The Real Purpose for Building Alliances

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Recently I encouraged you to form powerful blogging alliances. Building strong online relationships with other like-minded bloggers is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

Don’t You Want More than Just A Tweet Exchange?

As the comments rolled in on that article, I began to notice a trend. Many people are forming these alliances for only one reason: content promotion. In other words, you tweet, stumble, digg, or comment my material and I’ll return the favor.

Commenting and digging isn’t nearly the most important things that we do for each other inside of these alliances. In fact, if you’re commenting and digging worthless content for a handful other people, then you’re going to destroy your own reputation and you won’t be helping those in your alliance at all.

I’m actually becoming a little bit dissatisfied with stumble exchanges, tweet exchanges, digg exchanges, etc. They bloat the internet with content that isn’t good enough to get shared organically.

Consider these awesome insights from Derek Jensen who’s working hard to build an amazing website for college students. He’s got a great handle on this concept. Here’s what he has to say.

When we are just retweeting something just to be nice we are not helping measure the quality of the content and for me I would not benefit from other bloggers that blog about blogging retweeting college life tips.

I would say the most important thing we do in these alliances is heavily critique each other and have in-depth conversations that usually take place via Skype.

Derek Jensen from LifeNotion

Alliances are for Self-Improvement…not self-promotion

We should be critiquing each others work. If you asked me to tweet your article and I didn’t like it, then I would do something that would be much better for you than a tweet. I would tell you what I don’t like about it so that you can improve it.

Then you can go out and write something that’s good enough to get 10 tweets on it’s own and that is worth far more than my single tweet.

We need to be improving one another and not just promoting stale content. I don’t mean to sound unkind, but simple promotion is worthless. We say that content is king so then why aren’t we using our alliances to build better content and not just to promote it.

Group Reflection

As you work to build relationships online, always remember that it not just about promoting each others work. It’s about improving one another. It’s about helping one another to grow and develop into better bloggers. This is far more profitable than mere promotion.

Myself and a few friends actually wrote about this topic together today. For their take on this subject check out these articles:

The Real Purpose for Building Alliances by Mike Stenger

The Real Purpose for Building Alliances by Mikkel Juhl

The Real Purpose for Building Alliances by Derek Jensen

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37 Vibrant Comments

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  1. February 18, 2010

    William Womack said:

    I completely agree. I used to go around trying to get people to tweet and stumble my stuff, but now I try to make it good enough that it gets tweeted and stumbled on it’s own.

    I’d love to hear more about forming alliances and how to start forming them.

    Awesome post! Competition is dead, collaboration on the other hand… 😉
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How to Build Your Power =-.

    • February 18, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      That’s good. Way too many people fail to understand how important it is to help one another improve our content and it’s most likely due to the fact that they’ve probably just never been told.

  2. February 18, 2010

    Tom | Build That List said:

    Alliances are a fantastic asset to improve yourself and each other! I really like you comment about self-improvement, not self-promotion as I feel a lot of bloggers think the reverse!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Aweber Code….And Why You Need To Promote It! =-.

    • February 18, 2010

      Derek Jensen said:

      I believe many bloggers think this because it is the easiest thing to do and is what they see all the top bloggers do. Well when starting out you need to working on improvement, get noticed, get noticed more, be awesome, and then self promotion.

      It’s almost like forming a right and healthy alliance you are preventing yourself from nonstop self promotion that is not going to get you anywhere.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

      • February 18, 2010

        Nicholas Cardot said:

        You guys are right and I think that Derek nailed it right on the head. They do this because it’s so easy to do. It requires so little work to simply click on the tweet or digg button, but it’s actually difficult to hear people critique ourselves or our sites and then take action on the feedback.
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

  3. February 18, 2010

    Dimi said:

    Very well said. I believe that we have become robots, hitting the retweet button has become second nature to us, an instinct. Sometimes I catch myself retweeting even if I didn’t like the post I just read. Its crazy!

    I think we are starting to move away from helping each other and that scares me a bit.

    Great post, something I will keep in mind next time I have a chance to help someone with more than just a tweet.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

  4. February 18, 2010

    Jordan Cooper said:

    Nick, you already know my take on the issue and agree 100% with the issue at hand.

    Blogging alliances aren’t about shortcuts. This is the term I most commonly attribute to those who want to create groups for the simple purpose of promoting each other for the sake of reciprocation. Instead of looking inward for some serious self-realization, these “retweet & comment clubs” only perpetuate the notion you’re doing well when you’re not.

