Growing Your Blog: Building Real Relationships

Welcome to Day 3 of the Grow Your Blog series!
I have so appreciated all your comments and feedback.
I truly hope that you find something in this series helpful for your own blog.  Today’s topic is RELATIONSHIPS!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Seriously.  I mean it.
I want to start this post by saying that I am so grateful for the opportunity this blog gives me of “meeting” and interacting with so many amazing people from all over the world.
Over the past year, there are a number of you who I have truly come to consider as my friends.  {Please say it’s not just me!}  I enjoy emailing with you, Facebook-ing with you {is that a word?}, reading your comments, reading your posts, and participating in events with you.  When someone compliments me on my “blessed” necklace, I say, “Oh, my friend Carmella from Tennessee made it!  She has a shop!”  Or when they see LC playing with his crochet octopus and ask if I made it, I say, “No, but my friend Amanda did!  She sent it to him as a gift!“  The relationships I’ve formed with you all are a real blessing, and I wanted you to know it.
In addition to forming meaningful friendships, we can also form relationships that are mutually beneficial to our blogs.
Here are my Top 10 Tips:
Sorry in advance, these are kind of wordy, but I had a lot to say!
1. Volunteer your services!
It’s not uncommon for bloggers to put something out in a post or on Facebook asking for people who are willing to donate items for a giveaway or to do a guest post for a series or special event they’re hosting.  Do it!  Jump at the chance and volunteer!  Giving away something you’ve made is great exposure for your blog and your shop if you have one.  If you don’t make anything, donate a Starbucks gift card or something else that’s not super expensive but will still appeal to readers.  You’ll most likely gain new followers who come to visit from the giveaway, and you’ll earn major cool points with the blogger who’s hosting it.  Guest posting or blog swapping is great too; you get to “meet” someone else’s followers, and give them a chance to “meet” yours!  I can tell you that any time someone has responded to one of my “help wanted” posts, I’ve always been glad to have them participate!  When I was looking for folks to help with the big blogiversary giveaway coming up next week, I wouldn’t have turned anyone away!  Even if it meant we had 50 giveaways!  So it never hurts to volunteer.  Plus, once you’ve done something for a blogger, she’ll think of you in the future when she plans something and may personally ask you to participate again.

