Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why You Should Connect with Other Bloggers + A Liebster Award

I'm back! Posting on a day besides Friday!

Recently, in a leadership workshop/ropes course, we were tasked with identifying the top five things we value in our personal and professional lives. Among accomplishment and some other values, I came up with recognition. I like (is need a strong word?) affirmation and positive feedback when I've worked really hard to accomplish something.

As such, I was excited to hear that a blogger I follow, Go Go Mountain Girl, nominated me for a Liebster Award. It's given to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. It's a peer award that gives bloggers the opportunity to recognize each other and the work we're doing.

When I first started blogging, I struggled with growing my audience. I do believe in the old saying that content is king, and that was my first focus. I spent a lot of time thinking through my mission statement and brand for the blog, what topics I wanted to write about, what I wanted readers to take away from my blog posts, and how to let my personality come through my posts.

I'm such a marketing geek. One day when I make it big I'll write a book on how I did it. In the meantime...

So I think having a strong mission, brand, and relevant content are the most important parts, yes, but then what? How do I drive an audience to this amazing content?

I, of course, started with social media and my own personal network. That only got me so far. My blog started REALLY taking off when I connected with other bloggers.

Why was that so helpful? Let me share...

  1. Bloggers are blog readers, too! Why on earth would someone take the time to create a blog and write one or more posts per week? We'd have to be pretty passionate about blogs, right? We love sharing our stories, and we love the personal touch with which other bloggers share information. In fact, I've found fellow bloggers to be my most loyal readers.
  2. Bloggers bring their audiences, and the blogosphere is big enough to share. I don't buy into the territorial view that we should limit any mention of another blog to out readers out of fear that we'll drive traffic away from our own blog. It's simple. Readers want content. We want readers. Connecting with bloggers and link-ups gives our audiences more content, and gives us more exposure.
  3. Bloggers create communities, which drive traffic for all of us! See above. I've seen huge growths in traffic as I've participated in the Running Bloggers and Sweat Pink communities.
  4. There's a lot to learn from other bloggers! Seriously, I get some of the best information from other bloggers (see #1) on running and blogging. I love that bloggers speak from the heart on their personal experiences. You get advice from a real person perspective you can relate to.Not only do you get the advice, but you get their stories. You experience their joy, their disappointments, their frustrations, and their laughter with them. You hear what worked and didn't work for a real person in their endeavors.
  5. Following other bloggers keeps you up to date. Admittedly, I fall behind trends in technology, fashion, new running products, apps, etc. Bloggers keep me in the know on all of these things in an easy format to follow.
Long story short, once you nail down your blog, I highly recommend connecting with other bloggers in your genre to learn from others and grow your audience.

How do you connect with other bloggers, you ask?

Oh, you know. Write "OMG your blog is so awesome! I literally want to be just like you! Let's be BFFs" in comments, ask for their phone number, email them pictures of you and your cat, offer to visit them at their home, or try to friend them on Facebook.

Or you could flood their blog's comments and Facebook wall with links to your blog, tweet at them constantly with "follow for follow", tell them that you liked their Facebook page and they are now a terrible awful person if they don't like you back.

Or not! There are ways to go about it without being creepy. I recommend finding a link-up where you and other bloggers can share your posts (generally along a common theme) in a common place. Many of these are weekly or monthly and ask bloggers to post about a certain theme. I choose several link-ups, like Fitness Friday on Talk Less, Say More, Running Bloggers, and Jill Conyers, and Marathon Monday with Coffee and Macarons and Marathon Mom.

I also recommend engaging with other blogs through social media and comments. I don't necessarily mean posting something like "I added you" (implying "now add me"), I mean read their blog! If you read an article that you can relate to, write a meaningful comment. Maybe they tried a new workout that happens to be something you love. Maybe their training for a type race that you are also training for and you can share tips. Maybe you bond over your mutual love of cats. Maybe they are struggling with an issue, and you have advice for them. The point is, engage in the conversation in a relevant way.

