What’s one of the best ways to get more traffic to your blog and get better at blogging faster? Being friends with other bloggers.
Blogger friends you know in real life can be a great resource. But let’s say you don’t know any bloggers or, more specifically, you want to talk to other food bloggers to get more specific ideas for your blog called All Mac and Cheese All The Time. (Are there ‘mac and cheese’ blogs? Actually yes there are several!)
Like any relationship, you don’t want to meet bloggers and begin immediately leeching on them. You have to build up a rapport first before you ever ask for a link to your blog, advice, or any other blog-related favor.
Stage 1: Hey I’m Here
The first thing you want to do is let a blogger know you are reading. Yes, part of connecting with other bloggers involves reading their blogs. (If you thought you could get out of this without showing any interest in other people, sorry.)
In this stage, you are simply reacting to another blogger in a way that they notice.
One way to do this is to leave a comment on their blog. Here’s a blog called ‘From Away’ that I commented on:
As you see, I left a pertinent comment (not just ‘Nice post’) and I linked to my blog in a non-obnoxious way. So if you follow a few blogs and leave comments over the course of a few months, the blog author (in this case Jillian) will get to know you by name and sight, even though you two have never met.
Don’t comment on *every post a blogger does though, makes you seem desperate. Play it cool, dude, you are courting these bloggers.
In the social media world, you can do this by replying, commenting, or liking their blog post. They’ll start seeing your name or Twitter handle and say, “I wonder who this person with fabulous taste is.”
Stage 2: Hey I’m Sharing Your Stuff You’re So Cool
Once you’ve been making yourself visible to the blogger, it’s time to take your relationship to the next level. Now you have to share their stuff to your network.
Here’s my cousin Celina sharing a blog post:
So yeah, if you’re a blogger, you can share a link to another blogger’s post on your Facebook page, on your Twitter account, or on your own blog. They’ll notice the traffic spike… and if you do it in a way that associates your name with said traffic spike, they are going to like you. (P.S. The iStockphoto use was completely intentional. If you read the blog you’ll see what I mean.)
Stage 3: Hey Can We Talk Sometime?
So you are becoming something of a blog groupie. You’ve been reading comments, you’ve been sharing their stuff. You have asked nothing of them. This is the way true friendship works people so good job!
Over this time in your blog reading, you are probably going to powerfully connect with a few bloggers because you like their stuff and end up liking them as people. When I think of this, I think of my relationship with J at Budgets are Sexy and Kelly at Almost Frugal. Love them!
Now that you are contacting your bloggers directly, there are any number of things you might want to do with them. You may want to interview them for your blog, or ask them some blog advice… you could want any number of things from them actually.
As a blogger, I get pitched at least once a week (As a former daily blogger, I was pitched way more back then). Here’s a fairly typical email I got last week (Think of this as ‘how not to do this’):
Here’s the thing, even if you do ask for a favor in that first email, at least the people you are talking to will know who you are because you have gone through the first two stages0. What I’m showing above is an email version of a cold sales call. Don’t do this unless you want to face more rejection then acceptance.
If your message is personal and you’ve actually done the thing you are asking the other person to do (like your Facebook page, leave a blog comment, etc.) then you are much more likely to at least get an email back.
Stage 4: Hey Let’s Do Something Together!
Here’s what’s weird, you are actually going to make friends from blogging. Yeah, like Phil from London who is now one of my best friends… I met him from my blog. Cool right?
If you’ve been corresponding with a blogger, reading their stuff, etc. it might be really cool to do something together. Maybe you do a podcast or guest blog on each other’s sites for a week… It’s up to you really. And now that you are friends with this blogger, you can combine your powers and get more done. More could mean more traffic to your blog but it could also mean more interesting topics/kinds of content, more opportunities to sell your product(s), or other versions of more… In our case, Alice and I got an awesome place to stay in London for three weeks last spring.
If you blog long enough, you will get to this point of having blogger friends. But remember the internet is like real life. You wouldn’t go on a first date and immediately ask the person to be your boyfriend. You wouldn’t go to a job interview without looking around a little at the company’s website. Do your homework and build relationships in the blogosphere and you too will have a great blog that many people you don’t yet know will get to see.