One Artsy Mama

2. Follow through, follow through, follow through!
If you’ve agreed to give something away or post for another blogger, DO IT!  Be responsible.  If they give you a deadline when they want your post, stick to it.  Be early, in fact.  If they ask for certain information, provide it.  If you are giving something away, send it.  Follow through is huge and it goes a long way in building and maintaining relationships.  I know that sometimes emergencies come up; for example, one sweet gal who was going to guest post during our Home for the Holidays series ended up getting very ill and being hospitalized.  Of course I understood and didn’t expect her to get a post to me.  Yes, things happen.  But if they do, try and give the blogger as much notice as possible because it puts her in a bind when you don’t.  She’s counting on you to post for her or to send that item and has put work into promoting it…if you don’t keep up your end, she’s left in the lurch and it can reflect poorly on her too.  If you have a problem, communicate and let the blogger know what’s going on so you can come up with a solution together.  That way, you can maintain a positive relationship.  If you prove to be unreliable, that blogger won’t want to have you participate in events she plans in the future.
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3. Offer to review someone’s product and/or host a giveaway on your own blog.
Everyone likes to be promoted and to get the word out about their shop/blog.  If you see a product you really like in someone’s shop or a blog you particularly enjoy, ask the owner if they’d be willing to give away an item on your blog.  Most people will jump at the chance!  It gives them added exposure, and it will help boost your page views.  Plus, if you’re lucky, they may send you something fun…like the pretty felt flower I got when I reviewed Posies and Petals!
4. If you have a link party, personally invite people and comment on the projects linked up to the best of your ability.
We’ll be talking all about link parties tomorrow, but if you host one, be a kind host and try to mingle with your guests.  The bigger your party gets, the harder it becomes, but try and have at least a goal for commenting on the projects people share.  Kara and I split the responsibility; she’s supposed to comment on odd numbers and I comment on the evens.  We don’t always make it to every single one, but we do make an effort because it’s important to let people know we appreciate them taking the time to join the party and we appreciate what they’ve made.  Also, a personal invitation goes a long way for getting new people to join in.  Don’t just say, “Nice project, come link it at my party,” but really leave a meaningful comment.  I’d say seven out of ten people will respond by linking up, and then not only have you added more fun projects to the party, you’ve made a new ‘friend!’
One Artsy Mama
5. Feature other bloggers on your Facebook page and/or blog.
When you see something really awesome that someone else made, feature it!  Whether you host a party, do a round-up, or neither, you can always link a fun project to your facebook page or link to it in a post.  It gives other bloggers exposure and everyone appreciates that!  Last week I almost peed my pants when I saw that Jen from Tatertots and Jello featured my covered clothespins on one of her round-ups.  True story.  I also got 240 page views from just that source in less than 7 days.  Thank you, Jen!!  Nothing makes someone feel more warm and fuzzy in bloggerville than when you compliment something they made by sharing it yourself…especially if it brings them a boatload of page views!  If you can, tell the person you’re featuring too so that they can be sure to come visit and enjoy their time in the spotlight!
6. Pin things you love from other blogs and tell the blogger!
This is another great way to help someone’s awesome projects get the attention they deserve.  Make sure you pin from the original source whenever possible, or if you must repin, make sure that the first pin links to the right place.  People love getting pinned.  And don’t just pin and run, TELL the blogger…it makes us all feel good when we hear that someone liked our project or recipe or idea so much they added it to a board!
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7. Give credit where credit is due!
Remember how I said nothing makes us feel warm and fuzzy like having our projects noticed and appreciated?  Well, nothing brings out the ugly in a blogger like having his or her work plagarized!  We all know it’s wrong to copy and paste someone else’s post or photo or project and claim it as our own.  But there’s more to it than that.  It’s so important to make sure we give credit where it’s due whenever possible.  If you were inspired by another project, mention it and link to the post or pin.  If you mention another blog by name, take five seconds to add a link to it.  That blogger will appreciate the referral.  Using an image?  Credit the original source {notice how I did that for the cartoons?}  Referring back to the original is a great way to make friends…and not doing so is a great way to make enemies.
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8. Be accessible.
We’re all busy.  But it goes a long way when you’re able to respond to an email or answer a reader’s question.  It only takes a second to “like” someone’s post on your Facebook page or to send a “Thanks!” email in response to a comment.  Take the extra minute to help someone, especially if they’re a brand new blogger who could benefit from your “been there, done that” wisdom.  Communicating with your readers and followers as well as other bloggers builds real relationships and makes people want to keep coming back!
9. If you can’t say anything nice…
you know the rule!  If you see a project and you don’t like it, keep it to yourself.  The blogging community is so encouraging, and I have met some of the sweetest people!  I love getting friendly comments and emails, and I’m sure you do too.  It makes me feel so good about sharing my projects and ideas; it feels like I’m sharing with a wonderful group of friends.  Let’s all do our part to keep it that way!
Pinned Image
10. Just be YOU!
Yesterday, we talked about letting your own voice come through in your posts; the same is true in your communication and relationships with readers and fellow bloggers.  Just be yourself.  Share about what really interests you.  Respond in the way you would to a “real” face-to-face friend.  Be authentic…people can tell when you’re not, anyway!  Let them get to know the real you; that, more than anything, is what connects us together and forms this wonderful thing we call bloggy friendship.
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Well, I hope some of that is helpful to you.  I hope you’re enjoying the series and finding it beneficial.  I’d love to hear your feedback! {but be nice, remember #9!}
Also, I’m still taking questions for the Q&A on Thursday!


Happy Weekend!



