So, a couple of weeks ago I put together the series The Blogger's Guide To Hustling: Networking, Promoting & Getting Your Blog OUT THERE! Parts One, Two & Three - and it was during this process that I thought ''gosh. Why should you just listen to me bang on? Why not incorporate the knowledge of OTHER bloggers, and pick their wonderful brains?!'' Luckily these three lovely ladies, all who have been writing hugely successful blogs for at least two years, were willing to let me!
Comment, Comment, Comment!
I spent my first four blogging months wondering why the heck I wasn't getting any comments, until a friend pointed out that I had to LEAVE comments to GET comments. So networking through reading and commenting is definitely a biggie for me!
I've gotta put in a good word about guest posting. I know a lot about style, but I don't know it all. So when it comes to topics like bra fittings, flattering hats, and pregnancy chic, I'd rather call in actual experts than muddle through myself. I've had dozens of amazing bloggers guest post on my blog, and it's always rewarding. Their know-how reaches my audience, cross-pollination occurs, and goodwill is built. Total win!
A Few Tips For Cultivating Successful Guest Posts:
- Establish yourself first. If your blog is a week old and you're already requesting guest posts, it may seem odd. Guest posts work best if you've already spent some time building and cultivating an audience on your own.
Only request posts from bloggers with whom you have an existing relationship. I wouldn't even consider writing to Garance Dore and requesting a guest post from her because she has absolutely no idea who I am. Stick to friends and colleagues, the bloggers who run your regular haunts, and folks who actually comment back once in a while.
- Have a topic in mind, and target bloggers with specific expertise. Guest posts need a reason, and that reason is typically that the guest poster can offer perspective or expertise that you, yourself, cannot.
- Most bloggers will link to their guest posts as a courtesy, and so that their readerships can view their work elsewhere. But if your guest poster forgets, don't be shy about nudging. Wait a day, then drop a quick note asking if she/he could notify readers about the guest post.
- If the post goes well, ask if YOU can do a guest post. More of that cross-pollination goodness!
One of my favorite things about blogging is all the fantastic people that you meet and the connections that you make. And luckily for you, said connections can be super beneficial! If you read a blog that you really love and you feel like you have things in common with the blogger, don't hesitate to write them and tell them so. Cultivate friendships and relationships with other bloggers in your niche or blogs that your readers would like. Write guest posts for each other, put each other on your blog rolls and recommend their posts to your readers. If you guys like each other, there's a good chance your readers will like each other, too! I'm half in love with Daddylikey, Agent Lover and Lady Smaggle. We've all guest posted for each other and if I'm ever in their home towns, I'm pretty sure some slumber party, hair-braiding action is going to take place!
I'm actually a very conservative blogger when it comes to networking and my site has grown quite organically and through word of mouth. I do comment on other blogs but only if I actually have something to say about the post. I've been guest blogging more recently on Yes & Yes which is fantastic because our readers are so similar and it's great to share our skills. Sarah writes great articles about subjects that I'm not familiar with, so it's great to open doors for our readers and 'cross-pollinate' as she calls it!
I'm on Twitter and Facebook which I update regularly. It's important to be accessible to your readers through their preferred platform of social networking. I'm a bit lazy when it comes to answering comments but I reply to all (most) Twitter, Facebook and e-mail messages because generally people are enquiring about something in particular rather than providing an opinion which, despite often being lovely and complimentary, doesn't always warrant a response.
The Best Advice I Can Give About Blogging Is -
1. Be yourself, but be professional - when you look at some of the top bloggers in the world they rarely complain about their parents, boyfriends, fat thighs etc. I enjoy blogs where I feel like I know the author but sometimes it gets a little personal and Jerry Springer-esque. Think about your blog like a product and you represent that product. Be professional and friendly but try to keep a little air of mystery about yourself. Also, proof read and be a nightmare editor for yourself. It's worth it.
2. Write about subjects that you enjoy - It will show in your work. I don't want to blow my own horn but I quite like to read my own blog archives. Why? Because I like what I write about. Simple.
3. Keep your posts snappy - they are like magazine articles, if they are more than a few pages long your readers will lose interest.
4. Check your stats - see what posts have high search rates, what words you used that got flagged etc. and use that info to write similar and follow up posts.
5. Read blogging blogs like Problogger - half the time I have no idea what he is talking about but occasionally he writes something that resembles English and it's very useful to people like me who aren't so savvy on the tech side of blogging.
6. Attend any blogger meet ups, events or social gatherings that you get invited to - it's lovely to put a face to a name and meeting bloggers in real life is a great way to network, get advice and swap blogging stories. There are so few people in 'real life' who get what's it's like to be a semi-popular blogger and it's surprisingly refreshing to have a conversation with someone that doesn't get stopped by the phrase 'Wait, who is Susie Bubble?'
7. Be consistent. Keep your blogging schedule as regular as possible and keep the subject matter as niche as you can. I find this really difficult because I have a thirty second attention span and when I see something shiny I get distracted but I have a few regular segments like Can I Get A Consensus? Why Don't You? and DIYs that my readers respond really well to. People love a routine and you should use this to your advantage.
Brilliant. Thank-you so much for sharing your wisdom, ladies! (Are they clever or WHAT?!)
These posts are always so helpful, and it's great to see a new perspective on blogging from other's point of view. Plus, I just discovered 3 great blogs to add to my daily reading list. Everyone wins!
Hey Corinne, I've just been lurking/trawling through your posts in this series and LOVING them. You are a woman after my own heart!
So great too to have the bonus of some others' experiences. Thanks heaps - will be back! :)
I have been waiting for a post like this. Many times I've read about how to be a better blogger, but this post was golden and from a couple of my favorite bloggers! Thank you!
Thanks so much for including me, Corrine! I'm flattered to be in such good (and ridiculously attractive) company ;)
Totally digging this blogger series, by the way. It's nice to see someone that's not Seth Godin or Darren Rowse talk about it, plus your personality really shines through. :3
I've been loving this series :) I can definitely attest to the success of commenting on other blogs & befriending fellow bloggers. It's a great way to make friends AND promote your blog.
Aw, yay! I love Already Pretty & yes and yes and I'm excited to check out Lady Smaggle, if only for the name itself. :)
These were some really good tips. I'm toying with the idea of guest posting, but I guess at this point I feel like I'm still at that "work on your own readership" stage Sally mentioned.
You're awesome, Corrine! You did a wonderful job putting this series together.
Thanks for letting me contribute, Corrine!
Great post, Corrine! I LOVED this series, it was so fantastically helpful!
Great answers, ladies! I love all of their blogs. I'm really interested in guest posts, but as my blog is new and no one knows who I am, it's a little difficult. Maybe in a year or so!
I love finding new blogs to read, off to check out these now :)
I'm totally addicted to Yes and Yes! I love Sarah, she's adorable and a true inspiration.
Awesome post and three awesome ladies!
Jade - You are so welcome! Thank-you so much for your very kind (as always!) words!
Posts like these are gold, thanks for sharing so much of this wealth of information you have with us newbie bloggers :)