Building relationships is key to online success. But it’s not always easy to know where to start.
Here are some networking tips.
1. Attend in-person events (like conferences)
There’s nothing like meeting people face to face. If you can attend a conference, a meet-up or another get-together, do it. Attending a conference in 2010 absolutely changed the course of my blogging “career.”
Not sure which events to attend? Note where your favorite bloggers are speaking. Many bloggers have “Speaking” pages or list their speaking engagements on their About page.
2. Participate in online events
Don’t be afraid to jump into forums and social media. Join Twitter chats/parties, link-ups (like Works for Me Wednesday or search google “link up [niche]”) etc. You’ve got to be involved. For most of these things, you don’t have to be invited so don’t sit back and wait to be asked. The goal in all these things is to build relationships, not just to push your own blog or products, so aim to make real friends, otherwise it’ll backfire.
Bonus tip about link-ups: Make sure you use a photo that looks clear in a small size. Make sure you utilize the text portion of your link very well; don’t just include your name, but make your text intriguing. Always look for and follow any guidelines before you participate. The last thing you want to do is make a bad impression.
3. Join Pinterest group boards
There are many bloggers who have seen amazing growth by contributing to group boards on Pinterest. (Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy is a great resource for in-depth training on this.) Find group boards that are a good fit, contact the owner (they are the first person listed in the group board’s members) and simply ask if you can join. Then be a useful participant and pin a good collection of
4. Join (or start) a mastermind group
I wrote a whole post about mastermind groups here.
5. Collaborate with other bloggers
Join forces with other bloggers and come up with a creative way to drum up some buzz. A basic idea is to pick a topic, everyone in the group writes their own post and then everyone links to all the others. (Check out Staycation on a Budget as an example.) Spread the work around, as well as the promotion. (Another fun example from a few years ago was Name That DIY Blogger.) Make it a win-win all around. Collaborations can increase traffic, broaden your exposure, help build relationships and improve SEO (lots of inbound links from the others you’re collaborating with). Plus, it’s fun.
6. Be helpful
Whenever you encounter others, be helpful. If you see ways you can offer help, do it. Don’t be the guy that always wants stuff from others. Be generous with your expertise, promotion and advice, no strings attached.
7. Don’t limit yourself to networking with just bloggers
Reach out to journalists and those in traditional media too. Social media makes this easier than it’s ever been, and the potential benefits are obvious. My first blog was featured in TIME Magazine back in 2006, after the journalist reached out to me; we’ve had friendly conversations multiple times since.
Here is a big list of journalists on G+ and if you sign up at HARO (Help a Reporter Out) you can get emails filled with requests from reporters who want sources for their stories. And don’t overlook connections with your local media as well.
8. Be yourself
Don’t be what you think others want you to be. That’s exhausting. And unsustainable. Always be yourself when you’re building relationships.
9. Pick yourself
I think it was Seth Godin who first said, “Pick yourself.” In other words, don’t wait to be asked by someone else, start something yourself and ask others to join you! The internet has made it possible to connect with others, pool your resources and research how to pull it off. Take advantage of it!