Are You Making Connecting with People Online Harder Than it Should Be?

Are You Making Connecting with People Online Harder Than it Should Be?

When someone asks what the fastest way to grow traffic to a website is, first I tell them they’re asking the wrong question.

Wanting to know the “fastest” or “easiest” way to do anything is a sure route to failure. The fastest route is the path sold to suckers with no patience for the actual process involved in creating real value.

Instead, let’s talk about the important components of building your online audience, or how other successful people have done it. Those are things worth talking about. A single formula doesn’t exist because every situation is different.

There is rarely a single “right way” to do something complicated, especially when it comes to growing a business online.

But I’m getting a little off topic here. What can I say, I’m a little punchy after entertaining my folks for a week while trying to finish everything up for the Traffic School launch.

OK, so if you were to ask me what the most important components of building a thriving online audience are, I’d always start with content. You have to write epic shit to succeed. We’ve covered that here quite a bit lately. Hopefully I’m not beating it to death.

Beside outstanding content, what else do you need to attract visitors?

You need strong differentiation, a great design and a killer brand.

Those are all foundational elements.

Then, once you have a strong foundation and killer content in place, you need to get the word out to your potential audience.

The people you want to reach already hang out somewhere online. They’re reading other websites and blogs, typing searches into Google, spending time on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Your job is to get in front of those people where they already spend time and bring them back to your site.

One of the best ways to get in front of lots of new qualified visitors is to get your site featured on other relevant websites and blogs.

This site gets thousands of visitors every month from sites like ViperChill, DIYThemes, Smart Passive Income Blog, Social Mouths and

How did Think Traffic get featured on these popular blogs?

It’s an easy formula:

  1. I consistently wrote the best content I could to establish a reputation
  2. I developed relationships with the bloggers behind each of those sites

Opportunities then grow naturally out of your reputation and relationships. I rarely if ever ask those guys directly for help in promoting anything here.

“But wait!” you might be asking. “That works for you because you’re already established. How do I make relationships with big names if I’m just starting out?”

Great question. You’re actually screwed because it’s too late. There’s too much competition now to join the club and get your site featured on other bigger sites.

Kidding. (did I have you going there?)

Here’s the thing that always blows me away about how some new bloggers think. They act as if “established” bloggers have always been that way. As if we were ordained some special place in the blogosphere back when the Internet was formed or something.

The truth is, this site is less than a year old. I didn’t know any of those people who link to my site a year ago. In fact, my entire experience with blogging started less than two years ago. At this exact time two years ago, I was a complete blogging newbie, just like you might be.

I put my pants on just like the rest of you — one leg at a time. Except, once my pants are on, I make gold records.

So don’t give me a line about how hard it is to create relationships and get other bloggers to link to you. I was just there myself.

I understand that it can be frustrating when no one pays attention to you at first. But, if you have some patience and put in the effort, you can make strong, mutually beneficial connections with other bloggers too.

Here’s something else to keep in mind. Back when I started this site, the people who seem so huge and well established now weren’t nearly as big a deal. Yes, they had modest followings, but some of them have grown massively over the past year.

Don’t set your sights exclusively on “a-listers.” Look for people who are coming up and gaining momentum fast. Become friends now and ride the wave with them.

In any case, no matter who you try to make connections with, there are some basic ground rules to keep in mind. I think a lot of people are making the whole “connecting with other bloggers” thing much harder than it needs to be.

One of the worst things you can do when trying to connect with a blogger or entrepreneur you don’t know is to send an email out of the blue asking for someone to promote your new blog post or product.

Why would I want to promote something simply because someone I don’t know asked me to? It’s simple. I wouldn’t. In fact, I’m 1,000% less likely to promote your article if you ask me to and I don’t know you.

Karol Gajda agrees. I noticed this tweet from him as I was writing this post:

You have to form relationships naturally. Asking for something from someone you don’t know is just pushy and rude.

Think about how relationships work in real life. Do you go around trying to make friends by asking strangers to tell everyone they know about some project you worked on?

If you’re having trouble making connections with people online, just focus on following the same etiquette you follow in the regular world. Try to be helpful and genuinely interested in the other person first. Don’t rush things, and don’t try to force relationships with people who aren’t a good natural fit.

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to write a stranger an email if that stranger has a contact page on his or her website. I love hearing from readers and up-and-coming bloggers. If you do write a stranger though, make your first contact about that person, not all about you.

Try flattery, try giving helpful feedback, try offering to help the person with something you read they are working on.

Perhaps even ask for advice, but keep your questions brief. Busy people appreciate brevity above almost anything else. Especially when they’re first getting to know you.

Then, nurture your relationship slowly and naturally over time. If the person you wrote responds, great. If they show enthusiasm about you or what you reached out about, that’s even better.

If the person doesn’t respond or doesn’t seem to click with you for some reason, don’t get pushy or self-promotional. It’s better to focus on the people who you seem to naturally connect with.

