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12 Tools and Techniques for Building Relationships with Other Bloggers

building-relationships-bloggers.jpgImage by Michael Sarver

A recent question asked in the Q&A widget was from a reader asking me to write about:

“How to go about building relationships with other bloggers?”

Building relationships with other bloggers is an important aspect of blogging. I see it as crucial for a number of reasons:

  • Finding Readers – one of the best ways to grow your readership is to have another blogger recommend that their readers check out something that you’ve written.
  • Learning Your Craft – as I look back on what I’ve learned about blogging over the last five years I would credit other bloggers as teaching me a good proportion of it. The more you interact with bloggers the more you’ll learn about building a better blog.
  • Accountability and Advice – at times blogging can be a fairly isolating task and it’s easy to get off track or become deluded (either by your ego getting out of control or by becoming depressed about some aspect of what you do). Having other bloggers around you that you give permission to keep you grounded and to lift you up when you’re despondent is important at keeping yourself balanced.
  • Friendship – blogging can be a lonely business. Having other bloggers around you who know the ins and outs, the pressures and the quirks and the highs and the lows makes the whole thing a lot more enjoyable.
  • Sharing of Skills – I’ve never met a blogger who knows everything about their niche or about how to blog (I’ve met a couple who think they do) – the reality is that we all have gaps in our knowledge and skills so to have others around us that might complement what we have can add a new dimension to a blog. As I remember the early years of my own blogging I’m struck by how much ‘trading’ of skills we all did for one another. One blogger would do a design for another one, in return they’d get some guest posts or advice on ad optimization etc.

So HOW should a blogger approach this important task of building relationships with other bloggers?

There are a large number of tasks that networking and building relationships with other bloggers can involve. I’ll list some of them below but before I do I think it’s worth saying that some will fit with some bloggers more than others.

We all make friends differently in ‘real life’ and I suspect will do best when we approach blogger networking in our own way and bringing our own personality to the task.

12 Blogger Networking Techniques and Tools:

  1. Commenting on Other’s Blogs – basic but effective, but only when you add value with your comments.
  2. Emailing Other Bloggers – once again, this works best if you add value in some way. Don’t just email to say hi, email to contribute something, give some advice, offer to help etc
  3. Guest Posts – one way that can make an impression on another blogger is to offer to make a post. This particularly makes an impression when they need it most (when they are sick, have a vacation coming up, have some crisis). Keep an eye out for these times and be prepared to do what you can to assist.
  4. Story Tips – if a story breaks in your niche – email other bloggers to let them know.
  5. Link Out – linking to a competitors blog could seem like a crazy thing to do but it can make a real impression and show other bloggers your willingness to interact.
  6. Instant Messaging – interaction via IM can really take a relationship to a new level as it’s real time and personal.
  7. Social Networking – this should be a no brainer – social networking tools are exist with the purpose of connecting people. The key is to pick social networking tools that fit for you and your niche and focus on those. For example if other bloggers in your niche are interacting on Twitter – join it, if there’s a lot of activity on Facebook, go there – if LinkedIn is more relevant to your niche interact there!
  8. Social Bookmarking – one of the best ways to get on the radar of another blogger is to be responsible for sending them a huge wave of traffic. While most of us can’t do this from our small blogs – we can submit other bloggers sites to social media sites like Digg and StumbleUpon. Instead of spending your day working on campaigns to build your own votes on these sites why not do it for another blogger?
  9. Interviews – there’s nothing more flattering than having someone email you with a request to interview you and then to have them go to the trouble of thinking up interesting questions that show they’ve taken time to research the interview. Interviews can be good content for your blog but I think the real benefit of them is that they put you into a conversation with the person you’re interviewing and can be a springboard into relationship!
  10. Forums and Discussion Groups – forums are one place that a lot of niche bloggers lurk. Engage genuinely in these spaces and you never know who you’ll end up connecting with. The building of relationships is one thing that I see emerging in the ProBlogger Room on FriendFeed.
  11. Pick up the Phone/Skype it – while IM can be good at making your interactions more conversation like – voice to voice interactions take it a step further. Of course be a little careful with a cold-call – I’d recommend working up to a voice call with some emails etc as some are better on the phone than others with strangers.
  12. Real Life Networking Events – one of the best ways of building relationships with bloggers is to meet face to face. A lot can be achieved without actually meeting (at b5media none of the founders had met until a year into our business and after we’d secured VC funding) but meeting another blogger has a way of cementing a relationship that is quite special.

