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Traffic Technique 7: Networking and Collaboration

Two minds are better than one—especially when it comes to blogging.

For bloggers trying to grow their traffic, working with others can give you a real advantage. The most obvious example is, of course, guest posting on someone else’s blog, but there are as many opportunities for creative collaboration as there are players in your niche—and all of them are different.

I often report on the ways social media has helped me generate traffic for dPS—and connect with new photographers whose content, in turn, attracts more traffic. But today I want to look at some other, more creative networking techniques that you can use to attract attention—and hopefully lasting, loyal visitors—for your blog.

The comment connection: networking with other commenters

I think a great place to seek opportunities for collaboration is in blog comments. Often, when we’re commenting on blog posts, we focus on the post, the author, and making a response that’s intelligent and presents us in an authoritative light.

But there’s a missed opportunity here: the chance to forge connections with other commenters. We all know how easy it is to see who knows their stuff in blog comments. We can usually follow a link to commenters’ blogs or sites and find out more about them and what they’re doing—which may give us ideas that we’d never have had on our own, perhaps for joint projects.

Responding to the comments on a blog post, rather than simply to the post’s author, can be a good way to get a feel for how responsive peers in your niche may be to your ideas, and to get on their radars. If you want to get in touch after that, it should be pretty easy. And who knows? Perhaps together you’ll be able to do far more to build your audiences—and traffic levels—than you’d ever have managed alone.

Connecting with your local audience offline

Recently I ran a small blogging event here in Melbourne, for a sub-niche of bloggers in town (food bloggers). It wasn’t a speech given at a business conference, or a presentation at a blogging event: it was held at the restaurant of a friend of mine, and benefitted him, the event speakers, and the bloggers who came along.

This event was a collaboration between myself, a friend, some of Melbourne’s best bloggers (who spoke at the event) and some of the city’s up-and-coming and established names in the niche (the attendees). Some of these people were familiar with Problogger.net; others weren’t. In all cases, the opportunity to connect in person with people from your target audience was, for me, unmissable.

When it comes to traffic, it’s all too easy to focus on overnight traffic success tactics—like guest posting, which can spike our traffic for the day. But strategies like networking plant seeds that can bear fruit over months or years—you may not see the benefits of that work for some time. But these longer term traffic strategies are essential if you’re to keep growing your audience and your blog sustainably.

Connecting with other experts

This one might come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s just as important as the more direct traffic methods, and shows how valuable collaboration can be.

By networking on and offline, and collaborating with those I’ve met, I’ve built relationships that have directly influenced my blog’s traffic levels.

  • I’ve met the Web Marketing Ninja, as well as Naomi, my designer, who’s helped me optimize my product offerings and the way we present them, and attract more quality traffic to each launch—as well as to my blogs overall.
  • I met Jasmine and Georgina, plus a range of authors, who help me produce content and products that continuously meet the needs of my readers, and which are a basic necessity in attracting and retaining new readers. They’ve also made it easier for me to form more relationships with larger numbers of players in the markets where I operate, which is a big boost to my efforts to find readers.
  • I’ve also formed relationships with other bloggers, like Brian Clark and Chris Garrett. The print book I wrote with Chris is yet another example of a collaboration that sowed seeds for future traffic. We’ve been reaping the benefits of that work ever since.
  • Your traffic network

    Networking and collaboration are excellent ways to grow your traffic in the long term, as well as more immediately. Have a think about your traffic network—in terms of the people you know or you’re working with. Could that network use a little extra attention? Are there opportunities for collaboration that you’re overlooking?

    I’d love to hear how you’re using networking and collaboration to build your blog traffic. Let us hear your tips in the comments.

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. Thanks Darren —

    That’s actually not a bad monthly challenge. Sometimes we get caught up in a commenting spree to only comment about the author’s work, but a comments section of a blog post is literally like a personalized forum for everyone to participate in.

    I’m going to make an effort to interact with more commenters this month.

    Cheers,

    Andrew Dodson

    • Yeah like this. I always try to reply to a comment. I appreciate the post but most of the times the other bloggers also have relevant information to share.

  2. I agree 100% Darren! It is just like a football team! You need buddies on your “team” or you will never get the ball across the line.

    My blog would not be what it is without my Tribe! We do projects together, RT, facebook blast, and have meetings to brainstorm.

  3. Since finding your blog, I’m actually reading a lot of the comments and clicking on blogs I would have never otherwise found on my own.

    Simple, yet overlooked by many. Good post!

    Gary

  4. Hi,

    Driving traffic is an easy task for me, and for others who’re really addicted of it. And also for those, who really want it. I’d recommend commenting and building relationships with other bloggers as the best ways among ways to get amazing recognition in the blogosphere. I’ve been networking with my friends (friended recently) and you know what? I’m now a very active, responsive and helpful boy for them, which helps me to get some respect, loyal readers for my blog and tons of traffic that people give because you’ve a FAME!

