It can be lonely out there as a new blogger. What with the hundreds of thousands of fashion and beauty blogs out there, filtering through the noise to get your blog noticed can prove challenging. But as with most things, like getting a job, networking can help make the process smoother. As I mentioned in my last post, Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) is my go-to source for blogging tips. Last week, IFB contributor, Ashley Robison, published an article about the tough challenges facing new bloggers (if you haven’t read it, check it out). As a relatively new blogger, this immediately sparked my interest. One of the challenges mentioned is connecting with other industry professionals – bloggers, publicists, designers, and brands. And while I could relate to the other challenges mentioned in the article, this was one I felt I had successfully managed. While I’m not claiming to be a networking expert (though I’m getting there!), here are some tips that have worked for me thus far.
1. Join online blogger communities
It’s much easier to build relationships if you are part of a network. One of the first things I did when I started blogging was join IFB, having already been familiar with the site after collecting articles on blogging tips for my Pinterest board. As anyone who has been a member of IFB would know, you’re bombarded with friend requests and messages to connect with bloggers on Bloglovin’ and social media from the moment you join. While some users seem more interested in gaining new followers rather than developing genuine relationships, it’s effective for getting to know people and cultivating a following when you’re unknown.
Another network that’s helpful for meeting bloggers is the Lucky Community. Lucky has a forum exclusively for bloggers, which has been helpful for facilitating everything from blogger meet ups to collaborations between bloggers and publicists.
2. Engage in Twitter chats
Don’t underestimate the power of the 140 character limit! Out of all the social media platforms, Twitter is by far the most effective for meeting new people and developing relationships. It’s also a major source of traffic to my site because of those connections. One way to establish relationships on Twitter is by regularly participating in Twitter chats such as #stylechat, #bbloggers, #fbloggers, and #fashionunfold, and building credibility in your niche. You can build credibility by engaging in conversations, being genuine, and offering helpful insights rather than merely spamming links to your blog or asking people to follow you. If you’re new to Twitter, here are some Twitter do’s and don’ts to consider.
3. Attend offline events
I love Twitter chats as much as the next social media addict, but to get the most out of networking requires meeting people face-to-face. Last month, a fellow blogger, Katie of Lucy and Camilla, and I hosted a bloggers lunch during New York Fashion Week (see the lovely photo from our lunch above). Speaking of which, fashion month is a great way to meet bloggers, magazine editors, designers, fashion lawyers, and publicists. Be sure to followup with them after fashion week to maintain a relationship. Just recently I wrote an article about up-and-coming Norwegian designer, Christine Hal, whom I met at NYFW.
Blogger conferences are another great way to meet people. I’ll be attending the Lucky FABB Conference later this month (yay!). Stay tuned for a recap of conference activities.
If you can’t make it to New York Fashion Week or any fashion week event, don’t fret! You can attend local fashion show events in your area or organize a blogger meet up. But whatever you do, always bring a business card.
4. Get in touch with publicists and brands
Any time I write about a brand I make sure to tweet them, post on their Facebook page, and/or email their PR team with my article. In one instance this led to a relationship with a brand that worked with me on a giveaway, after I posted my article on their Facebook page. In other cases, brands followed me on Twitter and pinned my content to Pinterest. When contacting publicists I ask to be added to their press list to receive updates about brands and events.
5. Give something
As with any networking relationship, you need to demonstrate that you can provide value to the other party. This could be anything from ideas for a guest post, collaborating with bloggers on an article (see my most recent blogger collaboration), interviewing designers or bloggers (both really appreciate the coverage), or offering to review a brand in exchange for samples.
What networking strategies have worked for you? Let me know in the comments!
Image Courtesy of @king_david. Copyright Lucy & Camilla