Being a Proactive Blogger

With millions of blogs in the blogosphere, and more being added everyday, all of us face stiff competition for the attention of our readers. With so many choices available for readers it’s easy for them to overlook your blog (or anyone else’s for that matter).

One of the best characteristics any blogger can have is a proactive approach. A proactive blogger will not wait for opportunity to come, but rather go out and find the opportunity.

In the competitive world of internet marketing and blogging, if you are not proactive you’ll probably be left behind. Fortunately, it is a trait that anyone can develop with the right effort. However, in order to get the best results your activities must be focused and worthwhile. After all, you can spend plenty of time online trying to market your blog, but if you’re doing unproductive things it won’t really matter.

So how can you jumpstart your blogging results by being proactive? Here is a quick list of a few things you can put into action today that will increase your exposure and improve your chances of success.

1. Contact your readers.

Readers who have left comments on your blog have also left their email address. If you have never contacted them, now would be a great time to start. Try sending some of your readers a short email to thank them for reading and for participating by leaving their feedback. You may be surprised at the results of a simple, personal thank you email. Almost every day I get responses from readers just to say they appreciated a personal email.

If you can, click through to the website or blog of the readers and briefly include something that you liked about their site in your email. Mentioning a post that you enjoyed or an aspect of the design that you like tends to be appreciated.

Even if you are not asking for anything from the reader in this email it will still give you another chance to get your name and your blog in front of the reader (always include at least a link to your blog in your signature, and a link to your subscription feed is helpful too). Now the reader will feel a stronger connection to you and you will stand out a little bit from all of the other bloggers.

2. Email another blogger to offer a guest post.

One of the major reasons to be proactive as a blogger is to help other bloggers to become familiar with you and your writing. Once they become familiar with you and they like your writing, they may link to you or even refer their readers to you.

Submitting a guest post is one of the most effective ways to get the attention of other bloggers, and to show your abilities. Not all blogs accept guest posts, but many do. If you offer a high-quality post that is relevant for their audience there is a good chance it will be published.

Writing for other blogs has a number of benefits, including the chance to reach a new audience, a link back to your blog, and the opportunity to network with influential bloggers. You never know what opportunities might arise when you submit a guest post. I submitted a guest post to Daniel at Daily Blog Tips and now I’m one of their regular writers.

If you’ve been sitting back waiting for other bloggers to ask you to write for them, you could be waiting for a while. There are plenty of others out there are willing to take action. Find a few blogs that you read on a regular basis that you think would be a good fit for your writing and contact the blogger about the possibility of a guest post (for more detailed information about the guest posting process, see A Guide to Promoting Your Blog Through Guest Posts).

3. Leave feedback everyday.

Find a few blogs that you read each day and make a commitment to leave valuable feedback each day for a week. Don’t settle for leaving generic comments like “thanks,” or “great post.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with these types of comments (they’re all appreciated and welcome), but to be truly proactive you need to demonstrate more effort. Get involved, build on the writer’s points, ask questions, or even leave additional resources.

If you consistently leave valuable comments, others will notice. The blogger and the other readers will benefit from your feedback and you may even get some click-through traffic. Once you start to become recognized as a source of valuable information your efforts will pay off.

4. Post in forums.

Online forums are a great place to meet other bloggers. There are several forums that are specifically intended for blogging-related discussions, including Authority Blogger and Bloggeries.

Most online forums will have a place for you to introduce yourself and to great other members as they introduce themselves. This gives you an opportunity to meet other bloggers that may be valuable contacts.

The best way to stand out in a forum in to be noticed by others is to provide answers to other people’s questions. Similarly to leaving intelligent comments on other blogs, providing help to others in forums will help you to be seen as a valuable source of information.

5. Start an online community.

Blogging community sites like MyBlogLog and BUMPzee enable you to network with a large number of other bloggers. One of the best ways to stand out at a community site is to start your own community.

While most bloggers will only join other communities or not use these sites at all, a proactive blogger will start a new community and benefit from the contacts that are made.

Starting a community is relatively easy, although it may require some time to monitor (so it is not for everyone). For the best results, try to distinguish your community from all of the other existing communities by making it unique in some way.

6 – Contact another blogger for an interview.

Interviews, if done well, can be an excellent source of information and exposure at the same time. Whether you are interested in being interviewed or interviewing someone else, contacting them is the first step.

If you are looking for someone to interview for your blog, find someone that the majority of your readers would be interested in knowing more about. Ideally, you’ll want readers to get some useful information through the interview as well to help them know more about the person you’re interviewing.

If you are interested in being interviewed by someone else, you’ll want to look for a blog whose readers would benefit from your information. For the best results you should first contact others that are already familiar with you. If you’re unable to find what you’re looking for, try a service like Peopleized, which helps members to find partners for interviews.

