Relationship building is one of the most underrated parts of success. As an entrepreneur, it is tempting to think everything can be done alone. For a long time, I had the solo entrepreneur mentality. I didn’t even think of working with other people let alone outsourcing.
Twitter taught me the importance of relationship building. As you engage with your followers every day, it doesn’t take long for relationships to build. You see the same people engaging with your content, and then it’s only a matter of time before you talk about baseball teams and track PRs.
Many of these relationships developed into friendships. The podcast interviews were some of the bonuses that emerged. So how do you build a relationship with someone on the web? Try these six methods:
#1: Praise The Influencers In Personalized Emails
As you consume more content on the web, you will eventually find yourself on the same blog multiple times. The bloggers who own those blogs will soon find themselves within your version of the sphere of influence—people who inspire you to take action.
Wouldn’t it be cool if you got to chat with these bloggers? They notice you and engage with you often? That would be cool, and that can happen. Just be someone the influencer sees often. I’ll combine some of my experience with OkDork’s Poster Child formula to give you the full picture.
- Share their content on social media every day (and mention their @username)
- Send them occasional emails letting them know how their content was helpful
- Comment on the influencer’s blog posts
- Mention the influencer in some of your blog posts
- Email the influencer letting them know about your blog posts mentioning the influencer and kindly ask for a share
Every day, I get emailed from people who fit into two categories. The first category looks like this:
“You’ve never really heard of me, but in case you didn’t know I’ve got the best stuff on the web and you should share it.”
It sounds something like that. Some people will word it nicer than that, but the translation is all the same.
The second category is must smaller, but I pay attention to them. The people in the second category follow most or all of those five main points I highlighted earlier in this blog post.
Daniel Cleveland is one of those people. He’s been engaging with my tweets and sharing my content for a long period of time. He has let me know how my content helped him. Then he sent me an email asking me to share his latest blog post.
And the blog post included me and a link to one of my blog posts (sweet). If you really want an influencer to share your blog post, mentioning that influencer and providing a backlink is the icing on the cake.
You better believe I tweeted that blog post. I even retweeted some of his tweets about that blog post. I’ll even link to it here.
Okay, I totally understand that was five methods wrapped into one. The other ones will be shorter but just as effective.
#2: Respond Quickly
When an influencer responds to you through a comment, social media post, or email, you want to respond as quickly as possible. As soon as you get a response, nothing else is more important for your business right now than replying.
And that’s because of expectations.
The web has created an expectation for super speed. I talking about speed that rivals The Flash. If this blog loads within a second, great. If this blog takes 10 seconds to load, then we’ve got a catastrophe on our hands (well, mostly my hands since most visitors wouldn’t wait that long).
Some of us get frustrated when it takes someone longer than 24 hours to reply to an email. The only difference with an influencer is that unless you were mentioned in the media or a part of the media, most influencers won’t hunt you down for a follow-up.
They get many emails of people trying to build relationships. They get more emails of people saying something along the lines of “My content is the best in the world. Share it.”
Influencers have enough emails to respond to and enough work to do. It’s like college (I am a high school student enrolled into a full-fledged university course so I get to say that). It’s your responsibility to follow-up. Don’t bank on the influencer reminding you to follow-up.
Follow-up quickly and become friends with the influencer, and that’s like acing the final. If you don’t follow-up quick enough and the influencer forgets who you are, you miss out—but it’s not the end.
The quicker you respond, the more appreciative the influencer will be. Not all influencers will respond to you within 24 hours, but they will remember you if you respond quickly and follow-up.
If I see an email that I should respond to, I often flag the email before I respond to it. Flagging an email prevents me from losing it in my inbox. Even if I respond in a week, a response is virtually guaranteed.
#3: Become A Contributor
Some influencers open their blogs to guest contributors (I opt against that for this blog). One of the benefits is that an influencer gets valuable content for free and for no work. Content is literally given to them, put on their blogs, and then SEO kicks in.
This is a great strategy to saving yourself from a lot of work in your blogging strategy. And since influencers have credibility, many of the top bloggers would love to have themselves and their content featured on their blogs.
