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Turning Blogging Into A Team Sport

Even though there are thousands of blogs on the web, and maybe even thousands of blogs in your niche alone, it can still get pretty lonely out there at some times…

For that reason, turning blogging into some kind of a team sport would surely be interesting.

But hold on, I don’t actually mean that you should search for people who will agree to work alongside you on your own blog. First of all, you’d have to pay them. Secondly, you’d have to find a way to manage their combined efforts.

Not that there’s anything wrong about it. There are bloggers out there who have perfected such an approach up to the point where they have the privilege to focus on writing only as everything else is handled by their teams. So if you’re aiming at a similar solution then by all means go for it.

I, however, have something slightly different in mind. The approach I have for you today revolves around building a network of contacts and creating some genuine relationships with other bloggers, in and outside of your niche.

What for?

Yes, the first and most important question: What’s the point of this whole thing? And what does it actually mean to turn blogging into a team sport.

The thing is that in every area of life, or business, there are people extremely skilled at one particular activity, or at least gifted and on their way to becoming extremely skilled.

If you manage to spend more time with such people, be around them, exchange messages, and so on, then you’re on your way to becoming extremely skilled yourself.

Also, success in blogging was never about conquering the world on your own. This, in my opinion is impossible (not that I’ve conquered it or anything).

If you look at the blogosphere, you’ll notice that every big blog of today has become popular because of some other website/blog. Popularity always starts when someone mentions you somewhere, another person spreads the word around, and eventually people start recognizing you in the community.

No one has ever appeared from the thin air and became a really successful blogger in short time.

Now, let’s move to the how-to.

Finding the team

Obviously the most difficult part. If someone is to be on your team, you have to be certain of their value, right?

Now, here’s the biggest mistake people make. They falsely think that they can determine someone’s true value.

For instance, how did you go about choosing your friends in real life? Did you go out, create a spreadsheet, fill it with all the pros and cons of a given person, and then decide who deserves to be your friend? No, you went with your gut feeling.

Same thing here. There’s no point in carefully evaluating anyone. You’re sure to get it wrong 99% of the time.

All you need is to follow some simple steps. For me, these seem to make sense:

  1. Look within your niche and find people blogging about similar topics.
  2. Take a look at their content and simply decide if you like it or not.
  3. Take a look at the blog itself and do the same thing.

You can also do some research outside of your niche if you’ve stumbled upon someone really interesting. However, be careful. For the following reason:

Focus on your peers

Chances are that getting Pete Cashmore on your team will be quite difficult… You’re way better off focusing on your peers (people at a similar level of popularity, skill, blog size, etc.), that way you can all grow together.

There’s also one more benefit. Whenever there are people aiming at similar goals there is some instant competition. No matter what people think, competition is great for growth.

Reaching out

Reaching out to people on the internet is not that obvious and sometimes it can really backfire. I wrote a whole guide about networking for

mappa_blog

mappa_blog (Photo credit: francescopozzi)

bloggers a while ago, so I encourage you to check it out if you want to get the complete instruction.

But just to give you the in-a-nutshell version I can say this: Focus on being natural, reaching out like you’d normally reach out to a person in real life, and ask for nothing in return!

The point here is to make a connection. Either ask a question, suggest a solution, or simply say hi. Just get the conversation going.

This will also allow you to make sure that the person is a good match for you (professionally).

Paying attention

The next step is paying attention to what the person is doing in various areas of their blogging.

The articles they’re publishing. The promotional methods they’re using. The social media approach they’re implementing, and so on.

Now, whenever you notice something interesting don’t hesitate to ask about the details. This is how you can learn from someone else’s expertise. And since you’ve already contacted the person before, they should have no problem explaining stuff to you.

I would say that the #1 way of growing as {insert an activity here} is to pay attention to not only what people are saying, but most importantly to what people are doing.

Blogging is an activity that requires a very diverse skillset and features a lot of different kinds of tasks that need to be taken care of on a daily basis, so you have a lot of stuff to pay attention to.

Offer something

If you’ve managed to stay in touch with someone for long enough, you can confidently offer them a role in a joint venture or some other project you can do together.

This is where the real strength of team blogging comes into play.

Picture this, if you’re on your own, you can do a certain amount of stuff in a day (write certain number of articles, do certain number of promotional tasks, and so on). But if there are two of you then everything doubles.

You get twice the audience to speak to, you can do twice as much in terms of promotion, and so on.

The exact thing you can offer will depend on your niche and the angle you’re taking in it, so there’s not much I can advise.

(On second thought, here are some standard types of projects: e-books, online course, software, plugins, themes, books, video series, and so on.)

Guest posting

Guest posting is a fairly popular thing among bloggers these days, so I’m sure I don’t have to explain the concept itself.

Once you have a team, you can benefit from guest blogging in two ways. Apart from the possibility to send your posts to your befriended bloggers, you can also get them to write for you.

Since your blogs are on a similar level, you shouldn’t experience any difficulties convincing them to do that.

You can also create a general “guest post guidelines” page and try to attract guest posts from the rest of the world.

Stay in touch

Your team will exist only as long as you manage to stay in touch. Emailing someone out of the blue one day with a project proposal will look really strange if you haven’t talked for over 4 months…

This whole approach might seem like a lot of additional work, but it’s actually a lot less time-consuming than it seems. What you’re doing is basically getting some online friends and learning from their experiences.

What’s your take on this whole thing? Do you think that turning your blogging into a team sport can help you grow at an improved rate?

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance blogger and writer. He’s passionate about turning blogging into a business. If you are interested in how to take your guest blogging to the next level, feel free to visit him at YoungPrePro and check out the guest blogging guide.

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