Your own blog is not the only blogging tool in your belt – working with other bloggers can be an absolutely brilliant way to spread the word about your business.
After all, no matter how hard you work to build your own blog, whenever you appear on someone else’s blog, you reach a whole new audience – and an audience that trusts the blogger who you are working with. A genuine recommendation or review on a blog is a wonderful piece of publicity (and by review, I do not mean you need to send your work to another blogger to review).
Just be aware that there are a lot of scammers out there who will try to get you to send them stuff for free – there really is no need to send a blogger one of your items. If they contact you and ask you to send them stuff, that should be a big red flag.
However, if you contact a blogger and offer to send them a sample item, then the ball is in your court – you’ve chosen a blog that you think will be a perfect fit for your work, and are the one in control. I have had a very small number of people send me samples in the 3 years I’ve been blogging. And really, unless you’ve written a book, make food, or make beauty/soap items, the blogger should be able to review your stuff using photos and descriptions.
So – how do you get your work on other people’s blogs?
Make it Easy
Make it easy for bloggers to share your work. For one thing – when you upload your work to Flickr, don’t turn off the sharing function. That is, have your images available so a blogger can ‘grab the html’ of the image and share it.
On your own blog, write a little disclaimer and put it in your sidebar, explaining what is and is not okay by you. For example, you might state that you’re happy for others to feature your pictures on their blog, as long as they give a link back (which, of course, they should anyways). For example, in the sidebar of Epheriell Designs, I’ve written:
If you would like to use any images or text from Epheriell Designs, please check if there is an original source for the image. For the text, or for any of my own photographs, please link back here.
That way, if a blogger comes across your blog, they know what you are, and are not, happy with. You might even want to put a little statement in your online shop profile stating your preferences – i.e. you’re happy for people to feature their work on their blogs as long as they link back to your shop.
It makes me sad – as a blogger – when I come across a wonderful photographer on Flickr, or an artisan’s blog – and they don’t allow their work to be shared. I understand that this is because they are worried about copyright issues, and about other people taking their images – but I, personally, would never stop people using images of my products, because every time someone blogs about my work, it’s free publicity!
However, this is an issue you have to decide on for yourself.
Also – consider making your name and basic details easy to find on an ‘about’ page or in your shop profile. It drives me nuts when I want to feature a shop and I cannot find the shop owner’s name anywhere – simply because I like to refer to the shop owner as a person, not the shop as an entity of its own. Again, this is my personal preference.
Take the time to build relationships with other bloggers. A number of ways to do this are:
- comment on other blogs you admire regularly
- connect with bloggers you admire on twitter/facebook
- e-mail a blogger – not to ask for anything, but just to tell them how much you love their blog. Trust me when I say that will go a LONG way – it doesn’t happen much to smaller-medium bloggers, so you will be remembered!
- do posts on your own blog where you link back to other blogs – maybe a round-up of your fave posts for the week, or a mention of a post elsewhere you admired. That blogger will then see your post in their ‘incoming links’ – or, you can just tell them you’ve blogged about them, of course!
Offer a Guest Post/Submission
Bloggers are often on the lookout for guest posts or submissions – don’t be afraid to send one in – especially if they state on their site that they take submissions (I do, on Epheriell Designs).
Do your homework though – search through their site to see if they have a submissions policy, and stick to it.
When you send in a submission, make sure to include the following:
- no more than 1-2 paragraphs clearly stating who you are and what you do
- 2-3 low-res images of your work
- a link to your website! That may sound obvious, but I’ve lost count of the number of people who have sent me a submission, and haven’t included this!
Don’t submit the same stuff to a heap of bloggers at once. Try one or two, then wait a week or so. If you don’t hear back from them, try someone else.
Keep your eye out for guest post opportunities. These will often crop up around holidays, when a blogger wants to take a bit of time up, and wants others to come in and write post for them. If you see a blogger ask for guest posts, and you have a good idea, go for it! Just remember to include a little blurb about yourself and a link to your website so people who enjoy your post can go check you out!
Create a Blog Hop/Collaborative Project
Working with other bloggers on a collaborative project in some format is a great way to share your audiences.
Offer a Banner Swap
Look for blogs with similar traffic/stats to yours, and offer to swap blog buttons/banners with them! That way, you both win, by getting reciprocal links between your blogs.
If all else fails, or you want to get seen on a ‘big’ blog, buying advertising is one way to basically ‘buy a slice’ of that blogger’s traffic. I have advertised on blogs/websites successfully in the past – it can definitely be worth it if you find the right target market.
There are so many ways to connect with other bloggers – and build your own audience at the same time.
So – have I convinced you to invest some of your time into a blog yet? I hope so!
Tomorrow, I’m going to discuss the benefits of becoming an active member of a team/group or forum.