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Blogging’s Golden Rule

By Tiffany Monhollon

Why you should be blogging if you’re not already and how to be more successful if you are.

In your life and career, relationships play an integral part in your success. Your personal network can open doors to opportunities that can otherwise elude you. When I started blogging professionally, I realized very quickly that the same could be true of my virtual relationships as well. I learned first-hand why so many career experts are telling people to blog. It’s a great way to demonstrate your knowledge in a subject, and it’s also one of the best ways to build wide-reaching relationships that can grow your career beyond your wildest imagination.

In blogging, relationships are really no different than offline relationships. They take time, effort and consideration to cultivate, and they must be maintained. But, they can really make a difference in your life and career. Just like in life, blogging is all about relationships. If you’re a blogger, they’re invaluable, because they are not only your most powerful tool in promoting your content and your personal brand, they also help connect you to opportunities and other people who can help you reach new levels of success. Here’s how:

Bloggers help bloggers. One of the best parts about blogging is the culture of mutual peer cultivation that exists in many niches. There’s room for everyone to share their voice in the blogosphere, so a sense of competitiveness is minor and usually friendly. Better yet, most bloggers, whether they know it or not, demonstrate that mentoring works really well in the digital world.

Because for the most part, the golden rule is alive and well in blogging. Here’s how it works: once you have a relationship with a blogger, they’re very likely to help you out, in one of many ways. They may add really relevant insight into the commentary on your posts. They could point you in the direction of research, resources or other bloggers that can help you out. They might promote your site or content. Most of the prominent bloggers I know also encourage up-and-coming bloggers they know to guest post. For the most part, they don’t do these things because they’re really going to benefit, even though they may. They do it when and because they have a relationship with you or your ideas.

And when they do, it helps you become successful, because in blogging, you very literally have to have relationships with other people in the form of links, comments, traffic, etc. And that can be intimidating, especially at first. But, the power of Personal PR is, if you take the time to cultivate relationships from the get-go, you can get the links, comments and traffic you need.

Here’s an example: In my first month of blogging, a popular blogger I admired from afar left me a comment encouraging me to blog under my full name. Great advice, which I took. Then, I took time to cultivate that relationship, which exposed me to opportunities I never expected, along with links, resources, more people and greater success. The whole process set the standard for how I relate with other people online. And here’s what I know:

When you take time to invest in relationships, they invest back into you. That’s blogging’s golden rule.

Your relationships with readers, their relationships to your ideas, their relationships with other readers, bloggers and ideas – in the long run, all these relationships will impact, even dictate, your success. And the good news is, building relationships is something you can do.

So, go ahead. Invest in building relationships. Share, connect, relate. You never know how it will end up paying off.

By Tiffany Monhollon | January 16, 2008

Topics: Mentoring, Networking, Personal PR, Relationships, Success |

22 Responses to “Blogging’s Golden Rule”

  1. Carolyn Ann Says:
    January 16th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Doesn’t it depend, Tiffany?

    I’m probably the exception to the rule - I blog simply because, well, I do. (I almost said “have to”, but that’s such a strong term!)

    When I’m not being a complete ass and a total idiot*, I write about those things that interest me - and are probably really detrimental to any potential career I undertake. Whenever I get around to undertaking one (again), that is.

    I, I’ll admit, here, I struggle with blogging about what I know. I know computer networking (even if it’s not called that, anymore), really well. Even if I say so, myself. :-) But I’m not sure I want to write about it! I also know quite a bit about motorcycling - but even I’m running out of ways to describe how I nailed that corner. :-) I like “erudite”, others say “won’t shut up”…

    I do think your advice is worth stating, and following, though. I’m not that so dim that I don’t appreciate that I have the luxury of not being too concerned what others think of me; I can still remember my days as a Union Committee Member, and what that meant in terms of networking, and demonstrating what I knew about the issues at hand.

    Blogging is about relationships, but the same rules of credibility and honesty still apply!

    Carolyn Ann

    *Oh, the former isn’t often (fortunately), and the latter is, well, way too often. I sincerely apologize to you.

  2. Carolyn Ann Says:
    January 16th, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Blimey, I sound like I’m at retirement age. I’m not. And “oops” on the typos. Sorry!

    Carolyn Ann

  3. Ricardo Bueno Says:
    January 16th, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Tiffany,

    First and foremost, Happy New Year! I remember having met you over on Conversation Agent. You wrote a Guest Post titled: The Future of Communication

    I remember you responded to my comment by saying:
    “I agree that the opportunity to engage in conversation with and build relationships with people through blogging is one of the greatest values of participatory media.”

    I agreed with you then and I agree with you now… Relationships (both on and off-line) are all there is! Some people blog for business purposes and that’s fine. But a relationship must be built between you and your reader before you’re given permission to “sell” them anything!

  4. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    January 16th, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    @ Carolyn Ann - Honesty and credibility are also really important. That’s why I love talking about blogging relationships in terms of the golden rule analogy - when you really look at the statement “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” you see that it’s not about you - it’s about the others. Of course, you how you treat them to be reciprocal, but really, there are no promises. But you can’t control what others do, so you focus on what you can do.

    Which is a pretty rich metaphor for what happens when you build relationships in blogging. You do it first. You build relationships. You don’t have any promises of how people will respond, or what they will do. You just do it because it’s the best thing to do.

    But it’s interesting, because I’ve found that when you’re following the golden rule of blogging, people tend to respond back in a similar manner.

    Of course, whether or not that’s something you’re concerned with to begin with does depend - on your purpose, on your position, on a lot of things. And that’s ok, because like I said, there’s room for everyone in the blogosphere to share their voice. But if you’re in it to become an expert, build your career, or enhance your business, you better be building relationships.

    @ Ricardo - Nice to see you again! I agree - people have a lot of different reasons for blogging. A lot of different goals, perspectives, ideas. But relationships are a common key.

  5. Sarah Says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 1:26 am

    Dear Tiffany,

    I really enjoy your blog and use it as a motivating tool for myself. I have been in the ‘real world’ work force for a couple of months after graduating from college in spring 2007. I have just started working on my blog and realize the importance of creating relationships with other bloggers. What is some advice you have for someone who is just starting out in the blog world and how to make those kind of relationships?

  6. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 1:52 am

    Hey, Sarah. Thanks for stopping by! I’m so excited to know the blog is encouraging your own efforts. There’s nothing better as a blogger to hear than that!

    Also, thanks for your question. There are many ways you can go about this, and the conversation we’re in right now is one really good tool. Since there are many different types of realtionships you can form, I’m going to go more in depth on this in another post, but three of your best tools will be:
    1) Comments
    2) Links
    3) Contact

    I’ll get more into how you can use each of these to build relationships as a blogger soon, so stay tuned!

    What are you doing right now in terms of trying to build relationships? And, who are you trying to build them with? Curious to know what all you’re doing in this area, and what you’re finding to be successful.

  7. Ricardo Bueno Says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 4:46 am

    I was just about to say that the only question left is, “how do you go about forming the relationship?” It seems Sarah beat me to the question though and you’ve already got a head-start on the answer. :)

    I just want to add that although “comments” and “links” are some excellent ways to get started, you have to be genuine in your interest. A comment such as “great blog!” or “Nice post, thanks!” don’t merit a conversation!

  8. Derrick Kwa Says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Really good post.

    I think more than just blogging, in practically everything we do, relationships are one of the most important things. At least to me. And the power of blogging (and the internet, with Twitter, etc), is that it makes it easier to form and maintain relationships.

    Looking forward on your tips to forming the relationship. =)

  9. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Great points, Ricardo, I’ll be digging into the more specific details of how exactly to make those three tools work, because how you go about using these them is critical in whether or not you get the results you want - conversation included!

  10. Shawn Says:
    January 18th, 2008 at 8:49 am

    I started blogging to build a marketing platform while I was shopping a job search book to publishers. I think the thing that I’ve been the most surprised by is how many relationships I’ve developed with fellow bloggers, none of whom I’ve ever met. Yet all have been incredibly generous with their time. In a lot of ways, it’s like a fraternity…we all build up institutional knowledge that we want to share with others in the community.

  11. Andre Says:
    January 18th, 2008 at 9:48 am

    I’ve seen blogging as a kind of extension of my own personality. In the offline world, I enjoy meeting new people and learning about folks. I try to make it a priority to do random calls and check ups on my friends and people I know.

    With our society so bent on individuality and independence, it doesn’t hurt to bring back a sense of community. So on point with this one Tiffany!

  12. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    January 18th, 2008 at 9:53 am

    It’s amazing, isn’t it. I felt exactly the same way when I started making relationships with people through blogging. I love that analogy, of a fraternity. The support, the opportunities. . . really meaningful relationships that last and make a real impact in your life and even career.

    I’m curious, since publishing a book is a goal of mine: What was the biggest benefit in the book publishing process that blogging brought you?

  13. Anita Bruzzese Says:
    January 24th, 2008 at 3:53 am

    Tiffany,
    First, let me say congratulations on your new blogging effort! Second, I can offer some insight about the book publishing and blogging.
    Blogging should be considered as ONE tool in promoting a book, just like contacting journalists about publicity, book signings, etc. That being said, I can tell you that blogging can be really helpful in helping you spread the word about your book and making it stand out in a crowded field. Some bloggers will tell you that they were completely responsible for some book’s success, but the truth is that a book is successful because a number of marketing strategies were put in place well ahead of publication, and then well executed. Blogging definitely helps with the word of mouth, but again, you have to target the right bloggers so that you target the right audience. It takes preparation and research, just like any other book promotion effort. I hope that answers some of your questions!
    Anita Bruzzese
    author: “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy.”

  14. Anita Bruzzese Says:
    January 25th, 2008 at 12:18 am

    You’ve been tagged!:http://www.45things.com/blog.php

    Anita

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  18. Easton Ellsworth Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Tiffany, if you haven’t met Dawud Miracle, you should. I think he just posted at dmiracle.com today or yesterday on why businesses ought to blog for relationships’ sake first and money’s sake long after.

    Nice red theme you’ve got here, by the way.

  19. Kevin Says:
    February 20th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Tiffany, great information!

  20. 5 Blogging Secrets in an iPod : Brazen Careerist Says:
    March 3rd, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    [...] 4. “Are you only being nice because you want something?” Thom Yorke asks in The Eraser. Then he confesses that’s his motivation. The truth is, for better or worse, that’s also the case for pretty much every blogger I know. After all, no one’s making us do this. What exactly we want out of it differs – a platform, a business, an income; relationships, inspiration, change. So admit that first – that you’re doing this because you want something. Define that something. Embrace it. Don’t let it do you in. And then realize that since everyone in this grand conversation called the blogosphere is here because we want something, our best way to get what we want is to help other people get what they’re after first. [...]

  21. Amy Says:
    March 9th, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    I Stumbled Upon your blog and this thread while digging in to your blog…and boy am I glad I did. You have given me immense inspiration and encouragement just in this one thread. I have added you to rss feed and given you a thumbs up at Stumble Upon. Keep up the good work. The Golden Rule of Bloggers is so very true!

  22. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    March 10th, 2008 at 2:43 am

    @ Amy - Thanks for letting me know how you found the site and what this post means to you. I have been blown away by the truth of the golden rule in blogging, and I think it’s something that adds tremendous value to people, so thanks for helping spread the word!

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