How to Network Online Like a Superstar….and GROW BIG!

by Marcus Sheridan

Networking onlineSo you want your brand, your blog, and your business to grow, don’t you? Yep, I’m with you. Despite what some of us might claim, we all want growth of some type, otherwise we wouldn’t be working late into the night, pouring out our heart and soul to produce great content, articles, and the like.

So the question is how? How can you not just grow your blog but blow it sky high?? That’s what this article is about folks. The time has come for mega growth and may I just say that I’m so jacked up as I write this that I can hardly contain my enthusiasm for those of you who apply the following principles.

So what’s the key? Well as I’m sure you’ve already guessed by the title of the post, the answer is NETWORKING. That’s right, along with great content, nothing will give your blog more growth than learning to network like a superstar.

And as I’ve been blogging for the past few years in two completely different niches, I finally feel like I ‘get it’. And ‘it’ in this case is what I have dubbed as the 5 essential levels of networking online like a superstar.

The 5 Essential Levels of Networking Online Like a Superstar

Level I  [Comments/RT 101]:

Ahh yes, you’re just getting into the world of blogging and doing everything you can to learn the ins and outs. After producing your first bit of content and realizing that no one is looking at your stuff, and finding Google couldn’t seem to care less about you, you decide that maybe networking is the answer. Knowing this, you read articles about the power of commenting and so you’re off to the races…and you commence the process of finding blogs and leaving your typical, “Great Post! Well done! You Rock” comments.

It is also during this time that you find out about twitter and this odd thing called ‘retweeting’. Now, while you’re reading the articles and leaving your quick comments, you hit that little green button and RT the post. Not being sure what to say or how to say it, you don’t really add anything to the tweet but hey, it’s a start, and you’re beginning to make it happen……and you’ve become a Level I networker.

Level II [Advanced Commenting and RT]:

Now that you’ve been going the standard commenting and RT route for a while, you realize that maybe your comments and RTs aren’t as effective as they could be. You notice people like Hector Avellaneda, Paul Stone, JK, and Tito Phillips leaving incredibly thoughtful comments on various blogs you read. You also pick up on twitter pros like Davina Brewer that not only retweet, but make the tweet so appealing that you’ve just got to look behind the curtain.

After seeing so many great examples, you think to yourself, “Hey, just by adding some depth and creativity to my comments and tweets I bet I can get much better results.” And so there you go. Your comments are now great. Your RTs are appealing and insightful. More connections are made. You’re now a Level II networker.

Level III [Learning to Give Some Love to Others]:

Now that you’ve mastered the art of thoughtful commenting and retweeting, you’re ready for your next challenge. After further study, you start to notice a pattern of the higher level bloggers—They have a tendency to mention others. In fact, with a deeper look, you start to see a definitive pattern in that most of the top bloggers spend as much time talking about others as they do themselves. You read articles from people like Troy Claus where he talks about the people and bloggers that have made a huge impact on him professionally. You notice how people like Gini from Spin Sucks and John Falchetto have this masterful way of mentioning others throughout their writings. In fact, now that you’ve spotted the pattern, you see it more and more and more from all the upper-level bloggers.

So you give it a try. And immediately you notice two things—You feel great for helping others and your relationships with those persons grow stronger and stronger as everybody wins. Life is getting good and you’re now a Level III networker.

Note***: These principles apply to any blog or business, no matter the niche. As an example of Level III, for my swimming pool company I recently wrote an article entitled “4 Fiberglass Pool Manufacturers to Look Out for in 2011”. In this article, I mentioned multiple fiberglass pool manufacturers I was impressed with and said why I thought they had a bright future in the industry. And the result? As you might imagine, the article did quite well with comments but even better it received over 40 high quality inbound links within the first 10 days of being published. Effective? You betcha!

Level IV [A Complete Focus on Promoting Others as much as Yourself]:

Now that you’ve established the pattern of looking to mention the good deeds of others within your blog posts you observe that your network has grown tremendously from the time you started to now. It feels good to be surrounded by great people and not only is your blog growing nicely because of these relationships, but you also find yourself genuinely caring for the success of others. You don’t just want them to succeed, you really want them to succeed.

This is when you decide to write full-blown articles, expecting nothing in return, about people or products you feel are changing the world. And as you do this, your relationships and network reach a new level of strength and synergy. You’ve found your inner circle, and you’re now a Level IV networker.

Note***: The first time I experienced this was when Mark Harai featured me in an entire post for his popular series that solely focuses on awesome bloggers who are making a difference. Blown away with his kindness, I’ve been one of Mark’s biggest supporters ever since…..Are you starting to see just how this works???

Level V [Above and Beyond]:

You’ve arrived. You’re now running  a hugely popular blog with an army of supporters and fans at your side. It feels great and each day brings with it more passion, excitement, and energy. But now that you’ve reached this point, you’re looking for different ways to give back and go above and beyond to show kindness to others while building your networking community.

Note***: Let me give you the perfect example of a Level V behavior, as they’re tougher to describe. A while back I commented to Ingrid at NittyGriddy blog that I was still very new with twitter and working hard to understand the entire culture and how to make the medium work effectively for me. Knowing this, Ingrid emailed me and asked me for my shipping address. I happily gave it to her and a few days later I got a package in the mail from Amazon, with a book inside called, ‘The Tao of Twitter’, written by the social media superstar Mark Schaefer. As you might imagine, when I received this book I was floored by Ingrid’s above and beyond thoughtfulness. This, my friends, is a Level V networking at its finest.

Your Turn:

OK, time for me to stop writing and start listening to your thoughts. First of all, do you agree or disagree with my list above? Where do you currently find yourself and what are you doing to ‘move to the next level’? Also, what actions could we add to the list to make it even better? C’mon guys, I’m expecting some killer conversation to now take place with this subject so start hitting the keys and jump right in! :-)

Oh, and one last thing….Why haven’t you friended me on Facebook yet?? Geez, I don’t bite ;-)

Mad Marketing Podcast

If you like the articles, you'll love Marcus' podcast and insightful tips on business and life.

Click to listen

Subscribe to Future Articles

Read Marcus' future articles and stay on the cutting edge of business, marketing, and life success tips!

Click to subscribe

{ 147 comments… read them below or add one }

Randy Cantrell March 24, 2011 at 10:42 am

I don’t drink, but my only comment about this post is best summed up by this beer commercial.



Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Are you sure you don’t drink Randy ;-)

This was really, really funny man. Gave me a good laugh bud.




Davina K. Brewer March 25, 2011 at 11:44 am



Keith Davis March 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Loved it Randy.
One question… are you sure you don’t drink. LOL


Randy Cantrell March 25, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Keith, no. I don’t drink. Never have. In fact, I’ve never even tasted beer, wine, etc. And I’m OLD. :D But I do enjoy a good, clever TV commercial I’m sad to report.


Keith Davis March 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm

You and me both Randy
I’m old and enjoy a good TV commercial.
But I must admit that I have tasted beer and wine and spirits and….

Nice to meet you Randy, I’ll pay you a visit.

Sorry to be off topic Marcus.
Please forgive.


Keith Davis March 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Just been over to your site and tried one of your videos.
What a voice you have.

Couldn’t see how to contact you but I must have one of your videos on my site.
Please contact me through my site or just come on over and leave me a comment.

Sorry Marcus – finished now but have you heard this guys voice?
Sounds like fine wine trickling out of a decanter.


Marcus Sheridan March 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Keith, that’s so cool you went by Randy’s site. Yes, I’ve seen quite a few of his videos (that’s the mark of his trade) and as soon as you push play, you quickly figure out why. Fine wine trickling out of a decanter is about the best description I believe one could make (dang you’re pretty smart and witty sometimes Keith ;-) ) and I do hope you further connect with him. Good level 4 stuff guys :-)


Mark Harai March 26, 2011 at 10:43 am

Hey Keith – thanks for making me aware of Randy’s work… Just listened to my first video, fascinating stuff…



Lori Gosselin March 24, 2011 at 10:46 am

Marcus, this is masterful! You haven’t forgotten how you got to where you are now and describe it so well.

I’d say I’m somewhere between level 3 and 4. It’s one thing to know what to do and another thing altogether to have the confidence to do it. I’m allowing myself to move at a pace that feels comfortable for me, so I can remain authentic.

