When we talk about credibility in the blogging community, it's not only about transparency and honesty in our dealings with brands. Credibility and trust are also about establishing yourself as an informed, educated resource for your audience. That doesn't mean you have to be a textbook of knowledge – like a research paper with a Twitter account. There's fun to be had, entertainment to provide and creativity to be shared! What we mean is that you can expand the reach of your unique, artistic, helpful, hilarious blog (and personality) by putting your name out there – elsewhere. Becoming a credible source in your community and beyond will lend cache to your reputation and grow the readership of your personal site.
1. Pitch post ideas to publications or blogs that fit into your niche.
We've talked a lot about pitching yourself in the past. Whether it's for a brand project or for a posting opportunity, it's really one of the fundamentally important (and effective) ways to get your name out there and establish yourself as a professional blogger. For example, Belle Belle Beauty's Lindsay Rogers contributes to the Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman beauty blogs as a way to share her expertise with a larger audience.
Even if your blog is fairly new, think about other past experience you have that gives you credibility and include that in your pitch. Even if a reporter or blogger isn't receptive to an entire post, offer yourself as a source within your niche as well, and they may look you up for quotes or a feature in a future project.
Some past posts that will help you get started are: Romancing the Brand: Approach Your Pitch Like A Date; and Be Your Own Agent: PR Tactics for the Blogging Community.
2. Seed or “tip out “articles or posts you've written to publications that might be interested.
While a blog or new site may not be interested in republishing an entire post that's already been posted and distributed to your network, they are always looking for relevant and interesting links for round ups and sources for other stories. Just be sure you really understand the tone, content and posting style of the sites you are pitching to so that your efforts don't fall on deaf ears. For example we recently “tipped out” (a journalism term for sending your link out to other pubs) our post about fake twitter followers, and it was picked up by Jezebel and Racked; this drives some traffic back to our site and establishes us as a resource on the topic!
3. Pitch yourself (along with content ideas) to local television or radio news outlets.
This goes hand-in-hand with promoting yourself to other blogs and publications. If you've got a lot of personality and especially if you incorporate video content on your site – pitching yourself as an on-air contributor or guest might be the perfect fit for you. Back in March, Jessie Holvera of Trend Hungry contributed a great guest post to IFB about how she successfully pitched herself to local TV programs. She provided great tips on how to put yourself out there on social media and in your community, as well as how and what to pitch.
4. Reach out and interview industry leaders or interesting characters (both local and beyond) in your area of interest.
Who you want to interview and why you might want to interview them will vary greatly depending on the topic of your blog, and what you want to know. Consider where many of your readers are, and what they would find interesting. Reach out to potential subjects via email, and propose your idea. (We've got some good email tips here if you're unsure where to start.)
One thing that's important to keep in mind when asking for an interview is that you should already have the direction and purpose of your questions established. Your subject will not and cannot do that for you. Even if it's a general profile, be sure to state why you want to profile this person (or business or event). In these instances, remember that a little flattery can get you far, as can a well-researched, relevant cause for contact! (We have interview tips, too!)
5. Organize a small (or big) event like a round-table discussion, brunch or happy hour to bring together people who are interested in your niche.
The Internet is great and all (duh), but there's still so much to be gained and appreciated about meeting people, face-to-face, in real life. It's also a smart way to build lasting connections (both social and professional) with people in your area. Whether it's bloggers, boutique owners, designers, make up artists, stylists – whoever – people love to eat, drink, and meet other people.
Use your network to create a short list of people who might be interested. Send out personal invites via email, and if the reception is good and you want to open it up, share the event on your social media channels. Why not submit it to a local magazine's event calendar? You never know who might show up and who you might meet.
Depending on whether your goal is to make connections or have a thoughtful discussion among attendees, you may need to direct the tone of the event and be a leader within the guests. If it's a discussion, come with provocative questions ready to go.
*Bonus method: Interact with industry people and like-minded bloggers in an educational or conversational forum.
We all know how important it is to participate in social media as a blogger, especially when you have the goal of establishing and positioning yourself as a credible expert. Participating in organized chats (usually organized with a hashtag) or tweeting at reporters, bloggers, journalists or publications is a great way to do this. Even if the whole world isn't listening (yet), sending out thought-provoking, interesting, and entertaining information about the topics you're passionate about will further bolster your digital portfolio.
One thing that's critical to remember in all of this is that just because you are a blogger does not mean you any less important than a career journalist, established writer or long-time industry pro. You can and will prove yourself as the expert you are by the content you produce and the professionalism you apply to every interaction. Taking yourself seriously leads others to do the same. As Lindsay mentioned in her interview, don't be afraid to be told no – and keep trying. All the while, keep producing relevant, interesting content for your own site that will continue to serve as a portfolio and prime example of your expertise.