    Don’t hide from the truth. Seek it out and then make a change for the better. If you do this, you’ll find you won’t ever have the need for “shortcuts”.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Third Tribe Review – Connectors Are The Glue =-.

    • February 18, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      That’s really the truth. If you can get 15 or 20 tweets on something then you feel like you’ve really arrived so you simply ask 15 friends to share the article and then you feel like you’re the man. When really your just inflating a number on a worthless article and make yourself feel like you’re doing well when in fact you’re not.

      It really is a shortcut. It’s better to feel hurt and to learn and grow than it is to feel good about doing a poor job. We need to hold our heads up, take in feedback, and work to improve ourselves.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

  5. February 18, 2010

    rabsin_d said:

    I totally agree… It still confuses me why people tend to be more selfish to be on top rather than going all together to the highest peak!

    Great entry…cheers!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Webthesurfi rugs webdesign =-.

  6. February 18, 2010

    Dana @ Blogging Update said:

    An interesting topic. I my self think that exchange thing is the only way that new blogger can achieve something. But — yeah as you said, it may affect the quality of whole internet but if there are no other option, this exchange things surely will be remain.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How do I Use Google Buzz? =-.

    • February 18, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      I strongly disagree. It’s not the only way that a new blogger can achieve anything. In fact, it’s probably one of the leading factors that cause ‘new’ bloggers to remain ‘new.’

      Rather than learning how to improve their content, they make a couple of friends who tell them how great it is and then they never improve it. They never grow. They never get better and they never attract the kind of traffic and readership that they could have if they had ignored the easy tweets and went after the ones that were worth having.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

  7. February 18, 2010

    Todd Michael Greene said:

    Just wanted to say that I discovered your blog a few days ago and have been enjoying it ever since. I plan to subscribe and follow this blog. Losts of good info here.

  8. February 18, 2010

    Thomas McGee said:

    Good article, and good points about using alliances for improvement. After all, if everyone around you is telling you how great you are doing all the time, what room will that leave for improvement? Critiques are where it’s at.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Jules Verne Series =-.

    • February 18, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Critiques are exactly where it’s at. You’re exactly right. We’ve got to get it in our heads that we need to improve…or we’re not going to improve. That’s common sense. Yet we’re failing to do it because it doesn’t make us feel good. We’ve got to step up to this challenge and do what it takes to make it big.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

  9. February 18, 2010

    Joe said:

    Though I run an affiliate marketing site and not a blog, I agree with Nick’s dissatisfaction with tweet exchanges. I think part of the problem happened when Twitter started with the automatic ReTweet button. Before you had to manually RT someone, and that gave you the opportunity to add to the tweet, to embellish and maybe point out why this is valuable to your followers or alliances. With the newer ReTweet button, it’s too easy just to hit the button whether the tweet offers anything of value or not! So much for engagement!

  10. February 18, 2010

    Thomas Levin said:

    This is one of the things that really got me a little disillusioned with the forums. Although there is about 20% good people there alot of the other 80% have joined up a glorified retweet community.

    I get much more joy seeing people share my content organically and when I see it shared up at another forum or on twitter and I haven’t done anything other then write the content, it tells me that I am doing something write.

    The real purpose of an alliance is to surround yourself with a group of like minded ambitious people that you can tap into for discussion which would value everyone in the group.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Do you play Football Manager on multiple computers? =-.

  11. February 18, 2010

    Evelyn @ Natural Raw Living said:

    You are telling the truth and I agree with you 100%.

    I will only share posts/links that I know have a great message. When I find something from someone that is helpful and beneficial to others, I will not hesitate to share, but I don’t share links just to be sharing. The content has to be good!

    Take care!

    • February 18, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      That’s a good philosophy. Those that I see retweeting junk make me hesitant to click on their links in their twitter stream. I’m always forced to wonder if they are sharing someone’s content or if it’s actually something that they saw that they liked. It’s good that you drew the line and decided to only share what interests you.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

  12. February 18, 2010

    Johnny said:

    Very good points you make! I think as bloggers, we have the assumtion that all our content is great and it’s up to our alliance to get the word out so everyone can read it and like it and thumb it up or whatever.

    Taking the humble approach and getting REAL feedback can only make us better (much faster).
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: I Can’t Write and So Can You =-.

