How to Join Forces with Other Bloggers and Grow Your Audience Together

  • December 8, 2010 by Corbett Barr
  • 58 Comments

One of my favorite online influencers and up-and-coming bloggers contacted me a couple of weeks ago with a proposition. Mars Dorian emailed me with a simple plan for a blog post series he was putting together and asked if I’d like to join.

Here’s why I said yes. I may sound like a broken record, but I honestly can’t say it enough. One of the most important things you can do to grow your online audience (and influence as Mars would put it) is connect with other bloggers and online personalities.

You can’t grow an audience out of thin air. I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work.

Everyone you want to reach already hangs out somewhere online. Your job is to identify where those potential visitors already congregate and become a part of that conversation. Gradually those people will follow your bread crumb trail of links back to your site. Then you have to convince those new visitors your site is worth coming back to.

It’s actually liberating when you realize that your audience already exists. It’s just out there in different forms, fragmented across different websites and online networks. You need to reach out to those fragmented groups, bring them to your site and unify them under your cause or unique world view.

How do you become part of and shape the conversation your potential visitors are already having? Plugging into social media is one good way to do it. Appearing in the search results when people search for something related to what you do is another way.

Both of those methods take time though, and tend to build your audience gradually over time.

The fastest way to grow your audience is to be featured on other sites that are closely related to yours. The closer the connection between your site and the one featuring you, the more likely those visitors who click through will become part of your tribe. Of course, the bigger the featuring site the better, but it’s better to reach a small but interested audience than a big unrelated one.

To get featured on other related sites, you have a choice to make. You can either sit around hoping someone will link to you or interview you or run a story about you, or you can become proactive and make those connections happen yourself.

Every story, video or audio segment that could possibly feature you and help grow your audience is created by a human. This is why so many people have a hard time growing a popular website or blog. People forget that humans are behind everything online, and that human connections are the key to growing your audience.

If you want to grow your audience online, you have to start making relationships with people who can help you.

Let’s get back to the Mars Dorian example I started talking about. Mars and I have known each other for at least a few months now. He has written a guest post here, and we’ve mutually linked to one-another many times. We’ve both helped each other grow our online audiences, and it all started with him leaving several comments on my blog and eventually grew into emails, Skype calls and a real relationship between us.

Mars is just one example. I talk with dozens of other bloggers every week behind the scenes, either in-person, on the phone or over email. Those relationships often turn into opportunities for everyone involved.

The point is, you can’t just sit in front of your web browser all day hoping to uncover the “secret” that will make your site explode with traffic. You need to connect with real people so they become aware of you.

Is this making sense? Sorry to hammer the point home, but it’s important.

And of course, I don’t have to tell you that these have to be real, organic relationships, not just “I want you to promote my shit” kind of interactions. You’re smart and you know that you have to give before you get, right?

Back to the Mars Dorian example. Sometimes the connection will naturally lead to cross-pollination of your audience, and sometimes it will be more intentional. In this case today, Mars came up with the idea for a blog post series called Striking 6. He reached out to me and four other bloggers he and I know and respect to create a little blog mini-series on the topic of crafting an inspirational and powerful online presence.

I’m the fourth blogger to publish something for the series. These others by Mars, Francisco Rosales (Social Mouths) and Ashley Ambirge (The Middle Finger Project) have already been published in the series, respectively:

The Guerrilla’s Guide To Attracting Your “Right” Audience
“Less Followers” Is The New “More Followers”
The Art of (Online) Seduction (And Why You Need It To Make Money)

Start with Mars’ post to see how a series like this is crafted. You’ll also learn a lot from the posts about creating a powerful online presence.

The blog post mini-series is a simple but effective way to join forces with other bloggers and grow your audiences together through cross-pollination. I used this technique extensively when I started my first blog last year, and it works. Plus, the relationships you grow often turn into other even bigger opportunities.

The next post in the series is coming this Friday. Check out the teaser below.

Have you joined forces with other bloggers or online personalities? Has it helped grow your audience? Have any tips to share? Let’s discuss in the comments!

