Building a Blogging Community (Recipe: Banana Bread)

I have been blogging for almost four years now, and while I am no expert at all to food blogging, I have seen a lot of things as the food blogging niche has completely exploded into something beyond belief. When I first started blogging, there was a small, intimate handful of us. Now, there are more food blogs than any one person can keep track of… it has gotten quite insane!

What I have noticed over the years, however, is there seems to be two different groups of bloggers. Neither “type” of blogger is good or bad… there are just two totally different philosophies on how they will build their blog.

One type of blogger is the blogger who is all about growth and development of their blog. It is all business and getting to the top of the mountain with ultimate success and financial reward as their main motivation. They are not in it to build friendships. They are not in it to assist others. They are in it for themselves and to become a brand name in food blogging. They believe the information they have is proprietary and they don’t really want to share their blogging tips, photography tips, etc. because it might help to make someone more successful than them. Twitter and other social media outlets are used as a marketing tool versus a chance to engage with others. This isn’t saying that they aren’t nice and kind… there are many bloggers who fall into this category who are some of the nicest people in the world. Their motivation when it comes to blogging is just purely business.

The other type of blogger is the one who thrives on building a community of people to help and support each other with their blogging efforts. They rally around each other, celebrate successes, promote each others blog posts, and do not see the other bloggers as competition. They look at working mostly with PR companies and brands that want long term, mutual relationship.  Their first thought isn’t “what’s in it for me” but instead “what’s in it for us”? Sure, it may take them longer to make it to the top of the mountain, but more than likely they won’t be standing there alone…they’ll have a support network of people they’ve built relationships with standing around them cheering them on.

One of my personal goals with blogging is to help as many people as possible find their way along their own, authentic blogging path. This is one of the reasons why I started Adopt a Blogger a little over three years ago. I wanted people to have a person they could trust and count on to provide that sense of community in this big blogging world. Adopt a Blogger will be launching again this month with a new website and a new format! I hope, if you are new or experienced, you’ll join me in building up our blogging community.

I am also excited to announce that I will be speaking about the value of building a blogging community at the BlogHer Food 2010 Conference in San Francisco. I’ll be on a panel with some bloggers that I truly admire: Elise from Simply Recipes, Ree from The Pioneer Woman and Alaina Browne of Serious Eats (I know… pinch me now. I am so lucky to be paired with such a great group of talented ladies!)

So with that, I leave you with this thought (and a link to a killer banana bread recipe from Simply Recipes). What kind of blogger are you? Do the actions you do everyday in regards to your blog speak volumes to the world about how you want to be perceived as a blogger?

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  1. says

    I am new to blogging for community. I have had a blog for years to communicate with distant friends and family but now I have a new blog and am interested in an outside audience. Since I did not really understand the way community building works I have made a few fumbles in both directions and do not feel I am strongly on either side of the fence. I have realized that because my target audience is so focused that I do need to stay away from trying to get followers just for the sake of building an audience. This is a great post and I am curious of the outcome.

  2. says

    My greatest goal as a blogger is to express my love of food… if that comes across in my postings, I’m a happy man. I’m not sure that I fall into any particular niche… but like everyone out there writing blogs, I have stories and experiences to share and I try to do it in a creative and articulate manner.

  3. says

    Love this post! I like to think I am a blogger who shares and is active in the food blogging community. I am not an expert, but I like to share what I do know. Blogging is not a competition, there is room for all of us out there:) I have made the greatest friends through food blogging. There are so many amazing food bloggers that I admire and look up to. I keep doing my best and learn a lot on the way. I love my blog because of the food blog community, my readers, supporters, etc. I had no idea my blog would mean so much to me when I started. I am loving the journey I am on and I love sharing it with others.

    I can’t wait to hear you speak at Blogher Food. You are an inspiration! I appreciate your willingness to always share and support the food blogging community! You are a gem!

  4. says

    Okay, In a nut shell I am a “Fly by the Seat of my Pants” blogger. I started my blog to keep in touch with friends/coworkers out of state when I lost my job. It was my way to let them all know that I was okay. What I discovered over the past few months is that I have developed new friends along the way. I have always been big on family. Extended family, immediate family & work family. Family is what makes life all the more enjoyable for me. I now have a blog family and I wouldn’t change it for anything. So for me I guess I fall somewhere in the vicinity of your second group.

  5. says

    When I first started blogging, over 3 years ago, I was fortunate enough to have my (then) blog adopted through your Adopt-a-Blogger event. I learned from a very wise mentor the importance of blogging from the best of both worlds: to think ahead & see blogging as a business (in addition to being a hobby), as well as practice the art of giving back to both my readers and blogging community.

    As I’ve grown as a blogger, rearranged and grown again (now into a multi-niche blogging platform), those earliest lessons still ring true. I think both aspects of blogging are important: blog with intent & purpose, but give back to your readers & community every single time you can.

