Network Like Your Blog Depends On It
Networking can be daunting for bloggers because it takes time, energy, and a certain amount of extroversion at a time when you need those things to create your content.
But networking is essential, not only for building an audience but also for developing a peer group to help you make decisions about your blog, keep up with the latest news and thinking in your niche, and promote each other’s work.
The good news is that, as a blogger, you’re already in a strong position to find and make those first connections, use your blog as a networking tool, and grow your network.
How To Connect With New Blog Readers
When you’re a blogger, your audience is the most important part of your network. They’re the ones who read your posts, listen to your podcasts, or watch your videos. They’re the ones who’ll give you direct, honest feedback, inspire your work, and ask questions that make you think. They’re also the people whose attention can help you make money from your blog if you decide to join a blogging network or become an infopreneur, which we’ll talk about in a bit. So how to you build your audience?
Stick the landing page. A good landing page gets visitors to ask for more content from your blog,and gives you another way to get in touch with them, via email. Learn how to create a landing page that works.
Always read the comments. Get to know the people who make time to comment on your blog. They may have blogs of their own and insights that lead you to swap guest posts later on. Comments can also spark ideas for new posts—if so, be sure to give some credit to the person who made the comment.
Have your say. As you read your favorite blogs, make the time to read and contribute to their comments sections. Don’t spam the comments with links to your blog, though.
Go social. You don’t have to do every platform, but do at least one and do it well. Include links to your social media channels on your blog, and share your posts to your social media.
How to Connect With Other Bloggers
All of the tips for connecting with audience members can also put you in touch with bloggers, because most bloggers love to check out other blogs. There are a couple of extra steps you can take to raise your blogger networking game, too.
Join a blogger network. Blogger networks like Acorn and BlogHer offer ad revenue and sponsored post opportunities, so joining a network is a good way to start earning from the work you put into your blog. It’s also a convenient way to get to know other bloggers in your niche and beyond. There are plenty of reputable blog networks you can join. They all have different requirements for their members, so do your homework before you apply.
Attend at least one conference. Take your cards, plan ahead to meet up with some of your blog peeps IRL, and post your meet-ups on your blog and social media to share the love. You can pick a conference that’s specifically for bloggers, like BlogHer’s events, a regional event for your target audience, like the Texas Conference for Women, or an industry or hobby event in your niche, like Comic-Con.
Use Your Blog as Your Networking Calling Card
How bloggers make money depends on their niche, skills, and personal preferences. No matter exactly how you want to earn from your blog, growing your blog audience gives you more compelling numbers to share with potential sponsors and professional blogging clients.
If you decide to sell information products on your blog—like downloadable tutorials or online courses—your archives serve as a preview for potential customers. Naomi Dunford’s IttyBiz blog is a great example; her blog posts give readers a clear sense of the tone and type of advice they can get if they buy her coaching services.
You don’t have to rest on your archived laurels, either. Whenever you have a guest post on another blog, a new paid blogging gig for a client, or a new product to launch, share that information on the blog, of course. If there are influencers you hope will read and promote your blog, your content is the way to make that connection. Mention them in your content and link to their work or email them with a piece of your content you think they’ll find interesting or useful.
How To Keep Your Blog Network Strong
It’s one thing to build a huge web of digital connections. It’s another to grow a network that benefits everyone who’s part of it.
Because blogging and a lot of the networking that goes with it happen online, the process of making connections can have an almost video-game feel to it. Click here, connect there, watch your numbers grow.
But the human connections are what make your network worth building. Take the time to get to know a bit about each person you connect with and keep up with them. Not all of that has to take place on the public stage, either. Yes, you can publicly celebrate your network friends’ wins and let the world know how much you appreciate them, but there’s nothing wrong with chatting offline, too.
These connections can turn out to be far stronger than you might expect. For example, I’m part of a group of writers who live all over the world and originally connected through the comments on each other’s blogs. Now, we help each other out online and sometimes in person with career advice and creative support, and we’ve also helped each other through life events like kids’ illnesses, going back to school, and making major moves. These connections run far deeper than pixels on a screen, but they only could have been built online.
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Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelancer who enjoys writing about business development and marketing, e-commerce payments and fraud prevention, and travel.