If I read a forum post, blog or even a comment and think, “hey, I like the way this person thinks, we should know each other” … I’ll drop them an email and introduce myself. Sometimes I feel a bit silly or shy doing this, but then I remember that I LOVE it when people contact me this way.
Also, if people post their IM information in forums or blogs, I’ve been known to do the old, “You don’t know me but (insert flattering ice breaker here) …” and it has lead to some great connections as well.
It is amazing how powerful a simple email can be.
Whilst we live in a world where mass generated, impersonal, irrelevant, unsolicited email is incredibly annoying – so when a personal, relevant, genuine and relational email hits your inbox it can actually have a real impact.
I too do what Taughnee does and go out of my way to send emails to other bloggers when they write something that resonates with me. Many times I don’t get (or even expect) a response – I know many bloggers are incredibly busy – however from time to time the email can lead to a wonderful conversation and even occasionally to some fruitful relationships that directly impacts my blogging (either through a link, working together on a project, generation of ideas etc).
Having said all of this you might want to keep some of the following guidelines in mind when emailing other bloggers:
• Keep it brief - don’t make your first email an essay. There is nothing worse than working through a full inbox and finding a massive email that will take a lot of time to wade through. Get to the point and see where the conversation might lead. If the blogger responds your next emails might be a little longer – but don’t waste their (and your) time.
• Make it personal – people like friendly people. Keep this in mind as your write your first email. Don’t send emails to bloggers that sound like they’ve been mass produced or spam like – I occasionally get these emails that are obviously cut and paste together with my name on top (and sometimes they don’t even remember to put my name on them correctly) – these emails get trashed.
• Make it relevant - most bloggers blog on a particular topic – if you want to connect with them it might be a good idea to show that you’ve read them by staying on topic and referring to what they’ve written.
• Don’t demand too much (if anything) – An email that basically says ‘you don’t know me but I was wondering if you could ((insert favor here)) for me’ is much less likely to be read and responded to than emails that don’t demand anything of the recipient. Sure they might help you out – but you’re much more likely to be helped out of a relationship than demanding lots up front.
• Lower your expectations - Many of the times you write emails like this to other bloggers you won’t get a response. Don’t take it personally – most people lead busy lives and can’t possibly keep up with all of their email. I personally have over 200 emails in my inbox that I want to answer or respond to – it’s difficult and not because I don’t like the people who sent them – it’s just that there are only a certain amount of hours in the day for such tasks. I’d recommend that you do reach out to other bloggers this way but don’t expect that you’ll be best buddies after just one email. It may take time and it may never happen.
• Make it constructive - One of the best ways of making an impression on another blogger is to give them a gift. I’m not talking a physical gift (although if you want to send one my address is on my contact page) but one of your time and energy. Make a suggestion, offer to do something or go out of your way to make something easier for the person you’re writing to.
• Keep it low profile - I’m much less likely to respond to emails that are all about the other person. You know the type, they go something like ‘hi, I’m ((insert name)) from ((insert blog name/URL)) – I like your blog and think you’ll like my blog ((insert URL)). I’ve written these 43 posts ((insert URL)) that you should link to. From ((insert name, blog name, URL)).’ These emails don’t want to build a relationship with me – they are all about the other person. Whilst when I write to other bloggers I do include my URL in my signature I try to keep a lower profile and make the email about the other person. Sure if you’ve written something that is relevant you can mention it – but maybe wait for the second or third email (after they’ve responded to you) to promote yourself.
Read the rest of the building blogging relationships series.