As a blogger one of my favorite things about blogging is collaborating with various brands through stylings, product reviews, and giveaways. I have been very fortunate to work with a variety of awesome companies. I am also very fortunate to have a few more collaborations coming up in the future. Over time I have become way more serious about my blog and the quality of content that goes up here, and on social media. It has been an every day conscious decision that I have to continue to face. Today on the blog I want to give all you bloggers looking to delve into collaborations a bit of a rundown on networking with other bloggers and brands.
Make Sure Your Name Reflects Your Blog
This is a lesson I had to learn a bit of a hard way. I was very scared of switching my name away from College is Love although I knew I needed to. Making the switch to The Happy Arkansan was scary, but in the end I have never been happier (punny.) I love logging on to my blog and not feeling pigeonholed by a name that didn't reflect my blog. Not only will this help you be happier, it will make it easier for others to connect with you because when they see your name and blogs they won't get confused.
Be Open About Communication Channels
This biggest channel you need to be open about is your email of course. The easiest way for someone to connect with you is through your email. I make sure my email is clearly listed on my blog and all of my social media channels. If someone would like to connect with you, most likely they will go through your email so have it open.
Business cards are important whether you are a blogger or not. You never know when you might meet someone and the easiest thing to do is to just take out a card and pass it along to them. VistaPrint always has a good deal for business cards on their website. They have a lot of cute designs there and you can always upload your own logo.
I absolutely love Twitter chats for networking. Here are some of my favorite chats and the people who run them:
#MillennialTalk, Tuesday nights at 8 PM EST.
#CreativeCofeeHour, Monday nights at 9 PM EST.
I always get a plethora of knowledge and a good amount of new followers on Twitter from each chat.
Make A Public Twitter List
So this is weird, but I love being added to Twitter lists. The smaller the list the better, don't automate this. Do it all by hand and watch some connections grow. Adding someone to a Twitter list is a fun way to say "Hey, I think highly of you, so I want to keep up with you in this cool way." If the list is public, when you add someone to it, they will get a notification about it. I am on a couple of blogging lists and I swoon a bit every time.
I especially love to manipulate hashtags on Instagram, but this is also important for Twitter or any site where hashtags are used prominently (aka go away Facebook.) You can use hashtags for two important things: for others to find you and for you to find other people.
Others Finding You
Obviously hashtags are important because when you place them on a Tweet or Instagram picture your update is shared in that hashtag category so when people search for those things they see your beautiful update. This can lead to businesses contacting you, people following you, or just interacting with your updates.
You Finding Others
Just like someone might find you, you can use hashtags to find others who might share common interests or values. Every day I try to go into a tag I like and like/comment on a few pictures. I am constantly trying to work on my local presence so I am constantly on hashtags such as #Arkansas or #LittleRock as these are hashtags that local people would be interested in. I also search tags like #Blogger to find like-minded bloggers, #preppy to find adorable outfits and people who might like my clothing style, and #boutique to find new companies to admire. These are just a few examples of hashtags I like to search through at various times.
I am sure there are apps that will go through this process for you, but I encourage you to do it organically. People aren't always truthful about which tags they use (especially if those tags are popular.) The only way to make sure that the people you like will share your same values is to do this organically.
Blogging networks are very important things. It's really awesome to find like-minded individuals and connect with them and grow your blogs and social media together. Be sure to also get involved in your states blogger network if you have one. This will be great for getting to know local bloggers and getting some more local readership of your blog.
Real life events are even better than online events like Twitter chats. Although I have never gotten the chance to attend a blog conference, there are plenty of conferences out there for you to attend. Sometimes you have to go out on a limb and attend them. Not only are conferences great, but also boutique parties and events, events in your neighborhood, etc. Think broadly when it comes to finding events to attend.
Pitch Your Heart Out
If all else fails, get to pitching yourself by contacting various companies straight at the source. Their emails, that is. If they don't come to you automatically, go to them. The following article has a lot of very important information on how to pitch a company (regardless of the size of your blog.) I promise you there is a company out there who wants to work with you!
Pitching of course comes with rejection. Each week set a goal of how many companies you want to pitch that week. A good goal would be a small number such as 5. It's important not to go too crazy pitching, because if you get a bunch of good news in one week, you might be hard pressed to find space in your content calendar.
Besides setting goals on how many email pitches you will send out you can also set goals on how many business cards you want to hand out that week, how many followers you want to gain, how many new blogs you want to comment on, etc. Goals can work in a variety of ways.
I hope these tips helped you become a little better at networking. There are a variety of in person and online ways to network so it is very important that you remember that there is always an opportunity around the corner to network!