I have been blogging for a couple years now and I have learned many things. There are usually one of three reasons people start blogging. For fun, for money or for both. Although I don’t mind writing, our blog has always been intended to provide resources and to make money. I don’t feel shame admitting that.
There is a key to becoming successful within the blogging world. One word, that can hold all the answers.
Blogging is not about which platform you use, which affiliates you link to or which reviews you accept. It is all about the relationships that you form in the process.
Firstly, it is about relationships you form with your readers. I still remember the day that I was in awe that ten people visited our page. TEN whole people wanted to see what little ‘ole me had to say. It felt fabulous. Always write for your readers. If you are constantly trying to convince readers to buy something or shop somewhere, they will not come back. You want to provide resources (for free) and content that they find inspiring. I also shared my thoughts on the 80/20 rule here. Providing inspiration and resources doesn’t mean you can’t ask your readers to comment or share your post if they enjoyed it. Reply to comments on your posts and pages. Do your best to get to know them, what they are looking for and how they found you. Write in your voice, don’t try to be someone else. Readers will see right past it.
Second, it is important to build relationships with other bloggers. I consider myself a novice in the world of blogging. There are many amazing bloggers I find inspirational. Blogging is far from cutthroat. Once you find bloggers you like, be sure to follow their pages, leave meaningful comments and support them as you are able. Even if they are a ‘big time’ blogger, they still love their content being shared with your readers and followers. Even if you only have 100 facebook fans, that might be 100 people who have not read their blogs. When you support the ‘big guys’, they are happy to support you. From my experience, bloggers are happy to answer questions and give ideas on how to promote your blog, where to find blogger opportunities and how to reach more people. Some of my favourite blogs include: Trisha at MomDot and the ladies at SITS Girls.
Lastly, once you have created and nurtured relationships with your readers and bloggers, you will begin to gain relations ships with brands and PR reps. Early into blogging I heard a blogger say that they rarely approach companies to work with. This was a big blogger and she said that companies typically find her. This is our goal. When we hear of an opportunity we work hard to complete the task, exceeding expectations. This opens the door for the future. Currently, being still a growing blog, we usually use a company to help make these connections (Mom Central Canada, Mom It Forward, Double Duty Divas, TapInfluence, just to name a few). We also hear about opportunities through other bloggers, like those I mentioned above. If we have direct contact with brands or PR reps, be sure to do your research. If you need to clarify something, be sure to look at all information provided. You want to come across professionally. I also think it is a good idea to mention that you would be happy to work with them again in the future once the task is complete. If you are doing a giveaway, provide statistics. Also be sure to link your post(s), whether they are social media based, or blog based. If you are invited to meet in person, grab the opportunity. I was thrilled to get to sit down with Enrique Paolo, the Sales Manager at The Shorebreak Hotel last week in California. At first I was nervous about chatting for a couple hours with someone I didn’t know. It was easy. We got to know each other, his brand and my blog and I have no doubt that this relationship will be positive for both of us.
I would love to hear your thoughts on relationships and how they can improve your blog.