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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. Hi Darrren,

    I like the point you made about connecting with your blogging peers and do it with sincerity. Sometimes, I’m overwhelm by their reputation and that’s why I never send them an email. They are human after all.

    Also, nowdays,I’ve seen a lot of bloggers leaving senseless comments on people blog, spamming with links and not offering any value at all.

  2. It’s funny what a couple of kind words from the right person can do for your blogging career. I totally believe in giving time and attention to your readers.

    I think a great tip is…

    Instead of writing your posts like you are talking to a group, write them like you are talking to an individual.

    To the reader, it will seem like you are talking directly to them.

  3. Very important and insightful guidance. I remember my early blogging days – it was all about getting the site up, commenting everywhere, understanding Google Analytics, and pushing for results. Once I got that a bit under my belt, I took a step back. Relationships are the currency of what we’re doing. If we’re providing help or insight to readers, we have a relationship that we need to cultivate. And it can only become more powerful when we focus on connecting to others who have the same goal. The power of community has never failed! Nice reminders – and thank you!

  4. A.Motan says:

    Great post Darren! i cant just understand how you come up with soo many ideas. your blog has really helped me. THANKS A LOT!

  5. These are such great points Barrie. I love that you focus on generosity, kindness, community and serving the reader as the key to becoming a successful blogger. The bloggers who get this really do stand out in the crowd. Thanks for setting such a great example.

  6. What a powerful article Barrie! I must say that I have learned this lesson more than any other over the past months of connecting with the likes of you and so many other world class bloggers and up and coming bloggers. The generosity I’ve experienced has been jaw-dropping. Everyone is so interested in the success of the other. I love it! I have both learned and been able to share so much in return.

    It all comes back to focusing on what you can add to the world and the rest will sort it’s self out.

    Excellent article,
    Scott

  7. I always forget something little but useful, thanks for this post for reminding me!

  8. Hi All,

    Thank you for the wonderful comments. Just by connecting here in the comments, you are making connections and reaching out. It’s so nice to get a feel for the humans behind the blogs!

  9. make money says:

    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 seldom commented) and then I’ve been meeting so plenty of 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 icy 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.

  10. Leisha Govia says:

    It’s interesting how your perception of things change when you adopt a more positive focus in life, it works wonders.

  11. rososusilo says:

    know our readers are very important. the bloggers typically provides media for chat on his blog