An even better way to get in touch with a stranger you want to get to know is to get introduced. Once you start connecting with people, you’ll learn who knows who and you’ll see that online networks tend to be rather close knit.

Identify a list of people you want to get in touch with and think about who you might know who also knows those people. Ask for a quick introduction and take things from there. Warm introductions are always better than cold ones.

After you’ve connected with some people online, keep offering to help them out. The more help you offer, the more opportunities will open up for you naturally.

People tend to reciprocate. It’s one of the laws of influence.

Remember, treat your online relationships just like you treat your real life ones. Connecting with people online isn’t hard, it just requires patience and sincerity.

Have other tips for connecting with people online? Have you had good or bad experiences recently either trying to connect with or trying to be connected with by someone else?

Please share in the comments!

photo by Florian SEROUSSI

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  • Codrut Turcanu

    I take this as best advice in the post Corbett

    “If the person doesn’t respond or doesn’t seem to click with you for some reason, don’t get pushy or self-promotional. It’s better to focus on the people who you seem to naturally connect with.”

    As for helping people, I noticed it’s wise NEVER offer advice to people if they do not ask it for.

  • Raven

    Not riding in the same circle with the same circle. All this stuff is so ephemeral — the A-list blogger could be shutting down their website in a year. Branching out and really enjoying different sites without the singular vision of how they can help you.

    And, of course, nurture your writing by discovering your own logos incarnate — that’s what remains.

    • Tesla Falcon

      10 years ago, the list of top online marketers were very different than 5 yes ago which is different from today. I’d estimate that it took / takes 5 yrs to go from 0 to A-list, then 5 yrs to stay on top as A-list then retire. Yanik Silver used to be EVERYWHERE (c. 1997), but I haven’t heard from him in ages. I doubt that he ‘failed’, but he no longer needs to be as active as he used to be to stay on top of his privacy & lifestyle. Who’s going to step up to the space that’ll be opened up next year by a retired A-Lister & the next year & the next year. Start today & set your sites on 2016.

      • Geek Business

        That is such an astute comment Tesla. I think the rotation in and out through is closer to 2 years than 5. I’ve seen the rotation of affiliate “superstars” evolve quite a bit in even the last 6 or so years. I still follow some of the former superstars just to keep up, but the frequency of high quality posts and advice from them looks very much like a bell curve. Low in the beginning, a nice big hump in the middle, then a slow long tail curve towards the end.

  • Sarah Russell

    Very well said, Corbett. There isn’t some secret formula to building relationships and getting traffic online. It’s actually pretty similar to meeting and connecting with people in the real world, except that instead of going to a bar or a meetup group, we go to Twitter, forums, etc.

    Yeah, it’s not easy to put yourself out there and it’s definitely time consuming, but just like with the offline world, it’s a choice that you have to consciously make and pursue unless you want to be virtually “sitting at home alone on a Friday night” :)

  • Kev Kaye

    You mentioned one of the most effective ways I’ve built relationships online. Showing interest in what they are doing online first and foremost is a great way to spark the conversation. People are usually willing to share, and they’ll have the most to say about themselves over any thing else…

    …or you can recruit your favorite bloggers to join your Call of Duty clan. I don’t play, but I’ve seen that work some networking magic too :)

  • Piper Larson

    Great post! I’m not sure why so many people look at online relationships differently than offline versions. As you pointed out, the same principles apply. It’s a give and take. Not everyone we meet in life wants to be friends. That’s OK. And most of us would never dream of walking up to a complete stranger on the street, and asking for a favor. We need to follow the same guidelines online. Thanks for the tips!

  • Kev Kaye

    You mentioned one of the most effective ways I’ve built relationships online. Showing interest in what they are doing online first and foremost is a great way to spark the conversation. People are usually willing to share, and they’ll have the most to say about themselves over any thing else…

    …or you could recruit your favorite bloggers to join your Call of Duty clan. I don’t play, but I’ve seen that work some networking magic too :)

    • Corbett

      Really, you’ve seen people networking well around a video game? I’d love to hear more.

  • Jia Jun

    Indeed, any business is all about relationship.
    Network = net worth.
    Thanks for the advice and sharing Corbett.
    I’m still at my primary stage which is building up my reputation and write epic shit.
    While always visiting and comment at bloggers which I admire a lot + learn from. Perhaps this is one tiny step to make blogger notice me too, giving before receiving.

  • Wilson

    What a clear read, I love it. I understand it. Patience that’s one of my favorite words. But yea, you’re right my friend, you need to be sincere, I know exactly what you mean. I just hate it when I get the typical email you know, “WOW dude you rock, blah blah…but I wanted to tell you about…” At WOW I lost him.

    I don’t think I’ve ever meet a new person and run up to them, wow dude you’re…whatever, no I just act normal, give a hand shake, talk slowly normal, just get to know the person. It isn’t until later that you actually start cracking jokes at each other and having some good laughs.