    Anyway, I suggest you to read some of my own tips that I’m implementing while networking! And believe me it’s now the best way for me out there in the strategies list to get what a Blogger must have in order to achieve a great success. Here they’re;

    #1 Post daily (at 06 PM – 08 PM) some tips that you think are worth implementing at your facebook fan page, profile and other social networks that you use (for facebook it’ll boost your EdgeRank score, you’ll get more traffic from facebook then whenever you’ll post a link from your blog). I use it daily, and here are better results.

    #2 Do help everyone, who’re in need of it. Expertise your knowledge, show love, express opinions and show that you’re here too.

    #3 Comment not like a spammer! But, like you’re expert at the topic, comment worth reading stuff you commented, comment to gain others attention and more tips are here, I use.

    So, would you like you use them out? Or, you’re problogger. And already using more better than those all. I know. BTW, Thumbs for those two tips (i.e. Commenting and building relationships with experts).

    Thanks!

  5. Samuel says:

    Excellent article Darren.

    Networking is one of the best ways to get traffic.

    I started a small sharing group on Twitter and started to share some content of theirs.

    After doing that a couple of times, they were willing to share some of my own content as well.

    Very important strategy to use when growing your blog.

    • Thats an interesting idea, having a Twitter sharing group. Do you just RT each others content regularly? How does it work?

      Do you also repost each others blog articles and provide backlinks? I can see how this could be a slippery slope without a small group of people who know and trust each other.

  6. Tom Clark says:

    Hey Darren,

    Great message here. I think the guest post arena is certainly an incredible one but offline connections for me have a different feel and seem to last longer. In the guitar niche that I am in, I have started to attend guitar brand launch days and meet owners of guitar companies, music store owners and potential students. Utilizing some SEO skills I managed to build relationships with the store owner and become the store guitar tutor and get some great links too!

    Excited to hear of more ways to build connection in my niche.

    Many thanks,

    Tom

    • Shelly Cone says:

      Tom it seems like adding more video to your site would be a great way for you to connect with your niche audience. I’ve done copywriting for a number of guitar tutors and many of them use video to provide some personality and because guitarists I think like to see guitar played. Maybe you can give a short preview lesson with the option for them to buy if they want to learn the whole song?

  7. Great article, Darren. Too many bloggers focus on the SEO aspects of their blogs and not on the partnerships and networks that can be built for the long-term. Timely reminder for us.

  8. pagetron says:

    Having seen the volatility of Google traffic, there is no alternative to start collaboration with the other bloggers.I find that by networking ethically with bloggers in twitter, Facebook, and Stumbleupon, you can get tons of free traffic.But what is most important to me is the loyalty and morality of your followers.Recently, Bing is giving me more traffic than Google in some blogs. Darren, you have really mastered the art blogging and we are still in the learning curve, which seems to be infinite.Thank you Darren.

  9. Hi Darren,

    Network effectively is far and away the easiest way to grow a massive following. Be patient. Build relationships one friend at a time.

    The rewards are astounding. I joined a twitter syndie tribe – fully automated – which generates me a handsome number of retweets daily. How? I made friends with tribe members, who shared the opportunity with me.

    I receive calls from people who opt-in to my website, who specifically note my comments, and how they were impressed with my commenting style. It takes 5 minutes to create something which improves your writing skills, expands your presence and brings success to all parties involved.

    I backed off my commenting strategy for a bit – due to impatience – but learned quickly that commenting with the intent to add value to the post and connect with like-minded folks, well, it rocks.

    Share your take. Personalize interactions. Become friends with more people from your niche each day.

    Make an impact. Few people do. So you WILL stand out by simply making a positive impact where you pop up.

    Remember, people who are in a rush are generally unsuccessful. People who are mindful, present, and scan through the comments section…THESE are the people who want to learn, to get into details, to meet people….these are the folks you want to connect with.

    By penning insightful comments, you will meet ‘em ;)

    Thanks!

    RB

  10. Tbs says:

    I agree with this. networking both online and offline and collaborating helps a lot to drive traffic in the long run.
    mairaj also has some good suggestion for this. Would like to see more on this Darren.Thanks.

  11. Laura says:

    One of my original sites was part of an unofficial network of blogs read by an authority in my niche. We all became friends because we visited and commented on each others pages. One of the other writers got me into a great volunteer opportunity that launched my career in that niche.

    You are only one person and one website, but as you form relationships you become many people and many websites.

  12. Kent Chen says:

    The knowledge that you are sharing is invaluable! Thank you Darren!

  13. Steve says:

    Networking is not only necessary to be a successful blogger or to get more traffic it also helps to build a successful business and to be a successful business manager or a leader its very important to have a networking all around the world. The secret behind the most of the managers are a good networking

  14. Amanda Prior says:

    I always read through the blog comments as I often find you can discover some absolute gems in them. People often discuss what they do and the success or problems they’ve encountered. The theory in many posts comes alive in the comments. Never thought of using the comments for networking though! Brilliant suggestion. Thanks.

  15. elena says:

    Both online and offline techniques are useful as both balance out each other perfectly.