Top 12 Networking Tips for Growing Bloggers (100-300 Followers): B2S/B2B Week 3

by Gigi Ross on September 26, 2010

 You’re not a newbie blogger anymore, but you’re still shooting for a bigger readership. You’re busy. You get comments from regular followers and you’re moving and shaking.

You’ve hit what I consider to be one of the toughest periods in blogging. :) Why? Because you haven’t hit critical mass yet.

Critical mass is the point where your followers start doing a lot of your networking for you. You’re not completely there yet, but you’re close. I hope this will help show you how to get there. But it’s a lot of work at this phase of blogging (speaking from my own experience).

New bloggers spend most of their time in blog networks. Established bloggers spend most of their time in social media. You? In order to reach critical mass, you’ve got to do all of it. And a lot of it. At this stage in my blogging, I was spending equal parts of my time on blog networks, commenting, and social media. It looked like this:

no funnel here. equal time in all 3 networking areas.

It sucks. But if you put in the time RIGHT NOW, you will be rewarded later. I promise!

So..on to my top 12 networking tips for growing bloggers.

1. Utilize your immediate network. By now, you should have some peeps you can really rely on to always comment on your blog and offer support. Utilize them. Ask them for feedback and retweets. Follow who they follow on Twitter. Extend your reach through them.

2.  Seek out guest posts. Now’s the time. When people come to visit your blog from wherever you’re guest posting, there’ll be plenty of  content for them to view. It won’t look like a ghost town. Update your “about me” page. People will be reading it! 

3. Spend some time on your personal bio. The bio you send on with guest posts can make or break whether someone decides to visit your blog. Put some effort into it. Spice it up! Make your story unique enough that people will WANT to come see your blog for themselves. (Check the extra credit this week for help!)

4. Take guest posting seriously. Make a good first impression and consider the reputation of the blogger who is letting you guest post. If you write a half-assed, throwaway post, it does you, and that blogger, a disservice. Devote time and thought to crafting a genuinely good post.

5. When you guest post, visit every commenter. This can be incredibly valuable to your networking. If you don’t do one other thing on this list, please do this. It’s awesome to guest post. But it can be a wasted opportunity if you don’t follow up!

When I guest posted over at ScaryMommy, many of the commenters were new to me. I went to every site, read a post or two and commented on their post - as well as thanking them for reading mine. Several of those commenters are now some of my most loyal followers and I, theirs.

6. Read about 1 blog for every 1 follower you have. This is a lot of blogs if you have 300 followers – it’s not a hard and fast rule. Keep up your reading as much as you can. Segregate your blogs in Google Reader (if you use it) into blogs you read every day, once a week, etc. Even if you visit a blog only once a week, it can instill loyalty in that blogger coming back to your site.

7. Comment, comment, comment on blogs you love. Don’t throw away the hard work you put into reading blogs. If you have something thoughtful or pertinent to say, take the extra minute to comment. We all.love.comments. It’s how many of us define our blogging self-worth!

8. Find a fairy blogmother. You can read my detailed post about this topic later this week.

9. Pick and choose. When I started blogging, I joined 10 or 12 blog networks and was participating in several memes. As my blog grew, I found myself gravitating to specific networks and memes. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick the blog networks and events that give you the most resources and benefit. Discard the others.

10. Be valuable to your blog networks. You’ve been blogging for awhile and you’re in a position to give information as well as get information. If you’re perceived as helpful to other bloggers, be assured they’ll come check your blog out.

11. When you follow a blog, follow the author on Twitter, too. This is a great habit to start as early as you can. Most bloggers follow you back on Twitter when you follow them. Take the extra second to add them to Twitter. You never know where the relationship might lead.

12. Auto-syndicate your blog posts to Twitter and FB. There are lots of tools that can automatically send your blog posts to Twitter and/or your Facebook page. Twitterfeed, dlvr.it, and Get Clicky are just a few. Each have their own pros and cons and ways to set up the feeds. Doing this will ensure that your blog posts have the largest possible audience – every time – with minimal work.

