Any blogging advice besides telling someone to choose a niche they love, write engaging content, network in your niche and stay consistent, is secondary. With those fundamentals alone you can go very far. There really aren’t any “secrets” that people are holding back from you, but there are things to learn that will make you more effective with these fundamentals.
I’m going to focus on the fundamental of networking and reveal a tactic so underused that it may as well be a secret. I’ve seen so few examples of this that I wonder actually how many people know about it. Today I want to blow the doors open and share something that all of you can use to grow your blog and become a niche leader with much more ease.
I’ll be open and say that this isn’t something I use with ViperChill because it’s not something I’ve felt I needed to do and it doesn’t fit with my current strategy. You’ll see why that is later. However, there really is something you can all be doing to make growing your blog twice as easy and it will enable you to do it in half the time.
It’s also an incredibly simple concept to grasp: You need to form a blogging duo.
To break it down to its most basic form, you need to find one person in your industry who you can work with to help each of you take your own blogs to the next level.
To really cement this idea in your head, allow me share an example from the personal development niche.
Two of the biggest blogs in the world can be found in the personal finance space. Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar both have in excess of 70,000 subscribers at the time of writing this. What you may not know is that the blogs have also been growing at around the same rate for a very long time.
First, if you look at their traffic stats with Compete you can see that they have traffic spikes and dips at around the same time:
Then, looking at feed subscribers, despite the large difference at the start of the graph, their growth rate is on a very similar consistent rise.
This isn’t just some coincidence. These bloggers have helped each other out a lot. As I’m a stats kind of guy, let’s look into some here shall we?
It’s very possible that JD (Get Rich Slowly) and Trent (The Simple Dollar) did not set out to consciously forge this alliance. They may simply like each other’s work and reference it a lot. However, you cannot deny the obvious help this partnership has had on each of their growth.
How would being referenced on a blog with tens of thousands of subscribers, hundreds of times, help the growth of your own site? I’m sure you don’t need me to answer that one for you.
Though their own “partnership” may have been an unconscious one, there are actions you can take to create a conscious one. If you want to make growing your blog a lot easier and possibly a lot more fun, I recommend you follow them.
Though I’ve never purposefully gone out to find a blogging partner, I definitely believe I could. There are a lot of people I’ve created what I like to think of as strong connections with online such as Pat, Tamar and one of my best friends, Diggy. They write in similar industries and I happily link to their posts because I know they provide a lot of value.
Before you go on the hunt for your blogging partner, I will say that to make this alliance work effectively, you will have to link to them. Certainly not on every post; but on a fairly frequent basis. If you don’t like the content that your potential partner is producing then that defies the point of this tactic completely. Make sure you like what they have to say.
Similar to how I believe the connection between JD and Trent formed, I actually had no conscious aim to form connections with Tamar or Pat. I simply really like what they have to say, they’re both very open and friendly, and they’re both contacts of mine on Skype who I chat with now and then.
Sadly, there’s no action list involved in creating an unconscious connection. To forge a conscious one, here’s where I would look:
While there aren’t really any rules to this, you’re more likely to form a partnership with someone who is on a similar experience and blog size level as you. If I wanted to grow ViperChill, for example, it wouldn’t make much sense working with a completely new blogger and then linking to them frequently. They might grow, but I wouldn’t get much out of the partnership.
The only time an example like this would work is if I can see the blogger is growing in an industry and I really like what they have to say. Henri and Everett would be good examples of this for me and I would be happy to “team up” with them if that’s what I was looking for, even though their blogs are a little smaller than this one.
Just because you’ll probably have more luck partnering with someone who is on a similar level (they’re a new blogger and you are too) it doesn’t mean that they can’t help you make this whole blogging process easier. JD and Trent launched their blogs within 6 months of each other and look where they are now.
In terms of pitching the idea of a partnership to a blogger you like the look of, I would say that they really just want to know what they would have to do and what they get out of the deal.
In the next section of this post I’m going to look at ways you can use your blog alliance to help you grow, so to answer the question of what they have to do, simply suggest the ones you like the sound of the most. As far as what they get out of the deal goes, you may want to send them a link to this post so they can see how JD and Trent benefited from such a relationship.
Otherwise, simply talk about how working with you will help them. I also recommend this post from Problogger which I noticed while editing this post that gives some more examples. Rejection is only rejection if you let it stop you.
Now that you’ve seen the benefits that a blogging duo can offer you I’m going to look at how you can actually use it to your advantage. Many of these suggestions are going to be about sending traffic to the other blog. You may not like the sound of that, but it’s the exact reason that a duo can be so effective.
