If you write a blog for your business, or have a newsletter then you probably want to be popular with your audience. It’s unlikely that you would publish content, or do your email marketing hoping to cause as much annoyance to your reader as stubbing their little toe.
Instead you want to inspire them, make them laugh perhaps, or help them out by giving away useful advice, and there’s a really good chance that you want to engage your community.
Because having any kind of community is great, but having an engaged community is the secret sauce for success if you are selling to an online audience.
Danny Iny from Firepole Marketing sent me 2 copies of his recent book:
Engagement From Scratch – How Super-Community Builders Create A Loyal Audience And how You Can Do The Same.
Last week I finished it, and here is the review…
What is it about?
EFS is a collection of 30 essays from bloggers, most of whom are also entrepreneurs of some kind. Each essay deals with different ways to build an engaged community with the focus on how to do it right from the start.
Danny has picked some admirable people to feature who can definitely teach you a whole heap about building a community from scratch. Brian Clark, Guy Kawasaki, Anita Campbell, Mitch Joel and Evan Carmichael are just some of the people involved and the foreword is by CC Chapman. The co-authors are from a spectrum of backgrounds, but if I remember right, all are using blogs as a platform to connect with their audience (as well as email marketing and social media).
Because each essay is about 2-3 pages, this is really easy to read quickly and you can dip in and out rather than having to tackle it from start to finish in one go.
What does it cover?
Alrighty, there are 7 main sections which include:
- General Principles
- Know and Love Your Audience
- Why and How to Do Content
- Why and How to Do Social Media
- Be Your Passionate Self
- Stories and Lessons Learned
Who is it for?
As the title suggests, it’s about building engagement from nothing, so the primary audience is those just starting out.
Having said that, I made a heap of notes for myself as I’m in the process of revamping my editorial calendar and content promotion strategy for the year and there was plenty of meat in this book for me to use.
If you’re like me and thinking about your content strategy for the year ahead this book will give you a wide variety of ideas from people with all different types of blogs and business backgrounds. These little snippets of advice are a great way to spark your own ideas and think about how you can implement them in your own business.
Alternatively, if you feel your community isn’t quite working, if you’re hearing crickets when you make an offer, or are struggling to get blog comments and traffic, you might benefit from revisiting the basic principles outlined in this book.
What’s good about it?
I do like the essay style of content as I was able to read this book pretty quickly and pull out what was relevant to me. For beginners, the good thing is that many of the principles are repeated by different people throughout. The repetition of these in different ways and by different people helps you cement them more firmly in your mind.
There’s also an online area for people who have the books which include a number of goodies including:
- Engagement From Scratch summary infographic
- Summary mind map
- How to build a blog infographic
- 23 page guide to creating awesome content
- Template for a guest post approach
- 2 x step-by-step guide checklist to complement a couple chapters in the book
What’s not so good about it?
Although this is ideally for those starting to build a community, it could be overwhelming for some. Whilst many people repeat strategies and principles, there are also many contradicting statements. This makes sense and proves that there isn’t just one way to build a community, but for someone not knowing where to start out, you might not know which strategies to implement, and what to do first. However…
How can you get the best out of reading the book?
In light of the above section, I would recommend that readers of the book choose advice based on people within the book who they admire AND have similar business models and lifestyles to what you would like to achieve. For example, there’s no point in trying to spend all your time on social media if you absolutely hate it, just because someone else finds that works for them.
I would also suggest picking a couple of things to start with, rather than trying to put everything into action at the same time, you’ll just get overwhelmed.
How can you win a copy of the paperback?
Danny was kind enough to give me 2 copies and I’m giving one away (the one that doesn’t have all my notes scribbled in) to a reader on the blog.
I’ll ship anywhere and pay the postage, all you have to do is:
- Share this blog post on Twitter (use the tweet button above so I’m notified) Or
- Let me know in the comments what makes you feel engaged with a blog or business
I’ll pick a random winner this week and ship the book!
You can find out more about the book by going to the Engagement From Scratch website.
See you soon!