When I was in Kindergarten, my mother worked at a resort with a swimming pool. My father wanted to teach me how to swim, so he was treading water in the deep end of the pool, and I was to jump off the diving board to my father. I can remember distinctly how scared I felt, and then my dad said something that gave me the nudge I needed, but terrified me to the core. He said, “Jump.”
Creating a network and even writing a blog can be terrifying; we might feel a little exposed. I am sitting here in the deep end, and I am telling you “Jump.”
When the Internet was in its infancy, I was working at a print shop. There was this group of people that my boss would meet with every week. It was a networking consortium of sorts that would pass business off to each other. My boss had to pay $150.00 a month for this networking group; I thought it was great, because I would go and get lunch out of the deal, but the most important aspect of the group - we got business.
The purpose of networking is to expand your voice. When you get with likeminded individuals you can bounce ideas off of each other, create bonds with people and get helpful insights. However you must be open to constructive criticism, as well as be open to giving constructive criticism.
A good network partner will give you constructive criticism, because they want you to get better, consequently, you should want members of your network to get better, so if you have constructive criticism, you should share.
Let me warn you however, don’t dress down your friend in front of their community. If there is something that is a flagrant misuse of the English language, or an error in formatting, or you fact checked a blog and found it in error, and it might embarrass them in any way - comment to them privately, don’t ruin your own community by being that Jackwagon that points out everyone’s faults - don’t be mean; people will start pointing out your faults.
One of the best way for us as bloggers to develop our valuable network, is to search out other blogs, and sign into their mailing list, make a comment, and then ask them to look at your blog. However this requires you to start the conversation. Make reading other’s blogs an important part of your day.
As a personal note I try to make at least one contact a day, but I recognize I need to do more, and so I need to make a goal, and stick with it.
Now when I say build a valuable network, this is more than just a regular network. What I mean is this: If you are a blogger that focuses on Politics, a valuable network partner might not be one who is a fashion blogger; conversely if you are a fashion blogger will you find anything really interesting in the blogs of a writer in politics. I am not saying they will not be important to you, and that you will not find anything interesting in each other’s blogs: I am saying don’t make your entire valuable network something other than your blog focus. As a blogger, you are your own brand - that brand is either strengthened or weakened by your network.