If you’re worried about sending traffic to other blogs then you miss the point of blogging entirely.
Everything your partner does to grow their traffic outside of your duo is going to benefit you when they mention your blog again the next time. Anything you do to build your audience outside of the partnership is going to help them grow their site.
Not only can you help grow each of your audiences, but you can create the appearance of authority by having strong connections in the same niche.
One of the most effective ways to build a blog is to use guest posting. I’ve written an extensive guide to guest blogging that covers pretty much everything you need to know about the topic.
The first way it can help your duo is by using this method to build your own audience which you can then help drive to each other. To really utilise your duo, you can write for each other’s blogs on a fairly frequent basis.
This will be far more effective if both of you very rarely (or not at all) accept posts from other authors. With PluginID and now at ViperChill I never accepted one single guest post on my sites. That’s not because I don’t value them; they make a lot of sense and the ideas of other people are often worth sharing.
It’s simply that I wanted to really establish myself in my niche and have my own voice and brand stand out, rather than being another typical blog which accepts posts from just about anybody. I also write a very specific type of post here at ViperChill (in-depth, and from personal experience) which I don’t think many guest posters could really replicate.
If you only allow your blogging partner to write on your blog and they do the same for you, that’s going to benefit your audience and drive traffic to each other’s site in the most obvious and effective way.
If you’ve read this post word for word then you’ll now realise why I suggested only choosing a blogger who’s content you like. Trent and JD wrote very few blog posts for each other. In fact, my search only turned up one guest post each. However, they linked to each other’s posts on a very regular basis and this is the main reason I think they’ve grown at a similar pace.
Authors in the blogosphere have gradually started to link out to each other less and less due to services like Twitter and Facebook being used for sharing content, but I still personally like to link out as much as possible. Because linking out is becoming more rare, it’s even more remarkable, and helps online relationships flourish.
For a while I would link to my favourite posts at the bottom of monthly reports but now I just link to people whenever their content or their blog is relevant to what I’m saying. Linking to each other is another great way to provide value to your readers (if you’re only sharing great content) and to help each other grow.
As bloggers, we tend to try to promote our sites on as many places as possible. Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon are just a few services that come to mind. Instead of just using your new blog partnership as a way to promote each other on your individual blogs, you could use it to help each other on social platforms as well.
For example, you could:
These are just a few examples, but I’m sure you get the idea. Look at all the ways you promote yourself on these platforms and see if there’s any way you can both help make your efforts more effective.
Aimed at blogs that are mostly starting out, leaving comments can help you out in two ways. First of all, you’ll each be gaining a small amount of traffic from the link that is attached to your blog comment name. Everytime I write a post here on ViperChill, I notice that the first few commenters get 20-30 clicks on their links which is huge compared to my experience on other sites.
The main reason to reciprocate with blog comments though is simply to help with social proof. Two things that help me get more subscribers here on ViperChill actually have nothing to do with the content I produce. It’s simply that the number of subscribers here and how many comments I get on each posts show people that I must be worth following.
If you’re starting out, try to leave comments on each other’s sites to help start off discussions and make your blogs look more active.
Something I’ve been in talks about with a few bloggers is the possibility of launching a product or service together.
Although I offer the service of coaching which is just working with me, I could potentially bring in someone else for coaching calls so clients get twice the value. Similarly, if I offered site reviews (I have no plans to do this, it’s just an example) I could have someone else give their feedback to customers as well which would benefit them greatly.
Not only could you work with your partner on a product, you could help to promote each other’s products as well. Some ways to do this can include:
You could even give your blogging partner a higher percentage for affiliate comissions. This cross promotion can help both of you to make more money.
I hope that I’ve helped you to see how effective a blogging duo can be and how you can use your platforms to create an effective relationship. One last point I want to make is that this connection shouldn’t be something robotic; it should be something you enjoy.
When I talk to the likes of Pat, Tamar, Oscar or anyone else, it’s not because I’m hoping to get something out of their blogging audience. I just really love the subject of internet marketing so it’s great to connect with people who feel the same on some level.
Diggy comes to my house a few times per week and besides almost killing ourselves with bacon or using Skittles to help make the weekend a blur (I’m 20, don’t judge ;)), we spend a lot of time talking about blogging, affiliate marketing and ways to make more money online.
If you view your blogging duo as just a way to grow your blog more easily then you won’t get the most out of it. See it was a way to connect with someone like-minded and you may just see this tactic become the most useful blogging advice you’ve come across.