Networking, Developing Alliances and Friendships with Other Artist Bloggers
You have your business formed, your blog online, and a great business plan in place… now what? Here’s what I suggest you focus on next. This exercise will be repeated over and over again because it’s very powerful so get over being shy!
The main reason you are probably creating an online presence is to highlight your work. How will anyone ever hire you, buy your art or book or song, if they don’t even know you exist? So getting the word out about what you do, why you do what you do and who you are is vitally important for the health of your business and your bank account! Networking should be high on your priority list!
It may seem like your fellow artists and creatives are your “competitors,” or even worse, “the enemy.” At least this is what the world would have you believe. But, that is a false assumption in my experience.
One thing the general majority seems to completely forget: You are a unique individual. Your life’s experiences and perspective are uniquely yours. The reality is… you have no competition! No one does it quite like you! There is room in this world for each and every one of us to be extremely successful.
You’ve heard the saying, “United we stand, divided we fall?” Well, it’s not that dramatic in this case, but when you can find other artists that support you, share marketing expenses, cross-promote your work… Isn’t that a worthwhile endeavor? I certainly think so!
Why You Should Be Networking With Fellow Artists
There are many benefits to networking with other artist bloggers. Here are some of the reasons why I feel networking is very beneficial based on my experiences. This certainly is not an entire list of benefits and I will be speaking in generalities here.
- Relationships and Friendships. When you are just starting out, it can seem like a very lonely position to be in. Especially if you are used to being an employee and socializing with people at work. Even if you have been blogging for awhile, it can get lonely. Ask any experienced bloggers why they enjoy networking with other bloggers in their niche and they will tell you that they enjoy being part of something that’s bigger than themselves. Building trusted relationships with community managers, administrators as well as other bloggers make it a worthwhile endeavor. If the network is well-established and active, you will have other benefits like video trainings, online or live events, podcasts, contests, competitions, newsletters, hangouts, and more to keep things interesting. You will learn first hand that people enjoy buying from people they like. Learn to reach out, build relationships of trust and friendship. It will be invaluable for you to understand how to socialize within a community and social media.
- Traffic. This is people stopping by your blog and reading it. We all need as much traffic and eyeballs on our blog content as possible to increase our brand awareness and sales. The more people that see what you do and feel your enthusiasm, the more sales you will make. It’s that simple. Many networks have various ways of cross-promoting blogs such as highlighting top posts, community members, giving awards or recognition, or clustering related blogs that then use links within to cross promote. The ideas are almost endless but what’s important is the results you get by belonging to a community or network. It doesn’t matter if your blog is only a few days old, networking can bring you traffic and/or sales right away! For 3 Top Resources for Driving Tons of Free Traffic to Your Blog, read Donna Merrill’s post. Donna is an expert blogger and will never lead you astray!
- Support and Education. I don’t know any bloggers that are brand new that have all of the necessary skills to set up and operate a successful blog without having some challenges and difficulties. If you belong to a community or network, chances are very high that members within have a large range of skills and experience to assist you with whatever questions or concerns you may have. Responses and help are usually very quickly offered from the community. Depending on the network, some will even handle all of the behind the scenes aspects to help get your blog up and running, including design services, SEO services, hosting issues, finding advertisers and optimizing your ads, and so on. Of course, these in-depth services will have a fair price associated with it. I have always been the type of person to do the research and learn it all myself since it’s my business. No one will take as good care of your business as you will.
- SEO. If you use the plugins I have suggested on this blog, you will find that the SEO portion of your post writing and blog pages is pretty straightforward. There are clear instructions, yes, even for the free plugins so that when you write, you are assured of have a good SEO result. You don’t have to be an expert to get good results! Also, one of the most important benefits of networking is getting backlinks. When you belong to a community, your blog and blog posts will be linked to other blogs within the network on other domains. Google loves this and rewards you with more traffic (item number 2 in this list). There are many great ways to get backlinks but for now, just know what they are and that they are a good thing!
