Learn how to Network with other Bloggers and grow your readership in this post by Alex Shalman from AlexShalman.com.
Networking online and in person are like twins with different personalities. You’re ultimately trying to do the same thing, which is build a connection and form a relationship. At the same time your using different tools and executing different strategies.
In order to make a great impression, and create an amazing relationship, you’re going to have to be a certain type of person and do a few things you might not normally do. This isn’t an exercise in being fake, rather it’s an attempt to get yourself out there, in order to shine a spot light on the extraordinary you.
Here is a list of everything you need to be a successful networker. Remember, bloggers are all people, just like you. With that said, this is not just a guide for networking with bloggers, but with people as a whole.
- Have the best intentions. You might be really good at faking it, but essentially your intentions will become transparent. Try on the idea of operating with the greatest good of all in mind. Whether you’re contacting someone for a favor, partnership, or just to make a friend, you must consider how the interaction will be a win-win.
- Respect their time. Make the assumption that whoever you’re talking to is an extremely important, and busy person. Do not contact them with a long-winded 5 page essay with a million details, about something that is vitally important to you, but may not have any signficance to them. Be concise and get to the point.
- Be genuine with them. Be very transparent in what you want right off the bat. If you manipulate a person into giving you their attention, and than spring something major on them, they will most certainly not appreciate it. You might get what you want, but it won’t be ethical, and you won’t have a lasting relationship.
- Give more than you take. Do not be a leach that sucks away someones time and resources. Be willing to offer more of your time and service than you are expecting to receive. I know this sounds like a cliche, but it’s more fulfilling to give, than to receive, and it’s a better way to make friends too.
- Keep them at eye level. People feel uncomfortable if you put them on a pedestal and they resent being talked down to. By talking to someone as if they are just like you, you build a stronger connection and sense of reporte. You’ll find people opening up, speaking casually, and possibly becoming a friend.
- Have unshakable confidence, and ask. Most contacts are not approached, and deals are not made, not because someone got rejected, but because they did not ask in the first place. This should have been rule number one. Take the first step, write that comment, or that e-mail, and believe in yourself.
- Be presentable on search. When contacting someone for the first time, the chances of them googling your name are pretty high these days. Make sure you give them something good to find, other than a myspace page with drunken pics. Have a weblog set up to showcase who you are and what you do.
- Treat them the way they want to be treated. This is more important than treating someone the way you want to be treated. This is the ultimate form of showing someone you understand them, and are willing to give them what they need. It requires a little bit of proactive listening on your part.
- Comment on their blog. The amazing part about blogging is our readers can give us direct feedback on what was just published. You can take advantage of this by leaving relevant, intelligent, insightful, and thought-provoking comments on their blog. They will notice.
- Trackback conversations. A step further than commenting is answering what they said on your own blog, with more detail, and using a trackback to notify them. Bloggers are generally big fans of positive conversations about them, and love being linked to.
- The short e-mail. Keeping in mind what we discussed in the mentality section, you are now ready to craft the perfect e-mail. Remember, once they’ve read it, they have formulated a first impression of you, so make it count.
- Skype it or cell it. Over a year ago I was e-mailing one of my blogger friends Liz Strauss, and she randomly asked for my number and called me. She has become one of my strongest blog contacts, and also a dear friend. Her approach worked. Talking to a person, and getting to know them, is the ultimate way to network.
- Networking events. Part stalker, part fan, I traveled to New York City TWICE to meet up with Darren. I genuinely wanted to connect with him, and I think I’ve been able to accomplish that goal. There is nothing better than networking off-line. Bloggers are more than just a web page, they’re people, just like you and I.
- Other tools. There are many other communication tools out there, such as instant messengers and twitter, that help facilitate speedy conversations. New methods of communicating are coming out at a rate that seems daily. It’s always good to explore, and take new things into account, but never forget the fundamentals!
Photo by b_d_Solis
Alex Shalman writes about personal development, communication, blogging, success, and happiness on his popular site AlexShalman.com (RSS). He created the Happiness Project series of interviews with notable bloggers like Darren Rowse by using the networking techniques outlined above.