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39 comments on Growing Your Blog: Building Real Relationships

  1. Ange
    March 4, 2012 at 5:55 AM (2 years ago)

    Thanks Amy for the great series! I am going to use some of your ideas in this post! I can’t wait to see the rest of the series!!

    Reply
  2. Angela
    March 4, 2012 at 6:03 AM (2 years ago)

    A lot of what you said is so right on. I feel like it’s all about treating other bloggers the way you want to be treated. Leave kind comments, give credit-where credit is due, show some love and reach out!
    Can I tell you a personal pet-peeve of mine? Blogs that have music on their page drive me nuts! I hate when I’m listening to something and then open a blog and their music starts going crazy. Just thought I’d share that! :)

    Reply
  3. FABBY'S LIVING
    March 4, 2012 at 9:39 AM (2 years ago)

    Thank you so much for what you just said Amy. I agree with you totally, you see, I feel that we’re all into this together, forming great relationships with lovely people that have so much in common with you and sharing so much inspiration, which always teach us something, everyday in every post we read and of course, how can one not comment and acknowledge, or at the same token reciprocate to the wonderful, lovely and generous comments they lieve you. I am going back to read more of your series. Although I’m not a DIY lately as before I used to make cloths for my girls when they were small, or I used to embroider tablecloths by hand, so, I hope I’ll be able to join your party, but I will grab your button and place it in my side bar. Thanking you so much and have a happy Sunday.
    FABBY

    Reply
  4. Cheryl
    March 4, 2012 at 1:39 PM (2 years ago)

    Hi Amy,
    Thanks for posting these tips…I’ve enjoyed the whole series. I think relationships are the reason many of us blog…it’s the back and forth with others that make it so much fun. I have made amazing friends through my blog and am constantly inspired by them. In post @2, another blog tip I would add is to give some thought to the title of your post…both the title and the photo draw people in and make them want to read more. For example, a simple change like tweaking the title “My Doll Collection” to “Do You Collect Dolls?” often makes a big difference.Loving to write helps too!
    Another former English teacher,
    Cheryl

    Reply
  5. Jen@thecraftingfiend
    March 4, 2012 at 2:38 PM (2 years ago)

    love it! I love meeting new people through the ol’ blog. I do feel incredibly cheeky though asking a person if they want to do a giveaway or even guest post… not sure why.

    Reply
  6. Carmella
    March 4, 2012 at 3:22 PM (2 years ago)

    Amy!! Here I am on my girls weekend and I decided, “what a great time to catch up on some of my favorite blogs” I came here first! You really have made it so clear and simple that blogging is a community, and I really do feel like we are all in this together! I am so happy I met you, and I talk about you like we just had coffee last week, haha! That really is how much you have become a part of my life :) great post….now I am off to catch up on the rest of the series!

    Reply
  7. Kadie
    March 4, 2012 at 3:48 PM (2 years ago)

    I completely agree with every point you made!! I adore the friends I have made blogging. My husband knows all of you by name and blog, ha,ha. I do tend to be a lurker and not comment as much as I should. It’s a goal I am working on this year.:)

    Reply
  8. Katie @ My Darling Days
    March 4, 2012 at 4:41 PM (2 years ago)

    Amy, you are doing such a great job with the “Grow your blog series!” I am enjoying reading every single post. So helpful and inspirational! One question I have for your Q&A session is… if you’re a smaller blog (such as myself) how do you reach out to people without bluntly asking them to review their product or ask them to do a giveaway on your site? I feel like such a tard asking people cuz I only have 124 “subscribed” readers. Any advise? Thanks hun!

    Reply
  9. Terry
    March 4, 2012 at 5:04 PM (2 years ago)

    I love this series. It’s so great to hear what other people have learned about something that you also do. And I agree completely,…I feel like sometimes these bloggy friends get me better than friends I see in the flesh because we all share the same interests. Isn’t it difficult sometimes to tell a friend in person about a linky party? Or what you’ve done all day? I love this bloggy community!

    Reply
  10. Phil and Darby Hawley
    March 4, 2012 at 5:07 PM (2 years ago)

    I think before I became a blogger I didn’t really understand how the people I met in blog world could be my friends. I’m so glad that I have learned differently. I have met some amazing people and have developed amazing and true friendships. This is a fabulous list for building blogland friendships! Love it!

    Reply
  11. Melissa @ LoveBugLiving
    March 4, 2012 at 5:59 PM (2 years ago)

    Thanks for the tips! Makes me feel like I’m on the right track at least. I did comment on someone else’s blog the other day and I noticed that another commenter had criticized their polka dot background. Not sure really why, because I thought it looked cute. (Could be because I have a similar polka dot background!) But it was unnecessary, so I agree that if you don’t have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself.
    Melissa
    http://www.lovebugliving.com

    Reply
  12. Mimi
    March 4, 2012 at 11:33 PM (2 years ago)

    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience about blogging. I’ve been blogging for nearly 2 years along with running my boutique flower shop and taking care of my family. so sometimes, I feel like my learning curve is slow. I’m creative, but not techy. Look forward to reading the other posts in this series.

    Reply
  13. Megan Miller
    March 5, 2012 at 1:57 AM (2 years ago)

    Great post! Well done! Thanks for passing on your wisdom friend:)

    Reply
  14. Blythe
    March 5, 2012 at 3:43 AM (2 years ago)

    Totally agree with what you’ve posted today. I consider you a blog friend and am happy to help with giveaways. You’ve always been happy to answer questions for me as a fledgling blogger.
    Just added a section to my blog called “Blogs I Love” and One Artsy Mama is the first one on it!
    Blythe

    Reply
  15. Jennifer Dawn
    March 5, 2012 at 4:45 AM (2 years ago)

    These are all great tips. Thanks for sharing. Congrats and good luck with your continued blogging success.

    Reply
  16. Shannon Quinn
    March 5, 2012 at 6:40 AM (2 years ago)

    Wow, I’m really glad I found your blog and these posts about blogging, haha! My blog is fairly new, almost a yr. old and I have about 68 followers or so. I’m always looking for ways to promote my blog and your posts seem really helpful, so I’m sitting here reading through them:) Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time out to help other bloggers!!
    http://www.rockpaperscissorscreate.blogspot.com

    Reply
  17. Carrie @ My Favorite Finds
    March 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM (2 years ago)

    You are so right in the relationship building department. It sort of piggy backs on your linky post above, too. When I see a favorite “blogger” partner has been featured on a link party, I try so hard to get over there and congratulate them. As I’m writing this, I realized I hadn’t seen yours on TT&J, and I’m sooo sorry!

    Reply
  18. Lindzena
    March 6, 2012 at 3:17 AM (2 years ago)

    These tips are so wonderful! I’m seriously taking notes right now. A lot of things I knew, but didn’t understand to the extent you are explaining them. I absolutely love this, and hope to be able to make more bloggy friends soon!

    Reply
  19. Elena
    March 7, 2012 at 2:58 PM (2 years ago)

    Another great post! I’m glad you mentioned the part about pinning. I *love* being pinned but I wasn’t sure if everyone else did. Before I started blogging I would pin away without a thought, now I always wonder if that’s what the blogger wants. Yesterday I found this asparagus recipe on someone’s blog and I just had to pin it (so I would remember to make it!). Right away it got 83 repins so I hightailed it back over to her to let her know. I’m hoping she got a nice spike in traffic as a result. :)

    Reply
  20. thesehappytimes
    March 8, 2012 at 4:27 AM (2 years ago)

    thanks so much for your tips. i just happened to come across your blog a few days ago & LOVE IT! Don’t know where i’ve been.

