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Biz Ladies: Networking to Grow Your Brand, Part Two

Biz Ladies: Networking for Your Brand
Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from Mariah Danielsen, a veteran contributor, designer, marketer and shop owner. Today Mariah shares with us the second part of  her brand networking series – networking offline. (You can check out Part One right here!) Thanks Mariah for sharing so many great nuggets of information with us today.  –Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump…

When it comes to growing your blog and brand, making connections and forming friendships is a must, but sitting around waiting for people to reach out to you won’t help expand. You’ve got to be the connector; reach out for those friendships, partnerships and opportunities that you want. Connecting and networking will help your business grow tenfold.

Networking can be done many ways, but they always fit into one of two categories: networking online and networking offline. In the second part of this networking series, we’ll focus on different ways to network offline to grow your brand.

Networking Offline

Connecting with people online is wonderful, but meeting your blogging buddies face to face is even better!  It’s takes your relationship to the next step on the road to building a lifelong friendship.

Conferences and Workshops

One of the most exciting ways to network offline is to attend conferences or workshops. With panels, round tables and parties to attend, conferences are like summer camp for creative people.

But before you sign up for all the conferences and workshops you dream of attending, do your research.  Make a list of conferences you’d like to attend and what you’d like to get out of them. Read blog posts from others who have attended and use those to help you narrow down your decision. Then work towards saving up the money or vacation time to go to the conferences.

When you meet someone at an event who you’d like to chat with again, exchange business cards and follow up later.  Take time to think of some innovative ways you can work together and follow up with an email.

Local Events

Look for blogger meet-ups in your area, and if you can’t find one, start one. Something as simple as a group of creative people getting together for coffee can spark meaningful conversation and awesome ideas.

Keep an eye out for networking events as well. Groups like Advertising Federation or Young Professionals Network may seem small scale compared to events like Alt Summit or SXSW, but they can have a lot to offer. Meeting individuals in your city that share the same interests you have is a wonderful way to build business and partnerships.

Take a Class

Learning a new skill is a smart way to meet people who share your same interests. Whether you take a class at a community college or an art gallery or attend a workshop, being around people who are just as inspired as you can blossom new ideas and friendships.

Use Your Favorite People and Places 

Friends of Friends

Another way to network offline is to use your people to help you meet new people. Does your friend have a friend at work that’s got a fun side business similar to yours?  Does your hubby have a friend who’s wife has similar dreams as you? Have them hook the two of you up. Growing your people base comes in handy when you’re trying to grow your brand and live your dream life – you never know how people will inspire you.

Use Local Businesses

Talk to your favorite local businesses about partnering. Plan out ways that you and a business can partner and work together that would be mutually beneficial. Drop off a sample of your product, a media kit or a little goodie bag of things that represent your brand and share a few of your ideas with them.

Some fun examples: Host a party at your favorite cafe, reach out to your favorite store about hosting an event with them, or talk to them about becoming a preferred vendor for their company. You never know what can come from asking!

Go out there and take hold of the future you want. No one can make you successful except yourself, and networking and connecting with others will help you reach your business and life goals.

What was the best offline event you’ve ever attended? Have you pitched to a local company you love? Share your stories in the comments!

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7 Comments

maggie

I love this post! I used to have writing parties with my friends and this has inspired me to whip up one this Friday.

lyndsey

i’m such a huge believer in offline networking. so glad seattle has such a strong blogger network with in-person meetups!

Monica

Even though it terrifies me, every time I go out and make an effort to connect with people in a similar field, I’m always glad I did!

Charlie

Thank you so much for these tips! I’m new to blogging so I love hearing great advice and it’s particularly interesting to get an “offline” perspective as well!

Bri

This is so very helpful. I’m currently trying to build a business in the natural birthing field and since I don’t yet have an online presence I’ve been trying to do some offline networking. I’m finding that it really informs my online networking (I know who to go to and have a base connection established) and this validates my efforts, thanks!

Mary

I am a store owner (turned consultant for artists/ entrepreneurs) and I can tell you that offline relationships are essential to getting your foot in the door. If I like someone and learn they make a cool product, there’s a good chance I’ll bring them into my boutique, create an event for them, etc. Relationships are an essential part of growing your business! -Mary

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