    I don’t know why people think the Internet is a different world, it’s the same people, nothing has changed just the platform.

    My advice to would be to be genuine and show them you do care or have interest, don’t tell them. Retweet their post, leave that first comment on their blog that’s never been commented on, etc… like you said, there are different situations, for different cases, there really isn’t one shoe fits all.

  • Naked Girl in a Dress

    Great piece Corbett! I am networking with other bloggers and do see an improvement in links and traffic as a result. Baby steps though, but it is all adding up.

  • Meg

    Great post, Corbett. Thanks, as always, for the practical advice. As a “newbie”, that is what I most appreciate about your writing – you really cut through the crap and get real with a topic that is usually treated so ephemerally. I *really* appreciate it.

    One problem I have with building relationships online (and the same goes for “networking” offline) is the whole sincerity issue – when I approach someone, I truly am sincere in wanting to get to know them. Otherwise I wouldn’t be there. But I feel that, given the context (I’m a newbie, they’re established), I’m coming across as just trying to be friendly in order to eventually get something out of them. As usual, I’m over-thinking it.

    Anyway, my point is, it helps a lot to hear that it really is ok to approach other bloggers in a friendly and sincere manner. Thanks for this post.

    • Corbett

      You probably are over-thinking it a bit. Consider the situation the people you’re reaching out to are in. If someone is busy, she’s probably getting lots of email from strangers all the time. If you’re much more sincere and helpful than the average, you’ll easily stand out from the crowd. Most people write asking for things. If you write offering something instead or just to say “I appreciate what you do” it will be a breath of fresh air.

      • marianney | A Life Set Free

        I admit, I have felt the same way a little, Meg.
        Thank you for your perspective on this Corbett.

      • marianney | A Life Set Free

        This I think is KEY, Corbett:

        “Here’s something else to keep in mind. Back when I started this site, the people who seem so huge and well established now weren’t nearly as big a deal. Yes, they had modest followings, but some of them have grown massively over the past year.”

        I only started blogging last fall after following some of the big names for almost 2 years. When I started blogging, I started to discover all the “little guys” out there and now we have kind of created our own little community. By all means it’s not exclusive, I feel like it expands every day. And while we’re all kind of on the same level: great content, a few followers, etc. I have no doubt that some of the hard workers in our community will start to really shine and grow a bigger and bigger following.

        Like you said, everyone starts somewhere as a newbie. But we help each other to succeed and that’s what I love most about the blogging community!

        • marianney | A Life Set Free

          oh no, i did not mean to add this last comment ^ in this thread, so sorry!

          • Corbett

            No worries ;)

  • peto

    I’d like to ask if you could refrain from using stock photos like the one in this article. Maybe it intends to be funny, but it actually looks awful and cheap. Better put some genuine photo there or just leave it without a photo. But maybe that’s just me.

    • Corbett


      Anybody else not like the photos I sometimes use here?

      • Naked Girl in a Dress

        I disagree with Peto. You lose visual interest from those scanning your blog if it is all text. You need to break it up with an image.

        I typically have an image in my posts and I think it helps.

        Stick with photos is my opinion.

      • Meg

        I agree that this particular photo isn’t anything special, and would maybe suggest that you raise your standards a bit, but that also might just be the photographer in me talking. The dingy yellow-ish background turns me off a bit.

        Using “genuine” photos (by which I can only assume he means your own work or that of an artist rather than stock images) is extremely costly, both in terms of time and effort, so really not worth it in this context. Stock images are good enough for the new york times and the economist, and I think that’s a pretty good standard. And images are definitely a must-have! I say keep it up.

        • David Cain

          Genuine photos can be used for free from flickr creative commons. Use to find flickr photos on any subject, licensed for commercial use. Takes a few minutes.

          I don’t like the “stock” look at all either. Not that the photo makes much of a difference to the content.

          • Corbett

            The photo I used on this post is actually from Flickr. I suppose it has a more “stock photo” look than some, but it is in the Creative Commons at Flickr. Haven’t tried but the search functionality on Flickr works OK as well for finding CC images.

      • Wayne John @ Southern California Web Development

        I see absolutely nothing wrong with it at all. Yeah, it might be stock, but I think it themes well with the storyline.

        I also disagree with Peto.

      • Kev Kaye

        I don’t pay much attention to photos unless they’re referenced in the content.

      • Dave Doolin

        It’s not the greatest photo maybe, but it’s far from the worst, and it’s a good photo to have in one’s royalty free collection. Wouldn’t mind having one like it myself.

        But who could possibly care what some anonymous person thinks anyway?

        The irony being, of course, that the article is about connection…

      • John Muldoon

        I come here to read what you’ve written, not check out which photo you’ve chosen. This is a classic 80/20 idea. Keep writing epic shiz, and it doesn’t matter if you’re hanging goofy stock photos or original masterpieces. That said, I did chuckle at this photo, but I think that’s a good thing.

