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10 Lessons
FROM DEBT TO 7 FIGURES

Online Networking: The Little-Known Problem That’s Sabotaging Your Chances of Connecting With Influential Bloggers

online networking

You’re working hard to connect with influential bloggers in your niche. But you can’t help wondering if you’re being ignored.

It’s a horrible thought, isn’t it?

You’re doing all the things the experts tell you to do if you want these connections to lead to your content being linked to, talked about and shared to the 1000s of people who follow these influential bloggers. But …

It still feels like you’re invisible.

Your emails go unanswered. Your content isn’t getting linked to, or talked about, or shared.

What’s going wrong? Why aren’t those expert online networking tactics working for you?

Good question. And the answer is: Connection Fatigue.

It’s a problem that’s beginning to affect influential bloggers across the internet. And it’s getting worse.

Too Many Copy-and-Paste Tactics Smother Sincerity

The causes of Connection Fatigue have been described by sufferers as “boiler-plate” emails lacking any thought or individual flair. No sign of creativity or with anything new to say. These boiler-plate emails arrive from hundreds of bloggers everyday, all asking for the same thing, in the same way, for the same reason …

Getting promoted.

“… you don’t just want to copy and paste some sort of boiler-plate email because it’s immediately apparent that you copied something, that you’re doing something that somebody told you to do.”

– Corbett Barr, fizzle.co/sparkline

The focus on getting promoted as the end all and be all of online networking is causing Connection Fatigue because people are forgetting what makes a genuine relationship. Heck, forget genuine relationships! They’re forgetting that it’s FRIENDSHIPS that matter most of all.

What it really  boils down to is this: if you haven’t put anything personal into the process of connecting with influential bloggers, then why should they care about or promote you?

You Just Want Me For My Clicks, Likes and Shares!

Trying to connect through a generic email just makes people feel that the only reason you’re contacting them is because they happen to be someone whom you thought would be useful to you and give you a leg-up the blogging success ladder.

It hurts.

Getting in contact for your own self-interested reasons sticks out like a sore thumb, because  you haven’t taken time to think about how to make them feel good about themselves. Or about hearing from you.

Influential bloggers aren’t automatic link machines who spit out shares whenever you send them a copy-and-paste email. They want to feel like they matter and that when you do get in contact, it’s because you want to let them know how much they matter to you.

How To Side-Step Connection Fatigue (and Prove You’re Worth Noticing)

Blogging needs you. It needs your individualism, unique voice, new ideas and your rocking content need to be promoted as massively as influential bloggers can promote it.

So, don’t let Connection Fatigue  and online networking gurus sabotage your chances. Give those influential bloggers a reason to feel like they really matter to you.  Make them actually want to promote you.

Do something different.

Something that side-steps Connection Fatigue. Something that makes people sit up and notice you. Instead of following boiler-plate tactics that reflect a me-me lack of creativity and self-interest, create a reputation as someone who not only cares about other people and what they do, but someone who proves it.

How?

Make it your purpose to put others first by promoting their content.

Promote it selflessly. Promote it because you just enjoy their content. Because you think it rocks. Because it makes you sit up and take notice. Because it’s valuable to you.

People notice this kind of selfless generosity.

You may not realize how much people notice it until you start getting attention and feedback like this.

online networking

And this…

online networking

Attention and feedback like this is priceless. It needs to be earned. Here are some simple ways to earn it for yourself …

Step One: Stop Creating Content

This goes completely against what most experts tell you to do if you want to stand out and make connections online, right?

Their advice is to create awesome content that influential bloggers will want to tweet and share with their readers.

But Connection Fatigue means that your email has little chance of getting seen, let alone opened, read and clicked. So what chance has your content, got unless you side-step Connection Fatigue?

Giving your content a shot starts by taking a break from creating any content to concentrate on doing something a lot more useful to creating connections…

Step Two: Start Reading

There are a lot of great writers out there. Promoting other people’s awesome content begins by going out into the blogosphere and reading.

Begin with those bloggers in your niche whose content you already think is awesome.

Remember all those blog posts you’ve bookmarked?

