Then I realized that a lot of people out there seem not to do this at all – form a community, that is. So here’s a primer on becoming part of someone else’s community, and how to make that community a part of yours.
Think of it as your guide to making friends online.
How to Find Friends Through Blogs
Many people tell you that you should comment on other people’s blogs. I’m about to be one of those people in just a minute. The only way to comment on other people’s blogs, though, is to find blogs worth commenting upon.
It’s not going to do you any good if you just show up to the most popular blogs you know of and write a comment there every day. For one thing, Darren Rowse is a busy guy. He has long since stopped having time to say hi to you.
This is common for blogs at large and perfectly understandable. When you reach a certain level of popularity, you have way too many people clamoring for your attention. You stop trying to sift through the mess to find that one cool new guy.
Stephen King might have been thrilled at some point in his early career to get a fan letter, for example. He might have written his fan back. They might have become buddies. Try writing Stephen now. There’s a very slim chance Mr. King will even see your letter, much less respond to it personally.
The same is true for uber-popular bloggers. They are busy guys. You should go to their blogs and comment anyway, because they have lots of good things to say and their communities listen to you, talk to you, and make friends with you.
Guess what else you should do?
That’s right. You should check out other commentators’ blogs. Chances are pretty good that they like the same sorts of things you like, since they are on a blog that you like. If you think their comment is funny or insightful, go click the link and check out their blog. See if you like it. If you like it, comment on it.
Check out their blogroll, too, if they have one, and check out who else comments on their blog. If this is a cool person, they probably know other cool people that you might want to know.
Give yourself an assignment: Find five cool new blogs every week. Try putting them in your feed reader for two weeks and see if you read every post. If you do, keep that blog, make friends with the blog owner, and bring them into your community.
If you don’t, let it go. It’s okay to be a little picky. There are plenty of fish out there.
How to Comment On Other Blogs the Right Way
This is sort of self-explanatory, but we see a lot of people still don’t get how to comment properly. Here are a few hard-and-fast rules for commenting on other blogs:
• Don’t link to your own articles unless it is really, truly, spot-on relevant to the blog post you’re commenting on. Otherwise it’s just shameless self-promotion, and no one likes that.
• Be interesting. Don’t just say, “Great post,” if you want to be noticed. If you’re a regular, that’s fine, but if this guy doesn’t know you yet, give him a taste of your personality.
• Use the tools you have in the comment section. Lots of blogs now offer Comment Luv (if you want to see what that looks like, comment below), and you can also leave your website URL in the URL field.
• Don’t be stupid about the name field. Your name isn’t Brochure Printing or Wonderbra Lingerie or Firewall Networking. That’ll fast track you to spam and you’ll be screwed.
Write to Other Blog Owners
Lots of people know they should comment on blogs they like, but very few people take that critical extra step: actually contacting the blog owner and telling them how much their writing is enjoyed. You could even be really, really smart, and send an email to a commentator as well, just to say how much you liked their comment.
This is the part that makes you different– this is the part where you build a relationship.
I met Nick Cernis this way. I met Taylor this way. I met Brian Clark this way. I met ___ or ___ or ___ this way. Or they met me. It doesn’t really matter. At a certain point, we started sending emails to each other regularly. We were buddies.
And we were part of one another’s communities. We stopped keeping track of how we met, or who contacted whom first, or anything else.
We’re friends. It feels good to be friends. If one of these friends comes out with some awesome new product next week, I’ll be the first one to tell you about it.
Because I like these guys, and I respect their work. And they like me.
Go get yourself some new friends online.