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?