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Don’t Go It Alone: Relationship-building for Bloggers

This is a guest post by Jane from Problogging Success.

Let’s get it straight. Blogging is not a standalone job. You cannot blog in a space that doesn’t exist and to a group of virtual people. You need people—yes, living human beings, not just pairs of eyeballs—to read your
blog.

You don’t just need people to read what you write; you need people to:

  • agree/disagree with you
  • give you different perspectives/thoughts/suggestions
  • follow as role models/examples
  • endorse/recommend you to the public
  • share things with
  • buy your stuff and so on.

So you need people in the blogosphere. Period.

Blogging has evolved so far, so strongly, and in an awesome way because of relationships. Just imagine the number of people who hunt blogs for information these days. A big number is just on and around blogs. So you need to make good use of that number.

Let me give you three tips (surely the not-so-trivial kind) to get along with people in the blogging world.

1. Comment

Commenting—not spamming, but giving out your genuine thoughts and views about a particular blog post—will help you to develop an excellent relationship with the author of the article. Everyone knows this. So how can you comment to build relationships (apart from links) effectively?

Reach out to growing bloggers and to those bloggers who are in the same stage as you in their blogging journey. Every comment you make on your favorite A-lister’s blog will indeed help you make friends, attract new visitors, and sometimes even attract subscribers. This is conventional wisdom.

My suggestion is to make a habit of commenting in the not-so-big, yet growing blogs (apart from the A-list blogs that are your favorites and those you comment for link-building purposes). Spend some time to find out a handful of blogs in your niche that are just growing, and comment in them in a consistent and useful way.

Your first friend will be the blogger, of course. And he or she will return the favor. You become blogging buddies and comment on each others’ posts regularly.

Here’s what you can do after that:

  • Communicate personally with the blogger. Give suggestions, ask for advice, help each other, and so on.
  • Trade off Tweets and Facebook shares. This works great for me. I share their posts, and the favor is returned. So if you have ten blog buddies like this, the exposure you’ll get can be fairly decent. I have also gained new subscribers and friends who are friends of those buddy bloggers.
  • Endorse each other’s products/services.

2. Guest post

Guest posting is great for link building and for traffic—quite true. But how about guest posting for developing strong relationships?

Among various other benefits of guest posting, developing relationships with others is one of the main benefits. How can you achieve that? Again, aim not only for the A-list, but go for the growing blogs. This time you need to filter a bit more. Find out blogs that are doing great with readers and comments, and simply forget about the PR for this moment (I say this because I personally know and follow many blogs that have excellent content, and a great number of loyal readers and fans, but the blog’s page rank is 0).

Write a very useful post (you know that!) and close it by opening the topic up for a discussion. Given that the blog has decent number of readers who comment, a call to action should work great. Now it’s your turn to build relationships. Make it a point to respond to every comment in your guest post. But go further. Encourage discussions in the comments. And give out additional tips and secrets in replies to the commenters.

Tip: Look for CommentLuv-enabled blogs. They normally have good number of people who comment.

CommentLuv is a cute little WordPress plugin that fetches the recent post of the commenter (from the website feed) as he/she types the comment, and displays it after the comment. If a blog has the CommentLuv plugin enabled, there should be a little checkbox below the comment Submit button, as shown here.

Checking the box will display the recent post. If you have registered your blog at the ComLuv website, you can choose to display any one of the ten most recent posts.

That ‘s not all. You also have a search option at ComLuv website. You can search for CommentLuv-enabled blogs in your niche by entering appropriate keywords.

Download CommentLuv plugin here, and register your blog at comluv.com.

3. Linking

Write round-up posts on your blog that link to other posts. Do this periodically: once in a week or two, write a round-up post. This time, you need to aim only for the big players: A-list blogs. Your post can be centered around one post from a particular A-list blog, or a collection of posts from different blogs with either the same or different topics.

You can follow any or all of the following strategies:

  1. Write one blog post agreeing/disagreeing/appreciating/casting your extra views on one popular blog
    post. Caution: Don’t be tempted to get dirty and disagree with popular bloggers just to gain attention.
  2. Write one blog post on a topic and quote four or five related blog posts to validate your thoughts.
  3. Pick four or five popular blog posts of A-list bloggers, not necessarily in a very narrow topic, and write a list post that ties them all together.

