If relationships are your only asset, then you are ready to go.
I'm not kidding – you can really find opportunities to grow your blog traffic and reputation with the sole fact that you know and talk to others.
Not all bloggers are born marketers, but all bloggers are born listeners and commenters – the two foundations of writing for an audience.
You listen to what your readers and other bloggers have to say. You also go out to read and comment on other bloggers' posts. You do this almost every day, naturally.
And this is all it takes to build relationships that can open doors for tons of opportunities.
What Kind of Blogging Opportunities?
Every opportunity to grow your blog traffic, revenue and to build buzz around your brand:
Or even ghostblogging for a client, if you wish.
In this post, 5 experience-based techniques to find new blogging opportunities using only your best asset as a blogger: relationships.
1. Comments On Other Blogs
Every time you comment on other blogs, you get your name out – not just to the blog owner, but to the other commenters as well.
They may have never heard about you before, but the moment you write something, people start to associate your name and website to a certain line of thought.
Think about the last time your comment sparked some kind of discussion – people who replied to your comment or even just read you formed a first opinion of you in their minds. The next time you comment they will remember you and add elements to the image of you they already created.
Now think about this on a larger scale: the more you comment, and the more your comments add value to a blog post, the more chances to gain visibility and blogging opportunities, as well as fans.
Example: Back in 2014, I left a comment on a Relevance.com blog post by Karan Sharma, editor at Linkbird, one of my favorite blogs on Marketing and SEO. He liked my comment and offered me a position as a guest writer for the Linkbird blog. I had several health issues to deal with at the time, so the collaboration never really started, but think about the opportunity. How many doors can you open for yourself when your comment adds value?
2. Blog Posts You Contributed
Guest blogging often leads to more opportunities to guest blog, either on the same site or on bigger sites.
The quality of your content matters, but so does the way you interact with the commenters (see Way #1) and how you respond and engage with social media followers.
Example: In my guest post for Make A Living Writing published in March 2015, I mentioned one of my niches, which sparked a reader's interest in what I do. My blog about this niche is work-in-progress, but I know I can get in touch with this commenter once the blog is live. It's audience building.
In addition to interacting with commenters, make sure to nurture the relationship you built with blog owners. For the example above, that was my second guest post at Make A Living Writing because I already knew Carol Tice, guest blogged for her in 2012, and I was a member of her forum-based community.
How did I get a second chance to guest post? I simply replied to a newsletter Carol Tice sent to all subscribers. She liked my reply and invited me to turn it into a guest post.
That is how powerful relationships can get.
3. Posts On Your Own Blogs
Your own blog posts also have much power to attract opportunities, no matter if your blog is popular or not.
All it takes is to make your posts outreach-friendly. Give each post your best, as if it had to be your greatest masterpiece. Observe other posts in your niche, see what other bloggers and their commenters want to read; if you seek advertisers, see what most advertising ads ask for.
Then tailor your posts around these needs.
Visitors who see their needs fulfilled may not just turn into loyal readers, but into more blogging opportunities as well. They might invite you to guest post for their blog, buy advertising or turn into your enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
For advertising, remember to complement your efforts with a media kit.
Example: When I submitted a blogging job application a Problogger's Job Board, I used only samples from my personal blog and it resulted in a year-long sponsorship with the Avianne & Co. jewelry brand.
4. Social Media Outreach
Search social media for guest post opportunities (there are many daily, especially on Twitter), for users asking questions about niche issues you can help with or for bloggers looking for partnerships.
As an example, here is what my search for ‘guest post write for us' returned on Twitter:
Example: Back in 2014, I was looking an opportunity to write reviews and sponsored posts via Twitter search like in the example above. I found out that the smartphone company Cellallure was looking for reviews, so I responded to their tweet and I almost immediately receive an email that read “Hey Luana, well I'd love to be posted out on your blogs since I'm sure you have a nice following and really we want as much exposure as possible.” It only took a Twitter search to find this interesting opportunity!
Don't stop to the most popular social networks — my August 2015 post here at WHSR reviews 8 additional social networks that help bloggers grow a platform and thrive. These networks are your best bet in terms of relationships.
5. Forum Threads
You can find opportunities to build your blog traffic and to monetize your blog via forums, too.
Find bloggers to guest post for or to involve in collaborative posts, browse boards for advertisers looking for blog sponsorships, find bloggers to network with, possibly in your same niche or area of interest.
If you are in the Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing or SEO niche, DigitalPoint.com is a good place to start.
More Relationship-Based Ideas?
Niche Communities like Kingged and MyBlogU
These communities let you syndicate your posts, share or discuss them with the community, or to write a new post directly on the platform.
