Growing Your Blog: Building Real Relationships

 Hi, friends!  I’m so glad to be here again today to share some more tips with you for Growing Your Blog.  Today, I want to focus on building relationships with other bloggers and with the readers in your community.

I’ve said it a million times, and it’s totally true…

 

Seriously.  I mean it.

I want to start this post by saying that I am so grateful for the opportunity this blog gives me of “meeting” and interacting with so many amazing people from all over the world.

Over the past two years, there are a number of readers and fellow bloggers who I have truly come to consider as my friends.  {Please say it’s not just me!}  I enjoy emailing with you, Facebook-ing with you {is that a word?}, reading your comments, reading your posts, and participating in events with you.  When someone compliments me on my “blessed” necklace, I say, “Oh, my friend Carmella from Tennessee made it!  She has a shop!”  Or when they see LC playing with his crochet octopus and ask if I made it, I say, “No, but my friend Amanda did!  She sent it to him as a gift!”  The relationships I’ve formed with you all are a real blessing, and I wanted you to know it.

 

In addition to forming meaningful friendships, we can also form relationships that are mutually beneficial to our blogs.

Here are my Top 10 Tips:

Sorry in advance, these are kind of wordy, but I had a lot to say!

1. Volunteer your services!

It’s not uncommon for bloggers to put something out in a post or on Facebook asking for people who are willing to donate items for a giveaway or to do a guest post for a series or special event they’re hosting.  Do it!  Jump at the chance and volunteer!  Giving away something you’ve made is great exposure for your blog and your shop if you have one.  If you don’t make anything, donate a Starbucks gift card or something else that’s not super expensive but will still appeal to readers.  You’ll most likely gain new followers who come to visit from the giveaway, and you’ll earn major cool points with the blogger who’s hosting it.  Guest posting or blog swapping is great too; you get to “meet” someone else’s followers, and give them a chance to “meet” yours!  I can tell you that any time someone has responded to one of my “help wanted” posts, I’ve always been glad to have them participate!  So it never hurts to volunteer.  Plus, once you’ve done something for a blogger, she’ll think of you in the future when she plans something and may personally ask you to participate again.

 

2. Follow through, follow through, follow through!

If you’ve agreed to give something away or post for another blogger, DO IT!  Be responsible.  If they give you a deadline when they want your post, stick to it.  Be early, in fact.  If they ask for certain information, provide it.  If you are giving something away, send it.  Follow through is huge and it goes a long way in building and maintaining relationships.  I know that sometimes emergencies come up; for example, one sweet gal who was going to guest post during our Home for the Holidays series ended up getting very ill and being hospitalized.  Of course I understood and didn’t expect her to get a post to me.  Yes, things happen.  But if they do, try and give the blogger as much notice as possible because it puts her in a bind when you don’t.  She’s counting on you to post for her or to send that item and has put work into promoting it…if you don’t keep up your end, she’s left in the lurch and it can reflect poorly on her too.  If you have a problem, communicate and let the blogger know what’s going on so you can come up with a solution together.  That way, you can maintain a positive relationship.  If you prove to be unreliable, that blogger won’t want to have you participate in events she plans in the future.

 

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3. Offer to review someone’s product and/or host a giveaway on your own blog.

Everyone likes to be promoted and to get the word out about their shop/blog.  If you see a product you really like in someone’s shop or a blog you particularly enjoy, ask the owner if they’d be willing to give away an item on your blog.  Most people will jump at the chance!  It gives them added exposure, and it will help boost your page views.  Plus, if you’re lucky, they may send you something fun…like the pretty felt flower I got when I reviewed Posies and Petals!

 

 

4. If you have a link party, personally invite people and comment on the projects linked up to the best of your ability.

We’ll be talking all about link parties in a future post, but if you host one, be a kind host and try to mingle with your guests.  The bigger your party gets, the harder it becomes, but try and have at least a goal for commenting on the projects people share.  At our party, we regularly get around 350 projects linked up.  We don’t always make it to every single one, but we do make an effort to visit at least some, because it’s important to let people know we appreciate them taking the time to join the party and we appreciate what they’ve made.  Also, a personal invitation goes a long way for getting new people to join in.  Don’t just say, “Nice project, come link it at my party,” but really leave a meaningful comment.  I’d say seven out of ten people will respond by linking up, and then not only have you added more fun projects to the party, you’ve made a new ‘friend!’

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5. Feature other bloggers on your Facebook page and/or blog.

When you see something really awesome that someone else made, feature it!  Whether you host a party, do a round-up, or neither, you can always link a fun project to your facebook page or link to it in a post.  It gives other bloggers exposure and everyone appreciates that!  Nothing makes someone feel more warm and fuzzy in bloggerville than when you compliment something they made by sharing it yourself…especially if it brings them a boatload of page views!  If you can, tell the person you’re featuring too so that they can be sure to come visit and enjoy their time in the spotlight!