      • Bolaji O |

        I wouldn’t put much stock in the perspective of someone who visits your blog, and describes anything as “awful” and “cheap”.

        It says more about them, than it does about what they’re critiquing.

        This post is talking about making connecting with people harder than it should be.

        Peto just made it a whole lot harder for Corbett, or anyone else reading these comments, to connect with him.

        The very same feedback could have been delivered constructively.
        And I’m not talking about kissing up to get some cool points from “the blogger up on mountain high.”

        I’m talking about respectful communication with one’s peers.

        Peto, it turns out that a few other people thought the image could be better. So your opinion wasn’t off-base.

        But your delivery could have been better.

        The delivery of the message is as important as the message, methinks.

        Having said that – I give you credit for pointing it out – I’m sure Corbett’s images will be better than this one going forward.

        (I respect that Corbett didn’t simply ignore completely, or lash out against, Peto’s comment.)


    • Mark

      I see what peto is saying, but Ogilvy says a photo up top with a headline below is the most read format (for advertorials). I think it applies to blogs. The problem with the photo in this post is that it looks like the girl is talking to herself or her twin….that doesn’t make sense to me. Great post!

  • Wayne John @ Southern California Web Development

    I appreciate brevity as well. There’s nothing worse that getting stuck in conversation with someone that just drones on and on and on…

    Keep it quick and simple, and let’s move forward…no need to elaborate beyond what’s necessary. Shut yer trap! lol

  • Bradley Charbonneau

    My business partner and I just had this conversation yesterday (about building relationships), so thanks for the extremely relevant and timely content!

    About the photo question, I wanted to comment because I think this is actually quite difficult. I absolutely like/want a photo per post, but when it’s forced (which I mention because I feel I often force a photo in just to have something in there), it can detract from the “epic-ness” of the post. You spent all this time writing excellent content and then tossed in a photo (I’m not saying that’s what you did here, but that’s what it sounds like Peto’s point is).

    I work with an art director and it’s awesome to watch her select photos for a site–awesome as in, “I’m in awe.” She takes the topic and then tries to get a level above it, the helicopter view, the underlying message, the core of the content. I can’t replicate it here because I’m not as clever as she is, but for this topic, what are we talking about? Establishing relationships. The uber-cheesy stock photo would be the handshake. What are other ideas? Making contact, creating (content), asking (questions)/requests, etc. OK, sorry, I’m getting into this as I write before 9 AM (when I have to get to *work*), but I did a search in iStockPhoto for “establishing relationships” and filtered for photos only. Lots of handshakes and hands clasping together. Hmm, farther down I get some bees working together. Page 3 gets me to begging her which is not what we want to do (beg), but IS kinda funny and probably what of lots of think we would have to do to get these A-Listers to respond. The photo would at least trigger a smidgen of curiosity, “Why did he choose that photo? What’s up with the old guy begging the young girl? Is that his bride? Is that his daughter? Do they even have a relationship? OK, that’s more than a smidgen of curiosity … Page 7 gets us to horse chestnuts (whatever those are). I’m a little partial to food photography, but what’s the story here? Or what could it be? All of these nuts in the same bowl, all hanging out together, but we don’t know each other until (warning: cheesy-ness approaching) we open up and share something with each other. Until we break open that shell, we all could be sitting next to each other and not even know it. We need to open up that shell, contact that a-lister (using whatever method) and see what happens. It’s not going to happen if you don’t open up out of your shell.

    OK, I’m stopping at page 7. Horse chestnuts, bees, old guy. Any of those epic?

    • Dave Doolin

      Brad, I’m gonna offer my opinion on this one, in part because I’d like to draw out Corbett on why he chose this photo.

      In my opinion, this photo supports the article by
      1. Relating to the topic of difficult connection. Tin cans connected by string is not the best way to communicate.

      2. Sets an emotional tone of confusion, which is what I read on the face to the right, and further supports the premise of the article.

      There’s more:
      * The color in the photo matches the theme colors well. (Lack of visual punch would be a con to that pro)
      * Cute women/girls are, well, people like to look at such. It’s a monkey thing.

      The only real con I can see is that it is, indeed, slightly cheesy. In my opinion, small price to pay for nailing down all other (and more important) points.

      Peto, whoever that is, probably just has some indigestion or something. Maybe he or she will feel better tomorrow.

      • Bradley Charbonneau

        This is a great analysis (that I missed), “Tin cans connected by string is not the best way to communicate.” Then the post is going to be how to do it better. But it took your “explanation” to get me thinking that way. When I first saw it I thought, “Aha, communication.” Yep, tin cans, string, cute girls, OK, get it, moving onto content now. You’re right about the colors, too. Yep, match.

        Now that I look at the photo more closely, you could also say something about the fact that the girl on the left and the girl on right are the same girl. So in effect, she’s just talking to herself. Site with no visitors? :-) Not good! Expand your communication beyond just yourself! Dump the tin can and string and get a megaphone! Write epic shit!

