Travel Blog Exchange: Organized Blogger Sharing Groups – Yay or Nay?

 

No matter what end of the blogging ladder you’re on now, no doubt you’ve looked at some point for ways to make the climb easier. After all, who doesn’t love the idea of a fast lane to success? Today, we’ve got two takes on organized blogger groups – first from someone who thinks such groups represent a way to launch a blog to the top of the heap, and then from someone who thinks bloggers who don’t look outside those insular groups are targeting the wrong audience. Is there a magic pill? Or are these the emperor’s new clothes?


The secret of top level bloggers: Blogging Super Sharing Groups

by Cole Burmester

Creative Commons photo by C!... on Flickr
Creative Commons photo by C!… on Flickr

Looking up from the bottom of the blogging pile towards the success that others have reached, can make you pull your head back in and shut down your blog. But don’t despair there is hope for you yet.

These bloggers that you may look up to didn’t reach the levels by just being excellent writers, engaging on social media or becoming an authority in their chosen niches. Sure it helps, but they also had a dirty little secret. A secret that I was only privy to a few weeks ago.

And I want to reveal it to you…

They are involved in what I like to call a “Blogging Super Sharing Group.”

What is a blogging super sharing group?

You don’t have to look very far to see that the promotional power of social networks is being watered down by automated blogging robots who tweet new posts without reading them and without regard for quality or relevance. This approach to blog promotion spreads a weak message to a wide audience about an even wider (often random) group of mixed quality blogs.

It’s no surprise then that most bloggers therefore only seem to be writing for one another as they hope to join in with the robots.

But a blogging super sharing group is different. In these groups they value content and creativity.

Everyone agrees that just being a great photographer or creator of fantastic content is usually not enough in such a cut-throat business. You also need a strong social media presence.

By utilising a group of like-minded bloggers to share your posts, you are extending your own reach through trusted sources and recommendations.

Some may call it a blogging circle-jerk and look down upon such groups. But no matter which way you slice it, they are extremely beneficial. By joining forces with other dedicated like minded bloggers you can help spread your posts to a much more engaged and targeted audience.

What is involved?

Having only just been shown the key to this exclusive world I had no idea what to expect. And I was quickly overwhelmed. Here I was in the presence of some of my favourite bloggers and being asked to share my own posts with them so that they in turn could share them through their own social media channels.

At first glance the blogging sharing super group “rules” seemed very strict and I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

Luckily these “rules” turned out to be more like guidelines. But make no mistake, if I decided I wanted to start dragging my heels then I would quickly be told where to go.

  • Members can submit up to two posts per week to the group.
  • Members will read submitted posts and regularly submit comments about them.
  • Members will always tweet ALL posts submitted by other members, ideally with a personalized tweet.
  • Members will “discover” other members posts on StumbleUpon with relevant keywords and tags.
  • Members are expected to share and like posts on Facebook if they particularly like the post.
  • Members will develop cross-linking between member blogs within new posts whenever appropriate and legitimate.
  • Members will be available to produce guest posts for each other’s blogs.

How it has benefited us

Before we joined our blogger super sharing group we had stagnated. Our unique views were consistent and our social media channels were growing, but not at the levels we had hoped. We needed something else.

Our group started with 5 travel blogs all willing to share each others best posts twice a week on StumbleUpon, Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

We immediately saw the benefits from day one. One of our posts went viral and within a week we had increased our page views and followers more than in the last 3 months combined. We knew we were onto something.

Every time our posts were shared we saw a surge in traffic. And our fellow members reported the same. We were all benefiting from reaching a new and trusted audience through our fellow bloggers.

How can I set one up?

Realistically you are not going to be able to approach the big names in the blogosphere without doing some groundwork beforehand. But you also don’t have to look very far to see who might be a great fit.

Which blogs do you always read and share anyway because you enjoy what they write? Do they in turn stumble, like, tweet or comment on your posts?

Chances are you have even networked with other bloggers that may have started at a similar time to you or written about the same niche. Just send them a friendly message and see if they would be interested in turning what is currently a mutual understanding into something much more robust.

