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What Aspiring Actors Can Teach You About Blogging

This guest post is by Tom Ewer of Leaving Work Behind.

If you were an aspiring actor, and you spotted a famous movie star on the street, would you run up to them and ask them for help? You might, but I’m willing to bet that 99 times out of 100, you would get nowhere. In fact, those odds are probably very generous.

I am willing to bet that those odds would improve if you were to approach them, briefly introduce yourself, compliment them on their work, and ask if it would be okay to write to their agent with a few questions that they might consider answering if they get time.

When you’re dealing with people above your station, the hard sell is almost always a failure. If you were to deal with your fellow bloggers in the spirit of the more polite and unobtrusive aspiring actor, you would establish some highly valuable relationships.

Embrace your “competition”

As Darren explained, it’s wise to embrace the competition. It doesn’t matter what niche you are in—there are almost always going to be more authoritative blogs already in existence. And that is a good thing, for two key reasons:

  1. It demonstrates that there is a market for your niche.
  2. It provides you with an opportunity tap into an established audience.

Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of a resource of already warm, highly targeted leads?

Nothing is free

So how can you tap into the audiences of your contemporaries? Not in the way that many people try to, that’s for sure. Do not emulate the method of the rude and desperate aspiring actor. There is few things more irritating to a blogger than being contacted by another who simply asks for a link to, or mention of, their site.

Assuming that you are the proverbial minnow, you only need to concern yourself with one thing when reaching out to your peers—providing value. Whilst simply asking for help may occasionally reap short term rewards, it is far more valuable to establish long term relationships based upon giving.

Provide value

The desire to reciprocate is human instinct. For the most part, if you offer value to your peers, they will eventually be inclined to return the favor.

So what should you do? Here are a few things you can do to get started:

  • Drop them a line and compliment their work.
  • Share their posts.
  • Add useful and insightful comments to their posts.
  • Link to posts of theirs that you find valuable.
  • Review their products.

Please don’t let your imagination be stifled by my suggestions—more inventive ways of reaching out to your peers can offer higher rewards! For instance, you might choose to post a video on your blog entitled “Five Reasons You Should Be Following (insert name here)”. That might grab their attention!

Always make sure that your complimentary nature does not turn into overt fawning, and don’t go out of your way to tell the person in question that you are doing all of these lovely things—it will look disingenuous.

Be genuine

The key is to do all of the above (and more) with absolutely no expectation of a reward. I would like to think that I have already established some really positive relationships with bloggers in a short period of time, and for the most part, my generosity has not been reciprocated. How does this make me feel? I’m totally okay with it. Reciprocity is not an obligation, and what you consider due reward for your generosity may not be realistic.

When I get in touch with a fellow blogger, it is not in the vain hope that I can get something out of it. It is because I think they offer quality content, and I want to get to know them better. If something comes out of a burgeoning relationship that positively affects my blog, that is a wonderful bonus.

Okay … Now what?

Once you have started befriending bloggers, you’ll have to play it by ear. Your new friendships will probably bring about unexpected benefits without you having to do anything. But if you think that there is some way in which your friend can help you, and it is not asking too much, then once you are on good terms, you may consider asking for a favor.

If you do decide to, then make sure that you are not asking too much. Put yourself in the shoes of your compatriot—would what you are asking for make them uncomfortable? Always err on the side of conservatism if you feel compelled to ask for something. I personally am far more inclined to never suggest anything that does not offer some kind of benefit in return. Simply saying “can you please link to my site?” is not something I would recommend, because if you already have a great rapport with someone, they would have done so already if they wanted to.

What are you waiting for?

You probably know of many bloggers in your niche. You have probably contacted some of them before. You may not have gone about it in what I consider the right way.

Now is the time to make amends. Start engaging with people—start helping them. You are entering into a long term process, but one which is bound to offer fantastic rewards, given enough time and the right attitude.

Tom Ewer is the owner of Leaving Work Behind, a growing community of likeminded people with a unifying goal—to create scalable and sustainable online incomes. He aims to leave his career in property development just as soon as his online pursuits can support him. If you enjoyed this article then be sure to sign up to Tom’s newsletter, which has exclusive content not available on the blog.

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Comments

  1. Lucy says:

    I’m trying!

