The one thing I see most often on IFB is bloggers wondering how to build relationships with other bloggers and become part of the blogging community. Many may advocate that content is king in blogging, but community? Community is really what makes blogging worthwhile. Over the years, I've been lucky enough to call many bloggers friends, to meet them when we've visited in each others towns, to commiserate over blogging woes, or even grow into real, online girlfriends.
It can seem daunting, especially if you're a new blogger, to take that step to building a network with your fellow bloggers! It can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. But once you know a few easy ways, participating becomes second nature. You become a nurturing element in the community.
If you're a veteran blogger, a lot of these may be “duh,” but I've found in life, it's the So easy! Why didn't I think of that?? approach that is the most fulfilling and rewarding.
Leave comments regularly.
In life, you have to give in order to receive. When I first started blogging back in 2007, I wouldn't be surprised if most bloggers spent more time commenting on other sites than we did on writing our posts. But it was okay, because we genuinely enjoyed reading with each others blogs and interacting with the content coming out.
Leave a thoughtful comment on a new blog.
Take the time to say more than, “Cute outfit!” Share your opinion on why you think green skirts are great for spring, or why you'd never be able to wear a pearl necklace. Having trouble finding new blogs? When I'm looking to branch out and find new blogs, I hop over to Links a la Mode. I check out the weekly roundup on my favorite blogs to see what others are reading. I hop over to the blog rolls on my favorite sites to see who they're reading. In short: it's easy to find new blogs if you take 5 seconds to look.
Speaking of link roundups…schedule and share your favorite posts on the web.
Readers love to see what you're reading, and it can create a great reaction from your community. It's also really flattering, as a blogger, to know someone is sharing your posts. When I know one of mine has been shared, I tend to thank the blogger and often share their roundup myself.
Shoot an email to a fellow blogger.
If you're emailing some mega-superstar blogger to say, “I love your site!” you may not hear back. But if you email someone you admire, ask them questions, or share how much a post meant to you, you're more likely to build an honest and earnest relationship.
Interview another blogger.
See that email above? Maybe highlight your favorite bloggers and what you love about them. Get them involved–find out what they do for a living, how it impacts their style.
Jump into a conversation on Twitter.…
It's okay, don't feel embarrassed about interjecting! If people wanted to keep the conversation private, it'd be in email. If you see a couple bloggers talking about the most recent episode of American Horror Story, chime in with your input! Twitter doesn't have to be about self-promotion only; it really is best when the conversation is flowing!
Participate in a fashion meme.
This is a great way to create new content, challenge your writing, share your site with others, and visit new sites. How's that for killing four birds with one stone?
Sell ad space? Swap ads with a fellow blogger.
I love finding blogs with similar sizes and audiences to mine and proposing an ad swap. A cute little banner on your sidebar says, “hey! I love this lady's site, and you may too. Check it out!” This is an easy introduction to building that relationship with a blogger you admire and show support of their site.
Ask for a guest post instead of pitching yourself.
Maybe your blogger crush wrote a quick sentence about breaking their leg; this is a great chance to say, “Will you write a post for my site sharing your tips for staying fashionable when you can't wear shoes?” Maybe they recently attended a fundraiser gala; you could ask, “Can you share your top tips for dress and decorum in a black-tie affair?”
Respond to a thought provoking or inspiring post with a personal post.
Jennine may write a post about her favorite art influences and how they inspired her style… and rather than leave a comment the size of a book, I'd write a blog post in response about my love of Cindy Sherman (linking back to her as the inspiration)! Sometimes we have so much to say that a comment really isn't the best place to share our thoughts. Expand the conversation by making it the content of your next post… and maybe you'll inspire another to do the same!
And one more bit of advice: don't limit yourself to only the fashion blogging community. There are thousands of niches and amazing blogs out there… just because they don't write about the same topic as you doesn't mean you won't both share similar interests, beliefs, or ideas!
Veteran bloggers– what are your favorite ways to reach out and engage with your peers? Any tried and tested tricks for reaching out and being part of the bigger blogging community?
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