That’s it! Now, on to your writing task.

This week, you have your choice. You can Pick, Practice or Plan.

In Pick, you can pick one more topic out of the Idea Bank and blog about it.

In Practice, select one of the above tips. Implement it. Decide what your goal is going to be. Blog about how you’ll reach it.

In Plan, blog about what your plan is for growing your blog to the next level. What will you focus on and how?

About the Author

I'm a blogger, wife, mom of 2, Jason Mraz fangirl and social media geek - not necessarily in that order. I write about parenting, lifestyle stuff, technology, social media and pop culture.

{ 25 comments }

MamaOnDaGo September 26, 2010 at 6:24 am

Thanks for helping the newbies. It’s always difficult to be the new kid on the block. Even harder is being the new kid on the block who is naive about the blogging world.
MamaOnDaGo´s last blog post ..Disneyland- The Real Deal

kludgymom September 26, 2010 at 9:17 am

I’m glad you’re finding the info helpful! I wish I had something like this to participate in when I was new. I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels and trying so many different things. What a waste of time! But it did teach me some things. :)

Mad Woman behind the Blog September 26, 2010 at 7:45 am

Wonderful list AND concise!
Now, if you could tell me how to find a nanny, chef and personal assistant, it would be greatly appreciated!

Nicole Abdou September 26, 2010 at 7:57 am

Great advice! Thanks for sharing!
Nicole Abdou´s last blog post ..Meditation- Soul Enriching

liz September 26, 2010 at 8:08 am

hey, i just started using google reader…i need to look more closely, but from the sounds of it, can you make various groups of blogs? daily, weekly, etc?

kludgymom September 26, 2010 at 9:25 am

You can assign blogs to folders, which you can name whatever you want. I have a group of blogs that I try to read no matter when they post, and then another group of blogs that I try to get to when I can.

There’s another service that I heard about from Lindsay at Designer Wife that is called Feedly. It runs on Firefox and I kind of like the way you can organize your reading there as well. You may want to check it out.

alicia September 27, 2010 at 7:31 pm

I need to know more about this. Is this for all networks including blogger? I need a way to categorize or something. I love google reader, but it can be a bit daunting at times.

kludgymom September 27, 2010 at 8:12 pm

yes, it is. you just need to have Firefox as your browser, I believe. Check it out. Google feedly.

Alexandra September 26, 2010 at 8:08 am

I love how easy you make things to follow, and your clear examples.

You are a very good teacher of the basics, GIgi;;;;just what I need.

Now, if only I had the discipline and determination.

(-:

Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli September 26, 2010 at 8:24 am

Great ideas Gigi. I think commenting on blogs is the best way to start building a readership too.
Just one caution- many on Twitter will unfollow someone using an automatic system to feed their new blog posts. It represents a really unpersonal approach. People on Twitter like to chat with real people and not automated tweets.
It also limits how you present your blog post. Which is what I found frustrating.

kludgymom September 26, 2010 at 9:12 am

I agree that it can be frustrating to not be able to customize how you present your blog post. I normally auto-tweet it out once when it’s first published (which is early morning) and then throughout the day I write more custom tweets that promote my post in different ways.

I personally don’t unfollow someone who auto-feeds their blog posts and don’t find it that impersonal, so long as it’s balanced with more personalized activity on Twitter. I think yes, if someone only does “automatic” things on Twitter and doesn’t interact at all – yes, that would be a turnoff.

Definitely good points to mention, Kristin. You don’t want to swing too hard in the direction of being too “automated.”

Cheryl @ Mommypants September 26, 2010 at 9:38 am

Interesting post, Gigi!

I personally have found that some of the networks, while incredibly helpful when I was just starting to build readership, kind of have diminishing returns at this point. I used to spend an hour or so visiting blogs I saw on SITS, for example. I’d comment on maybe 25 blogs and in return? Maybe get 2 or 3 comments. I got a little burned out from it. On the other hand, being the featured blogger at SITS was fantastic and I got some new loyal readers.

