So you’ve started a new blog and nobody really knows you or what you’re about. Does it take a long time before you start getting recognition and paid speaking gigs or PR? I’d know. Afterall, I was (perhaps am) that blogger.
To get right to it, I think that the difference between a blogger who gets opportunities and one who doesn’t has to do with marketing and sales. From my experience, I didn’t have millions of page views, or groundbreaking content. I simply wrote about what I loved, namely natural hair and events for my Natural Hair Parade blog, and actively sought out opportunities to connect with brands and other organizations. The payoff has been huge.
How can you start being sought out as an influencer, being invited to industry events, become published in other places and start aligning yourself with corporate players? Here’s how:
Be consistent. Blog regularly and stick to it. Do not blog once a month or talk about random topics that don’t fit each other or your brand. You have to be known for SOMETHING, and you want it to be a key area that corporations or special interest groups are interested in. Once you do that,
Be persistent. Blogging can be fun, but most of the time it’s work. Researching, writing, editing and then marketing the blog, doing SEO and pitching article ideas to other publications takes a lot of time. Some expect immediate results but you must be persistent and keep at it until you get the attention you want. Then do it some more.
Build strategic relationships. Whether you go to live events or call organizations on the phone, it’s best for you to start meeting people and finding out what opportunities are out there and start figuring out how you can work together in a win-win arrangement. For example, I arranged a key introduction between a brand and a possible celebrity endorser.That brand later called me for a paid speaking gig. Whatever you do, go into ALL relationships planning to deliver. If the partnership is a good one, the other side will work to deliver for you too.
Volunteer. Volunteering is another facet of building strategic relationships. If your goal is to be a part of a major industry event and you have no other way in, volunteer to do social media coverage or other support. That begins the relationship, they have free support and you get the opportunity for free entry and free access to networking that you may have not gotten otherwise. Maximize that by finding out other ways you can work together in the future and by meeting key decision makers in case you need to pitch other ideas.
Speaker sheets and sponsorships. I’ve put these together because they have one thing in common–they are documents used to sell your value to someone else. Speaker sheets tell organizations what your expertise is, the topics you can speak about and may include your speaker fees and booking info. Sponsorship proposals tell your brands story, offers the corporation the value of your marketing in different tiers and perks, and includes details on how to work with you for an event or timeframe. Both documents take time and thought to develop and require you to hit the pavement by calling organizations and marketing departments in order to sell yourself and what you can do for them. It’s this initiative plus effective sales that will close deals for you and open up new gigs and relationships.
Marketing, advertising and PR. Of course marketing, advertising and PR have their place here. In order to get the most visibility, all your strategies have to work together. Not only will you be sharing your blog posts on all your social media, but if you’re promoting events or classes, news releases and ad placement can do you well too. I’ve even heard of using LinkedIn PPC ads to indirectly pitch stories. Define your brand. Define your angle. Be clear on your benefits and audience and then push your content out. The result is a lot more people will see your work than if you weren’t actively promoting your blog in this way. This is how I’ve been published in other entrepreneur sites like Under30CEO.com, gotten coverage on Careerbuilder, and gotten booked as a panelist at Blogalicious.
Anybody who tells you all of this is easy only means it doesn’t take rocket science to begin to make a name for yourself and to begin to start availing yourself of speaking opportunities, gigs, and PR. Surely, what I’ve been able to accomplish isn’t all that I will accomplish and with my formula, I will go on to publish books, head up new events, grow my readership and influence, and subsequently my income. The takeaway is not to feel like you have to wait to start availing yourself of opportunities for growth and for you to go after those opportunities instead of waiting for them to come to you.
P.S. Tidbits: There’s also guest posting, video and podcasts, email marketing, producing events and other things that can help you but for the sake of giving you the gist of what’s worked for me, I’ve only expounded on those few things above.