All blogs are written so that others could read them. This statement is true for both personal and business blogs. Otherwise bloggers wouldn’t take their diary online. So from the moment you publish your first post, you’ll be waiting for your soon-to-be readers and their take on what you have to say.
While waiting for readers to discover you might be a choice for some, the more impatient ones of use will approach readers proactively. And by far the most effective way to get them to read your writings is to bond with them, so them you’re worth exploring.
While most of us would like to think we’re great at it, there are quite a few tricks we can and should learn and there’s always room to improve. So what does building relationships (a phrase I actually prefer to “networking”) take?
Who do we bond with?
Both what you write and who you want to network with depend on your intended audience. Besides their interests and background, you need to think of what they like to read. You’d then of course start with blog readers. And where else would you find them if not on other blogs in your niche or on related niches?
Sure, there’s social media, from bookmarking and news sites to forums and everything else out there. There also magazine and portal readers, but all of these are not directly interested in blogs. This is how we bloggers discovered networking with bloggers has the best impact on our own readership.
Consequently, the better known the bloggers we network with are, the more exposure we get. Having your comments seen by a few dozens is not the same as having a few hundred see it. That is why we’re all drawn to those more famous than us, with more readers and more comments. Sure, the competition is tougher, but here’s where the art begins!
Where and how to approach bloggers?
First of all, their blogs. Most bloggers allow comments and that’s the first place to reach out. The idea is to find an angle when commenting that allows you to add something personal and valuable to the conversation. Showing your appreciation for a blogger and his post works once, maybe a couple of times, but if you don’t actively contribute to the conversation, both the author and his/her readers will ignore you.
There are bloggers such as Liz Strauss who place great value on replying to all comments. That will help you get the conversation started and possibly keep it going, as there’s that little option allowing you to get replies to your comment via email.
If you love a blog and keep reading it, you’re bound to sooner or later find out where else the blogger spends his/her online time. Is it Twitter? Then get an account and see what microblogging holds for you. Is it LinkedIn? Start building your business profile and connect. Is it Mixx, StumbleUpon or some other, more specialized news or bookmarking site?
Join the conversation over there. But make sure wherever you follow those you want to build a relationship with, make sure you take the time to learn what works and what doesn’t. This applies to both the social media site in general and to the specific behavior of those you want to get to know better.
For example, if you’re planning to become friends with Tad Chef, don’t join his SEO 2.0 group on Mixx and then submit your own stuff.
Some bloggers, from A to lower lists, also make their email address public. When your comment is one among a few hundreds, taking your effort further by writing an email might just do the trick. If you write and send that email, make sure you don’t sound like a stalker and don’t forget to use your comment posting name and add a link to your blog. Just because you remember the bloggers name and know his blog address by heart, doesn’t mean he or she remembers all the people who ever commented on his/her posts in the past year.
Linking to your favorite blogger’s posts is also a good idea. You can either add them to your blogroll, write an entire post about something they’ve published and your take on it or add a post you found extraordinary to a regularly link love list, like my very own Monday Reading Roundup.
And remember, linking and sending emails are life savers when the blogger you’re interested in networking with does not allow comments.
Writing guest posts is also an excellent idea. If the bloggers you want to befriend accept guest posts, that’s a great way to get noticed. Write something that fits the general focus of the blog, spice it up with your own style and experiences and submit it, along with a short intro of yourself and your blog. If what you send is quality content, it will most surely get published and the blog owner will surely analyze your blogging activity more carefully.
You might even follow up with a request for them to author a guest entry on your site. There might be some delays as the famous the blogger is, the less time they have to also handle other writing assignments. But if they thought you were worthy of being features as a guest writer, they might also thing your own blog is a great place for them to expand their audience.
It doesn’t work like magic!
Networking takes time and effort. Ongoing effort! You can’t just take a day to spread comments around, add some people to your social media profile, send out a dozen of emails and then that’s it, those folks will be your friends for life. Contacting someone is easy, turning a onetime deal into a lasting relationship takes a lot more work on both sides.
The trick is not to get impatient. There are dozens of comments to be read and replied to, there are flooded inboxes and incoming links are not scarce for some. It takes time to be recognize as a valuable contributor to one’s blog and a little more to discover what you’re posting on your own blog is worth the same attention as your comments or your other social activities.
It doesn’t take decades either! If what you publish is interesting, has a unique approach and is supported by effective networking, you might get the results you wished for and much more in a couple of months.
There’s no fixed recipe! Some approaches might work for you, others might not. Your unique blend of networking skills will be shaped by trial and error and a lot of passion and determination to achieve your goals.
About the Author
This is a guest post by Alina Popescu, PR Consultant. If you’re looking for a fresh voice, balancing unique views on life with original PR and marketing tips, head over to her blog at WordsOfABrokenMirror.com, or better yet, subscribe to her RSS feed.