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The Ultimate Guide To Networking With Bloggers

Learn how to Network with other Bloggers and grow your readership in this post by Alex Shalman from AlexShalman.com.

networking-with-bloggers.jpegNetworking online and in person are like twins with different personalities. You’re ultimately trying to do the same thing, which is build a connection and form a relationship. At the same time your using different tools and executing different strategies.

In order to make a great impression, and create an amazing relationship, you’re going to have to be a certain type of person and do a few things you might not normally do. This isn’t an exercise in being fake, rather it’s an attempt to get yourself out there, in order to shine a spot light on the extraordinary you.

Here is a list of everything you need to be a successful networker. Remember, bloggers are all people, just like you. With that said, this is not just a guide for networking with bloggers, but with people as a whole.

The Mentality

  1. Have the best intentions. You might be really good at faking it, but essentially your intentions will become transparent. Try on the idea of operating with the greatest good of all in mind. Whether you’re contacting someone for a favor, partnership, or just to make a friend, you must consider how the interaction will be a win-win.
  2. Respect their time. Make the assumption that whoever you’re talking to is an extremely important, and busy person. Do not contact them with a long-winded 5 page essay with a million details, about something that is vitally important to you, but may not have any signficance to them. Be concise and get to the point.
  3. Be genuine with them. Be very transparent in what you want right off the bat. If you manipulate a person into giving you their attention, and than spring something major on them, they will most certainly not appreciate it. You might get what you want, but it won’t be ethical, and you won’t have a lasting relationship.
  4. Give more than you take. Do not be a leach that sucks away someones time and resources. Be willing to offer more of your time and service than you are expecting to receive. I know this sounds like a cliche, but it’s more fulfilling to give, than to receive, and it’s a better way to make friends too.
  5. Keep them at eye level. People feel uncomfortable if you put them on a pedestal and they resent being talked down to. By talking to someone as if they are just like you, you build a stronger connection and sense of reporte. You’ll find people opening up, speaking casually, and possibly becoming a friend.
  6. Have unshakable confidence, and ask. Most contacts are not approached, and deals are not made, not because someone got rejected, but because they did not ask in the first place. This should have been rule number one. Take the first step, write that comment, or that e-mail, and believe in yourself.
  7. Be presentable on search. When contacting someone for the first time, the chances of them googling your name are pretty high these days. Make sure you give them something good to find, other than a myspace page with drunken pics. Have a weblog set up to showcase who you are and what you do.
  8. Treat them the way they want to be treated. This is more important than treating someone the way you want to be treated. This is the ultimate form of showing someone you understand them, and are willing to give them what they need. It requires a little bit of proactive listening on your part.

The Tools

  1. Comment on their blog. The amazing part about blogging is our readers can give us direct feedback on what was just published. You can take advantage of this by leaving relevant, intelligent, insightful, and thought-provoking comments on their blog. They will notice.
  2. Trackback conversations. A step further than commenting is answering what they said on your own blog, with more detail, and using a trackback to notify them. Bloggers are generally big fans of positive conversations about them, and love being linked to.
  3. The short e-mail. Keeping in mind what we discussed in the mentality section, you are now ready to craft the perfect e-mail. Remember, once they’ve read it, they have formulated a first impression of you, so make it count.
  4. Skype it or cell it. Over a year ago I was e-mailing one of my blogger friends Liz Strauss, and she randomly asked for my number and called me. She has become one of my strongest blog contacts, and also a dear friend. Her approach worked. Talking to a person, and getting to know them, is the ultimate way to network.
  5. Networking events. Part stalker, part fan, I traveled to New York City TWICE to meet up with Darren. I genuinely wanted to connect with him, and I think I’ve been able to accomplish that goal. There is nothing better than networking off-line. Bloggers are more than just a web page, they’re people, just like you and I.
  6. Other tools. There are many other communication tools out there, such as instant messengers and twitter, that help facilitate speedy conversations. New methods of communicating are coming out at a rate that seems daily. It’s always good to explore, and take new things into account, but never forget the fundamentals!

Photo by b_d_Solis

Alex Shalman writes about personal development, communication, blogging, success, and happiness on his popular site AlexShalman.com (RSS). He created the Happiness Project series of interviews with notable bloggers like Darren Rowse by using the networking techniques outlined above.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Nice post and good points, thanks!

