COM0015: Blog Post #3 – Professional Networking

cards

Hello…My Name is…

Prior to a couple of years ago, I’d never really considered the professional opportunities that can surround blogging and health advocacy. I don’t run a business and I had been completely oblivious to the networking opportunities that could lead to paid writing, guest posts and reciprocal sharing of resources. This has been widely regarded as a big mistake.

Sure, I had set up a personal account on LinkedIn. However, I’ve not yet made a “business” page for Lupus Interrupted. Sure, I had some cards made up that I could hand out…but it was mostly willy-nilly and, frankly, thrust upon my family and friends in the dire hope that *maybe* THEY would hand them out if they happened to meet someone who might be interested in health, advocacy, or just for kicks’n’giggles.

Then came the opportunity for me to attend the Social Capital Conference in 2013. I had had my first opportunity to professionally network not just online…but in the REAL. This is where my nemesis resides…in the social anxiety that finds me ordering pizza online, and texting or emailing friends. Go, Go SocialAnxiety Girl! *cape flailing behind* Not only did I survive my first trial by fire of meeting people I had connected with regularly online, I was able to meet handfuls more who were genuinely interested in the concept of health advocacy and blogging. I had started to understand that blogging, itself, was taken seriously, not in the ad-hoc manner in which I’d previously thought.

Having attended the conference also expanded my perspective about networking. Whereas I had previously been connecting with, obviously, people in the health industry, advocacy, or even parenting, I was negating the opportunities to network with social media specialists, digital marketing professionals and even niches like Ottawa event coordinators or local business owners.

Unfortunately, the conference is not running, and more unfortunate is that the one I would *love* to attend, BlogHer, is held out-of-city and to coordinate attending within the chaos of my reality is mind numbing. So, I’ve been looking at even smaller gatherings hosted locally and have even found workshops held at the local libraries.

My future really needs to see more of the nurturing of my online networking. I verily believe that this will increase the opportunities available for more exposure and awareness. I need to broaden my perspective to include new audiences to network with that I may have previously disregarded.

Strategy? This is a very new concept, to actually put goals into words and words into actions. I will regularly be checking sites like EventBrite for local social networking events and better plan around the chaos to ensure my ability to attend. Online, I have included a broader target audience to include more local connections, and to use the #Ottawa on my posts and in my searches/filters in order to add valuable connections across all platforms where Lupus Interrupted can be found.

What has been an unexpected obstacle that you’ve encountered in your professional networking endeavours?

One thought on “COM0015: Blog Post #3 – Professional Networking

  1. First, I am not a professional blogger or social media specialist. However, interestingly, I had a conversation just last week with a colleague who was lamenting over his failed attempts to gain any traction among readers with a blog he created to chronicle his adventures as a leisurely car enthusiast. He was expressing his frustration with the fact that as an amateur blogger – forced to attend to his writing outside of his day job – he would put his heart and soul into crafting blog posts that he was sure would attract and inspire some sort of reaction from readers, but did so to no avail. This prompted him to increasingly divide his time as a blogger between promoting the blog among potential audiences and the actual development of content for his posts. He acknowledged that he was becoming discouraged, and joked that, “I built IT, so why aren’t THEY coming?!”.

    Clearly blogging is not for the faint of heart, but it sounds as though you already have an established audience that will continue to follow you as long as you continue to provide them with the content they have come to expect of you. It’s true that expanding your network is key to keeping your message out there and growing your readership, but perhaps you can spearhead a local or online “meet-up” to have the discussions you require regarding options for networking? Maybe faculty within the Algonquin College Social Media Certificate Program can assist you with this effort? I am certain you are not alone in your need for this type of support!

    Best of luck with Lupus Interrupted, and if you can provide more information about the initiative, that would be great: lupus is a disease that has touched my family.

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