I’m nobody’s guru, but I know a thing or two. At least that’s how it seemed when this message floated into my inbox today:
“I’ve noticed you have a great relationship with some great bloggers. How did you form those connections? I’m an introvert, so reaching out to folk is not my forte. But I’d be a fool to ignore its importance.”
First, let me state that I loathe the way introverts are exploited in the writing world. Fear not though, this is not another “10 Things You Need To Know About Parking Next To An Introvert” type of article. This here is for everyone who wants to know how to build community in blog land, introverts included.
Before we start though, I cannot stress enough, the importance of authenticity. In each of these steps, your realness is key!
Use your superpower.
Bloggers, rep your set all day! But, whether you pledge allegiance to the introverted or the extroverted cohort, you all have the same superpower. It’s a subtle power (word to Bey). Writing is your secret weapon and the most fundamental and essential way to build community as a blogger. I’m an introvert myself, and, at first, I wasn’t intentional about building relationships, I was just writing, doing me. Writing authentically is the best way to build connections. How else will other bloggers get to know the true you? Write your little butt off! Submit posts to other blogs and promote your own. Just write, write, write!
Before we go there, turn to your neighbor and say, “Neighbor! I’m not trying to make friends!” Flattery makes friends. Posting a simple, flattering compliment may make a friend, but that’s not what we’re looking for. We’re trying to build a community. We want rooted relationships. I only comment when I truly feel moved to do so. It’s part of being authentic. If I don’t really care about a post, it shows. When I actually do leave comments, I make ‘em meaty. Comments like “nice post” or “great outfit” aren’t going to garner any real relationships. Shoot, you may not even get a page view from that. Save the 140 characters or less for twitter. When you comment, say what compelled you to do so. Include the whats and whys in your comment. Most importantly, keep it real. Absolutely no flattery.
Once I became intentional about building community of real blogger relationships, I found like-minded bloggers with goals equal to or bigger than mine and supported the hell out of them. I supported them the way I would want to be supported. Authentic support is invaluable. If you can be there physically, show up. If you show up, participate. If you have the ducats, donate. If they’re calling for submissions, get to typing. If they’re tweeting sad somethings at 3:00 AM, flood them with heart emojis. Again, authenticity is key here, you’re only exhausting yourself if you don’t truly believe in this blogger’s cause.
Reach out: from URL to IRL.
At some point, you’ll want to meet all of your fave URLs in real life. Then, you’ll wake up one day and realize you’ve had sleepovers, dinner, coffee, and car rides with the people who run the blogs you only scrolled through months ago. The only way to get to real life friend status is to reach out. Start with a tweet or an e-mail. Honestly, if you’ve mastered steps 1-3, reaching out will only seem like the next step in the natural progression of things. So, hold your breath, count to 3, and send that DM or e-mail. It will be worth your while!
What are some other ways that you all build communal relationships in blog land? Tweet me @eversoroco or leave your answers in the comments below!