Those of us who write or read about blog marketing are very familiar with the concept of competitive and saturated niches. You’ve probably read about the dangers of blogging on topics that have thousands of other bloggers covering the same general subjects. However, other bloggers that are in the same niche as you don’t have to be competitors.
Your readers won’t have to make the choice between you and another blog, they’ll always have the option to read both. Unlike other types of business, with blogging there are more opportunities for collaboration than competition. If you’re not working with others in your niche, formally or informally, than they essentially are competition. This can easily be changed at any time and that “competition” can become an ally.
Methods for Turning Competitors into Allies
1 – Treat them like an ally, not like a competitor
In general, if you view others in your niche as your friends that can work with you for mutual gain, you’ll be much better off than if you are always looking over your shoulder to see who is chasing you and trying to steal from your success. Strong networkers look for opportunities to work together with others, they are not threatened by someone else that has similar goals or a similar approach. If you treat someone like your competitor, they will act like one.
2 – Write a guest post for them
Probably my favorite approach for growing a new blog is guest posting on other blogs with a similar audience. This is the method I used to grow my primary blog, and I know that it works. When I started writing guest posts I was doing it for click-through traffic, to build my name, and to build links. What I didn’t expect was the great networking that I was able to do with other bloggers. Several of those bloggers that I wrote for almost a year ago are now my closest contacts in the blogging world. Many bloggers love to get high quality guest posts because they simply aren’t able to create as much content as they would like to publish. If you take the time to write the best post you can, you’ll make a lot of friends this way.
3 – Publish a guest posts from someone else
On the other side of the coin, you can also help others out by publishing their posts, and your blog will benefit from the added content. I don’t actively solicit guest posts, but every now and then I’ll get someone that asks if I’ll accept a post from them. Very rarely do any of them actually send me a finished product, but when I have published guest posts they are always appreciated by the writer.
4 – Exchange guest posts
A few weeks ago Jacob Gube of Six Revisions and I exchanged posts for each other’s blog. The result was that we both got some exposure to new readers, and since we target the same audience that was a positive experience. This isn’t something that too many people do, but it’s pretty easy and it’s a great way to have two bloggers that mutually benefit from their efforts.
5 – Introduce yourself by email
Sometimes one of the best things you can do is simply to take a moment and send a personal email to another blogger in your niche. I’ve done this on a few occasions and I almost always get a very positive response. I few months ago I started seeing the blog Noupe all over various social media sites, especially some of the same niche social media sites that I use. I took a moment to email Noura and introduce myself since we hang out in the same communities and we’ve been in regular contact since then.
6 – Link out
Links are often considered the currency of the internet. Why not give a link to those that you like or those that you would like to build a closer relationship with? When I link out from my blog I always like to link to those that I consider friends. I don’t do this to try and form some type of exclusive club, but rather to show others that I appreciate their work and that I want to help them out by sending some more traffic their way. Personally, I always appreciate when others do the same for me, so I know this can work very well.
7 – Exchange links
Sometimes you may want to see if you can get a link to your site in exchange for giving one to a friend. I get link exchange requests all the time (and you probably do too). If it comes from someone that I don’t know I’m almost guaranteed to ignore it. However, if it comes from someone that I know or that I consider a friend I’ll be more likely to consider the link exchange. Shortly after launching my first blog I did approach some other bloggers in the niche for a link exchange and I had pretty good success. From my experience the key is to find the right bloggers to contact (usually not the ones with a huge audience, they get too many requests) and to make personal contact. If your request sounds like an automated message you’ll almost never get the link.
You’ve probably read that link exchanges can hurt your search engine rankings because it will look like you’re trying to game the system. While I’m not an SEO expert, my research indicates that this will only be an issue if you go overboard with the link exchange approach. Do so on a personal level with a fairly small number of other bloggers and it will help rather than hurt.
8 – Vote for each other at social media sites
Those of us who are working hard to promote our blogs will always appreciate a vote at a social media site. Many bloggers, myself included, try to pay attention to who is voting for them. If you have friends that blog in your niche, why not help each other out with some votes? My feeling is that I like to see my friends and contacts doing well, so I try to vote for them when I appreciate their content. If my blog and my friends’ blogs are growing at the same time, we can help each other out rather than compete and hold each other back.
9 – Comment regularly
All bloggers appreciate comments on their posts (well, real comments, not spam). I’ve had many contacts with other bloggers over the past year that started with a comment. Leaving an intelligent comment on another blog is a good way to support your friends.
10 – Do an interview
Interviews are pretty common in most blogging niches. An interview can help the person being interviewed to gain some exposure, it can help the blogger posting the interview by providing new, quality content, and it can help readers by giving them what they want to read. You can either be the one giving the interview or the one being interviewed. If you have some contacts in your niche why not contact someone about an interview?
11 – Write a review
Any easy way to help your friends is to write a review of their blog or of a product or service that they are selling. Of course, you should only write a positive review if you truly believe what you are writing. Don’t write a positive review about something that’s garbage just to help a friend. There are a lot of products being released all the time that you could review. I’ve done a few reviews recently and it can also be a nice way to get some free stuff.
What’s Your Experience?
How have you been able to work with others in your niche for mutual gain?