    • February 18, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Blogs are like babies. Most people think their blogs are a lot cuter than other people think. You’re right about that concept. We really do think that our blogs are much better than they actually are and this leads to failure. We should be our own biggest critics and we should actively recruiting our friends to criticize us onward toward success. We need to find our weaknesses so that we can do better and grow stronger.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

  13. February 18, 2010

    Matt said:

    Very true, Nick. Hope my email wasn’t coming across that way…shouldn’t have as I waited to share by blog with you until you asked. 😉

    Good food for thought! Very nice tips to remember. If people try to promote their content with every interaction they make, they’ll just turn people off.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Disney’s Awesome Things #6: Experiencing Ride Breakdowns =-.

    • February 18, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      I’ve enjoyed our emails and I don’t feel like you came across like this at all. I hope that you didn’t think the I was talking about you. 🙂

  14. February 18, 2010

    John said:

    I think we don’t already do this because we’re afraid of criticism. We don’t like hearing about our faults, especially from our peers. It’s uncomfortable and scary. However, we’ll never improve unless we address those weaknesses.

    I’d never thought of an alliance as a way to get consistent feedback, but I think it is a great idea. Thanks for the post, Nicholas.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: GI Joe ID Quiz =-.

    • February 18, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      My alliance actually provided me with feedback about this video already. They said that I sounded too stiff as if I were reading from a script (which I didn’t) and that I never blinked. Of course, the last note about blinking was a joke amongst us, but the rest of the critiques are incredibly helpful for me as I work to improve the quality of the presentation. I value that part of my alliance more than I can say.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

  15. February 18, 2010

    Mike Stenger said:

    Hey Nick, it’s been great connecting with all you guys in the group on Skype. I’ve been learning some really good stuff 🙂

    You made a great point about it not being some sort of tweet exchange and reminded me of the point I made in my post on this subject: “Effective alliances are built to help a group of people and mastermind with one another.”
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose For Building Alliances =-.

    • February 18, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Mike, I’ve enjoyed working with you and chatting with you and I’ve really appreciated your feedback. You’ve had some really great ideas and you’ve only made me cry once…okay twice…but who’s counting? 😉
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

  16. February 18, 2010

    Toya said:

    Thanks for sharing this Nick because I have recently been thinking about my alliances and trying to figure a way to make my online presence more useful as well as less time consuming. I really appreciate these tips because they have really helped me get a sense of how to redirect my efforts.

    • February 18, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      That’s so good to hear. I completely understand how important it is to know how to focus your efforts in a particular direction. You might not know this, but I work a full time job outside of blogging. I’m in the United States Army. I have to be able to focus my energies on the most important aspects of my blogging success or I would never make it anywhere.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Real Purpose for Building Alliances =-.

  17. February 19, 2010

    rabsin_d said:

    Wow! having 2 different fields must be hard…however, I know there are things that makes the 2 similar…
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Webthesurfi rugs webdesign =-.

  18. February 21, 2010

    Eric said:

    Helping each other out is what it takes in order to become successful as our help and different opinions helps us improve our blogs and online ventures.

    Nothing happens over night. It takes time for things to progress and people expect things to just happen and don’t give it time. That’s what really breaks things up.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Vital Parts Your Site Needs – Pop Post =-.

  19. February 22, 2010

    marshall | said:

    I agree, if anyone I follow keeps re-tweeting poor material, or the same thing over and over, I un-follow them. Life is too short to not be developing better content as we learn!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Off Grid construction – keep it simple =-.

  20. April 13, 2010

    Ellen said:

    I am here for your contest (yeah yeah but I am using a computer from 2004)… but being here I have read the articles before I tweet them.I liked this one in particular and for me it’s quite timely.
    I like entering contests and alot of others do also- there is a blog contest happening where my choice was to tweet and vote for a crappy blog, or to tweet and vote for a well written one and the blogger who writes the well written one donates time and money to Child Abuse Prevention.
    Now the first blog (the crappy one) I am ‘friends’ with- the second I know of her but do read what she says. Everyone is voting/retweeting for the friend even though the blog is horrible. I think youre right, people have become so used to retweeting junk they don’t think twice.
    I have been on the outs now for tweeting and voting for who I believe in, and for a cause I believe in.
    Excellent articles BTW- I keep getting lost everytime I tweet the contest now!