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It’s Not All About You: How Promoting Others Grows Community

By Oct 17, 2012July 8th, 2014127 Comments

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I write by moonlight.

Hot wind rustles summer’s full trees, blackened by evening sky, streaked in shades of blue. Navy, midnight, forget-me-nots.

I’m sitting on my front porch wrapped in an unnecessary fleece, my bare feet tucked beneath me.

Today’s to-do list sits unmarked at the top of my screen. The word count on my Work in Progress is untouched, a freelance article’s deadline looms, and this guest post is calling my name.

But what I’m looking at is my reader, where my friend’s stories are laid bare. Their words revealing their most brilliant gems one blog post at a time.

And in this quiet moment shared between just you and me, as I reach for my chai and try to ignore the dark chocolate in my kitchen, I’ll whisper this truth to you: I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because this? Is what a blogging community is all about.

We all start with what we know – ourselves – our very own thoughts and feelings and experiences woven to tell our tales.

But each carefully crafted post loses its meaning if there’s no one on the other side reading, connecting, and feeling something when they read our words, view our tweets, see our avatars.

And that right there is the rub. When thinking about how to grow your blogging community, you have to look outside of yourself.

I could give you a gentle nudge in the right direction – comment, Facebook share, and tweet other people’s posts.

But the important part that I want to highlight and underline and write in bold letters, is do these things because you love to.

Do them because you care about the people behind their own screens so very many miles away. Because you value their thoughts and ideas and know that others might feel the same way about them.

Don’t promote in the hopes of reciprocation.

Because then it becomes all about you again, doesn’t it?

And that isn’t the direction you need to go. You already have you, you’ll only become better, you’ll only grow, when you’re truly connected to others.

So instead of tips and tricks I’m going to leave you with a quote by Maya Angelou that I keep tucked within my blogging heart, leading my choices of when to promote myself and when to promote others:

(Now go make someone feel good with your comment, tweet, or Facebook share!)

About the Author

Galit Breen is a Minnesota author. On any given day you can find her juggling one husband, one puggle, three children, and her laptop. Galit blogs at These Little Waves and tweets at @GalitBreen.

About Francesca

Francesca has an extensive background in content marketing, public relations, and social outreach. She oversees all Operations at Sway Group, including our robust metrics capabilities. Prior to joining the online world, Francesca oversaw viticulture and oenology at various wineries in both California and Italy, and managed regulatory affairs and facility approvals at the biotech company, Genentech. Francesca has been featured on CBS Sacramento and Food Blogger Pro’s podcast. She has also hosted an AMA webinar and spoken at Social Media World.

127 Comments

  • Heather says:

    Love, Love, Love this advice! This is just what I needed to hear. To often I become so wrapped up in my own postings, I forget to admire the work of others! Thanks for inspiring me to reach out of my own comfort zone!

  • Beverly says:

    I have just stumbled upon this article and love it, it so true. May I highlight part of it on my blog and link back to the article?

  • How did I miss this? This is truly how I feel. When I see certain people’s names in my reader, I actually squeal with delight. Crazy, right? But that is truth. So glad to see your words.

  • Chris Carter says:

    I just love this! I love how you write and I agree 100% with all you shared. It’s NOT just about “you”… but it depends on your motives and your genuine mission. My mission is to reach people and encourage them and my hope is that I can do that whether it’s through writing on my blog or commenting authentically and lovingly on another’s. There is depth in their words…and I want to hold on to those words and illuminate them with love. 🙂 All people are valued.

    • Galit Breen says:

      Hi Chris!

      Thanks so much for your words, your comment, your care!

      And oh those last two sentences – they’re so, so It!

      Thank you again, so very much!

  • Kate says:

    A great post and so true. Love that quote. Some very good advice. I need to plan my time better so I can put some more time into building my blogging community and joining others. I find the people I have met so far in the blogging and social networking community’s are some wonderful people and can be so supportive.

    Thanks for a great post

    Kate 🙂

    • Galit Breen says:

      Hi Kate!

      Thank you so much for your note!

      I’m so with you – the people are breath taking, and the time thing is over-whelming!

      I do carve in some time everyday to visiting/promoting others and consider it a part of my social media time.

      But I’d so take an extra hour or two in the day, wouldn’t you? 🙂

      Thanks again for the note, girl!

  • Galit, I just love this. Your words are so true! I often think how much ego is involved when it comes to blogging. The way around that IS to honor others. 🙂

    • Galit Breen says:

      Oh girl, your words? Are full of wisdom and heart and that’s why I adore you!

      {Thank you for the note and the kind! I’m over the moon for both!}

      xo

  • Carolyn says:

    So perfect and true.

  • Cecilia says:

    Love this. I believe in authenticity too, and that things fall into place when you act generously and from your heart. Lately I have been the recipient of many bloggers’ generosity, like yourself, and I am grateful beyond words. I’ve always been a quiet blogger with not many followers, and I would feel embarrassed to share or tweet other bloggers because I thought, who can I even share this with? I have like 2 followers. But I realize now even one person is enough, if it means making a connection between someone who might appreciate someone’s particular words and someone who wants to be heard.

    • Galit Breen says:

      Hi girl!

      Believe it or not, I’m on the quieter side, too! But kindness is always loud, always meaningful.

      Start small with your shares and your voice will be heard. I promise.

      So glad we’ve connected, and proud to call you a friend!

  • Erin S. says:

    Thanks for this post. It offers good perspective to me (as a new blogger) on staying focused on builidng relationships and working on writing than the numbers game.

  • Simone says:

    Great post! I love to blog for myself! I share for myself, not for what others will do or say in return! those things are really only the added bonus and help to encourage me to keep on blogging away! I love that my creative side can shine through my blog!

    -Simone

  • Susan Cooper says:

    This so true. It always interesting how many times I think someone is genuine and authentic in their desire to connect only to find it’s about what I can do for them… Sigh! However, through all the stuff I have done I have reached out and meet some amazing people and have made some awesome friends as a result of blogging.

    • Galit Breen says:

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks so much for your note!

      You make such an excellent point about that harder side of blogging – sometimes people aren’t what they seem. And often, we’re all just learning!

      {And amen to the friendships via blogging – they’re magical! :)}

  • Janice says:

    I need to remember this. It’s one of the hardest things for me to do in my blog – how to connect with others. Sometimes I feel like all I talk about is me – and I don’t know how to get people to feel things. You know what I mean? I think that’s why sometimes I end up not blogging that day – because I don’t have anything others would really care to read about.

    You are so good with words and connecting them to feelings. That’s one of the things I love about your writing. That’s why I enjoy reading you. Because I can feel what you feel in the way that you write your motherhood experiences. I need to learn to do that.

    I’m not as eloquent, but I’m definitely trying to find how to express my feelings in simple writing. My mind can only think of simple things. I need to practice. 😉 Thanks for the tip!

    • Galit Breen says:

      Hi girl!

      Thank you so much for your note!

      {I think, that when you speak (write!) your heart, that’s when people can think and feel and Be with you. And that’s where the good stuff is!}