A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.
-Seth Godin in Tribes
As far as I can remember, I learned about the concept of tribes from Seth Godin. I’m not entirely certain if he came up with the idea or was just the first one to write a book on it.
Whatever the case, the concept of tribes rocked my perspective regarding business and what I want to do with my life.
Why tribes work
In a battle between two ideas, the best one doesn’t necessarily win. No, the idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it.
Tribes require leaders. People that stand out in their respective areas of interest – be it cooking, photography, or blogging. Seth calls these people “heretics.”
A heretic questions the status quo and is willing to forge his or her own path. This is why they’re so valuable. When other people begin to follow, that heretic naturally becomes their leader.
Tribes work for two reasons:
- Tribes are groups of people that care about the same thing and support each other with that thing.
- Tribes are about relationships, not using people.
The Minimalist Baker Tribe
Leaders lead when they take positions, when they connect with their tribes, and when they help the tribe connect to itself.
At Minimalist Baker, we aim to have a tribe.
A foodie tribe. A simple cooking tribe. A tribe of people that values their health, their time and their resources, and ultimately what they create in the kitchen.
When it comes to blogging, tribe leaders care about making meaningful, impactful, and others-focused food blogs.
This is how we built Minimalist Baker. We found something we cared about, created content around that idea, and then went out and found our tribe.
If you hope to build a successful food blog, lead a tribe.
Why You Want A Tribe
A tribe is something you care about, something your followers care about, and a place where you can help each other by learning about that thing together.
Wouldn’t you rather lead people in a tribe? Or would you prefer just getting hits to your site?
When you’re starting or growing your website, you will face many decision points. Should you participate in that program? Should you use that new app? Should you place ads on your site? Should you do something that makes money but compromises the integrity of your content?
Ultimately, I believe that all those questions can be whittled down to a basic question: What kind of tribe do I want to lead?
If your aim is to find a group of people you can serve, you’re setting your website up successfully for the long-term.
Simply trying to figure out how to get traffic or make money is short-sighted. I’m not saying it’s wrong, it’s just not big enough for the way tribes think and operate. It’s fundamentally backwards.
If you can lead a tribe, all the other details will work themselves out.
So fight through the noise and muck and get down to that one question: Who is your tribe and how can you lead them?
How much traffic do I need?
Occasionally we get asked how much traffic you need to make a website sustainable.
This is my answer:
An individual artist needs only a thousand true fans in his or her tribe. It’s enough.
Traffic doesn’t matter. True fans matter.
Plus, it’s way more fun
I could blather on about tribes all day. I could tell you that it makes your blog more sustainable and future-proof. I could tell you that it’s the heart of SEO, social media, and any resource that can help your blog. I could tell you that it’s far more realistic to the way life is – interactions, relationships, loving other people.
Instead, let me appeal to another sense: Leading a tribe with a blog is SO. MUCH. FUN.
It’s ridiculously more fulfilling than just starting a blog for money.
It’s humorously more simple than trying to figure out how to work all the systems (social media, sponsorship campaigns, sharing links, etc.) that pour into your blog.
And it’s incredibly more human than considering your viewers a means to an end or just potential buyers.
Would you rather have 1,000,000 people listen to you for a minute and move on, or 1,000 people hang onto your every word, interact with you, support you, and give you the opportunity to serve them?
Unswervingly, we prefer the latter. And that’s the way we’ve built Minimalist Baker. Would you be bold enough to do the same?
Find your tribe and lead it. It’s the only option.
*note: All of the quotes are from Seth Godin’s Tribes