I’m only in my fourth year of attending conferences for bloggers and social media mavens. I’m sure there are others out there who are more seasoned than myself, who are “old-hat” at this who could chime in with their words of wisdom (hint hint)… besides “what to wear” or “what to bring” to a conference, the number one question I’m asked is, “How do I get a sponsor?”
I’ve written a couple posts over the years, feel free to catch up on “Flogging my wares: What will you do to get to a blog conference?“ and “Debunking the myths about conference sponsorship.”
I still contend that hard work pays off and getting personal conference sponsorship is hard work, but if you’ve been hitting the pavement, tried everything we’ve talked about and it’s still not working for you, then maybe it’s time to take a closer look at your brand.
To define your personal online brand, ask yourself the following 3 questions:
#1 WHO ARE YOU?!
Like a broken record, that song looped through my head before the final push welcoming the arrival of our 3rd child, all 9 lbs 14 1/2 oz of him. For all you youngins… it’s not just the theme song of a popular crime scene show… The Who is worth a listen to!
You need to define who you are online. What is your brand?
Yes, you need to be authentically you and as we grow up or grow out of our online skin or want to change direction with our newly acquired social media skill set, it’s OK to redefine (rebrand) who we are. Many bloggers I know have done this in the last 6 months.
#2 What three words define your online presence?
Take some time this week or month… don’t rush it… and think about what image you are portraying online.
The brands I work with know who I am before they even email me. HOW? Every tweet tweeted, tagline tagged, or blog post published, tells them a little bit more about me. Everything I put out there online is part of my Virtual Resume. I don’t have to wait to upload it to my Media Kit or CV, it’s all out there for them to Google. Forever. Like Ever.
Your taglines, profile quips, twitter handle, blog title, etc., may have been super cutesy, a bit quirky or full of sass,
which was great when you first started, but now that you’re wanting to work with brands on a bigger level, you have to think of everything you have online as part of your resume.
When you applied for that corporate job, or that sales position… I’m sure you didn’t put on your cover page, “Bland Personality”, “Lacking Significance” or “Psychotic Break Eminent”.
Ask yourself, is it an image they would want to work with? If not, maybe it’s time for a change.
What’s the focus of your website? Is it all over the place, no rhyme or reason or is there a cohesive balance and direction, making it easy for someone to follow along? SavvyMom.ca just voted my site, “Best Balancing Act”
#3 What can you do for them?
If you pitched a business or brand that it’s going to cost XYZ for them to send you to that conference, then you need to be prepared to offer them XYZ in value in return. Know what that is before you send your “Sponsor Me” pitch.
They want to know what to expect in advance, so lay it out and follow through!
Use your social influence on MULTIPLE platforms: X number of blog posts, X number of Tweets, a vlog or two, a Google + board, a Vine video, X number of Instagram shots, etc. Be creative.
SIDEBAR: I’ve heard from dozens of businesses/brands, bloggers tell them they’re going to do such and such and never finished the job. Don’t be that blogger. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us who work hard in this space.
If you’re pitching more than one business/brand make sure they don’t conflict with each other. There will be nothing good about posting how Alcoholics Anonymous and Molson’s sent you to “BlogHaven”.
After the conference is over, follow up with the company. Send them a thank you note and the details of what you did for them; screen shot conversations, links to your posts and analytics of the reach they received (use trackable links like goo.gl).
EXAMPLE: This is a presentation from many moons ago, back in the day when the two of us combined barely had 5,000 Twitter followers… This is what Tara and I presented one of the clients who provided our clothing for BlissDom Canada 2010. Northern Reflections.
There are a lot of choices out there for brands… stand out, stand a part, do more than the bare minimum, believe in yourself… you can do it. Shine baby shine!
Best of Luck to you!