Investing in Your Community

Where do you pour water for your community?

Where do you belong? Where are your communities? For instance, I’m just getting into Soundcloud as a music and audio community. I’ve participated in and thought deeply in the impact of communities on business for well over a decade at this point. What’s on my mind is whether companies realize what an investment in their community means.

My Real Community

I’m fortunate to have you as a reader of this blog. I am blessed. Every day that you spend some of your time with me is a treasure. The community that I think of as home base, right now, however, is related-but-not-the-same. I’m pouring my soul into the work of maintaining my newsletter community.

First, think about that phrase: newsletter community. Those words go together like “chocolate steak,” (which, I bet would actually be tasty). But why? Because I’ve chosen to make that community the most intimate, the one with the most access to me, and the one where I will interact the most.

Think about the intimacy of your inbox. When I’m fortunate enough to earn my way in there (and maybe you get this blog in your inbox, but you can’t easily reply to it there, can you?), then I’m inside your real social network, aren’t I? I’m inside the place where you can share in a very meaningful way, instead of a one-button way. Think of what I earn by having that position in your experience and consumption.

In the Coming Weeks

In the coming weeks, I will be making many more offers to my newsletter community, giving more of my time away, providing more value for people’s participation. I have chosen this community as where I will invest. And if you’re part of it, you’ll get the very best of me and as much of my time as I can muster.

Here? On the blog? I’ll write useful posts that might get you thinking. As I hope this one did.

What comes next, I believe, isn’t a fascination with a social network of 1 billion. It’s cultivating your very own passionate 1000. Are you part of that passionate 1000?

Join me in that conversation here.

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  • http://www.commun.it SharelOmer

    Indeed :) passion for your community does and should make a difference :) happy to register, thx Chris.

  • http://www.turndog-millionaire.com/ Turndog Millionaire

    It’s nice to hear you put so much effort into your emails. So many are simply a round up of posts. Although this is fine, it hardly makes an email worth clicking on.

    Hopefully you can find some really nice ways to get involvement on your newsletter

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      No need to round anything up. Round up is for weeds in my book. : ) 

      • http://www.turndog-millionaire.com/ Turndog Millionaire

        i agree, it’s the easy way out. I hope to come up with some nice ideas for my future emails. Probably won’t put as much time in as you’re doing, but exclusive content never the less. 

        I want people to WANT to read my emails

        Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    I get this intimacy—sort of. But it seems two-way: between you and your readers, your readers and you. How does it allow for the community to talk with each other? Maybe I am missing something here. Thanks.

    • Chris Spurvey

      Michael.. you read my mind. I was going to ask the exact same question.

    • http://blog.beethomas.com/ Brian Humek

      Hi Michael,

      Here on Chris’ blog is one of the few places I know the comments will be intelligently written. I always make a point to not just read his blog posts, but the comments. Rarely do I reply to comments to a blog post, but I seem to do that here each time I read a post. It may not be the greatest way for readers to communicate with one another, but it is better than I find on some blogs. I kind of prefer it to message boards/forums.

      Brian

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Me, too. That’s one of the things I really enjoy about blogs. It provides for the four levels of communication that Seth Godin advocates in Tribes:
        1. Tribe leader to tribe member.
        2. Tribe member to tribe leader.
        3. Tribe member to tribe member.
        4. Tribe member to outsider.

        Thanks.

        • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

          Definitely worth considering. 

        • Jack Lynady

          For what it’s worth, I have been following both Michael and Chris’s blogs for over a year now. I enjoy both of u guys content and communities. U can look at my Disqus profile for proof. Here is how Chris is trumping Michael with the newsletter. He is ACCESSIBLE to me personally. I have engaged in a two-way conversation a couple times now. That’s huge. He has my ATTENTION much more because of it. You are on to something Chris. Keep it up. 

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            That’s good to know. Thanks.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Oh, they can’t talk with each other. But you know, I’ve found that’s not the most common wish. They tend to like each other without that element. 

      That might be coming in 2013. : ) 

  • Sarah Howerd

    Hi Chris, I just posted a blog entry about how the blogging made me part of a creative community (mentioning your book Social Media 101 – hope that’s okay – of course it is!) and then read this blog of yours using the same terms about community. Excellent!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Hooray! : ) 

  • http://www.danieldecker.net/ Daniel Decker

    Blogs and social are powerful but I still (and always have) though that email (newsletters, etc) foster the best opportunity for deeper engagement (with a brand / person and his or her audience). And by “engagement” I mean the sort of intimacy that enables a more dynamic relationship to be built, the kind of relationship like the “passionate 1000″ you’re referring to. It’s developing the core, the people who are really engaged and who help multiply the REAL impact in an exponential way. It CAN happen via blogs and social too, but just seems to happen easier and more dynamically via that email and occasional one-on-one inbox exchange.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      It’s an effort thing, really. To me, it’s a matter of how you choose to use either/or. But to me, there’s such a win in email. : ) 

  • http://blog.beethomas.com/ Brian Humek

    Good afternoon Chris, You provide me with a lot of value right here and when I get these blog posts sent to my inbox. I signed up for your HBW newsletter because I know they will be filled with some sort of value to my work.