The key is ensuring that you do not overwhelm your existing community. Luckily the beauty of your own personal blogging super sharing group is that by limiting the number of members in your group to like-minded bloggers with the same goals as you, then your overall message will be even more powerful.


Think Outside the Bubble, Bloggers, or Risk Stunted Growth

by Annemarie Dooling

Creative Commons photo by nic_r on Flickr
Creative Commons photo by nic_r on Flickr

Despite the occasional loud-mouthed scuffle, the travel blogging community is a kind one. There aren’t many more where members would gladly drop everything to teach a new peer a skill, or meet a stranger randomly in a new city, or put overwhelming amounts of passion into building and sharing the connections that strengthen the network.

We’ve created a cozy bubble where every blogger knows each other, some more intimately than others, for sure, and rallies behind their fellow blogger across websites, Facebook, Instagram. But there’s danger in the bubble and it’s called stunted growth.

Here are a few additional facts about travel bloggers: many of them are self-taught in their abilities, don’t always pay for their own travel, and rarely do the wide-market research that would enable their content or brand to spread beyond that comfortable bubble. It’s a fantastic thing when a writer is able to build a truly devoted audience, one that follows you, shares, wants to know more, engages with you and more importantly engages with others about you. But when that ‘devoted audience’ is no more than a small group of like minded peers, we come to troubled territory.

There’s another piece to the puzzle of sharing across a small radius, and it’s the concept of organized groups of voters. In the early days of Internet sharing sites, Usenet and Google groups were designed by the dozens for the sole purpose of sharing one’s latest content and gaming large quantities of comments, likes and clicks as possible. When the temple of Digg fell, so did many of these groups, but they’re still strong in blogging circles. And bloggers aren’t to blame. It’s a larger problem created by aggressive websites built on hyper social activity with much less of a concentrate on originality and authenticity and quality (Ok, I’ll confess to working for at least one company like this). How can a DIY site compete with media monsters who have less passion and better SEO? The answer seems clear in these voting groups; share your link, earn a hundred likes and move on with your day.

But these larger sites will fail if they continue to rely solely on shallow, base numbers, and blogs will, too. It’s much easier to change an independent blog, though, and bloggers have the opportunity to ignore the organized system based on gaming clicks from your friends, and turn it around to a place where good content floats to the top of the Google heap.

Why turn away from those groups of clickers? Though that group might actually be somewhat of an enthusiastic fan base, having no critics means no opportunities to see where you can improve. Having only comments or clicks from someone who is obligated to do so means you’ll never really know how your content is doing. Sharing the same nuclear network as those peers means your content is rarely seen beyond that bubble to the wider audience, the real audience that could wonder at and benefit from your knowledge.

If I had one wish for new bloggers, it would be to, yes, lean on that community, for thoughts, brainstorms, advice and friendship. But don’t be afraid to move beyond. Do some work on the reader base who is the core demographic of your product. Figure out how best to speak to and reach them. They are the reason you started writing; they are the audience that craves your information. Sell yourself to someone who’s buying.


The first post was written by Cole Burmester, founder of the couples adventure travel blog FourJandals.com. You can find them on Twitter and Facebook.

The second post was written by Annemarie Dooling, travel writer and senior community editor at Huffington Post. Her blog is Frill Seeker Diary.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Your turn!”]What do you think of these two contrasting views? Leave your comments below![/stextbox]

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32 Responses
  1. Every time I find out someone is involved in one of these “you promote my stuff, I’ll promote yours” group, I stop reading them. Why? Because they’re not saying “This is good I like this, I think you will too.” Nope. They’re saying “Sharing this is good for ME.” That undermines the credibility of anything they share — they’re just sharing because they’re obligated to do so. I don’t want to see links from click-monkeys, I want to see work that’s actually been given the seal of approval by someone whose opinion I trust.

