Nurturing relationships with other bloggers within your niche is still one of the best ways to grow a blog.
Just think of the options you have available once you begin to network with fellow bloggers: guest posting, interviews, collaborations, giveaways, selling a digital product together…
But… how do you build relationships with other bloggers?
Well, here are a few pointers that will help you connect with people in an online environment.
1. Offer value.
This is such a cliché, right?
But the bitter truth is that most bloggers, especially those who are just starting out, operate out of this scarcity mindset. They’re all “me, me, me” and they approach each interaction as a way to mention, beg, or somehow persuade others to read their blogs.
Don’t do that.
First of all… give something, whether it’s a genuine compliment, or a personal story, or an opinion.
Always ask yourself, “what am I giving them?” whenever you interact with other bloggers, either through comments, emails, and, most importantly, when you’re pitching them.
Always open your outreach emails with either a value proposition (what you can do for them) or a compliment of sorts.
2. Don’t force it!
Even if you add value, even if you are persistent, you should know that in this online environment some people just don’t vibe.
If the blogger you’re trying to build a relationship with doesn’t want to engage with you, don’t become a mosquito and pester them with tens of comments and/or emails.
Just as it happens in real life, if you force the connection, you’re going to alienate the other person.
3. Be direct and honest about your intentions.
Here’s the thing: trying to make it seem like you don’t want anything in return for the value you add, or that there’s no intention on your behalf of ever leveraging the relationship you have with them, is only going to make things a lot harder in the long run.
After all, if you feel a bit sleazy, it’s not because it’s not nice to ask for favors, but probably because you can’t repay them, which means you shouldn’t be asking anything of them in the first place.
Be direct! Tell them what you want, and always engage with them with a clear understanding that there’s some sort of mutual benefit.
4. Try not to place your lips upon their posterior.
Repeatedly placing your lips upon another blogger’s posterior makes you seem disingenuous, and it also makes it almost impossible for the other blogger to trust you.
I get it! Especially when it comes to engaging the bloggers we admire most.
But if you are struggling to engage with them properly, or you find yourself feeling mixed emotions about whether or not they’re going to want to build an rapport with you, then it’s probably best to interact with bloggers who are on your level in terms of audience, authority, and so on.
Yes, complimenting another blogger is often the first step in building rapport with them, but try not to overdo it.
When in doubt, try to add your own opinions about a certain article you’re commenting on or referencing to the author. That way, it feels a lot more genuine.
5. Be perseverant, but don’t turn into a mosquito
There’s a lot of noise around the blogosphere so don’t be offended if people don’t respond – try again in a little while – but try not to send them tons of e-mails and messages.
The art of being social is quite subtle, so I think it’s best to comment on their content, get them to reply, then try again, and all this makes it far more likely they will reply to your e-mail.
And think about it this way: if you’re reaching out via e-mail, and you never interacted before (via the comments section or on social media), then there’s a real possibility they might not reply to your first e-mail.
That’s why the follow-up email is so important, but a third, fourth, or fifth email? It depends on the situation, but you should also consider this: if they don’t appear interested, you constantly pressuring them won’t make them change their mind.
6. Get to (genuinely) know them
When you ask others about their goals and objectives, not only do you make a good impression, but you’ll be in a great position to know where your situation aligns with another person’s – this is where networking becomes most effective to both parties.
After all, engaging other bloggers within the community will always inspire you, so there’s that as a benefit.
Be interested and you will be perceived as interesting.
7. Know who you are and what you want
I get many emails every single day from folks who want me to promote their blogs, but they’re not sure why, what their blogs are even about, or if it is all worth it.
Besides the fact that they are just into taking (and not giving anything in return), they also explicitly tell me that even if I were to offer them my help, it still might not be worth it.
So… why even e-mail me?
8. Focus on what you’re bringing to the table
Always, always, always know this.
Like a voice at the back of your mind, always know the value you add to any interaction.
What do you bring to the table?
You’re not sure?
Figure it out.
Friendly, free, and competent.
These are three words you should always keep in mind when interacting with folks online.
Try to be friendly and nice, to never impose, beg, threaten, and to always show them that you are competent enough to be worth their time.