WARNING!

Knowing about and using the above tools and techniques are not enough on their own. Each of them can be used both to build fruitful relationships with other bloggers and to hurt your relationships. Many of the above techniques when used in an overbearing way can come across as spam – proceed with caution!

Tomorrow I want to expand upon this topic and share with you 17 principles of building relationships with bloggers that I think will put these tools and techniques into a context where they can be used well.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I have been submitting some guest posts lately. I see this as a great way to get exposure to a new profile of readers for no cost (except your time)

  2. Thanks Darren.

    This post left me with a strong sense of what I need to do to continue growing my various projects. I find that I’m networked with people all across the United States, however, none of it is within any specific target or niche, as some of them have little to no interest in what I’m working on.

    I need to continue working within my niche when it comes to networking and building relationships.

    All the best.

  3. Nice tips Darren. I have successfully used guest posting, blog commenting and emailing as methods of networking with other bloggers. They have really worked :)

  4. These tips work. Worked for me. Basically, the right thing to to is be a good friend and don’t be affraid to make contact, as long as you don’t become a stalker.

  5. Great tips! I like the warning because if people push to hard like with any real relationships, it will push the person away.

    I find it challenging to keep up with the forums, especially when there are multiple avenues for growing relationships and so on.

    How do you keep track of or up with forums? Thanks!

  6. Great Post, other bloggers are the best readers to have!

    They know when and how to comment, how to bookmark and a host of other intangibles. Twitter seems to be one of the newest and best means to get closer to your readers and industry leaders, cough cough

    I saw Darren’s twitter about this post to get here just now :)

  7. Building a relationship with visitors really does boost the credibility of future content and keeps the readers coming back. I found your post via your Tweet, and so social applications also follow the tradition of relationship-building.

  8. The best thing about this post is that it shows tha using a list in the headline will get people to read the post.

    ie…12 Tools and Techniques

    Couldn’t wait to see what they were….

    Live From Las Vegas
    The Masked Millionaire

  9. Hello Darren, we just started our business blog and want it to be a success. We want it to be great value to our customers and to the blogging comunity in general. Thank you for this informative post.

  10. What is our real objective here? Sometimes I get caught up in looking for the next hot tip to build readership. I forget how much I enjoy writing, reading, and adding to the network of ideas. This post readjusted my priorities to blogging for the joy of sharing ideas and building an online community.

  11. well according to me all of these things are equally important but twittering and commenting helps a lot

  12. Once again, nicely layed out email with points anyone early in the blogging stages can learn from. I just started a new blog, mostly due to your great advice on ProBlogger. Been sending links to my girlfriend for two months now to try to inspre her (and it has!) so I figured I’d listen to my own advise (through yours of course) and do the same.

    Thanks and keep up the awesome work!
    Nuno XEI

  13. Once I learn how to balance all of this, I think I’ll be something close to an online champ lol

    I find myself thinking .. should I assign certain tasks to certain days? One hour for this, one hour for that?

    I love interacting via IM / phone (I never skyped I’m going to try that) because that personal feel adds to this.. loyalty I feel to support a great fellow blogger

    and yes – spending time supporting others is wise

    :)

  14. Im working on a blog section for my site Clubath.com (http://www.clubpath.com/). Not sure if I am better of starting off with a photo blog or an article blog. I have photographers taking photos at different venues throughout Toronto, and some talented writers. Which would you start off with?

  15. This is an area I need to being focusing on now. However, I tend to feel overwhelmed or get confused when attempting to dip into the ocean of blogs out there.

    I would love to get some advice from someone about a process or approach for targeting the RIGHT blogs, and the RIGHT relationships. So many times, I’ve set out to find a blog or two that I want to establish a connection with, but the sheer volume of choices sometimes makes it difficult for me. How do I narrow the field strategically?

