Blogging is HARD. If you’ve ever searched for a road map only to come up empty handed, you’re not alone. (Re)Discovering the Basics chronicles one blogger’s (Gaby’s!) journey to finding her own way in the online world. Together, we’ll open the discussion on how we blog and what both new and established bloggers can learn from each other.
Amanda’s note: Twitter, more than any other social network in the book blogging world, is essential to making a name for yourself. I’d say at least half–if not more–of the people I’m blogging friends with today I’ve met on Twitter. And not because I was promoting myself either–because I connected. If you’d like to read the reasoning behind this discussion series, you can check out my interview with Gaby.
Making yourself stand out in the book blogging world is fairly difficult. Think about all of the bloggers you know. Then multiply by like a million (yes, that’s an exaggeration) because there are TONS of us. So how do you make yourself stand out? Well, we’ve already discussed having a unique blog design and name but that’s NOT ENOUGH. You really have to get yourself out there. But how do you do that?
Well, there are the social media standards. Personally, I have a Twitter and Facebook for my blog. A lot of bloggers I know don’t bother with Facebook and that’s fine, but Twitter really is key. That’s where you’ll be able to follow other bloggers and get to talking. All you have to do is engage someone you follow. If they make a comment that you have an opinion on, respond. Don’t be shy because chances are, if someone’s tweeting something, they WANT a dialogue. Now, you can’t make the people you interact with follow you back, but you never know what kind of friendships might form. I mean, Twitter’s how I’ve met a lot of MY blogging besties – and actually, it’s where I met Amanda. So GOOD JOB Twitter.
Anyway, aside from making friends, Twitter is a great place to advertise your blog. Tweet content regularly. You can even download TweetDeck or something like it to schedule Tweets if you know you’re going to be busy and want to really push your content. Facebook is also good for pushing content, but, in general, I find getting followers on Twitter is much easier than getting likes on Facebook when it comes to blogging.
Another way to get some blogging exposure is to volunteer to help out with blogging events. If someone on Twitter’s looking for help, OFFER IT. Good example? Amanda needed someone to supplement reviews and posts on her blog. I knew I couldn’t review for her, but I offered to do a series of discussion posts and HERE WE ARE TODAY! Along the same vein, when talking to your blogging buddies, see what common interests you have or what kind of features you might want to start together. You might both have smaller audiences, but two smaller audiences are bigger than one smaller audience, right? Besides, becoming a blogger who’s easy and good to work with is ALWAYS a good thing.
One other amazing way to network and make the connections worth having is to go to events like BEA. For a lot of people that’s a big expense and it’s just not doable. That’s fine. But if you can go, you really, really should. It’s an amazing experience and you meet all kinds of bloggers who might even know who you are – even if you don’t think they should (ie: me throughout the course of BEA). A smaller version of BEA is author signings. Depending on where you live, this ALSO might not be possible, but if it is, make an effort because you NEVER know who might be there.
[It’s also worth noting that the things mentioned in the last paragraph can also apply to chatting up publicists. I haven’t done much of said chatting, but I probably should. I mean, you want your blog known, right?]
I think the bottom line of this post is that you shouldn’t be shy or afraid. Don’t feel like you can’t just respond to someone’s Tweet if you have something to say. If you see a blogger IN REAL LIFE you recognize from their Twitter avatar, just walk up to them (I cannot tell you how many times I did this at BEA). Everyone I’ve met so far has been crazy nice and, honestly, if they weren’t, I’d probably just walk away and that’d be that (this goes for Twitter too). Put yourself out there. As long as you’re nice, polite and enthusiastic, there’s really not so much to lose and so very much to gain.
OH! And remember to collaborate with other bloggers. This might come after you make friends, or perhaps before (y’know, if you know where to look for blog tours and such, which I didn’t talk about anywhere in this post because it’s not something I personally do but YOU MIGHT WANT TO), but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind!
PS: Giveaways don’t hurt. Ever. I wouldn’t recommend doing giveaway after giveaway (that might lead to the poorhouse) but it’s definitely a way to grow your audience and make a name for yourself!