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Breaking Down the Best Online Communities for Building Relationships

Bloggers are writers and marketers at the same time.

They plan and develop content for publishing on the blog from the start. Once posted, bloggers must market the content to increase traffic and meet their goals.

Creating content is a skill innate with bloggers. What they need to learn now is promoting their content.

Marketing your blog is not just sharing your posts on social media.

Worse, it is not posting on your Facebook wall telling your friends to read your content.

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A classic comic by Matthew Inman that needs to be mentioned here. Click here for the full comic.

These tactics will not produce your desired results. You need to come up with the best practices and create a strategy using those to maximize your online reach.

The most effective strategy to apply nowadays is to build relationships. By forging a bond with your readers and bloggers, you generate loyalty and trust that go both ways.

You reach out to your audience with your awesome content. In return, they will become regular visitors of your blog, if not subscribers.

From here, you can capitalize your current relationship and take it to the next level. You can interact and create more personalized content that resonates with each of them. You can even leverage your newfound relationship for SEO purposes (earning backlinks).

This all stems from your ability to build relationships.

The question now is this: where are the best places where you can reach out to readers and influencers?

For this post, I will share the best online communities. These places let you share your content and build relationships with your audience.

Inbound.org

z7wh-YvXInbound.Org is a great social news website entirely dedicated to everything related to online marketing. Basically, that is a community-based news platform, where members can submit the most interesting and up-to-date industry news and decide which one really matters. Vitaly Gonkov for Link Assistant (Source)

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One of the best online communities for inbound marketers. Its users are more than willing to share ideas and discuss different topics.

screenshot-inbound.org 2015-08-11 16-22-18

To share your posts, click on New Topic and fill out the details.

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The site autogenerates the Article Summary section. To maximize CTR to your article, you can customize the summary. Detail the points discussed in the post in list form.

Once you have submitted the article to the site, you can share them on social media.

screenshot-inbound.org 2015-08-11 16-28-01

If users like your article, they can upvote it from the page. They can even comment on the post from the site to share their thoughts.

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This is where the relationship building component comes into play. Take time to reply to their comments and upvote them (whether it is praise or criticism of your article). This allows you to build clout and familiarity with users in this platform.

Tip: To increase upvotes to your submissions, make sure that you write a great post. You can follow my process of writing blog posts to improve your writing approach.

To further increase your engagement, vote up and comments on the submissions of users. Share your genuine thoughts and be respectful with the views of others.

screenshot-inbound.org 2015-08-11 16-39-31

 

Another cool feature of Inbound.org is the Groups. Join groups relevant to your niche and continue your interaction with other users here. Joining groups lets you filter down the users to those who share your interests.  This makes building connections much easier.

Before submitting your post to the site, I suggest that you interact with users first. What I do is follow the 80/20 rule. I will upvote and/or comment on the submissions before I submit my posts. This allows me to make a mark with users so I could drive interest in my profile and submissions.

screenshot-blog.inbound.org 2015-08-11 17-27-13

 

Another great feature in this site is the Blog section. The site can publish your guest post as long as it meets the site’s stringent guidelines.

Take this opportunity to share your ideas to the online marketing community. Your guest post is also a way to humanize your brand and strengthen connections with others.

My-content-went-viral-during-tragedy

Take this gut-wrenching example of a post by Nathan T. Baker. Instead of focusing on marketing, he shares an intimate experience that rocked his world. Warning: the feels is strong in this post.

GrowthHackers

“Growth hacking” is a marketing buzzword that is here to stay. It refers to the approach that expedites growth by focusing on data and analytics.

5XFcxPsSGrowth hackers don’t have time to waste around a white board strategizing marketing plans.  They are desperately testing trying to find something that works. – Sean Ellis, Founder/CEO of Qualaroo, GrowthHackers.com (Source)

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Lots of companies have employed growth hacking to its fullest effect (Uber, Twitter, etc.). The low-cost, high-reward approach of this approach appealed to marketers.

This is the reason for the creation of GrowthHackers.

screenshot-growthhackers.com 2015-08-11 16-58-37

The site has a similar appearance to Inbound.org. The same process of sharing and commenting applies here.

But instead of sharing marketing posts, you need to share articles about growth hacking.

Since I am not much of a growth hacker, I leave it to the experts to share the best practices. So I treat GrowthHackers as a place to further understand this ever-growing practice. I then incorporate my newfound knowledge of this practice to my marketing tasks.

Going back to the site, there is no Groups and Blog feature here for better relationship building. But the Growth Studies feature more than makes up for the loss.

screenshot-growthhackers.com 2015-08-11 17-18-37

Each post from this feature contains information that will take you days to wrap your mind around. The articles from this section maps out the growth of startups using data and metrics as proof.

Most of the articles are a fascinating read. There is little action for you to take after reading the posts. But they are inspiring from a startup standout.

Product Hunt

Technology is playing a much bigger part in our lives. This bodes true with marketers and bloggers, who are looking for tools to help get things done faster.

Product Hunt is not specific for marketers. But it is a great source for the latest innovations in the field of gaming, books, and web development.

XMosgx5pProduct Hunt is now the place to discover the“next big things” in tech. Every day, it curates a list of the top products and startups that people haven’t heard of yet and lets a widening yet select group of members upvote, comment and discuss.First Round Review (Source)

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The site is similar with the previous two – submit a product and start a discussion with users there.

screenshot-www.producthunt.com 2015-08-11 18-42-09

 

Developers, coders, and tech geeks will have a field day oogling on different products. For non-tech people, there is still value in engaging with users in the site.

As mentioned above, the site curates the latest products and trends. Take this opportunity to educate yourself with some of the up-and-comers in the industry. There are exciting products and services in development at Product Hunt that you can also try out.

screenshot-www.producthunt.com 2015-08-11 18-29-50

 

The best thing about this site from a developer standpoint are the users comments. They provide insights about the product that the developer may not have thought of. You can be that person who can critique the product to help it grow for the benefit of the developers.

Final thoughts

You may not find use at the moment to some of the best online communities featured above. But this should not stop you from using the site and engaging with users in these groups.

Consider the following reasons:

  • Connect with influencers – Find people who are relevant in your niches from these sites. Find a way to make an impression with them and get them to notice you. Share your insights about their content or promote it on social media. Use the relationship you have built with them and leverage it.
  • Leave positive digital footprint – Keep sharing content and commenting in these groups. It helps build your profile and leave a mark in the best online communities as an engager and eager learner.
  • Opportunity to learn – There is a wealth of different information from these sites. Take this as a challenge for you to grow your skills and become a better professional.

Moving forward

I will publish another post about the other online communities soon. These are not as vibrant as the ones mentioned here but still deserve your attention.

Until then, I would like to ask for your experiences in using any of the best online communities above.

Comment below how you used the sites above to build relationship and became better marketers.