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:
- It demonstrates that there is a market for your niche.
- 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.
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.
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.