    Cole makes an eloquent case for creativity, but it’s also a bit disingenuous — look at the “rules”. “Members will *always* tweet all posts submitted by other members.” Same deal for SU, internal cross-linking, etc. Who’s this sharing FOR? It’s not for the audience, it’s for the inner group. Genuine sharing faces out toward the audience and serves them saying “Oh. My. God. This is awesome.You will love this.” Systemic sharing says, “I’m sharing this because I said I would. Maybe you’ll like it, but I don’t really care, because my stuff is next in line for promotion.”

    Even bloggers I love don’t write things I love every single time they post. When I share something, you can be guaranteed that it’s something I like, and that I think you’ll like too. When a member of an organized sharing group posts something, maybe they like, or maybe they’re just saying, “Hey, my turn is next.”

    Unfollow. The organic web rules. I’ll take one real “share” over 15 fakes any day.

    1. Thanks Pam for your comment.
      Like I mentioned in the post, these “rules” are more like guidelines. The group is actually a lot more relaxed than I made it out to be and there are many times we won’t choose to share each others posts. Either because I don’t like the post or it doesn’t fit with our audience. Make no mistake, I personally won’t share content that our audience wouldn’t read.

      As per my last paragraph; “The key is ensuring that you do not overwhelm your existing community. Luckily the beauty of your own personal blogging super sharing group is that by limiting the number of members in your group to like-minded bloggers with the same goals as you, then your overall message will be even more powerful.”

      1. “Luckily these “rules” turned out to be more like guidelines. But make no mistake, if I decided I wanted to start dragging my heels then I would quickly be told where to go.” I totally read the thing about guidelines — and the subsequent remark about participation levels.

        It helps me to think about the web in real world interaction kind of ways. You know when you’re in a big city and there are those crews on street corners handing you samples of stuff for free? I don’t for a second thing they like that stuff, they have another motive for sharing it. Now, someone shows up on my front porch and says, “I found this stuff I really like, I totally wanted you to try it….” that’s a completely different interaction.I believe they think it’s good.

        I’m SO not trying to convince you you’re wrong or that I’m right, I’m just saying that this is how I perceive the sharing circles on the receiving side, regardless of their inner workings. YMMV, as you were and all that, and I’ll continue to avoid the street team handing out mints, sports drinks, links, whatever.

        1. Agree with your points Pam. Over the long term, or for an established writer like yourself, there is a diminishing effect of belonging to one of these groups. But for newer bloggers looking to grow an audience then these groups (IMO) are great for reaching that audience in the first place.

  2. So I’ve both joined and started blogger groups on Facebook and the one I love the most is the small one that isn’t just a free for all of “SHARE MY POST!” It’s a place to exchange ideas, share big things, and ask questions – a place to help build each other up and collaborate. Another group I’m in has something called a “Free For All Friday” – where members are free to share a post from the week – but there is absolutely no pressure to share/like said posts.

    I can’t stand those posts and rules about hey, everyone share a link and then share/like everyone elses. I mean maybe I’m just not that interested in your post about bar hopping in Cancun. So being forced or pressured to share stuff that doesn’t fit me or my brand – just isn’t a good fit because in the end, that’s not going to help my bottom line.

    1. Agree Adina.
      Our group, which I didn’t really touch on too much, is perfect for creating and sounding ideas of one another. We have been VERY selective of who joins and what they bring to the group.
      By having a select group we ensure that the quality of the writing is equal across the board and therefore we don’t have to share a “bar hopping in Cancun” post 🙂
      There have been countless times anyway where I haven’t shared a post because it wouldn’t fit my audience or our blogs model. As always our audience comes first.

  3. Great comment Pam. There is so much pressure on bloggers now because if they want to get a press trip or XYZ to build their content, then they have to prove the numbers to the tourist board or company paying them to do so. I always appreciate when someone comments on my blog post or RTs me but I want them to do it genuinely not because they feel they have to pay it forward. It’s been said before in guest posts that stronger engagement (regardless of the numbers based on your “circle jerk”) will yield better results than numbers.

