Every day we work hard to build our blogs. We write the best content we can. We tweak the design to make sure it's visually pleasing. We make friends with other blogs and add them to our blogrolls (if we have them). We explore new ways to earn a few bucks for our efforts. All of these actions have the same goal in mind: getting our writing in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Yet sometimes our efforts stagnate. It might seem as though we've hit a plateau.
There are a few ways you can bust through that plateau, though every method comes down to the same principle: networking. This doesn't mean writing to all other bloggers in our fields and asking for links. That's not networking; that's begging. Networking entails getting to know other bloggers on a more personal level. Once you've connected with each other, you're far more apt to help each other out. Benefits abound for both parties.
If you already read other blogs in your field, networking is easy. We can glean so much information just by reading someone's thoughts on a daily basis. Sure, their about page might reveal superficial things about them -- things they want people to know. But by becoming every day readers we can connect on a deeper level. How hard would it be to send an email to someone if you've read their thoughts every day for a few months?
Writing these bloggers can bring a number of benefits. Every person has her own set of ideas, so connecting with new people will expand your own current ideas. Surely other bloggers have different experiences than you. Those experiences can help shape your future as a blogger. If the other blogger was not aware of you, or not a strong follower, a sincere email can turn them into fans. This exchange works both ways, so you'll be sharing many of the same ideas and experiences with the other blogger.
Still, networking on its own will not help you bust through these plateaus. It's the action that follows networking that matters.
When talking with your new blogger friends, you might come up with a few ideas on which you can collaborate. This can be between two bloggers or a group. While each of you has ideas on your own merits, combining your ideas can make for powerful content. What's better, you can offer this content to multiple audiences. People reading your blogger friend will be directly exposed to your work, and people reading you will be exposed to your blogger friend. Both parties win here.
You can collaborate on a number of projects. Ebooks have become popular, since they allow authors more space to explore their thoughts. A multiple-author ebook not only brings more ideas to the table, but it lends authority to the book, since both people are endorsing the ideas. Even better, you can sell an ebook. While bloggers gladly give away free content on their blogs, they can combine and conquer, putting their best ideas along with someone else's best ideas into one comprehensive volume.
Guest posting, as I'm doing here, is another form of collaboration. TechGyo readers have probably never heard of BBGeeks before these guest posts. Now my potential audience has expanded. If Sreejesh wanted to guest blog on BBGeeks, the opportunity would remain open for him to reach my audience. You can collaborate on a series of blog posts, too -- one of my other blogs has one of those series ongoing, and it has been a compelling read for the audience.
Yet this all leads to the ultimate collaboration…
While you and your new blogger friends might help each other by guest posting and perhaps even creating a product, there is even greater potential in this relationship. Instead of writing guest posts and working on other collaborations, you can go all-in and create a network out of your blogs. You'll need a theme, of course, but if you have that you can create the potential to increase your audience significantly.
Blog networks bring about a number of advantages. First and foremost, it turns every blog into an advertisement for the other blogs on the network. Surely you'll want to feature the network affiliation on every blog, and that gives you the opportunity to direct your readers to the other blogs in the network. The same goes for all the other blogs, too, so you're exposing multiple audiences to multiple new sites. If the new readers like what they see they'll recommend your blog, which will grow the audience at a rapid rate.
Even better, blog networks give you the opportunity to create a vast link grid. Think of Wikipedia. Each of their pages is like a smart grid for links. Each one points you to a different page on Wikipedia. This is both useful for readers and beneficial in terms of search engine rankings. It's been long known that a powerful internal link structure is a key to gaining favor with Google. A blog network takes that to another level. You'll not only be linking internally, but frequently linking to other blogs on the network. That benefits everyone.
A blog network also provides the opportunity to create a landing page. For instance, if your network was called Tech Bloggers For Freedom, you could create a unique landing page at techbloggersforfreedom.com. This can act in a number of ways. It can merely feature the best content on your network. That's a good start, and is in general recommended. But it can also be a place where you share other work. If you work with other network bloggers to create an ebook, you can sell it on this landing page. Perhaps your network has the potential to offer consulting services. The landing page is where you'd offer this service. The opportunities are nearly limitless.
When you feel your blog is growing stagnant, it's time for a change. By connecting with other bloggers you can break through plateaus and breathe new life into your blog. Not only that, but you can expand your mind and learn new ideas that can help you grow your blog even further. The ultimate collaboration, a blog network, can completely change the game for you and your fellow bloggers. It's all there for the taking. Now it's just up to someone to take action.