    Build your Network as Human.

  2. esvl says:

    Trackbacks are one of my favourite ways to network with other bloggers.

    Great post.

  3. Jul says:

    You’re so right about the phone contact. Of the people who I’ve met or done business with online, those who took the initiative to call me really stand out in a positive way. And this from an introvert who generally doesn’t even like the phone…

  4. Graham Lutz says:

    I think most of these steps work in “real life” networking too. In a face to face environment, you should always respect others’ time, be confident, give more than you take, etc.

    Great Post! Keep ‘em Comin’!

  5. Perry says:

    I’ve never understood the trackback. It always just looks like some weird formatting comment on my blog. I also don’t know how to give them. Do they happen automatically when I link to someone’s blog page or do I have to do something special?

  6. M says:

    How in the world do you do a trackback conversation? Do you just choose a random post on your blog, type your reply and paste the “recipient’s” entry URL then submit?

    Or would you do an excerpt of their entry and link up?

  7. Andy Merrett says:

    Unfortunately, the beauty of trackbacks are being eroded by spammers, and I find a lot of blogs now turn off this feature.

  8. Neil Duckett says:

    Great post Alex. Number 4, give more than you take … i couldn’t agree more.

    I can’t cound how many times people have led off an email with a request in their opening line and i don’t even know them.

  9. WOW, some great tools. Anyone wanna connect with me? Comment on my blog and we can form some connection for advanced blogging?

    Anyone?

  10. Good post.

    These principles are so simple but many are not followed enough. Like Neil, i also have gotten many awkward emails from bloggers who do not know how to communicate effectively.

    Your Happiness Project is great! How did you manage to get so many celebrity bloggers? That is awesome…keep up the great work!

  11. Bia says:

    Nice posts, definitely points you can use throughout your life.

    I especially like the point of treating other the way they want to be treated. I can’t stand it when some blogger thinks they’re special just because they’re popular and thus treats everyone else like adoring fangirls.

  12. ViralKing says:

    Great guest post! Thanks for sharing

  13. Ritu B. Pant says:

    Great post, Alex!

    “Give more than you take. Do not be a leach that sucks away someones time and resources. Be willing to offer more of your time and service than you are expecting to receive. I know this sounds like a cliche, but it’s more fulfilling to give, than to receive, and it’s a better way to make friends too.”

    I very much agree with this statement. Also it seems like the giving aspect of networking has been somewhere in the blogosphere. I personally think, if we keep giving unconditionally without asking anything for return, we will never have to ask, as we get them without asking.

  14. jhay says:

    Keeping them at eye level is just brilliant for it’s something some bloggers often forget once they get in touch with other bloggers. Often times, it reveals their true intentions or character with out them knowing!

  15. hyms says:

    Nice info.The basic business should build networking first. The people say build friend at first than your business.

    Join community at http://malaysiamaju.com

  16. Jirel says:

    Very nice post for me too. Let me highlight here some points I really like and worked for me to build strong networking with other bloggers which really is important things to be successful in blogging:

    1) Give more than you take: This doesn’t sound chiche for me.

    2) Respecting their time.

    3) I am not a very good blogger(?) now but learning new things everyday. But, one thing I think every blogger should remember is not to give wrong statistic about your blog. About a month ago, one blogger( let me not show address here) with very simple blog of about a month old had contacted me saying that his blog gets about 10,000 visits everyday and to add to the Blogroll of my blog. I and you also can’t believe that,.

    4) yes, it is necessary to contact with short email.

    5) I didn’t know the idea of commenting on others blog initially but I have been doing this from few months back and really helping to improve the traffic of my blog and beginning new networking with some new bloggers.

  17. this is a useful list – thank you

    I’ve never gone to blogging events but I can see the beauty of networking there. Perhaps in the future I will make my way in :)

    Tip #6 Is a good one for me because I genuinely hate to annoy people with my noobie ways lol. But I’m coming along – I know I’ve got a good blog growing mostly because I focus on what my readers need and there’s no reason I shouldn’t reach out to the big boys. Everyone starts somewhere right? (hear that Darren? I’ll be emailing you! lol)

    Tip #7 is also a good one. In fact, I google myself again today – A girl’s gotta be prepared

    I really enjoyed this post Alex. Good Job :)

  18. Great set of advice Alex!

    Calling or skyping a blogger is something I didn’t do before, but it sounds as a good idea. :grin:

    Cheers,
    Alex.