    If anyone can offer any wisdom here, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

  16. Thanks for tying all this together. It will be a great list to keep handy as we develop our blogs.

    I am a fledgling blogger and tie place (Denver, CO) to my blog that educates people about social media. After interviewing a couple of bloggers, I proposed to them that we get together for a happy hour. We all blog in different genres, but we share Denver as a setting for our work. So I contacted other bloggers in town that we are all interested in meeting. We will have our first get-together this week. While I am sure this is nothing new, I already am enjoying the camaraderie we are building.

  17. Alot depends on how popular the blog is of the person seeking the relationship……

    Very popular blog owners seldom guest post – and they seem to only link to other popular blogs or close colleagues…

    Of course, if you comment too much and link to your blog – some perceive it as spamming their blog, ( and the comments had better not be critical) …

    Hopefully, you can catch the coat tails of a rising star and build a relationship

  18. this is exactly what most of the people doing, the problem is its very hard to provide good post and content.

  19. Maybe I have been following your blog for too long, but these “tips” sound pretty familiar. Maybe at some point you need to start labelling posts beginners, intermediate, advanced bloggers.

  20. Hey there Darren,

    Building relationships with bloggers is really on spot, that’s
    a crucial point of every worthwhile endeavor. Having this attitude that others are more important than ourselves
    is the rock to stand on that’s able to give firm footing.

    Thanks You Darren…

    For demonstrating that You care in your post.

    Champion Business Buiders will be humble to read and
    appreciate the wisdom shared here. Have a great day!

  21. Before we start labelling bloggers as “beginners,” “intermediates”, and “advanced” – who ultimately makes the decision about blog levels? I’ve been blogging, professionally for 3-4 years and I still consider myself a beginner. Is there a way to know?

    Although I must say, 1 blog year certainly feels like dog years.

  22. I have started building relationships with other bloggers in my niche via commenting on their posts. I’ve had good success connecting with like-minded bloggers this way. On question I do have, however, is how to approach another blogger about providing them with a guest post. How should I approach them?

  23. These were all wonderful tips. Now no one can complain about low traffic. *=)

  24. I’m in the same boat as Julie Scipioni McKown. The vastness of the Internet can be intimidating! But, I do feel that like-minded individuals find a way to come together -eventually.

    Amy Bowllan made a good point too about ranking beginner, novice and pro status. I have jumped through all the hoops professionally already, and though blogging is a relatively new way to participate/share, I don’t think it detracts from my professionalism.

    There goes my ego flaring up! LOL

    Darren, you’re right on about your tips on networking, whether it’s new or old, it should continue to be shared. Sometimes, going back to review the basics solves other problems beyond the beginning.

    Theresa

  25. But unfortunately there are many ego-maniacs in this game, who have become successful, and have a complete attitude toward those of us getting started. In my niche I have ran into a few of these morons.

    Maybe its a sense of being threatened by competition.

  26. Thanks, Theresa.

    What blogging should not become is an “elitist” paradigm for those “only in the know” who will succeed. I find that that is increasingly becoming the case. It’s almost like the, na na na na na – we were on first base first – type of mentality that little kids play.
    It’s quite irritating b/c no matter what, bloggers have something offer, or they wouldn’t be blogging.

    And that’s what worries me about ranking. As Darren points out in his book, there’s a certain humility bloggers need in order to hit that “success radar” – until then, we ALL are beginners. And nothing is wrong with that.

    Although I may change my mind and become a pompous – you know what – when I hit 6 figures ;)

  27. I’m still practicing the 12 techniques and tools and as an introvert by nature, you can imagine how difficult some of the tips are to practice in real life. But I’ve learned that if you want the blog to be successful, you have to force yourself to step out of your comfort zone.

  28. Commenting on other blogs and having genuine interaction between bloggers seems to really help.

    Sometimes we can forget that bloggers are real people with real feelings.

    I am beginning to realize and put into practice that one of the best ways to blog is slow down and appreciate each blog, instead of reading as many as I can and leaving little quippy comments.

