Becoming a full time blogger isn’t easy. The majority of the time people fantasize that bloggers have these super easy, happy-go-lucky lifestyles, but the truth is we are out here hustlin’. Just like any other industry, being able to network is the only way you are going to make a living in this business and grow relationship with brands. That is why for this months INsider article I am spilling the beans on all my tried and tested networking tricks.
I can not even begin to tell you how important it is to build your network. If you want to go anywhere as a blogger you have to meet and mingle with as many brands and people in your field as you can! Don’t just build up your Instagram, build up your network. Go to as many events as you can and make sure not to fall into the habit of hanging out with the same people. Talk to someone new, introduce yourself. The more people that you introduce yourself to the better chance you will have at meeting someone who can see your worth and want to work with you – simple!
TIP: Approach people that are in singles or doubles, they are more likely going to be open to talk to you.
When you approach a large group of three or more people it can be harder to include yourself into their conversation, especially if you don’t already know anyone in the group. Also, when I go to an event I always ask people for their business cards. If I want to work with someone I make sure that I get their contact information, that way I can follow up with them later and do a formal introduction. What better way to stick in someone’s mind then to continue contact?
TIP: Work on having a really good intro pitch that can cohesively tell whoever you are networking with who you are, what your strengths and achievements are, and some of your recent accomplishments.
Being able to sell yourself will help you hold their attention and make them excited to stay in contact with you as well. Once you have their card, and before you follow up, make sure to do your research! If you want to impress someone you met make sure you identify their needs. If you know what they do, how they do it and how you can help them you are golden! A perfect introduction email can be just the thing to land you on their media list and on your way to not only getting free stuff, but working with them on a campaign in the future.
TIP: Make sure to check out their social handles and website – see what current campaigns they are working on. Have they put out any new products? Is there a particular focus to their campaigns? Highlighting your findings in your follow up email shows them you did your research and you aren’t playing around.
Now remember that even if you send an email to a brand’s marketing director or a PR account manager, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a million other things going on. If you send an email to someone and don’t hear back it doesn’t mean that you were rejected! It means that they are probably just busy. A follow up to a follow up email is not insulting or annoying- send them! People need reminding! If they don’t want to, or can’t work with you, they will tell you, but majority of the time they just get sidetracked!
TIP: A ‘gentle reminder’ email, as I like to call them, won’t come off as aggressive or annoying. If anything people usually feel bad for taking so long to reply to such a soft and delicate approach.
TIP: Make friends not acquaintances.
People like working with people they feel a connection to. If someone asks me to recommend someone for a job, I usually recommend someone that I like and I am friends with before someone else. Making friends in your industry could not only lead to you being favoured for a job, but it can also land you invites to more events, increasing your network reach and help you meet new brands you have never worked with before. Don’t take me the wrong way here – make sure your intentions are still authentic. Don’t go using people and only being friends with them for what you can get out of the friendship. People can see right through that and won’t touch you with a ten foot poll once they, or a friend of theirs has witnessed your true colours. Be nice, be yourself, and be honest about it.
TIP: Although building relationships with brands is important, building relationships with other bloggers can be just as important.
There are a lot of bullies in the industry and the virtual world of blogging and social media can be very secluding. If you can make a crew of good friends that can support and relate to you, you’ll feel a lot less isolated.
Building relationships with brands can be as simple as building relationships with people. Cultivating relationships with brands, just like with people, doesn’t happen over night, so it’s important to be patient. Sometimes we forget that brands are always looking out for new and interesting people to work with. Instead of just talking about what you can do for them, show them. Create something that is an example of what you can do and shows them the full extent of your capabilities. Again, make sure to do your research and identify what they may like, need, and want. If you want to get noticed and work with them on future campaigns, you want to make an impact, but in a good way. So go ahead lil mama, show ‘em what you got. When brands are familiar with your work they are more likely to work with you and know right away if you can meet their expectations.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to take chances and stand out from everyone else. Create something beautiful. Always put your best foot forward and think about what you learned in your research. Dig deep and create something that may be out of the box for both the brand or yourself – you might just surprise them and yourself.
Networking can be difficult, but pushing myself outside of my comfort zone has led me to build a huge network. Confidence in yourself and your ability to succeed will give you the strength to push past old habits or uncomfortable situations.
I hope this INsider post helps motivate you to put some of these tips and tricks into use and helps you grow your network.
If you have any questions or comments about the article I as always would love to hear from you and can always be contacted at Soheila@soheilaonline.com