Social media networking is great way to grow your audience, build a base of loyal readers and meet like-minded bloggers. But meeting other bloggers face to face can pay off in a huge way - from collaborations to paying work. Here's why you should be networking face to face with other bloggers and how to go about it.
The blogging world offers up so many opportunities to make connections with like-minded individuals. We find ourselves connecting with readers and fellow bloggers from behind the safety of a digital screen. And sometimes, that's enough.
But, it can be isolating ... and a little bit limiting.
And that's why networking and connecting face to face with other bloggers and even brands can be so valuable. It might mean pushing yourself out of your comfort zone but the rewards will far outweigh the discomforts!
Our Top Reasons for Bloggers to Meet Face to Face
1. New Friendships
You can absolutely make new friends on-line without ever meeting in person. But meeting face to face brings a new level of comfort and trust to a friendship. It's great to have a few local bloggers that you can meet up with for a coffee to talk about blogging and food — or just to hang out.
Having a group of like-minded food lovers to spend an afternoon checking out farmers' markets or doing bakery crawls with can give you the push you need to expand your blogging range and get some new post ideas. Plus, they get the whole "don't eat it till I photograph it" thing!
2. Foster Collaboration
Collaborating with another blogger can lead to amazing things: new business opportunities and new creative outlets that can inspire you and refresh your enthusiasm for your own blog. You can co-author a book like FBCers Julie and Jan did, create a joint blog like Davida and Lee, or one of a dozen other ideas.
But, most collaborations grow out of meeting face to face — that's exactly how FBC started! You want to make sure you have the initial "click" with somebody that only comes when you meet them in real life. That initial excitement when you throw an idea out there and you both get really pumped about it is very contagious ... and very hard to achieve by just exchanging Facebook messages, emails or even phone calls.
3. Being Top of Mind
Meeting somebody in person — a blogger or a brand representative — can put you top of mind in that person's memory. Never underestimate the power of that. If you make a good first impression and a genuine connection on that initial meeting you'll be remembered.
Say that other blogger you met at that recent event and clicked with has a freelance recipe development project come up that she can't take on. If the company asks her for a recommendation, odds are good she'll recommend somebody she's connected with in person, and probably recently. That could be you!
The same logic applies to brands. If you had a great conversation with a PR rep at a brand or restaurant event, he'll remember that and next time they're looking for somebody, you'll come to mind before people they haven't met.
So How Can I Network With Other Bloggers?
There are lots of ways to meet other bloggers and even brands. Here are some tried and true ways:
1. Look For Local Meetups
Keep an eye out for opportunities to meet up with local bloggers, whether they're in your genre or not. Sites like meetup.com are a good place to look. Or check out the FBC Facebook Forum where local FBC meetups are often posted. There are FBC groups who meet up regularly in Vancouver, Toronto and in parts of Southern Ontario. Halifax, Alberta and Manitoba also have active food blogger groups on Facebook with local meetups and events.
Don't have a meetup in your area? Start your own! Put a note up in our FBC forum or reach out individually to local bloggers you know of and see if they'd be interested in hitting a farmers' market or doing an Instagram crawl.
2. Say Yes To Some PR and Brand Events
These events are a surefire way to meet other bloggers and brand representatives. They can be a little intimidating to those of us who are a bit shy in big groups, but are a great way to connect face to face with PR reps. And remember, a lot of PR agencies specialize in food-related clients, so even if nothing happens with the brand whose event you've just attended, they'll make note of you for other projects!
3. Take a Seminar or Attend a Conference
If you listen to blogging or small business podcasts like Fizzle, Being Boss or Make It Happen, then you know how often they talk about the importance of attending seminars or conferences, not just for the learning and continuing education, but for the networking opportunities.
You know at a conference you're meeting other people who share your interests and who are also there to meet people, put names to faces, find people to work with, find new friends ... you're all there for the same reason. And often, those bloggers and event sponsors are leaders in their field and can help you make other connections! The work you secure post-conference can often be traced back to the conference — sometimes for years. It can be an investment that pays off in spades!
Looking for a great conference to attend? Don't forget, FBC2015 is happening in Montreal next month! It's a great opportunity to meet up face to face with fellow members, other food bloggers and sign up for our Brand/Blogger one on one sessions! Tickets are still available!
Networking Face to Face for Bloggers was written by FBC co-founder and editor, Melissa Hartfiel. Melissa also owns her own graphic design studio, Fine Lime Designs and is the author of the blog Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach where she writes about food, photography and her creative life. She’s the owner of two restless feet and a goofy yellow lab, SamTheDog. She drinks a lot of tea, eats a moderate amount of chocolate, and watches too many cheesy British mystery shows.
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