Once upon a time, I stirred up A LOT of feelings when I wrote Responding to “Follow My Blog!” Messages & Comments. In general, it seems that many bloggers don't respond well to generic messages begging for followers on IFB.
Think about the relationships in your life. Would you walk up to a stranger on the street and say, “I have a blog, you should follow it!” I bet most of us wouldn't. (If you would, damn dude, you've got balls!) We'd probably get to know the person first and maybe have a conversation. Think of IFB as the place you met the stranger and the place to have that conversation. You can find people who interest you and build up relationships with them.
Rather than send a message to bloggers begging for them to follow you, consider using IFB in these 10 ways to reach out to new bloggers and grow your site in the meantime.
- Go to an IFB member's blog and leave a thoughtful comment on their blog. Better yet? Read a few pages and make multiple comments. The quickest way to catch a blogger's eye is through their blog. Anytime I see a new blogger comment on my site, I immediately check out theirs. And you know what? So do other people who read those posts.
- Write them a thoughtful, personal email. When you decide to write another blogger on IFB to pitch your site, don't make the email about you first. Make it about them. Tell them you visited your site. Reference a recent post. Maybe direct them to a post of your own that they could be interested in. Make the email as much about interaction and being personal as possible. (For more amazing tips, check out Taylor's pot on How to Write An Email that Gets Read.)
- Write personal responses to spammy emails. In my last post, I suggested this as an option to dealing with spam messages. Instead of ignoring your fellow bloggers, why not take time, write back (use their name to show that they're really noticing who they are!), thank them for sharing your site and share yours as well. make the message similar to a personal email (see above). A few readers said that they've found a ton of great blogs this way!
- Submit your blog's best post of the week to Links a la Mode. Whenever my post gets selected for Links a la Mode, I always see a lot of new faces leaving comments and visiting my site.
- Visit the selected blogs in Links a la Mode and leave them comments. Every week the 20 best posts submitted are featured. When was the last time you visited those 20 blogs? Did you leave a comment on their post? How about linger around, see what other posts they're producing, and leave more comments?
- Start thoughtful, engaging discussions in the forums & provide useful information! One of IFB's best resources was its forums. You could find discussions on almost any topic and lots of helpful members providing their experiences and insights in to blogging. Be sure to dig through and find old threads, revive them and provide the community with more info.
- Participate in polls– and leave more detailed answers in the discussions! Polls are a fun place to get chatting about different topics, share your viewpoints, and engage in a more playful way with the other members. Be sure to chat up WHY you voted the way you did in the poll so others can find you!
- Find similar bloggers and pitch them– your site, a guest post, a post of yours they may love. On IFB you can find great blogs– AND their email addresses. Write your favorite bloggers a quick note, and propose writing a guest post. Maybe suggest that they check out a post of yours sharing a topic that they have written about. (See Problogger's posts: 13 Tips on Asking Other Bloggers for Links and 9 Things to do to Make Sure Your Next Post is Read By More Than Your Mom.)
- Contribute posts to IFB! All of the content on IFB comes from our own experiences in blogging– the good, the bad, the mistakes, the trials and successes. Share that information with the IFB community and contribute a guest post to IFB!
- Join in the fun on the IFB Project Roundups! This is one of IFB's newer roundups, and so far the topics have been fun and spirited. Each week IFB announces a theme (this past week's was Shopping Survival Tips) and you create a blog post based on that theme. You submit your post (like Links a la Mode) and each week the favorite picks are posted on IFB. Its' a great source of blog inspiration, a way to find and read new blogs–and have new blogs find you!
Most importantly– in everything you do to grow your site, be sincere. Build up real relationships with bloggers you admire, who content inspires you, and who make you strive to be a better blogger. Befriend other bloggers in the same position as you and be supportive.
IFB Community– how do you use IFB to grow your site? Is there any tool I've forgotten? Have you had success using any of these to grow your site?