The only way to succeed is to be known and the only way to be known is to be seen (& heard) but how in the hell can you stand out from the crowd in the massive world of blogging to do both?
Grab my top tips and discover how easy it is to begin making those all-important connections with Blogging: How to get started networking!
A bit of info before we begin: I have suffered from high anxiety for years and unfortunately have allowed this annoyingly frustrating mental health issue to convince me to miss too many possible opportunities. Fortunately, through much trial & error, I’ve discovered that being (over) prepared and on the ball gives me enough of an advantage over my anxiety to confidently reach out to potential contacts – the worst that can happen is a “no” so I’m losing absolutely nothing by clicking that send button but I just might be gaining a groovy collaborator, brilliant business opportunity or even a fabulous new friend!
1. Why, what, where, who? First and foremost you need to figure out exactly why you want to network, what you hope to achieve, where you’d like your blogging to lead to and who in your industry you’d like to connect with.
Are you networking to meet like-minded friends? collaborate on projects? further your career? gain followers? sell products? Do you want to connect with other bloggers? business professionals? companies for sponsorships?
2. Create your introduction. A short intro description of who you are and what you do – having a brief and concise mini-bio to let people know exactly who you are and what you’re about is incredibly important when initially reaching out to potential collaborators, sponsors, partnerships and such.
Here’s mine: I’m Sheri Pavlovic, the quirky Canadian DIY diva behind Confessions of a Refashionista who lived a most extraordinary existence in North America, Japan, England, Greece and Germany before finally ending up in Toronto last year after over 20 years spent living and working abroad in the DIY, Fashion, Publishing and Entertainment industries.
3. Compose your personalized mini-pitch. Before contacting anyone make sure you know who you’re reaching out to and what you’ll be offering. Read their about me info, check out their social media and familiarize yourself with their “work with me” page (if they have one).
I receive copy/paste e-mails every single day from bloggers, start-ups and companies (large & small) that have obviously not taken the time to read, watch or even quickly scan through any of my work. It’s incredibly frustrating to open an e-mail that not only does not begin with a friendly, personal greeting but then proceeds to ask me to work to promote them without offering anything in return.
4. Seriously, what are you offering? Your offer does not have to be monetary and depends entirely on who you’re reaching out to. A collaboration offer between bloggers/vloggers can be as simple as a link exchange, swap or interview. A potential investor, sponsor or business partnership opportunity needs to contain a brief yet clear and specific description of your idea as well as your fee and mini media kit. Take a peek at mine for an example.
My Totally Smitten With series is a fab networking tool that allows me to get in touch with anyone I’d like to work with by offering them the opportunity to be featured on my blog and social media without asking for anything in return. But just how does that grow my network? At the very least those featured share the link to the article on their own social media which means more views of my blog + potential new fans & subscribers but even better are those who feature me back, introduce me to their own network and become collaborators, business associates and friends.
5. Network in Person. Depending on where you are in the world there just may be a load of networking events, clubs, groups to choose from! MeetUp.com is a great place to start to find like-minded individuals in your local area. Shapr is a relatively new app that allows you to connect with other members in your area who not only share your professional interests but are already keen to meet you too – there are no unsolicited messages and you are only able to contact those who want to be in touch with you (& vise versa).
I’ve been to a couple of networking events through MeetUp.com in Toronto and, thanks to my anxiety, found them to be a bit overwhelming. I’ve been using Shapr for a couple of weeks and am finding it much easier to contact and meet up with individuals whose professional info I’ve been able to check out + who I already know are interested in collaborating with me – so much easier than simply wandering around an event having to constantly reintroduce myself in the hope of meeting someone who shares my work interests.
Have a look at the things I’d wish I’d known when I first started blogging, check out all of my backstage of blogging series and feel free to request a behind-the-scenes topic that you’d like to learn more about in the comments below.