    That brings me to another point: bloggers joining forces to work with sponsors. See: iambassador; Navigate.
    Where do we stand on this topic? Is this an extension of the organized blogger sharing group? Does it alienate independent bloggers/journalists/writers? I think there needs to be a separate post on it because I foresee that being the new trend. Just food for thought.

    1. I think the bloggers joining forces is just another step up from these sharing groups. It is just a way to make money out of it which is great for their business models. Companies and destinations love it too because they get a huge boost in sharing through social media.
      At least in a sharing group we are not getting paid to share each others content.

    2. I think iAmbassador and Navigate media are both a great step in the right direction for bloggers who want to make this part time or full time job. Ad networks in this space are inevitable and if bloggers own them instead of some corporation good for them.

  4. To add to my previous comment – RE: those working in these blogger super groups – what does the goal become? Why get the higher numbers? For a press trip? to get sponsors? advertisers? I think bloggers need to ask what the underlying goal of their blog is. If companies are looking for more engagement, does working in a group like this yield “fake engagement”? Or is it more of an extension of “I help you; you help me.”

    1. This is just my personal opinion of course and not sure how others work, but for me it was about growing my audience and reaching a wider base. As I mentioned in the post once I started I received an increase in subscribers, page views etc.
      Of course the benefits of that are now I have a much larger audience and therefore it is easier to attract sponsors and press trips, but that wasn’t the reason I joined a group.
      I think a very important part of blogging is that you can be the best writer in the world, yet if no one reads your stuff then is there a point? People still have to read/find your content in this over-saturated world and by engaging with other bloggers you open up audiences that you may not have reached previously. It works for my business model (and yes my blog is my full source of income) but it won’t work for everyone.

  5. A few things, mashed up from all these comments:
    1. I wasn’t always an established writer. I started with a personal blog that had zero readers. My traffic, by all standards, remains unimpressive. My readers, however, have remained with me for more than ten years, and my modest traffic has been no obstacle to opportunity. I was hired to go to Antarctica because the company wanted my voice on their site, not because they wanted my traffic.
    2. Bloggers with the primary goal of attracting sponsors and getting press trips also end up on the cutting room floor in my reading list. Why? Because the goal isn’t to write great stuff for readers, it’s to take money for marketing to destinations.I’ll save you the trouble and say, outright, that I’m a terribly snobby reader. If I’m going to give my distracted online attention span to someone, I’m going to give it to those who put the reader, not the sponsor first.
    3. It’s all fine and well to create a business model around pleasing sponsors and advertisers, that’s what those group blogging initiatives do and they’re doing okay, bully for them. But I’d hazard to guess that there’s not one reader out there in the world who’s saying “You know what I need? I need more mid-level marketing material in my life!” That’s what these initiatives create by design. They market destinations through bloggers. If I wanted to write mid-level marketing copy, I’d get a job doing so and it would pay very good money — skilled copywriters are highly paid, at least in the markets I’m in.
    4. None of this is that hard. Put your readers first, always. Do your very best work.. Be honest. Share work you love.

    One last thing: This remark gets thrown around frequently and I’d kind of like to see that stop. “…you can be the best writer in the world, yet if no one reads your stuff then is there a point?” Yeah, there *IS* a point. Some people — a great number of people — really like to write for the sheer pleasure of writing. They just want to tell a story, even if the only person who reads it is their mom, their college roommate, and that guy they met while traveling and stayed in touch with. This is a totally legitimate — and, I’m beginning to think in this particular milieu — undervalued reason to blog.

    I met the folks from Ever in Transit in Keystone, Cassie and Keven, and they gave me a lift back to the airport. It was a long drive, we had time to talk. Kevin said this: “You know, if I can just inspire one of my friends to get off the couch and go see some other part of the world, I’ll consider my blog a success.” I don’t know if their goals have shifted since then, but I remember thinking, “What better reason to have a blog?” And “Amen!”

    As always, YMMV and all that.

  6. I would like you to address a couple of questions if you don’t mind Pam. I am not advocating one way or the other but I know how passionate you are about this and I think your perspective is valuable. I also think these are important questions for bloggers to ask themselves.

