Yep! I almost gave up on my blog late in 2014.
I was getting a little frustrated with visiting some of the more popular blogs, seeing comment after comment on their posts. Some of these posts had 30, 40, or 50 comments. These were the posts that hadn’t even gone viral.
I kept wondering what’s their secret? How in the world do they get so much engagement on their site?
The better question was, how can I go about getting that level of engagement on my site?
Then it hit me. When I took the time to actually read these posts with all the comments, there was a common theme.
So I decided to give it another go using some of these new found secrets. What I found was this blog networking thing actually seemed to work.
Blog Networking Is The Secret Sauce
In a simple word, networking is interacting with others. Every profession does it to some degree, so why wouldn’t you apply this same principal to blogging?
Networking is meeting new people, interacting with people you’ve previously met, creating new friendships that will help you grow your business.
Blog networking is how you create engagement.
Know why these other bloggers have so much engagement on their site? They’ve learned how to network. Some of them have been doing it for years, others have just recently started. And it always works.
Blog networking is the secret sauce to having engagement on your site.
Blog Networking Really Does Work
When I started out blogging, I was going about things all wrong. I wrote my posts for the search engines. Yes I was writing content for a human being, but my focus was on finding that traffic via Google.
I was somewhat successful with this approach, and I was seeing an increase in traffic to my site. But one of the things I was missing was a level of engagement.
After doing some research and reading a few posts from some successful bloggers, I had an epiphany. The common theme I was seeing across a number of these successful blogs were posts on networking, So I decided to give it a go.
And it’s working…
I started this little exercise in early December 2014, and I immediately saw an increase on the level of engagement to this site.
How do I know it’s working?
In the past month I’ve had more than double the number of comments as I had in the first 10 months of this blog.
In other words, I saw a 200% increase to the engagement of my site in just over 30 days. I’d say that’s working.
So how did I do it? Let’s take a look…
A Blog Networking Strategy That Really Works To Increase Engagement
Blog networking comes in various shapes and sizes. There isn’t one set answer, the best solution is do what works best for your blog. With that said, this is what is working for me.
Identify Your Blog Networking Targets
It all starts with targeting the right bloggers.
There are a number of different ways to find influencers within your niche.
If you want to keep it simple, try the following:
If you have no clue where to start, we’ll need to start with the basics.
Head over to your favorite search engine, and start doing a search for keywords that are specific to your niche. Focus on only the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), and record the blogs that appeal to you in a spreadsheet.
Continue to do this until you have a list of 10 or so bloggers in your spreadsheet.
Analyze Blog Comments
If you already know one or two popular blogs within your niche, than you’re ahead of the game. While you may think these blogs are out of your league, a little analysis of the blog comments will reap huge networking benefits.
What you want to do is start looking through the comments of the various posts on the blog. Pick a post and make a mental note of the individuals that are commenting on that post (you don’t even need to read the comment – at least not yet).
Move onto the next post, and look for those same individuals that left a comment on that post. You’re looking for the bloggers that are leaving multiple comments on the blog you are analyzing.
These bloggers will become your blog networking targets.
You’ll want to add 10 – 12 individual bloggers to your spreadsheet.
This spreadsheet is your blog network target list. You can add some other fields to the spreadsheet to help you identify more information on the blogger you’re networking with. We’ll explore that in more detail in a later post.
Comment The Right Way
You’ll want to visit the blogs in your networking list on a regular basis, to review their latest posts and leave a comment. Not just any comment, but a comment that will get you noticed and add some value to the post you just read.
Anyone can write “great post”, but if you really want to get noticed your comment needs to stand out.
The first time you comment on someone’s blog, tell them so, and let them know you how much value you find in their blog. Your comment should call out one or two items in the post that you agree or disagree with, and go on to state why. Finally, when wrapping up, let them know you’ll be back on a regular basis.
To really stand out, don’t just limit your comment to one or two sentences. Go crazy. I’ve seen some comments on blogs that go on for paragraph after paragraph. The thing is, don’t ramble, and be sure everything is adding some additional value to the post. You’d be surprised at how many other bloggers read every single comment on a post.
If you really like the blog, sign up for their email list.
Share The Love
Everyone likes seeing their posts shared, so be sure to share the posts of the bloggers in your network.
This is extremely easy to do. Everyone has share buttons on their blog and they can be easily found at the bottom of every post or along one of the sidebars.
If you like a post, share it! Heck, you can even add your own little commentary to the share to make yourself really stand out to the author.
I like to use an application called Buffer. This allows you to queue up a number of shares if you find that you don’t have the time to read blog posts every single day. You can create you own custom schedule on when these shares are sent out via Twitter or Facebook. Best of all, it’s free.
While we’re speaking of social media. If someone share’s your post and mentions you, be sure to thank them. A simple thank you goes a long way to getting you noticed.
Return The Favor
If someone leaves a comment on your blog, be sure sure to respond to that comment. Engagement is a two way street!
Don’t stop there! Hop on over to their blog, do a little bit of research on the person that just left you a comment. Heck, you might find a new favorite blog. If so inclined, leave them a comment on one of their posts.
You get the idea. It’s called reciprocation. Easy concept.
Here’s the thing to remember. Just because another blogger left you a comment, there’s no requirement or obligation on your part to do the same. If you like the blog great, if not, just move along.
Make Contact On A Regular Basis
The key word here is on a regular basis. Don’t feel the need to visit each of these blogs every single day. The key is visit often enough so they can remember you.
I try to make my rounds once a week. If a new post doesn’t strike my fancy, or I don’t have anything that will add value to the conversation, I move on.
Just be sure you are making regular contact.
Follow Up Via Email
This is a great one that can really open some doors for you.
I’ve had a number of email exchanges with some key bloggers that up until recently, I never imagined would happen. It all started with me signing up for a bloggers email list. You’d be amazed at how many bloggers want to hear from you, and actually ask you to shoot them a quick email telling them something about yourself, or what you want to get out of their blog.
If you don’t want to sign up for their email list, send them a quick email after you’ve established a connection. Don’t ask for anything, just let them know how much you appreciate their blog.
Some great email exchanges have developed from this strategy, and you may just get some free advice on your blog. It’s happened to me on multiple occasions.
Ball’s In Your Court Now
Now that you’ve seen what I’ve done to increase engagement on my site, the ball’s in your court to do the same.
Why not start now. Leave me a comment and start your blog networking right here. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it really is.
And in case you’re wondering… I started (re-started) this blog to show you what implementing a strategy can do for your blog. Don’t blog aimlessly, put a strategy in place today.
Better yet. Just click here! I’ll share with you the results of my strategy on a monthly basis, and give you an in-depth look at the things I’m doing that are working for me.
Image attribution: blickpixel via Pixabay