When it comes to gaining subscribers for your blog there are loads of factors that play a role, including quality of content, frequency and consistency of content, personality, uniqueness, focus, design/appearance, etc. The list of things you could do to help boost your subscriber count is almost endless.
One factor that I feel is often overlooked by bloggers who are struggling to gain subscribers, and one that I overlooked myself for a while, is the need for a strong professional network of other bloggers. Without a doubt, networking is one of the keys to blogging success, and this is evident by observing that all of the top bloggers are very well-connected.
Unlike some promotional methods such as social media marketing or releasing a free e-book, which may give you a quick burst in subscribers, networking has more potential in the long run, but it will take some time.
Ways Networking Can Help You to Grow Subscribers:
1 – One at a time
Many of your direct contacts and friends will subscribe to your blog if they’re not already, especially if you focus your networking efforts to your niche. While this isn’t going to create big jumps in your subscriber count, you’re still gaining subscribers and the result over time can add up to a more significant number.
Fairly often I’ll reach out to other bloggers in my niche to introduce myself. Many times I find out that they’re already a reader of my blog, and other times I don’t think they know who I am. Either way, it’s very common to find that same blogger leaving a comment at my blog or seeing their avatar for stumbling one of my posts. While that’s not my primary motivation for reaching out to them, it’s nice to see that networking can have an impact in this way.
2 – Quality over quantity
Subscribers that know you personally and have interacted with you will almost always be higher quality subscribers than someone who doesn’t know you. I hate to refer to people in terms of “quality” here, but what I’m really saying is that they will be more involved and more likely to stick around long-term if there is some additional connection to you. There are probably other things you can do with your time that will get you more subscribers in a short period of time, but I doubt many of them will help you to also create a more active and responsive audience.
3 – Inbound links and personal referrals
The human nature of bloggers leads us to link to those that we like. Of course, not every link is going to go to someone you know, but if you have two potential posts from other bloggers that you could link to for a specific topic, one of them you know well and one of the you don’t, who are you going to link to? I know I work this way, and I think most other bloggers do to. It’s not a matter of trying to be exclusive, it’s just that most people like to help their friends.
4 – Social media votes
If you’re marketing your blog through social media, a strong network is priceless. Along the same lines as the previous point, most of us tend to vote for those that we know better than the typical blogger/reader relationship. In some cases you may be requesting votes from others in your network (which works much better than spamming strangers) or you may just be benefiting from their unsolicited votes.
5 – Guest post opportunities
One of my favorite methods for blog promotion is writing guest posts on other blogs. It’s an incredible opportunity to get your name and your writing in front of a targeted and potentially large audience. Getting your guest posts published at other blogs is much easier if you already know the blogger (although it can still work if you don’t). That friend that you have who runs a popular blog in your niche may be going on vacation or just needing some extra content.
6 – Advice
I think we could all use some advice every now and then from others in our niche. I know on a few specific occasions I’ve been fortunate enough to get some great help and advice from my blogging friends, and I’ve had other ask me for advice as well. Of course you’re not going to want to treat your friends as your personal consultants, but when you need some help or guidance there will be someone that knows you and your situation that’s interested in your success.
7 – Long-term benefit for your efforts
One of the things I really love about networking is that your network can help you for years to come. If you’re willing to take the time and make the effort now to get to know other bloggers in your niche, the long-term benefits could keep coming. Over the course of a few years you could get hundreds of links from those in your network. Not just links, but everything I’ve mentioned above can be a long-term result from a strong network.
8 – Can help you to get a new blog off the ground
If you already have a strong network of blogging friends, launching a 2nd blog can be much more successful. Not only will you have your own audience from the first blog to start off with, but you may get some links or mentions from others in your early days that could make a big difference.
Some Easy Ways to Get Started with Networking:
1 – Comment on other blogs in your niche
2 – Network via social media
3 – Reach out to those that you don’t know through an email or a contact form
4 – Write guest posts for other blogs
5 – Link out to others frequently