    Why should the model be different for blogs vs. traditional media?

    In the traditional media model, they relentlessly promote other programs within their network. That goes for newspapers, radio and television. In all of those traditional media channels they often promote content that is completely irrelevant to the content you are currently consuming. Don’t even get me started on the quality aspect.

    For example, watch any NFL game on Sunday and notice them promoting Desperate Housewives, TMZ and other programs that most football fans could care less about. In fact it is a pretty good bet the guys calling the game don’t watch those programs and likely hate them. It is just their job to read those promos. Does that hurt the content in how they present the game?

    Or is there an implicit agreement between the content consumer and the provider; you give me free content and I tolerate your ads.

    Radio is no different. Listen to a program and you will hear them promote all sorts of other shows on their network that are completely irrelevant to theirs.

    Again, I am not saying I agree with it, just pointing out that this is perfectly acceptable behavior in mainstream media. What makes blogs and new media different?

    1. This isn’t some old media/new media binary. Promoting Desperate Housewives during an NFL game is advertising. Promoting links in exchange for promotion of your own links is advertising of a different flavor. It’s pretty easy to recognize an ad on TV, less so when someone is pushing things unlabeled into your Twitter feed.

      Perhaps the difference is that it’s easier to make it look like something it’s not with new media, easier to make ads masquerade as “content” and “endorsements.” That’s not an advantage for readers in any way, shape or form.

  7. I sometimes think I need to sheepishly say, “Well, I’m really just a hobbyist” when I say I’m a blogger. As if I’m not to be taken seriously. Perhaps that’s because my stats aren’t through the roof. I started writing not to monetize my blogs (I have two, actually), but to be a better writer and a better communicator. I also started this whole “hobby” because I come from a training (both undergrad and grad school) in advertising communcications and the communications world has changed dramatically. (It happens to also be my profession.) The only way to truly understand it all is to dive in and start doing it: blogging, tweeting, instagramming, driving everyone crazy with my senseless Four-Square checking in.

    Groups are tempting, I have to say. Who wouldn’t want to leverage the easy you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours opportunity? Maybe I’m leaving money on the table by not doing that, but what I’ve found in my 18 month-foray into the social world is this: I easily can tell the genuineness of my followers through engagement. If I’m arrogant enough to think I have something to say I should at least have the decency to give something back to my followers, and that’s honest-to-goodness good writing that has emotion and that is honest. Not sure I can get that in groups.

    I’d rather go slow and steady and be genuine.

    And this is coming from someone who knows exactly what marketing can do.

    1. In every walk of life, you have to be a good amateur before you can become a professional. Blogging is no different.

      Treating it has a hobby is nothing to be ashamed of.

  8. We keep using broad-based terms like “travel blogger” to sweep in a giant pile of people who run their businesses in very different ways. There is no one turn-key solution to this, which is why the epic arguments about selling links or buying followers or disclosures happen – people have divergent goals for their businesses, and that’s fine. It makes the world interesting. There is, in my mind, a Venn diagram where all these businesses interact and in my ideal happyland place, within that intersection would be three things:
    – a love of travel
    – a desire to share that love of travel to teach people about the world, and encourage them to see the world a little differently
    – a desire to maintain transparency to your own readers both for personal integrity reasons, and because you respect them. (Advertorial is a fine line here.)

    Outside these three things, though, there are big differences in goals.

    If your goal is driving up your numbers for the purposes of leveraging them quickly, yes these share groups might make sense. I don’t personally participate in them, but I can see how those who want to have a solid press kit for trips might want to do so to build engagement. Again, goals. I don’t do travel blogging/writing/photography for the free trips, so to me it’s not a priority. But also, I just don’t know that it’s engagement that sticks around. I’m sure there is a percentage of people who will latch on via other travel bloggers’ tweeting/posting the shares but I wish there was a more discerning measure of lasting engagement / interaction.