    Reply
  21. Michelle
    March 11, 2012 at 12:30 AM (2 years ago)

    LOVE your blog advice, Amy! So glad to be your 901 follower too!! hahaha! Gonna read some more of your grow your blog posts. Very practical, thanks!!

    Hugs,
    Michelle

    Reply
  22. Mrs. Dwyer
    March 15, 2012 at 1:17 AM (2 years ago)

    Wow! As a newbie to blogging, I am wonderfully excited to have found your blog! I keep telling my buds at work that bloggers are the nicest people on the planet! I found you through a pin on Pinterest….oh, how I love to see my work repinned! Thank you, BUNCHES for sharing your insight and wisdom. I’m looking forward to following you and using every bit of your advice!

    Thanks again!
    ~Tanya

    Reply
  23. Petticoat Junktion
    March 16, 2012 at 1:56 AM (2 years ago)

    Hi Amy, I just finished reading through the grow your blog series. I just noticed it on my google reader. At some point in time I became a follower of yours! I’m glad I did. I read the whole series tonight. You shared so much good information. Some things I had never thought of and some things I do.I have been blogging since May of 2011 and on pinterest for about half that time maybe. Pinterest is my 3rd top referring site. It is definitely a powerhouse for bloggers. I don’t have a lot of followers yet and giveaways seem to be a great way to increase traffic but not sure that giveaways are for me. Love your ideas and insights. Kathy, Petticoat Junktion

    Reply
  24. Farm Sheds
    March 16, 2012 at 9:07 AM (2 years ago)

    I also agree with you. Your every tips are very useful to us. Here above every topic is informative and i am so impressed by that post.

    Reply
  25. the Sweetest Memory
    March 21, 2012 at 5:27 AM (2 years ago)

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share these fabulous tips with everyone! Great advice.

    Reply
  26. Noahscraps
    April 5, 2012 at 7:09 AM (2 years ago)

    Thank u thank u thank u,it is very helpful , dou have any articles about how to have time for blogging when u have a 1 year old baby??

    Reply
  27. MsC
    April 17, 2012 at 7:08 PM (2 years ago)

    Thanks for the good information. A special thanks for adding the parts about integrity. If you say you are going to do something do it.

    Reply
  28. Miss F
    June 26, 2012 at 2:45 AM (2 years ago)

    These tips are great! Thanks for sharing, I love them!

    Reply
  29. Lowell Lane
    July 21, 2012 at 11:34 PM (2 years ago)

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply
  30. Laura Lane
    July 21, 2012 at 11:38 PM (2 years ago)

    Hi!
    I pinned this under writing!

    Reply
  31. Lauren @ mercy(INK)
    August 16, 2012 at 5:32 PM (2 years ago)

    FANTASTIC advice! Love your encouragement to really connect with other bloggers. In the frantic “I have to link up to as many link parties as possibly in this one half hour I have for blogging…”-mentality, I think the relationship SO often get lost. Thanks for your wisdom :)

    blessings,
    lauren mills
    http://www.mercyinkblog.com

    Reply
  32. Abby Grimes
    September 15, 2012 at 6:37 PM (2 years ago)

    Great advice! I’m pinning this.

    Reply
  33. Mary Catherine
    March 2, 2013 at 3:13 PM (2 years ago)

    Thanks for all of the real, meaningful, helpful advice in this series! I have pinned a few links back to different parts of it so I can refer back to it!

    Reply
  34. Laurie@SimplyCreatingHome
    March 19, 2013 at 3:50 AM (1 year ago)

    Wonderful tips and advice! I’m enjoying working through your Grow Your Blog posts. I will be pinning this to my blogging board. Thank you!

    Reply
  35. Biba
    April 18, 2013 at 5:23 AM (1 year ago)

    Thank you for the tips,and I’m pinning for future reference.

    Reply
  36. Summer Dumont
    June 23, 2013 at 7:33 PM (1 year ago)

    Loving your Grow Your Blog series! I’ve pinned it and added your button to my blog – SummerThat.com ;)

    Reply

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