You have got to try it and see. You will get a lot of exposure, friends—and loyal readers.

The bottom line? You cannot blog alone. You need the support of nice people to blog successfully. Don’t just be obsessed with SEO and link building; rather, seek to develop true and long-lasting relationships.

Just ask this to yourself: “Why do I blog?” There can be many answers, but this will be surely one of your answers: “to create relationships with others.” Unless you’re writing a blog that’s entirely private, you blog for relationships. You write for people—your friends, your students, your clients, your community, your gender, or people with particular interest or issues. So make the most of those relationships.

What methods do you adopt to develop blogging relationships? And what works best for you?

Jane is a blog consultant and the founder of Problogging Success. She has authored two e-books Problogging Action Plan (winner of the Small Business Book Awards, 2012) and Guest Blogging Champion to help bloggers become successful in their blogging business.

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This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

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Comments

  1. MoTravels says:

    I’ve got a blogging buddy and we comment on each others posts, forward them via twitter, stumbleupon, etc. and give each other tips and encouragement. I’ve got to better about linking to other articles though.

  2. This is a kick in the pants to the introverts among us. Kick taken and appreciated! Look…I left a comment! ;)

  3. Nice Post Jane! I’m totally with you on this. I particularly like how you said “commenting, not spamming!” I get more spam than genuine human comments on my blog!

    I also like how you broke down what you want people to do. Often times, (I certainly didn’t) people don’t think about those kinds of things when writing. At one point, I never really thought about whether or not I wanted people to agree or if they thought I was or could be a role model.

    Getting out there in the blogosphere and modeling effective bloggers, I learned these kinds of things and they have helped me tremendously since! I’ll take some good stuff away from this one, thanks for the post.

    RC

  4. Eric Lortie says:

    Nice read, thanks for posting it.

    There’s a lot of stuff in there that screams “common sense”, but we frequently see people completely disregarding these tips in favor of focusing solely on themselves. It’s easy to get lost in yourself and completely forget that “I think what I posted is awesome” isn’t actually a great reason for people to want to read something. Certainly not without their having a previously relationship with you.

    From my personal experience, I tend to find it a little difficult to find loyal followers for my blog outside of my immediately circle of friends, but that’s based mainly in the fact that my blog is personal/opinion based and doesn’t focus on any major topics.

    But on the other hand, I enjoy reading and commenting on other peoples stuff as much as I enjoy writing my own, usually. I’ve always found that this has given me a more fulfilling experience online, and completely agree with the major points of your post.

  5. Jeff says:

    Great tips. It’s funny, but in a sense, the person behind the blog is the brand. These are important factors to help build your brand and really connect with other people. Not only are they great ways to connect with other people, but if you follow the tips, it’s a great way to learn and grow.

  6. True points.
    No matter how valuable content you have in your blog, if no one to read or accept/agree your articles, then no point in blogging.
    Its always good idea to keep a good relationship with readers and write what they want.

  7. Pinky says:

    Tips on tips by Jane Sheeba …
    Great and I agree with many of her advices and suggestions…
    Thanks to her for raising the topic. Everyone has the right to disagree but making
    sarcastic comments is really not acceptable. If you have to disagree be polite
    without making the comment box look nasty!

    • I agree with you Pinky. I personally like embracing all commenters. They have the rights to expressing their views, without of course making the comment box look nasty.

      Jane.

  8. ross walker says:

    I appreciate the reminder. It gets so easy to concentrate on SEO and link building. Building the relationships is much funner anyway.

    That is the first I have heard of or seen CommentLove. I will keep an eye out and see where else it might pop up.

    Thanks again,
    Ross

  9. Simon Turner says:

    Loved this post. I have been pretty good at sharing comments with “A List” Blogs but only a couple blogs my size. Am going to put a lot more effort into commenting on growing blogs. I do have one good blogging friend the same size as me. It’s good advice to try and do more of this.

    Did not know about commentluv before this. I will check it out and see if this would suit my blog.

    A great reminder about linking.

    All in all this is a post we cannot afford to ignore. Thanks for this

  10. I truly believe in commenting. It not only interacts with other but it builds and encourages you to write more posts. It is great to know when people are actually reading your posts so that you can create more blog posts.

