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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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How To Get The Most Out Of SEO Conferences

Google Booth

Google Booth (Photo credit: toprankonlinemarketing)

There are several great SEO conferences happening at various times of the year, in varying locations across the globe. Almost everyone can fit one of these events into their schedule, no matter how busy they are. Here are a few tips to help you maximize the benefits of conference attendance.

Pick an Event

First you have to decide which event to attend.

Options:

Learn

When you attend these events, you should learn more about SEO concepts and how to build your SEO skills so you can leverage them in favor of your website. Attend every information session you can pack into your schedule. Take a notepad, laptop or netbook so you can take notes. Pick up hand outs that are offered at each session. If books or other learning materials are offered for sale, pick a few up if your budget allows. Soak up information like a sponge and store it away for later.

Generate Ideas

While you are gaining knowledge, record any content ideas you think of during the process. Ideas for new and exciting content can be found almost anywhere, and SEO conferences are minefields for ideas. Take notes on your thoughts and then flesh out the ideas later when you have some down time. When you get home, put these ideas into play on your blog or website.

Network

You will meet many experts at SEO conferences. Mingle about and get to know some of the top people in the field. Get your name out there without being pushy or obnoxious. It’s also important to network with newbies. You can share your knowledge with others who are just getting started, and can have someone to bounce ideas off of. You never know who will be able to help you, or who you’ll be able to lend a helping hand to, so get out there and meet everyone you can.

Ask Questions

It’s important to ask questions at SEO conferences. Whether it’s during an information session or class, or just during an icebreaker session when you are talking to other conference attendees, make sure you get the answers you need. Make a list of questions before you get to the conference and then add to it as other questions come to mind during the conference. If you don’t have time to get all the answers you need, find the names of some professionals that will be willing to help you once you get home, and stay in contact with them.

Take Action

It’s important to keep up your momentum after the conference. Many SEO enthusiasts and professionals attend these events, then go home and go back to normal. This is a waste of time and money. Take the knowledge you’ve gained and put it into practical use when you get back to your life. Improve or redesign your website. Put together a blog post about what you’ve learned.

Share Knowledge

If you have friends or colleagues that were unable to attend but could benefit from what you’ve learned, share your knowledge. Sit down with them in person or send some emails back and forth. This will not only help teach them new things, it will help you understand the information you learned during your conference attendance.

Chris Countey writes about SEO, especially technical or on-page optimization, for Delphic Digital, a Philadelphia digital marketing agency.

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