Ask anyone who’s been blogging longer than a day, and you’re likely to hear the same question: How do I get more readers? Every blogger wants to be read, and there are countless articles online showing how to promote yourself through social media and other channels for just that purpose. But here’s the thing they often miss: the secret to successful blogging isn’t in promoting yourself, but others.
Why Be a Generous Blogger?
The same golden rule that applied to elementary school recess now applies to the blog world: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Not only does this make the blog experience instantly more fulfilling for you (you can do it today! And you’ll encourage other writers!), but also it reaps many rewards over time, as you build a reputation for generosity in the blog world. It’s a funny paradox about generosity, but it’s true: the more you give, the more you receive—and the more successful your blog can be.
Here are some of the benefits of blogging generously:
In an age where advertising is almost wherever you turn your eyes—on television, in magazines, across billboards, all over the Internet—a surefire way to set yourself apart from the crowd is to promote something other than yourself. When your audience sees you unselfishly engaging with and promoting others, you show yourself to besincere, not just blogging for what you’ll get out of it. This builds trust with your audience, which is a powerful and valuable force.
Makes You More Influential
Supporting other bloggers is a powerful way to gain their attention and, eventually, expand your influence. Writing great content is good, but if no one reads your content, it’s not as valuable as it could be. When you don’t engage with others, your blog is as good as writing in your private diary. But when you actively reach out to those around you, your influence expands.
As a new blogger, you may think it’s the most talented or savvy bloggers who go the farthest, but, in fact, it’s the ones who are kind. Showing genuine kindness is key to building community, both on and offline—and in blogging, community is key to finding success. Kindness is a first step of friendship, and friendship is exactly what the blog community is built upon.
Encourages Sharing of Your Work
Generosity is something that successful bloggers intrinsically know is valuable and necessary. Everyone from food bloggers to technology bloggers understands this: by giving not to get but to give, you win trust and influence and, also, returned favors. Many times, what goes around comes around—and while that’s not the motivation to be kind, it is a fringe benefit. So don’t be a generous blogger because you want other bloggers to be generous to you—but, at the same time, don’t be surprised when that’s exactly what happens.
Ways to Be a Generous Blogger
OK, so you see you should be a generous blogger. How can you get started? What do you need to do? Here are a dozen ideas:
- Keep a blogroll linking to other quality sites
- Regularly link to others’ content on social media
- Give something valuable away—a guide, an eBook, etc.
- Comment on others’ blogs in a meaningful way
- Value the readers you have—run a survey, thank them for input
- Engage readers in discussion—ask questions and respond to comments
- Respond to emails in a thoughtful manner
- Participate in conversations on Twitter
- Feature other writers, bloggers, companies on your site
- Offer to guest post on someone else’s site
- Invite another blogger to guest post on your site
- Meet up with blogger friends in real life or, host get-togethers in your area
Perhaps the best strategy of all in being a generous blogger is as simple as going back to the golden rule: do unto other bloggers as you would have them do unto you—try it, and see if it doesn’t change your entire blogging experience.
Feel free to share your thoughts in comments.