        I bet you and I are discussing this photo WAY more than Corbett did! :-)

        • Dave Doolin

          “I bet you and I are discussing this photo WAY more than Corbett did! ”

          Probably! Corbett has a pretty good instinct for these sorts of things. I get all analytical and try to figure _why_ stuff works as it does.

          Corbett: Bradley and I were at the WordPress SF meetup last night, and it was great! Where, sir, where you?

          • John Muldoon

            Bradley totally tried to get me to go to that meetup (I’m the “business partner” he mentioned in his first comment). Now I wish I did. Sounds like a great group. :)

            Relationships, built organically, are the most valuable thing I’ve found in business.

          • Corbett

            I spent about 2 minutes looking for that photo, so yeah, you guys are definitely discussing it WAY more than I thought about it ;)

            But you’re right Dave, I think your analysis is right on. I may have spent just 2 minutes choosing the photo, but I thought a) the “tin cans and string” connection you brought up b) the overall colors / composition were pleasing to me and c) using photos of attractive people doesn’t usually hurt.

            Sorry I missed the meetup. That sounds fun, in a geeky kind of way. I’m in Mexico for another couple of weeks but will have to attend another one coming up. We can talk at more length about blog post photos ;)

  • Kev Kaye

    I have a question I think is worth discussing…

    Is commenting on someones blog ACTUALLY a good networking strategy? There is a lot that can be said for either side, here is my brief take.

    A blogger perceives a commenter as an audience member or customer. While the blogger is willing to provide value and serve them well, they aren’t on the look out for networking opportunities within that group.

    I think this could be attributed to an unconscious decision that feels “I’m advising you with my content, therefore I am more significant than you, and my radar for new opportunities is off.” That may seem a bit arrogant, but I think its going on behind the scenes without much thought.

    Again, I think a lot can be said on either side, I’m interested to hear what others think.

    • Corbett

      Hey Kev, great question. Personally, I think commenting on the blogs of people you’d like to connect with is an excellent approach at first. Bloggers love thoughtful comments that contribute to the discussion. By adding value a couple of times you can definitely get on someone’s radar. I’ve used the approach myself.

      Of course, you can’t expect that you’ll make a connection just by commenting, especially if the blogger gets a lot of comments. At some point you’ll have to reach out over Twitter, email, Facebook, etc. to further the conversation.

    • Bolaji O |

      Whatup, Kev:

      Consider that if your a big fan of a certain blogger’s web site, you’ll probably have some things in common with other followers of the site.

      Commenting is a great way to build relationships with the followers of a blog.

      By commenting, you put a stake in the ground as to where your opinion is. Other readers can agree, or disagree with you… and conversation ensues.

      Corbett may not be able to respond to every commenter… but commenters likely have more bandwidth to further relationships with each other… when there’s an ideological fit.

  • ayngelina

    I find it so weird that people look for the secrets to social media. It’s simple, be a normal, sincere person and people will want to interact with you. Instead so many people spend time, energy, money on gimmics when they should just treat people in social media as they would in life.

    If you can’t buy friends in real life why would you want to in social media?

    • Tesla Falcon

      Hmm… Real life? That’s no good.

      I had a buddy who had over 10,000 people in his little black encyclopedia (too many books for just one) that he could call on regularly. He seemed to attract friends like a dog attracts fleas. He’d meet them once and that’d be it: friends for life.

      I’ve been all over the country over the past 15 years. I have <15 friends to show for it. I've met MANY thousands of people made hundreds of acquaintances, but FEW friends.

      I guess I've got to ask, "What's your definition of a friend?"
      If your definition is someone I share something with, then the whole online world is your "friend" since stuff posted online is "shared" with the whole online world. If it's "someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway", I don't believe you when you say you have 1,000 friends.

  • Elise

    Great post here. I really agree with you that you just need to be consistent and have patience. Everynow and again I think of giving up because nothing is happening but the best stuff happens over time. Building genuine relationships too is also an important point as well and I think the best thing is that by building these relationships from the start can actually develop them into friendships too.

  • Patricia

    Hi Corbett

    I usually read all the comments posted before I comment, so I can join the conversation and add something. Had to scroll back up to the picture as to be honest I hadn’t even noticed it! Too busy reading the content. And I think the photo is okay.

    If I was on a photography site maybe not, but I come here for information so as long as the writing is providing what the headlines tell me and the photo isn’t offensive, that’s okay with me ;-)

    As far as connecting with people goes. I love networking, and have found it to be most effective in getting to know heaps of other bloggers/marketers and get my small niche blog out there for others to know about and visit.

