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Reach Out and Touch Someone: How the Power of Personal Connection Creates Blogging Success

A guest post by Barrie Davenport.

If you look at recent posts on Problogger, you will find a plethora of practical and useful tools and ideas for creating a blog, growing a blog, and making money from a blog. Like me, you have probably read and absorbed as many of these pearls of blogging wisdom as your brain will allow. However, as bloggers, we sometimes get so immersed in the business of blogging that we lose sight of what should be our primary focus in blogging — serving people.

There are many valid, self-serving reasons to blog. We all want to make money. We want the satisfaction of creating something that others read and having our ideas appreciated by thousands. But if you boil down the motivation for blogging to its essence, you come to understand that we each have a unique gift, and we want to share that gift with others.

There is tremendous emotional and spiritual satisfaction in that act of sharing and serving. If you’ve ever gotten a comment back from a reader remarking, “Your latest post helped me tremendously, and I can’t thank you enough for sharing that,” then you know what I mean. Suddenly, it all becomes personal.

And isn’t that what life is supposed to be anyway — personal? Being connected with others, even in the blogospohere, is what provides the uplifting and rewarding satisfaction that gives life depth and meaning. The truly amazing part about serving others through blogging is that these efforts will propel your blogging into the stratosphere of success. Look at Darren as an example. Or Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, Mary Jaksch of Write to Done, or so many other wildly successful bloggers. They give and give and then give some more. Their ability to give and connect with people has created real relationships that are mutually beneficial and deeply satisfying.

Many people start blogging because they are introverts and may not like interacting with people in a traditional work or social setting. Others (like me) enjoy connecting with people any way we can, and the internet provides a huge pool of potential new friends. Either way, it does take attention, effort, and careful tending of relationships to be a successful blogger.

6 Ways to add a Personal Touch to Your Blogging

Here are some ideas to help you reach out and touch your growing community of readers and fellow bloggers.

1. Be Sincere

Making connections and building relationships is not going to serve you or others if it is just a means to a financial end. You must believe in the inherent value of serving and of what you have to offer. Your sincerity and passion must shine through in everything you do, or people will see through you. You may not make a lot of money in the beginning, but you are building a treasure of trust and respect with your readers and fellow bloggers. That is worth its weight in gold.

2. Always Serve Your Reader

In every idea you develop, in every post you write, in every comment you respond to, serve your reader. Give them something valuable and immediately usable. Give them more than they expect. Awe them with your gifts. Look at all of the free information, ebooks, and advice that Darren gives to you, his valued readers. Here’s an article I wrote for Write to Done on how to serve your reader.

3. Connect with Bigger Bloggers

You already know that this is a way to build your blog. Solicit guest posts, ask them to Twitter something, comment on their blogs. But what about reaching out to them as one human to another? Write them an e-mail congratulating them on a success or letting them know how they inspired you. Make contact with them with no ulterior motive except to reach out. Offer them something useful with no expectation of something in return. Be real and friendly but not gratuitous.

4. Connect with Blogging Peers

Bigger bloggers always started out as smaller bloggers. Treat all bloggers with equal respect, because you never know when someone’s small blog will take off and become the next Problogger! Communicate regularly with other similar-sized or smaller bloggers. Share ideas, frustrations, and resources. Blogging forums are a great way to do that, but one-on-one contact is even better.

5. Arrange Virtual Meet-Ups

If you’ve been communicating on-line with other bloggers or readers, arrange a meet-up through Skype or some other phone or video conferencing software. Hearing someone’s voice and seeing their face immediately makes the relationship more real and personal. It’s the substitute for the business lunch or golf outing! Through these more personal interactions, you are building friendships and networks of people who will support you and you them.

6. Arrange In-Person Meet-Ups

Connect with your readers and other bloggers who live near you and organize a dinner or meeting. If you are traveling, arrange to get together with people you have met through your blog. (Of course, be safe about this. Meet in groups or very public places.) Nothing can beat an in-person, face-to-face meeting for true relationship building. Life-long friendships can be developed with people in wonderful cities all over the world.

7. Attend Blogging Events

Darren has already discussed Blogworld, the social media conference to be held in October in Las Vegas. I plan on attending this event, as do many of my network of blogging friends. This will be my first in-person connection with most of them. Attending these events offers so many opportunities for learning and for networking and socializing with bloggers. These events could be considered Relationship Immersion courses where you have the opportunity to build many great connections in a short span of time. If you haven’t already, please check it out.

8. Always Be Kind and Professional

This is worth repeating though I know it’s intuitive. Communicating through a computer makes it very tempting to say things that we would not say in person. As a blogger, you are still a business person, a real person who has integrity and a reputation. If you receive a snippy e-mail or comment, resist the temptation to lob a snippy response back. Be kind, gracious, ever-professional. Don’t gossip about other bloggers or undermine them on a public forum. It will serve you well in the long run, and you will serve as an example for those who read your blog or who look up to you as a blogger.

