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

    Congratulations on your speaking engagement. I enjoyed reading your post on the subject of community in the blogging world, it’s something that I have given a lot of thought to as well:)

  2. says

    Oooooh! Adopt a Blogger! What a great idea! I feel that everyone should take someone under their wing–no matter what business they’re in.

    Another piece to giving back to others moving up in the world is being humble. When you seek out people to help along the way, you may find that their innate talents are even bigger and better than yours. So be willing to be generous and giving as well as humble. Sometimes your best “students” become your best teachers.

  3. says

    Thank you for an awesome post! I have been looking forward to info on your next Adopt A Blogger opportunity, hungry for some healthy mentoring. I’ve only been blogging for a short time and welcome the wisdom from those who are willing to share their experiences, and are happy to see others succeed. Having seen both sides of the spectrum you talked about, I definitely know that I want to be mostly in Category B, with a healthy & respectable balance of Category A. I’ve reached out to a couple bloggers I have deep respect for, who I think do a nice job with this balance, but have had little to no response. I do enjoy the community so very much and try to participate as much as I can. However, it’s not easy, and often times it leaves me exhausted while I’m just trying to keep up with regular ol’ life! I am constantly reminding myself of the core reasons I started the blog = my passion for food & sharing it, my love of photography, and my desire to document/scrapbook my family’s life. It has been a fun ride so far, reconnecting me with people I haven’t talked to in years, plus creating new relationships with people I never knew existed up until this blog. Just knowing how much enjoyment this has brought to my grandma, family, and friends, it’s all so worth it.

    Congrats on your speaking engagement at Blogher Food – I know you’ll do a spectacular job, and I look forward to hearing about it. I only wish I could hear you in person! You are a very special example of admirable blogging. I am very thankful for you and what you do. Thanks for starting up this conversation!

  4. says

    Even though I’ve been blogging for nearly two years, I am still most definitely a newbie! I started blogging because my best friend was, and it seemed like a fun, creative outlet. I don’t expect to be the next big thing. I just want to have fun! I’m learning as I go. Learning the etiquette, photography skills, honing my baking skills, etc. I’ve become a little more obsessed lately with being a “good” blogger, whatever that means. Of course it’s fun when someone you don’t know reads and comments on your blog! But I’ve tried to keep myself from looking at stats and such. I don’t want my blog to become my business. I want to keep it like it is, something that I enjoy and (try not to) worry about.

    I would love to attend a blogging conference, not as much for getting the name of my blog out there, or learning about SEO or any of that (though there are definitely some things like photography and such that I’d love to learn more about) but more for community. I’d love to meet the authors of blogs that I read and admire, or at least be in the same room with them!

  5. says

    I’m just tickled to call you my friend, Kristen. {Along with the 60 something other ladies that have commented before me} You are just some kind of awesome on steroids.

    I’m a relatively new blogger who started when I left my corporate job to come home and take care of my son. We started homeschooling shortly after and I began blogging as a way to journal our homeschooling life. That quickly morphed into more about writing, cooking, and sharing along with our homeschooling journey.

    I’m a people person at heart and blogging has definitely allowed me the ability to *meet* and spend time with people while still being able to fulfill my true love of being home with my family.

    As to the which type of blogger I am, I honestly am looking for a successful balance between the two. I began my blog as a hobby and my creative piece of the world, now I see there can be more to it and am interested in all that it could bring.

    I can’t wait to hear your session at BlogHer Food! You are a perfect person to be on that panel, my friend!


  6. says

    It’s really interesting to hear your thoughts on this! For me, this is a hobby. I don’t mind making a few (measly) pennies while I am at it (thanks, Foodbuzz!), but this is not my life’s goal. It’s something I enjoy doing, and want to keep enjoying. It can be frustrating at times, as when one keeps getting shot down by Foodgawker, but I take a deep breath and remind myself why I am doing this. To become famous? No. To make loads of money? Hardly. It’s simply to put something out there, to connect with the world, and to share my love of all things food.
    I am up for adoption if anyone wants me!!!