    Sure it takes time….but so does building a business. So for me, I have been amazed at how much traffic comes from networking. Also with connecting with other people, I have now collaborated on projects that have proved advantageous to all parties concerned. A win-win situation :-)

    Patricia Perth Australia

  • Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

    Making friends with people is something you almost feel stupid asking for advice about. It’s one of those subjects you ‘should’ know if you’re cool, and if you’re not cool, then too bad. You get to stay on the outside looking in with the other losers.

    Well, Eben Pagan put together a program called “Connected: How To Get Access To Anyone And Build A Powerful Profitable Business Network” and the core foundation of the program focuses entirely on how to build friendships.

    The reason this is so is because Eben believes the highest leverage to make change or achieve anything significant is building community around you. You ideally want to build a community where you’re the organizer and catalyst for. And the fundamental skill for community building is “FRIENDSHIP”…

    Here’s the notes I took on Eben’s 5-Part Friendship Formula:

    1. Connection + 2. Disclosure + 3. Dialogue + 4. Collective Individual + 5. Shared Space

    1. Connection Of Something In Common: common interest, common cause, hobby, something you both don’t like.

    2. Self-Disclosure: taking the risk to tell another person something about yourself that you wouldn’t normally say to just anyone or say in public. Saying something too weird disconnects you, but saying something just a little bit deeper, disclosing something about yourself or your experience that’s a little bit edgy and a little bit risky, helps people see you in an intriguing light.

    3. Dialogue Of Giving And Getting: The Dialectical Process. A conversation, a back and forth of putting energy into the friendship bank and taking energy out of the friendship bank. Contributing to the friendship and taking from the friendship.

    Eventually this gets to the point where the bank account disappears and both you and the other person just contribute to the relationship because that’s what humans do when they’ve built a friendship.

    Most people never get past this stage as they are too busy thinking they put something into the friendship bank so they should take something out and focusing on fairness instead of just putting in, taking out, putting in, taking out and not worrying about it much so that very soon you get to the point where it doesn’t matter anymore and it just flows and works.

    So, the dialogue of giving and getting and putting into the bank account and taking out until that just disappears.

    4. The Polarity Of Both Being An Individual AND Of Being Part Of The Group (1 Other Person Or More) That Drives The Deepening Of The Friendship: As an individual we like thinking for ourselves, making your own decision, choosing your own path in life, but when you get into a friendship you have this whole other set of interests and drives and fears that are now part of the mix, and these need to be considered if you and the other person are going to have experiences together, have conversations, work on projects, create success in business, then all of it has to be
    thrown into the pot and you get to figure out how it can all work.

    Even more so, when two or more people come together they are a self-organizing system and become an entity that is a living emergent intelligent being that can do complex and interesting things and the whole thing acts like one entity.

    When we get into a group of ‘more than one’, this starts to happen and there is a merging force with others and we feel compelled to contribute to that and serve the other person and serve that bigger relationship.

    So this polarity or tug in two different directions, of being an individual and also being a part of a group and a supporter of the group, this polarity or pull back and forth actually drives the deepening of a friendship.

    When we go too far in one direction, the friendship and the bigger relationship starts to suffer.

    5. The Creation Of A Unique Shared Space Within A Group, And Ultimately
    Actually Creating That Group Yourself: When you master “friendship” and “fusion”, the group starts using the same words, becoming interested in the same things, starts sharing various hobbies and perspectives and tastes, and you actually create a subculture.

    When this happens it triggers a set of feelings and behaviors that at a macro level is a complex version of what a million ants are doing in an ant colony. They may have 7 or 8 communication signals they send and receive, and your group may have 70 or 700 of them, but once they all link up and you have a common shared language, common shared set of values, common way of looking at the world, then it all locks together and all turns on and becomes a group intelligence.

    When you connect with another human being on something common; When you learn the art of self-disclosure to deepen the relationship and build trust and build connection; When you get into the dialogue of give-get; When you become aware and conscious of the polarity of the pull of being an individual and the pull of being part of a group and you play with this to drive the deepening of friendship and relationship; And ultimately when you create a unique shared space with a group and create the group itself…when all this occurs, that is when the process of getting Connected really comes alive.

    Hoping this contributes to the conversation here! Thanks Corbett for shining the spotlight on such an important topic. Love the way you fleshed it out.

  • Natalie Sisson

    Hey Corbett

    All very well put and great advice for sure. I have no problems reaching out to `A list’ bloggers and building a relationship with them I just find sometimes it’s all a little fake. I constantly see this close knit circle of bloggers scratching each others backs and other people sucking up to those people, mentioning them in their posts so they can get their attention.

    I get all this and that it can actually work when and while some people do it genuinely for others it’s just a formula. I love connecting with people but I don’t like doing it for the express purpose of getting them to help me down the track – it’s because I like that person, I want to know more about them and I think they’d be awesome to hang out with,learn from and more.