9. Share Your Connections

Unlike any other business I know of, blogging is the most mutually supportive and interactive. When bloggers help and support each other, they are creating a larger network of connections and potential readers. Isolating yourself or hoarding your connections doesn’t help you — in fact it undermines your growth. I serve as the editor for The Daily Brainstorm, an aggregate blog that links to a large pool of other blogs (including this one). Every contributor benefits from the readers driven to the blog. It is a great group relationship where everyone benefits.

If you want to build your blog, read everything Darren writes on Problogger about how to do that. But also, take a good look at how he conducts himself, what he gives away, and how he connects to people. Follow his example, not just as a blogger but as a person. Find other blogging mentors to emulate and connect with. Don’t hide your real, flesh and blood self under a bushel. Reach out, connect, make friends, share, be of service. If you do all of these things, blogging success can’t help but find you.

Barrie Davenport is a personal and career coach and founder of Live Bold and Bloom, a blog about bold and fearless living. Download her FREE e-book, How to Live A Meaningful Life.

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. Anna Blanch says:

    Thanks for these suggestions. It’s about being genuine – whether online or not!

  2. Josh Garcia says:

    Hey Barrie,

    Great points you made here. I really like that you mentioned connect with blogging peers. There were several times that other bloggers gave me ideas that help me go to another level in business. I will be sharing this awesome list you put together.

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

  3. Joshua Noerr says:

    The personal touch is my favorite part about blogging. I share from my personal experience, I like to connect, and have made some great connections since I started.

    I think my next step is in person meet ups.

    Absolutely love the daily brainstormy by the way. Cheers!

  4. blog tips says:

    Good points, I should make connections with other blogger, I am starting this today.

  5. Josh, Joshua and Blog Tips,

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. It is our human nature to want to connect, and when we get to know the real person behind the blogger, the experience is more valuable for everyone. Wishing you all continued success with your blogs. If I can be of help — please reach out.

  6. Very important thoughts here. I believe treating others right and operating from a base of 100% integrity is much more important than making tons of cash.

    I am in the process of developing a monetization strategy for my blog, but will NEVER promote ANY product or service unless I feel it delivers genuine value to my readers. And the same goes for content…rather than generate a bunch of disposable content in an attempt to please Google algorithms, I prefer the strategy of creating GOOD content, and letting the traffic take care of itself from there.

    And as Google continues to improve it’s search algorithms, the sites that actually deliver GOOD content will be rewarded, and sites that create a bunch of “keyword loaded” crap will be punished. In fact, we’re already seeing some of that occur. I pity the poor fools who set up those spam-websites, loaded up with keywords and Google Adsense plastered all over the place. They’re days are numbered!

    The future of blogging belongs to bloggers who treat their readers like human beings, rather than mere sources of potential income.

  7. Thank you great post, sadly nowadays many people have “the me” mind set. They want to take before they give. A lot of people focus on their needs over their readers needs. They have to listen and give first, the power of “give” goes a long way and outweigh any short term gains.

  8. Katie says:

    Wow Barrie, love this simple, powerful advice. This is what blogging is all about. Personal and professional, connecting and sincerity. Nicely said. See you in Blogworld!! And thanks for all your support.

  9. Hey Barrie, Great post! How fun to find you over here lol It’s like this: I’ve been reading Problogger for at least a year or more (though I’ve rarely commented) and then I’ve been meeting so many other bloggers, including you, and then all of a sudden I see you here, which is like a different world that I visit from time to time….well it’s hard to describe but it’s cool how the blogosphere works :)

    Definitely agree with you on serving the reader–what other point is there? If my posts aren’t useful then I don’t see the point in writing. Also agree on kindness and professionalism–I’ve see a lack thereof here and there and I’m immediately turned off. I wouldn’t socialize with gossipers or mean-spirited folks in my off-line life and don’t care to do it here, either.

    Congrats on a great guest post!

  10. Barrie,
    This was wonderful and practical advise.
    For any freelance writer blogging a great way to self publish and write about subject matter you care deeply about. For what good is writing if no one reads your words? It’s like a painter keeping a painting in the closet. The joy is in sharing your art.

    I think if you write from your heart and for the reader you have a winning combination.

    Thank you for these great steps to creating a blog that matters.

  11. Hi Barrie,

    that’s a great post that goes beyond the mere goal of making money. The momentum that develops out of “nothing” if you stress the importance of personal relationships on your blog, is amazing. And you are right, the greatest reward of all is if a reader writes publicly that we made a difference in his or her life.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Take care

    Oliver

  12. Aileen says:

    Barrie, this is an inspirational How To guide for blogging! I love each of the 9 ways we can add a personal touch – they are so realistically doable and strong. – being sincere, serving the reader, connecting with others – they are important life skills as well as blogging skills.

