Connecting with Bloggers: A Confession Wrapped in a Tutorial

It takes effort to get noticed. Thousands of articles discuss what bloggers need to do to succeed. They must be tech-savvy, practical, personable, hard-working, strong communicators, perpetually learning how to optimize their activities to keep the traffic flowing.  It’s not easy, and a lot of talented bloggers don’t get much attention.  Just look at all the abandoned blogs.

I am doing alright for a beginner, not because of my content (although I think my paintings are nice), but because I connect with other bloggers.  Connecting is one aspect of blogging where I feel completely at ease.  It’s fun. It’s easy. It’s a good learning experience.  It brings more readers back to my blog than anything I’ve tried.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people from around the world and from various walks of life. Some of my best article ideas come from my responses to other people’s ideas.

Most bloggers are easy to talk to.  By trade, they are open, accessible, and willing to take on in-depth conversations with complete strangers.  I am careful not to underestimate the people behind the gravatars.  They are real people, after all.  What am I asking of these people before I comment?  Am I commenting just to get my name out?  That is kind of the name of the game.  I just try to be personable, despite the lack of face-to-face contact.

I have a few other traits that work for me.  First, I am interested in people. I don’t rush the process of coming up with a point of view, making observations, and asking questions.  I take a step back and allow myself to feel the content and the person who created it.

I don’t always have the best manners. Maybe I have an agenda, and I think many of us do. I just try to be respectful, try not to trample over someone else’s points. And if I do, whoops, it happens to the best of us. Things come out wrong. Sometimes, I get a little too excited, leave one too many comments, only to discover later that I said something off-tone or out of context.  I don’t sweat it.  Some people find my mistakes charming.  Most bloggers are patient, tactful, even caring with visitors.  After all, they, too, are playing the numbers game, and they don’t want to drive visitors away.

Mostly, I try to focus on blogs similar to my own, where my thoughts will resonate, but sometimes I venture into uncharted territory.  Lately I find myself immersed in techie-blog articles.  By the time I reach the end, I think, hey, I’ve been here this long, I am going to say something, even though I have no substance to contribute. I just chime in and speak my truth.  Why not, right? Someone has to wake up the nerds.  What are they gonna do?  Click on my site, possibly.  Not saying this is the best strategy; it’s just something to try at least once.

Comments reveal personality, perhaps more than articles. That is one reason why it is so hard to get people to leave comments at first, because the reader only sees the post, not how the host interacts in the comments.  Once a few exchanges have taken place, then it seems like more bloggers will feel comfortable and start chiming in, but only if they like the tone of the discussion. If a blogger strikes me as unkind, I leave, no comment.  If I like what I see, then I am likely to let the person know.

Funny, isn’t it, how commenting compels us to take up conversations with random strangers?  Then, there is that permanent record of the exchange that anyone can come back to at any time, possibly even years later. I imagine that nothing in history compares with this form of communication.  It enables a wide range of people to cover a wide range of subjects over a long period of time. I don’t know what to make of it. The scheme is too complex for me.

There is a lot to love about getting to know other bloggers. They make me laugh, they make me think, I’m pretty sure none of them can make me cry, although some of them scare me a little bit. The fun part is finding people who resonate with me, whose demeanor and interests are compatible with mine. That is the unexpected payoff that not many bloggers talk about.

The pros might say that if I am interested in numbers, then I am spending too much time connecting with individual bloggers, but do I have to sacrifice quality connections for the sake of numbers?

After working at this for a few weeks, I am pleased that I now have a core group of bloggers with whom I am starting to interact with some frequency. Some of these bloggers attract tons of visitors, others are just learning the ropes like me.  Some are trying to make money, some are just doing this for fun or for some other reason.  I hope some of them are making money.

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17 thoughts on “Connecting with Bloggers: A Confession Wrapped in a Tutorial

  1. I started August 2010 and now have 130 subscribers. A tiny core group is the way and then their tiny core group becomes your extended core group. I have also connected with people this way. The key is that I am not just building numbers but follow those posts of many different genres and really do have a meaningful comment to make because I am genuinely interested. I respond to EVERY comment and some friendships have progressed to email only conversations on personal matters. Not interested in any facebook or other silliness because I do not want my email or blog invaded by loonies. Be selective. If you post art work you have a loyal in me because I like all forms.

    • Loonies on facebook?

      Facebook is where I find all the links to the best material…stuff that long lost friends and acquaintances have created over the years.

      So what’s the matter with facebook? Too open?

  2. Hey Justin,
    I agree with you completely. The best part about a blog is when some stranger stumbles across it and sends you a kind message or even an unkind one, after all, humanity has all kinds in it ;). When I started a blog I didn’t tell anyone about it for almost a year, then when I finally did my friends poured in to check it out once and then promptly forgot about it. I have realised that reading blogs requires a particular type of mindset and probably a blog of your own. 🙂

  3. True.

    As far as I know, my friends on the other side are not paying attention. Maybe I should go anonymous before it’s too late.

    The first few weeks of this, I was totally on my own. I didn’t know who I was going to connect with. I was just casting a wide net at a frantic pace.

    I like your writing. It is vibrant.

  4. Justin, I love the article. It’s well written and so true. You know I had never blogged at all and then took up the PostaDay 2011 Challenge in January. I was ready to give up on it in mid-January and then got freshly pressed by WordPress. From that day onward, I was hooked. I have done a post every day this year…Which has been hard to do. I still don’t have a great following, but at least I’ve met some really cool people, and I feel I’ve gotten to know a few of them pretty well. Anyway, thanks for stopping in at BrainCaviar. I’m going to subscribe to or follow your blog and keep up with your posts until this PostaDay Challenge ends in December. Keep up the great work.

    Blessings!
    Claudia

  5. Thanks Claudia,
    Blogging is certainly full of twists.
    My creative side has been starving for attention for years, but not anymore.
    All kinds of cool people to interact with, just a click away. Makes me kind of gleeful.
    Justin

  6. first of all, love the title of the post. i’ve been blogging since 2009. the friends made via blogging has made it all worth it. and yes, there are times when i feel discouraged with blogging and comments, etc. yet, i decided long time ago that as long as i made authentic connections that is what mattered.

  7. Hello Justin,
    I like what you say about ‘chiming in’ – so i thought i would! Sometimes I think too hard and then leave no comment at all and then slightly regret that. However, I like to respond to those who make a connection, even if it takes me time to reflect and get round to doing it.
    Found your link on a comment I made on another blog – about the digital and the analogue – i am working on my response…
    I enjoyed the openness of this post and hope you continue to enjoy working on it.
    With my best wishes
    Joanne

  8. Thanks for stopping by, Joanne.

    You know, I would probably revise some of my statements.

    I started out just going for numbers, not caring all that much about who I reached, but then I discovered it is possible to have authentic exchanges with a variety of people via blogs. For me, it’s cathartic.

    • And furthermore, I do enjoy working on this, and I can’t wait to see your article. I’m not quite sure what to say about your work, yet, other than you leave a lot to the imagination, in a good way.

  9. I really appreciated this post…. I know that having followers… and comments is supposed to help… I’m just not sure if it will help ME …. do what I want to do…
    I’m so clueless at this point about the whole blogging world that I feel a sense of flailing around… I must appear quite ludicrous if not almost imperceptible. Of course I want an authentic connection….
    Money… can that really come from blogging…? and how?

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