  6. says

    wow, congratulations :)

    I think I am the type of blogger who participates in community, at least I try to be. Unfortunately half the time I am so busy with life, etc, that I don’t have the time to participate that I would like. I have benefited from so many amazing bloggers over the past year, with photography tips, blogging tips, and most of all, cooking tips via twitter! Often I don’t feel like I know enough to be able to help others. My blog is still very small, I haven’t quite grasped how to build it, etc. but I love it. I love engaging in food talk on twitter, commenting on other blogs, building relationships, etc. so I strive to be the second type of blogger :)

  7. says

    I fall more into the second category with the exception that I am a blogger who is focused on helping my readers. My first question is always “What’s in it for my readers”. I wouldn’t have a blog if it wasn’t for them and won’t have a blog tomorrow without thier support so I try my best to put them first.

    Great post Kristin. It’s something every blogger should think about!

  8. says

    I originally started my blog as a natural extension of my business. But it has grown organically and has led to some of the most unexpected results. When I started, I never imagined it would have introduced me to amazing friends, gotten me invited to the White House or landed me a cookbook deal. Pinch me now – I still can’t believe some of that has happened. BUT, every day, I am grateful to people like you who are so generous with their time, support and friendship. I can’t wait to see your new website and help others as much as I can (even though I still have a lot to learn, myself!)

  9. says

    Thank you for your example. I am new to the community and really just started to share my recipes and record for my kids. I think food is a link to memories and family history. I love your blog and the inspiration it gives to me!

  10. says

    Well said. If I’m honest I vacillate between the two, having begun my blog as a creative outlet, but am now seeing opportunities pop up that could mean real growth in more of a business direction. It’s all new and confusing, and some days I get it right, other days, not so much. Regardless, community and friendships are super important to me and something I hope I never forget. Besides, how much fun would it be doing all this on your own?

  11. says

    I have been blogging for about a year and a half and I seem to be at a crossroads. I really enjoy it and plan to continue, but I am a little stuck on how to make my blog better. I have read blogs that fit both sides of the fence that you write about here, but what about the “little fish” like me that needs help with growth. I would appreciate any tips or hints you may have in that area and would love to know more about adopt-a-blogger. I will definitely check out the new website.

  12. says

    Maybe we set a course and then assess as we go along. My blog is a hobby. I enjoy the creativity of cooking, sharing what I cook and learning from what others are doing. I had no real understanding of the world of blogging when I started and I’m pretty sure I have little more now…because I’m always amazed at what I uncover each and every day that I interact with the blogging world. So, what if my blog became wildly popular (not something I expect or am driving towards)? I would have trepidations…I like the minimal rules environment in which I blog. Still, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’d be unbelievably excited, too. Those of us who followed the IFBC content this weekend had a chance to see the business side of blogging. It was all amazing but it made me want to retreat a bit and go along my merry way–cooking, struggling with photos, thinking about what to write, fixing typos, wondering if the recipe is really OK or if anyone will comment or even try it. You know, just blogging and tweeting my way through one of the most fun things I’ve done in quite awhile. So, that’s it. I do it for the sharing, and helping, and for all that I get in return—community, conversation, feedback, and friendship.

  13. says

    Kristen – awesome post … food for thought. I love coming across posts that make me think. I think right now I am just a food blogger that wishes I could give more time and attention to it :) Maybe there is room for a third category!

    How completely wonderful you will be sharing your wealth of knowledge at BlogHer Food. I am really excited for you. It is a well deserved recognition of your sweet nature and talents. You will rock it!


  14. says

    Wonderful post! I created my blog to be an expression of several of my hobbies – baking, writing, photography, helping others learn how to bake/cook (and learning myself!)…and I do it because I enjoy it. The food blogging community really has grown to become an incredible resource, and I love contributing to it and have made the most wonderful friends through my blog! I agree with what Alice said at the Big Summer Potluck about being authentic and working together. :-)

    Wish I could hear you speak at BlogHer Food! Maybe if it ever comes to the East coast. 😉 Hope you have a great time!

  15. says

    Definitely a community blogger. Though I’m very new to the whole blogging thing – as evidenced by the pictures in my blog, for sure. I love sharing recipes and why I cook the things I do, and hope that even one person can find something new that they didn’t know they’d enjoy – and that’s what I hope to get out of other’s blogs as well.

  16. says

    So to play the devil’s advocate- are we not preaching to the choir here, as I doubt there’s anyone who would actually take the time to properly write a thoughtful reply in a comments section who fits the type-A blogger personality?

    I really think that if you take your blogging seriously (i.e. treat it like a business), you’ve got to be ‘the blend’ and bridge the two personas. Otherwise, you’ve just got a hobby with no real motivation to do better.
    /steps down from soapbox/

    Tastestopping had a great read re: being the blend –


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