Check them out. Take time to actually read them. If any of them still stand out to you, think about why and how. What it is about the writing, the ideas, the message, the usefulness that resonates with you?

Then, promote this content. When you do, say why you’re promoting it.

Once you’ve read the bloggers in your niche, it’s time to go further a-field and venture into niches outside your own. For example, maybe your personal development niche intersects with marketing, business, parenting, health, fitness, finance – the list is almost endless. Pay attention to who the great writers are talking about in your related niches. Often, they’ll talk about other great writers, which will introduce these new writers to your sphere of reading.

Start following all these great writers on Twitter. Circle them in Google+. Keep an eye out for who they’re following, tweeting and talking about. I’ve found most of the writers I love via other writers tweeting about them, or mentioning them in their content.

Every influential blogger got to where they are by reading, not just writing. So work to become a great reader as well as a great writer. You’ll discover it pays off big time.

Step Three: Promote The Hell Out Of Those Bloggers You Love

Once you start promoting bloggers, it’s important that you keep promoting them. As part of your online networking, set aside time at least once a week to:

  • Read a piece of content from someone you love. And promote it.
  • Discover a new writer who’s writing knocks you out. And promote them.

Step Four: Introduce Bloggers To Each Other

Because influential bloggers are great writers, they love reading. Especially other great writers’ content.

So introduce them to content you think they’ll love.

Here’s an email I sent to Chris Garrett, of Copyblogger and Authority Blogger fame:

online networking

And here’s his reply:

online networking

Step Five: Have Real Conversations

Influential bloggers, like all of us, like to be recognized for who we are. Let’s face it –  a lot of them have earned it.

But, they’re human too.

They have lives beyond their blogs. Often they talk about their lives on their blog, or on social media. This is how I discovered Chris Garrett likes Pink Floyd.

Most people stick to trying to engage influential bloggers just stick to topic-related things like: “Great post!”

Asking an influential blogger about their latest cruise holiday, or their family’s trip to Disney World, or their fondness for Eighties one-hit-wonders will get you noticed. Not just because it will be a refreshing change, but because it shows that you’re not just out for blatant self-interested gains. It shows you’re interested in them as people. It shows you’re human too.

Step Six: Accept Their Offers of Help

Do creative justice to steps one to five and sooner or later those bloggers you’ve spent time promoting with genuine interest will start responding with gratitude, offers of thanks and an interest in your content.

You might get an email from someone saying something like this: “Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I think if your blog posts are anything like your comments, I’ll be heading over for a read. Just let me know when you launch.”

Step Seven: Make Damn Sure You Follow Through

Don’t let these golden offers slip through your fingers! Respond to them as fast as you can with your appreciation, and be sure to follow through. If they say they want to know when you launch your blog, let them know. If they ask for a link to your latest post, send them a link.

Part of making awesome and real connections is showing how much you care about other people. A big part of caring is responding and saying thank you. We’re all human. Sometimes, life can interrupt us or distract us. But if you keep an ever watchful eye out for responses to your promotions, you’ll be ready for them.

Step Eight: You’ve Made Some Truly Awesome Connections… Now What?

Now that you’ve become a whiz at online networking, it’s time to start creating content that is worth your connections’ time, effort and reputation to promote.

This doesn’t happen by falling back on “boiler-plate” content that you bang together in 30 minutes. But, you know this, right? You’re a Mirasee reader; you’re smarter than the average blogger out there. Right?

You’re not going to spend all this time cultivating connections that matter just to throw them away.

So do the work.

Put in the hours it takes to create shareable content. And make those influential bloggers who think you rock proud to promote you.

Because you matter. Your content matters. Your success matters. You’re not alone. There are people out there waiting to make sure you matter. More people than you think. Get out there and show them how much you care by helping them matter even more too.

Success is a community activity. It happens when people help each other out. No strings attached.

Get started now…  Who are the writers and bloggers you love? Leave a comment to tell me about them, and why you think they’re awesome.

About Tom Southern

Tom Southern helps bloggers to take the frustration out of getting traffic to their blogs by using traffic smart strategies that work. Get your free copy of the Guest Post Promotion Checklist and more strategies for driving traffic to your blog.