So if you want to get noticed by these bloggers, become an active contributor. I have read Jeff Bullas’s work for years and enjoy reading it to this day. I thought it would be cool to talk with Jeff Bullas and get some of his insights about blogging.
So I decided to become a contributor.
I submitted my idea and my credentials. Then I waited…and got a response.
Jeff liked the idea and I got to work writing the blog post. It was one of the more challenging blog posts to write because it forced me out of my comfort zone. Jeff gave me several tips such as writing shorter paragraphs/sentences and including tons of pictures that were different to my prior writing style.
The final product was 5 Ways To Flood Your Blog With Traffic Using Pinterest. It took me over four hours to write, but it was well worth it. I got to learn more about blogging, talk with Jeff, and get more traffic to my own blog.
When you contribute on a blog the first time, and you want the influencer to notice you, contribute multiple times. As you contribute more often, the influencer may feel obligated to return the favor in some way (email blast promoting one of your products, social media share, etc).
Any effort from a contributor to return the favor turns out to be awesome in one way or the other.
#4: Grow Your Audience
Growing your audience serves two benefits to relationship building:
- More people are in your audience. That means more people to build relationships with (no kidding).
- More credibility when approaching influencers. I appreciate everyone who tweets my content, but if I get tweeted by a celebrity with millions of followers, I can’t help but stare at that tweet for a while. You don’t need millions of Twitter followers to create a strong impression. However, the larger your audience is, the more it supports what you do.
Start by growing your audience on social media. Then, let some of the people within that audience trickle to your blog. Then, some of your blog visitors trickle to your email list. Some of the people on your email list become customers. By the way, that’s social media ROI in a nutshell.
#5: Write Concise Emails
Successful self-published author Steve Scott lives by the five sentence rule. If the email is longer than five sentences, he won’t read it. I’m sure he makes some exceptions, but the five sentence rule lets him read and reply to emails quicker.
I wrote a five sentence email to Steve Scott asking him some questions about Kindle publishing. He got back to me with a concise email of his own. It saved us both time (he wrote a short email which means it didn’t take long for me to read it).
Since then, I have been using the five sentence rule for all of the emails I send. I understand that some people get slammed with hundreds of emails every day. If my email was a few paragraphs long, many people wouldn’t read it.
One of my ambitions is to be a frequent contributor for some of the websites I enjoy reading content from. Contributing to Jeff Bullas’s blog allowed me to realize this ambition. However, there are other websites that I enjoy reading.
So I decided to send Arianna Huffington an email.
I briefly told her my story, credentials, and my desire to contribute to the Huffington Post. I got a response. Seeing the response land in my inbox felt almost as good as my first sub five mile. In short, I was overjoyed.
This wasn’t a very long email. I believe that a mistake many people make is over-pitching themselves. Many people mention all of their credentials and awards instead of only mentioning the 1-3 that matter the most.
When you want to build relationships with people in the media, write concise emails. They get hundreds of emails per day, so they’re not interested in reading emails that are paragraphs long.
#6: Become A Part Of An Inner Circle (Or Create Your Own)
The strongest relationships happen within an inner circle. While a sphere of influence consists of all of the people who influence you and your work, an inner circle is more valuable.
An inner circle consists of people who are more successful than you and willing to help you throughout your journey. In other words, an inner circle is a group of awesome mentors guiding you in your journey.
The great thing about mentors is that they have been on a similar journey. They can help you achieve success faster since they know the pitfalls and golden roads. The best part is that they keep you accountable. Co-creating courses with people like Jerry Banfield and Joe Parys is one of the best ways I stay accountable because the course creation is now a team effort.
If you want to build your own inner circle, you have two options:
- Pay for consultation sessions with successful experts (they’ll force you to be accountable)
- Partner up with successful experts so both of you are held accountable (only partner up with people who you know can raise your standard of excellence)
If I slack off on my side or find myself working past the deadline, then I don’t feel like a team player. The pressure is on to deliver. That’s the power of an inner circle.
Building relationships is important. Some relationships lead to opportunities while other relationships create accountability. Regardless of what type of relationships you build, they bring additional value to what you do.
Right now, I want to hear from you. What are your thoughts about building relationships with other experts in your niche? Which of these tips resonated with you the most? Do you have any other tips for us? Sound off in the comments section below!