Camp Blogaway Awards: Most Inspiring Session

Camp Blogaway was informative. Inspiring. Encouraging. I met wonderful people, ate great food and enjoyed beautiful scenery.

And since the weekend deserves more than your typical recap…

Welcome to the Camp Blogaway Awards, Part 1!


The first award I’d like to give out is that for “Most Inspiring Session or Panel.”

This award goes to Saturday afternoon’s “Building a Bona Fide Community,” led by Cheryl of 5 Second Rule and Susan of Foodblogga.


It is so easy for bloggers to get caught up in the ‘numbers.’ I’m talking pageviews, unique hits, subscribers and the like. In this panel, Cheryl and Susan talked about thinking more about the people reading your blog than you do about the ‘numbers’ in order to build a community and create loyal readers.

As much as I’d love higher stats and income from my blog, what I find really meaningful is YOU, my readers. Getting a reader submissions for my Little Things series always brightens my day. Watching a conversation develop in the comments section of one of my posts never fails to put a smile on my face.

Comments, retweets and Facebook ‘likes’ tell me that you’re enjoying the content I put on my blog. I love responding to your comments, knowing that you’ll soon receive an email notifying you that I’m continuing the conversation.


To build a community, your blog and your social media can’t be all about you. Think about how you can add value to the community yourself. I try to share posts in my sidebar and Google Reader that I think are well-written or that my reader will enjoy. Communicate with other bloggers and non-bloggers via Twitter and real-life interaction.

To sum it all up, “be real. The community should benefit everyone, not just your bottom line.”


The real toughie is getting non-bloggers to be a part of your blog’s community. Because as Cheryl and Susan said, if you’re only writing for other bloggers, you’re really just “preaching to the choir.” And honestly, I don’t have a good way to do that right now. But I’m working on it.


How do you build community on your blog? And how do you bring non-bloggers into your blogging community?

Huge thanks to Garlic Gold for sponsoring a portion of my travel to Camp Blogaway!


  1. says

    this sounds like such an AWESOME session! I am so glad you got to go to Camp Blogaway!!!

    I try REALLY hard to respond to reader emails, tweets, and comments asking questions. I try to open up THS to include readers who dont blog – you are right – it IS tricky – but I seriously do a little dance each time I connect with a non-blogging reader. It’s like a little award!

  2. says

    Does this mean I can retire?

    p.s. My son just looked at that picture of me and asked, “Why are you wearing my cub scout shirt?”

  3. says

    I agree, Julie! I think everyone felt inspired after Cheryl and Susan’s session. I mean who didn’t drive down the hill feeling all giddy and happy inside after Camp Blogaway? Sigh…

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      I know, right? Though some of the giddiness could have been elevation-related 😉

  4. says

    This is such a lovely article! I enjoyed meeting you and wish I’d had gotten more of a chance to chat with you! 🙂 Loving your blog.

  5. says

    Julie, that was a great sum-up of Cheryl and Susan’s discussion. It was definitely the one that I keep coming back to as I remember highlights of the weekend. Glad to have met you and look forward to reading more of your blog!

  6. says

    Julie, what a wonderful account of a most inspiring session! I’m working on building community: love to tweet about other blogger’s posts, leave comments on other blogger’s posts, respond to all comments on my blog. Wishing you all the best!

  7. says

    Connecting with readers is so hard. But I do try hard to invite discussion by asking questions. And sometimes I purposely leave something out of my discussion so others can join in. (Crazy, to you think?) And I’m working on being more real. Thanks for your thoughts, too, Julie!

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      I totally understand…I don’t think you’re the only one who does that!

  8. says

    Hi! I’m Katy from HaveYouHurd and I am a fairly new blogger. I found this post through a HealthyLivingBlogger tweet and I really love it! I think the biggest way to gain readership is to just be yourself. Stay true to you. If you try to please EVERYONE and try to cover EVERYTHING then you’ll probably end up falling short.

    For me, it’s all about the food. I love to workout and maintain a healthy lifestyle but my passion and my love is for the food. Sometimes I worry I don’t have enough “fitness” on my website or that my writing is not as great as others… but that’s not why I blog. I blog to share recipes that make me happy so that others can be happy 🙂

    Stay true to yourself and you will gain quality readership and followers!