I know that Twitter was very strange to me at first. All I did was post my articles and do some RT’s and even when (even now ) I want to say more about it with the RT, I’m not that good at it – not like Davina – she’s great at it! It took me four months to feel comfortable enough to “say” something on Twitter rather than just post links. (When I am deciding whether or not to follow someone, I look to see if they “say” anything.)

All in good time. Thanks for drawing the map!

P.S. And that Griddy, well she’s one of a kind!


Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Twitter? Strange? No, never Lori!! ;-)

Boy do I so very much agree with you. I’m not sure which was harder for me, becoming fluent in Spanish or learning the oddities of Twitter :-)

I love your approach though Lori. Your blog is doing wonderful things. Your community is growing with each new article you put out. I’ve been watching it all happen and have been very impressed. To tell you the truth, I think your over-all kindness simply exudes from everything you write, whether it’s in one of your posts, a reply to a comment, or a comment on someone elses blog. Either way, you’ve got a great way about you Lori.

As for Ingrid, yes, she’s golden. ;-)



Davina K. Brewer March 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

You are too kind Lori. I think I DO post too many links so when I do, I try to give it a little extra juice. I joke that my wit is wordy, so Twitter is a little harder for to really just share 120 characters of brilliance. ;-)


Ingrid Abboud March 25, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Awww thank you so much Lori :). I’m truly touched with what you said here!


Marlee March 24, 2011 at 10:53 am

Hi Marcus!

These levels are so well articulated. I’ve certainly seen them in play in my own interactions. I especially love your example of Griddy with respect to Level 5. I love doing those kinds of things for other for the very reason you demonstrated. Going above and beyond really impacts people. Why? Because it’s rare! The best part is – it’s really easy to do. Just take the extra step.

Great advice Marcus…as usual! :)


Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Agreed Marlee. Griddy’s example is so unique, so unheard of in this day and age. More than anything is was the catalyst for today’s post. In other words, I’d been brewing these levels in my head for a while, but when Griddy did that I said, “There it is. That’s a Level V. Now I fully see it and can write about it.”

Continued success to you Marlee. I saw you mentioned on Jason’s Skyward blog and I think more and more people are seeing how rich your blog is of great content and value for the community.

Thanks for your continued support!



Danny @ Firepole Marketing March 24, 2011 at 11:10 am

Hey Marcus! :)

I completely agree with you – it’s the paradox of building a business; the more you focus on giving to others, the more you end up getting back. The trick is that you’ve got to genuinely want to and try to help, and not just do it as a tactic.

Your level 5 example is inspiring. I don’t know if I’m up there, but I’m trying…

Oh… I’ve friended you on Facebook. What took me so long?! ;)


Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

First of all Danny, thanks for friending me, very cool of you sir.

Second, you’ve brought up an excellent point here that I probably didn’t stress enough in the article:

The trick is that you’ve got to genuinely want to and try to help, and not just do it as a tactic.

Yes, that’s exactly right. Networking the right way is only achieved with the right motives….which is why most people don’t get to that point. There are too few Griddys out there. Frankly, it’s a huge paradigm shift that most just can’t handle.

But the good thing Danny is that you and I are both getting there…we’re on our way. And that’s all that matters.

Thanks so much for your support my friend. :-)



Jon March 26, 2011 at 9:17 pm

@Danny – so true. You can get away with fake connecting for a time but only one of two things are going to happen:

A) you’ll burn out because it takes work being disingenuous all the time
B) people will discover you for who/what you are and word gets out FAST

Once word gets out: you’re done.

@Marcus – I’m definitely trying to implement the ways of Level IV and V. Ingrid takes things to a whole new level but we need people like her to motivate the rest of us to give more of ourselves.

How else would we know what’s possible without people that push the envelope?


Anne Marie DiMatteo March 24, 2011 at 11:17 am

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article, but must admit that I am slightly saddened to see how low of a level I am actual at for online networking. I’ve only been blogging for a few months, but was hoping I had at least moved past level II- definitely needed this wake up call, thank you! I will take all of your thoughtful suggestions/comments and use them to push myself to the next level.

Also, Lori Gosselin hit it right on the head for me, “It’s one thing to know what to do and another thing altogether to have the confidence to do it.”– this describes my feelings about networking online, HubSpot has given me the tools and now I need to be more confident!

Thanks Marcus and Lori for inspiring me this morning!
-Anne Marie


Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Oh Anne, I’m so thrilled you stopped by here today, and certainly do not fret over what level you currently find yourself in! The beauty of this is that once the snowball starts rolling, and you really catch the vision, it can grow incredibly fast.

To give you an example, for the first 8 months of this blog I wasn’t even a level I. Yep, that’s right, 8 months of pure network stinkage ;-) But somehow I came around…and started seeing things a little differently….and then everything started to change.

Let’s put it like this Anne, you’ll know you’ve ‘gotten there’ when you start off each article thinking, “Who can I help today?”. Powerful words indeed.

Please come back again Anne, so grateful you took the time to comment.



Christina Crowe March 24, 2011 at 11:19 am

Hi Marcus,

Well done! I loved how you didn’t just describe how to network effectively, but you listed each level of networking in detail. That way, readers can then put themselves into the category that they fit in, and then continuously work to improve their level of networking in the long run. I really like it!

As for me, I’m slowly making my tradition into the 4th level of networking. Over the years, I’ve become to realize just how powerful and important networking is to any business success. And, like you mentioned, there’s just no better, more beautiful, and more powerful feeling than the one where you know you’re helping someone else and reaching above and beyond to make a difference in someone else’s life. And this is what I’ve begun to do.

Inspiring read!



Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Yes, you indeed are making the transition to Level IV Christina. I remember a bunch of stellar Level III articles you wrote a few months back where you polled lots of bloggers and really had some incredibly interactive posts. You’ve definitely got the vision, and I’m so glad to have watched you grow along the way, just as you have with me.

Keep smiling, stay awesome, and thanks for all your support.



Nancy Davis March 24, 2011 at 11:20 am


I am really happy I found this post. It is a bit disappointing that you don’t bite though! :) Taking the time to comment on blogs is something I do every single day, and it is pretty incredible how helpful people can be if you sincerely ask for help and are not pushy about it.


Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Sorry about the no biting thing Nancy, I had a quit that a few years back ;-)

Glad to hear you’re commenting though, that’s great and I’m sure your blog is benefiting because of the relationships you’re building.

Have a tremendous Thursday and I hope we chat again!



Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Photography Blog March 24, 2011 at 11:45 am

I’m on the edge between Level II and III with my photography blog. This is a fantastic post. I’ve been reading, surfing, and otherwise trying to get this exact information this week and I’m so excited to have followed a Twitter link to your post.

This is fantastic information and I definitely agree with what you shared with us! I’ve noticed that other bloggers that are big are doing just what you described – discussing others just as much, if not more, than they discuss themselves.

I’m looking forward to putting this into practice with my blog!


Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Hi Kimberly!! And welcome to our community of marketing superstars ;-)

First off, let me just say your avatar rocks. Love it!

Second, I’m glad you’ve noticed what I was saying about the top bloggers. It really doesn’t matter the niche, different levels of success will have different circles of people, and in every circle you’ll find huge support systems. The key is integrating yourself in those circles….which will happen if you follow the 5 levels.

Anyway, thanks again Kimberly for taking the time to comment. I hope you’ve subscribed and look forward to seeing that cool little avatar of yours again. ;-)


Frank March 24, 2011 at 11:48 am


I recently learned the power of online networking through JK. For a long time I gauged my success based on the traffic and not on the amount of comments I had on my site. I never really understood the power of community and networking. Well it was a lesson well learned. There are people from all over the world with a unique set of skills and experience that we can learn from. Some people network with the wrong intention in mind but if you do it correctly it can change your life. This post is a must read for anyone who is alive. I am grateful that I was able to read this today.


Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm

This post is a must read for anyone who is alive.

Maybe the coolest one-liner ever on this blog Frank. That was awesome!! :-)

But welcome to The Sales Lion sir and I’m just so grateful you took a few minutes to read and respond. And I’m glad you know JK. That guy is a superstar, no question. But heck, he only sleeps like 3 hours a night so he better be getting a lot done, right?? ;-)

Thrilled you’ve been blessed to start to see the power of networking Frank. I hope this only continues for you and your blog goes wherever you’d like it to end up.