With that said, let's talk Liebster, shall we? I was nominated by Sami at Go Go Mountain Girl. I recently discovered her blog and I'm impressed! She's not only a mom and teacher, but a runner and lives a very active lifestyle. I have no idea how she does it all, but it gives me hope that maybe one day I'll be able to balance it all if I decide to start a family. Bonus - she posts BEAUTIFUL pictures of Colorado. I grew up in Wyoming, near the CO border. I'm dying to visit the Rockies again, but for now I'll live vicariously through Sami's pics. :)

You can find her Liebster post here.

As part of the activity, I've been asked to let you "get to know me" through a list of questions.

1. If there was a movie made based on your life, who would play you and why?
The one and only Zooey Deschanel is my actress of choice. If you can't tell through my posts, I'm quite the odd, quirky kid. I LOVE Zooey's quirky personality, fun fashion (seriously, I wish I could buy all of Anthropologie to dress like her), and that she's simply beautiful and classy.

2. What was the last thing you Googled?
Oh boy. If you really want to know someone, check out their Google history. Actually, you probably don't want to know...

Mine is actually pretty tame. Today I Googled "The Small Things Blog Bun". The blogger, Kate, is a super cute hairstylist with amazing style. She posts amazing video tutorials on hairstyles and makeup that break the information in a way that even I can follow! I love that she's a real, down-to-earth girl with adorable style and a quirky personality. Today I didn't have time to wash my hair, so I followed her mid-knot bun tutorial. It turned out great!

3. What is one of your guilty pleasures?
I have too many to list. Scouring the internet for magical solutions to change and organize my life, reading self help books, making lists of home improvement projects I'll never do, browsing Target and T.J. Maxx, watching reality shows like Big Brother, reading Real Simple on my front porch with coffee, and eating snacky foods like Nutella, olives, hummus and pita chips, chips and salsa, popcorn, cheese, or ice cream. Gotta watch those caloric guilty pleasures. 

4. What is something you know now that you wish you knew "then?"
That you can make your life what you want it to be. It doesn't matter where you came from, what people think of you, what stereotype you think you fall into, etc. At one point, I thought I'd always be nerdy and unathletic. I finally pushed myself out of those artificial boundaries I'd set for myself. You can choose to go after your goals and make them a reality!

5. What do you consider to be one of your greatest accomplishments?
I have to go with my half marathon. I probably should say my education, but that was within my comfort zone and the path that I'd established since I was young. Running required me to get out of my comfort zone. To be vulnerable. To ask for help. To push myself beyond what I've ever been pushed. To break out of my belief that I would always be the nerdy, unathletic kid. Doing that opened up my confidence in other areas of life. I've grown in my relationships, personal development, happiness, and career since I started running!

6. What is one thing not many people know about you?
At home, I sing CONSTANTLY!! Once I get an earworm - it's on! Everything from my favorite pop artists (Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Kelly Clarkson, etc) to the alternative/indie artists I dabble in that B thinks are weird (Passion Pit, Lana Del Rey - LOVE her!, Band of Horses, etc) to my favorite 90's songs. I'm probably not a good singer, but I like to believe I am. I NEVER sing in front of people out of fear that I'll confirm that I'm not a good singer. At the very least, B and the cats tolerate me, and I can live with that.

7. If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about your life, would you? What would it be?
I wish I could stop worrying about stupid little things. I am the queen of first world problems. I worry about what people think of me and if they'll accept me. I worry about theoretical "what-if" situations that never come to fruition. I worry about failing. On top of all of that, I feel guilty for worrying so much about these things, knowing that people out there have real problems.

I would absolutely let a magic wand take all of this away from me. In the real world, I'm working on healthy ways to stop.

8. What is your favorite Disney movie?
Pixar based: Toy Story franchise
True animated film: The Lion King

9. What is something you've never done, but would like to try?
I'd like to travel overseas and see other parts of the world. I'd love to see Europe - Paris, London, Italy, etc, and Australia. One day, I hope I have the chance to do so.

10. Where is your favorite place to be?
Keeping it local - either at home, grilling out on the patio, relaxing on the front porch, or chillin with B and the kitties, or enjoying an afternoon at Market Square/Downtown Knoxville perusing shops, grabbing coffee, enjoying brunch or dinner, and of course, people watching!

11. What is your favorite blog post you've written?
10 reasons why running is awesome! It was a great way to re-energize myself as I remembered why I loved running in the first place.