    I also love what you say about not only reading everything Darren writes but taking a deeper look at “how he conducts himself, what he gives away, and how he connects to people.” and your recommendation to, “Follow his example, not just as a blogger but as a person.”

    It’s a guide to life as well as blogging. Thank you for this post, Barrie!

  13. Andrew says:

    Barrie,

    Great info. And I agree that everything starts with “Be Sincere.” Without that one, you’re lost.

    Congrats!

  14. Julian says:

    about the bigger bloggers

    i think the only efficient way to stay close with them is by Guest Posting :-)

  15. Fantastic tips. I often try to make contact with bigger bloggers than myself, but being (in effect) a smaller blogger, they don’t want to know me.
    This, I think, may be the hardest one on your list to achieve.

  16. Sean Supplee says:

    Powerful tips I started to use a number of these in my autoresponders emails and the results have been explosive. It’s surprising what going a little out of your way to help someone and get them to know you does.

  17. Barrie,
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
    It is truly important to stay connected in our sometimes disconnected world.
    My blog is new and my first post was about staying connected.
    I hope you do not mind me pasting it here because eventhought it was written about connecting at Christmas time I believe (feel free to comment) that we all need to stay connected not just at Christmastime.
    http://thewondertechnique.com/telephones-and-heartbeats/

    I agree with Joshua who commented on the idea of meet ups that meet ups are a great reminder of an action step to take

    Enjoy a wonderful day,
    David

  18. Manal says:

    Barrie,
    What a brilliant and personal post. Your advice is a sure way to connect with others (bloggers and readers alike). Love this part of your closing statement: blogging success can’t help but find you. Truly inspiring.

    Wishing you and every blogger continued success.

  19. Hi Barrie, this is fantastic information and just what I needed as I am reaching out to a lot of people.

    I have connected with more people in 2 days than I have all year just by working with you and the team at TheDailyBrainstorm.com and it’s just an amazing feeling to know that top authors and bloggers are human too and respond warmly to people who are sincere and genuine.

    Great post.

  20. Larissa says:

    Barrie, thanks a lot! I have just started researching about blogging and The Daily Brainstorm seems indeed fun and inspirational!
    This is exciting, I am learning a lot. :-)

  21. Peter says:

    I try to read Darren’s blog as much as well as possible

    I also read David Risley and John Chow.

    I always pick up tips that I can apply on “Fitness Over 50″

    Peter

  22. Thanks for an inspiring article, Barrie.

    What I love about the blogogsphere is that we bloggers are interconnected and mutually supportive.

    It’s like we are all part of one organism that is growing and developing.

  23. Thank you all for the gracious and heartwarming comments. I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to provide something worthwhile to readers, even if it’s just a little something!

    I want to address Anne Lyken-Garner’s comments about reaching out to bigger bloggers. Don’t give up on that. I have had great experiences with some really big bloggers (like Darren who is as nice as nice can be). They are deluged with requests, so find a way that you can help them so that you stand out. Be sure you study their blogs and their philosophies, so that you can offer them something their readers will find useful. If you get rejected, you mustn’t take it personally. Just try again with a different approach. Bloggers are all regular people.

  24. LPC says:

    Barrie, too many people forget to remain kind and professional. Life is too short for gratuitous meanness, so I think your point is really important and often forgotten.

  25. Barrie,
    Thanks for such a great post! I’ve been implementing some of the points you list here. As a new blogger I’m always sincere with my readers even exposing at times my inexperience as a blogger writing a blogging tips blog, but being sincere and personal with them is the only thing I know how to do. I’m also learning how to make connections with other more experienced bloggers in my niche. This post, and Darren’s articles here at ProBlogger are an invaluable resource. Blogging is very personal, or can be, so adding that personal touch to better serve our readers, letting them know who we are, and that we’re here to serve, and meet their needs, want’s, and concerns is the best we could ever do. I love what you said about getting that comment where you’ve helped someone. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

    Continued Success.
    Joe

  26. Dave Higgs says:

    Great post – thanks Barrie.

    Point 8 is a good one for me. It is always easier to handle people at a distance – and that is the power of the web. Remaining personal and not just an IP address is a challenge for me.

    I see my readers as “people” and I mix well with “people” but they are not the same “people” – does that even make sense? LOL!

    Anyway – thanks for the post.
    D

  27. Françoise says:

    Hi Barrie

    you made it again! It is a great list of advices you put together there.
    My favorite is the one you put on top. Being sincere is what makes a blogging community a great place to be and it is the basis to good connections one can build up.

    cu in the A-List forums

  28. An even mixture of intelligence and intimacy are sure to propel a blog toward great traffic statistics. Agreed!

  29. TODHD says:

    Doing things yourself will cause you to go insane and just stress yourself out

  30. Jean Sarauer says:

    Barrie, I’ve been living the truth of so much of what you wrote here. I’m inspired by the relationships I’ve made in the online world and want others to enjoy these positive connections too. So happy to know you!