Thanks again for the comment.



Louise Gibney March 24, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Hi Marcus – well put! Apart from the above, you get to talk/meet with some wonderful peers. The more people Iknow in writing the more I enjoy it I find! Network, network, network baby!

Oh, and “fan” me?! :-) I’m a short story and article writer, trying to find a publisher for my first novel ‘Girl Meets Boys’, documenting the amusing and embarrassing search online in my 20′s for a suitable boyfriend.


Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Trying to find a publisher are you Louise?? Been there done that my friend, and I earnestly wish you success in the endeavor. It’s tough in this day and age, but if you’re networking the right way, you’ll get your break.

But huge props to you for writing your first novel. What a treasure!

Thanks so much for your support. I’ll go ‘like’ you now. :-)



Joe @ Not Your Average Joe March 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Nice post again, Marcus. Gotta admit I love the unbridled enthusiasm concerning this topic. I think I’m on the edge of starting level three at this point, so I’ll look to ramp it up with that, to grow from the small audience I have now. I’ve only just begun linking to others, and plan to do more in the coming months. I get some great post ideas from other writers, so developing that content and sharing the links just makes basic sense.

I’ll do us both a favor and RT this. Thanks!


Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm

First of all Joe, thanks for the RT, it was awesome and kind.

Second, I’m stoked to see you step up to the next level. As I mentioned in another reply above, ask yourself this question before every article you write: “Who can I mention and help today?”

With this one simple act everything can change.

Looking forward to watching your continued growth Joe. :-)

Thanks for your support.



Jk Allen March 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Marcus – Your bring your A-game every – single – time! Actually, you increase your A-game every time you post!

I love how you broke this up in Levels. Some people (not me…okay – ME!) learn best with nice, structured content as you provided here. Not only did you give the detail, but you provide examples…real life examples.

I’ve said it before – you’re a leader…and a leader with the best style (for me) — leading by example. I really find it hard to follow the advice of an armchair success story. You know, those that teach but don’t practice…you live it, and you’re kind enough to give it to the world. Thank you!

And, thank you for the mention. Hector Paul, and Tito offer serious value in their comments and I’m honored to not only be mentioned on your site (again :) ) but also be mentioned in the same sentence as them.

I’ve actually started to notice the trend. The power bloggers making it an effort to put others on shine. I surely need to do more of this (not that I’m a power blogger, but I love the community aspect of it).

You know, the only thing I would say that I could add here is in the area of how we reply to comments left on our blog. Like you, I reply to everyone. I don’t always get to reply to old posts that get comments, but I do to all fresh/new posts. I think it says A LOT when bloggers take the time (which is a lot of time) to reply to everyone. And not just “thanks”, but at least a sentence or to acknowledging the comment. I admit that it throws me off some when I see bloggers only pick and choose who get’s their reply. I guess I don’t like anyone feeling left out. When people feel included, they get attached…and they come back again and again.

Great job Marcus. I’ve never seen anything grow at the rate and speed that you are. Keep doing what you’re doing….for selfish reasons, each post makes me better at what I do. So thanks!



Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for commenting.


Jon March 26, 2011 at 9:08 pm

That short reply is hilarious, Marcus. I’m seriously laughing out loud.


Marcus Sheridan March 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Sorry JK, just had to do that short ‘thanks’ reply as I knew it would give you a big laugh. (heck, if you didn’t laugh I sure did :-) )

You say you’re not a ‘power’ blogger, but don’t sell yourself shot boss-man. TSL ain’t the only thing that’s blowin up in these parts ;-) Last I looked, Hustler’s Notebook was going through a serious growth spurt. (Bet you thought that stuff ended around 17, huh JK ? ;-) )

Continued growth and excellence to you my friend. I just love sitting back and watching how you apply so very well the things you read about. You’re an example to all of us.



Peggy Baron March 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Hi Marcus,
Well I’d say, judging by this post (and ALL your others) that you’re at Level V!

I do like to promote others, but I find it hard with so many excellent bloggers to choose from. It’s tough trying to fit in everyone. :D One thing I really like to do is devote whole posts to people who’ve given me lots of help and encouragement on my journey. They’re in my blog category “My Thanks To You”.

Now I’ve got to go over to Davina’s house and find out what she does to her retweets…

Thanks, Marcus.



Davina K. Brewer March 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

Oh the pressure, the pressure. Gimme a little time, I’ll see what I can do.


Peggy Baron March 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Ha! I do like your style. Your post title that shows up in ComLuv is a great example.


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

Yes, Davina does have a most unique ‘style’, doesn’t she Peggy?? Since the first time I came across her stuff, I thought, “Wow, this gal thinks differently…witty as heck…and isn’t luke warm with any of her words…Me Likey :-)”….and she’s been like that every time. :-)


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 11:25 am

Hey Peggy, and thanks for the kind words. The great thing is that you’re so heavily engaged in the community. You understand these principles already and it shows in your writings, which also explains your blog’s significant growth over the last 6 months. You’ve got all the right intentions Peggy, and that’s going to carry you places. :-)

So grateful for your comment and support, it means a lot to me.



john Falchetto March 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Hi Marcus,

Ok that’s it, let’s have another Skype sessions and get some of the synergy going. Love how some great ideas come out in a few minutes when the energy is right.

By the way I also linked and promoted cartoon characters and that did very little for me. Please make a note that cartoon characters just don’t care about link love.

Seriously, I don’t think I belong in the same league as Gini, she is miles ahead in her blogging effort and skills. Thanks for the mention but really don’t think I should be in the same sentence as superstar Gini. Did you see how she just dropped another 2 points on the Adage Super 150 ranking? Geez at this rate she will be top 40 by tomorrow.

Marcus, you should have created a section Level 6 just for yourself, seriously.

Take care and let’s Skype soon :)


Danny Brown March 24, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Humble as ever, John – you and Marcus are right there with Gini. And I’m sure she’d be the first to agree, because that’s just how she rolls. :)


john Falchetto March 25, 2011 at 5:38 am

Cheers Danny, I promise I won’t treat you like family mate :)


Danny Brown March 25, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Do I know you..? ;-)


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:17 am

I agree very much with Danny here John, when it comes to focusing on others, you’re right there with Gini. You see, you’ve done in a very short amount of time what most bloggers take months and months to develop– that is, develop a strong network through constant effort and ‘giving back’. I’m just grateful we met and that we share so many of the same outlooks on business, success, life, etc…

Regarding that level 6 thing, I hope one day it does come to pass, but you can be rest assured that I’m going to be contemplating what a true level 6 is between here and there. ;-)

As always John, your support, comments, and RTs are exceptional and incredibly appreciated.



Gini Dietrich March 26, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Oh please John Falchetto! You’re great for my ego, but Danny and Marcus are right. You are the bomb! We’ve known each other, what? Four or five months? And Lisa and I are already planning our “we killed our goals” trip to visit you. THAT is level 10 blogging and engagement. So, while you are very kind, you definitely deserve to be on the A-list.

P.S. I thought your blogging about Dora was hilarious!


Anne Sales@ Coupon Codes March 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Great post, Marcus! :D Okay, I’ll be serious.
I was reading level IV and it reminded me of Ewen Chia’s ebook where he mentioned similar technic. I think he called it something like, “I’ll pat your back and you do mine.” I see it in a lot of IMers and I am convinced it is a great tip.


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:22 am

Thanks Anne, I really appreciate you stopping by. Yes, I think in some ways it can be viewed as a ‘pat for pat’ action, but honestly I think if it’s done in the truest and highest form it really has nothing to do with the thought of returns. Ideally, it truly is a paradigm shift of wanting to help others simply because you care and understand the rest will just fall into place… the law of Karma (or whatever one calls it) takes effect.

Thanks for all your support Anne!


Mark Mathson March 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm


You have really hit the nail on the head here. One of my favorite things about the field that I work in (doesn’t really feel like ‘work’ all that much though usually) is that I get to every day see what is working and what isn’t working for others online.

I learn from others’ mistakes, while I especially learn from my own, which I make frequently.

One of the best things about this post in particular is that you outline not only the levels of engagement but give some thoughtful rules to them.