As part of the Liebster process, I'm nominating 11 more blogs for this award. Should you so choose to participate, here's what you should do:


  1. You must link back to the person who nominated you.
  2. You must answer the 11 questions given to you by your nominator.
  3. You must pick 11 bloggers, each with under 200 subscribers, to be nominated for the award.
  4. You must come up with 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.
I love too many blogs to mention, but here are my 11 nominees (in no particular order):
I'm not really sure what the metric is for "followers", so I looked at Twitter, etc. Shout-out to Talk Less, Say MoreJill Conyers, In Healthy Habits We Trust, Mommies Runs, and Runs with Pugs, who I would love to include, but appear to have more than 200 followers. :)

That's it! What have you learned from other bloggers? 



  1. aww thanks- so should I just answer these same 11 questions? I will work on this- hopefully this weekend since it appears it is going to be rainy here :)

    1. Hi Tami, I've seen bloggers try several different tactics. You are welcome to answer these. Some bloggers made up their own fun facts to share! :) Yes, I'm not looking forward to the rain. :( Feel free to share when your schedule allows. :)

  2. That's fun getting to know you. :)

    I love your #4 reason above. I've come to follow certain blogs that I get excited getting a notification of a new blog for some of them and can't wait to read. Some people have such a way of writing, just about their life, that I can't help but read. It's fun!

    I've only been bloggin for like a month, but I've learned a few tips that I'll probably put to use at some point as I create and tweak my blog. Mostly about plugins and stuff.

    1. Hi there! Yes, blogging is so unique. Instead of magazine articles that are only advice based, you get to learn from real people in their own personal experiences.

      Congrats on starting your blog as well as a running journey! checked it out and look forward to hear more about your journey as a runner. PS - cute kitties! :)

  3. Aw, yay! Thanks for the nomination! So exciting!

    What you said about running a half...YES! You put it perfectly. Asking for help, pushing yourself, being vulnerable... all of it. It is so much fun to do something you never thought possible!

    1. You're welcome! :) Look forward to seeing what you come back with! Running a half was definitely a life-changing experience!

  4. hey! i got nominated :) thanks, girl.

    and i totally agree re: reaching out to other bloggers. you need to make sure that you interact with your readers so visiting their blog and responding to their comments are so important. it irritates me when you try to reach out and NOTHING. that's when i remove them from my list!

    Vodka and Soda

    1. You're welcome!

      Totally agree! We all have busy periods where we can't reach out to everyone on our list, but I think regular communication is crucial to building an audience and great relationships with other bloggers!

  5. You are so sweet! Thanks so much for nominating me. You're so right about interacting and connecting.

    1. You're welcome! Your posts always make me laugh, inspire me, or both! :)

  6. Aw! Thanks for the nomination! I loved learning more about you! I am glad there are other people watchers out there! Zooey Deschanel is also one of my favorites. So glad New Girl started this week! I definitely agree that connecting with others is the best part of blogging!

    Miss Adventures in Running

    1. You're welcome!

      I get way too much enjoyment from people watching, haha! Yes, so ready for New Girl!

  7. So happy to have found your blog on Pinterest. I just read though your 5 series "Newbie to half marathon in one year" and am totally inspired. I also laughed so much. I love your humor. Especially this part: "I'm sorry, a what??? You mean add a "1" in front of the 3.1 miles I just did???" I laughed to tears.

    I've been running 5k's for almost a year now. I took a few months off of running but I'm back. I run a 5k about 3 times a week and am to the point of wanting to sign up for a 10k and increase my miles. :)

    Congrats on all that you have accomplished!

    1. Hi Ashley! Thanks for stopping by and the kind words! I'm glad you've found the blog and that the series was helpful to you.

      Haha! Yes, it was quite shocking to make the switch from 5K's to a half. It actually surprised me that it was more possible than I'd thought!

      Congrats on your running journey! That's AWESOME! I highly recommend trying longer distance. I actually like longer distance running better - I run a slower, easier pace than I do on 5Ks and I enjoy it more. It's worth a try to see what you like. Go for it! :)

  8. Thank you!

    You know I'm right there with you on #7 :)

    As far as blogging goes, I have a LOT to learn...

