by: Carol Bryant
Networking is one of the most important professional skills to bloggers. There are places both on and offline that will help you network so that your blog grows in sync.
If you meet a lot of people, both online and off, but your Google Analytics and social media numbers aren’t showing its effects, then that’s the time to redefine your strategy. And you do have one, right? More than college, continuing education, webinars, seminars, and podcasts, I attribute networking as the number #1 key to my success and growth.
So what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that if you want to grow a blog, make money doing it, and/or in some capacity use your blog in your business goals, then networking is crucial. Networking should be a part of your business plan. I work from home but that does not mean I never leave the home.
Networking allows you to:
- Become aware of career opportunities
- Find like-minded bloggers to share tips and hints
- Be in touch with the right people to help you grow
- Learn about opportunities
- Feel like someone has your back
- And so many other reasons
Have you ever been really excited to meet someone and then they are clams in person and you are totally disappointed? Don’t be a clam.
If you can adopt the philosophy that you need to give before receiving, you will be in a much better position in the long run.
There are two things that are absolutely crucial if you want to grow a blog: Credibility and trust. Do you have both? Are you considered a valuable resource who is both trustworthy and credible with his or her facts? Here’s where to network to help build a reputation and take a blog to the next level. (Oh, and these are for bloggers at any level):
Twenty-Five Places to Network and Grow a Blog
1. BlogPaws: I’d be remiss if I did not not start with the one conference that has made the biggest impact on my life. It happens yearly – but it changes it every time. If you are a lifestyle blogger with a pet section, or a pet blogger, you need to be at BlogPaws. In 2016, it takes place in Phoenix.
2. Periscope and Instagram: See who others are following: The rule of social media involves reciprocation. Want to get followers and comments? Then be a follower and comment on others who Instagram and ‘Scope. Did you see our post on how to get started on Periscope?
3. LinkedIn: This nugget of a social media platform often gets overlooked because, well, there are so many other platforms to invest in, right? LinkedIn is growing and a great place for groups, contacts, connects: And less Facebook-ish and more business minded.
4. Twitter: If for nothing else, then the chats that take place in real time on Twitter. I have built my following by networking in #BlogPawsChat on Tuesday nights from 8-10 pm EST. (except the third Tuesday of the month). I also network by creating columns of people I want to follow.
5. Expos and trade shows: Check for regional shows. You don’t have to travel far to make a big connection. Bonus: If the shows are pet welcoming, a pet is a great ice breaker, especially at an industry-related event.
6. WIPIN: Women in the Pet Industry Network. Professional associations like WIPIN foster personal and professional growth. You can also gain clients and meet industry leaders at them.
7. Events in your city. Google “events” in your city, or check out www.eventbrite.com and try something new on for size.
8. Red carpet galas: In the animal world, fundraisers are resplendent – so find one in your area or make a short trek to one: You might just find the networking to be worth the price of admission.
9. Pet-related local events: Dog shows, cat fairs, ferret clubs: Find one that sparks your interests and then attend.
10. Book clubs – both online and in person.
11. BlogPaws Community: There is a community of over 4,000 pet-loving enthusiasts, mostly business folks/bloggers/microbloggers at Community.BlogPaws.Com and the content is updated daily. Talk about first hand knowledge and interaction!
12. Other blogs: The first word in social media is social. So visit other blogs – both in your niche and outside it – and both read and comment. Commit to five blogs a week and don’t overwhelm yourself.
13. Meetup.com: This is a great place to find things happening in your area. Find one and then actually attend.
14. Volunteer: From the local animal shelter to a Big Brothers/Big Sisters event, there is no reward greater than the feeling of volunteering.
15. Find a favorite 501c3: As a pet blogger or lifestyle blogger with a pet focus, align with a 501c3 animal rescue group. If you are international, find one close to you that touches your heart. For me, I love all dogs, but I am smitten with Cocker Spaniels. I help them fundraise and have cast a wide networking net as a result.
16. Local festivals, bazaars, and fairs: These are always fun, and there are always people who want to talk and say hello.
17. Regional events/local blog conferences: Find something small and intimate in your area and then proceed to the venue.
18. Chamber of Commerce: As a blogger, you are a business, so check out the resources and networking opportunities of the local Chamber of Commerce.
19. Free local college and library events with speakers, or courses of interest.
20. Dog park: I meet more people at the park with my pooch than just about anywhere else.
21. Private groups online: Forums and message boards are not dead.
22. Facebook groups: Your search bar is a best friend: Use it: Be a giver and not just a taker. Reciprocate.
23. Career Fairs – Even if a job isn’t on your agenda, the networking and exchange of business cards is a great networking opportunity.
24. College alumni events – Do you get those “hey, we want to see you” reminders in the mail from your college alma mater? Indeed, college alumni events, breakfasts, receptions, alumni sports games, alumni interest groups, and alumni databases are better ways to connect and network.
25. Toastmasters – Public speaking may not be your thing, but knowing how to do it will open so many doors. The confidence that public speaking builds is amazing.
If you are shy or hesitant about approaching someone and getting started on the networking path to success, here are some one liners you are free to use next time out:
Make it short and sweet and if you have a hard time approaching people, ‘
Hi, I’m here for the first time and trying to meet new folks. Can I give you a business card?
I promised myself I’d circulate the room, so my name is….. how are you?
What are your favorite places and/or networking tips?