How to reach out to other bloggers
By: Jennine Jacob

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One of the most important parts of getting your blog out there, is participating in the community. You may have the greatest content in the world, but no one will know about it if you haven’t introduced yourself. Last week we talked about how blogrolls function in your community, often times because it’s one of the first things you add to your blog, say after the first post, or even before your first post. But blogrolls are just a small part in building your community (thank god).There is a lot more.

When people ask me how to get their blogs ‘out there’ I always tell them two things 1. great content and 2. participate in the community. Getting in contact with other bloggers may seem daunting at first, but believe you me, that once you do, it soon becomes one of the benefits of blogging.

Here is the way I operate, and it seemed to work well enough to build great relationships over time.

Read blogs

There are many benefits to reading other people’s blogs, especially ones on the same topic as  yours. They will inspire you, they will help you to improve your content in many ways. RSS feeders like Google Reader and Bloglovin’ make this very easy.

Leave meaningful comments

I know there are a lot of blogs out there, and it’s ok if you don’t comment every day… though some do. I like to have goals, where I post comments on at least 15-20 blogs per day. It sounds like a lot, but I have 200+ blogs in my reader, and I set aside a time of day to go through my reader. If you’re cramped for time, one way to go about it, is set aside a few blogs you’d really like to be in touch with, and put them in a special folder in your reader, that way you never miss a post to comment on. But do keep up on your other blogs, they have a way of getting better and better.

Copy-and-paste comments will hurt your relationship, not help it. Don’t even try it. You will likely have your address marked spam and if your future emails will be marked the same. It takes thirty seconds to write a meaningful comment. You should be able to dedicate 30 seconds to developing a relationship.

Send an email

When you send an email… be sure to address them by name. If they operate on an alias… you address them as such, but  you can say, ‘I couldn’t find your name on your site.. what is it?’ once they tell you their name, be sure to address them by it from that point on.  NEVER write ‘hey blogger’ or ‘dear webmaster’ those emails will get sent to the trash. Since my name is on all my websites, if I get an email adressed, ‘Dear IFB’ guess where that email is going?

Be sincere and be specific

Don’t just write  ‘hey, I love your blog!’ Do you know how many spam emails say that? Refer to a specific post, or a series of posts that have affected you. You are writing to a human being, and humans have a funny way of detecting sincerity.

Keep the email short an sweet.

I am the queen of short emails… sometimes I’ve gotten in trouble for that, with my friends. But a lot of bloggers are cramped for time writing posts, researching, keeping up with other blogs… etc. So be quick to the point.

Have something to give

You don’t want to be a burden on another blogger who is probably already strapped for time. It’s always nice to have something to give them, it doesn’t have to be huge. A link to a website they may find helpful… like if they were posting about looking for a certain pair of shoes, and you happen to know exactly where to get them, it may be a good opportunity to email them to introduce yourself . Other nice things to give are positive feedback, an you can offer to do a guest post but don’t make this offer unless you are willing to fulfill it, a post where you had linked to them but don’t do this expecting they’ll post about your post, they’ll see right through that.

Ask, but don’t ask too much (at first)

When you are first getting to know someone, it’s ok to ask for things like… ‘can I be added to your blogroll.’ that takes 30 seconds to take care of, and a quick reply email… ‘sure.’ It’s nothing.

Try not to ask things that can easily be looked up someplace else. I get technical questions all the time, which can be better answered on a forum, and php code has nothing to do with what I blog about. If someone I don’t know starts off with asking me complicated things like that give me a headache, I’m not so willing to open the next email that comes from them.

Start out small...
In real life, you don’t ask someone to help you move house unless they are a good friend, well, the same rule of thumb applies on the internet.

Say ‘Thank You.’

It’s good manners.

While I don’t expect a thank you, it does affect my desire to build a relationship further. No one likes to feel like they are being used, and people generally like to know if they have helped. It takes two seconds to say thank you, and the effects of that are everlasting.

Keep in touch

You don’t have to write them a love letter every week…  Sometimes I just do simple things like if I see a post in my reader that makes me think of someone, I’ll just forward it over to them, or write a little comment on thier Facebook status, Twitter makes keeping in touch very easy. Comment on thier blog… link to them in a post… all those things contribute to building a relationship.

The rewards of self interest

Once I heard someone say, “the best way to get love, is to give love.”

While at first reaching out may be out of self interest, but in my experience, it’s been the most rewarding part about blogging, even more than writing about fashion, which I love. Seeing other bloggers grow has become one of the best parts of blogging, and is probably the main reason why I stick around. I mean, how boring is it to just blab about myself all day?

Further Reading:

Modish: How to Craft a Good Introduction Email

Blog Herald: Buildig Blog Relationships

ProBlogger: Five Blogging Rules to Make a Good First Impression

pic via Square America

Comments

  1. Wonderful post, dear! So many of these seem like they should be common sense, but in many ways, it is easy for us to slip past them in an effort to save time, reach out to more people, etc.

