During the 5 months or so that I’ve been actively blogging I have certainly learned a lot. I’ve learned that content is king and the importance of unique blog posts, the need for consistency, the value of social media marketing, and the need for reliable hosting. But the most valuable lesson I have learned is the importance of networking for bloggers.
Why is Networking Important for Bloggers?
1. New readers – Many of the people that you network with on social media sites, forums and at other blogs will sooner or later visit your blog and become regular readers. Best of all, these will be some of your most consistent, most loyal readers.
2. Inbound links – One of the primary reasons for networking with other bloggers is gaining backlinks. Bloggers link to other bloggers that they like, and if you are well-liked and well-connected you’ll get more links. After all, people can’t link to you if they don’t know about you.
3. Help and advice – Friends and networking contacts are a great resource when you need a qualified opinion. If you’ve already built a relationship with someone it’s much easier to ask for their advice and help, as opposed to approaching someone you don’t know.
4. Helping others – Part of being a successful networker is bringing value to others. If you expect or desire help from your contacts when you’re in need, be willing to help others too.
5. Becoming an authority – If you want to be well-known and respected in your industry, you need to be actively networking. The more people know you and know about you, the better exposure you will receive.
6. Drawing comments on your posts – A goal of almost every blogger is to have active, valuable conversations through the comments. Having a strong network with your readers certainly improves your ability to accomplish this.
7. Team projects – Many people prefer to work with others on new projects and ventures. If you have a strong network there are probably plenty of others who have similar interests that might be a good fit for a team project like a second blog for example.
8. Promotion for products and services – One of the best methods of promotion is a referral from a trusted source.
How Can You Start to Build a Network?
1. Be willing to help others – The bloggers that I know who have the strongest networking skills are also very willing to help others. Sure, it may take some of your time occasionally, but you’ll build strong relationships and people will usually be willing to return the favor later. In fact, some people will even look for ways to pay you back.
2. Use social media – Social media sites like StumbleUpon are great for meeting other bloggers and networking. Most users of social media expect to meet others there, so it is a natural place to get to know them. Also, by using social media you have the ability to send traffic to other bloggers, which is always a great way to get noticed and make friends.
3. Link out to others – Using outbound links to get the attention of other bloggers is a common method. If you’re hoping that those you link to will notice you and visit your blog, focus on linking to smaller blogs as the larger ones get so many links that they are unlikely to really notice and appreciate it. Links can also be a very powerful tool once you have begun to network with another blogger. Show them that you appreciate their work and that you want to help them by giving a link every now and then.
4. Email bloggers to introduce yourself – Most bloggers appreciate hearing from their readers. Simply take a moment to email someone and tell them why you read their blog and what you appreciate. Briefly tell them a little bit about yourself as well. Most bloggers will respond positively to this if you don’t seem pushy or spammy.
5. Be proactive in general – Most of the methods mentioned so far have one thing in common, you taking action. Try to develop a more proactive mindset and approach. Being proactive will certainly lead to meeting more people and better chances to develop your network.
6. Participate in group activities – Some of the best and easiest exposure I’ve received has come from participating in a few group writing projects and contests. In most cases they won’t require much extra work for you, but it will provide you with a convenient way to meet others.
7. Use forums – If you’re looking for a quick, easy place to network with other bloggers forums like Authority Blogger are a great solution. While it is difficult to drive much traffic to your site through forums, they are one of the best places for networking.
8. Write guest posts – Several of the best contacts that I’ve made over the past several months were initiated when I contacted other bloggers about the possibility of guest posting for them. If you can offer a high quality article to another blogger they will be sure to remember you and you now have an instant connection.
9. Comment on other blogs – Commenting is probably the most common form of participation with other bloggers. Not only can you get the attention of the blogger, but many visitors also take time to read through the comments.
What are some of the methods that you use for networking, and what do you think are the most important reasons to network?