Ah, networking. It’s super important for any industry, and in blogging, it can make (or break!) your career.
My blog was somewhat stagnant the first year I launched it. One reason is that I was incredibly inconsistent with posting, the other reason being I was too timid to put myself out there. Even though I’m an extrovert, blogging was still relatively new back in 2011 — to the point that I had to explain it in great detail to my friends and family.
Once I finally started networking with both fellow bloggers and brands, I began to see my blog grow. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to network in the blog world!
Tips on How To Network:
(Genuinely) Engage & Support Other Bloggers
No, I’m not talking about joining a comment pod. However, one simple thing you can start doing right this very second is start showing other bloggers some love. Genuinely.
If you have a blogger you admire, attend their events whenever they host one. Shoot them an email asking for recommendations for the best brunch in their hometown, or advice on what to wear to that wedding. Leave a comment on their posts whenever you can. I’ve met some of my best friends in blogging just by bonding over our love of The Bachelorette over Twitter. Trust me; they’ll notice the support — and who knows, you might decide to meet up later down the road and become friends IRL.
Stop the Cold Emails: Networking is a Two-Way Street
This is my own opinion, and I’ve had other blog friends disagree with me on this topic in the past. However, I am not a fan of cold emailing someone and asking to "pick their brain" about the industry. As a disclaimer, when I say "cold email" — it means you’ve never interacted with that blogger/brand before sending that email.
Instead of asking to pick someone’s brain out of the blue, here are a few things you can do instead. For starters, there is a ton of information out there about blogging on the internet already. A simple Google search will likely answer any questions you might have. If a blogger has written a blog post about a particular topic, send a follow-up email if you have additional questions after reading their post. Attend a blogger’s events or panels if they host them to learn more about the industry.
If you really want to meet up with a blogger IRL for some industry advice, propose a coffee date where you both trade industry tips. I’ll never forget that one blogger who was kind enough to sit down at a restaurant and show me how to properly shoot photos in manual — and in return, I gave her a long list of blog networks that offered paid campaigns. See, my friends? Mutually beneficial!
Join an Influencer/Entrepreneur Network
The first thing I did that helped me meet other bloggers (and brands) in the area? I joined as many local/regional/national networks as I could. Some of the networks I’ve joined in the past are explicitly geared towards bloggers, and I also am a member of a few female entrepreneur groups as well (trust me — even if you’re not specifically in a blogging group, there are so many ways you can collab with local creatives!)
One of the first groups I joined was The Blog Societies (back in 2013, it was known as "Southern Blog Society" — how time flies!) To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I would have ended up as a full-time blogger without this group. For starters, I’ve met some of the most talented, down to earth content creators as a result. With the regional meetups, I got the opportunity to meet like-minded women in the area, and with their conferences and workshops, I learned that my blog was actually a little business — and I began to treat it as such.
Sadly, most of the groups/networks I originally joined back in the day have died out. However, the Rising Tide Society is a great group for creatives of all types, the InfluenceHer Collective is an international network that provides both sponsored campaigns as well as the option to join a very active Facebook group to mingle with other bloggers, and if you’re local to VA, I love the Virginia Bloggers group.
Attend Workshops and Conferences
While local events are great and all, if you’re serious about blogging, I would highly encourage you to attend a conference or workshop when figuring out how to network. I try to attend at least two conferences/workshops a year, and TBScon by The Blog Societies is always on my list. Not only do you get to meet bloggers from across the country, but I’ve also networked with some of my favorite brands in the past, met my accountant, and have learned some incredible info from some industry experts. Also, I’m speaking at the conference this year if you want to grab your ticket, hint hint!
I’ve also attended the BlogHer conference in the past, and some events hosted by Fohr Card. I understand that conferences can be a little pricey. However, they’re worth every penny. When I first started going to TBScon in 2014, I was a PR grad that had a job that paid less than $30,000/year, and I had to seriously save up for it (and sacrifice a summer vacation as a result). It was not easy to get my butt down to Atlanta that year, but I did it — and the things I learned were invaluable. If I had to do it all over again, I would go in a heartbeat!