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3 Ways To Build A Massive Blog Following | Lessons From Jon Morrow

3_Ways-pI’m going to share with you 3 Ways To Build A Massive Blog Following in the form of lessons from Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger.

I’ve been talking a lot, lately, about how important it is to build a community as the base for your business.

There can be a trillion people in your niche.

You might think you should be writing blog posts that will appeal to most of those trillion people.

But, I’m convinced, it’s not so important what those trillion people want, as it is to connect with the 100 people on your email list.

Maybe it’s 1,000 people.

We might be talking about 10 or 10,000 on your Facebook page, or 10 visitors a day to your blog site.

Think about YOUR audience.

Who is following you now.

What are their problems, challenges, dreams and passions?

That’s your community!

You don’t have to go find one, you’ve got one.

Your job now is to grow that community into a flourishing business.

I could give you my thoughts on this, but instead, I decided to turn to a real expert at building a community.

Jon Morrow is the creator of Smart Blogger, one of the top blogs in our industry.

3 Ways To Build A Massive Blog Following | Jon Morrow

He knows a few things (as the commercial says)… because he’s seen a few things.

His Facebook page has over 23,000 engaged followers (“likes”).

Now, that’s a community!

Here’s the mission statement of his Facebook page…

3 Ways To Build A Massive Blog Following | Jon Morrow

I think you get the point.

Jon knows how to move people, probably, I sense, because he’s allowed himself to be moved by them.

Growth is reciprocal.

It’s dynamic, not linear… a two-way rather that a one-way street.

Jon’s got it all going, as you’ll see right away when you visit his blog or Facebook page.

So, now let me share with you what I’ve learned from him about community building, and what I’m boiling down to this:

3 Ways To Build A Massive Blog Following

1. Get Over Your Self

One of the first things I’ve learned from Jon is that “it’s not all about you.”

It’s great to have self confidence, and without it you’ll get nowhere.

You want to be a leader, a teacher, a coach, an authority or an expert.

People must look up to you, I get it.

But pay very careful attention when Jon tells us that “The secret isn’t getting. It’s giving.”

Sure, you want traffic, subscribers, sales.

Special: FREE Guide… 4 Things I Did To Build My Blog Using Only Free Traffic

You want a business.

But that’s all about “you” isn’t it?

Now, you probably want to know: how are you supposed to set goals to build a massive blog following without it being all about “you?”

Jon’s answer is simple.

“By asking yourself this one simple question: How can you give people an experience so life-changing they will feel indebted to you forever?”

That’s what will really drive your business.

Not your “information” or “wisdom” or “knowledge.”

Those are things you have.

Building a loyal and raving following is about giving up those things.

Hand them over to your followers.

“Create content so incredibly good,” Jon continues, “that people feel indebted to you.”

The result will be their loyal to you, and their eager sharing of everything you do.

That’s what we once called (old school)… word of mouth.

I think they call it social proof, now.

Either way, Jon’s advice here is clear.

Get over yourself, and give of yourself to those you want to follow you.

3 Ways To Build A Massive Blog Following | Jon Morrow

2. Seemingly Pointless Stories

Another really cool thing I learned from Jon is to spend some time “off-point” with people.

Note: You’re writing your blog for “people” right?  Not “readers” or “visitors” but people.

Treat them like people and they’ll look to you as someone they want to spend more time with.

So, here’s the way Jon frames the point.

“Some people tell you a story always needs to have a point, but I disagree.  Sometimes, you tell a story with no other purpose than bonding with your audience.”

Don’t always be lecturing people.

Don’t always be informing, teaching and coaching.

It’s like the guy at the party that keeps telling everybody how smart he is… and of course, he ends up talking to the catering staff because nobody else is listening any more.

Special: FREE Guide… 4 Things I Did To Build My Blog Using Only Free Traffic

Instead of always coming up with some stellar lesson, or erudite perspective on the nature of everything… get real.

“Ask yourself,” Jon suggests, “What have you experienced that your reader has also experienced but cannot put into words?”

Now your task is clear.

Write a story about it.

