Community is King. 23

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I stumbled on the HarsH ReaLiTy blog on BlogAbout 2013: my quest to improve my blog and broaden its readership.

HarsH ReaLiTy is the brain-child of the Opinionated Man. He posts his opinions about everything; to borrow the words of a more eloquent blogger, he likes to “Poke the Bear”. The bulk of his posts are his opinions on various issues, but he also writes poetry and fiction. My favorite feature on his blog is the Add-A-Line Poetry Feature, where followers “write” poems with each other.

HarsH ReaLiTy has had meteoric growth on his blog. In just under 7 months, he’s amassed 20,000+ followers, and 200,000+ page views.

Here is what I learned from his blog.

1. Content isn’t always King.

We hear it all the time: Content is king. Write quality posts and followers will come. The HarsH ReaLiTy blog takes a different tack:

“People think that just because you write well or have an expensive template people will come visit. This is horribly wrong. My template is free and I write about anything, visits come from the blogger going to find their audience. You will never be ‘discovered’ sorry.”

The HarsH ReaLiTy’s approach? Worry less about being the best writer. Focus your energy on putting your best material before the largest audience possible.

2. Community is King.

Opinionated Man responds to nearly every comment, although he doesn’t engage in protracted debates with followers or force his perspective (he’s already told you his opinion in the post).

He tries to draw readers in, using phrases like “Thank you” or “Interesting”:

“[Page views come from] 100% effort, I will tell you that now. But I see it as a success because of the conversation and debate, and that comes from filtering enough people to find the ones that care to create a community.”

3. Write for a Broad Audience.

At the Harsh Reality blog, there is something for everyone. Have an opinion on women in combat? How about Chik-Fil-A? Got thoughts on blogging skills/topics?
Everyone can likely find something you want to read on Harsh Reality.

I’m not suggesting we all try to make our blogs “all things to all people”. Many of you are “niche bloggers”, and prefer to keep your focus on your niche.

Even niche bloggers can write in ways that appeal to and draw in a broader audience. And even the followers do a niche blog are 3-dimensional, with broad and varied interests. Find out what they are, and write about that, too.

4. Write an E-Book.

Opinionated Man has turned HarsH ReaLiTy into an Ebook. You can read my review on the website, so I won’t repeat it here.

I would like to see a lower price-point, though, primarily due to the length of the book. I got far more than $10 in value from the book, so it is a fair price-point: if you are serious about increasing your readership or generating income from your blog, $10 is a bargain.

$10 can be an obstacle for parents raising kids, as many of my followers are. That said, you can certainly figure out HarsH ReaLiTy’s approach for free: just spend some time on his blog.

5. Back on the Road.

It is time to get back on BlogAbout, and I’m going to start from a random link on HarsH ReaLiTy. I’ll write again from my next stop. Until then, hope you learned something from this review.

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