    • My biggest problem is finding people in my niche. I run a very unique blog and website, and it is not always easy to find others to comment on who are in my niche. Actually, I have not found any yet.

  11. mumofsooty says:

    This is really useful information. I have within the last week embarked on the wonderful world of blogging after procrastinating for a long time. I suppose I resisted for so long because I feared failure. I have dipped my toe into the blogging arena and have received a few reads. Applying the points listed, I am sure I will be better equipped to keep the fears at bay. Thank you

  12. I’ve found that the best ROI for relationship building, for my blogs, has been guest posting and commenting back to my readers. These relationships almost always lead to something good.

    Awesome advice, thanks for sharing!

    • Tim says:

      I agree totally. And when you do guest post, make sure you comment back there too! Great way to make new friends and readers!

  13. Great ideas, thanks. I’ve been learning so much from this blog. I’ve been blogging for a while, but only got “serious” about it in August 2010, and I feel like there’s still SO much to learn!

    • You will always learn from Problogger. It is my #1 source when it comes to Blogging. I just can’t find any other source; it is like a one stop shop to me :)

      Jane.

  14. wasim Ismail says:

    Well said, blogging is not just about you putting articles out there on your blog, there’s a lot of string attached to it, if you want to creative some serious waves online. Nice tips for us all. – Thanks :)

  15. I love commenting on other blogs – this is a social network of individuals and if someone posts something which is of interest to me or makes me question my own thinking on a subject then I will add a comment.

    Comments are what brings a blog to life!

  16. I started building relationships by turning my primary blog into a multi-author blog and opening up for guest posts. Now not only have I met some nice writers and great people but they also gain exposure to readers and have enjoyed interacting with people who leave comments on their articles. Create a Facebook group or Twitter list and invite or add your favorite bloggers in that niche to it is a good way to get some people networking too.

    • Ya I have got bunches of friends when I opened up guest posting at Find All Answers. You get exposed to the whole community (their blog readers, their social media friends/followers, etc.) of every blogger. The numbers are really big.

      Jane.

  17. Devesh says:

    Awesome post jane.

    Guest posting and blog commenting are great ways to build relationship. Another awesome method is using social media sites. I use Twitter and Facebook to build relationship with other bloggers.

    Sometimes i even use social blogmarking site like blogengage, blokube, etc to connect with other bloggers

    Anyways, Thanks for sharing this awesome post Jane. Keep up the good work.

    Btw. I see you very active doing guest posting, keep rocking.

    ~Dev

    • Hi Dev,

      Thanks. I personally enjoy writing guest posts a lot.

      And yes, social bookmarking works great too. SERPd is also worth looking into.

      Yup, recently doing guest posts on double espresso. Somehow makes me feel great.

      Jane.

  18. That’s why we call it social networking! Very good post – people get to far away from these ideas and it is the basics that always bring in the money.

  19. This is a good round-up of some tried and true methods to promote your blog by leveraging the existing community within the blogosphere – they are by no means new techniques, but are still applicable today. It is easy to feel lonely in the act of blogging, so it’s important to remember you’re not in it just to please your own needs but also those of your readers as well. Here’s to becoming blogging buddies Jane (and anyone else reading as well)!

  20. Great article. I can definitely see the value in engaging with other bloggers. I know that commenting on blogs has really helped in relationship building. I hadn’t considered your last tip of a weekly roundup of sorts. I’ll definitely be putting that into practice. Thanks. :)

  21. papa echa says:

    yes i agree with this list.. , guest posting, commenting on other blog especially on relevant blog will build great traffic, just do it day by day and u will see the result…

  22. Chris Alta says:

    This is REAL talk Jane!

    I have a buddy whom I consider a mentor of mine but instead of building relationships he’s always focusing on building squeeze pages, niche sites, SEO rankings, basically just the numbers and stats all of the time. I actually just read Gary Vaynerchuks CRUSH IT today at borders in about 3 hours flat. I just got soo into it and if reading that book taught me one thing it’s to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND TO LOVE YOUR READERS!

    After reading that I can say I’m not going to dedicate all of my time to building backlinks and instead focus on building a community and bringing real value into people’s lives. Coincidence that I came across this blog the same day I read GaryVee’s book? I think not. Anyways thanks for the great post. What’s your website I’ll go check it out..I’m pretty sure this is a guest post?

    cheers!