It doesn’t need to have anything to do with your niche or your authority subject or anything at all other than… it’s a story that helps you bond with people because you’ve revealed part of your humanity.

Stories are wonderful ways to engage and bond with people, not because they have a point, but because they are pointless.

This puts you on a common ground of feeling and emotion and familiarity with people.

Those are the very psychological foundations you must set to build a massive blog following.

They are the essence of any community.

3. Master “The Formula”

Jon talks about copying success formulas.

The best compliment you can pay your competition is to copy their success.

One of the things he learned was that the surest way to successfully communicating with people, is to carefully follow a proven formula.

Talking about writing list posts, he notes how they’re popular to do because they follow a simple to follow formula.

Just make a list of things to talk about and then fill in a paragraph after each number on the list.

“It’s like making a Caesar salad,” he says.  “It’s not complicated to prepare, but…”

and here we get to the heart and soul embedded within the formula…

“the quality of the lettuce and dressing,” he continues, “are going to make or break the salad.”

So, sure, go ahead.

Find the top bloggers in your niche and imitate them.

Don’t “copy” them, but imitate their style, their flair and mostly… their “formula.”

After all, you know the formula works.

Now, you have to give it some real high quality “lettuce and dressing” in order to inspire people to follow… not a formulated recipe… but follow you, because of who you are, what you are saying and doing, and mostly… because of how their lives can be improved by being part of it all.

3 Ways To Build A Massive Blog Following | Jon Morrow

Where will you build your massive blog community?

On your blog, of course, but by extension, that could include your Facebook page, your email list, your coaching program, or your information course.

It’s not so important on what platform or in which format they follow you.

It’s only critical that they do.

That’s how you build a massive blog following.

Special: FREE Guide… 4 Things I Did To Build My Blog Using Only Free Traffic

I have learned a lot about building a massive blog following, not just by what Jon has written, but by how he has built his own business, and how he operates it every day.

I hope you have learned, too, from these 3 Ways To Build A Massive Blog Following from the sage teachings of one of the true masters of our industry… Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger.

I’d love to have your questions and comments below, and of course, I’m always excited to see your social shares.


Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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36 Responses to 3 Ways To Build A Massive Blog Following | Lessons From Jon Morrow

  1. SaraBeth
    September 25, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    Donna, Jon is one of the best, isn’t he? Long before I knew of his personal story, I was a fan of his writing. Once I read his story, I think my respect meter flew out the Universe. I’ve made a deal with myself, No quitting. Seriously.

    So many great tweetables here.

    I am totally a story reader. I like Ryan Bidddulph for that very reason.

    I think Jon’s advice is even better in that the story doesn’t even have to have a purpose nor tie into your niche or lesson. It’s storytelling for the sake of building a relationship with people.
    SaraBeth recently posted..Why Do I Need a Blog Content Refresh?My Profile

  2. Joseph Chikeleze
    September 10, 2017 at 1:09 am #

    Wow, great post herein. I also follow Jon Morrow and has learnt a lot from him.

    This is awesome tips you dropped here. Thanks
    Joseph Chikeleze recently posted..$10,000 Zonta Scholarships for Aerospace, Science and Engineering StudentsMy Profile

  3. Deborah A. Ten Brink
    September 25, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    Hello, Donna.

    I, too, am a fan of Jon Morrow.

    Your most prophetic statement for me was, “Growth is reciprocal.” That has a very powerful inference!

    I doubt most bloggers think about this concept, but it’s given me much to think about.

    Thank you for all the value YOU provide, Donna!

    Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted..Mission Statement For Clarity And FocusMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 28, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

      Hi Deborah,

      Thanks so much for your kind words, and you do understand…

      growth is reciprocal… it’s why your blog, too, is doing so nicely.

      It was so nice to feature Jon in this post, I love reading his stuff.

      Glad to hear that you do, too.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Create Your Own Product To Sell OnlineMy Profile

  4. ikechi
    September 18, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    Hi Donna

    I am a fan of Jon morrow and I like his posts. He does have a way with words that makes you believe that he is on your side. His last post on Stephen King’s writhing advice is thought provoking. So it is no wonder that he has a large following.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post. Take Care

    • Donna Merrill September 21, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

      Hi Ikechi,

      Jon is a unique kind of a blogger, for sure.