I’ve read that you should make your tweets about new blog posts personal, so I also don’t auto-tweet. I tweet my link several times throughout the day but I always change the message.

kludgymom September 26, 2010 at 9:47 am

Good feedback. I had already pared my blog networking down to 2 groups when I had 100=300 followers, but I was still pretty active and I did get some good traffic from Lady Bloggers in particular during that time. It may depend on your content and how you’re interacting too. If you read the post for “established’ bloggers you’ll see how I talk about the diminishing returns of blog networks and how now I spend almost no time on them.

You’re ahead of the curve, maybe? :)

kludgymom September 26, 2010 at 9:49 am

To your point about auto-tweeting – which Kristin also brought up – and it’s a good thing that you guys did. One alternative would be to auto-tweet JUST to facebook and not Twitter. I tend to give Facebook short shrift anyway, and sometimes forget to post there. I also don’t re-post things to Facebook – I do it once, whereas with Twitter I tweet multiple times.

That way you can still be personal with Twitter but not forget about Facebook (which I often do!)

Kristin {ellie-town} September 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Great info! I feel like I have been stuck in the 100′s forever and want to break out. Now I’ve got a plan. :)
Kristin {ellie-town}´s last blog post ..Magic Steam

Maureen September 27, 2010 at 2:53 am

This is so awesome! :D
I feel like I kinda fell off the wagon taking almost 4 weeks off of blogging and need to get back to the mojo and do all three that you suggested above: blog networks, comments and social media. Need to get myself back to the rhythm again.
Maureen´s last blog post ..I Was That Fat Girl

MultipleMum September 27, 2010 at 6:21 am

This is a fantastic list. I have slackened off on my commenting and networking lately and it seems now is the time I should be going full steam ahead. Thanks for the heads up on that! I like the idea of syndicating blog posts and FB. I will work out how to do that this week (will save me having to do it manually!) Another fantastic week ahead for us b2sb2b-ers.
MultipleMum´s last blog post ..Have you seen the Dude

Pop September 27, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I’m just happy I have followers not named My Wife, so I don’t have much to add to this, but thank you for the tips!
Pop´s last blog post ..Merciful Monday- Perspective

Tim September 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm

This is awesome advice for anyone looking to build a blog following no matter what blog niche they are in. Great post Gigi. Visiting all the commenter’s blogs and commenting on their blog posts is my favorite tip.
Tim´s last blog post ..Free tshirt scavenger hunt

Joey @ Big Teeth & Clouds September 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I’ve been involved in a very slow organic readership growth pattern since I hit the 100 mark. Seeing that follower # go up is still fun, but it doesn’t drive me to “work” anymore. Perhaps I’m in a follower-finding funk. I feel content at 251 though.
Joey @ Big Teeth & Clouds´s last blog post ..Living with hearing loss- Lesley

Lindsay October 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm

THIS is a fantastic list – so so SO helpful!! :)

Mama Track March 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Awesome tips–thanks for sharing. I’m filing this one away for future reference.

Amy a/k/a HonestConvoGal March 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Thank you! This is really helpful. When I first started my blog, I did it really just for me and a few friends. It wasn’t until Angie Kinghorn got me hooked into Twitter that I really started to push it into a larger thing. These tips are extremely helpful. I am confused about blogging networks. I belong to a few but I don’t know how to use them effectively. Do you repost your posts there? How best are they used?

Thanks,

Amy
Amy a/k/a HonestConvoGal´s last blog post ..Standing on Holy Ground- A Day Where Laughter Soared &amp Danced &amp We Were Free to Love

kludgymom March 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Amy, it depends on the network. Some are all about linking up your posts and getting people to visit. Others are more about establishing community and finding like-minded bloggers that will ultimately be loyal readers to your site. It’s a whittling down process…take some time to check a few out and see which ones you naturally gravitate back to.

Nicole @MTDLBlog June 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm

This is such great advice. I’m always looking for ways to improve and refocus. I realized that I have been neglecting my networks. I am on social media too much and I need to visit the blogs of followers more than I do. I have not been using my time wisely! Thanks for the re-focus!

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