I might add using LinkedIn as a great resource for also finding those in your network to focus on and go big. This is particularly important if you are looking to team up with others and might not have found them through a blog yet. I know plenty of people that aren’t necessarily ‘networking’ online yet, but would love to and getting them away from their comfort zone from LinkedIn is a great place to start.

As always, best regards!


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:26 am

I’m so glad you brought this up Mark. LinkedIn can absolutely have the same, if not greater impact, then twitter and blogging. In fact, I’ve seen quite a few level 4 and 5 actions from Linked In. I especially appreciate those kinds acts because some mean that a man or woman, previously unemployed and struggling, can now return to fiscal peace and have enough to feed their family….powerful stuff when one considers the action.

Love your passion for inbound marketing Mark and am grateful we’ve met and you take the time to stop by and comment. It’s very much appreciated.



Cosmin Stefan March 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Hello Marcus, your post was very enjoyablet.

I would consider myself between level 2 and 3. (Need more points to upgrade)

And yes, networking is great. The downside of it, however, would be Dunbar’s number.

I would have made a quote from Wikipedia, but I’m not sure how to do that in the comments, so I’ll just leave anyone who’s interested in that to Google it for themselves.

Again, thanks for the post Marcus.


Cosmin Stefan March 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Sorry for the typo. :)


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:50 am

Hey Cosmin, thrilled you stopped in, and you’ve made an interesting point. The thing about Dunbar’s # is that most accept the number to be over 100, and I find that most bloggers don’t have over 2 or 3 decent relationships….if any…which is a huge problem. Heck, the way I look at it, I’ve got a long ways to go before I hit a limit ;-)

Thanks again for stopping by and your support Cosmin!!



Danny Brown March 24, 2011 at 10:40 pm

You forgot #6 – “You Read Marcus Sheridan Religiously”. You are killing it here, bro’, and you are required reading for anyone, no matter how much they might feel they already know all they need to.

Networking is so key, mate. Offline, it’s brought Troy and I two clients from a local networking group. Online, it’s put me in touch with amazing people like you, Mark, John, Gini, Ingrid, Howie, Lori and so many more that I’d be a poorer person for it.

Kudos, sir. :)


Davina K. Brewer March 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

Bingo Danny, .. like you Marcus is on my required reading list even if I am a little late to the party sometimes. ;-)


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:58 am

Dang Danny, I’m not going to lie—I’ll gladly be on yours and Davina’s required reading list any day of the week. :-)

I think the more one networks, the more they start the see the vast potential it offers…and they also realize they’ve been doing things the ‘hard’ way for much too long. I know I’ve started catching a glimpse of this lately and have no doubt that my mind and vision will be expanded much more so in the coming months and years….especially when ‘the gang’ is sitting around the table for the first time ;-)

Thanks for all mate, have a tremendous weekend. As you know, you’ve made my day with all your kind words here.



Gini Dietrich March 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm

GASP!! Did Danny Brown say something nice about me?!?


Lori Gosselin March 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I’m really speechless since reading this (and I read it yesterday!) so I will quote a pro:
“Awww thank you so much Danny. I’m truly touched with what you said here!”
(Thanks Griddy!)

P.S. I can’t help but think of how embarrassing it would if it were a different Lori you were talking about. If it is, just don’t tell me OK?


Lye Kuek Hin March 24, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Hi Marcus,

This is a post with wonderful insight. I tend to believe that i am on level 3 and a bit of level 4. But i definitely skip level 2 which is to make the retweet more appealing. This is something that i need to work on.

From what Ingrid had done, she is a perfect example of networking above the fold. How many bloggers has actually done that? Kudos to her generosity and brilliant networking skills. She is a real superstar.

Thanks for sharing the post. You really get me stand up for this post, mate.



Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 11:31 am

You said it Lye perfectly– Ingrid is WAY above the fold. And this same ‘giving’ bleeds through in all her writings and acts—a class act.

And you, sir, do a great job of these levels as well I’ve noticed. I see you mentioning other bloggers and doing your best to form relationships, which is awesome Lye. Just keep it up and try, as I am, to get a little better at this with each and everything you write.

Appreciate your support and comment Lye!!


Stuart March 25, 2011 at 5:16 am

Oh man Marcus, there’s something about this site, after reading the post, and then the comments afterwards, that I feel like I’ve experienced some kind of mini-enlightenment. Every time!

I remember you did a similar Levels 1-5 pattern with commenting a while back; it rang true then and this rings true now. That first post actually helped me with my comments, and now this post is about to help me with my networking and my tweets.

Seriously, I look at my retweets now and I think “there’s so much potential there, why aren’t I using it?”. I’ve improved my content remarkably since I started, now it’s time to improve my networking just a little bit more.

I need to get off that Level 1 perch, where I believe I currently am, and move forward towards Levels 2, 3, 4 and maybe even 5! BTW, Ingrid is one cool lady for doing that, she has my respect.

Marcus, this site has become a gathering place, a holy grail of sorts, for awesome comments. Bloggers from different niches come here to read what you have to say, and comment with a deep and powerful insight. You are the instigator for all of this, and if I were in your shoes, I’d be a very happy man.

So thank you for making this place great. Without this site, I wouldn’t know half of the bloggers that I do now, and a lot of us wouldn’t be able to share ourselves so openly. Cheers bud :-)


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 11:35 am

Marcus, this site has become a gathering place, a holy grail of sorts, for awesome comments. Bloggers from different niches come here to read what you have to say, and comment with a deep and powerful insight. You are the instigator for all of this, and if I were in your shoes, I’d be a very happy man.

I’m floored with your kindness in saying this Stuart. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I also am impressed that you have the ability to honestly gauge where you are in all this, where your weaknesses lie, and where you can go from here— which the sky is the limit for you in my opinion.

You’ve really made my day with this comment Stu and I look forward to see you step up your networking game even further. And if you ever need anything, please let me know.

Big Smiles



Murray Lunn March 25, 2011 at 5:28 am

Let’s not forget the power of voice :D

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of networking through Skype which is absolutely amazing because finally having a voice and face associated with people really builds upon your connect with people.

Likewise, don’t be afraid to get out and meet up with fellow bloggers :)

I’ve met a few through my network as they have been on vacation here in Florida – we grabbed some beers – talked blogging – generally hung out and chatted.

You absolutely nailed it with this one Marcus. Our content can get our ‘feet in the door’ with others but it’s taking that extra step to build the connection that really opens up the wealth of opportunities.


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 11:37 am

Hey Murray, thanks so much for bringing this up. I’ve actually heard a few people mention that they had connected with you on Skype and were really grateful for the time you gave them. In fact, I think you’re really ‘skype-working’ at an extremely high level, which makes me realize that you and I need to connect sometime soon, as it’s overdue.

Matching a voice with a face is a powerful thing….and I’m so glad you’ve reminded us of that Murray.

Thanks for your support bud, I’m grateful.



Murray Lunn March 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm

That would be fantastic Marcus.

I mean, to put things all into perspective: I met a friend through an online video game which eventually led to us just chatting on Ventrillo about music and such. Months later, we ended up having a meet up. Was really cool because I was able to check out Toronto (which had been on my list of places). I also was able to use that opportunity to visit relatives in the area (large part of my family are Canadians).

I’ve been up there three times now. This coming trip to Thailand means that I’ll be meeting up with Robert which is really cool because we’ve talked a lot on Skype. Building those global connections. I don’t think it would be possible without some kind of higher communication such as through voice and video, ya know?

Anyway, yeah, we should definitely talk soon (Murray.Lunn) on skype.


Daniel M. Wood March 25, 2011 at 6:42 am

Hey Marcus,

I love the way you try everything out and prove that it works before sharing it with us.
You have really shared the “link love” and helped people around you grow and improve and thanks to that you have improved and grown.

You are doing a great job and you are a real inspiration to me my friend.

I will try to think about it more when writing my posts to share other people, I am much to poor at it.

Thanks for the tips.
(Would you call this a level 2 comment? ;))


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 11:42 am

A level 2 comment Daniel? Yes, of course my friend ;-) Speaking of a classic case of level 2 comments while were on the subject, Randy Cantrell left a very, very funny video on his comment to start this all off and I see he’s had multiple visits and connections made off of that one simple humorous act. Crazy, but true.

