When I first got started in blogging I thought it was the perfect fit. I could work in my pajamas at random hours and build an empire! I could be become a wealthy and famous writer and never step foot outside my house. For an introvert like myself that sounded pretty fabulous. And it was wrong.
A few years later I met a fellow blogger at a church function and we chatted. She asked me about what groups I was part of and what conferences I had been to. The truth was I wasn’t part of any groups and I had never been to a conference. At the time I felt like they were a waste of money. Pretty much everything there is to learn about blogging is already out there on the internet, right? She told me that it was important to talk to people in my industry. I seriously thought about what she said and bought a ticket to my first conference.
I had a good time at the conference. Not only did I enjoy the classes but I got to meet so many wonderful people. I met several bloggers who live near near me and told me about local blogger events and groups that I could be a part of. It opened up tremendous doors and opportunities that I wouldn’t have known about had I not physically shaken hands with them.
Then there’s meeting potential sponsors. With exception of one – every sponsored post I’ve ever done was because I physically talked to the blogger relations person. There is something very powerful in shaking someone’s hand and and looking them in the eye. It makes people more comfortable in working with you, it makes you a real person and more memorable. While brands like working with bloggers, they love working with bloggers that they’ve met.
If you feel like you’ve hit a plateau with your blog, or maybe you’re small and want to grow bigger, or maybe your secret desire is to build an empire – then you have to get out from behind your laptop and shake the right peoples’ hands. You need to make friends in the industry. You need to laugh with, hug and get to know these people. Break out of your comfortable blogger bubble and stretch out the hand of friendship and good business. You’ll meet great people and possibly a few “kindred spirits” as Anne Shirley would say. And next time you have an idea for a sponsored post you’ll have the right contact’s name and will be able to say “remember we met at ___” and your chances of getting some product (and cash) will go up dramatically.
Not only that but knowing other bloggers is very useful too. Got a question or want to start a tribe? That’s where fellow bloggers help each other out. There are lots of Facebook groups that you can join (which I found out about from a fellow blogger at a conference). I learned about better ad networks, blogging ideas and Pinterest tricks from bloggers freely sharing their discoveries by talking with them in the hallways during a conference.
Since I’ve started being more social and physically present my traffic and revenue has gone up. Thanks to the tips and information I’ve received I’ve avoided some blogging landmines. Plus due to some contacts I’ve gotten some nice social media love from sponsors that have helped traffic. I confess that sometimes social events can be draining for my introverted self. But they do pay off.
Go shake a few hands, make new contacts. I guarantee that it will improve your blog (and your social life).