  19. Great advice Alex – some really useful information here

  20. Nick says:

    Thanks for the tips Alex. I never thought about the trackbacks, after all that is what they are there for.

    I love meeting new people and it’s always interesting to hear from others what they like and dislike.

  21. CatherineL says:

    Alex – this is wonderful advice. I’m impressed that you travelled to New York twice especially to meet Darren.

    Your tip on giving more than you expect to get is so important. Too many people are takers.

    Recently, I received a message from a guy who I’d never met before offering to do B for me, if I’d do X for him. To me, this didn’t come across as genuine, and the truth is, I’d have happily done X anyway, if he’d not asked.

    So, I said I’d get back to him and not long afterwards he left a rude comment on my blog.

    So, I would say, never make your first contact with someone a request to get what you want. And definitely don’t be rude if you don’t get what you want immediately either.

  22. Mel says:

    I agree with you, Alex. Good on you!!

  23. Alex Shalman says:

    Thank you for all your positive feedback guys, I really appreciate it and I hope Darren invites me back to write for you great bunch of guys again!!

    Catherine, I don’t know if I would use the rule of never making a request during a first contact. I actually would put my request in there and my reason is that they have limited time, so I wouldn’t waste it by chain mailing.

    It would not be genuine of me to say “Hi, I genuinely want to get to know you, and let’s be friends” while keeping that request on my mind, and knowing that the whole relationship is based on me wanting something from them.

    I would put it out there right away, state my reasons, why I think they would be awesome for giving me that little bit of their time, what they can potentially gain from it, or just how much it would mean to me and how happy they could make me if they helped… I think people respond positively to that.

    I see that in your case putting the request out front did not have a positive effect for Mr. X, so these rules are obviously more flexible rather than written in stone.

  24. Ebony Jones says:

    Ditto on the trackbacks. Spammers have ruined alot of good marketing and networking tools for everyone.

    You can’t even shoot off a quick email to someone you don’t know, because it will probably be ignored or end up in the spam bin.

    It seems that one of the better ways to get known and noticed is to become a regular on a site’s comment threads or forum.

  25. Alex, this is a great and super timely post. When I saw your happiness project, the first thing that came to my mind was how the hell did this guy manage to get ALL these bloggers to participate. Heck, you even managed to get Tim Ferriss to reply! So yeah, I was really curious to find out but now I’m not anymore.

    Curiosity satisfied. :-)

  26. Kristen says:

    Alex
    Great article. Now that so many social media clubs are popping up all over the country, this is great advice on how to make the most of these meetings.

    Thanks!

  27. Frugal Dad says:

    Related to the networking events, where is the best place to find a listing of such events? It seems like someone out there must have a consolidated list of the events, perhaps a sponsor or someone who frequently attends. Thanks for any input.

  28. Alex:

    I truly enjoyed this article. Why? Because it’s the truth. Other bloggers are human.

    I would add one thing to this article and that would be you do not necessarily need to work your tail off to get an A-List blogger’s attention. I think if you network with scores of non-A listers, they can become your biggest virtual cheerleaders and help spread the good news about who you are and what you’re trying to do in an effort to make a difference.

    Having said that, A-listers are human like everyone else. They have even less time to spare but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try and get their attention but I think your time would be better spent in networking with other non A-listers. They could become your biggest cheerleaders because even though they might not have the “A-list” subscriber levels, they certainly have their own network of people who have email addresses. They belong to online groups that could number in the thousands.

    Bottom line? It’s fine to try and develop relationships with A-listers but don’t ignore the masses of non-A listers. They could end up becoming your biggest and most loyal fans.

    Don’t ignore them.

  29. Alex Shalman says:

    Frugal Dad,

    It probably has a lot to do with which niche you want to network with. One cool resource that I recently found is http://www.meetup.com

  30. Fantastic instructions. Thank You. I will try to follow this instructions.

  31. Tom Beaton says:

    Networking is so key to launching new blogs, and growth in general. It is a key part of being successful in many different businesses, not just blogging. A skill for life.