As long as you approach each article Daniel with the desire to benefit your readers and fellow bloggers, you’re going to be good to go. You really will. And you’ll grow because of it. Heck, I’m just thrilled to see you really starting to build a community. That’s great man, and it’s only going to get better.

Appreciate your support these many, many months my friend.



Mark Harai March 25, 2011 at 7:20 am

Marcus, Marcus, Marcus!

You know you’re making the lions proud my man. After all, they are “Kings of the Jungle!”

It’s going to be a fun ride just being part of your wild ride to super success. I can say that with ease because of your attitude and outlook on your craft and people. You are one passionate caring dude and it helps that you can generate the simplest articles that break down what new bloggers need to do to instantly to get results.

And not just blogging, your insights for the small business owner are exceptional. They need help and insight that can not only help them stay in business in a dismal economy, but how you can actually master and dominate any niche utilizing inbound marketing. You provide them a map – Follow the Lion!!

Oh, it also helps that you’ve built a multi-million dollar business utilizing these methods. It’s one thing to regurgitate the content of others, however, it’s quite another to hear it from the horses (lions) mouth on what really works in the marketplace from someone who’s doing it.

To top it off, you’re a freakin machine. The work you do daily here would be a full time job plus a part time job all rolled up into one. You not only pour your soul into this blog daily, but you run a multi=million dollar pool business as well. That’s amazing bro. You’re amazing and I am proud to even be mentioned by someone like you. You’re the real deal man and I am very thankful to be connected with you.

I know I have the opportunity to learn and grow right along with you if I keep my head down, continue to learn and improve as you do everyday. I get to hang with the lions and not get eaten – haha!

Seriously Marcus – I wish you and your family great success and happiness. I’m thrilled to be part of your journey :)

P.S. I’ve met some incredible people here on your blog. Top notch. Best ever. I love this community man. Thanks!


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 11:52 am

I’ve met some incredible people here on your blog. Top notch. Best ever. I love this community man.

Stole my words Mark. Sometimes I just look around and think, “Wow, is this all really happening? It truly is a community.”…blows my mind, really.

But I’m simply not going to be able to put into words your kind words here Mark and what they’ve meant to me. In fact, my wife read this comment and she talked and talked about how amazing it was….so it appears Mark Harai has at least one more fan ;-)

Danny and I spoke the other night about getting ‘the gang’ together some time. The thought of it just put a big smile on my face. Let’s catch up on skype soon and chat some more Mark, I’d really like that a lot.

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for these incredible words which have blessed me so much.

Marcus (AKA ‘El Leon’ ;-) )


Gini Dietrich March 25, 2011 at 8:19 am

I’ll come back later today and read the comments because they look really good. But I still have to shower and get to the office. So I’ll definitely be back.

But before I go, I will say that your level three is IMPERATIVE. And not just talking about others as much as yourself, but more. Whenever someone comes to us, wanting the blogging success “that Gini has” and we tell them what it takes, what it truly takes, nine times out of 10, they walk away.

People don’t want to work this hard, but it is hard work. I do it because I LOVE it and because it allows me to run a growing business and still keep my finger in what I love – the reason I started my own business to begin with. But it’s hard work. And, if you aren’t willing to scratch other’s backs, feed their egos, and talk to those who don’t yet have a large network, you’ll never make it.


Davina K. Brewer March 25, 2011 at 11:52 am

It is work Gini, hard work… cannot be said enough.


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm

For a gal on the run and needing a shower, this was some pretty profound stuff Gini, seriously.

Whenever someone comes to us, wanting the blogging success “that Gini has” and we tell them what it takes, what it truly takes, nine times out of 10, they walk away.

My question is ‘WHY’? Why aren’t people and businesses willing to see this big picture approach and embrace the realities of network marketing? You know it works. I know it works. Heck, they see it works…..Yet they hedge. They walk away…..I find this, in some ways, an utter mystery.

And, if you aren’t willing to scratch other’s backs, feed their egos, and talk to those who don’t yet have a large network, you’ll never make it.

You’ve said something here Gini that I think most people will never admit. Sometimes we’ve simply got to swallow our pride to ‘get in the door’. What’s that mean? Well, it means just what you said, and it ain’t always fun….and often times it does require major work….but in the end we’ll reap the dividends. And by and by, our inner circle will eventually form and things will take their place.

Yes, this was great Gini, just like everything else you write. Thanks for your example and thanks for all you do.



Gini Dietrich March 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I have a really good friend who makes fun of me constantly because I’ll talk to anyone. That’s how she sees it. I see it completely differently. Just because you haven’t yet graduated from college or don’t have 16 zillion Twitter followers or have no intention of accepting your next promotion does not mean you can’t offer me any value. When I talk to everyone, I find my mind is opened, I learn more, and sometimes even change my opinion of something. Why is it so awful to talk to everyone? Just like you said, WHY won’t people embrace the idea of talking to everyone?


Ingrid Abboud March 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

You’ve done it again Mufasa – you’ve manged to leave me speechless – I mean speech-full lol ;).

I’m tired of telling you that “I loved this post” – I say it every time you publish something and I need a synonym! This post kicks-ass! This post is what constitutes the successful traits of an A-list blogger! This post is the bomb!

Each of your levels is spot on and the folks you chose to use as examples couldn’t have been any better. But I’m gonna have to agree with Danny here and say that he nailed Level 6 with read the lion religiously. I do and for anyone else reading this comment here – you should too! I’m serious – this isn’t just mine or Danny’s opinion – it’s unanimous!

People forget that blogging isn’t simply a me, me, me thing! We would be nowhere without our audience and the bloggers we respect and learn from on a daily basis. We would be nowhere without their support and encouragement. We would be nowhere if we didn’t take the time to acknowledge them, support them and talk with them. You the people who’s work you’re interested in that you’re genuinely interested in them. That you genuinely appreciate all that they do for you and the blogosphere in general! That’s what a healthy community is all about and that’s exactly why your community thinks highly of you Mufasa.

Online networking doesn’t take a PhD from Harvard – or at least it shouldn’t. If you can’t do it here, you won’t get very far both in the outside world or the online one! Just my 4.5 cents!

As for the book I sent you – it was nothing. I did it because it was natural to do so and because I wanted to. It was my way of giving back – to both you, Mark S. and a few other folks who I tremendously admire and who I think make me a better blogger. I expected nothing in return and yet you’ve gone Above and Beyond yourself!

Thank you Mufasa for this wonderful mention. To say that I’m honored would be a massive understatement!

Wishing you and your family continued health, happiness and success.
Talk to you later


Eugene March 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Ingrid, I wish there was something along the lines of a Facebook “Like” button on here because your “Mustafa” comment actually made me laugh. Not like 12 year old girl texting “lol” , but ACTUALLY lol. :)


Ingrid Abboud March 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm

YaY :) Thank you so much Eugene! I’m glad I added a little more laughter to your day. You just added some to mine as well with your “not like a 12 year old girl…” haha!


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Eugene, please be careful not to laugh at Griddy too much, she takes that as a ‘green light’ to continue and then there’s no telling what the heck she might do. ;-)


Eugene March 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Ok, I will take your warning very seriously :)

And I just realized I wrote “Mustafa” instead of “Mufasa”. Freudian slip? I know a guy named Mustafa. I’m sure he’ll appreciate the name drop lol.


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Ingrid Abboud, speechless?? Hmmm, something tells me that’s not likely ;-)

You’re kind words here, just as they always do, have left me with a big smile (actually, do Lions smile?? ;-) )

But I really liked how you mentioned the principles we’re talking about here really aren’t strictly ‘internet’ principles at all. No, they’re life principles, and apply to any industry, in any town, in any country throughout the world….The Laws of Networking have always been around and always will be, they just get applied uniquely depending on the arena. So yes, very well said there Griddy.

I’d gone on to tell you how awesome you are and how much I appreciate your support and that I think your blog is the greatest thing since sliced falafel, but I’ll just keep those thoughts to myself and say thanks for being so uniquely you. :-)



Gini Dietrich March 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Griddy, you need an acronym for how much you like his writing!


Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker March 25, 2011 at 9:24 am

Level IV is my focus right now. My goal is to offer support whenever and however I can. A good portion of my day is spent promoting the blogs of others. Why? Because the more relevant I make the blog space then my blog will benefit, too.

Thanks for providing an excellent primer on networking Marcus.



Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

That’s what’s so impressive about you Alex, you ‘get it’. You see the big picture and you understand the Law of Reciprocity and how every0ne benefits. So few people share this philosophy, but if they’d only experiment w level 5 it is my belief that they would not just change their lives, but the lives of all those around them.

Thanks for the comment Alex. :-)


Monica Svenmarck March 25, 2011 at 11:47 am

Marcus,thanks for addressing this mountain and making it surmountable. Your insight gives me the great ‘view from above’ that I’ve been looking for. This should help me firmly establish myself in Level II and give me a foothold into Level III.

Looking forward to learning more from you on my journey! :-)


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Hey Monica!! So great to see you again and I’m thrilled this post may have benefited you a little to catch a vision of where you need to go from here….now it’s just time to apply ;-)

Let me know how it goes for you Monica. I’d seriously love to know.

Appreciate your support. :-)



Ana @ Traffic Generation March 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

Kept seeing your name all over the blogosphere, Marcus, and Twitter as well – had to come and check you out; naturally.

I can definitely see how you are moving up “the ranks” – great branding, great networking skills, and usable and actionable writing style – I like that.

Look forward to seeing more of you around!

Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Hey Ana! An honor to have you stop by :-)

Yes, things have been progressing along quite well recently, and I’m just grateful to be able to watch the community grow and be a part of it.

I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of each other and continued success to you and your amazing website.

Thanks so much for your comment.



Davina K. Brewer March 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Marcus, I have comment bombed this post enough… but will pick up on Ingrid’s “me, me, me” and go with it:

You can blog and networking successfully if you take what is about you, make it about them. Turn that ME into WE. Your posts Marcus do exactly that, you give us YOUR examples, YOUR experiences, YOUR mistakes and lessons learned. Then you build upon those experiences in ways which help US, make US better bloggers, better communicators.

Networking is essential to online growth, no doubt about it. I’d put a time limit on Level I, it’s that research period when you lurk before you leap (post, comment) just the basics but it shouldn’t take too long before you move onto Level II. After reading and learning, we should be formulating a plan, a strategy about our networking, what we want to accomplish and why, and where. I’m big on knowing what you want, figuring out what you need in order to be successful out here. It IS a ton of work, requires time and planning.

I’m working on the other levels, really giving back. I need to do more FF blog posts, recognize some folks. My way of giving back is my time, for hopefully helpful comments and click worthy RTs (Thanks so much for that shout-out BTW). Thanks to folks like you and almost everyone mentioned in your post, my network is growing … does it have to be an army, can it be a strategic, special forces strike team? FWIW.


Marcus Sheridan March 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Davina, Davina– this comment is exactly why I think you’re freakin awesome.

First, let me say that I love your ‘comment bombs’. When I see you start off sometimes and leave a real quick, witty reply to someone’s comment I think to myself, ‘Oh, here goes my girl Davina, just getting her engine started :-)’

So please, comment bomb away…

I really liked your take on level one and how we should use it as a ‘lurking’ period. Yes, I very much am with you on this. By commenting on other blogs we’re able to ‘feel out’ others and see if it’s a good ‘match’. I usually will comment on a blog twice and see where things go with it (kinda like a first and second date I guess ;-) ). But if I can see the person and I are a good personality match and they like to be personable and synergize, then I know it’s a good fit. I’m sure you’re with me on this one Davina, as you are a tremendous networker.

But thanks so much for your kind words of support Davina. It pleases me so much that you like my writing style. I hope to only continue the ‘we’ approach.

Big smiles,



John Sherry March 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Where am I right now? I’m doing it old style – building relationships with people whose work I respect, whose accomplishments I look up to, and whose humaness shines through. I don’t care about false promotion and market grabbing. It’s people all the way for me and I’ll take the responsibility for where that takes me. That’s been my theme from Day 1 and I sure ain’t changing now. Marcus, you’ve ramped it up again, every post just gets better and better. Are you spending too much time in swimming pools? If so, keep on a-dipping!!


Marcus Sheridan March 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Ha! Thanks John. Believe it or not, I’ve never built a swimming pool in my life. That’s what’s funny about my pool biz. I’m like the football coach that never played the game as a kid, ya know.

But thanks for sharing here John, and thanks for all you do. You’re such a masterful and moving author, and it’s an honor for me to have you comment on here so often– I really mean that.



Eugene March 25, 2011 at 3:17 pm


I keep waiting and waiting for you to disappoint, but you failed again. :)

This is one of those blogs where I actually come and read every word instead of skimming. Probably because you put a lot of thought into your posts. These levels work as a time line. Most new bloggers start off at Level I and work their way up through the levels as they gain experience.

But there are the lucky few beginners who simultaneously go through the levels and skip straight to Level VI when they find your blog early on :) Great Stuff!!!


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Some seriously kind words Eugene, and I’m glad not to dissapoint. I know it may sound cliche, but I take the responsibility of bringing value with each post very, very seriously.

Good luck with your levels 3-5 and I hope you continue to come back Eugene. It really means a lot to me your support.



Adrienne March 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Hey Marcus, great post!!!

Wow, had to think about that one. I think I’m in between 4 and 5. Just really started implementing this a few months ago so I’ve been picking up steam.

I love sharing great content with others anyway so that’s always been something I’ve done all along. I do love helping others so I’m always trying to share things that I have learned or what someone else shared with me. I continue to give credit where credit is due. Without my faither bloggers friends, I would not have learned all that I have so I definitely let them know how much I appreciate them.

Loved this post and will continue on until I “get there”. You always have something awe inspiring when I visit. Thank you for that too!



Marcus Sheridan March 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm

This was a really, really kind comment Adrienne, and that’s so awesome that you’ve managed to get to level 4-5…..that’s GREAT. I really like how you mentioned your ‘blogging friends’ Adrienne. Is it just me, or are ‘blogging friends’ not some of the coolest people in the world?? I know that I care greatly for some people on the blogosphere that I’ve never ‘met’ but have shared many great experiences with.

Continued success to you Adrienne, and thank you so much for commenting, it’s very much appreciated.



Adrienne March 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I had to reply again Marcus because it’s not just you. I didn’t really start commenting on other blogs until just this year. I could kick myself for not having done it sooner. I have met some awesome people and formed some really wonderful relationships. I believe my blogging friends are some of the best people online today. They inspire me, teach me and help me while I’m on this journey and I just don’t have enough words to let them all know how much I appreciate them.

Just happy to hear that you feel the same way and you are so very welcome. I will definitely be back to get another dose of you. :-)


Diana March 26, 2011 at 3:38 am

Awesome. I’m probably not the only one saying, geesh, I know all this but dagnabit I’ve got to get back to doing it all consistently (of course, I have no idea if people actually use geesh or dagnabit, but those are just details). I feel very,very comfortable with your advice and writing style, which means I can get motivated by you. I like straight shooters, and this is straight shooting.

I am starting to believe in blog karma, which means that I need to shed my inner fear of being rejected, start linking the best blogs in my posts, start sending out ideas for guest posts and asking the right people to guest blog for me. I mean, I have spent money and countless hours getting my blog into the shape it is, my subscriber numbers have been climbing, but in order to blow the doors off, I need to be doing much more.

So instead of spending the next week looking at more pretty living rooms, searching for another recipe for banana nut bread with crispy topping and trolling Etsy yet again for the latest handmade thingamabob, I am going to get disciplined and do the things you are very kind to point out here.

All that said, the real reason I subscribed to your blog was because of your oldest daughter’s christmas ornament earrings. They just spoke to me. Never underestimate the power of holiday fashion.


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 8:41 pm

My daughter’s earrings, ehh Diana? Hmm, that, I believe, is a first, but let me just say I’m thrilled to have you here regardless of what motivates you ;-)

You said something here that really made me think Diana:

I am starting to believe in blog karma…..

That entire paragraph was incredibly powerful but I just want to focus for a second on this idea of blog karma….Let me just say that I didn’t understand the Law of Blog Karma (actually, I’m going to kinda steal that phrase from you and write about it in the future ;-) ) until about 1 year into my blog. Honestly, I simply felt like a guy that was standing in a forest, with no one around to hear, yelling as loud as I possibly could…. those were difficult times and I’m just grateful that I held the course long enough to start to catch a vision of this ‘blog karma’ that we’re now speaking of. I tell you Diana, it’s real. It works. And the more I embrace the paradigm, the more incredible things seem to be happening in my life and blog.

