OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: Job Lab: ROYO - Offline Networking for Bloggers

BlogHer Original Post

Welcome to the liveblog of the BlogHer '10 panel: Job Lab: ROYO - Offline Networking for Bloggers. Click here for more info.

Online social networking is critical in today’s business world and job market, but networking offline is also crucial! And for many bloggers, it’s tough to make that transition. Taryn Pisaneschi is the speaker.
Being online in the late 90s was considered being anti-social. Now if you're not connected, you're considered anti-social.

When you talk to somebody offline who doesn't care how many followers you have or who doesn't understand blogging, what do you do?

Question for audience: What does networking mean to you?
(Audience) When I go out and get to meet people I didn't know before, and we form a mutually beneficial relationship as a result.

(Audience) I have a hard time with social networking because it takes me away from the writing. I'm amazed that social networking takes me global -- not just making friendships and relationships I wouldn't have made otherwise, but it just opens so many doors.

(Audience) When I network, I'm trying to spread the word about my program. I use my blog to increase my primary focus (helping kids lose weight). So my blog helps me spread the word about what I do offline.

Question for audience: What about visibility?

Being seen. Being remembered.

You need to approach networking events with goals. What is it you want to get out of that event? A job? Gatekeepers who can help you get in somewhere?

With blogs and online efforts -- there's a reason you post links and update Facebook: you want to put stuff out there. You want to be visible. You want to be found.

When going to events, you need to have your 30-second pitch / 60-second pitch / elevator pitch. It's really important to be able to tell people what you do. Look at each person as a potential reader, a potential user, RSS subscriber. How do you develop a productive relationship?

1. GOAL. Make sure you have a goal. (See above.)

2. Know what your blog is about. Have your pitch.

Your image is equally important. For those with blogs and you're meeting people, what image are you giving them? It's your marketing collateral. Your business card (and how it looks). Your blog might be great, but you need to present it as being well packaged and put together.

When networking, think about what to wear. Know your power color and wear it.

Think about your whole package. Your blog, your cards, your outfit should all be representative of your brand.

Think about which events to go to. Don't just go anywhere/everywhere. Think about what you're trying to achieve, and whether the event will help you achieve that goal.

Research attendees. See if you can get a list. If you can't, look up the organizers. Check out LinkedIn -- see the organizers and who you're connected to through them. Use this information as a conversation starter.

Use "power songs" and listen to them in the car on the way, or even in the ladies' room on an iPod at the event. They can change your energy.

Another way to get rid of event jitters is to act like a host. See someone who's clearly uncomfortable or nervous? Go talk to them. There's someone out there who needs saving.

Superman Move. Literally doing the arms out, over your head.

Referrals are a big part of networking. Give credibility to you and what you're doing.

Example: Audience member has a blog about combining healthy cooking and incorporating medicines into food. An earlier audience member mentioned that she blogs about helping overweight children. Taryn can serve as person who introduces the two: even though they may not have a direct correlation or shared goal, they probably know people who do or who could help each other.

And, once you've helped others by making productive introductions, folks you've helped will try to return the favor. That's why it's very important to be clear about what YOUR goals are.

Write notes on business cards. Note something personal about them, or what you discussed. Then follow up and include personal information. Don't be afraid to write notes on cards in front of the person giving them. "Do you mind if I write on your card? I want to be sure I remember this conversation."

Consider bringing someone you just met to the next event. It's great to attend with an entourage, and increases the chances that you'll meet more people.

Question: If you're trying to network with someone who's "several levels above you" and you don't feel like you have much to offer them, what do you do?
Answer: Ask a lot of questions. Ask them about their business, their goals, their struggles. If you can, offer solutions.

End emails with questions. Instead of, "It was great to meet you," try, "What's the next event you're planning to attend?"

Use your email footers as a way to get people to know what action you would like from them ("follow me on Twitter" or "read more about me here…").

Be careful not to try to sell someone. They see it coming.

Question: Where is the line between stalking and being social/proactive?
Answer: Persistence is okay (although if you have to ask if you're stalking, you probably are and should disengage). If someone isn't responding, make sure you know how you're being helpful to them. Look up information on them that you can use to be conversation starters: "I saw that you were written about…"

Tip: If someone asks what you do, ask them what THEY do. That way, you can shape your response in a way that addresses what they've told you.

Asking your readers to promote your site, RT, etc. is totally appropriate. Do not spam your audience or networks with these requests, but asking engaged people to spread the word about you is okay.

Tip: Great resource to find places to pitch yourself to journalists. Reporters post requests for experts. Bloggers/authors reply. If you're featured, your readership can get a boost.