    I’m also disappointed there aren’t more women bloggers in this A list circle. There are plenty of hugely talented women bloggers out there but I don’t think we go about building our online reputations the same ways. Many of the guy bloggers I see have this innate ability to shout their own brilliance from the rooftops and still grow a great audience. Baffles me. Then there’s the genuinely helpful quality ones like yourself, Chris G, Adam Baker, Tyler T and Matt G who write great content from the heart- but once again I sound like I’m repeating names and sucking up.

    I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this


    • Corbett

      Awesome topic Natalie, I think it’s worthy of a much broader discussion. Why aren’t there more “a-list” women bloggers? Or, maybe there are lots, just not in the particular circles we’re in?

      Hmm, I think this is deserving of a whole post. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Alison

      I actually think there are loads of prominent, influential women bloggers, but whether or not they’re visible depends on your niche (and to some extent your approach to business).

  • Ziga Andric

    Hi Corbett,

    excellent post and a real sticky in my books. “Wanting to know the “fastest” or “easiest” way to do anything is a sure route to failure. The fastest route is the path sold to suckers with no patience for the actual process involved in creating real value.” I really don’t know, why people who would consider building a real legitimate business in twelve months offline ridiculous, come online and expect to do it here in one month. Creating value and building trust and relationships does take time. Even the most experienced and successful marketers and bloggers don’t take shortcuts, so why should we, beginners? It really made me think. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

  • Chelsea Thomas

    Thanks for this advice. Every bit of information was great, but the part that stuck with me the most was when you reminded us on how we treat our relationships in real life and to take a similar approach with our online relationships.

    This is good stuff Corbett!

  • Hameed Hemmat

    Hi Corbett,

    This is the best advice anyone can give when it comes to getting traffic to your blog. There are no shortcuts in life. It’s all about giving first, and it’s all about networking and relationship building. Thanks again for the great post.

    Hameed Hemmat

  • Juanita

    Great post Corbett!

    I know that I fell into the trap of thinking that there was a ‘special’ way to contact people online in order to build relationships, but I have found out it is exactly like building relationships in person. It takes time, nurturing and I love it!

    I am amazed at the bond which is created between fellow bloggers – it is powerful and deserves our attention and time.

  • Codrut Turcanu

    I’ve re-read some parts from your article, now with closer attention, and now I understand how important it truly is to show proof before you ask for anything in return (attention / promotion , money or whatever) — share that you’re worth linking to, share that you’re transparent, share that you ca be trusted… before you ask.

    Am I rambling or what? :)

  • Sadie Glass

    I think the picture is fitting and not distracting at all, however this post needs more cowbell.

    • Corbett

      Haha, thanks. I’ll add more cowbell next time ;)

  • Brankica

    Hi Corbett,
    Love the part where you say it is too late for new bloggers. Cause I know it isn’t :) I also like the team you have around yourself, the bloggers you connected with, it is a great team to have on your side.

    Although not introduced to you, I was told I should follow you on Twitter by a dear friend of mine Ingrid and she always has the best recommendations.

    I like the approach you have to this topic. I have never sent an e-mail or a message telling people to check out my stuff cause I don’t want to start on the wrong foot.

    If I did send an e-mail it was usually to ask about something on their blog, like who designed it or any other question I needed help with but knew would not take too much of their time.

    Thanks for the tips.

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  • ursula

    Thanks Corbett for great info…………as a complete newbie excited and in awe of what lies ahead on this journey……getting what I have to share/say out there, it’s great to feel the naturalness of it all and how stuff just happens….I think passion, enthusiasm….that gets translated into what you put out there………I’m totally feeling happy about creating a web site and following my heart with it…….not the endless presciptions for manipulation and maneuvering, positioning… always has seemed to just fall into place……this feels that way too…..Again, thanks…much appreciation for your web wisdom!!

  • Derek Jensen

    Certainly one thing that I’ve felt has helped me connect with Gary Vaynerchuk and others is just by appealing to their senses and actually helping them out. If you can figure out their personality and interests your connection can be established quicker.

    But, you must be sure to have something awesome for them to look at for credibility. This is certainly something that has been my weakness because I just find myself helping others and talking a lot.

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  • Allie

    You did have me going, ha ha, joke with the newbie. But then a split second later I thought about all the up and comings AND the gurus that are awesome because I have been recognized every so often, not like I’d like to be but that is MY fault, I need to work harder to get in the club and get readers to my blog. Everyone listen to the newbie: IT’S NOT EASY! It takes a lot of work. Find an “in.”

    I came over from Pat Flynn’s blog, he is awesome. I listen to his podcasts religiously while I go for my weekly Taco Bell lunch run. I always post this on Twitter, sometimes @ pat. (I tweet it him so that people know where to get the podcast.) He has responded a few times. I get all giddy, “he wants to know what I have at TB, hee hee.” (I’m sucha girl.) But he did and that counts. I hope he relates that I am the TB lady and she listens to my podcasts and she’s a loyal reader. That was my in. I did not plan that but I think it’s funny so I’ll go with it.

    Thanks for the tips!

