How to Grow Your Blog by Building Relationships

Updated February 8, 2019

Building relationships is key to online success. But it’s not always easy to know where to start. Here are some tips. From an introvert. In other words, if I can do it, you can too.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and take action, I may earn a commission. This is at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

1. Participate in online groups

These can be paid-for or free.

Paid-for communities tend to attract people who are more focused and serious about their growth. Plus, you often get much more than community, like additional learning materials and help from experts in your niche. Examples: the Food Blogger Pro community for food bloggers (obviously), and the hope*writers community for writers and authors.

Join Facebook Groups, forums and interact with others on social media. You’ve got to be involved. Initiate. Reach out. Don’t sit back and wait to be asked.

To find Facebook Groups, type your niche keyword in the Facebook search bar. Look for results with “+Join” next to them. Those are Groups.

On Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and other social media platforms, find relevant hashtags and join in the conversation.

The goal is to build relationships, not just to push your own site or products. Aim to make real friends, otherwise it’ll backfire.

2. 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 gathering of like-minded people, do it. And when you’re there, put yourself out there and meet people.

Attending a conference in 2010 absolutely changed the course of my online career. Prior to that, I had been blogging alone for 6 years. I was making no money to speak of. Meeting other bloggers, exchanging ideas and seeing what worked for others was mind blowing and inspiring.

Not only that, in-real-life connections I made with others bloggers turned into collaborations, mastermind groups and lifelong friends.

Not sure which events to attend? Note where your favorite influencers are speaking. Many have “Speaking” pages or list their speaking engagements on their About page.

Here’s a large list of events too.

3. Join Pinterest group boards

While no longer as powerful as they once were, the right Pinterest boards can still be powerful tools to help grow your blog.

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. If you’re accepted, be a useful participant.

4. Join (or start) a mastermind group

I wrote a whole post about mastermind groups here.

5. Collaborate with others

Join forces with other bloggers or publishers and come up with a creative way to drum up some buzz.

YouTubers often collaborate with other YouTubers (collabs). Not only is a relationship built with the other YouTuber, the idea is to introduce your audiences to each other, thereby getting more subscribers.

A group of bloggers can pick a topic and everyone writes their own post and links to everyone else (example). Or get creative like these bloggers.

On social media, collaborate with others around a hashtag like these women did the Building Budget Tour on Instagram.

Make it a win for all. 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. Take a course

There are countless blogging courses these days. The content is fine, but in many cases, the groups attached to them are where the true value lies!

The nice thing about courses is that people who have paid for them are serious about growing. Therefore, the group discussion is particularly helpful and focused.

Read my review of Elite Blog Academy if you’re a new blogger. If you’re an author (or want to be), read my review of Self Publishing 101.

7. Be helpful

Whenever you encounter others, be helpful. If you see ways you can offer help, do it.

Don’t be the person who only asks and never gives. Be generous with your expertise, promotion and advice, no strings attached.

8. 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.

Most journalists and reporters have a presence on social media. To find them, simply search or look for social media icons on their articles. 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.

9. 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.

If you don’t feel like you “fit” in a group you’ve joined or among people you’ve found, keep looking!

In short, be genuine, like a friend. I guarantee you’ll eventually find your people.

10. Pick yourself

Every once in a while I’ll get an email from a discouraged blogger who hasn’t made any meaningful connections. Many times I’ll do a little digging and find out they were waiting to be asked. Don’t wait to be asked by someone else to be involved online. 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.

16 thoughts on “How to Grow Your Blog by Building Relationships”

  1. Concerning networking with other bloggers, I’d like to hear about people who have had success with Triberr. I like the idea, but would love to know if it is truly working.

  2. Hi Amy —
    Your website is REALLY helpful, especially for us newbies. I just started up with a blog and working my way through all the useful info on the web regarding next steps, strategies, etc. You mention going to a blog conference for networking, etc. Can you name what is a good one to attend and/or is there a good time in your blog timeline to attend (i.e. once you’ve established the traffic somewhat or at the very beginning)?

    1. I think a blogging conference can be a great idea no matter where you are in the blogging process. I’ve met plenty of people at blogging conferences who don’t even have a blog yet.

