When I first launched my blog in 2010, I was lucky enough to have a friend who knew a friend who worked at Glam.com, a blogger network turned media company that has since been renamed Mode. The friend's friend hooked me up with one of Glam's representatives, and soon I had Glam ads running on my site and started making a few dimes here and there.
Later, I received invitations to partner with brands for sponsored posts and was paid fairly for them—in fact the compensation was better than what I received for my (harder and more time consuming) freelance journalism work (which is a discouraging mark of journalism's state of affairs, but I'll leave that for another article).
Then, to my surprise, Glam asked me to create a video for Guess, to celebrate the brand's 30th anniversary. Since finally getting my mother to buy me a pair of their jeans was a highlight of my high school days, I happily agreed (though I was nervous as hell!). Glam flew me to NYC, put me up in a hotel and we had a fun day of shooting with a handful of other bloggers.
Since then I've done another video for Glam (still the name of the fashion arm of the company), and I have another on deck. Though I secretly always wanted to be in front of a camera, I hadn't a clue how to do it. Now that I have some experience, I'm inspired to get on that YouTube channel all the kids have been talking about!
Collectively, which I've written about on these pages before, is the other blogger network where I'm a member. It's a younger company, but took off like wildfire in just its first year. My most exciting collaboration through them has been with Sprout by HP, a pretty amazing 2D touchscreen computer and scanner. I got a unit to keep, plus I get paid for my posts about it.
Working with these companies has been particularly useful as a blogger who's not one of the “it” bloggers raking in millions from brand collaborations and walking the Oscars red carpet. If brands aren't banging down your door, these networks are a great way to find connections.
Both Collectively and Mode are located in the Bay Area where I live, so in addition to work, my collaborations with these companies have also led to ongoing business relationships and friendships. They were small operations when I first began working with them, and it's been exciting to be involved with their growth into thriving businesses.
I get lots of invitations from new networks asking me to sign up with them. As much as I tell myself I don't have time to get started with another blogger organization, I have to also remind myself how useful it can be to create relationships when a company is young.
What are your favorite networks? I'd love to hear your experiences!