Tony Hung did amazing in his stint as the writer of Problogger.net and one of his final posts was entitled “A Few Last Lessons On Blogging” where he listed some amazing thoughts that all bloggers should read, from starting out, to the highly advanced, you can never know too much.
The post was a great self reflection moment for me as I thought back to my beginnings in blogging and those that helped me out, which is why I am going to share with everyone my favourite point in Tony’s post:
3. Network like your life depended on it
Scary business, as I’m sure many of you are the introverted type who don’t cotton well to approaching strangers and striking up a conversation. Heck, I know I am to certain extent. I’m not sure how to say this other than to say “get over it”. You’ll accelerate your success if you find a mentor, or someone who has experience who is willing to be a good friend, and you’ll also accelerate your success if you just plain ol’ have more online “friends” period, and I don’t mean people you forward jokes to. I mean people who have a strategic worth to your blog and your blogging career. Sure, it sounds mercenary, but again, the benefit of a strong network is absolutely huge in blogging. A good network of contacts wil provide you with leads to stories, new blogging jobs, a foot-in-the-door to blog networks, introduce you to bigger and better bloggers, in addition to things like mentions and link-backs in their posts, potential interview subjects, more participation in YOUR blog and so on. So, how do you network?
I’ve found its most helpful to do it the old fashion way – and not much different than finding a mentor. Surf blogs. Read loads of blogs. Email the authors. Start an interaction. Then follow up with other emails that they might find helpful. Keep contact regularly. Don’t let your friends grow stale. Be good to them, and see if they’re good to you. Again, if they’re not, don’t take it personally, and move on. But if they do, help them with their own blogging relationships. Introduce them to who you know. Maybe there’s someone who you know that can help them with their problem. The more you can help your new friends, the more they’ll find you useful to them, and the easier it will be to ask for favours when needed.
Without the people I have met, and talked to, I would not be where I am today. Connecting with others can be the difference between fading into obscurity and being the number one source on a niche. So, contact your favourite bloggers and say “hello”. Give them a hand with something, ask them to review or look over your blog. You might be surprised what comes from it.