If you are starting to feel lonely sitting at your computer, now's the time to connect with bloggers of a similar niche or persuasion.
Blogging should not be a one-person-pursuit. Your little blog needn't be swamped within a sea of online content. You need to get out there and start meeting other like-minded bloggers.
Check out this infographic below for some tips on how to do this:
And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Find your tribe
It isn't that difficult to connect with bloggers, the only thing which is probably holding you back is confidence. Especially when you've been blogging on your own for a while.
Life seems so much more rosy when you have a series of friends to help you. Suddenly the blogosphere opens up to a myriad of opportunities. Remember there are plenty of other bloggers just waiting to connect with you.
Do some research for suitable blogs. Ask your friends for recommendations. Check out liking and sharing activity on social media. Read roundup posts. Visit social groups and forums. Look in blogging directories (Alltop) and bookmarking sites (Reddit, Digg, Mix, Pocket and Scoop.it).
The idea is to create a list (short at first, you can increase it later) of likely bloggers you think would be a match with you. They need to resonate with your subject, be well written, contain a lot of value and receive a reasonable amount of engagement from their readership.
Shadow your chosen bloggers
This is what I call 'listening and lurking'. No, this isn't sinister, you're just furthering your research. It is always a good idea to be well informed about any blogger you think may be worthy of following.
So many online writers attempt to form a literature relationship with bloggers without knowing anything about them first. As a result they ask the wrong questions, make wild assumptions and are generally very off-putting.
Take your time in studying their social media accounts, get a good idea of who their followers are, their interactive style and methods, the subjects they like to discuss. These observations will help you to form a more accurate opinion, which will help you later when you start to converse with them.
Next, carefully read their blog content, social media updates and other regular public engagement. Learn their aspirations, maybe glean their objectives, and absorb their expertise so you know exactly who you are dealing with.
Start sharing some love
The next stage to connect with bloggers is to get yourself noticed, slowly at first. You don't want to go in like a bull in a china shop, or you'll frighten them off before you've even begun.
After you've voraciously read (and understood) all the relevant content, now you can share it on social media. This also includes liking, retweeting, repinning and whatever other acknowledging methods there are. Every blogger will approve of this kind of activity, and the more you do this, the more you will attract their attention.
Whenever you share something socially, remember to include an introductory paragraph. This is much better than a blind posting. People will value being briefed as to what they should read, so save them time in working out whether it's relevant or not.
Also think carefully which of your friends and followers would enjoy reading the post, and tag them appropriately. This will alert them so they can find it quickly and efficiently. Recommendation is an extremely powerful way of ensuring a comparable audience.
Get social and start engaging
Now we come to the most important bit: commenting on their posts and updates. Make your comments stand out by being well written, full of beneficial value, totally focused on the subject, positive and appreciative. They should also consist of a reasonable amount – at least three sentences.
Try to be one of the first to comment, to get noticed above the others. Introduce yourself after you've greeted the blogger by their name. Quickly summarise the post to show you've fully understood it, and set the scene for the other commenters to follow.
Remember this is your opportunity to start engaging with the blogger using a conversational style. This is not an opportunity to refer to your own blog, it's far too soon for that! You should focus totally on the blogger and their content, and acknowledge the readers and other commenters. Include a well chosen question to encourage a reply.
The idea is to be considered a worthy commenter who provides value and shows they understand the blogger and what they stand for. All bloggers welcome decent comments on their blogs. One of the best ways to connect with bloggers is to regularly visit their blogs to offer your opinion and appreciation.
Give back in return
Deliver as much feedback as you can to your chosen blogger through your comments. They will love to know if what they're writing about is worth reading. Recommend their blog within your own social spheres, refer to it in a post of your own, and let them know when you've done this so they can also share it amongst their followers.
Subscribe to the blog's RSS feed to get notified whenever your blogger has published a new post. Similarly you could follow the blog on a feed reader such as Feedly.com. This enables you to be one of the first to comment and increases your chance of being recognised.
However, avoid been seen as a spammer by constantly commenting on every single update. This could become annoying or even intrusive. Be selective with the posts you comment on, enhance the post with suggestions and wisdom where appropriate, but be careful not to undermine the blogger by writing or offering too much.
The ability to connect with bloggers means making sure you offer something of value rather than repeating what has already been mentioned in the content or other comments. Show you have an opinion of your own, and that you are willing to discuss it within a conversation, either on the blog or privately.
How do you connect with bloggers?
The final step would be to increase your 'friendship' with the blogger until you are totally comfortable with each other. You can do this either through the comment section on their blog, extend it on social media or even move onto direct messaging.
The value of this new relationship has many benefits. Your discussions could help towards motivating each other to write more posts. Bouncing ideas off each other will help towards improving your content, learning more about each other, and gaining a wider understanding about blogging in general.
You could share and solve each others problems, and even exchange guest posts to place each of your content in front of a different readership. Your collaboration could even develop into creating a blog together, and even a joint venture within a new business.
Let us know your successes (and failures) about your experiences when you connected with other bloggers in the commenting box below. We would all benefit from your wisdom and would look forward to reading them.