“How do you know you’ve built a community? When one person is listening.” – Gary Vaynerchuk – Crush It.
Gratitude Bloggers. Do you know any? Who are they and what makes them a Gratitude Blogger? I define Gratitude Bloggers as people who care about their community by giving the community incredible amounts of content, help, information, motivation and inspiration for free on a consistent basis. Gratitude Bloggers care about the conversation and know that they may be the catalyst but do no have to be the focus. Gratitude bloggers consistently shift the focus from themselves to others in their community, they promote a spirit of collaboration. They are known for shining a spotlight on someone in the community who is doing things right. Here are a few people that I consider Gratitude Bloggers.
Gary Vaynerchuk is certainly a Gratitude Blogger. I had the opportunity last week to see Gary Vaynerchuk at a small bookstore in Madison, CT. Before Gary took the stage he was in his car responding to tweets and e-mails and a myraid of other things that he does to engage his audience. He even saw one of my tweets about the talk and he retweeted it. Gary was introduced as being motivated by his humble roots. When Gary took the stage he said that it was not so much his humble roots that motivated him because, when he took a good hard look at it he was “completely driven by gratitude”. For a guy who gives away an obscene amount of content many wondered why anyone would buy his book. Gary says that he made more money on bets that his book would hit the New York Times Best Seller’s list than he did on his advance from the publisher. Why is that? How did Gary know that his book would be a New York Times Best Seller? Gratitude.
What do I mean that he knew it would do well based on Gratitude? Here is my personal experience in helping Gary’s book Crush It make it to the New York Times Best Sellers List. I watch Gary’s Wine Library TV and catch his TV appearances and also subscribe to Gary Vaynerchuk.com. I get his message all the time and in many free forms. He even posts all of his keynotes on his blog. So why would I buy his book if I could pretty much get his entire message for free online? To express my gratitude for all of that free content and all of Gary’s hard work. That is why I would buy his book not once but four times. I purchased three copies for gifts, one for a family member, one for a friend and one to give to my readers. The fourth one I bought for my myself on my Kindle (which Gary Signed for me). I think my experience is very close to many other people and this is why the book did so well. Gary understands this, he understands the importance of Gratitude.
When you give your best stuff away and provide value to your readers then they know that you care. To be a Gratitude Blogger you need to do this consistently over time. Gratitude blogging is in it for the long haul and it is hard work. It is staying up to 2:00am to respond to every e-mail, comment and forum message. It is engaging your community where they are and by doing this you bring that community closer to where you are. It is seeking out new people and new ideas. I was reading a post the other day by Chris Brogan (I also consider him a Gratitude Blogger) and in his post A Crash Course in Comments he states that he is the #1 commenter on his blog. That rang so true to me personally because I respond to every single comment that comes in to my blog. My blog has nearly 16,000 comments and I know that at least 8,000 of them are mine. Why? Because I care that people take the time to leave me a comment. And as Gary says in Crush It, “If someone takes the time to reach out to you, it’s your obligation to reciprocate.”
Why do I respond to every single comment? The first thing I do every morning when I go to my e-mail is I check for comments on my blog and I respond to them. It takes a little while but it is one of the most worthwhile things I can do each day. Responding to comments does a few important things:
- Responding to comments shows that you care about your readers
- Responding to comments furthers conversation and communication
- Responding to comments validates each person who takes their time to read your words
- Responding to comments gives you the opportunity to express gratitude to your readers
Responding to comments is just one of the key actions of a Gratitude Blogger. Gratitude Bloggers are also known for solving problems and directing readers and followers to useful information. I think of our host, Jim Kukral, when I think of a Gratitude Blogger who solves problems. Jim has dozens of free resources that you can use to help improve your blogging. From the $7.95 Marketing Plan to the Online Video Toolkit, Jim gives away such great information totally free. Jim is also very giving with his time as well. Gratitude blogging at the core is all about showing how much you care. When you show people that you care and you prove it with validation, information and conversation then you’ll be on your way to becoming a blogger people are grateful to have around.
My friend Ed Gerety is new to blogging but he is in no way new to Gratitude. Ed is a youth motivational speaker and one of his core messages is of Gratitude. I would expect big things coming from Ed over the next year as he builds his blog and expands his community online. He just posted a video about Gratitude on his blog Ed Gerety’s Dream Big Blog that I think explains very much the core of what it is to express true Gratitude.
How will you work to become a Gratitude Blogger? Do you have a differing opinion, I would love to talk about it.
About the author: Andrew Bennett aka BenSpark is a husband, father, blogger, photographer, wired kayaker and an old school Transformers fan. He takes a photo every day and blogs about it on BenSpark.com. You can follow BenSpark on Twitter.