    Thanks,
    Brian

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Excellent, Brian, and thanks! : ) 

  • http://twitter.com/JudyHelfand JudyHelfand

    Chris,
    Talk to Joe Sorge or Justin Levy…it is called Steak Mole.  Come to the southwest and enjoy!
    Got to get back to work.
    Judy

  • http://twitter.com/dwellmanonline Dave Wellman

     Chris – you post echoes my thoughts exactly. There are way too many people online to have any real connection with. I started (and unfortunately let fizzle) my version of your 1000 (call the hundred friends project) just last summer. Maybe, what I should do is work hard to reclaim that vision! Thanks for helping clarify my thinking.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      I think that might be a great way to do it! 

  • Rex Williams

    I’ve noticed that you have been more intimate with your newsletter since I signed up a while ago. I’m always looking forward to them nowdays.

    Is there a better name we can start making popular besides ‘newsletter’. It’s so old-school, but it seems like we have to keep using it because everyone knows what you’re talking about when you say newsletter.

    Email list? (Boring)
    Fan mail?
    Community Messages?

    I’m sure this ‘community’ could think of something cool and socialize it.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Very interesting point. I have to think about that. Hmmm. : ) 

  • http://my168project.com/ Matches Malone

    I do receive this blog in my email, as you know, Chris. My question is, for a guy like me, do I have the time to cultivate a second community that would necessarily be different from those that participate at my site? I’m well on my way to my thousand true fans or whatever the phrase that pays is this week, however, I don’t feel my business is growing at the same rate.

    I am subscribed to both here and your newsletter, last time I checked.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      By all means, keep your site alive. What I’m finding, and it might just be me and how I’m dealing with it, the intimacy of a personalized two-way experience is really winning up more wonderful people. : ) 

  • http://twitter.com/MolsonFerg Ferg Devins

    …just love that closer on the passionate 1000…just think of the power that the passionate 1000 can have for you personally, business wise, connections etc. It’s a nice build off the power of one…the passionate 1000. THANKS for your continued inspiring posts Chris…cheers to mid week @MolsonFerg 

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      We’ll definitely find a way to connect with them, Ferg. : ) 

  • Mary Ulrich

    What is interesting is that when you speak of “community” you assume it is your online community. Obviously, I understand the reason, but…I remember several of your earlier posts were also about your REAL community–as in your friends in the neighborhood restaurants….

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      I don’t have a neighborhood. I fly every 2 days. 

  • http://www.vmrcommunications.com Hugh Macken

    i’m confused. isn’t a social networking by definition public or semi-public, which email – most of the time – isn’t?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Wait: who defined social networking as public? The phone is a social network. That’s two people. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/MattLBrennan Matt Brennan

    Just signed up. I’ve enjoyed the blogs for awhile now. 

  • http://www.ivisionmobile.com/ Mobile Marketing

    I found your post to be very interesting and informative, pls keep up the great work!!

  • Albert

    Key points hit as always Chris. Being passionate is very important.

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  • http://www.ecommerce-web-developers.com/ ecommerce development

    This is a great article.I got a few tips on investment here on this post.Thanks for sharing.

  • T Capaldo

    Very enjoyable article. Your question about getting stuff by email and not being easy to reply (often without buying something first), is another topic for discussion. Many of us barely getting off ground, do rely on the generosity and commitment of people like yourself, to help us.
    Let’s face it everyone on here has learned something from someone else along the way. The fact that you are more accessible and take seriously to staying connected more intimately with your audience is admirable. I believe you are genuine, and I know that you don’t really need to do what you do for others, but you choose to.
    You are one of the only up level people I read weekly and I look forward to being part of your community newsletter.
    Thank you Chris.

  • http://www.tiltd.com/mobileDataServices.asp Mobile Workforce Management

    I always agree that it is good to put something back in to the community. Its a nice touch for sure

  • Cathy Tibbles

    I really feel like an insider as a newsletter subscriber. everytime i get one i am inspired, but secondly, I’m asking myself, How can i foster this feeling in my community?

    I need some b2b advice or blogs because i feel like their time is so much MORE valuable that i almost don’t want to waste their time with warm fuzzies. They want the goods but need some one they trust to deliver it. I have a lot of questions in this field and very few answers. Anyone you would recommend?

    Thanks again,
    Cathy

  • Cathy Tibbles

    UPdate! :)  I wrote an email on a Sunday Afternoon simply because thats ME.  Its what I love to do – write and read – on lazy Sunday afternoons.  And I put the name of a client in greeting, and I thought of how I would write the letter if it was only her reading.  And I sent it out.  And I got immediate feedback!  I’m so happy with your advice & your example I’m giddy! :) 

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