. HOW TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A BUSINESS: NETWORKING 101 .
So today is part three of my ‘turn your blog into a business’ tips series and part three happens to be the one area that I think these days has such a big importance but it’s also the one that becomes a little more difficult when your juggling work and blog. It’s networking.
Networking to me is a skill of nature and less nurture, of course you can put best practice into action (and I’ll share my top tips shortly) but in my opinion networking should be natural, never forced and as much as possible an organic relationship building process (no cold calls etc).
Turning your blog into a business requires a strong network, not only a steady enough network of followers and readers, but also of clients, PR relationships, and of course fellow bloggers. After all it’s these people that will make your business succeed or fail. Successful networking really is a skill, and knowing the best opportunities to network is a big part of that.
When it comes to networking I think there are 5 key things to consider, work on & focus your efforts on.
. 5 TIPS TO HELP YOU NETWORK .
#1 PR & CLIENTS
As I mentioned, when you take your business full time you’re relying on income to keep you afloat, and in the majority of cases that income will come from partnerships with brands and PR’s.
There’s tons of opportunities to meet PR’s and brands, whether that’s through press days or blog events or even through other projects your working on. The key is to attend as many as possible, to meet as many people as possible and get to know the people around you. This sounds easy of course, but time needs to be on your side here!
I’m not one for contacting a company first or out of the blue, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t as long as your polite and start things off slowly – perhaps introducing yourself, your blog and sharing any features you’ve previously done featuring the brand. Some brands I’ve met love the concept of proactive bloggers introducing themselves and its a way of broadening your net of potential opportunities.
I actually wrote a little feature on building relationships and a network which you can read here too.
Collaborations are my favourite way to work with a brand, taking a brief and developing a bespoke editorial for a client. I love the focus on content opposed to simply clicks and if quality content is your niche then there are great opportunities to work with brands in this way.
Collaborations can come from a variety of places, client direct, advertising agencies through the likes of an agent (I’m signed to the WaR network), PR’s or even other bloggers. Regardless of where the business comes from you must remember that a paid collaboration is work, so manners, timely responses & full delivery on the brief is essential.
#3 MEDIA PACK
When it comes to networking, especially online, it’s really helpful to have a media pack readily available to share with brands or businesses who are looking to work with you. It provides them with all the information they need in one professional looking place.
I’ve been meaning to create my own media pack for ages now, but I know how important it is so its next on my to do list.
When you’re pulling together your media pack be sure to share the key information a brand would require from you: your manifesto & what you do, previous clients you’ve worked with, your key stats and of course basic rates.
#4 CONTACT & COLLABORATIONS
As well as having a chic little media pack in your back pocket, it’s also worth making sure information to contact you is also easily found and that you’re providing potential clients with as much information as possible before they even contact you.
I have a contact, press and collaborations page on my blog which allows prospect partners to see some of the work I’ve done & the ways in which I work. These pages don’t need to be flash (although I wish I’d collected all my press coverage so I could show that in a pretty way too) but just share some examples of what you do & what a brand might get if they work with you.
My final tip when it comes to networking, and I’ve eluded to it throughout, is having integrity. Don’t force relationships or conversations, just be yourself and let them build even if that does take time. After all it’s you they’re buying into, so it’s always best to be the true you.
And that goes for your work too, once you’ve built your network and you’re getting paid work coming in, be sure to keep your integrity with this too. I’m sure it’s tempting to accept every offer made to you for paid collaborations, but if it’s not you, or in keeping with your blog style or tone, your readers will notice and it’ll look disingenuous.
I’m very selective about who I work with, what I write about and how I create my content. And in my opinion I think that’s really important, a blog is only good when it has integrity, when it’s true to you and your passions, so don’t sacrifice that for the sake of a bit of dollar!!
So there you have it, part three of my blogging tips series (and halfway through too). If you missed the first two you can check them out here & here, and if you like these types of features then you may want to check out all my tips from photography tutorials to career advice!
What’s your thoughts on networking? Do you have any other advice I may have missed?