It’s no secret: many of us want to make more connections, meet new people and network with influencers in our industry. By doing so, it helps us advance our careers and reach new professional heights. But unless you’re a habitual schmoozer who loves making small talk, networking can be tedious and awkward. So how can you meet others in your niche if you’re not into glad-handing and transparent hobnobbing?
Yup, blogging is a fantastic way to make new friends and influence people. Most people see blogging as a way to express themselves, share their thoughts and opinions, drive more traffic to their website, etc. And it’s true. Those are some of the great perks of blogging. But publishing a blog is also a terrific way to connect with other industry professionals. A blog can serve as a networking vehicle that helps you meet people you admire when you really have no idea how to go about meeting them. How does blogging help you accomplish this? Let’s take a look…
One way to connect with a key influencer in your industry is to ask them if they’ll agree to be interviewed on your blog. In short, people love to be talked about, written about and fawned over. It’s human nature to be flattered by an “ego stroke.” So asking for an interview is a great way to curry favor with whomever you’re trying to connect with. What’s more, it gives you a legitimate reason to contact them, strike up a conversation and hopefully make a connection. (Here are some tips for conducting a great interview.)
Profile People in Your Niche
In addition to interviewing someone you’d like to meet, you could write a profile about someone in your industry. The profile would be a feature-type piece that would showcase their achievements and contributions and tell others why they should be interested in their work, whether they blog, write books, make websites, whatever it is they specialize in. An example would be this feature we publish on the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog which we call The Best Online Marketing Blogs. Speaking from experience, people genuinely appreciate these types of posts and they leave a lasting impression.
Reference Other Blogs
Another great way to make friends though blogging is to cite and link to someone’s blog/article as a reference in one of your blog posts. You can create a post about the “Top X Blogs” in your industry, or “Most Influential X Industry Blog Posts of the Year” and use it as a way to plug the blogs of multiple influencers in your industry. You can also run a weekly roundup of the best blog posts in your niche. This type of approach acts as a great ice breaker, and you can email the author and let them know you’ve cited their article in your post.
Ask to Guest Post
There’s one thing that many bloggers love: free content! So to appeal to this soft spot for gratis posts, you can reach out to the influencers in your niche and ask if you can contribute a guest post. Again, by doing this, you’re leveraging blogging to open up the lines of communication with someone you’d like to network with. The caveat here, of course, is to make sure that the guest post you’re submitting is high quality. You won’t make a lasting impression (and develop a relationship) if you give them a mediocre post that they don’t want to publish. So really go the extra mile here and electrify them by creating a quality piece of content.