With over 600 million blogs in the world and over 31 million active bloggers posting at least once a month, blogging is certainly a competitive space.
As a blogger, you cannot just focus on writing stellar content and hope to grow your community of readers. A huge part of being a successful blogger also depends on what you do to promote your blog.
One of the most effective ways to promote and grow your blog is to network with other bloggers.
Connecting with other (relevant) bloggers helps you reach new audiences, increase readership, strengthen your reputation, and build meaningful relationships.
After all, blogging is a business and just the way networking helps businesses grow, the same holds true for blogs.
Here are seven practical ways to network with other bloggers and grow your blog in the process.
1. Insert links to other blogs in your content
A strong linking strategy is crucial to your blog’s success. While it’s important to insert inbound links, it’s equally important to link to external websites and credible blogs.
Linking to other blogs in your posts is a great start to networking because let’s face it - everyone appreciates a link back to their content.
So, start with identifying the list of bloggers in your niche (and otherwise) you want to connect with and make it a point to link to posts that can add value to your content.
It doesn’t end there. Once your post is live, it’s a good idea to reach out to the blogger and let them know you’ve linked to their post. This sparks conversation and gets your blog noticed.
2. Create expert roundup posts
Taking a cue from inserting links to other bloggers - another way to achieve that is by creating expert roundup posts.
Expert roundup posts are a collection of opinions from experts in a particular topic or niche. Not only is this an opportunity to add high-quality content to your blog and drive traffic, but it also helps build relationships.
Creating expert roundup posts involves choosing an interesting topic or question, reaching out to the experts for their opinions and writing an engaging post showcasing their opinions with a link back to their blogs.
The key here is choosing a compelling topic that experts (bloggers) will want to comment on and that isn’t too complex. You can use a tool such as Keyword Planner to do keyword research and turn to Quora to get insights on the pressing questions and trending topics in your niche.
The next question is how do you find the right experts who will have something valuable to say. Search for people who have a decent following and a website. You can contact them through email, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Here’s an example of an expert roundup post by HubSpot.
This is how you can create an expert roundup post in 6 simple steps -
- Pick one question that your readers would like to learn more about and that would get the experts you reach out to send detailed responses
- Work on a list of experts/influencers in your niche. If you’re aiming for 20 experts, make sure you write to at least 25-30 people as there will be a few who won’t respond
- Create a Google form with their name, website URL, question and bio
- Send them a well-crafted email. Here’s an example -
Hey [Expert’s name],
I’m currently working on a roundup post on [topic] and I think you’d be a great fit.
I would really appreciate it if you can spare a few minutes and fill this Google form - [link to form] by [deadline].
- Draft the article with all their responses
- Once the article goes live, send the featured experts an email with the link and encourage them to share it on their social media platforms.
3. Strategically comment on fellow bloggers’ posts
Are you setting aside time to leave comments on other blogs? If not, you should start today.
Blog commenting is a skill not many bloggers are well-versed with. Engaging with other bloggers’ posts and leaving valuable comments enables your blog to stand out and get noticed.
That said, merely commenting is not enough. In order to be effective, your comment needs to be qualitative, add value or ask relevant questions.
For instance, take a look at this comment - it’s generic and will most probably get lost in the sea of comments.
Now here’s an example of a well-crafted comment - it is qualitative and shows that the person has actually read the article.
So, don’t just leave comments for the sake of it. Focus on making it meaningful and avoid spamming it with links.
If you want to get serious about leaving comments on other people’s blogs, you need to start with creating a Gravatar profile. Insert a high-resolution of your headshot, full name and a few lines about yourself that strengthens your personal brand.
4. Share their content on social media
It’s simple - if you want people to share your blog content, you need to share theirs.
So, start following the bloggers on your target list and engage with them on social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Liking, sharing and commenting on their social media posts gives you visibility and lays the foundation for a new connection.
Use tools such as Buffer and Buzzsumo to discover and share content on social media platforms.
5. Exchange guest posts
Guest blogging is a powerful inbound marketing strategy that has several benefits such as improving SEO rankings, driving traffic, building credibility and increasing reach.
What’s more, guest blogging also proves to be the perfect way to network with other bloggers.
The key lies in identifying blogs that speak to a similar audience, sending them a compelling pitch and writing a valuable post that they cannot refuse. While searching for websites, make sure you target those that have a decent domain authority (preferably more than 40).
Don’t resort to sending out template-like pitches. Browse their website, read their previous blog posts and guest blogging guidelines to craft a pitch that would be of interest to them.
At the same time, you should also consider accepting guest posts on your blog. This gives other bloggers the opportunity to reach out to you and contribute insightful content.
While guest blogging is effective, do make sure you don’t compromise on the quality of your blog content in an attempt to make connections. At the end of the day, your readers need to find your blog posts valuable and it’s your responsibility to ensure that continues.
6. Join relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups
The good part about LinkedIn and Facebook groups is that they give you access to a huge group of like-minded people - be it fellow bloggers or potential clients.
So, use these spaces to expand your network, strike conversations, build authority and learn from the community. Just like leaving comments on other people’s blog posts, even commenting on Facebook and LinkedIn groups needs to highlight your deep understanding on the topic/industry.
Let’s say you’re an author looking to grow your blog. Log on to LinkedIn, type the relevant keywords (eg. author, blog, etc.), filter it by Groups and you can join the groups that you feel will be beneficial. Don’t rush to join several groups. The idea is to join a few but be consistent in them.
7. Participate in Twitter Chats
Twitter chats are like a virtual networking event. They usually involve the host asking 6-10 questions with a dedicated hashtag and opening the floor for discussion.
Participating in these chats is a good way to get noticed, share your opinions and establish expertise while networking with other relevant bloggers in your niche.
Be sure to leave thoughtful answers and follow the chat rules.
Here’s an example of #SEMRushChat - hosted by SEMRush every week.
You can use tools such as TwChat, Twubs, and tchat to find and participate in Twitter Chats.
So, if you want to succeed at blogging, it’s not enough to just be a good writer and blog consistently. You need to know how to promote your blog and market yourself, with networking being an essential practice.
In order to be consistent at it, make networking a part of your daily schedule by adding it to your calendar. All you need to do is set aside 15-20 minutes every day and spend that time engaging with other bloggers and their content.
This little practice will go a long way in helping you build meaningful connections and growing your blog.
Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people's lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth.