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.