So I hope you take this knowledge and run with it. You’re a very talented writer, that much I’m sure of, now it’s time everyone (and not just a few) sees your gift :-)



Keith Davis March 26, 2011 at 5:42 am

Hi Marcus
“dang you’re pretty smart and witty sometimes Keith”
What do you mean Marcus… “sometimes”? LOL

Seriously… formidable post and absolutely superb comments.


Sheila Atwood March 26, 2011 at 10:04 am


Outstanding post again.

Breaking this down into levels sure makes it easy to see where I stand and where I could improve. Needless to say I am very impressed with Ingrid’s reach.

Her genuine interest not only has a reaction but one with substance. This is one level I want to put some attention on.

Thanks you. every time I read one of your posts I find myself stepping away from the computer to digest what I have read and making notes of how I am going to put your post into action.


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm

That was such a very, very kind thing of you to say Sheila. It really was, and it means a lot to me.

You said a powerful word here….’Substance’….This is exactly what our kind acts have to be made of if we’re really going to reach level 5.

But honestly Sheila, because your efforts to learn are so great, and your so very diligent with your blog, I truly believe it’s going to happen for you…more and more.

Thanks so much again. :-)



Steve@Internet Lifestyle March 26, 2011 at 10:09 am


Everyone says, “commenting drives traffic”

It is very true, of course, but I love the way you showed the natural progression of the way comment at least *should* work to truly be successful.

It is sort of counter-intiutive but it is definitely true that the more you give the more you receive. This seems true in twitter, commenting facebook etc. and also seems true for blog posts etc. when people give enough it is noticed.

This is actually something that makes me feel good about the way that society is going. For once the people that go out of their way to help are getting rewarded.

Thanks for a great pot. Have a wonderful weekend


Marcus Sheridan March 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Great, great points Steve. I’ve noticed you hover around the level 3 and 4 area quite a bit with some of your review posts and mentions of other bloggers. You’re quite a great networker, and I’m very glad you stopped by to share this.

Like you, I believe in the power of commenting, but I think people sometimes use it just for the traffic reciprocity, and not as an intro to get to ‘know’ the person they’re touching base with, ya know what I mean Steve? A little traffic is nice, but a true relationship is awesome.

And one other thing Steve, I too very much like how the Law of Reciprocity and Karma are filtering down throughout the blogosphere and in the world of business today. Once people start to realize there is room on top for everyone, this world will no doubt be a better place.

Thanks again for all your support Steve, very grateful sir.



Keith Davis March 26, 2011 at 11:38 am

@Mark Harai
Ran out of threaded comments so came down here.

Sounds as though you were impressed by Randy.
Some of the best speaking I’ve heard on the web.


Greg urbano March 26, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Great way of simplifying easy steps


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Thanks Greg, good to see you man, hope the photography biz is treating you well. :-)


Mark Kilens March 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm


Brilliant, Marcus!


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Thanks Mark, appreciate that man. Keep up y0ur great work with Content Camp, you’re really doing an exceptional job.


Dia March 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Hi Marcus,

What a wonderful post my friend. This is like an exam and I feel that I “failed” the exam :D I’m on level 2… I’m really impressed by the growth your blog is experiencing and you deserve it my friend.

It might be time to go to level 3 and 4 and start mentioning others. As always, great work Marcus. I learn from every post you write something, especially about inbound marketing. ;)


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2011 at 4:07 pm

You’re a kind guy Dia, and I appreciate your words of support. I think we can all do better with our networking, so as long as you continue to improve that’s all that matters. Hope you keep coming back my friend. :-)



Jason from Skyward March 27, 2011 at 12:58 am

Been fun buddy, watching this one come to fruition… you normally don’t sit on an idea very long before smacking the “publish” button.

Your insights into content, relationships, and everything blogging related are ORIGINAL, and that is something that is very rare indeed.

You nailed it man….great job!


Rajka Milanovic Galbraith March 27, 2011 at 2:42 am

Another good post! I am a bit new to this and have just started to do the higher levels of networking. (before getting through level 1) I have been stuck at level 1 as I have been twitter shy/naive/afraid. Thanks for the tip on the twitter book as well (The Tao of Twitter) Will check it out.

I agree with what you have to say. I would throw caution to the wind about only promoting those you really like and not for secondary gain. I say this in regard to anything: do it if you truly believe it, support it, or buy it.

Just friended you on FB. Feel free to do the same to my personal accout or I have a FB fan page as well: and on twitter @expatdoctormom

Looking forward to the next post!


Marcus Sheridan March 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Hi Rajka, and thank you so much for stopping by here today. This may sound self-serving, but please go back and read some of the articles I’ve written on blogging, as they’re full of all the mistakes I made that are quite preventable for good people like you ;-)

Also, if you haven’t done it already, make sure you go to , so that you can get an avatar, which is kinda like your ‘brand’ photo that shows up next to all your blog comments (when the blogger enables them).

Good luck with this Rajka, I hope you’ve subscribed and that you come back to visit again.



Rajka Milanovic Galbraith March 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Many thanks for the tips! Will do on both!



Dennis March 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Level V [Above and Beyond]:
For the longest time I wanted to have a domain of my own, and I’m unable to do so because of my priorities at home. A good friend of mine and blogger Nhil ( gave me my own domain and hosting free for 1 year! It’s up to me if I want to continue it after a year. Of course I do! :D

But the gesture she gave me is way beyond me. So since I’m starting my blog again in another home I will try to do something similar as soon as I get my new blog on it’s feet.

And I’ll be making sure to follow your tips here to ensure success! :D


Marcus Sheridan March 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Hi Dennis and welcome!! What your friend did for you is quite the act of kindness, and I hope you get to pay it forward as you hope to in the future.

But good luck to you and your blog Dennis, I know that if you really apply these principles success will follow.




Bryan Thompson March 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Marcus – hello my friend! I love your guide to networking! I’ll be honest – I LOVE commenting and reading blogs, but my new job at this church has got me hitting the ground running. In that case, I’m having to really allocate time each week to view my favorite blogs (including The Sales Lion near the top of the list!). It’s a challenge and I’m learning, but it usually adds up to a bunch of cool blogs to catch up on. :)

You always keep it interesting and dish out so much in thought-provoking ideas on blogging. I really appreciate it, buddy! Keep at it!


Marcus Sheridan March 27, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Hey Bryan, so good to hear from you bud. I’m happy that you’ve got this new responsibility at church and I hope is filling that innate need you have to serve, help, and lift up others. And I certainly understand that time constraints can hinder one’s ability to comment.

Good luck balancing all your changes and I hope you know how much I appreciate your support.

God bless,



Alex March 28, 2011 at 9:30 am


I came over from Sheila’s site where she is having her headline competition so I could meet my fellow judge.
I Find it nicely ironic that the post that first greeted me, and am now subsequently commenting on talks about the importance of networking, how true it is.
It’s not just in the power of networking but what you say when you are there, and of course making sure you ask the right questions.
I like to call it ‘Getting your Ask out there’ or ‘Putting your Ask on the line”

Nice to meet you Marcus, subscribed and will talk to you again soon no doubt.

BTW: You have the funniest GASP SPAM message I have ever seen. (Damn you making me say I think lions are cool LOL)


jonathanfigaro March 28, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hey, Marcus

How’s our day going so far? Hope your doing well. But i justed wanted to stop by and say that I remember when i first started to blog. DUDE!!! I WAS LOST!! I WAS SO LOST…I WANTED TO GIVE UP!. But i had a vision and an idea. And as you begin to meet people ( over the net/ not in person) you start to learn as you go. I learned everything about blogging as I went. Even if I read your info as an amateur my ego would of been like, ” I DON’T BELIEVE YOU” (lol). But this is why we should always stay teachable. Building relationships and doing our best to help others. If we help other’s then we help ourselves. You’ve out done yourself yet again.


Tito Philips, Jnr. March 29, 2011 at 7:34 am

This is a great post Marcus and the examples, were very on point made application so easy.

After reading this, I could only see how much more is still left undone. It seems at every corner, there’s still more contribution to be made in life and knowing that there is no limit to how much good we can all do makes it more exciting.

