Network, network, network. It’s the key to gaining readership, if that’s what you’re after.
But what are the best ways? As a blogger with less than 100 followers, you are looking to find more good and loyal readers. You don’t have tons of visitors yet. Maybe some of your posts don’t elicit any comments at all. Don’t worry. It takes time, and some effort put toward the right things.
There are 3 big “buckets” of activities that you can spend networking time on: blog networks, commenting on other blogs, and social media. Others will disagree, but I recommend your time be spent like this:
This was a successful plan for me. Participating in blog networks is the best way to meet other new bloggers who are also looking for readership – so they’re most willing to invest their time in your blog! Through blog networks, you’ll meet more people, which leads to more comments, and more people you can Twitter with and touch via social media.
If you start out spending 5 hours a day tweeting posts but you have nobody listening, that’s a waste of your time. Cast a wide net with blog networks first, and start dabbling and experimenting with social media.
So here are my top 10 networking tips for new bloggers.
1. Join and be active in several established blog networks. You’re likely already a member of a few. There are so many to choose from. But it’s not just joining the network that counts. You HAVE to interact. Post questions in their forums. Respond to others. Participate in events. Visit the blogs of the day.
2. Comment, comment, comment on blogs you love. As you make your way through the various blog networks, read. Make thoughtful comments. Don’t say “great post, come read my blog.” Cheesy. Your effort will be rewarded if you take the time to comment the right way.
3. Participate in a Twitter hop. Twitter hops are great ways to slowly build up your Twitter following as you’re growing your blog. Simply Stacie hosts one every week that you should check out. It’s easy to participate.
4. Search your favorite bloggers’ blogrolls. Read the blogs listed on other people’s blogrolls. This is a great way to connect with other bloggers and find new blogs to read and – bingo- comment on.
5. Get a badge. Even if your readership is small, your bestest blog buddies will still be willing to put your badge on their sites. This is great, passive advertising for you! So make sure you have one posted and ready!
6. Develop a tribe. This is one of the best pieces of advice I received from SITS. Through the blog networks, you’ll start gravitating to certain other bloggers who started around the same time as you. It happens organically. These people will be your support net throughout blogging and your best word of mouth.
7. Aim equal, not high with your networking. You will spin your wheels if you spend 10 hours a day coming up with witty comments to post on The Bloggess, Dooce or The Pioneer Woman in hopes that they’ll become your new BFF. Don’t aim that high with your networking. We’re little people compared to them. Aim to network with people equal to you in bloggy stature. They will be the ones to repay you in kind.
8. Dedicate time each day to networking. Writing blog posts is easy. Networking is hard. It takes time, and it requires a daily commitment. Even if you only dedicate 15 minutes a day to networking, commit and do it. A slow and steady drip of contact with other bloggers is much better than flooding people once every two months with comments and tweets.
9. Don’t obsess over guest posting just yet. People might disagree with me on this one. But you haven’t built up a ton of street cred in the blogosphere yet. So while I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to guest post, I wouldn’t spend hours seeking them out. You don’t want people reading your guest post, and then going to your blog to find it a veritable ghost town.
10. Put yourself out there. You HAVE to give to get in blogland. You have to be willing to ask questions, seek help, admit when you’re wrong, share pieces of yourself. Don’t be afraid to jump in.
Bonus tip: Read 2-3 blogs for every 1 follower you have. Fill up your Google Reader and read, read, read. You’ll pare these numbers down as you grow. This effort will come back to you in spades. Not everyone will read you back, but if you’re aiming equal, and not high, a lot of people will.
That’s it! On to your writing task for this week! You actually have a choice of 2 this week: Pick or Practice.
1. In Pick, you can pick a topic out of last week’s Idea Bank and write about it.
2. In Practice, pick one of the above tips and put it to use this week. Blog about what you picked, what your goals are and how you’re going to meet them.
Have fun! don’t forget to read Empress’ post on guest posting !