      He has an uncanny knack for connecting with people on a very human level.

      That’s why I wanted to feature some of his work, here… to share with my great and loyal readers like you 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed this.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..7 Proven Ways To Sell Services On Your BlogMy Profile

  5. Amar kumar
    September 13, 2016 at 1:32 am #

    Hey Donna,

    Yes providing appropriate support or help to needy peoples so that their life change and they escape from their problems is satisfied us as enhance ourself and they feel indebted us forever.

    Good and active communication to audience in positive way is considered as master formula to encourage our business level and useful to establish strong relationship with them. These three ways to build massive blog is very informative and provide opportunity to learn something more from this post.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

    • Donna Merrill September 14, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

      Hi Amar,

      You’re spot on with this.

      It’s all about communication that brings people into a closer and more meaningful interaction with us.

      That’s how we build relationships that really can sustain our entire business model.

      It’s really the life-source of blogging.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How To Start And Run A Blog By YourselfMy Profile

  6. Andrew M. Warner
    September 12, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    Great post here.

    I’m a student of Jon and I love a lot of the content he comes out with.

    Your tip about “Seemingly Pointless Stories” really speaks volumes because, like you said, stories help you bond with people because you’ve revealed part of your humanity.

    I think blogging needs more of that. More people showing their humanity and sharing stories — even if they seem pointless.

    At the end of the day it’s all about community and whatever you can do to build it up to a tight nit group, works.

    Great stuff here, Donna.

    – Andrew

    • Donna Merrill September 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

      Hi Andrew,

      Yea, I agree… let’s have more fun and more pointless stories that give value in ways other than simply rehashing business tactics.

      I mean, business is a critical part of what we do out here, but really… not every minute, haha

      Nice to see you, my friend.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Why Create An eBook | Advice From Ryan BiddulphMy Profile

  7. Arpit Roy
    September 11, 2016 at 3:57 am #

    Hi Donna,

    I am not sure if I really like the idea of calling someone a ‘dumb blogger’ as it all drills down to experience. Some of us know a good deal about blogging and some not so much.

    However, the idea is simple – write for the readers. People who understand this, even though at a later stage will eventually become successful as you need to deliver value to be successful in everything in life, probably the jist of the lesson.

    Thanks for sharing this Donna, have a good one!

    ~Arpit Roy
    Arpit Roy recently posted..How to Promote Your Blog Like a ProMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 14, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

      Hi Arpit,

      I think Jon calls folks “dumb blogger” as a play on his blog title which is “smart blogger.” I think he’s just saying that people need to learn the “smart” way or they risk blogging in dumb ways.

      Anyway, I understand it’s kind of a harsh way to say it, but it’s not meant to be a put down… I’m sure.

      You did get the main point, though… focus on giving your readers value, and always have their best interest foremost in your mind.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Use Your Blogging Skills To Make Money OnlineMy Profile

  8. Hussain Omar
    September 11, 2016 at 1:50 am #

    Hey Donna,

    Awesome post! You and Jon are of these who are doing it the right way. These three ways will correct the path for a lot of bloggers who got lost in the money blogging hustle.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Keep posting!

    Hussain Omar recently posted..Top 55 SEO Quotes of 2016 | Experts RoundupMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 14, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

      Hi Hussain,

      Yes, you are right… so many bloggers “got lost in the money blogging hustle” that turned blogging into just one more advert platform.

      I understand that there is a place for reviews, services and even outright adverts, but the first rule is always improving the lives of your readers.

      Some people have overlooked the first rule, and go straight to the “hustle.”

      Smart observation, my friend.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..7 Proven Ways To Sell Services On Your BlogMy Profile

  9. Peter Beckenham
    September 10, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Thank you so much for sharing the awesome talents of Jon Morrow. Jon is truly an inspirational person as well as a brilliant blogger.

    There are some real gems of wisdom and advice that you’ve shared with us today and to me the biggest takeaway was the term “growth is reciprocal”.