He’s built 2 popular blogs during the last year. One of them is about his life experience, while the other one shares kick-ass interviews with inspiring online entrepreneurs. His passion and interest has helped him get in touch with the A-list players of the industry. In his part of the series, he’s going to share his networking secrets with you!

Stay tuned for member five in the Striking Six Series, who will publish his post this Friday. I’ll link to the post here when it’s up.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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TrafficColeman December 8, 2010 at 7:22 am

Me and Mars have talked through skype an couple of times and i would consider him as a internet friend..I meet him this summer and he have been networking like crazy every since.

You see if you want to make it to the top, you going to have to piggy back off someone sooner or later.

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

Andy Fogarty December 8, 2010 at 7:24 am

I love the way ya’ll are leading by example with this series.

Good stuff :-)

Mars Dorian December 8, 2010 at 7:28 am

Wow, Corbett, you give me a lot of credit here. Maybe too much…maybe not :)
I’m so glad you are part of the series, and I think it’s cool that you turned the project itself into a blogpost.

“The fastest way to grow your audience is to be featured on other sites that are closely related to yours.”

That’s so true – nowadays, I get a lot of traffic just from people who refer to me. I believe it’s awesome, and the more you spread your influence the awesome way, the more you are going to get featured.

I appreciate your style and brand, Corbett, you rock !

Corbett Barr December 8, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Thanks Mars, and thanks for putting the series together.

Jason December 8, 2010 at 7:37 am

What a brilliant premise. Mars sure is making his mark.

This is probably the single most difficult part of really pushing your blogging to the next level. I know a lot of bloggers can be recluses so reaching out is, well, a bit of a stretch. But time and time again has shown it to be imperative.

Corbett Barr December 8, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Yeah, you definitely have to break the recluse habit. Meeting people in person is important too.

Lance December 8, 2010 at 7:44 am

Corbett,
A resounding YES to your question of if I’ve done this before and benefited!!

The biggest project was the creation of an ebook to support breast cancer awareness, created last year. My biggest take away from that project was that coordinating and creating something like this takes a lot of time and work (luckily I worked with a very awesome friend and blogger to create the whole thing!). With well over 100 people involved, this was truly a major undertaking. What came out of that, though, in addition to much money raised to support breast cancer, was a whole new group of people who became familiar with each other’s work. Very cool!!!

I’ve also done this in video format a couple of times within the last year. While fewer people were involved (probably around 25-30), it was still very much a large project to coordinate. And again, something I couldn’t have done myself, and worked with two very amazing ladies in creating this. The end result was something that felt very connecting with all the people involved. And that, again, was extremely powerful!!

There’s definitely power in making these deeper connections with others out there in the world. And what you are creating here is great material, too!!

Corbett Barr December 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Awesome, Lance. Thanks for sharing the success. I agree, a big project with 20 or 30 or more people involved can have a huge impact.

Hector Cuevas December 8, 2010 at 8:09 am

Corbett.. awesome post man

I agree 100% that working with other bloggers is the best way to grow your audience. Guest posting is nice, but when you get mentioned by someone in a post, it’s different. It’s not self-promotion anymore, it’s like an endorsement so people are more inclined to click over and check you out..

I’ve been following the series, and already brainstorming my own..
thanks :0)

Hector

Jason December 8, 2010 at 8:32 am

BTW, my guess is Srinivas Rao. ;)

Nick Laborde December 8, 2010 at 9:24 am

That was my first guess to.

Onibalusi Bamidele December 8, 2010 at 9:18 am

This is awesome Corbett,

What a great way to get attention!

This is the first time I’m hearing about building your blog with a series and I’ll be reading Mars’ and the others’ posts to get the hang of things.

David Csonka December 8, 2010 at 9:48 am

Hello Corbett!
I’ve recently started working behind the scenes with another blogger and have quickly noticed benefits that I didn’t expect.

For one, talking through ideas with somebody doing the same kind of work is immensely useful for weeding out dead-end projects before valuable time is wasted. As well, knowing you will be sharing your recent efforts with somebody else is a helpful motivator to stay on task and keep plowing ahead each day.

