There are three places that a blogger should start with when it comes to networking…
Your own blog: You may be the master of facebook, tweet with the best of them, and have more Karma Points on Mixx than one human should legally be allowed to have, but if I try to communicate with you at your own blog, and you ignore me, I’m not going to be thrilled. I’m not gonna care if you’re friends with everyone at Digg if you can’t even take the time to answer a comment, respond to an email, or connect on a basic level by writing meaningful, personalized posts.
Networking via your own blog, is to me, the most important thing you can do to establish important blogger connections. I’ve had potential clients visit my blogs and via communicating with said clients, I’ve landed gigs. I’ve found co-bloggers and guest posters by communicating with readers of my blogs. It’s cool to try out various forms of networking, and you don’t have to answer every single comment, but overall, you can’t forget about connecting with people at your own little homebase.
Other blogs: This is almost as important as connecting through your own blog. Good bloggers, in my opinion, tend to also be good blog readers. The folks you see reading and commenting on many blogs, tend to be the folks who know what’s up in the blog world. I’ve made the bulk of my blogging friends through actual blogs, (mine or theirs) not through any social networking arena. Because most individual blogs have smaller communities than larger social networking platforms, you have a chance to develop more meaningful relationships, many of which could lead to blogging gigs or other perks – guest posts, information, and recommendations.
Blog clients: Blog clients provide an important networking medium. Your current and past blog clients are the folks who’ll be recommending you to other clients, talking about you, and passing out opinions on you as not only a blogger, but how you act as a person. Are your blog clients going to say that you’re a cool and easy person to work with, or a difficult employee who stirs up trouble, turns in posts late, or works at a minimal level.
Don’t burn your client bridges. If you don’t enjoy a gig, quit, change it up, or talk to your client, but don’t talk smack about them publicly. This is a little fuzzy, because if I have an obnoxious client, and a pal asks me about them, I’m not going to say, “Oh, they rock” but I’m also not going to post the client’s name on some “bad client” banner on my blog or website. I’m honest about my dealings with clients, but I also try to be nice, and point out the good in them. Unless a client does something really scandalous or rude to the the point where I think they may make another blogger’s life miserable, I keep my feelings fairly quiet or general. You want all your clients; past and present to think positively when they hear your name.
And your fuzzy basic networking option is… Technorati – I’m torn on this one, because it’s sort of blog promotion, not so much networking. However, I really feel that Technorati is a good kick off to social networking. Why? Because Technorati is still one of the standards when it comes to where to locate blogs. There are other places you can list your blog, but Technorati is included in most blogging 101 articles, and people still trust that they’ll find decent blogs there. You may score a few more readers if your blog is listed. You can also find other blogs and bloggers on Technorati, which leads you right back to the above basics.
Next up, we’ll look at social networking sites; sites beyond basic blogs.
Are you currently building meaningful networking relationships via the basics above?