7. Contact other bloggers for a link exchange.

If you’re like most bloggers you use a lot of outbound links in many of your posts. Why not contact the bloggers who you want to link to and ask them if they would be interested in reciprocating with a link back to you? Of course, not all of them will, but most will consider it if you have quality content that their readers would benefit from.

Even if you don’t get a link, it’s a good way to introduce yourself to other bloggers. You’ll probably at least get them to visit your site with the proposal. This will work more effectively for smaller blogs, as A-listers get plenty of links anyway.

You’ll want to be careful not to go overboard with this linking as Google frowns on excessive reciprocal links. The type of linking we’re talking about is not a problem unless it is done in overkill.

8. Contact other bloggers for a link without an exchange.

When you’re asking for a link exchange you’re proposing a way for both bloggers to benefit at the same time. If you have a blog post that you think would be incredibly valuable to the readers of a particular blog, a link exchange is not always necessary.

In this case you may want to simply contact the blogger and give them a brief description of your post and how you think their readers would benefit from it. Ask them to consider providing a link to your post if they agree that their readers would enjoy it.

If the post is highly relevant and valuable there’s not always a need for an offer to reciprocate. Sometimes the quality of the article alone will get you a link.

Now we’ve looked at 8 ways you can quickly take some action and make strides towards growing your blog. If you want to be proactive find a few that you would like to try and implement them right away. If you have other ideas on the topic please feel free to share.

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20 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Gyms & Health Clubs by Aaron, September 6, 2007

    You continue to provide awesome tips for getting your blog readers/traffic… I particularly liked the suggestion about guest posting. I didn’t even know that was an option, but it seems like a winning situation for both parties. When I get my blog started, you can bet I’ll be here absorbing all these tips. Thanks so much!

  • Vandelay Design, September 6, 2007

    Thanks for reading, your feedback is always appreciated. I’m glad you’re finding information that you will be able to use.

  • pablopabla, September 6, 2007

    I do agree with most of your points but would express some reservations with no. 7 and 8. Most bloggers who would bother to find out or have read enough from the tonnes of materials out there would know that technorati helps a blogger to track incoming links. Pingbacks would also be an alert in the same way.

    Therefore, if a new blogger wishes to exchange links with another blogger, I would suggest that the new blogger link to the other blogger first, without expectation of a link back. Unless there is some form of relationship with the other blogger (eg. frequent comments at the other blog and vice versa), it is less likely that the other blogger would provide a link back unless he feels generous. At worse, the new blogger might look “spammy” in the eyes of the other blogger for requesting link exchange.

  • Atie, September 6, 2007

    Thanks for the tip! I just started a blog and was looking for ways to get it off the ground. You can be sure I’ll be back.

  • Vandelay Design, September 6, 2007

    I would have agreed with you before I tried this myself. I have used these methods a few times with very good results (probably about 80-90%). Yes, trackbacks can work, but from my experience they rarely cause another blogger to feel compelled to link back to you. Thanks for your comments, it’s good to hear your opinions.

    Good luck with your blog. I look forward to seeing you around here again.

  • Dave RH, September 6, 2007

    Great advice as always!

    Just a tip for guest posts…if you’re targeting a bigger blog, just send them a post. It saves them time, and they’ll appreciate that.

  • Vandelay Design, September 6, 2007

    Thanks for your comment. In some cases I would agree. If you know the blog readily accepts guest posts, then yes, just send the post. I have talked to other bloggers (bigger ones) who like to have ideas run by them before a post is submitted. I guess there’s no way to know someone’s preference until you try.

  • Blogs for Money, September 8, 2007

    Excellent tips, thanks :)

  • Vandelay Design, September 8, 2007

    Blogs for Money,
    Thanks for reading.

  • Trollivier, September 10, 2007

    I’m currently working on my first blog. I will definitely keep all that in mind! Thanks a lot! I’ll keep an eye on your blog too ;)

  • Vandelay Design, September 10, 2007

    Good luck with your blog! Thanks for visiting.

  • Stayfi, September 11, 2007

    Just Write ! anything of course!!

  • Blog Form - Bloggeries, September 25, 2007

    Thanks for the mention Vandelay. Looking forward to reading more of your material in the future.

  • Eshwar, November 14, 2007

    how come you are reading our minds man wonderful topics and wonderful tips thanks a lot but to horrify you once as i commented in your post on outgoing links, again consider me and persons like me those starters in mind and whenever you do these post start with the very basic give some briefs buddy, thank you once again keep doing this day by day post by post you are bringing my future near to me thanks a lot.

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