Let’s face it–the world can feel pretty selfish sometimes, and that goes for the blogging world too. There’s often a scarcity mentality that says “if I give to you, there will be less for me.”
But the truth is that the Internet world is BIG–so much bigger than we could ever imagine–and getting bigger all the time. More for you often means more for me, and vice versa.
And that’s exactly why I am such a huge believer in the power of paying it forward. The more successful we are as a whole, and the more we lift each other up and support each other, the more successful we’ll each be individually.
And while the blogging world might feel harsh sometimes, it’s actually one of the things I love so much about blogging — there are tons of opportunities to connect and help other bloggers. That sense of community is one of the things that make it so fun and special.
And you know what? By paying it forward and helping others, you end up helping yourself! One of the best ways to promote your blog and grow your audience is to help other people in your space.
It’s a win-win situation!
But how exactly can you promote your blog by paying it forward and helping your fellow bloggers?
Lend a Link
Everything that happens online is interconnected — they don’t call it the World Wide Web for nothing! By embracing that interconnection, we can help pay it forward and send some love to other bloggers — which is, in turn, likely to send some love back our way.
One of the best ways to foster that interconnection is by linking to other people’s stuff. When you’re writing a blog post, look for opportunities to include links to other bloggers’ posts that your audience could find helpful or interesting.
So, for example, let’s say you were writing a blog post on crafting trends in 2017, and you wrote a section on crocheting. Since you’re just writing a quick paragraph about the trend and not going in depth on how to get started with crocheting, that section would be a great opportunity to link to your favorite crochet expert’s blog. It’s a win for everyone involved: you’re giving your audience an awesome resource, your audience gets the chance to learn more about how to get their crochet on, and you’re sending qualified traffic to one of your fellow bloggers.
And, while linking to other people’s stuff is obviously a super nice thing to do, it’s not completely selfless. There’s benefit for you, too! Linking out to other people’s posts from your blog is great for SEO, not to mention that when you send a blogger some link love, they’ll be way more likely to return the favor and send some traffic right back your way.
Leave a Helpful Comment
Another great strategy for paying it forward (and getting it right back in return) is to leave comments on other bloggers’ posts. When you read a post that resonates with you, leave a comment and let them know why. Comments help their engagement, and it’s a great way to start building a relationship with a blogger you admire.
It can also be a fantastic way to get traffic to your site. If you leave a well-written and thoughtful comment that resonates with other people reading the post, they might want to read more of your stuff. And, with the comment, they can just click your name and go right to your blog.
I’ve left comments on blog posts that had a decent amount of traffic, and it ended up being amazing for me. Not only did it send a lot of qualified traffic to my blog, but it also helped me to build relationships with bloggers I really loved and admired.
Quick side note: When you’re leaving comments, make sure you’re being authentic and only leave a comment if you feel you have something to say. Leaving comments on a bunch of random blogs you don’t really connect with isn’t likely to get you the kind of results you want. This strategy works best when you relate to someone’s blog and have something to say that will resonate with them and their audience.
Embrace Guest Posting
So, as you might have gathered from this post so far, I’m all about relationship building. Getting to know — and lending a helping hand to — other bloggers has been one of the most fulfilling parts of blogging for me. Some of my closest and most meaningful relationships have started off in the blogging world, and I think the relationships we build in this space are a huge part of what makes blogging so special.
One of my favorite ways to build those relationships is through guest posting. Guest posting is a GREAT way to not only get to know other bloggers (and have them get to know you), but also to introduce your audience to them (and have them introduce their audience to you).
Reach out to other bloggers in your space and see if they allow guest posting on their site, or offer to have them guest post on yours. If you’re trying to grow your traffic, targeting larger blogs is more beneficial, but the most beneficial part of guest blogging is the relationship you build because of it. The more positive relationships you build in your space, the more your blog will grow.
And if you already have a large readership, pay it forward! Let a few less well-known bloggers whose work you enjoy guest post on your blog. That way, you get to build the relationship AND send some traffic their way.
And no, I don’t mean setting people up on dates (although if you know two people in the blogosphere who would be a great couple, by all means!) — what I mean is, introduce people in your network to each other if you know they could help each other. Fostering meaningful connections is a great way to help others in your space — and in turn, help yourself.
Let’s say that in one of the Facebook groups you follow, you see that a blogger is in need of a web designer, and you know the designer who created your website is looking for new clients. Make the introduction! Paying it forward and making the introduction between people who can help each other will not only help them get to where they want to go; it will also foster good feelings towards you. And that good karma will always come back to you.
Make In-Person Connections
All these virtual pay-it-forward strategies are great, but whenever possible you should go the extra mile and meet other bloggers in person. This is helpful for everyone, but especially for bloggers who are just starting out. A face-to-face connection can really deepen your relationships and help to speed up the process of getting to know bloggers in your space.
Go to blogging conferences, and make it a point to meet the bloggers you love and have been interacting with online. You can even go to local meetups to get to know bloggers in your area.
Building a network — both online and in real life — is one of the keys to success as a blogger, and the more people you know, the more opportunities there will be for you to help them (and for them to help you).
A Word of Caution…
Now, all these strategies are great ways to build connections and promote your blog, but remember: whether you’re online or offline, social norms still apply. Would you walk up to a random business owner you’ve never met and say, “Hey, I’d like to come into your office on Friday and give a presentation to your employees about my services”? Of COURSE not! You would do your research and reach out in a way that was polite and appropriate.
The same thing applies online. You can’t just email someone you’ve never spoken to out of the blue and ask if you can write a guest post for them. It’s just not appropriate. While you’re reaching out in order to build a connection, a random email will have the opposite effect and push people away.
When you want to build a connection with someone, think about it like taking them out for virtual coffee. Take the time to get to know them! Read their blog, follow them on social media, start interacting with them slowly. Let the relationship build naturally. Once you’ve fostered that sense of connection, then you can start thinking of ways that you can help each other.
On a final note, the best word of advice I can give you is this: when you’re building relationships with other bloggers, never focus on how they can help you. People can smell that from a mile away. Some of the best and most amazing opportunities I’ve had as a blogger came as a direct result of the relationships I built, relationships that developed without thinking I would get something out of them. Focus on building a genuine relationship. Be real. Be honest. Be a genuine friend. Then, once you have that relationship, focus on ways you can help THEM. When you pay it forward, it will always come back to you.
How about you? How have you paid it forward to your fellow bloggers? And how has it ended up helping you? Leave your experiences in the comments section below.