  31. shahin says:

    You know. a while back i decided to start my personal blog and figured there are probably many people out there that think the same as me.
    I try to be honest and reach to as many people as possible.
    I think your post is very well written and touches may aspects.
    I will follow some of your guidelines to have a stronger blog.

    http://www.pomelicot.com

  32. The personal touch is important when trying to connect with readers.

  33. These are great tips to assist in harnessing the power of the blogosphere. Too many traditional business models rely on deception, manipulation, cooercion and arrogance; blogging is simply the cooperation of interconnected networks achieving the mutual goal of attaing human interaction through education. The information age is in full swing and I feel privileged to be ‘in the know’ about how blogs shape our world both online and offline. Great post!

  34. ashok says:

    I can safely say that numbers 4 and 9 on your list have become hugely prominent for me recently. I’ve been using the tools I use to promote that much more to promote others, and definitely introducing other bloggers to some of the people who have been absolute gems to me.

  35. Zahid says:

    Really nice post, but getting personal with every reader is kind of impossible and these days its becoming difficult to even answer every mail.

    I m usually answers few emails in one post but still feel that everyone is expecting answer.

    Very nice and a needed post.

    Thanks a lot Barrie Davenport and Darren.

  36. Natalie says:

    I often tell people that the biggest thing I get out of blogging is the personal connection, the feedback from people who have stopped by to say `You know you just made my day, or inspired me, or gave me some great tips’.

    It drives to you to do an even better job of serving, providing value and giving of yourself.

    Great post Barrie

  37. Hi Barrie
    Yup, Blogging is about giving. The more you give, the more you get. Example, you advice people on how to blog well. Readers in return will give you comments and this will expand your thoughts, ideas and at the same time create a bond between you and your readers. Great article to share here Barrie ;)

  38. Dean Saliba says:

    Ahem, the last time I reached out and touched someone I ended up in court. :D

  39. Hello again Barrie and everyone,
    A few weeks ago I read about Raam Dev and a Free ebook he was writing to connect with people across the blog world and beyond.
    He just launched it today. Here is the link
    http://raamdev.com/introducing-a-new-collaborative-project-small-ways-to-make-a-big-difference

    It is worth checking out.

    Cheers,
    David

  40. It’s amazing to me how we forget the simple things that work in real life. These are such helpful tips!

  41. Great post Barrie and there are many ideas here, many of which I need to impliment, cheers!

  42. Joi says:

    Outstanding! I love what you say about connecting with (and respecting) all bloggers. We are a community and we should all treat one another as neighbors – and, for crying out loud, not just when we want something!

    Periodically, it’s great (for all concerned) to just give someone a shout-out – someone who can do absolutely nothing for you. It’s just a cool thing to do, I think.

    Great article. Great advice.

  43. So many great points.

    You just can’t overemphasize the importance of the relationships. I feel like I know some bloggers thousands of miles away in Canada and England better than I know my next door neighbor–that always reminds me of ‘Engle’s book Wrinkle in Time.

  44. Shawnsey says:

    These are all so great! This is what is important. You need the readers to know you, and want to know what you have to say. If you’re mean or harsh nobody will want to read your comments.

  45. My site has been live since August 2008. I’ve mainly been working on the look of the site and ease of use. Over the past year I’ve stepped up the “Candy-News” page and added over 50 posts around “Candy The Magic Dinosaur”, “Flash Animation” and the “Internet World”…

    From building the content I’ve seen a rise in traffic and engagement on the social network pages.

    In 2011 I’m looking to take this to the next level with live events…

    Thanks

    :]

  46. Tech Maish says:

    Always care about your readers and give them the best.

  47. Hi Barrie ~ There are so many different ways to connect. Thanks for your great list. There’s no better way to check and see what you’re doing well and what needs work… Seems I’m doing well in some departments and others I could improve on.

    Thanks again for a very useful post!

  48. Selfless says:

    Very powerful tips I started to use a number of these in my auto responders emails and the results have been explosive. It’s surprising what going a little out of your way to help someone and get them to know you does.

  49. HeatherO says:

    I always remember what Ernesto said in the book “The Go-Giver”, “Will it make money isn’t a bad question, it’s just a bad first question. The first question should be How will it serve?”

    Giving value to others either via your content, connections, engagement, etc not only ‘fills their bucket’ but it always fills your too!

    Great reminder! thanks ;)

  50. Arlene says:

    Thanks so much for those tips. This was the type of blog that you need to read again and again until we get it. And may I add taking notes and highlighting the important points.