How to Network with Brands: Post Conference

How to Network with Brands Post Conference (www.mmandjconsulting.com)

You’re home from BlogHer14 with a stack of business card that are sitting on your desk / kitchen counter / still in your suitcase.  What should you do with them?  Odds are, there were brands that you meshed with more than others.  Should you continue to network with all of them?

YES!

All networking is not created equally.  There are different levels of follow-up when it comes to continuing to build your brand relationships.   I’ve put a few pointers together on ways to network with brands post-conference.

For ALL brands that you connected with

  • Create a conference-specific category or list on Twitter and Google+ and include individual representatives and brand accounts.  It will come in handy in the future when you come across that person and can’t remember where you have connected before!
  • Connect with the individuals from brands and PR companies on Linkedin.  You want to build a relationship with the individual, in addition to the brand for several reasons.  First, most PR firms have more than one brand they represent.   This specific brand might not be a good fit for you, but something else that the agency represents may be.  Second, people change jobs.  If you have a relationship with the individual,  a company change can also bring YOU new opportunities as well!

At this point, if I’m not interested in working with the specific brand, I’m done with the follow up.  In my opinion, it’s not necessary to email EVERY brand that you took a business card from.  Especially if you have determined that they aren’t a good fit.   Keep in touch through social media channels and if an opportunity arises that DOES fit with your blog, then you can approach them.

For ONLY brands that you are interested in working with

Send an introductory email to the brand in the hopes of taking the relationship to the next level.

DO:

  • Make it brief and don’t assume that they will remember you from the conference (unless something massively memorable happened – then refer to it!)
  • Include your blog name, URL, social media channels and what topics you primarily write about
  • Why you feel their brand would be a good fit
  • Share that you are interested in working with them.
  • Ask them how they are interested in working with bloggers.

DON’T:

  • Send them a media kit or analytics
  • Create an entire proposal with ideas – but sharing that you HAVE ideas on how to work with them is encouraged!
  • Ask them for free products.  You want to build a relationship, not come off as just looking for something for free.

Once the brand has responded, then you can start talking about media kits and analytics.  Some brands are more interested in your blog content and the engagement you receive through your social media channels versus analytics – which I love!  Each brand’s objectives and requirements when it comes to working with bloggers is different.

Don’t be afraid to be creative and think outside the box when developing an idea with a brand.  Most brands have a formula for working with bloggers:  product reviews with a giveaway.  Do you have a different idea or angle that will set you apart as well as market to a different audience for them?  Pitch it!  Be confident in your ideas!

Make sure that any relationship that you develop with a brand is mutually beneficial.  I’ll never tell anyone not to take free product instead of a cash payment for blog work.  We all have different needs and objectives when it comes to working with brands.  Just remember what you do has VALUE and you need to be compensated for the time, energy and hard work you put in to creating original content for the brand.

Are there different ways that you make initial contact with a brand?  I’d love to hear about them!

Want more tips on monetization?  Check out my BlogHer14 Pathfinder Day presentation, “The Path to Business Owner”

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