I would say, this is not just a one off list that people practice once and leave, they are more like habits. The more of them we do, the better we get at doing them. Also, they are just broken down into levels to make the assimilation easier, not necessarily must they follow this order.

For example, I could be practicing all 5 levels together all at once and not having to wait to perfect one before moving to the next.

The most touching of all was Ingrid’s kindness. I was speechless after reading that, it almost was as if nothing else mattered other than the sheer desire to help another human. Like I am so advocating these days, unless we truly want to make a difference, why else are we in this business?

For one thing, I would say, bloggers are the most helpful and open minded human beings on earth. The level of harmony and bond bloggers share is so unprecedented in the world of traditional businesses. I am so glad, I am a part of all this.

Thank you Marcus for the wonderful post and for the mention, I am very grateful.


Martyna Bizdra March 31, 2011 at 4:14 am

hey Marcus and friends
what a great guide! the levels- are clever, like the evolution of values,
It is great to read the articles by people who have different focus, which brings an important point:
many blogs have a nice following… but somehow it is not enough. But when a blogger has something to say, that is unique and strong, it is just irresistible. Individuality is magnetic :))

I have just noticed :” Check if you think Lions are Cool)and you are not spam) :P


Marcus Sheridan March 31, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Hey Martyna and great to see you again….Oh, and I’m glad you like lions ;-)

Individuality is magnetic Ahhh yes, what a lovely phrase. I think I’ll steal that one if you don’t mind ;-)

So glad you stopped by Martyna and hope we chat again.



ben April 13, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Nice post


Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing May 9, 2011 at 3:14 am

I like how you broke networking out into different levels, Marcus. I think it’s important for people to remember that networking is a skill that takes time to master. Nobody jumps in at level 5. Just about all of us start out at level 1 and work our way up.

As I read the levels, I was reminded of where I started with online networking and how far I’ve come. I also see where I still need to go with it. It’s a journey, isn’t it?

I’ve only read a handful of your posts on this site so far, but I’ve noticed already that you make it a point to shine the spotlight on other people in your posts. Even when you’re writing, you’re networking.


Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at 8:04 am

Hey Brad, it’s really great to see you reading some of the older posts. Goes to show you’re truly here to learn, and I very much appreciate that. Often times some of a blogger’s most valuable stuff is found in the older articles, but they rarely get the views they should once they’ve passed on.

But yes, networking is VERY much a skill. It does take time. And more than anything, it’s a paradigm– an attitude. You’re observation about me mentioning others is very true. In fact, next Monday I’ll be posting an article about the power of mentions, and I think it will be very, very enlightening to many.

Again, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment Brad. Hope you have an exceptional week.



Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing May 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I have to agree with you there, Marcus. It’s a shame that so much great content gets buried, but you often find some great gems when you go digging. When I find sites like this where the current content is so great, it’s a sure sign that there’s something valuable hidden in those old posts.


Shakirah Dawud May 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm

“Nobody jumps in at level 5. Just about all of us start out at level 1 and work our way up.” Yep! Thanks, Brad.


Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing May 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm

It may come easier for some people, but I find that we all have to work at it. Nice to know that I’m not the only one, Shakirah. ;)


Shakirah Dawud May 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm

So I’m only just getting around to this post, after it was shared like wildfire. I knew I was missing out, but needed to be able to absorb it, so I waited and its time has come. It was worth it, Marcus, I can appreciate every level here, and as Brad said, we all start out low and make our way up.

But some of us make climbing look like teleporting, lol.


Karen Avery June 9, 2011 at 1:04 am

I am a simple level 1 networker with very simple forays into other levels. I see that it is time to expand and work a bit harder. Initially, content was king and I didn’t think I could come up with that; now I see that the next challenge is the networking. I like what you said about sharing the love… I need to do that more…

Networking is something that I have done well with in person but haven’t gained the knack on how to do it online so I will keep reading and learning…

Thanks for the suggestion to head down this path…


Marcus Sheridan June 9, 2011 at 11:45 pm

You’re very, very welcome Karen. And I commend you for being so open to learning and embracing such a new way of marketing.

One thing I’d suggest is that you grab your avatar so that we can see your pretty face, symbol, Lion ;-), when you leave a comment. This can be found at , and it’s free.

Good luck,



Karen Avery June 10, 2011 at 10:56 am

Thanks Marcus, now I have my own avatar… Never knew how that was done.


Marcus Sheridan June 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Sweet, looks great Karen!! :-)


Gwen December 26, 2011 at 8:17 pm


As a very new blogger, I found your post insightful, honest and OH SO TRUE. Seeing more seasoned bloggers reach out to me and bring me into their “blogging families” by supporting me, encouraging me, mentioning me and featuring me on their blogs has led me to understand the importance of reaching out to others and lifting them up as well. It has nourished new friendships that have emboldened me to do the same with others, and I have realized, via your article, that this fostering friendships within your readership is an intentional way to create an atmosphere of loyalty and devotion in a way I could have never anticipated. Thank you for laying it out so clearly and succinctly.


Marcus Sheridan December 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Hi Gwen! So glad this post helped you a little and it’s great that you’re growing and developing as a blogger. May you have AMAZING success in 2012!! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by,



Sasha B. January 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I’m gonna be a superstar and grow online after reading all these informative and funny posts. Thanks for the tips, I found this quite useful.

Justin Bieber forever!!!!


Sanjay Shetty February 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Hi Marcus,

The first thought which came to my mind was “Oh my God – this is by far the best article I’ve read”. It’s 2.00 A.M. in my part of the world and reading this made it totally worthwhile being up and learning from THE SALES LION.

I don’t know how I can repay the thoughts and ideas you’ve shared here. I know this might sound cheesy… If you like stick figure visuals, and if If you ever feel the need to have visuals created for any of your posts, presentations etc. ping me at (I just did one for the awesome Ana Hoffman at and I’ll be happy to do the same for you.)

Totally love your posts :-)


Denise February 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Very nice article! I am currently in the midst of level III so two more to go, yay! Although I don’t have a public blog, I only use Twitter excessively and am planning to start my own social media consulting business within the next 12 months (call me ambitious). If you have any advice on building up a successful website while working full time (or websites that contain such advice) that would be amazing. Or maybe you even know where to get a time machine…


Jennifer October 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

I’ve been reading your blog posts for the last few weeks since my boss sent me one of the emails she gets. I’ve just posted a link to you and to as I think both of you are key players for people who are wanting to succeed.
I’ve recently posted my first blog post for work and will be their resident blogger and will also be doing a blog for my own business. I think the things you mentioned in this post are key.
I will be sharing this post with a writers group I joined this week. The people there didn’t really understand the potential a blog can have and what you need to do to see it succeed. I’m excited to help those that just don’t “get it” and to also see my blogs succeed. I know that I need to start commenting more as I like reading others posts, so why the heck don’t I do it? LOL :)


Marcus Sheridan October 6, 2012 at 11:18 am

Jennifer, wow, seems like you’re pretty fired-up, ehh? :-)

Well I’d just ask that you continue with that enthusiasm and run with it!

Best to you,



Grapho December 27, 2012 at 10:55 am

You can only really be a sales lion if you have the personality of a lion – and by that I mean a certain amount of leadership potential. So bottom line (no pun intended!) it may be a good idea to find out if you have the personality of a lion;


Kelly December 29, 2012 at 6:36 am

I’m completely new to all this so hey, here’s my first comment but you have to start somewhere right!
I look forward to reading and learning more, thanks!


Marcus Sheridan December 29, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Welcome Kelly, and good luck to you!! :-)


Francisco January 29, 2013 at 1:05 am

wow what a good article, if fully implemented by me I can go very far in terms of Search Engine Optimization. Based on your article guess I consider my self a level 2 marketer since I give thoughtful comments to interesting articles I read on the internet. As a networker I have fully grasped on the need of helping others too, so that will be my next step, promoting others as I promote myself.

May God bless you and keep up the good work!


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 9:22 am

So glad you enjoyed the article Francisco, keep up the great work!



Ned Carey February 18, 2013 at 5:24 am

Well I see you practice what you preach. You mentioned a ton of other bloggers above. It is obviously working based on the number of comments you get.

I really believe it’s important to give credit where it is due. I appreciate the reminder that lining out is a great way to do it.


Leave a Comment

{ 8 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: