networking

5 Ways To Grow Your Network

ByJessica Ruhfus

Whether you’re looking to make new buddies, geek-out on your favourite topic, build a business network or just have your finger on the pulse, growing your network should be a priority no matter what life stage you’re in. If the word ‘networking’ gives you the heebie-jeebies, don’t worry! Here are 5 ways to grow your network without the *cringe*-factor.

Collaborate with Brands
If you’re in business or work for a pretty awesome company, there’s really no better way to grow your network AND the business at the same time. If I’ve lost you at ‘collaboration’ think GoPro x Redbull, Spotify x Uber, Gelato Messina x Tim Tam or Peter Alexander x Moccona - when two brands partner up for some cool marketing activities. I started Collabosaurus as a matchmaking platform that is perfect for matching up with the right, complementary, relevant brands for collaborations just like these and there are over 3000 opportunities to connect with! If you’re not sure where to start, we have a free 5 day masterclass series on the lot (you can check that out HERE)

Attend Events
They’re not what they used to be! There are so many great events going on at the moment. Today, I got a message from one of my event attendees letting me know that she signed Redbull thanks to connecting at the event! How amazing is that? Attend events that target people you want to connect with. A great place to start is on Eventbrite, local co-working spaces, websites like Work-shop or checking out festival scenarios like Vivid in Sydney.

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Have a peek on Directories
There are so many directory listings in different niches that you can try as a way to connect with awesome people. LinkedIn is of course the obvious one, but there are also platforms such as Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine, Business Chicks, Behance, Big Hearted Business & The League of Extraordinary Women where it’s far less *cringe* to reach out than sending a cold email. That weird term ‘putting yourself out there’ doesn’t have to be awkward! Find some niches that you fit into and see what directories and websites are out there connecting people in the space.

Ask your Existing Network
You probably have some pretty cool friends, suppliers and co-workers already, actively tap into that! Send an email to your top 10 people and let them know that you’re actively looking to expand your network in _____ space and would love an intro to anyone they know (who is as awesome as they are, of course). You’ll be amazed at the results, especially from your existing, legendary network.

Start Stalking on Instagram
I love a good stalk as much as the next person, but stalking doesn’t actually grow that network of yours, does it? My advice is to take stalking to a whole new level: find 5 brands or people that you are inspired by and actively comment on their posts. Please, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, steer clear of “love it” “100%” or “Nice work!”  - make your comments personalised, involved and interested, it will help you stand out. I know that if I have a client or a follower consistently comment on my Instagram posts (over on @collabosaurus, in case you want to join the party) I end up becoming virtual best buddies with that person. The amount of real-life friends and networks I have made through Instagram is astonishing and so much easier than you might think.

What are you waiting for? Start growing that network of yours and consistently invest time in building relationships. The saying “it’s who you know” really does ring true!

Collabosaurus is an online match-making platform for brands to source valuable partnerships with other brands. If you want to tap into communities around Australia, and even internationally, Collabosaurus is a go-to tool that makes sourcing and negotiating a strategic collaborations simple. It’s FREE to get started and view your matches.

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Using your time wisely

By Lucy Waring

Campaign #dontblogforfree

Time is a funny thing. You can’t see it nor can you touch it, however we do observe the passing of time. Some days drag minute by minute when others fly by in an instant. However fleeting it feels, time is our biggest commodity as bloggers. It is our arsenal for creating exciting content, conveying it by the written word, photography or through videos.

However, some brands still choose to undervalue this and take for granted our passion and determination to challenge ourselves daily and create a business. Too often do brands ask bloggers to review their services or products for little or no payment. Even if blogging isn't your full time job, why would you spend your precious free time promoting a business that doesn't recognize quality when they see it and compensate appropriately.

For me, blogging is a full time career choice. I love what I do and it fulfills my passions so I look forward to waking up each morning and the unexpected blessings it may bring to my day. However, through meeting companies who will happily compensate me for my hard work and time compared with many who won’t I have begun to feel that perhaps it is a question of education. After all, blogging is a young industry and therefore guidelines and market standards haven’t yet been set. Therefore, it is entirely at the discretion of the blogger whether they choose to charge for their services or not. It is this situation which has led to many full time bloggers, working hard to build their brand and make a living at the same time, being sold short when it comes to being compensated appropriately for the standard of work supplied.

I would love to spread the message of ‘don’t sell yourself short’ by blogging for free, if you are giving your time then reap the rewards. There is no rule to say that just because you enjoy what you do and look forward to each project that means you shouldn’t be paid for it. Every marketing or PR company gets paid for what they do so why not you? That is essentially what you are doing after all, marketing another person’s company.

Therefore, I would suggest we need to educate not only each other but the brands too, to understand that we are a business just like themselves and work long hours to create, edit, promote and style our blogs. Then hopefully through the passage of time, we will all gain the recognition we deserve.

Lucy Waring is a freelance writer and blogger based in Singapore. You can find her blogging at Lulabelle Lifestyle where she talks fashion and travel as well as revealing Singapore’s hidden gems. She also organizes #blogmeetsg networking events bringing boutique brands and bloggers together. To keep up to date with the latest blog posts and #blogmeetsg events you can follow her on Facebook. You can also follow the behind the scenes action on Instagram.

Photo Credit: Stockpic

How To Network Like A Rock Star

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By Kate Willbourn-Trevett

Networking, just saying the word used to make my skin crawl and turn me into one hot mess. Fast-forward 13 years and that initial hesitation and fear have dramatically subsided, it’s actually something I genuinely enjoy. Since working in one of the most sociable industries, media & advertising, I’ve learnt to overcome the nerves and most importantly, change my mindset to see networking in a positive light, an opportunity to be precise. I now prefer to use the word connecting, it sounds more soulful and humanistic, which it should as it’s all about meeting like-minded people right?

‘Connecting’ today is somewhat different, there is the traditional face-to-face kind and then there is on-line, whether it’s via social media, blogs or websites. Face to face contact accelerates building trust where as on-line breaks through any geographical boundary. Both are independently valuable, however if you have the opportunity to combine the two, it becomes extremely powerful. As building relationships are a fundamental to any successful business or blog, I’m thrilled to share with you my top tips on conquering the fear and How-To steps to connect in-person & online. 

Some shared thought starters

  • Be authentic & sincere
  • Have the best intentions. Your newly found relationship should be mutually beneficial
  • Do your research on whom you’d like to connect with and learn more about them
  • Look at people within your niche as well as neighbouring niches, blogs or businesses that may share a similar reader demographic or customer base
  • Treat everyone on the same playing field  - don’t be the fan or alternatively come across as superior
  • Let the relationship grow naturally as you build trust, mutual respect and understanding. 
  • Embrace the ‘spark’/bond if it happens or be prepared to move on if not, no relationship should be forced
  • Most importantly, have fun!

In-Person

  • Have confidence – It’s only natural to feel a bit nervous. Acknowledge the nerves, accept them (don’t beat yourself up) and move forward. 
  • Whether it’s listening to Whitney’s “I’m Every Woman”, wearing your favourite red lippy or in my case wearing HIGH heels, choose your ammo & walk into a room with full confidence and a smile.
  • Being prepared & doing your research will help ease the nerves too
  • Timely – pick your moment 
  • Introduce yourself as an equal (because you are!), not as a ‘fan’. This actually makes people feel quite uncomfortable. It’s totally okay to acknowledge their work, but follow through with your own thoughts & ideas on the subject. Think about what you may have in common & strike up a conversation!
  • Start by asking lots of questions – the conversation will then naturally open it self up and eventually lead to more involvement from you
  • Know your ‘Elevator pitch’ - I promise this is not as scary as it sounds. It’s being able to describe your blog or business within a couple of sentences, simply & succinctly. Practice on your loved ones. You’ve heard the Albert Einstein saying, “If you can’t explain it to your six year old, you don’t understand it yourself”
  • If all else fails, spot a fellow lone ranger and together meet new people
  • Exchange business cards or social media accounts and say you’d love to stay connected
  • Follow up post meeting

Online

  • Be proactive and leave thought provoking comments on blog posts and/or websites
  • Reply to all comments left on your blog – these people are already highly engaged in your work
  • Social Media – Follow & actively participate in conversations
  • Mention other bloggers/people in your social media 
  • Request to interview or ask if they’d like to contribute a post (with links back to their blog/business)
  • Email – keep it friendly, short & succinct. You can use your ‘Elevator pitch’ here too. Get straight to the point as early as you can, avoid waffling as most people will first skim over an email received from an unknown sender
  • Check spelling, tone & language and then check again. You can use tools like this too.

Over time I’ve come to realise that most people have felt the same trepidation and are genuinely over the moon when someone reaches out to say “Hi”.  So why you ask is connecting so important? Hopefully these benefits encourage you to get proactive & start reaching out yourself:

  • Establish a supportive network whom you can learn from, share ideas & knowledge
  • Build credibility & raise your profile amongst wider circle/niche 
  • Potential collaboration on future projects
  • Increased confidence
  • Increase your customer base/readership via comment backlinks & social media activity
  • Exposure to more opportunities
  • New friendships with like-minded people

Remember the goal is to make valuable mutually beneficial connections, not an infinity of meaningless ones.

You can find Kate blogging at Foodies Agenda and on Facebook or Instagram 

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10 Tips For Networking At Blogging Events

10-tips-for-networking-at-blog-events

By Christina Butcher

As a full-time blogger I love working online but real life networking has been the real game changer. It’s had the biggest impact on my journey to full-time blogger. It can feel scary to put yourself out there but that’s where things really start. 

Online conversations can build real relationships but when you take them offline, that’s where the magic happens. I remember my first blogging event. I was so nervous I thought about cancelling and staying home. It was raining too so I totally had a good excuse. But I have this saying that good things happen when you put yourself out there. So I got dressed and went out. I was alone and had never met anyone in the room before (though I felt like I knew a couple of people from reading their blogs). It was terrifying but it was also the best thing I’ve ever done. 

That one event has lead to amazing friendships, professional relationships and even speaking gigs. Now I regularly attend blogging events, especially through Blog Society and have started Little Blog Big to bring new bloggers together. Networking at blogging events isn’t like at a corporate event. It’s more relaxed and authentic. The people you meet are way more interesting and you never know where the conversation can go.

Here are my tips to make networking fun and to make it work for you.

Before the event:

1. Look up the guest list
Check if there is a list of who’s going or if there’s a Facebook group or Twitter list for the event. Doing a little research on the guest list will help you learn more about who will be there and find out if there’s anyone you really want to connect with.

2. Have your elevator pitch ready
Your elevator pitch is a quick sentence or two about you and your blog. It’s a quick way to introduce who you are and what you do. It’s tough to summarise this in a sentence. Try to keep it short and interesting so that people want to ask you more questions and keep the conversation going.

3. Set an intention
Think about what you want to get out of attending this event. Is there a project you're working on that you need help with, or maybe you are looking to meet more bloggers from your niche. Setting an intention helps to keep you focused.

At the event:

4. Smile & breathe
If you don’t do anything else, just remember to smile and breathe. Blogging events are fun and nothing to be nervous about. A smile makes everything better.

5. Put down your phone (just for a minute)
Blogging events are one of the few places where you are encouraged to use your phone as much as possible. You’ll want to Instagram and share what’s happening but be mindful and put your phone down for just a minute. You’re much more approachable when you’re not looking at your phone. You can always #latergram it.

6. Be present
When you’re talking with someone, give them your attention and listen to them. Don’t worry about what you’re going to say next. Please don’t look over their shoulder to find someone better to talk to. There's always time to move around the room and talk to others later. 

7. Ask questions
If you’re nervous about small talk, remember that most people like talking about themselves. Ask open questions (who, what, where, when, why and how) and let the person answer. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with questions. 

8. Focus on giving
Often traditional networking is about what the other person can do for you. Instead, think about how you can help the person you're talking to. Maybe it's a service you offer, or you can recommend a friend or another blogger.

After the event:

9. Get social 
Connect with the people you met on social media. Follow them and message them to say how lovely it was to connect at the event. Keep the lines of communication open and growing.

10. It’s all about the follow-up
You met at this event, now what? Keep developing that connection online. Read and comment on their blog and share their content on your social channels. You never know what kind of collaboration or friendship that initial meeting could lead to.

So don’t be afraid to organise a meet-up with local bloggers or go to a blogging workshop or networking event. You’ll learn so much from taking your online relationships offline. 

Christina Butcher is a full-time blogger and New York Times bestselling author. When she’s not fighting bad hair days at Hair Romance or inspiring adventures with her husband Jim at Mr & Mrs Romance, she’s helping bloggers grow their Little Blog Big with live workshops and networking events.

Digital Bravery Twitter Chat // 16 December

After last month's super successful and ridiculously fun Twitter Chat, I've decided to host another one with the theme of Digital Bravery tomorrow night at 7pm (Australian EST). I've set aside an hour for this chat as last time we went WAY over our time limit because everyone was sharing so much incredible info. I do hope you'll join us for a completely addictive hour and I do think this might change your view of Twitter if you haven't been a fan in the past.

Joining us is easy - simply jump onto Twitter at 7pm, use the hashtag #blogsociety and follow along. Don't be shy - we want you to get involved and have your say. We'll start with the following questions (just make sure to use the Question numbers when posting your responses so we can all follow along. 

  • Q1. What's been the biggest learning lesson for you in 2014?
  • Q2. Planning: As a biz owner or blogger do you have a business plan or marketing plan? Let's discuss!
  • Q3. Is social media dead? Let's talk about the backlash and future of social media 
  • Q4. Let's talk the power of goal setting and what you hope to achieve in 2015

Can't wait to chat on Tuesday!