    Twitter is great to leave little quips, but when I see someone who really puts a lot of thought and effort into their posts etc, I truly want to slow down and appreciate their effort and talent.

  29. I do like to comment on other blogs and always try to contribute something meaningful and try to link to other blogs on a regular basis, but I have been lacking on some of these other tools. Thanks for the “kick in the butt” to make use of all available tools!

  30. Really great and very useful post. Thank you for sharing this with us. Really interesting, useful post for any blogger!

    Many of these tips I have been try, but some I haven’t… I will definitely try them in near future!

  31. Expanding on Social Networking tools may be a great topic for a future post (hint, hint). I’ve been on Facebook for a while and have gained very little out of it.

    Since revisiting LinkedIn and find its business networking focus helpful than the generic social model of Facebook.

    Horses for courses? Or is there a way of categorising what networks work well with certain segments in the Blogosphere?

  32. Thanks again for the info. I didn’t write any guest posts yet, but I would like to. But I would only submit something if it’s really good, and since I’m a bit of a perfectionist, that’s hard.

    I also really like to receive email from other bloggers with requests to share links, have a talk about each other’s blogs etcetera. I’m just starting so not a lot of networking has happened yet, but it’s a good time to start!

  33. From the looks of things – and based on these comments – a new bloggers’ forum should emerge.

  34. good tips for interacting with other blogger. i try to apply this

  35. Thanks for the great tips Darren. I’m in the planning stage of creating my first WordPress blog and the information your site provides has given me lots of helpful ideas.

    Sharon Bray-McPherson
    Follow Me On Twitter
    http://twitter.com/sbraymcpherson

  36. Hi,
    I like this post. It is a very useful post. May I know how to write a guest post?

    Anyone here can guide me? Thanks in advance!

  37. Great stuff, Darren. I am getting ready to implement “interviews” on my site, and am also toying with the idea of guest posts. Question, with guest posts…..If the guest writer posts the article on their site as well, does this (..the whole dual post thing) upset the search engine gods?

  38. These tips have been very useful as I try to grow my blog, thanks

  39. With so many blog networking techniques and tools to choose from, I can get a little overwhelmed at times. I think each of the 12 techniques and tools in your list is definitely worth pursuing, but if you can test which of the 12 works best for your particular blog and then focus the majority of your efforts on those that are bringing the best results, you will save yourself a lot of time and money. I believe it is called the 80/20 rule.

  40. Great tips! I wish there was two of me so I could do all the brilliant things you suggest doing. But I’m still working on my Dancing Red Monkey.

  41. Very useful, thanks!

  42. Starting to come together and make sense. Thanks for the good stuff Darren.

  43. You wrote – Finding Readers – one of the best ways to grow your readership is to have another blogger recommend that their readers check out something that you’ve written.

    This is SO VALUABLE and just about as important as anything else. The value of another blogger or person recommending you to others is unmeasurable …. because you did not have to do it. You did not have to convince them to check out your site, someone else did it for you. You did not have to pay for this promotion, someone else did it for you.

    there is no value that can be placed on others working FOR YOU to help your site grow.


    Political Disgust

  44. Thanks for this article, Darren. I’ve just started a blog, and networking and building relationships with other bloggers is something I really need to work on to get myself out there. These are great tips!

  45. Skype…… never used it, I missed the boat fo sho

  46. Hi,

    I am new to blogging and i thank you posting such articles, these articles will surly help me build a good blog and better relationship with other blog. Thank you.

  47. Great tips for any blogger i agree friend ships and comunication with other bloggers is a big plus

  48. It amazes me that so many people who do comment do not actually add any decent content. I seems their only intent for the comment is the link to their name. Too bad that most blogs have the ‘nofollow’ attribute activated thereby causing their link to fall on deaf ears.

  49. Thanks for this post darren I will surely apply this tips by heart…

  50. Great advice I had heard the same from a few other bloggers and I have been going to different sites and leaving comments. It really works I have made a few new friends. It is amazing how much other more experienced bloggers want to help when your new. I love to visit your site you always have great advice.Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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