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:
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?