44 comments

  1. I appreciate your invitation to read this article, Tom.

    The way you described the path a blogger should follow his success, is also a way of living mindset in whatever I’m doing.

    A cousin of mine writes 3 posts a day on her blog it earns huge traffic, and she is always pressing me to do the same. First of all I’m a slow writer. Second, I can’t write meaningful articles 3 times a day. Third, I would love to have that huge traffic my cousin blog gets, but I have to discipline myself and write what I feel.

    Honestly, I don’t know where I’ll get in this way, but hopefully I have enough power in me to keep going.

    1. No problem Ion. Your cousin’s blog may be the kind that attracts huge traffic. I don’t know what niche her blog is in but some niches do get lots of traffic: entertainment {gossip], fashion, etc. Also, how much traffic is “huge traffic”?

      Two things to keep in mind though:

      #1: Traffic is only as good as the engagement and response you get from visitors who become readers.

      #2: You should blog in a way that’s right for you. I couldn’t write anything meaningful for my blog 3 times a day. I don’t have the time, or the energy, or the creative power to do so.

      Stick to what feels right to you. Avoid trying to compete with anyone.

      Your readers will read your blog because it’s *your* blog. They’ll read it because your mindset appeals to them. They’ll come for other reasons too but essentially, they’ll come because you share their mindset.

      I hope you keep going too.

      1. Tom,
        I’m new to blogging and and I’m not grasping it as fast as I want to. But reading this post of yours hit a chord for me!! You see, I used to own and operate a creative portrait photography business that lasted 40+ years before I sold it – thinking I was ready to sit back and relax…I was wrong in doing that but that’s another story.
        The point is, when I read a comment from a reply of yours that stated: “Traffic is only as good as the engagement and response you get from visitors who become readers…”, I could understand that very well and it hit home because I have been searching for my “missing link” in a red-hot frenzy sort of way! I have been attempting to compete in the over-saturated topic of Fitness yet not sharing my personal trials and tribulations of my quest yet, I was an award winning portrait photographer for the majority of my life and it was my passion – why am I not writing about that and offering help to the aspiring, new start-ups in that profession? My point…it was that time, photography that I learned that “you get out of something equal to what you contribute to it” and your statement regarding …”traffic is only as good as one’s engagement and response” resonated in my head and has awakened me BECAUSE I didn’t get anything from that career until I put something into it. So thanks from the bottom of my heart for your inspiration and a big wake-up call – when I needed it the most!

        1. Hi Les,

          Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I really appreciate you taking time to say what you’ve learnt about getting out what you put in.

          I think your experience and expertise as a photographer would make a great topic for a blog, if that’s what you want to do. Photography is a popular and growing interest with people. You might already know DigitalPhotographySchool.com. There’s always room for you and your know-how. You already know how saturated the Fitness niche is but NerdFitness.com came along and nailed it.

          It’s all about what you bring to the topic and by what you’ve said in your comment, you’ve got a infectious passion. Go for it!

          Cheers Les!

      2. My cousin’s blog is all about home: interior design, how to build a home. It is in top five traffic earners websites in Romania.

        Avoid trying to compete with everyone – this is a great tip.

        1. Sounds like she’s got a great niche. Romania is popular with second-home buyers from Europe too, so a blog like hers would be a real resource for these people too, as well as Romanian readers.

  2. Tom,

    I love your steps 3 and 4, good specific ways to serve and being helpful. With any relationship that is to last, the goal should be to outgive the other person. To leave them better than you found them via a sincere compliment, sharing a helpful piece of information, or similar. These online superstars are people, too, so treating them like friends instead of like “targets” will go a long way.

    Good post, Tom. Keep it up!

    Jeff

    1. “targets” – yes, I think that’s how a lot of people see influential bloggers whom they want to connect with. And how many influential bloggers feel like under the rain of fire coming at them from would-be connectors. Great point, Jeff.

      Some of the time I think it’s genuine innocence on a lot of people’s part. They don’t mean to be targetting influential bloggers. They’re just following advice (this is what to do if you want to achieve X) because they’re looking for guidance and want results.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jeff. Good to see you here. Cheers!

