In developing a relationship-building strategy for your blog, it’s important to have a strategic linking plan, to comment constructively, and last but not least, to make the effort to connect on a personal level with your readers.

Navigating the stages of reader contact

Contact with you readers is critical at all stages of blogging: when you’re brand-new, when you’re established, and when you’re a rockstar.

New Kid in the Blogosphere
You’ll have to start out being proactive about contact. The good news is, brand-new bloggers can establish themselves as professional and valuable through using reader contact properly. Turn other bloggers in the new and established levels into readers of your blog by regularly commenting on their blogs and linking to their content. Then, when they transition into readers, these five contact tips will come in handy in helping you form relationships that will take your blog to new levels of success.

Established Niche Blogger
As your relationships (and readership) grow, you’ll start to become an established, recognized blogger within your niche. You’ll still need to be proactive about contact, but at a new level. Now you will be able to more successfully contact bloggers at the Rockstar level because you have demonstrated your thought-leadership and persistence. You’ll also grow a large peer-base of established bloggers. It’s also a great opportunity for you to mentor a beginner blogger, so don’t forget to continue contacting new bloggers. You will also find some readers becoming proactive with you. Bloggers at the established (and even Rockstar) level will start pitching you to review their blog, book or service. But you’ll also probably be busier with the day-to-day of running your blog as your popularity grows. So taking the time to make contact with your readers at this level can really set you apart and build relationships that other bloggers may neglect to foster, securing your readership and opening doors to bigger and cooler opportunities.

When you get to the stage where bloggers outside your niche recognize your blog, you probably will also have a large, loyal following. So, making time for reader contact is a discipline. But it is also still valuable. Readers at all levels will be proactive with you, so top bloggers who are good at responding to readers and being proactive in making reader contact can easily transition their readers into a large army of personal advocates to spread their brand, their blog, their ideas, their company, etc. to thousands of other readers – because everyone wants to be friends with a rockstar blogger. And bloggers help their friends. Entrepreneur / bloggers like Penelope Trunk have used reader contact to build relationships with new bloggers who have become guest bloggers and eventually business partners (for a company based on fostering relationships among Gen Y bloggers, at that.)

No matter what level of blogger you are, don’t underestimate the power of building relationships with readers through contact. So how can you use reader contact to build these powerful relationships?

Here are the top five categories of reader contact that will work to help you build real, dynamic, and invaluable relationships with readers. Make sure to stay tuned in the next few weeks, as I divulge the top techniques of reader contact bloggers at any level can use in each of these categories, along with some powerful resources for each one.

  1. Your comments section
  2. Social networks
  3. E-mail
  4. Phone
  5. In-person meet ups

Did I miss something? Let me know your top reader contact categories in the comments section.

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