In order to build a community, you have to decide which type of approach to social media you are going to take. And there are basically only three approaches:
1. Passion Approach
2. Ideas Approach
3. Personal Approach
In the passion approach, you write about everything related to one particular passion. You love knitting. You are crazy about knitting. And it’s your greatest desire to write about all things knitting. My blog Stuff Christians Like is an example of the passion approach. I write about Christian satire on that blog, and that’s it. In order to write about chasing a dream and hustling, I had to start a new blog instead of trying to cram those ideas into SCL.
In the ideas approach, you write about your ideas on a broad range of subjects. You are saying, “This item just passed through my filter of thinking. Here’s what I think about it.” Seth Godin’s blog is a great example of an ideas approach. He writes about publishing and marketing and dreams and business and a huge range of subjects, instead of just one singular passion.
In the personal approach, you write about every part of your life. This is like a reality show, where instead of cameras, you use social media to share. My friend Carlos Whittaker’s blog Ragamuffinsoul.com is a brilliant example of the personal approach. When he and his family decided to adopt, they didn’t just write about the idea of adoption. They took the whole world on the adventure with them to South Korea. And, in the process, they inspired other people to adopt.
There are some blogs and social media platforms that blur these approaches. But, for the most part, people pick one path and stick with it. The business blogger you love is not going to write about problems he’s having in his marriage. Carlos is not going to write worship leader posts for a solid year at the exclusion of everything else. And the reason is simple: communities want to know who you are.
If you read a blog about knitting for a year, and then all of the sudden the blogger said, “Today’s post is about how I’m having a hard time feeling loved by my husband,” that’d be a weird experience. We’d spent a year building a relationship around a passion approach, and now there’s suddenly a hard left turn into personal. If the Pioneer Woman deleted all her topics except one and said, “From now on I’m just focusing on writing about an obscure form of cattle breeding,” there’d be a disconnect. You spent years getting to know that amazing blog as an ideas approach, and the sudden transformation into a passion blog would be disappointing.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t evolve over time, but if you’re not deliberate about what your blog or social media platform is all about, your community will never know either.
And if they don’t know who you are, they’ll never know why they should be part of your community.
Read more from Jon here.