Even though no official collaborative projects have been produced yet, having another blogger to build a working relationship with has been a tremendous boon to my efforts. My traffic has gone way up during this time primarily because I am more motivated, have more ideas, and in general more focused on what I want to accomplish.

Corbett Barr December 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm

It’s true, even if those conversations don’t lead to an official collaboration, it’s still immensely useful to talk to other people who are doing something similar.

Adria December 8, 2010 at 9:49 am

I totally agree with this and I’m actually in the process of attempting a wide-spread series for my company’s network of blogs in the contracting/home improvement/interiors space. I hope to create a “blog off” series that connects bloggers in the space, asks them all the same question, and aggregates the answers into a post that will let readers know popular opinion on a topic. Plus the bloggers will have a short description of their sites so they can help their brand and hopefully drive traffic. I plan to implement this with my personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet, as well. I think coming up with a creative series, especially one that doesn’t take too much time on the contributors’ part (especially if you are trying to reach out to much larger blogs than yourself who might need convincing of the value of participating in your series), is a great way to improve your presence online. I’d love to hear any other ideas for series people have come up with.

PS – If you’re interested in getting involved in my new series or think you know someone who would, contact me. It’s for eLocal.com and I need bloggers in the home improvement, DIY, interiors, and/or contracting space. Had to ask! Thanks!

Corbett Barr December 8, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Cool, Adria. I like the ambition. Definitely let us all know how things go with the project.

Natalie Sisson December 8, 2010 at 10:15 am

I love working with other blogger and women entrepreneurs travelling the world and running their business like me. It’s great to feature them on my blog and strike up lasting relationships.

The only thing is it’s hard to keep on top of all the connections you make and create real genuine friendships at times – there’s just too many great people out there.

I’m about to launch a big initiative that includes 8 experts who I’m interviewing and collaborating with – really excited about that.

I agree it’s definitely a critical step to take to gain a wider audience and community that’s aligned.

Natalie

Corbett Barr December 8, 2010 at 3:20 pm

For sure, you have to work harder on just a handful of relationships to make stronger connections and let the rest be more casual.

Tony Ryan December 8, 2010 at 11:02 am

Great post Corbett!

Couldn’t agree more with the importance of crafting organic relationships with others. ESPECIALLY in the online entrepreneurship realm, people can smell an agenda a mile away and it’s just a huge turn off – both professionally and socially. I think it’s important when commenting and reaching out to other bloggers that you do so to ADD value to the conversation for the sake of simply adding value and not to eventually strike up a business deal later on.

Corbett Barr December 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Right, if you always focus on adding value in every connection and relationship, you’ll do just fine.

Peep December 8, 2010 at 11:26 am

Great stuff! You got my think juices flowing. It’s absolutely true that even in the digital era it’s still about the relationships.

Penelope J. December 8, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Hi there, You’ve certainly given some interesting options to consider, primarily, linking with other bloggers. For a while, I’ve slowed down on blogging while I revamp my approach and look at ways to attract more traffic to my site. Your posts are extremely helpful. Thanks for the tips and advice.

Vinay December 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm

This is a great technique that I have seen work wonders for a number of bloggers. Working on some techniques like this myself! Thx for the tips corbett.

Quick question, how established do you feel you blog should be before you use this method?

Corbett Barr December 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I’d say you can start connecting with people even before you launch your site. The early stages are when you can use advice the most.

As far as the blog series method goes, you can use that very early on as well. I ran a big series with about 30 bloggers just two months after I launched my first blog.

Lynn Brown December 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

So you may or may not believe this Corbett, but I am sitting in front of my computer…. not waiting …. but actually today I started planning and putting it to writing on how to meet other bloggers in my field. I believe you are so accurate when you say to join forces with other bloggers – help each other and we all benefit. Now I do get a lot of referrals through my Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook – but I still think there is a gold mine out there with collaborating with like minded/in the same field bloggers. Thanks for posting this and your verbiage is excellent!

Corbett Barr December 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Awesome, cheers to action!