- Social Proof and Credibility. As you get better at blogging, you might find that your community will allow you to write for them. This will go far in providing proof to your blog readers that you are professional and knowledgeable in your industry! Building trust will be an ongoing endeavor that will lead to more attention, more traffic and more sales.
As with everything else in life, joining a paid network where they set up every little thing for you and you just blog, is not for everyone. It depends on your budget, skill level, willingness to learn and various other factors. You can, of course, create your own network or community if you so desire and if you have the time, experience and following to ensure its success.
One feature that I really enjoy is the Blog Love Blog Rotator! You join PAC, get your blog added to the list, and just click away! You visit other blogs and they visit you. Choose which blogs and blog posts resonate with you. There are points and awards given to keep things exciting. Just click the image and go sign up. It’s free to join. I’ll see you over in PAC!
Best Practices When Networking With Fellow Artists
Maybe you don’t agree with me at this point, or maybe you’re just skeptical of how in the world this is a good idea, but keep reading. Let’s start with the basics. Here are some good points to keep in mind when you are starting out networking with other artistic bloggers.
- Form a relationship, create a connection. Part of this will be your online image. When someone new comes to me, the first thing I do is “Google” them. Have you Googled yourself? What did you find? This is the same information the person you want to approach is going to find. Make sure that whatever information you have online is accurate and complimentary. Make your contact information and biography easy to find so that people can see just how amazing you are! Hopefully, this will not only be an online connection for good, but a true friendship may form.
- Have clear honest intentions when interacting with other bloggers. Remember to be transparent. While planning to approach someone to ask a favor or to be a friend, find a way to make the experience a “win-win” for all involved. People see through baloney very quickly. Be your best “authentic self” clearly stating what your intentions are.
- Ask and ye shall receive. If you don’t ask for something that you need, we all know what happens… nothing. Have faith in yourself. Have courage and confidence. Write that comment, email or message… believe that all will go well and it will.
- Bloggers are people, too. Respect them, respect their time. Treat them as equals not Gods. There are people out there that I call “spiritual vampires.” You think you’re safe, you’re minding your own business, when all of a sudden, they come from out of nowhere wanting to suck the life (and your strategies, connections, and spirit) right out of you! Learn to recognize them early on, and RUN! They are a great example of “what not to do.” Just get to the point quickly and succinctly. Don’t send them page upon page of all your dreams and aspirations.
- Make sure that you give more value than you take from others. Another form of respect is to give far more than what you expect to receive. As I stated in #4, you don’t want to be annoying, rude, selfish or inconsiderate. You will find that when you give generously of yourself, your time and your gifts, you will receive far more than what you gave away.
“But I give best when I give from that deeper place; when I give simply, freely and generously, and sometimes for no particular reason. I give best when I give from my heart.” Steve Goodier.
Giving Back Or Paying It Forward
You might see Round-Up Posts when you visit various blogs. These can work if the post intentions are correctly laid out. I’m not a big fan myself. Most of these posts that I have read are a ploy for traffic only and to get praise from the people that are featured in the post.
Yes, these posts can create a lot of temporary traffic. If you are into page views or numbers, that might make you happy. However, I am building long-term relationships and prefer to use other methods. To each their own.
I recently came up with an idea to shine a spotlight on fellow artists and creatives that I felt were particularly outstanding and inspirational people. These are amazing people that deeply inspired me during a particular week. As a gift, I discuss with them what photos I have that they enjoy. When we feel we have just the right one, I gift them 1 copy of the photo so they can have it framed locally to enjoy.
My goal is to have them reflect upon this special photo in their home or office when they have a particularly challenging day. I want it to be a reminder of how they have made a positive difference in the world. I hope they feel special and loved.
To see who is on my “Most Inspirational Person of the Week” List and Photos, please go to my Art and Photography blog, Selective Moments In Time.
Do you belong to a network or blogging community? What have you learned from other members?
Commenting is priceless to me! Please comment below and share your experiences.
If you found this information valuable, please share on your favorite social media sites and networks. Sharing is encouraged and appreciated!