    I’m always in the kitchen
    -Chris Alta

  23. Greg says:

    Thanks Jane for your knowledge. That’s sense of the Internet for me – relations. If someone can’t believe that it works, I’ve got a proof. My buddy has organised a meeting with people which he met through his blog couple month ago! Now, that’s a power of relationship building.

  24. Stuart says:

    This post preaches the truth! I’ve been sharing blog comments since I first started out, and now that I’ve been doing guest posts, I can start to see the rise in traffic. Next up is linking :-)

  25. looneygeek says:

    some interesting tips. should try it in my next post :-) thanx.

  26. Linda says:

    Thanks for the reinforcement of commenting as a crucial method to building social proof.

    I started a comment club recently, and I’ve seen and increase in traffic and subscibers. It’s ironic, my content is the same as b/4 group originated, but I’m gettin’ my love now that more folks are providing feedback.

    Wow-how awesome to live in Costa Rica:).

  27. Vivek Parmar says:

    great post jane, working on last point already doing all the things except comment luv as i do not think that i will make a burden of wordpress plugin on my blog. so not using it

  28. GolfGurl says:

    Thanks for the great post with some really valuable ideas. I particularly like the idea of creating a weekly post that gathers together some of the best of posts and articles I have read. If done on a regular schedule this might very well be something readers look forward to and you do a service by filtering through and serving up what you think is the best of the bunch. Adds credibility to your expertise it seems to me.

    Re: the commnetluv plugin… I used it for a while and found it was more clutter on my site…. perhaps because I prefer clean and simple look I was missing the potential value. I will try it again and let you know.

    • The round up post which I did long ago still gives me steady traffic from those blogs I referred to (Problogger is one among them). It also personally improves us since we are not just reading blogs endlessly but cast in our two cents and give some insight to our readers..

      With Commentluv, I know what you mean. But it really helps in building relationships. Make sure you have a good anti-spam plugin installed since comluv attracts spammers a lot. I’d recommend GASP.

      Jane.

  29. Jacob Stoops says:

    Great ideas Jane. I like the idea of leaving comments as a way to start to build a relationship over time. I also really try to practice linking out to others in my articles as often as I find it useful to my readers. Guest posting is another great way to expand your influence to an additional market segment and to develop relationships with that group (as well as the person for whom you’re guest posting). Good stuff!

  30. Pumama says:

    Building relationship with other bloggers is very important. I suggest write a weekly link post about top ten blog posts you’ve read in the week. This is very helpful to increase relationship because blogger will see outbound link in Dashboard and want to see who you are

  31. Nick Begin says:

    Your post just makes sense. It’s all about building relationships, learning and growing. The internet is constantly changing and the best way to keep up is to get out there and find out what others are doing. Pick their brains, let them pick yours.

    I agree 100% about linkbuilding. Don’t go out with the intent to build links and drive traffic by interacting. Go out and interact. The links should be an afterthought. That way, you are putting more of yourself and your brand there in a genuine way.

    Good luck and take care.

  32. Tim says:

    I’ve been using the commentluv plugin for years and love it! If I, as the blogger whose site is being commented on, is attracted to click through to my commenter’s links, I can only imagine that other readers are attracted also. It’s really helped me build community on my site!

    • My blog is only a couple of months old and I’ve been using Commentluv for about a week now. It has helped me attract a few comments, but not as many as I had hoped. On the other hand, it has helped me with a couple of established bloggers who have commented. The more important benefit is I have seen some traffic from the CommentLuv links placed next to my comments on other sites.

  33. Great suggestions. I especially like the idea of the periodic “round-up” and think I’ll give that a try.

  34. Megan Clouse says:

    Thanks for the super tips! I’m excited about implementing the roundup idea.

  35. rosemary says:

    this is a great article…so much great ideas! I like the idea of linking to other blog posts….I try to comment as much as I can, it gets to be a lot of time however especially when trying to work on my own blog. I printed this article as really a lot of info I can try to work into my blog. Trying to get to the 200 follower mark…hopefully very soon! Thanx !!

  36. Benny says:

    I was just thinking about this the other day about forming a natural relationship with other bloggers in my area and in areas I’m interested in.

