With so many blogs for people to access, it’s can be easy for yours to get lost in the shuffle. The best way to prevent that is to grow your audience and establish your expertise. But how can you do that? Like anything else, it takes dedication and hard work. You have to commit to regularly updating your blog and building a large network.
It’s important to be genuine when networking. People will see through you if you’re only out to get something for yourself. Nurture your relationships properly and the benefits will come naturally. Here are six strategies to get those relationships started and grow your network.
- Professional Associations
Professional associations are a great way to network because you know all of the members are in the same field as you, so you already have something to talk about with them. Membership costs vary and typically reflect the benefits involved with being a member. Be sure to do some research before choosing an association to join.
Joining a group will provide a large group of people with whom you can connect and share information. Some organizations offer conferences and training. They also serve as a liaison between their members and elected officials (should any legislation come up regarding your industry).
For bloggers, there are several general organizations such as the International Bloggers Association or the Professional Bloggers Association. There also are more niche organizations such as the Professional Travel Bloggers Association or Association of Food Bloggers. It should be noted these are just a few of the organizations out there and by no means a comprehensive list.
- Work with Influencers
Begin benefiting from your association right away by connecting to an influencer. Working with them will grow your audience because they’re likely to share the piece to their readers, too.
There are many different ways to reach out to fellow bloggers. Create a list post or roundup and invite them to contribute. Request their advice about a common problem, or ask them to address an issue within your niche. By doing this, you could feature more than one influencer in a piece, and it will involve little writing on your part because they’ll submit their answers to the query. You could also start a series of profiles and interview a different person for each piece. Be sure to do your research before the interview so that you can share things that your readers don’t already know about the influencers. The goal is always to provide unique, original content.
Alternatively, you don’t have to write anything. You could ask the influencer to write a guest post for your blog. Offer to return the favor, too. Regardless of how you collaborated, don’t forget to properly thank the influencers with a personal note when the work is done. Use your blogroll to link to bloggers who write about the same topics or just people who are writing cool stuff. They are likely to return the favor and add you to their blogrolls.
- Become a Guest Speaker
Offer to be a guest speaker at some of those association events. It’s OK to get away from the keyboard and share your knowledge in a different way; public speaking can be a great way to become successful. This will help build your expertise and get your name out there.
Research your audience to tailor your presentation to their interests. Consider using branded binders with samples of your blog inside, as well as other presentation information for your audience. Include a few blank pages, too, in case anyone wants to take notes. Keep your presentation casual, as if you’re having a conversation with your audience. No one wants to be talked at. To that end, make sure to get in plenty of practice before the big day.
It’s OK to use a slideshow as long as it supplements to your presentation. Don’t use it to replace your notes, and unless you want to lose your audience, don’t read from it. Instead, use it to support and highlight key points with videos, images and graphics. Keep your presentation to three key points so that your audience will have an easier time remembering them. Don’t forget to record your presentation so you can post it to social media later.
- Social Media
Speaking of social media, that’s another great way to network. You’ve been using it to connect to your readers, but you should also use it to expand your network. Tag influencers in posts, or share some of their posts, too. There’s a good chance they’ll return the favor.
If you haven’t already, create social media pages for your blog. This will make it easier to attract people who are more familiar with your blog than with you personally. This might sound like a lot of work, but don’t use every social media platform out there. Stick to a few that are predominately used by your audience and others in your industry.
Make sure your posts are unique. A lot goes through people’s feeds, so it can be tricky to stand out. Use bold images with bright colors such as red or orange to create a sense of urgency. Explain the value people will get from each post. Consider doing a Facebook Live to give people a behind-the-scenes perspective and to engage more with readers and other bloggers.
- Have an Event
Organizing an event is a fantastic way to expand your network, whether it’s a small cocktail party for other bloggers or a barbecue in the park for your readers. Your event doesn’t need to break the bank. If you want to do something bigger for your readers, you can partner with other bloggers to split the cost. This will also expose your blog to others.
Use this as a time to mine for future blog posts. Seek out inspiration by speaking to readers about what they would like to see or by speaking with other bloggers. Either way, getting together will help you build stronger connections and grow your blogging community.
If you’re having a public event, consider putting up a banner to attract those passing by. You could also keep some of those binders on hand with samples of your blog to give new people a taste of your work.
- Produce Good Content
Ultimately, the best thing for expanding your network is awesome content. Research your audience so you can produce quality blog posts that answer their questions in a way no one else can. Be honest and authentic to let your personality shine through your writing. If readers feel connected to you, they are more likely to keep coming back and even share your work.
Though it should go without saying, don’t forget to proofread everything. This means not just your text, but graphics and photo captions. Consider using online proofreading apps or hiring a service to make sure nothing is missed. Poor spelling and grammar can really turn people off. Your message could be amazing, but will be hard to understand if there are too many errors.
The best way to grow your blog is through networking. Some of that can be done from home when you’re at your computer anyway. But, other aspects have to be done outside of the house. It’s not easy, and it might feel like you’re wasting time, but if done correctly, your network will expand and so will your audience.