      For me, the main issue was the cost. It can be quite expensive to attend a conference. Considering the ticket, travel, hotel and incidentals, it can easily run you between $500 and $1000. For some that might not be an issue, for others it might be prohibitive. Each person needs to make up his/her mind. If you can find a blogging conference nearby, that will significantly reduce your costs.

      Check out Blog Conference Guide for a list of conferences in 2013. Also, check the right column on that page to see a list of quite possible all the blogging conferences known to man. 🙂

  3. I was gung-ho about beginning my blog back in 2011, but after 4-5 months and getting 1-3 page views per day (if I was lucky!) I was discouraged and gave up. I’m considering jumping back in again, since now that we are homeowners I can do the DIY projects I had in mind, and share them on the blog.
    Anyway, to try and drive traffic I did leave comments on other blogs, but I found the comments just got lost in the shuffle. I did contribute to conversation, not just “love it!” type comments. On occasion I would get a view or two, but not too often. Perhaps I just contributed to blogs that have such a huge following (design*sponge was one) it got lost in the shuffle. As a reader, I know I rarely click on commenter’s website links. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, but wondering if others have had similar experiences?

    1. I think you bring up a good point. Yes, it’s very difficult to comment on the blogs that get hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of comments and really stand out. I think connecting with others who have blogs about your size is definitely a better way to go. Thanks for great feedback, TMD.

  4. I think it is important to remember that you don’t have to jump in to all sources of networking at once. I have done mainly commenting, blog hops (carnivals) and Facebook this year leaving Twitter to master in 2013 because frankly it seems confusing to me, my hubby says I should just invite a twittering teenager over to show me the ropes one day! LOL

    1. Yes, I agree. Start with one or two and then expand as you get the rhythm of each one (and want to expand). Great point.

    2. What helped me tremendously with Twitter (it seemed like a black hole to me too) was using Hootsuite. It’s free and you can use it on your phone or computer. The key here is to create a “channel” where you listen to your keywords or hashtags. Let’s say Amy wanted to set up a channel for her niche, she would follow a hashtag of #blogging and just watch the stream of comments and respond. That’s if you want. I find Twitter less effective, than Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest right now.

      1. Yes, I used Hootsuite for a long time too. Then I was having trouble with it so I stopped. Perhaps I’ll try it again…

  5. Hi Amy! This is definitely helpful. I am finding that I am not quite sure how I can be helpful to other bloggers as I am such a novice blogger (I write about seasonal celebrations through food and crafts) and am still trying to figure this whole blogging thing out. Do you have more specifics on that? I would love feedback if you have any. Thanks for all the great info!

    1. Hi Jenna, when I say be helpful, I’m just talking about offering your opinion on things you know about in a kind and useful way. So, for example, if you write about recipes and you’re on a food blog or in a food forum and you notice someone asks if they can substitute one ingredient for another and you know the answer, jump in! I find comments like, “Once I substituted brown sugar for powdered and it was a disaster but the next time I used granulated instead and it worked perfectly!” are great because you’re not trying to take over, just offering your experience. It’s not about knowing it all, but giving friendly advice.

  6. I’ll throw my $.02 in here. I’m finding a big increase in traffic from getting into Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, especially Instagram, but you have to have a blog that is visual (Food, clothes, kids, whatever you can take a picture of). If you are writing about blogging then these visual social media platforms aren’t going to help much, but Twitter would. Facebook, of course and drive a lot of traffic. I have found that spending a little bit of money on Facebook ads makes a huge difference in getting followers. I went from a couple hundred to over 800 by spending about $25 (about $2 a day) which I am going to keep doing indefinitely because it’s such a cheap way to get followers. It will pay off in the long term.

    Google really wants to see links leading into and away from your site and the best way that I’ve found to do that is find forums where people are talking about your niche and jump into the fray. Also, commenting frequently on other people’s blogs and starting a conversation that way. Gone are the days when you put your blog out there and let google find it and watch the traffic come in. You have to be aggressive about getting followers!

  7. I’ve been struggling with this and trying to find ways to get more traffic to the site and more comments/interaction from my readers, rather than just looking at all the pretty photos. This post was definitely helpful! – Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome! Another thought is to ask questions at the end of your post. “Have you done something similar?” “What would you have done differently?” “What is your advice?” etc.

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