  37. Julian says:

    linking to relation’s blog in a post is the most effective tips

  38. Bebekoh says:

    I like reading blogs unfortunately, i do not leave any comments, i just read them. I will definitely be looking forward to giving comments and eventually suggestions. thanks! :)

  39. Bebekoh says:

    i like reading blogs. unfortunately, i don’t leave comments, i just read them. So, i definitely would be looking forward in my future comments in blogs. starting now… thanks! :)

  40. Love these simple suggestions for building relationships. I’m also trying to reach out more to others through my blogging.

    In addition to your ideas, I have a few more: http://www.jessicajourney.com/shareyourblog/

    Hopefully this will help us all in our efforts! Best, Jessica

  41. hey nice post indeed. i am new to blogging. i wanna build a huge relationship with all the blogger who express their feelings into letters and want to share with others.

  42. Clara Rasmussen says:

    I am thinking of starting a blog for the area where I live. Your article was very useful. I will keep checking to see if you’ve added more info… very helpful.

  43. Ian Kater says:

    Most definitely you cant do blogging on your own. The little friends you make on your blogging journey are the most valuable ‘resources’ your blog can have if you need to make a breakthrough. And guest posting should not just be your #1 method as its slowly waning..just my 2 cts.

  44. Richard Ray says:

    Some truly excellent points discussed here. Like most readers, I’ve read blog posts, like them, made notes, but never really commented on what I’ve read!
    But it works both ways…… It helps the blogger to carry on the discussion (and carries a sense of loyalty) and it helps the commenter (through exposure — and he can get his thoughts on the subject).

    One blog post for definite that’s going in my bookmark!

  45. I’m just launching a my first big product and I’ve started forming relationships like never before.

    Also, I’m starting interviews with other female bloggers so there again, I will have built a serious network of virtual friends.

    I agree that doing at it alone is not wise and it’s important to have a network of bloggers for support!

    Thanks for this post and this great discussion!

    Krizia

  46. This is the first thing I’ve read on ProBlogger, and a great first read it was! i’ve been blogging somewhat sporadically for a couple of years now, and am still trying to find my niche. For the most part, the blog has been more random thoughts and snips of my own personal journey than anything. As such, I don’t usually expect anyone to comment, but I’ll admit it’s great when they do. Thanks for the tips.

  47. Thank you for this terrific advice! I’m just in awe of that sweet relationship you shared! And I am totally up for a blogging buddy, if anyone might be interested. It’s just that my blog is so damned quirky, about being a butler for the super rich, and all the crazy stuff that goes on around here. Ha! It may not go anywhere, but I sure am having fun!

    Andy

  48. Clarabela says:

    I actually met my first blogging buddy as part of the Problogger 31 DBBB. I also have a few other blog buddies for my movie website. A group of fellow female film bloggers who met on Twitter. We comment and share links on each other’s sites. We also have annual Oscar and holiday memes.

    It is great to know you have blog buddies who have your back.

  49. Starting a new blog is frustrating, especially when you have no readership. Any good creative writing class will advise you to write with your audience in mind, this is particularly true in starting a blog. I have just launched my first blog a couple weeks ago. Needless to say, it’s not too popular. I’m still developing my blog’s niche, I’m allowing it to form and fall into place as I continue to write posts. Working a full time job, my blog has become my second, part-time work.

    But it’s a lonely experience when you’re the only one reading your posts. I have done extensive reading on SEO, affiliate marketing (just to maintain my blog), back-links, ect… There’s a lot of advice out there, and a lot of bad, unethical advice, especially from people who claim they’ve cracked the google code.

    I say, keep it real. Keep it true to yourself. I’m confident there is a readership for my blog, I just have to tap into that niche. It’s a long process and I don’t think it happens overnight.

    I like Darren’s site. It gives good sound advice. He has a new reader, among the hundreds of others alongside me.

    Thanks for this post, it really picked me up, giving me a plan of attack.

  50. Sarah Coiner says:

    I’m just starting to blog for the third or fourth time. I’m still not sure what I’m doing. I know I want to be an author, and that a blog is something an author should have. I haven’t gotten any comments on my latest attempt at blogging. Right now, I’m simply making myself be consistent to write twice a week.