    1. No, no, I don’t mean publish other people’s content on our own blogs. That’s plagerism. It’s also spam. Don’t do it.

      I’m talking about sharing links to their work and introducing their work to other writers. I give examples of this in my post when I talked about introducing Chris Garrett to Mark Hermann’s piece on Communication and Pink Floyd.

      No worries re: the typo. We all make ’em. 🙂

      Thanks for your question Luis.

      Let me know if I can help you out with any more questions you might have on this point. Either here or on Twitter.

      1. Hi Tom,

        Thanks for the reply!
        OK, now I think I understand the idea! Your advice is everything about develop networking with relevant bloggers… and putting valuable content in front of their eyes that can boost our engagement with them!
        Am I in the path?
        Regards
        Luis

  3. Hey Tom,

    Great post, it make us reflex about real connections!
    Just one question, when you talk about promoting other people’s content, you mean publish their content in our websites? or just through social media?
    What about Google’s penalties for publish unoriginal content? how to surpass that issue? (Panda)
    Regards
    Luis

  4. Great points, Tom. You shed light on a really key issue at the moment, which is that building real relationships in any networking endeavors will always matter and will trump any expert shortcuts people may try.

    It prompts the question, Are we drowning in expert advice?

    If all the new smart bloggers who are all trying to find an edge and an audience are drawing from the same pool of experts and all using the same advice to reach influencers, then you end up with this whole vicious circle like the blogging snake that ate it’s tail.

    And by the way, I learned something else today. I never knew why Chris Garrett reached out to me on G+ to talk about that Pink Floyd article. Now I know.

    Cheers and really well done,

    1. Ha-Ha – Secrets revealed! Glad to hear Chris Garrett
      stopped by to chat about the Floyd with you. Hope it leads to more for you.

      You’re right. Short-cuts and hacks don’t always get the results people want. They can by-pass sincerity and that sabotages any attempts to build real relationships.

      Good point regarding “drowning in expert advice.”
      Everyone’s an expert it seems and it seems creativity and imagination have flown out the window. Time to put some individualism into blogging.

      Cheers Mark, and thanks for taking time to stop by and
      add your thoughts here.

  5. Hey Tom,

    Right on target! Thanks for reminding us to add a personal touch to all our interactions with other bloggers and to share their content!

    I agree with you when you say that “boiler-plate emails” won’t have the results expected because they are not different, personal, authentic.

    We all do receive sometimes emails that seem to come out of a frame and that are not appealing!

    I truly believe that if we concentrate on incorporating something unexpected and surprising in our comments, tweets or emails to the person we want to connect with, for sure, he/she will pay attention.

    Great post Tom!

    1. Thanks Fabienne. Too right! A bit of thought and creativity goes along way.

      Good to have you stop by and share your thoughts.

      I think some people expect too much of influencers and get disappointed when they don’t get a response. Putting some personal touch, or making it relevant to the person you’re hoping to notice you shows you respect them and that you care.

  6. Bingo, Tom. I’m so glad you wrote this article. I relate to your proposition. In my previous business life, I was known for thanking people quite a lot. This might have become a dry routine, except that I truly and consciously conveyed my sincerity. It is nice to learn that sincerity is appreciated in online blogging relationships. Your example regarding Pink Floyd was spot on. A post like yours is the major reason I selected Firepole’s Engagement Marketing program. Thank you…sincerely.

    1. Oh yes, sincerity is always appreciated. I think there’s been too much copy-and-paste going on, especially in the early days of internet marketing. Perhaps not always intended as such but the unfortunate bi-product of beginners following what they were being told to do.

      You did good to choose Firepole Marketing’s Engagement Marketing programme, Michael. Danny’s got good lessons to teach. Perhaps we could follow each other on Twitter and you could keep posted on how you’re doing on the course?

      Cheers Michael! Glad to have you stop by to add your thoughts.

  7. Excellent post, Tom – I particularly love your advice to stop creating content and get reading. I think bloggers are often too preoccupied with churning out more and more of the same old, same old and, I suspect, sometimes hurriedly sharing stuff they’ve barely skim-read. As you know, I’m no longer blogging, but I still enjoy reading some high quality articles, including Greg Ciotti’s fascinating essays on Sparring Mind.