    If your goal is (as it is for me) building out something – a brand, a presence, whatever – that can be leveraged into a tool that gets you the flexibility you want in your life, then the share groups and advertorial (to loop in Pam’s comments) might not be for you. Because in this case, imho what you are looking for is a more longterm, slower build. e.g. My goal was never to use my site as a primary moneymaker but to build up a reputation such that I’d be able to take it and leverage it to live in places I loved, eat soup as much as possible and hopefully get people to travel more. (And yes, I understand that I was able to build up savings as a lawyer then use them to travel, but I have not dipped into them in years – my lifestyle is paid for by the work I do now. I hear the arguments that people want to afford their lives of travel but again it’s a choice between longterm vs. shortterm – I’d still prefer to do work elsewhere – off a main site – to pay for the travel)

    I’ve said in any talks I’ve given (at TBEX and otherwise) that what we loosely call the travel blogging community is a wonderful thing. I’ve made some incredible friends, I’ve asked questions and gotten useful, very actionable feedback and I’ve done the same and Skyped or chatted or emailed with people who had questions for me too. But as great as it is to share a meal and talk business, there are some wildly different practices and goals, so it is quite hard to say one is right and one is wrong. Outside basic ethics (ie. not leading your readers astray or pretending free stuff isn’t free), it goes back to those goals and what you want out of your business. So for each of us, one of the two different POVs above might resonate more, depending on what we want. I do think that if we focus on advertorial or endorsements on our sites, we will eventually alienate our readers. And what are we without an audience?

    The tl;dr version is that for me, share groups are not what I want because I am silly-picky about what I put up online and share online. My social media snobbery has meant, though, that people trust what I say (except when I talk about my hatred of olives). For me:
    (1) the focus ought to be on outward-facing social streams in lieu of share groups;
    (2) through those streams, we ought to be hyper-diligent in contributing value through providing information, links to learn from, something that sets us apart from others – our interests, our prior skills/knowledge;
    (3) we ought to be trying to improve our presence online through the tools we use in our businesses (bettering writing, bettering photography, working on narrative, understanding basic SEO, getting better at pitching, etc) and
    (4) we can lean on and learn from each other in the travel blogging world for business tactics, constructive feedback and brainstorming.

    I’m off to find soup. 😉

    1. Thanks, Jodi. You’ve put this very well and provided a lot of clarity for how I should think about all of this. As someone who’s been trying to decide what my long term goals for my blog and looking at all these issues, your perspective is very helpful. It really rings true for me.

  9. This is a great look at two different sides of the coin. Annemarie Dooling’s post makes the ‘yay or nay’ an easy choice. Well written Annemarie, thanks for your thoughtful post.

  10. Last year at TBEX, one of the biggest takeaways was to create partnerships. This was evidenced at the Expedia session in which family bloggers and mommy bloggers had partnered together. So this idea of partnerships plus a conversation with a Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Representative about diversity in tourism lead to the creation of the BTB Black Travel Bloggers.
    Read the post BTB Black Travel Bloggers: Diversity at TBEX Denver 2012
    http://btbblacktravelbloggers.blogspot.com/2012/07/diversity-at-tbex-denver-2012.html

    Blogger sharing groups are a type of partnership. They are small groups tightly focused on a theme. This is the clear message that TBEX sent to bloggers at last year’s conference.

    The tourism boards, public relation firms, etc have asked the question who is reading our blogs? They can pretty much tell when other bloggers are promoting other bloggers. This was a warning of sorts at the World Travel Market London during the discussion on Blogger ROI.

    I don’t think blogger sharing groups are all bad. It is a problem if the only ones commenting or sharing on the blogs are other travel bloggers. However, if the sharing generates interest to other new readers beyond travel bloggers then that is good.

    Everyone loves to go with what’s popular. If you tell them this is the new in thing and they believe it. Great!
    What makes the new travel destination the in place to go? We do! As travel bloggers we visit places and tell readers this is must place to visit.

    For example the Jordan Tourism Board sponsored bloggers to change the perception that Jordan was not a safe country.

    This works both ways.

    Readers love to follow popular trends.