Mike Reeves-McMillan December 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I did this with a round-up post on procrastination, getting 8 of my favourite bloggers’ best tips around the time I launched my Stop Procrastinating, Start Succeeding course. (Mars was part of that, actually.) Definitely boosted traffic and engagement. This joint-project thing is a step up from that – good idea!

Ryan Renfrew @LifestyleDesign December 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Hey Corbett,

Love the post, great advice bro. I guess the saying ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is true. Creating a power team of bloggers and cross pollinating seems to be the way forward.

bLAZE yOUR tRAIL

Ryan Biddulph December 8, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Hi Corbett,

“human connections are the key to growing your audience.” Wonderful! You can’t do it all by yourself. Neglecting to reach out results in frustrating wheel-spinning. Been there, done that.

Mars is a networking genius. I’ve followed his blog for about a year now and have picked up more money advice than I can recall.

I actually resisted his “network with the big dogs” advice for a while, to my detriment. When I connected with fellow bloggers I was featured in a free report – courtesy of Hector Cuevas – and received ample guest post opportunities.

In truth, you have a mini guest post opportunity each time you read a blog post. It’s called the comment box ;)

Thanks for sharing Corbett. Have a powerful day!

RB

Parker Lee December 8, 2010 at 3:01 pm

grreat advice corbett,

you’ve definitely built a nice blog and have teamed up with one of the internet’s fastest up n comers, –mars

i enjoy both y’alls blogs, keep it up pal

Sherryl Perry December 8, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Corbett, I couldn’t agree with you more on this. Just because we’re working online and scattered across the continents, as humans we all need to be connected. I don’t know anyone who can succeed alone. We all need help in areas outside of our area of expertise. What better way to obtain this help than through building meaningful relationships and friendships? Excellent post! Thanks. :)

ayngelina December 9, 2010 at 6:43 am

I am loving this series. My struggle is once you have established yourself in your niche, how do you then stretch to mainstream?

Make a perfect site December 9, 2010 at 10:42 am

Everyone online is a human, almost everyone has an email address and a website or a blog. So what are you waiting for find websites related to yours, then contact the webmaster to do link exchange with him. It’s easy.
O yes before I forget: This is a very good post.

Ash @ The Middle Finger Project December 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm

For everyone reading this, I remember last year when I first launched my site–Corbett invited me to guest post on his site, and that’s how I got my first real group of followers. Definitely one of the most powerful tactics you can use–but make sure that if you do any type of guest posting, that you really give that post your ALL. You want to make an impression. First impressions count online, too.

Cheers, Corbett!

Corbett Barr December 9, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Hey Ash, great example and tips. I’m really glad that post worked out for you and so happy for your success. Congrats on the product launch this week!

Michele Welch December 10, 2010 at 5:51 am

You are so right on Corbett! It does take a community of people to create the success of a blog. I indirectly learned this very early on and as of now I have at least 20 bloggers that I can turn to to brainstorm, ask for help or assist THEM.

It’s truly an awesome experience to be part of a group of people that are so supportive; and the best thing is that is was all created organically. I didn’t have to “join” a mastermind group or pay for a membership, I just went out there and started connecting and giving a shit about people! Simple really…

Thanks again for the great post. I posted Mars and Francisco’s articles last week and I will be posting this one on my Weekly Wrap Up today; great series and truly awesome that Mars put this together; what a smart cookie. ;-)

Anthony December 10, 2010 at 7:53 am

You’re absolutely right. I did this recently and received comments on a new post…it’s nice to see other people than your mother comment haha :)

Polina December 11, 2010 at 1:09 am

Thank you so much for the advice. I started to get involved with the blogs that are of interest to me personally but now realise that I would be better of networking with bloggers who write in a similar style as me, great little distinction and one that would make my attempts to take my blog public so much more efficient.

Thank you!

Dwight December 11, 2010 at 9:49 am

Thanks for sharing this awesome strategy Corbett, Mars seems like a cool guy from what i’ve seen as well.