 

6. Pin things you love from other blogs and tell the blogger!

This is another great way to help someone’s awesome projects get the attention they deserve.  Make sure you pin from the original source whenever possible, or if you must repin, make sure that the first pin links to the right place.  People love getting pinned.  And don’t just pin and run, TELL the blogger…it makes us all feel good when we hear that someone liked our project or recipe or idea so much they added it to a board!

One Artsy Mama

7. Give credit where credit is due!

Remember how I said nothing makes us feel warm and fuzzy like having our projects noticed and appreciated?  Well, nothing brings out the ugly in a blogger like having his or her work plagiarized!  We all know it’s wrong to copy and paste someone else’s post or photo or project and claim it as our own.  But there’s more to it than that.  It’s so important to make sure we give credit where it’s due whenever possible.  If you were inspired by another project, mention it and link to the post or pin.  If you mention another blog by name, take five seconds to add a link to it.  That blogger will appreciate the referral.  Using an image?  Credit the original source {notice how I did that for the cartoons?}  Referring back to the original is a great way to make friends…and not doing so is a great way to make enemies.

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8. Be accessible.

We’re all busy.  But it goes a long way when you’re able to respond to an email or answer a reader’s question.  It only takes a second to “like” someone’s post on your Facebook page or to send a “Thanks!” email in response to a comment.  Take the extra minute to help someone, especially if they’re a brand new blogger who could benefit from your “been there, done that” wisdom.  Communicating with your readers and followers as well as other bloggers builds real relationships and makes people want to keep coming back!

 

9. If you can’t say anything nice…

you know the rule!  If you see a project and you don’t like it, keep it to yourself.  The blogging community is so encouraging, and I have met some of the sweetest people!  I love getting friendly comments and emails, and I’m sure you do too.  It makes me feel so good about sharing my projects and ideas; it feels like I’m sharing with a wonderful group of friends.  Let’s all do our part to keep it that way!

 

10. Just be YOU!

 Just be yourself.  Share about what really interests you.  Respond in the way you would to a “real” face-to-face friend.  Be authentic…people can tell when you’re not, anyway!  Let them get to know the real you; that, more than anything, is what connects us together and forms this wonderful thing we call bloggy friendship.

I hope some of these tips are helpful to you.  I’d love to hear your feedback! {but be nice, remember #9!}

 

Hugs & Glitter,

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About Amy Latta

Amy Latta is the author of One Artsy Mama, where she shares a variety of project types including home decor, kids' crafts, sewing, jewelry, and more. In addition to posting on her own blog, Amy writes for several other sites and has published an e-book. She also keeps busy by running a Blog Mentoring Program designed to help others achieve their blogging goals. She is happiest when creating something and enjoys making all kinds of projects with her 5 year old "Little Crafter." When not on the dance floor or crafting, you can probably find her at Starbucks.

Comments

  1. Thx for these tips! I never thought about offering something I’ve made as a giveaway. I just may try that!

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  2. Great post..just wanted to let you know I pinned it to my “Better Blogging” board (wink wink)…I have so much to learn!
    Thanks,
    Denise

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  3. Stephanie says:

    Love these tips Amy! Very well said! :)

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    • Thanks so much, Steph! Glad you’re pleased with the post! I just love being part of your team!

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  4. Great tips! I feel I connect with a few people, but it doesn’t seem to last. Maybe its me, or them…not sure. But, I’m still learning at this blogging thing, so I will try harder to form relationships, realizing that they take time to form. One problem I do run into is that since I am somewhat new and don’t have a huge following, I can’t get people to donate or collaborate on a giveaway. Any suggestions?
    Thanks again!
    Cindy @ Crazylou

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  5. Thank you so much, I needed to read this! Pinning now! :)
    Alyssa

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  6. These are great! I think the last tip was the most helpful for me, as I often find myself overanalyzing how and what I say on my blog and it is wonderful to hear that the most successful bloggers are those who are true to themselves. Stopping by from Hoyby Crafts! I would love for you to follow me!

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  7. That’s somewhat simple? :) Thanks for the tips!

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  8. These are great tips, Amy! Thanks for putting this post together!

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  9. Rose :: Fine Craft Guild says:

    Alright then. I’ll do a guest post for you. What topic would you like? Sometime in August is best for us. What about you? Have a happy day, Rose

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  10. Amber @ Myth Busting Mommy says:

    I really like the tip about letting people know when you pin their posts. I do lots of pinning but have never let any bloggers know that I like what they’ve written so much that I want to share it. So, here I go – I’m pinning this! Thanks so much for the great tips!

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