    This is so true as the experiences I’ve been fortunate to have with awesome bloggers like you have well and truly moved me in the right direction.

    Way too many bloggers miss the critical element that your blog never should be all about YOU. The more I give to folks the greater my satisfaction levels are and the bigger my community of loyal supporters grows.

    My continual challenge is not to build some massive community but rather, as you shared, to really bond with the people who are already part of my community.

    For a little time, my focus was switched to “community growth” and I did not pay enough attention to the members I already had.

    This was a big lesson for me. Always pay attention to the “pain points” of our existing community whilst we growth the size of our communities.

    As always many thanks for sharing this awesome content Donna

    Best wishes from the remote Thai village weblogger

    Peter Beckenham recently posted..5 Tips for Marketing to Baby BoomersMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 14, 2016 at 11:30 am #

      Hi Peter,

      You have picked up on the real key to building a massive following.

      That is… focus purely on the needs and “pain points” as you say… of your EXISTING community.

      You community could be just one other person, but if you really give that one person some amazing value, that one person will tell another. and that person will tell 2 others.

      I’m not talking about building a “worldwide” community, but giving your own followers such great value that it will change their world.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..5 Top Newbie Blogger MistakesMy Profile

  10. Donna Merrill September 10, 2016 at 9:27 pm #

    Hi Atish,

    You’re right, of course, our job is “writing for readers.”

    To the extent that we keep that objective clearly in mind, we will be able to resonate with them and deserve their trust. That is the essence of a successful business for bloggers, and really all entrepreneurs in all niches.

    Donna Merrill recently posted..10 Top Sources Of Blog Traffic That You Are Not UsingMy Profile

  11. Atish Ranjan
    September 10, 2016 at 9:26 am #


    Excellent one!

    Writing for readers is the prime job of a blogger. After all, you are here to teach and earn at the same time. If you solely work to spam and get money without giving any benefit to users, you cannot succeed in long term.

    The tips by Jon Morrow are simply the best ones to build a good blog following.

    Keep up the sharing great info.

    Enjoy your weekend!
    Atish Ranjan recently posted..KeepVid Pro – The Best Video Downloader of Its TimeMy Profile

  12. Sherman Smith September 9, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    If you’re going to get great advice from anyone then John Morrow is just that person.

    When it comes to building a blog community these tips hit the spot. You want to concentral on the interest of a specific niche market, tell stories that they relate to, and follow specific follows that had been proven to work for other successful bloggers.

    I tend to use list post more often since it gives my readers something to look forward to.

    Thanks for sharing Donna! Have a great weekend!
    Sherman Smith recently posted..What If You Can Only Blog Once A Month?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 10, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

      Hi Sherman,

      List posts are great, as long as they are focused on improving the lives of the people reading them.

      That’s always the fundamental purpose of any article we offer to our readers.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Create Your Own Product To Sell OnlineMy Profile

  13. Joan M Harrington
    September 9, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    What awesome lessons to learn from one of the best bloggers online today! Love Jon Morrow 🙂 Thanks for sharing these tips 🙂 Always a good thing to learn from other “pros” in our niche.
    Joan M Harrington recently posted..Revealed The Simple Tactic to Get More People Addicted to Your BlogMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 10, 2016 at 9:03 pm #

      Hi Joan,

      It is important to keep in touch with top bloggers. There’s a reason they are at the top, so we certainly stand to learn a lot from them.

      Jon is clearly a case in point, here.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..4 Blogs That Rank High On Google SearchMy Profile

  14. Ryan Biddulph
    September 9, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    Hi Donna,

    John knows it’s doing 1 thing well for 1 person – persistently – that brings success.

    He knows how to connect with his audience because he listens to them, feels their pain and serves them solutions to their problems.

    I doubled down in this area to hit pain points with each post.

    I also give out more free AND premium content thru my posts, eBooks and courses because whether I charge or not for my help, I am helping. Through everything.

    Readers genuinely appreciate the help you offer to ease their pain, through all you do online.

    Loving the post.


    • Donna Merrill September 10, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

      Hi Ryan,

      I must agree… serve one person in any way you can, and others will follow.

