Growing a blog can be a headache: but it doesn’t have to be.
You’ve put hours of work into designing and formatting your blog, and you’ve researched, written and published engaging content to attract your readers.
But if you aren’t willing to spend equal time on networking for your blog, all of your hard work may be for naught.
Learning to effectively use networking to grow your blog will drive continual traffic to your site and increase your readership, as well as build a community of supporters who are committed to helping you succeed.
The first, and most important, thing to remember when considering your networking strategy is that this is not a quick fix.
You have to reconcile yourself with the idea that what you do today may not produce results overnight, but will definitely have a positive impact on your blog growth over time.
The goal of networking is to cultivate fruitful business relationships and build a community of loyal supporters.
The byproduct of successfully connecting with your fellow business owners is increased readership and attention for your blog, as they commit to sharing and promoting your content in a mutually beneficial, reciprocal relationship.
As you begin to use networking to grow your blog, keep in mind that you are entering a marathon, not a race. Authenticity and consistency will be your mantra as you enter the arena. And the Golden Rule will be your guide.
Engage in authentic conversation on other blogs
Have you ever written an amazing blog post that you couldn’t wait to share with your readers?
And how many times do those posts go seemingly unnoticed by your readers because no one comments on the content?
This is something that ALL bloggers experience.
Comments validate worthy content.
When visitors to your blog see no engagement from your audience, they begin to question your authority. Authentic comments mean you’ve made a connection and your content resonated with your readers enough to open up a two-way dialogue.
It may seem simple, but a great way to use networking to grow your blog is by visiting other blogs to connect and comment on their posts.
By seeking out bloggers who are actively communicating with their readers through the comments section on their blog, you can introduce yourself and show your support of their content to get the conversation started.
Commenting on a fellow blogger’s work will show your support and encourage them to return the favor.
Be sure to include information about your blog in your comment in order to lead traffic back to your site.
There are a few ways to hop in with other bloggers committed to supporting each other:
- Link Ups – Many bloggers collaborate to host link ups on their respective blogs that allow other bloggers to visit and share their recent posts. Themes range anywhere from recipes to DIY crafts to homeschooling, and many are simply phrased “share your latest and greatest”! The goal (and rule) when you participate is to visit/comment/share others who have linked posts, knowing they have committed to doing similar with your content.
- Facebook Groups – There are countless Facebook groups committed to sharing content, commenting and other cross-promotion of the members’ posts. A simple search can reveal niche-specific groups, growth-focused groups, and powerhouse media groups. Don’t be afraid to take the leap and join up! And don’t be afraid to leave a group that isn’t the right fit – It may take you some time to “find your tribe.”
- Blogging Communities – Several communities exist online that have high-level processes, membership and professional-grade engagement. Some of the biggest and best include The SITS Girls, the International Bloggers Association and Mom It Forward. Membership to these extremely active groups reaps rewards in a multitude of ways.
Promote your fellow bloggers
Social media allows us to share relevant content with each other on various platforms and engage with like-minded businesses, consumers, and readers.
One excellent way to use networking to grow your blog is by promoting THEIR content on your social media profiles.
Whether that means finding and sharing a post they’ve written, or promoting their blog as a special feature on your own blog, offering a pat on the back to another blogger can really get the networking ball rolling in the right direction.
Promoted content is likely to be re-shared by its author. Choosing content from a blog with a large readership will increase your chances of growing your readership as well.
Looking for a few creative ways to promote other bloggers?
- #FF Follow Friday – Hop on Twitter each Friday to promote “must follow” bloggers with the trending hashtag for Follow Friday. However, be intentional and specific as to why you’re tagging these bloggers and why you think your followers should check them out. Do not tag just to tag and get a retweet. Be authentic!
- Guest Blogging – Ask other authorities in your niche to guest blog on your site. Many writers jump at the chance to visit another blog because it not only offers useful backlinks and SEO benefits, but because it introduces their voice to another audience. Likewise, ask if you can guest blog on their sites to return the favor. Your reach is doubled and your authority is solidified.
- Featured Pin/Featured Blogger – Have certain bloggers you love? Have a day where you shout out a fellow blogger and encourage your audience to engage. Use Pinterest to find relevant pins and post a “pin of the day” that tags the author. Recognition and special mention go a long way when you use networking to grow your blog.
Less asking, more offering
Recognizing the need for reciprocal business relationships when you use networking to grow your blog is important for both parties.
Your best chances for receiving support from fellow bloggers is by offering assistance before asking for it.
Think about what you have to offer and how you can help those you wish to network with. You are more likely to receive support and assistance from those you have offered your services to, and will have a strong foundation on which to build and maintain your new business relationship.
Remember the Golden Rule! Come with a heart of service, and you’re sure to find one that returns the favor.
The key to successful networking is achieving a give and take connection with your fellow bloggers, where each person receives as much support as they offer.
Remember, you are building a community here, and as such you must be willing to contribute equally within your network.
If you are willing to dedicate your time and hard work to the process, and can recognize the value in promoting others in order to gain your own readership, you will reap the rewards of your diligence.
Over to you
Remember this is not a quick fix.
Building loyalty and rapport with your audience as well as fellow bloggers takes time and commitment.
When you use networking to grow your blog, you are laying the foundation for long-term, consistent engagement with your audience and your supporters.