    Keeping in touch is one of the best tips on there, I think! (In addition to using their name… it’s amazing how much more sincere you seem if you check to see what a person’s name is….)

  2. punky says:

    So very true. I had a reader a few years ago who would email me all sorts of questions about design, hosting and content, She drove me nuts for weeks and then went I went check out her blog…It was a carbon copy of mine. I was so put off, I took me a while to want to make friends with other bloggers.

    Now, I get caught saying things like “my friend Jennine has those boots”
    I’m more up to date with my blogging community then I am with my real life friends, which is sad, but a little funny as well.

  3. Jennine says:

    @ashe.. yes, you think it’s common sense, but the post is written purely from experience.. crazy huh?
    btw keeping in touch is my favorite part!

    @punky… dude, i LIVE in those boots, which is embarrassing, because i have other shoes. best $12 i ever spent.
    and yeah, i wish my friends had blogs… it would make keeping up with them easier, in fact nowadays i just expect people to share information willingly, like they do on blogs.. but then i forget in real life you have to ask them how they are first. ;)
    and its so nice you call me a friend… it made me happy!

  4. WendyB says:

    Good post. So many people wonder why they don’t have more of a readership and your answer is so much more helpful and more polite than mine, which tends to be “Why don’t you get off your fat ass and down from your high horse and talk to other people instead of waiting for them to all worship your fabulousness?”

  5. Lea says:

    thanks for this post. one of the best experiences that the blogging brought was meeting so many other bloggers. always fun, you just miss the best things if you are not willed to participate in the community!

  6. Jennine says:

    @wendy oh yes, i could have said that too. it’s amazing how many people don’t want to hear this answer
    @lea yes, that’s true! i’ve never met a blogger whose blog i loved but in person i didn’t like.

  7. lisa says:

    Great post! The ones who don’t make some effort to reach out are definitely missing out; meeting bloggers online and offline has been one of the most rewarding aspects of blogging for me so far.

  8. apricot tea. says:

    Great tips! I’ve benefited greatly from doing these things mentioned. :] It definitely works!

  9. Leah says:

    As a nascent blogger, these tips will really help me out. I’ve never even thought to ask a blogger to put me on their blogroll, but it’s a good idea!

  10. Natanya says:

    Thanks for this, as a new blogger I need to keep re-reading this to encourage myself to participate. My real life shyness has kept me from reaching out. I guess I have to get over the feeling that by contacting or emailing I’m just bothering people. Thanks!

  11. Leah says:

    This is a great post! So many helpful tips. I think one, which may be slightly off-topic of the post but still partially relevant is, to be patient. A blog doesn’t become a success story overnight and it takes LOTS of time & effort producing content and doing all the things you’ve just mentioned to even get to that stage.

    And I definitely agree, the great community surrounding blogging is what makes it such a wonderful thing to be part of!

  12. meli says:

    Im relatively new to blogging, but have been a reader and posting comments for years. I have enjoyed it every aspect so much, and yes 30 seconds does make a diff. It is a little appreciation for looking at the nice (and lovely!) posts, rather than just skimming fly-pass them. Very happy to have met (cyber-met?) so many people sharing similar passions and enjoying ideas together.
    and ditto PUNKY, my friends dont bother to read my posts, well as long as we get coffee and chat, makes up for it!
    xoxo.

  13. Rhiannon says:

    I’m so happy you write these posts! I love the idea of setting aside 15-20 blogs to regularly comment on . . . I don’t comment nearly enough, but this article makes me want to get better at it. Thank you! :)

  14. Greap post! I read so many posts in a day, and dont comment nearly enough. I’ll make a special effort to take 30 seconds from now on!

  15. Fenke says:

    it is weird though, that even you do not know most of the other bloggers in real life, you actually start talking about them to your friends (like punky just said) and even take things personal e.g. when they do’nt link back to you etc.
    and yes, commenting is important. i know how nice it is to actually have proof of people reading what i write.

  16. Thanks for this post- it’s super helpful and oh-so-true!!

    I’m glad to be a part of your Independent Blogger community. :)

    xox

  17. Fevi says:

    Thanks a lot for the tips. You rock!

  18. Keena says:

    Great tips!

  19. E and O says:

    Thank you for an honest and helpful article. :) I appreciate that you’ve stressed integrity and sincerity of communication throughout.

    one thing… I discovered that the link to the Modish article on crafting an email no longer works. However, this appears to the be correct link if anyone one else is interested:
    http://www.modishblog.com/modish/2008/05/crafting-a-good-introduction-email-marketing-tip.html

  20. MarchMusings says:

    This is so true. The days I read and comment on blogs, there’s a spike in traffic to my blog. Like someone said, ‘even if your blog rocks, if no one knows about it, they are not going to read it’.
    .-= MarchMusings´s last blog ..True Blue Style =-.

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