I thought, for a bit, that I should really title this post ‘How To Network With Bloggers’ – because, you know, SEO and what not. But the word ‘networking’ feels intimidating and overwhelming and slightly gross. Eating subpar appetizers while someone shoves their business card in my face and shrieks their elevator pitch? No. Sharing super useful advice/client referrals/traffic/cream cheese wontons with someone who I connect with, like, AS A HUMAN BEING? Yes.
Really? Networking is mostly just making friends. And if you approach it as such (and think about what you can bring to the table, rather than what you can get from an interaction) you’ll be befriending bloggers left, right, and all over Twitter.
If there are any bloggers you’d like to collaborate with/pitch/take to coffee, here are a few things that you should do before you drop into their inbox.
Leave productive, smart, helpful comments on their blog
No matter how big and famous they are, bloggers read their comments and if you’re regularly saying awesome things, they’ll start to remember you. Of course, some blogs and posts engender better commentary – it’s hard to leave a mind-blowing comment on an outfit post. But personal essays, tutorials, or thought-provoking posts are an opportunity to chime in.
Also: make sure that the icon that shows up when you leave a comment matches the headshot on your blog and the icon for your Twitter profile, otherwise it’ll be hard for the blogger to recognize you.
Interact with them on social media
Respond to the comments, answer their questions, ask them questions, send them links you think they’d like. Just the same way you’d do with a friend.
If you like something they did, link to it
We’ve talked about how oddly successful/useful link round-ups can be. Readers love ’em, they’re a great way to share a bit of traffic love with bloggers you like, and if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like writing, they’re a clever way of creating content without writing 500 words. When you include someone in a link roundup, make sure to @mention them on Twitter so they’ll know you’re talking about them.
If you don’t have a blog, tweet links to bloggers’ content or retweet their links.
Share things you think they’d like
My readers know my painfully, awkwardly well. Three different people sent me a link to this inflatable cat unicorn headband and two people sent me links to Macklemore’s Thriftshop song. And I loved it. And I totally remember who sent me those links. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people you like and admire with information that you think they’d find helpful.
If you’re going to pitch them, triple check that what you’re pitching is a good fit
Do they host guest posts? Do they offer giveaways? What is the monetary value of those giveaways? Do they review products? Do they use c/o items in their outfits posts? It would be a pity to waste your time (and theirs) crafting the perfect pitch email and then sending it to the wrong person or the wrong type of blog.
Avoid doing any of these annoying things
Just like in real life, sometimes friendship is about Not Being Annoying. I promise I’ll pay you that money I owe you, I won’t share that secret with So-and-so, and I won’t have four drinks when I promised to be the designated driver.
Here are some things you should avoid doing:
– Misspelling their name
– Sending them a template email
– Asking them about anything you could google
– Asking them to locate a post they wrote
– Writing an email that is more than two paragraphs long
I’d love to hear from you, bloggers! How do you like to be treated? How do you network and befriend other bloggers? Small businesses, tell us about your interactions with bloggers!