    A blogger sharing group can create a popular trend so that readers can find their blogs. Blogging partnerships or blogging sharing groups are a necessity. It can be very difficult to build readership without them.

    Bloggers also need a strategy to be an individual, to seek other audiences participating in other groups. We are much too competitive and insular among ourselves. All our time should not be consumed with reading each other blogs and following each other around on social media. We must also stand alone to create our own great content.

    I would suggest checking in once a week with one or two groups and not spend everyday all day long participating in blogging communities. They are too numerous at this point. I have removed myself from most of them. It is an overload.

    There is life outside of the travel blogging community. This is where our readers exist.
    It is good to spend time connecting with them. It is difficult to produce great content for readers if you don’t spend time getting to know your readers.

  11. Everyone has to find the model that works for them … and the newbie bloggers need to know that it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to not want to be in the “in crowd” and spend a significant amount of time sharing posts, commenting, link exchanging etc with other travel bloggers. It is one way to move forward — but it’s not the only way, as I think Pam and Gary (at least) have been saying. And I also want to reiterate it. My blog is growing, and so am I — and I have always been focused on becoming the best writer I can be, whether I get read or not; and I have rarely commented on other blogs or been part of blog sharing groups to linking building. I’ve always followed the beat of my own drum, and my crazy fondness for India … So to new bloggers I say: don’t be afraid to be different, don’t be afraid to be yourself, don’t be afraid to find your own model, the one that works for YOU.

    ps For some reason, I am always encouraging people not to be afraid these days …. hmmmm, wonder what that’s all about?

    1. Great point Mariellen!
      Every blog is different and the key is to standout by finding what works for you. That is the one point I always tell newer bloggers.
      By no means should you join a group if you are not comfortable with it and to be honest the time involved can be significant to begin with. But if you have chosen the right people and blogs then it works seamlessly.

  12. My objection is to the title of the post.

    I can think of no top level blog in any area (travel or otherwise) that got there by doing group sharing with other blogs.

    This is NOT how top blogs do it. It is a technique almost universally used by smaller and newer blogs.

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with it. It isn’t immoral or unethical. If you want to do this, go nuts. However, don’t think this is the path to success. It is a short term way to boost some numbers, not a long term path to building a real audience.

    1. Perhaps the title is a little strong Gary. A lot of the “groups” may not necessarily be fully organised with guidelines etc but the main point I was getting at was that top bloggers are sharing each others content on a regular basis. I am sure most will also see a share from a friend and think “well they shared my content maybe I will reciprocate”. It is the same in every industry.

      While is not necessarily the path to success, it is well known in travel (and other niches) that it helps to have other bloggers to share your content regularly. I don’t personally write for bloggers and I know you don’t either, but every time a blogger shares your post I am sure you gain a few new readers. By establishing a strong network (probably a better word than group) you do gain a lot.

  13. Bloggers can be individuals and have their own voice plus still participated in share blogging groups. Just because you are in a share group does not mean that your blog does not have its own voice.

    There is nothing wrong with edification of others. By sharing another bloggers articles on twitter, facebook, google plus, pinterest, etc. one lifts them up. In order for one to succeed you must help someone else. You can’t make it be about your blog all the time.

    The skills developed in a sharing blogger group are the same skills of promotion used to uplift and edify travel destinations.

    There are thousands of new bloggers. If they group into hundreds to share each other blogs and network, it is easier for them to succeed than being a single blogger on their own trying to become a top blogger.

    If we are encouraging the thousands of new bloggers who are interested in succeeding, then the model must change. Just because you succeeded a different way in the past does not mean that a new model can not work.

    Social media is ever evolving. It is about creativity not sticking to what worked in the past will work in the future.

  14. Hello,

    I found your post by Goggling “travel blog groups on facebook.” I have three blogs, but it’s my France Travel and Food blog that I haven’t managed to bring traffic to yet. Or at least, not the extent that I want. Not even close.

    Unfortunately, most bloggers I know are not in this niche so while they visit and comment on my other blogs they don’t much on that one.

    Great information and I hope I’ll be able to find what I’m looking for.

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