, "What book?", and then I hit the A-ha moment... ;)

Going by the interaction and community over at your place, mate, I'd say you're doing pretty well in your approach as is. Si? ;-)

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@bdorman264 I'm such a dumbass, mate - I was asking myself, "What book?", and then I hit the A-ha moment... ;) Going by the interaction and community over at your place, mate, I'd say you're doing pretty well in your approach as is. Si? ;-)

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@jasonkonopinski@ginidietrich I have an Editorial Calendar in place over at Punk Views on Social Media, but I'll be honest - it's hardly used. Like you say mate, write while the iron's hot - the best stuff always comes from that. ALWAYS. Cheers, mate!

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@Faissalhaithami It's funny how something that's just been "mailed in" (for quick SEO or social share buzz) is so obvious, huh? Here's to long-term quality. PS - You'll love the book!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@Brankica Having been one of the folks that used to rail against conversations elsewhere, I know now how crazy that notion is. Like you say, miss, conversation is conversation, no matter where.

Well, *except* on Klout... ;-)

Brankica
Brankica

PS sorry about the link attached, I have no clue what the F is wrong with LF

Latest blog post: test

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@Brankica Having been one of the folks that used to rail against conversations elsewhere, I know now how crazy that notion is. Like you say, miss, conversation is conversation, no matter where. Well, *except* on Klout... ;-)

Brankica
Brankica

PS sorry about the link attached, I have no clue what the F is wrong with LF

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@penneyfox I think that's a question everyone faces, Penney, and probably has a different answer to as well! :)

For myself, I try and use the time at night when my wife and son are in bed to draft a post, or write and then schedule. Or, if I have some time at the weekend, I'll do the same - write the post and schedule.

It's a question of priorities - I know what mine are, and family rules above all else. Everything else, I build from that. :)

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@penneyfox I think that's a question everyone faces, Penney, and probably has a different answer to as well! :) For myself, I try and use the time at night when my wife and son are in bed to draft a post, or write and then schedule. Or, if I have some time at the weekend, I'll do the same - write the post and schedule. It's a question of priorities - I know what mine are, and family rules above all else. Everything else, I build from that. :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@HowieG That's definitely one of the key areas that Google can really score, mate, the Blogger angle. IF they put the effort into it again and not let it slide like they have with Feedburner.

PS - the new WordPress 3.3 is the bees knees. #jussayin' ;-)

bdorman264
bdorman264

@Danny Brown It certainly exceeded my expectations; I tried to take care of some of the basics early and that was getting to know the people I had decided to engage with. It seems to have been a good model for me.

Nah, you're still the smartest guy I know next to @skypulsemedia

bdorman264
bdorman264

@DannyBrown It certainly exceeded my expectations; I tried to take care of some of the basics early and that was getting to know the people I had decided to engage with. It seems to have been a good model for me. Nah, you're still the smartest guy I know next to skypulsemedia

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@Danny Brown@jasonkonopinski We don't have an editorial calendar, either. I have 52 drafts in my admin for those days I can't think of anything to write about. But the advantage for blogging about the good and bad in the PR industry? You always have fodder (which is sometimes unfortunate).

Latest blog post: #FollowFriday: Ken Jacobs

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@DannyBrown@jasonkonopinski We don't have an editorial calendar, either. I have 52 drafts in my admin for those days I can't think of anything to write about. But the advantage for blogging about the good and bad in the PR industry? You always have fodder (which is sometimes unfortunate).

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@Brankica Haha, no worries - just check my link out, too! Maybe jenna langer can offer some advice. :)

penneyfox
penneyfox

@Danny Brown I know what you mean about family. There are days when I stop work to pick my son up from school, get homework done and then take him to football practice. Those are the days when I'm working after he goes to bed.

Now if I can just figure out how to add more hours to the day then I'll have my problem solved.:0)

Thanks for your response! Good to hear that others are dealing with the same struggles as me and finding ways to make it work.

penneyfox
penneyfox

@DannyBrown I know what you mean about family. There are days when I stop work to pick my son up from school, get homework done and then take him to football practice. Those are the days when I'm working after he goes to bed. Now if I can just figure out how to add more hours to the day then I'll have my problem solved.:0) Thanks for your response! Good to hear that others are dealing with the same struggles as me and finding ways to make it work.

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@ginidietrich@jasonkonopinski I have drafts for when Gini says something sensible. Never had to use them yet... ;-)

Trackbacks