  32. Alex Shalman says:

    Thanks again everyone, I appreciate your words of encouragement!

  33. Kat says:

    Yey, Alex!

    My favorite is no.5, keep them at eye level. Sometimes, we become intimidated with the big online celebrities we forget they’re human.

    This is a great post as it reminded me not only of online etiquette but how to relate to people in real time.

  34. Brody Harper says:

    If I comment on this will I get more traffic?

    Great points, but what do I ask for when I am asking them for something?

  35. Don Hill says:

    Alex,

    Wonderful post!

    Web 2.0 is finally bringing the “human factor” to the internet, and blogging is one of the most powerful tools to facilitate it. Human interaction is what drives the engine of progress, with the exchange of ideas being the catalyst.

    The concept of personal branding on the internet is mostly taking place via blogging, by “putting yourself out there.” Nowadays, in many different industries – online and offline – people are being Googled regularly, and what is found there can have significant influence on things.

    I was recently contacted by an internet marketer (who will remain anonymous for reasons which are obvious), and I decided to Google his name. The first page had numerous references to a long-deceased artist, and a couple of links to a story about a fellow who was arrested for public intoxication somewhere! It wasn’t the marketer who contacted me – he was nowhere to be found on the first 10 pages (I gave up after that).

    Now, whenever I see that marketer’s name in my inbox, my mind springs to the story of the fellow who was arrested.

    I was fortunate enough to find my way to the top of Google and Yahoo with a “short-cut” (totally ethical, of course, and very economical). You can view my profile if you Google my name – Don Hill. I’ll be in the first position on the first page (or use Yahoo if you prefer)

    Enough about me! Excellent post, and very good tips!

  36. NathanKP says:

    Personally I think that comments are the best way to network. Not only does it contribute to someone else’s blog, but if you include you own website address then the blog owner usually visits your blog.

    NathanKP

  37. Mary L. says:

    Thanks Alex! I have trouble writing to my blog every day but I enjoy reading other people’s blogs and gaining insights from them.

    I’m on a networking group and decided not to mention what my business is because that wasn’t my intention for being there, it really was to exchange ideas and meet new people. One of the networkers asked why I didn’t post my site after I cited an example in point, I told him that he could look at my profile as my intention of making the post was to share an idea. After that post, about 10 people asked me to add them to their network. Amazing!!!

    I googled myself a few times but the first time had me shocked! LOL Gosh, even a remark I wrote about appreciating someone’s help was listed. :-)

  38. Chris Auman says:

    This is an excellent post that should remind us never to forget the fundamentals and that even though we tend to operate in a digital world, there is never an excuse for not having some manners. If you’re just starting out in blogging you can get started with this massive to do list right away by focusing on item #1 in both sections of the list. Have the best intentions and spend a lot of time contributing to your niche community. Nothing but good things will follow.

    Thanks again.

  39. LaRene says:

    It was good to read a genuine post on how to be considerate of others. Very good. By the comments, I can see we all want to treated that way.

  40. M says:

    I’ve finally found out how to do “trackback conversations.” It was great! having one comment on boing boing and one on ohgizmo pushed my visitor count yesterady from the usual 30-70 to almost 600, in less than 12 hours. WOWW!!

  41. M says:

    I forgot to add that THAT is a grrrrrreat feeling

  42. Tom Ross says:

    Great points, I liked how you focused on networking in a more general way that is applicable to offline experiences.

  43. mac says:

    Give more than you take is my favorite. This way we can make a very good connection with other bloggers and both can benefit from it. Treats others with respect, and you will earn theirs. I learn a lot from this. Thanks!

  44. sh3333p says:

    That’s an awesome guide. Well worth the read.

  45. Megan says:

    Networking has so many benefits. When you meet with other bloggers in your category you find someone who has the same interest as you. I have met many wonderful people utlizing this tool that I am not privalaged to call a friend.

    Thanks for pointing this out. As always you offer great resources.

    Megan

  46. Thanks again everyone, I appreciate your words of encouragement!

  47. Alex,

    Wonderful post!
    Thanks to share with us yes we know give and take formula always work. but it depend on you what are you giveing.