With Alt and BlogPodium, I learned there is so much I don't know about blogging. Blogger vs. Wordpress, monetization, developing a brand... if you're like me, you've probably learned about these topics (and more) through your own trial and error, through word of mouth, and discussion with other bloggers. There is no central repository to find out "how to be a blogger" - and if there is, could someone please direct me to it :)
I thought with BlogTalk we could share what we do know and learn from each other. Sound good? I don't claim to be an expert so I hope you all will chime in in the comments and share your experiences and knowledge too!
As a blogger, networking is a great way to build and promote your blog. Networking means building relationships and connecting with your readers, other bloggers, and even PR folks. But how do you do that? A few approaches I've used:
- Leave comments on other blogs. Say more than "great post!" or "cute pic!" if you want to be noticed. Leave thoughtful, in depth comments that add to the conversation. Other commenters and bloggers may be intrigued enough to click through your signature link and find out more about you.
- Answer comments. Responding to people who leave comments on your blog can further your relationship with them. It can also foster a commenting culture and encourage people to come back to your blog (because they know they're being heard!)
- Link up! Promote others through your blog roll. Mention posts on other blogs that intrigue you. If you drive traffic their way, they may be inspired to do the same and list you on their blog roll. What you don't want to do: ask for a link back from someone you've never engaged with or who knows nothing about you. This leads to the next point...
- Don't be too aggressive or too impatient. When someone tries to give you the "hard sell" or has an obvious agenda it can be a turnoff. Take time to develop relationships with other bloggers, build trust and prove yourself by participating in the community.
- Be helpful. If you see something that another blogger may enjoy, email and let them know. I once passed on a link to a well-known blogger and next thing I knew, she had written a post about the link and mentioned my blog as well. Be helpful with the PR folks too... if they contact you about a product you're not interested in, maybe pass them on to another blogger who might be more of a fit. This reflects well on you and the PR person will keep you in mind for future opportunities down the road.
- Be memorable. Bloggers, especially the more well known ones, get contacted all the time. Include something in your communication that conveys you are a faithful reader (like mentioning a long-forgotten post). Offer something different and be specific. If you want to collaborate with another blogger, offer specific suggestions on how you can work together. Show that you understand what their needs and aims are.
- Get off the blog. Network with others outside of the blog. Connect in person at blogger or industry events, or in other venues (Twitter, Facebook etc.). Again, this helps let people get to know you better - and when they know you, they are more apt to collaborate and support you.
Those are some of my thoughts. Now its your turn... have you used networking to grow your blog? Any tips to add? Or has anyone approached you in a really poor way? Any suggestions on what not to do?