    1. Thanks Sue. Good to hear from you. My thoughts exactly regarding “same old-same old” and skim reading.

      Glad to hear you enjoy Greg Ciotti’s Sparring Mind. I
      keep popping in there from time to time for a read. I think his blog is growing big on the quiet.

      You’re missed Sue. Hopefully, one day, you’ll rejoin us on
      the blogging scene. I watched your rapid growth with
      awe and envy.

      Cheers!

    1. Agree with you there Jessica! Cooking and Blogging – brilliant mixture! I haven’t read much of Tea’s writing so far but I love her humour and style too. Her “Buy-Curious” piece is just one example. She has a clever take on things, don’t you think?

      Glad to have you stop by and share your thoughts here. Cheers!

  8. Hey Tom,

    I am over here just nodding while reading this saying to myself, man you are SO right. As you know I preach a LOT over at my blog about building relationships and why it’s so important. You just nailed all the reasons.

    I have gotten so many noticed from other bloggers willing to support me as well because of the connections we’ve made just because I think they are awesome people and I love sharing their content. I did it with no strings attached just because they are awesome but let’s face it. When you’re genuine in this way then they can see it and they too appreciate the heck out of it. We all do.

    I seriously don’t think any of us will ever get very far if we aren’t making those necessary connections. It helps to have that support and eventually that does mean helping with sharing our content, promoting us and even our products. But the people who want to do it are the ones we really want in our corner. If you have the me me me mentality you will not get far I’m afraid.

    Love this post and topic and so happy to see you here at Danny’s place! What an awesome site to share such great content. Thanks again and I’m sharing this one too!

    You have an awesome day.

    ~Adrienne

    1. Hey Adrienne, so good to have you stop by and offer such
      a fantastic comment. Your story is such a great inspiration for how to make blogging successful for beginners and more experienced bloggers alike. You do it so well.

      Your comment proves my point that “success is a community activity.” Our success equals the effort we put in to reaching out, supporting and making friends.

      Thanks for you continued support and encouragement.

      Cheers!

  9. Hey Tom,
    Enjoyed this read this morning! Great reminder that we are human and like the personal touch. Sometimes it is too easy to forget that from the viewpoint of the keyboard. Love Marcy’s comment of “Pay It Forward”.

    I have been commenting on posts for some time and recently have connected with several writers. The most recent is with Hannah Braime @becomingwhoyouare.net just to let her know I resonate with her work and I am learning from how she does things. Reaching out changed the connection!

    Thanks for the ideas.

    1. Interesting remark you make about “Reaching out changed the connection!” Do you mean it moved it up a gear?

      Marcy’s comment was right on the mark, wasn’t it?

      Glad to have you stop by and add your thoughts here, Carolynne. I’ll be checking out Hannah Braime’s blog.
      Cheers!

          1. When I commented on an email Hannah sent, I also mentioned that I was watching what she did so I learn from her. She replied that she was happy to help new coaches and looked forward to the connection.

  10. Great insights, Tom. I really like this concept….it’s sort of “Pay It Forward.” You get more by giving more. I’m a writer and my favorite blog is Jeff Goins @ goinswriter.com. Always terrific info there.

    1. You’re right there Marcy. Give first. That’s important.
      There’s too much self-interest. Giving selflessly is so refreshing.

      Jeff Goins is a great writer, isn’t he? And inspiring too. He’s an inspiration too. Not just to other writers about writing but about taking the plunge and reaching out to connect with others.

      Good to hear from you, Marcy. Thanks.

  11. Thanks Jen. Ann Handley is a new name to me, so thanks for introducing me.

    You could make a list of whose writting you love most and start connecting with these bloggers. Or you could just share their writing with everyone, like you have here.

    You’ve got me curious now. I’m off to Ann Handley’s blog to have a read.

  12. Hi Tom. Nice post. A favorite blogger that comes to mind is Ann Handley…always great stuff. She brings in stories from her life while educating her readers about content marketing. There are so many more thoughtful and entertaining bloggers, it’s hard to pick just one. Thanks for the inspiration and guide to reaching out.

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