    • Corbett

      Hehe, glad you caught the joke. I have to try once in a while, you know?

      Great example about Pat. That’s how it all starts. A little repeated casual interaction. Sharing of some content. Sometimes you’ll be surprised by who knows you just from those simple interactions. Don’t feel shy about reaching out over email to offer some help or thanks as well.

  • Tom

    I agree with you completely as this is one of the ways that I approach networking. Already reached out to some of the people which sounded interesting to me and made some friendships.

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  • Adam Stanecki

    Thank you, Corbett.
    Another great post.

    A lot of “new” bloggers stress out about traffic.

    I think it’s more important to have a small, engaged audience than a huge, uninterested audience. For me, it’s not about the numbers. I’m aiming to build a tight community around what I offer. Looks like you’ve already done that.

    • Corbett

      I’m with you on that, Adam. I’d rather have a small engaged audience than a big disengaged one as well, although I have to say I’m working on building a big and engaged audience here ;)

    • Tesla Falcon

      That’s why some people count subscribers on their list while others only count buyers on their list. A list 1,000 buyers will beat the 100 buyers, even if the subscriber list is 10:1 in the other direction. Your buyers tell you how “engaged” your list is to your message & products.

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  • Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    a simple hello and thanks has gone a long way for me…

  • Mike

    Ok haven’t even finished reading this post yet, but the SNL cowbell skit reference, you just became my new best friend:-) I’m gonna take a stab and say that your big on movie quotes? If not it’s still bad ass that you busted that gold records comment out. I’m going to finish reading now, you caught me off guard with that one :)

  • Mike

    Just finished reading the post, more great stuff. I don’t know why I never thought of this before. I work in the food service industry (waiter) and being genuine and friendly comes natural to me, it also puts people at ease. I work in a some what fine dining atmosphere and you would be amazed at how a well placed joke, puts the other people at ease. You can almost see them breathe a sigh of relief like “Thank you for being a real person”. The more genuinely approachable you are, the more people are ‘less cautious’ (I think) in all walks of life. Did you maybe have any additional suggestions on finding blogs or bloggers talking about the same things you are?

    • Linda

      Good morning, Corbett.

      May I add my voice to Mike’s in relation to where one finds blogs and bloggers talking about same or similar topics, please?

      I know part of my problem is I don’t sit tidily in any particular niche – or perhaps it’s that my niche isn’t where there are many bloggers. I can find ‘seasonal’ bloggers – people who write about skiing for example – but as my objective is to get folk to view Austria as much more than a winter ski destination, that only helps a little.

      I have found good friends in arguably the most appropriate and influential of blogs relating to my niche – The Austrian National Tourist Office – and they have offered the most excellent support I could wish for, but it’s not enough for my purposes and I’m not sure where to look next.

      Any suggestions would be most gratefully received.

      Kind regards,

  • Ana | Traffic Generation

    Ahhh, no magic formula here…. Only hard work? Who needs that anyway… LOL

    My blog is just over a year old right now, Corbett, so I can completely relate to what you are saying here.

    People assume we’ve always “had it made”, but it was a steep climb indeed…


  • Anthony Kpodo

    Hi Corbett,
    I bet this is a superlative one from the Master Traffic tactician. The very best part is the introduction where we are told not to thread the “broad way,” “fastest way” or “easiest way” to failure, but rather use the “narrow way” of patience to build up our blogs. Thank you.

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  • Sergio Felix

    Hey there Corbett,

    Well my blog is just a few months old, have a low reader’s count but I have no problem whatsoever connecting with people online.

    What I need to do, is create a product that I can market and then and only then, will I ever know if I actually have anyone paying attention or genuinely following.

    Only time will tell.


  • David Mon

    So much really great conversation going on here, I wish I found this sooner…I subscribed to the RSS and look forward to reading more.

  • P.R. Chase

    Corbett, perhaps I should have read this article before I sent you that tweet. My apologies if that seemed promotional in any way, it was intended as an honest question from a new author who stumbled into this and has no idea what he’s doing.

    Regarding the article, someone said something I’ll never forget. When it comes to help you gotta play hard to get. Don’t ask for anything, just keep showing people what you can do and eventually opportunities will come your way.

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  • Brandon Foken

    What a great article. I recently got serious about my blogging platform and have been trying to learn everything possible about growing my website/brand. I’ve been working my way through your 21 action steps and as you can guess, I’m currently on Step #5. Appreciate the great advice as I go out and try to form relationships with other bloggers in my industry!

  • John Shea

    This is great advice, the idea of building relationships with others for exposure is key. It really will only work if it’s done properly.

  • Theresa

    Thanks for this advice. Every bit of information was great.

  • Torlock

    Excellent post!

    Now, if you don’t mind please promote my new product…. Just kidding ;)

    I have only recently discovered this holy grail of sites but you have taught me many snippets of wonderful information over the last few months.

    Thanks :)

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