    1. You're welcome!

      #7 is a constant battle, likely for most of us. I'm constantly learning in the blog world. That's why connecting with each other helps - we learn from each other! :)

  9. Great Great Post Amy! Seriously.. so many truths in one post!
    I very much agree with you that content is king (I am in Digital Marketing and I hear that all the time)and it is why I tried to build up a reasonable amount of solid posts before I even really told anyone about my blog (and definitely before I started to promote it).. I just didn't want to say "Hey look at my cool blog with one post!" :)
    But then as I felt like I had some reasonable posts that I wanted to share.. I started to try and figure out how to do that and so many of the things you write ring true.
    I was starting to get some decent traffic but not many comments and I really wondered why... and you are right other bloggers are great for generating comments. Like you said.. we all have something to say and why wouldn't we love to read what others have to say as well. I think a lot of us bloggers (I know I was) were the ones that were always asking the questions in class and I am now the one that is always keeping the conversation going in meetings.. so I just love to listen to others points of view and learn while at the same time offering up something to them if I have it.
    The linkups are wonderful and I don't know why I didn't get into them sooner. One thing I have tried to find and can't are blogging communities and linkups for strength (all forms of weight training)posts and whisky reviews (since I post about both of those in addition to running).. I think I may try to start them up since I know a lot of them and have a lot of followers for them but we don't have a good place to share each others posts (at least I can't find them). It is such a cool way to meet new awesome bloggers and gain new insight.
    Also totally agree with you on not understanding why another blogger wouldn't take the tiny amount of time and effort to reciprocate when you consistently comment on their posts.. I mean when I get a comment notification in my inbox.. it is like Christmas morning every time :) :)


  10. Even stranger is that there is a blog (that links up on the Friday linkups)that I have attempted to comment on 3-4 times (all positive and legitimate comments) and they weren't even approved for showing on their page?! What?! I still don't understand that. I mean why write a post and have a comment form if you don't want postive comments on it?
    Oh and one other avenue that I have tried (to try and get more engagement) and had mixed success with is message boards/forums. I have a long time relationship with one and post when I have good intereviews or a product review that applies to them (not just any typical post) and because of the volume of traffic that the site has it has really helped open up new and international readership to my site. But then there are others where if I post that I have a review of a product they consider it spam and delete the post. Or if I haven't commented 1000 times yet then somehow I am overstepping my boundaries by talking about a legitimate post I have that they may be intereseted in.. it's odd and ashame because they can be great places for exposure but can have this strange vibe going on... it's like an ego thing of you can't post about your site unless you have been on the board for a couple of years. Anyway.. I kind of learned a lesson with them and now try to use linkups, commenting and social media as my main forms of trying to gain engagement.
    The more communities we can build for all of us the better off we will all be!

    Oh and thank you so much for the nomination!! That is genuinely appreciated and truly made my day.
    I will work on getting that post up on the nomination and look to find other bloggers to nominate. I am excited about answering the questions.
    One thing I was curious about was the Award badge.. is that something we can place on our site once we complete the post that is asked of us once nominated? I would be really proud to be able to do that especially since it came from another blogger!

    Just wanted to say that I am really glad I found you a few months ago on the Linkups! :)


    1. Hi Chris! Glad you enjoyed the article! Great thoughts on comment/link-up/forum strategy. Yes, there's a fine line between engaging with other bloggers and self-promotion. I guess everyone sees it differently. I, like you, tend to use these as means for engagement.

      As far as the badge, I haven't been able to find any defined rules on using it. I'm typically VERY careful about using logos, photography, etc. I've seen countless nominated blogs using the badge. I haven't been able to find who owns it. Your guess is as good as mine on that one. :) Look forward to seeing your post!

  11. I've not at all read whatever thing by Emily snowfall! I distinguish the cover models from undemanding though. The guy's name is Lucas, too? Interesting. I hope you love this book when you get the opportunity to read it! :) Message Boards

  12. Aw thanks for the shout out :) I love your #4. You are whoever your want to be, and from reading your blog, you sound like an amazing person, and someone I'd love to hang with! I also love your #10 just because I miss Knoxville so much. I doubt we'll make it there this football season, but you better believe we're meeting up whenever we get up there!