  7. says

    I can’t lie. I would love to make money with my blog, either through the blog itself or through some other avenue. Who wouldn’t? But I know that’s a long, long ,very long shot. Ultimately, I started a blog about something that I am passionate about and enjoy doing, whether I’m getting get paid or not. I have to be — it’s what I do at the end of a long day, when everyone else is in bed. If I didn’t love it, I would just fall into bed myself without turning on the computer.
    I have been so, so thrilled with the community of supportive, curious, like-minded people I have found online. I am a newbie bread baker, and whenever I have a question, I can turn to Twitter or my blog, or the blogs of others, and I know I will get lots of great, helpful answers. I am ten times the bread baker I would have been if I had been doing this alone. Now when I’m in my kitchen I never feel alone.

  8. says

    It’s a long way to the top of the mountain but I Stumble all the way! I dont want to be loney at the top!
    Cant wait for the adopt a blogger event again! It’s always nice to make a new friend!
    Congrats on the Blogher panel. See ya in SF! 5 more weeks 😉

  9. says

    Well, I suppose I remain somewhat in the middle of all of that, though I’d certainly never say that I’m “all business” or “never willing to help others.” Just the opposite, really. I’m trying hard to make a living doing this food blog thing, and because of that and a busy home life, it’s tough to find a whole lot of time for interaction and fun. I do find myself on Twitter more than I should be… chatting away w/ internet friends, and I am always willing to help fellow bloggers and give advice along the way. Elise was/is that person for me, and I’ll always remember how much time she took to chat w/ me about my blog and give out great advice. She tells you everything she knows bc she wants everyone to be as successful as she is. I love that.

    You’re doing a great thing w/ your “Adopt a Blogger” program! And congrats for speaking on the panel- you’ll be great!!

  10. says

    I would be the latter. I was never in it for the money, or to be popular, or to be number one. It was an archive for my recipes, originally for my family to use, but it seems I have more blog friends visit it than family now. And that is OK!

  11. says

    I’m excited about the new Adopt-a-Blogger website. I’ve had so much fun doing it the past few times. Really helped me feel comfortable in the culinary blogosphere when I was a newbie and since I’ve met some great people!

  12. says

    Very interesting post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I definitely fall into the second category. I love being able to share and besides it’s a hobby for both my and my husband, actually it was his idea. I cook/bake and write, he is the photographer. Looking forward to reading your new site. :)

  13. says

    What a great post, Kristen. And while I do think it would be a nice side benefit for my blog to make some money, it is not the reason I blog. Because I do work a full-time, 8 to 5 job, I can only manage to post about twice a week and I find that what I enjoy most of all is the interaction with other people. It excites me no end when someone comments that they’ve made one of my recipes and enjoyed it! This is what it’s all about for me.

  14. says

    I think adopt-a-blogger is an awesome idea! I am new to blogging (Jan ’10), have a great time doing it, and get a lot of great traffic from around the world. I am also a stay at home mom to a 1 year old and a 2 year old without any assistance. That doesn’t leave me with much time. I’ve had multiple companies contact me regarding advertising and giveaways, but because I’m not sure what is the normal compensation, I keep turning it all down until I become “better educated”. The feedback I get on my recipes is amazing and I would love to know how to better share my knowledge with others. I just don’t know how to make it all happen. I’m up for adoption! If anyone wants to mentor me, please let me know!

  15. says

    Those 2 types seem like they’re true for people for whom blogging is their job. I think there’s a third type that is people for whom it’s just another thing they do on the internet – people like me. PR companies couldn’t be farther from my mind!

  16. says

    I’ve been blogging for about nine months now and really am interested in being part of the community of bloggers! Please include me in Adopt a Blogger! I think you have come up with an amazing way to connect people :)

  17. says

    I don’t know if it’s really that rigid, the division. For instance (and I can only speak for myself) – I am mostly interested in blogging as a way to share what I believe I have to offer and also to get out there as much as possible given my (admittedly rather mild) publishing ambitions, but I also very much enjoy other bloggers and am delighted to interact with them and promote their posts. While community-building specifically in is not my goal, I enjoy engaging with the community that already exists. Promoting oneself as a primary motivation does not have to include trumping others, don’t you think?


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