      The keys are to listen to what your readers truly want, and to deliver it consistently, day in and day out.

      That’s how to keep moving your business forward.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..5 Top Newbie Blogger MistakesMy Profile

  15. Umesh Singh
    September 9, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Great post! I am a big fan of Jon. He is one of the most respected blogger in blogging community.

    Despite facing several difficulties in his life, he still managed to get on the top where several bloggers never imagined.

    I also have learned many blogging skills from him that is why he is my like a guru for me.

    He is right audience only care for you if you have something for them. They come to your site for their benefit, if you don’t any they will leave and will never come.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Umesh Singh
    Umesh Singh recently posted..7 Incredibly Simple Ways to Double Your Audience Engagement in 10 MinutesMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 10, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

      Hi Umesh,

      The most important part of blogging is, as you say, to deliver the benefits your audience expects from your blog.

      That’s a pretty foolproof method for building a perpetually strong business model for your blog.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..10 Top Sources Of Blog Traffic That You Are Not UsingMy Profile

  16. Darrell Harris
    September 9, 2016 at 1:48 am #

    Hello Donna
    Your post was insightful and very informative. I especially liked #2 seemingless pointless stories where you can tell a story with no point at all just to bond and engage with people. Now that’s the beauty of blogging. Thanks for sharing this value-packed truly unique post.
    Darrell Harris recently posted..6 Things I wish I Knew Before I Started BloggingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 10, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

      Hi Darrell,

      I agree, the seemingly pointless stories that Jon uses are a lot of fun, and really a lot of what makes blogging so interesting and engaging.

      When you think of it, blogging began as a personal log style, or diary really. It is a perfect platform for stream of consciousness writing, isn’t it?

      The seemingly pointless story style seem to me to be a perfect fit.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Grow Your Blog OrganicallyMy Profile

  17. Renard Moreau
    September 8, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

    [ Smiles ] I am a huge fan of Jon Morrow; he is a superb blogger that knows blogging from the inside out.

    Great article, Donna!

  18. Harleena Singh
    September 8, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Wonderful post indeed 🙂

    I loved the way you took the lessons from Jon Morrow and learned so much, and of course taught us a great deal as well.

    Yes, writing for your readers is always what works best, and it IS always about them, never about ourselves – that is what makes it all so selfless. More so, when you help others through your posts, you are giving back the community that has given you so much, isn’t it?

    I’m a real fan of Jon’s too and enjoy his post updates – always so much to learn from them. I agree about learning from the pros – not copying them, but learning what you can, and in fact, you can learn even from the newbies nowadays – just keep your channels open, and there is no limit to what all you can absorb!

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..11 Steps of Asking Good Questions That Empower Your TeenMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 10, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

      Hi Harleena,

      We learn from bloggers, both newbies and pros alike.

      I think we get too caught up in “teaching” and not always spend the time we should in “learning.”

      We need to always be listening… to our readers, to other bloggers, to people in our community.

      That’s how we learn what people want, need and value.

      Our job is to deliver accordingly.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..5 Top Newbie Blogger MistakesMy Profile

  19. Ravi Chahar
    September 8, 2016 at 3:56 am #

    Hey Donna,

    I have always believed that if we write for the readers then it will bring more readers. But now you brought the main thing to focus.

    We are writing for the people not to get more visitors. I like how you have represented Jon’s ideas.

    It’s quite hard to become the nest in the field of blogging but yet if you have unique approach then you can become a smart blogger in the world of dumb bloggers.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.
    Have a great week ahead.
    Ravi Chahar recently posted..Update WordPress Theme Manually Without Losing Customization.My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 8, 2016 at 9:11 am #

      Hi Ravi,

      I don’t know about “dumb bloggers” haha…. but I know there are bloggers, myself included, who don’t always focus on their audience the way they should.

      It’s easy to get caught up in running your blogging business, and sometimes losing that deeper connection with the very people who are the backbone of your business… people reading and sharing your articles.

      I love how Jon points us back in their direction.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How To Start And Run A Blog By YourselfMy Profile

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