Dwight Anthony
Financially Elite Blog dot Com

Jia Jun December 11, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Awesome post Corbett ! I’ve always wish to link and build relationship with more bloggers under similar topic as mind. Network = Net Worth. As I just started few months, my audience is not strong enough yet, I’m not sure whether other bloggers would link or even bother me.
What’s your opinion on this Corbett?
For a newbie blogger to connect and build relationship with other great bloggers out there?

Corbett Barr December 12, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Start by connecting with your peers, don’t reach out to the “a listers” when you’re just starting out. Your peers can be your greatest allies. Some of them will go on to do great things, and you can all grow together.

Lynn Brown December 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Good advice Corbett. Also Jia may I suggest that you visit other blogs, choose a couple that fit your market niche and start posting comments. Then connect with them through FaceBook, Twitter and Linkedin. Networking and engaging with other bloggers will create a relationship where you will know when the right time will be to discuss and alliance, guest authoring, etc. Corbett’s blog here, is a great place to start!

Micah Davenport December 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Great Post! My wife and I recently launched our onlines stationery, invitations, and photo card site. We launched our site about 3 months ago and have been trying to build an audience, keep up the great content it is very helpful!.

Dan Lew December 14, 2010 at 5:10 am

Hey Corbett,

It’s very important we all get out and network with each other, I find that by networking with others in the same inner circles brings also relevant related visitors all having similar interests and very good points of views!

See you around!

Dan

Jenny December 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Hell Yeah. Mars is awesome.

I was listening to blogcast fm where they talked about this idea… I’ve been in talks with a few other peeps about doing something similar (a different subject, of course).

It’s been fun following along, see you Friday.

Christina Crowe December 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Hey Corbett,

I completely agree. By reaching out to other bloggers, getting to know them on a more personal level, and collaborating with them, you not only increase your presence and build your brand, but you also become one with the community.

Ever since I started blogging, contributing to other blogs, and building friendships, I really felt like I was part of the community – or blogosphere as some people put it. It’s really an amazing feeling, even without the other benefits.

Christina

Jonathan Manor December 19, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Well then, if anyone just read this post and wants to start an alliance with me, contact me in my comments on my blog!

YAY!

Thanks Corbett!

Mike Ziarko December 21, 2010 at 5:21 am

Well said Corbett. I tell myself all the time I need to do a better job connecting with like-minded people online, and ya know what, the point does need to be hammered again and again because its so important. Looking back on this year some of the biggest spikes in traffic were due to the things I participated in with other bloggers.

Lynn Brown December 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

@Mike Ziarko your comment caught my eye and then I visited your blog. Love your content, left a comment and also tweeted out on your post about the 5 Questions to Ask Yourself…. I would like to reach out and connect with – maybe we can share and do guest authoring for each other. Look forward to hearing from.

Justin Hamlin December 28, 2010 at 11:51 am

You wouldnt expect to start a company by yourself and have it be wildly successful overnight, you need people to know about it (besides your family), so why would someone thing getting people to find their blog by the droves would happen just by registering a domain name?

There is a parallel to be drawn about the business aspect of a blog, but that is another thought for another time.

Great post. Mars is a rock star.

Don Purdum December 9, 2011 at 5:47 am

This was one of the best articles I’ve read yet on growing your web presence!

I have been blogging for over a year and your absolutely right. I just recently started The Internet Conference less than a month ago and have employed the same ideas to leverage a new audience.

I’m in Dallas, and I invited a guest blogger from Las Vegas on Social Media, and I’m talking to a another in Atlanta who is a Cloud guy.

April Wilson January 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm

It’s also important not to go CRAZY and build accounts on a zillion sites just to try and grow audience. I think any social media account that doesn’t make sense for the brand is a waste of time. I actually just wrote about this last week.

-April
http://www.mbtrends.com/2012/01/dont-make-embarrassing-novice-mistakes-with-your-social-media-strategy/

Corbett Barr December 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm

I can’t tell, but it looks as though Mars didn’t disguise the next blogger well ;)

Jia Jun December 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Thanks Corbett and Lynn! I’ll start applying these right away. :D
Lynn: yeah, Corbett’s blog is a great place to start, learn a lot from here. :D
Thanks again, wish Corbett and Lynn have a nice day. ^^

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