    I always thought that “networking” was very fake and it’s hard to get over those feelings now. I have to remember that I have something to contribute and I dont just want to use someone.

    • Tom Ewer says:

      Hey Lucy! I deliberately avoided the use of the word ‘networking’ because of all the negative connotations that come with it. And I am certainly talking about something very different to the meaning of that word as it is generally understood. Nurturing genuine relationships with likeminded people is never a bad thing!

  2. You summed this up nicely for me towards the end …start engaging with people – start helping them.
    If we can adopt this approach in all areas of our life, not just blogging, we’ll be onto a winner.
    Nice post Tom.

    • Tom Ewer says:

      Thanks Jan, I appreciate that. The world’s getting a bit too selfish, and it’s not necessary. Helping others can benefit both parties in the long run.

  3. Kat says:

    Hmmm, you’re right, I’d be too petrified to run up to an actor and ask for advise. However, as a photographer, I’ve definitely been known to pick fellow photog brains. I’ve followed several blogs, but am not big on posting ’cause I feel like I’m intruding on a private conversation. How silly! I totally love it when people comment on my posts. So, thanks for the advice on befriending fellow bloggers. You’re site is so helpful!

    • Tom Ewer says:

      Thanks Kat, that’s very kind of you to say! You’re right, feeling like you’re intruding on a private conversation is silly ;) but I’m sure you can get over that quickly :)

  4. Fantastic post. I love your analogy as well, can’t make it clearer than that. Cheers :)

  5. Er … how to starve?

  6. This is a great post Tom! I love the analogy. I’m reminded of Zig Ziglar’s wise quote: “You can have anything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what THEY want.”

    I’m just starting to get out and start forming relationships with other bloggers. It’s way more fun and rewarding than I anticipated! Experiencing that makes it easier to maintain the genuine attitude you described.

    • Tom Ewer says:

      Hey Deacon! Thanks for commenting. I think that’s the key – it doesn’t have to be a chore – making new friends is supposed to be a good thing! And if positive things for your blog can also come of it, then you’re really in business!

      Great quote by the way.

  7. Ardorm says:

    Tom,

    I must admit you have a good imagination. Taking in account that acting is something I like, as well; you’ve like “double hit” the point in my case. :D

    But contacting bloggers the right way surely seems a time-consuming process. With all the other activities you also have to do (like SEO, writing posts, following other blogs etc.) does it pay off to dedicate your free time to contacting more successful bloggers? I mean if you need their help, you can just read one of their articles (in the end, that’s why they blog) and it’ll take you around 2-3 minutes maximum…

    • Tom Ewer says:

      Hey Ardorm,

      Establishing and nurturing relationships with bloggers is definitely a time-consuming process. But perhaps I didn’t make myself clear enough in the post – I’m not suggesting that you contact bloggers asking them for help. And I’m definitely not saying that the only upside you can expect to get out of your interactions with other bloggers is to get the kind of help you would have done from their posts.

      There can be HUGE upsides to ‘making friends’ online.

      Say that you strike up a relationship with an ‘A List’ blogger. Inititally you just contact him telling them that you think his blog is great – nothing more than that. Over time, you might drop him a line to let him know how you’re progressing, and ask hi how he’s getting on. In the social media world you might retweet his posts and say good things (this should be genuine of course).

      A few months down the line, you produce a great post. A pillar article. Something of real quality. Now it just so happens that your A List blogger has been taking quite a bit of notice of you, and so he puts your post in a ‘Top 5 Posts’ list on their blog. Suddenly, you get a flood of the most highly-targeted traffic you could possibly hope for. Not only are these guys and girls really interested in your niche, someone they trust highly has just recommended you. No amount of SEO is going to get you that kind of quality exposure. It costs no money, just a bit of your time, and the potential upside is huge (I’ve only highlighted one positive outcome of many).

      It’s all a case of priorities. I personally would put relationship building just behind writing the best content that I can on my list of priorities. If you feel that your time is better spent elsewhere, more power to you :-)

      Anyway, I’ve waffled on for far too long! I hope I’ve helped…

      Thanks for commenting!

      Tom

  8. Love the post and analogy Tom, one thing that really gets to me is when bloggers or webmasters email me just to put a link on my page, I mean at least attempt to write some sort of guest post.

  9. Scott Hudson says:

    Wow! what an idea ! Nice
    The Marketing Blog