For example, see what our Jerry Low did at Kingged with his post titled “How to Make Money Blogging Like A Super Man (what I learned in 10 years)” and his follow-up post.
When you also help others with their promotional efforts, you are rewarded with networking opportunities that may turn into long-lasting relationships.
MyBlogU also comes with a feature to write collaborative posts with other bloggers – with the added benefit that co-authors can potentially turn into your fiercest fans (as you may become their fan).
From relationships with other bloggers comes more blogging and traffic opportunities that go beyond the benefits you can get from the platforms themselves.
Example: As I was reading a blog post on Kingged, I realized the author shared a wonderful amount of outreach tips for bloggers, so I contacted him privately and I asked if he would be willing to share a successful outreach message and some tips with me for one of my WHSR pitches. He willfully agreed and now I have material for my post, while the author earned exposure.
Email Outreach to Brands and Bloggers
Open that email client and start writing outreach messages.
You can find the ‘guts' to do it when you remember that outreach translates into simple human relationships – you can talk to a friend or to a stranger on the street, so you can talk to another blogger or a person behind a company name.
Also, isn't the post you are reading all about relationships? Not always people will come to you, sometimes you have to go to them. It's much less scary than it sounds and it opens tons of opportunities for you as a blogger and as a person.
Alltop.com is a good place to start to find bloggers and brands to reach out to.
Ask Fellow Bloggers to Give You Referrals
Can other bloggers in your network help? Most of the time, the answer is yes.
You can ask them to refer you to other bloggers, survey to see if guest post opportunities are available, ask if they know of advertisers you may get in touch with or blogging communities to increase your traffic.
In other words, when you can't find new contacts on your own – ask! They will be more than willing to help if you already have a solid relationship, or you can offer something in return for the favor, like a freebie or advice on a sensible problem they are currently facing.
Example: When I had to write my big SMM guide for WHSR, I asked Jerry Low for names of people I could interview for the piece. I ended up with a big list of names and most of them agreed to leave quotes for my article!
Try LinkedIn and Other Professional Networks
Professional networks are your best bet to find niche and business bloggers and brands to reach out to.
LinkedIn, in particular, comes to your rescue with its Groups – you can join up to 50 groups in your niche or industry and start networking with other members.
It's easy to find interesting people to build relationships with and start collaborations that are fruitful for both. My advice is to not look at the most active and popular members only, but to keep an eye out for anybody who stands out for an idea, an opinion or an achievement, as well as new members, who are generally more inclined to get in touch than busy senior members who get tons of messages in their inbox every day.
If you don't want to use groups, use the search function to find interesting people by skills or interests, or ask your immediate network of contacts.
Use Search Engines
Run a search engine search for:
- “(niche) guest posts”
- “(niche) write for us”
- “(niche) contact me”
Be careful when you use the first or the latter – the presence of guest posts on a blog doesn't mean the owner accepts unsolicited submissions or pitches. Problogger.net is a good example: you can read guest posts regularly, but Darren Rowse's guest posts guidelines page states:
In 2014, ProBlogger is taking a different approach to the content we publish. That new approach means we can’t accept any unsolicited submissions at this time.
In addition to checking if a blog owner accepts guest posts, also check that they welcome submissions from new readers and bloggers if they don't have a relationship first.
Or… build a relationship first. You can guest blog later!
How Bloggers Leverage Relationships To Land Opportunities
Help Others Genuinely without Going after Links or Other Benefits
Cormac Reynolds, Company Director at My Online Marketer:
I think being genuine is the best way to leverage opportunities to leverage relationships. If you go into a relationship being disingenuous and just hoping for a link, people will not want dealings with you.
Help others out and watch them help you back in return – it’s pretty simple stuff and it works
Turn a Lengthy Comment into a Blog Post (or a Guest Post)
David Leonhardt, President of THGM Writers:
I don’t do this often, but occasionally I start commenting on a post and I realize that my comment is getting pretty long, and that I could write a full post on it.
Sometimes that ends up on my own blog, and sometimes as a guest post on the blog I was commenting on.
Build a Relationship First, Then Help Each Other
Adam Connell, Founder of Blogging Wizard:
Relationships are the best way to get ahead in the blogging world, no matter whether you’re looking for freelance work or guest post opportunities.
If you have a pre-existing relationship with someone, asking them if they’d like you to contribute to their blog is easy. Without the relationship, it gets a lot more difficult.
But, once you’ve got a relationship with another blogger, if you continue to publish great content, chances are that they’ll invite you – the best pitch is the one you never have to send.
Above all else, there’s one phrase that has served me very well over the years – “What else can we do to help each other?”
How do you build opportunities to grow your blog? What role have relationships in the ‘game'?