If I asked you how strong your online network was what would you say? Seriously, if you needed a favor right this second from your ‘circle of internet buddies’, how many would actually stop what they were doing and take a moment to help, promote, or find out whatever it is that you needed?
Without question, I can definitively say that my online network stunk it up for the first 11 or 12 months of this blog. I was so used to hearing the dang phrase ‘content is king’ that all I really did was produce content….and that was it.
I was sure that if I only wrote great ‘stuff’ then assuredly the world would notice, and the rest would just take care of itself. Such had been the case with my swimming pool blog and so in my mind The Sales Lion would have a huge community and even bigger traffic in no time.
Boy was I wrong
Within a few months of blogging here on TSL though, I realized I was sadly mistaken. Despite what I thought were some pretty good reads back then, the comments were few and far between, subscriber growth was putrid, and traffic was clicking up at a snail’s pace. I was mystified.
Finally, around October or November of last year, I swallowed my pride and took a serious look at why the blog was not growing at a proper rate—and concluded my network stunk. I had almost no ‘inner circle’. And if I needed an army of fans to promote my work, I’d have to settle on less than a handful of soldiers…..Ouch.
From Writer to Networking Writer
When I sat and analyzed where I was going wrong, I concluded that instead of trying so hard to produce as much great content as possible (posting 3 or 4 times a week), I should instead publish less (2-3 times) and network more. Before long, by spending a little bit of time each day contacting other bloggers, commenting on their posts consistently, and working to share their content—what I’d been looking for all those months magically appeared. In a matter of no time I had built solid and genuine relationships with some great people.
What I’m talking about here can be termed in many ways. Call it your tribe (as Mr. Godin would say). Call it your inner circle. Call it your network. I don’t care what you call it, but if you’re going to be successful you need help.
Awesome Help from Some Awesome People
Let me give you a perfect example of how a ‘tribe’ works. As many of you know, last week I did a guest post on the incredibly popular blog, Men with Pens. When I woke up last Friday morning, the day the guest post was published, I realized that it would be a great idea to ask my network for help. Wanting the article to be a success, I immediately sent personalized emails out to a few friends I’d recently made and formed relationships with, asking them to consider commenting on and sharing the post. To my great satisfaction, here are some of the results:
Eric Pratum of Smart Marketing for Smart People said:
Hey, buddy. Happy to help. Great post! I tweeted, FB shared, stumbled, and commented 😉 Let me know if you need any more tweets later on….
Lach (a tremendous writer btw) from The Art of Audacity responded with:
Done and done. Powerful stuff dude. If blogging is an ironman then you’re a fierce contestant. One step closer, eh? (and then commented and tweeted the article)
Jason from The Skyward Blog said:
On it bud…(and then commented and tweeted the article seconds later)
The ever reliable and incredible JK Allen from Hustler’s Notebook not only immediately went on the site and commented, but he also took it upon himself to call me personally on my cell phone that morning and congratulate my achievement. (Thoughtful?? Yep ….Unforgettable? Ya better believe it!)
And not to ever be outdone by another’s kind words or deeds, Tristan from Blogging Bookshelf immediately sprung into action by commenting on the blog, tweeting and stumbling the article, and then rounding up all his troops by editing an article he’d already published that day and petitioning his readers to go over to the Guest Post and leave a comment. Once again we see why Tristan Higbee, who works harder on the success of other bloggers than he does his own, is a rising superstar in the blogosphere. **Please help me pay that guy back by promoting his stuff out there on the web**
A few others that jumped in right away to help were Keith Davis at Easy Public Speaking, Cristina from Cash Campfire, Matt Mansfield from Matt About Business, David from Revolutionary Gardens, Kerilyn from Married to a Chef, Joe from JoeLarge.com and Stuart from Unlock the Door.
The Moral of this Story Is……
I’ve got two points with this article my friends. The first is that if you’re not getting the results from your blog that you’ve wanted, stop thinking about your blog so much and start thinking about others. How can you help them? How can you go the extra mile and form real relationships? Are you spending time commenting, tweeting, emailing, etc? Or are you just writing…and writing…and writing?
My second point is that when you do help others, do you go the extra mile? The people I’ve mentioned in this article ‘get it’. They care about relationships. They’re clearly the type of people you want to network and synergize with. If you go to their sites and ‘touch base’ I’m sure you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
Is my network now an army? No, of course not. I realize I’ve got a long way to go, but I can also see I’m light years from where I was just a few months back. Such is the opportunity each and every one of us have as we reach out and diligently seek to build genuine relationships with others around the world wide web each and every day.
What have you done to build your network? Has anyone gone out of their way to help you succeed? As always, comment checks will be mailed out the second Friday of each month 😉
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