How to Sell Sponsored Posts on Your Blog

The key to selling and creating good sponsored content is aligning with brands your audience will love, and integrating them into your content in a way that makes your audience care.

There are tons of tools that can help you land sponsored posts gigs, and we will be covering many of them this week. Today we are discussing how to sell sponsored content directly to advertisers.

1. Set income goals for your blog

Once you decide that sponsored posts are a viable revenue stream, you should create a plan for managing sponsored posts. I have see too many blogs become inundated with sponsored posts, and I have seen bloggers struggle to control their income. During busy seasons (holiday) you may receive a ton of sponsored post opportunities, but when brands are actively promoting products you lose control of your revenue. Creating a plan allows you to pace your sponsored content, and create a consistent revenue stream.

  • Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to start creating a plan:
  • How often do you post on your blog?
  • What percentage of your blog content do you want to be sponsored?
  • How many sponsored posts per month can you offer advertisers?
  • How much yearly revenue do you want to come from sponsored posts?
  • What do you charge per sponsored post?
  • How many different programs/clients do you want to manage?

Yearly income goals:

Monthly income goals:

2. Create a list of opportunities you can sell to sponsors

Once you have a clear vision of how you want to work with brands you can create packages that make sense for your site.  Make a list of the different opportunities you want to find sponsors for, and map out a plan of what you will be pitching each month.  You can break your sponsorships into two categories:

  • Seasonal: Brands often host holiday and season specific programs, so begin by identifying the different seasonal partnership opportunities you can sell to brands.  (Examples: holiday gift guide, spring cleaning series, 30 days of summer)
  • Regular series: Create a list of the regular content series you feature on your site. (Examples: Giveaways, weekly features, video series)

Here are some examples of what other bloggers have done:

3. Create a pitching schedule

Estimate how long it takes to close each sale. Typically, it can take 4-8  to secure a new sponsors and process the payment. This means you should always be pitching opportunities 2 months in advance. Some brands have a longer planning period, so you will need to pitch them deals 4-6 months in advance. If you give yourself an 8-week window, you can plan the sponsorships ahead of time and know what revenue goals you will hit.

Create a pitching schedule for your seasonal programs, and fill in the gaps with the regular series’s you host on your blog.

4. Write the pitch

The best way to pitch new sponsors is to create a general pitch that you can use for multi-purposes.  This allows you to send pitches out on a regular basis without creating entirely new materials for every pitch.

Here is a sample pitch you can use to create your own:

Hi X,

I am the founder of leading (YOUR NICHE) blog, (SITE NAME) and thought there might be a way for us to work together.

(Include 2-3 sentences describing the opportunity)

We are a huge fan of (BRAND NAME), and would love to have you participate. Our sponsorship opportunities allow you to be integrated into our content and engage our readers in a meaningful way.

Let me know if this sounds like something you might be interested in.

Thanks,

(NAME)

5. Identify potential sponsors & start pitching

Make a list of the potential brands that would be interested in sponsoring. Make sure to include brands you have current relationships with, companies you love and brands that would be a good fit.

Find contact information for the brands you are interested in, and start pitching!

Additional Resources and Tools:

20 new revenue ideas for your business

 

Last week I was invited to discuss revenue streams for creative entrepreneurs over at #MakerBizChat.

We had an amazing group of makers join in the conversation, and had a great time discussing new ways to make money for your business.

I have pulled together a list of new revenue streams you might want to try for your maker business.

There are two ways creative entrepreneurs can increase their income:

  1. Sell new products to existing customers
  2. Sell existing products to new customers

We are going to discuss both of these approaches, so I have organized the list based on which approach you would like to take.

Revenue streams to help you sell new products to existing customers…

Publish an ebook on gumroad that aligns with your current expertise

Offer your creative talents on a freelance basis

Coach other creatives who are building the same business as you

Host a local workshop teaching other creative your existing skills

Teach a course on Skillshare

Create a DIY version of your product with Take and Make

Collaborate with another maker to develop a new product

Turn your designs into an entire portfolio of products with Zazzle

Create a monthly subscription club around your products

Create limited edition products

Revenue streams to help you sell existing products to new customers…

Use affiliate links to introduce your customers to new great products

License your designs to larger brands

Set up an ecommerce site to sell directly to customers or

Send product to bloggers & online influencers in exchange for coverage

Partner with niche shopping sites like Uncommon Goods

Partner with retail boutiques to carry your products

Partner with niche shopping sites that might want to carry your product

Offer custom commissioned products for VIP customers

Participate in a handmade market or craft fair

Host home parties or school fundraisers

 

5 business lessons I learned selling Avon

I started selling Avon when I was fifteen. Within a year, I became the youngest Presidents Club member in the district. Adrienne just reminded me to mention that was more than a decade ago. (Whatevs.)

Selling Avon was my favorite job. It gave me a  deep understanding of sales and taught me lessons I have referred to over and over again in my career.

Here are five of the best lessons I learned selling Avon:

(There is a special offer at the end of this post, so stick with me here) 

1. Go where the people are.

Selling Avon in highschool was the smarted thing I could do. I spent everyday surrounded by hundreds of students and teachers who loved makeup. Also, students and teachers alike would rather shop than sit in school. I sold a ton.

My slowest time was during the summer, that was until I got roped into playing on the softball team. I spent every game passing out avon brochures to the crowd. They would place the order before the game ended, and it would be delivered at the next game.

Selling to an existing community gives you access to a huge group all at once, it builds an instant relationship with your consumer and it cuts down your costs because you don’t have to hunt everyone down to deliver products.

2. Love your product or forget it

I was obsessed with Avon. I still get excited when I get my hands on a new brochure. Each book was filled with new sales and new products and pretty sparkly things. I would spend hours memorizing the catalogs before going out to sell. I could tell you anything you needed to know about the products we carried, and point you to the page number of the most recent catalog. Avon allowed reps to back-order products at sale price, and I always knew what sale I could get my customers. Knowing my stuff and working to save them money encouraged higher sales from each customer.

3. Make recommendations

The more you know about your customers, the more you can sell. I knew the women who went crazy when Avon came out with new holiday stuff. I knew the customers that only ordered stocking sutffers at Christmas time. Learn as much as you can about your buyers prefence, and make recommendations that matter to them.

4. Have a differentiator

People didn’t buy avon from me because I had the best catalogs or the newest products. I had the same thing every avon lady in the world had to offer. The difference? I was sixteen and had more energy than any Avon lady in the market. I was a passionate and willing to hustle for what I wanted. People remembered me, and they wanted to support they drive they saw.

5. Encourage word of mouth

Word of mouth makreitng is one of the most powerful tools in the world. If a friend tells me to buy something there is a VERY good chance I will do so. Here is the thing—I don’t sit around thinking about all of the businesses I interact with and who in my network might be interested.  However, if you ask me if I know someone who might be interested, there is a good chance I will come up with a name. Encourage word of mouth. It always pays off.

Today, direct sales reps have more opportunity than ever before. There are tons of free tools (like email!) that allow you to build relationships, close sales and land referrals.That is why I have decided to launch an online course that will show you  how to use online tools to increase your sales.

And since you made it all of the way through this post, I want to give you a little present. I think that everyone can learn something from this course, and want to offer you a $100 discount code.

You can access the entire course by entering “AVONVIP” at checkout. 

Get all of the details and register here.

http://www.quistic.com/seminar/increase-your-sales-with-online-marketing 

What Every Startup Needs to Know About Media Coverage

Every week there is a new post debating whether or not startups should focus on PR. While all of the arguments are different, they are mostly focused on the insane costs of hiring a PR agency, and whether or not it’s worth it.

The reality of it is that most startup founders have zero experience in PR, and most PR agencies have zero experience running a startup. You are living in two different worlds, and your idea of what you are trying to accomplish. Most PR professionals have zero experience in web traffic and analytics. This means that they have no idea what kind of media coverage will drive you traffic, and what to do with that traffic. Most startups don’t have the funds to pay an agency enough to truly integrate with your marketing team, which means you will never get the full value from your PR agency.

I have spent the past five years working on online media, and learned the ins and outs of using media coverage to drive traffic. Here is a little guide to get you started:

National Broadcast:

  • National broadcast is a great credential and can help drive brand awareness, but national broadcast is a terrible traffic driver.
  • The caveat is if you are offering a special discount just for viewers. E! News the Today Show often do these types of features.
  • Unless you are besties with a producer, you will probably not get included in a segment. National television shows have gotten really strict about earned media placements, which has made it nearly impossible for brands to get organic mentions. (aka they prefer ad dollars)
  • The best way to get your foot in the door is to find the experts these shows feature, and make them fall in love with your project.

National Print:

  • National print is also a great credential and can drive awareness.
  • You will have to work really hard to get a placement, and the mention will probably be so small you will see very little traffic conversions.
  • The best ways to land national print coverage are to build relationships with the key editors, hire a freelance writer who regularly contributes to national outlets or pitch your CEO as an expert who could contribute.

Regional Media:

  • Regional media is the most overlooked type of media placement.
  • It is a known fact in the startup world that regional newspapers are the only media outlet that has not had a significant decline in their readership. Everyone reads their local papers, so there is a huge opportunity to connect with consumers on a personal level.
  • There is less competition to land regional media coverage, so you will get more coverage from the work you put into it.
  • The downside is that very few people get excited when you land a placement in a small town newspaper.

Traditional Online:

  • Traditional outlets with an online presence have almost no ability to drive traffic.
  • For example, the New York Times receives more than 4M page views a month, but they publish 1,500 articles a day. That averages out to around 95 page views per article. This doesn’t include the assumption that the top 20 most popular posts receive the majority of those views. with those numbers, you have almost no changes of converting that traffic into a sale.

Blogs:

  • I am being very general in my definition of blogs, and classifying  a blog as a smaller site that is updated a few times a week to a few times per day.
  • Blogs have an amazing ability to drive traffic. I have received more traffic from MightyGirl.com than I did from the New York Times and NPR: All Things Considered combined.
  • Building on my previous example, MightyGirl.com receives 300K readers per month, and publishes 2-3 posts per week. This averages out to around 25K page views per post.
  • Getting blog coverage can be very time consuming and often requires a minimal budget, but the ROI can be exponential.

What experience has your startup had with media coverage? What kind of coverage gave you the most results? What didn’t work for you? What did you learn?  Leave your experience in the comments below. 

How to Survive the Gig Economy

Last month, I left the comfort of a regular paycheck to become a full-time freelancer. I had no money in savings, and a regular stream of bills flowing in, so I had no choice but to hit the ground running. Within six-weeks, I was able to replace my full-time income. It wasn’t easy. It involved twelve-hour days, minimum sleep and a series of nervous breakdowns. But now? I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.

Last week, I came across this article on how impossible it is to survive in the gig economy, and thought I would share how I was able to make the gig economy work for me.

1. Be Realistic About Your Needs

Freelancing isn’t for everyone. The reality is that anyone can freelance, but not everyone will like freelancing. I am an ENTP, which means my best work happens when I am managing lots of different kinds of projects. I thrive on fast-paced, big idea projects, and can shift my thinking very quickly. It also means I am completely incompetent at managing details.

Secondly, freelancing means giving up stable income, and many of the “extras” we all have come to enjoy. While every freelancer dreams of replacing their full-time income, it is something that takes time. You need to be realistic, you cannot survive trying to hunt down $5 gigs. It is not sustainable.

How I did it: .

  1. Figure out exactly how much you need to earn to survive. A smaller goal can give you the confidence to get started, but this means forgoing most of the luxuries in your life. Don’t forget, 30% or more of your income will go to paying self-employment taxes, and make sure to include expenses your employer previously covered. (health insurance, cell-phone, etc)
  2. Determine how many hours you will dedicate to client work. It may sound crazy, but 60% of your time will be spent finding new clients, marketing your business and managing administration details. Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to client work.
  3. Set your rate. Once you have a clear picture of how much you want to earn, and the number of hours you can dedicate to client work you can calculate what you need to earn per hour. Start out with a range for your hourly rate, and be flexible until you figure out exactly what the market will offer.

2. Pick a Specialty

Consider how much money you need to make, what skills you have to offer, and narrow down the skills that you can make a living with.

Why would I hire you to do a job when I could hire a specialist at the same rate? If you try to sell everything, you will sell nothing. It is the equivalent of blindly submitting your resume to thirty different positions.

How I did it:

I have a huge range of experience from pitching traditional media to building complex influencer/content marketing programs. There are dozens of services I could offer my clients, so I narrowed it down to five skills that were in high-demand and pitched brands to see which services would attract the most work.

3. Use Your Network

The most important part of finding gigs is having a strong network. This is no different than the process of finding a full-time job. The chances of applying to a job posting, and getting the job is low. The way to get a great full-time job is to use your existing network. It is no different for finding gigs.

How I did it: 

I spent the past five years helping agencies and Fortune 500 brands create digital marketing programs. Through my work, I developed relationships with some amazing marketers. Theses people understood how I approached digital marketing. They knew the kind of traction I could build, and when I went freelance they were the very first people to hire me.

4. Get Comfortable with Cold Pitching

If you need consistent income (which I assume you do), you will need a huge pipeline of potential clients. Regardless of how large your network is, you will have to get comfortable with cold pitching.

The first step is deciding what kind of clients you want to work with, and then identifying what you can offer them to close the deal. While I love working with large brands, there are a number of downsides. It can take months to close a deal and most of your time will be spent navigating office politics rather than creating interesting work. You can make more money working with big brands, but getting work off the ground can be very slow moving.

This is why I love working with startups. They spark to out-of-the-box ideas, and can implement new programs really fast. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to take my big brand experience, and help startups build traction with their target customers.

How I did it:

  1. Identified my ideal clients—Most of my work fell in the consumer marketing space, specifically helping brands reach women online. So I started by looking for clients who were trying to reach women online. Because startups are typically strapped for cash, I looked for clients that had already secured funding. This way, I knew they had the budgets needed to fund a great program.
  2. Find potential clients—Once I knew who I was targeting, I started searching for potential clients. I looked on sites like Angel List, Beta List and Crunch Base. I started searching those databases for potential clients, and made a list of companies to pitch.
  3. Create the perfect pitch—The perfect pitch takes time. Start by sending out three different pitches, and measure which formats give you the highest success rate. Refine and test until you get the perfect mix.
  4. Get ready for disappointment—Creating the perfect pitch doesn’t mean you will get the gig. A while back, I discovered an amazing startup, and convinced myself that I was the perfect person for the gig. I pitched them, and they were interested. So I spent an entire weekend creating a deck that would show them exactly why they should hire me. I didn’t get the gig. I can’t tell you the disappointment gets easier, but it does give you some amazing learning experiences.

5. Get Ready to Hustle. 

The only way to survive in the gig economy is to hustle. Once you land a few gigs, you will find yourself in a place where you are activating multiple projects while negotiating new gigs. You have to move very fast and have the ability to quickly shift your mind to do different kinds of work.

How I did it: 

My first two weeks of freelancing, I pitched 200 potential clients, closed three deals and spent my afternoons crying because I was sure I would never make it. Surviving the gig economy is hard, but it is possible.

5 Major Shifts Happening in the PR Industry

It’s no secret that bloggers have completely changed the media landscape, that consumer skepticism has driven brands to be more innovative and  that social media has forced companies to reach a new level of transparency.  Over the past few months, I have noticed a few other trends that are driving major shifts in the role of the PR professional.

1.The Internet is killing the “expert.”

Leveraging “experts” has always been a great way to garner earned media coverage for clients. Experts are trusted resources that can organically land media placements while seamlessly plugging brands into the segment. Now that anyone with an Internet connection can share their expertise with the world, the once “trusted expert” is becoming a joke.

Consumers are realizing that anyone can declare themselves an expert making it more challenging to prove an experts credibility. In fact, some experts are beginning to question their own credibility proving that no one is really an expert.

We are all just learning as we go.

Luckily, it is the learning that is the most interesting.

2.  Freelancers are taking over traditional media. 

The internet shook up the traditional media world right around the time the economy collapsed; driving major layoffs across publications. In the first six years of the millennium the number of freelance writers has increased more than 300% with no signs of slowing down. Today, more than 70% of magazine content is written by freelancers.

PR professionals are not only challenged to seek out relationships with freelance writers, but are also challenged to create story angles that publications will buy.

Image Credit

 3. Statistics are becoming irrelevant.

The growing use of visuals in social media marketing along with the realization that data visualization is a powerful way to break through the clutter and drive consumers to action, has incentivized brands to find new ways to leverage data in their marketing creating a plethora of branded statistics.

In the same way consumers are skeptical about brands that claim to be “natural” or “green,” they are beginning to pay more attention to the statistics they are seeing and what those statistics actually mean. Companies like PayScaleOK Cupid and BirchBox are finding innovative ways to leverage useful statistics to increase SEO, drive buzz and position themselves as experts in their field. 

4. Bloggers forced advertising and editorial departments to talk to each other.

In traditional media, the role of PR has always been centered on garnering earned coverage for their clients. Editors and Journalists churn out massive amounts of content on a daily basis and PR has always been able to provide story inspiration and assets to help create interesting stories.

Many PR professionals approached bloggers in the same way they approach traditional media. What they didn’t realize was that the work of creating content, engaging in social media, and building massive audiences was often a full-time job. Unlike journalists and editors who receive a salary and benefits for their work, bloggers were making little to no money from their sites, which made them wonder why they would promote billion dollar brands for free. Bloggers began requiring compensation for creating branded content and the role of PR changed once again.

Traditional media’s advertising and editorial departments, which were once divided, began to work more closely together. Over the past few years, garnering earned media coverage has become more challenging than ever, forcing PR professionals to become more educated on the business of media channels and find out of the box ways to garner the coverage they need.

 

 Image Credit

5. Content curation put the success of a brand into the hands of the consumer.

Thanks to social media and the growing popularity of content curation,everyday consumers are becoming powerful influencers. Every brand wantsa viral video or a social media campaign that drives major buzz but few brands realize what it takes.

The success of a brand’s content  lies in the hands of their consumers.

Brands are challenged to understand what drives consumers to share content and how they can create the content that consumers will organically want to share.

What other trends are you seeing pop up that are shifting the role of PR?

50 ways to monetize your content

1. Host a course

2. Create a play on start up plays

3. Create a store out of your pins 

4. Launch a paid newsletter

5. Publish an ebook

6. Start a podcast 

7. Start a video series and sell ad spots to brands

8. Host a blogging conference

9. Teach a social media course for local businesses

10. Start a blogger mentoring program to help new bloggers grow their skills

11. Partner with a few of your blogger friends and sell integrated partnerships to brands

12. Become a spokesperson

13. Sell advertising to small businesses

14. Affiliate sales

15. Join an advertising network

16. Sell a sponsored post

17. Become a Brand Ambassador

18. Host a Twitter Party

19. Become a freelance consultant

20. Host a private video series 

22. Get a paid writing gig

23. Raise money on kickstarter 

24. Re-purpose blog content into an ebook

25. Google AdSense 

26. Start a monthly subscription program 

27. Launch a product 

28. Host a webinar 

29. Become a public speaker 

30. Build a blog up and then sell it

31. Create merchandise 

32. Donations and tip jars

33. Join a blog network (One2One and Clever Girls Collective are both great options)

34.  Charge for premium content

35. Start a private forum and charge for access

36. Sell template or wordpress themes

37. Have extra domains? Park advertising on them and make a profit when people land there

38. Create a membership site

39. Sell or rent a single page on your blog

40. Create a paid directory

41. Open a store 

Despite all of my research and brainstorming, I have been unable to think of anymore than 41 ways to monetize a blog. I am so close to fifty that I am leaving it up to you guys. Leave your blog monetizing ideas in the comments and I will add them into this post. Let’s make this happen!

 

How to find a mentor (part-one)

The thing that has influenced my  entire life the most has been my mentors. Yes, with an “s” as in a whole panel of mentors that have helped me navigate tricky situations, told me to get my sh*t together, brought me new opportunities and taught me mad life skills.

It is no secret that mentors can make you more successful. The majority of executives had mentors in the first five years of their career. On top of that, executives who had mentors made more money at a younger age, are happier with their career and derive greater pleasure from their work. Having a mentor is so essential to your career that everyone is really concerned about professional women’s inability to find mentors. 

I got pregnant with my son when I was seventeen and quickly learned the importance of good mentors. I surrounded myself with a community of moms who could answer my questions, encourage me and help me parent better.

The thing about mentors is that you shouldn’t have just one. When my son was little I would ask five women for advice and then I would take all of their advice, apply it to the situation and assess what made the most sense for my personal parenting style. Getting advice from one person doesn’t offer you options and it  doesn’t give you the freedom to mix your personal philosophy in there. I mean, what happens if you pick the wrong mentor? Totally screwed.

By my Junior year of college I recognized how important mentors had been to my parenting style and started working on creating a board of mentors for my career. My board of mentors now includes CEO‘s, lawyers at Fortune 500 companiesexecutive coachesaward-winning journalistsNielsen power momssuccessful executivesphilanthropy leaderssavvy entrepreneurs and many more smart and savvy professionals.

The problem is that getting a mentor is HARD and building a mentoring board is even HARDER.

The big secret? It is supposed to be hard. People with lots of potential get the best mentors. Becoming a person with lost of potential is hard. Do you have lots of potential?

Great, let’s talk about how you can build yourself a board of mentors.

1. Scout them Out

The first step to finding a mentor is finding people  you want to mentor you. The key to building a great mentoring board is building one full of successful and dynamic people.  This means that you must always be on the lookout for new people to mentor you. When you meet someone new and more experienced than yourself ask yourself two questions:

  • What skills does this person have that I admire?
  • Would those skills help me in my career?

If those skills would help you in your career move to step number two. If their skills probably wouldn’t help you in your career move to step two anyways. While you may not need them on your mentoring board you are a young professional and you probably need them in your network.

2. Get to know them

If someone is intelligent and accomplished they probably receive requests from young professionals all of the time. If you are choosing intelligent and accomplished professionals to add to your board of mentors you need to stand out from the crowd and the best way to do that is by knowing who you are talking to. Luckily, the internet was created for creeping on people.

Read the things that they write, follow them on Twitter, Google them, see where they are leaving comments and who they are talking to regularly.  Learn what they are interested in, what annoys them, what they are needing help with right now and what kind of people they surround themselves with. Don’t just look at what they are saying but read between the lines and try to get an understanding of what makes them “tick,” and why they do the things they do in the way that they do them. (a degree in Philosophy or Psychology helps immensely)

3. Have a skill they are interested in

The idea that a professional would take time to mentor someone with absolutely no personal benefit is insane. Accomplished professionals are never actively seeking more things they can do for people out of the kindness of their hearts. They are busy and if they are smart they are very careful about how they invest their time. Learn about a topic they are interested in or a skill they are trying to learn.

The digital space has changed the way that every single industry works. The problem is that senior professionals rarely have time to stay tapped into this changing landscape, let alone learn everything that they need to know about it. This is a HUGE opportunity for young professionals and one that is often missed. If you can learn all of the in’s and out’s of how digital is changing your industry and gain an interesting perspective about it you will build yourself an “in” with any mentor you seek out.

Build yourself an “in.”

How to find a mentor (part-two)

This is part two of a two-part series on how to find a mentor. 

Ok, let’s talk about how to reach out to mentors and build a relationship that will set you up for success.

1. Show promise (have a good story)

No one wants to volunteer invest time in something that might not be successful. If all you have is a bachelors degree and an internship, you need to do something out of the box  to attract a good mentor. Build a blog, start a big project, launch a business, do something that makes you stand out from the crowd and shows that you have a promising future. Here are two things that I did:

Two years into blogging, I was really disappointed by my lack of following. I started a project asking women to write letters to their 20-something selves, reached out to a few blogger friends to help me start it, and pitched  media. I collected over 200 letters, was interviewed on NPR: All Things Considered, featured on NewYorkTimes.com and a ton of other media, I landed a book agent and grew my blog traffic by more than 2000%. I had a case study showing the results I could drive before my career even began.

You don’t always have to build something amazing, sometimes you just have to be a hustler.  I had been following Susannah Breslin’s writing for a long time when she announced her Young Female Journalist program.  I am not technically a journalist (I mean, I write? Does that count?) and my topic wasn’t earth shattering, yet I still became  one of three runners up and featured in two Forbes posts because of it. What made my submission so great? I was one the first to respond.

What did I learn?

There are two paths to success: Create something groundbreaking OR create something “good enough” but move faster than everyone else.

2. Timing is Everything

Everyone knows that your first impression matters, but the timing of your first impression matters most. If you are emailing them right after they tweeted about the huge presentation they have the next day, they probably aren’t going to notice your email and/or have the time to respond. Pay attention to what is going on in their life and time your email efficiently-Twitter is great for this.

3. Bug the hell out of them

In order to stay top of mind you have to be in front of them over and over and over again. I have had many young professionals reach out to me once never to hear from them again. I don’t remember their name and have NO idea where they are today. You know why? They never followed up. You may feel like you are being annoying but they are going to remember you when opportunities come around. They are also more willing to give advice.

Here are three ways to bug mentors efficiently: 

  • Find a great article-Put “link for you” in the subject line, add a line about why you thought they would like it, keep it short. Repeat often.
  • Have a new idea-I have a new business idea everyday. Every business idea I can’t execute gets sent to someone who could. Here is how to have great ideas.
  • Share Opportunities-I always introduce people to job opportunities, contest opportunities and people I think they should know.  Be a connector.

4. Never ask someone to be your mentor

Being a mentor sounds time intensive. Professionals don’t want to take on more responsibility and they don’t want to agree to something they don’t have time to invest in.  Don’t ask them to be your mentor, just ask them for advice when you need it. Keep your questions as specific as possible and they will most likely give you an answer. Read this and learn how to ask good questions. 

Do you have any questions about finding a mentor you want me to answer? Leave them in the comments.

Do you have any tips you have used to find a mentor? Leave those in the comments as well.

How to find a job using Twitter

Last week someone asked Penelope Trunk how do you network when you live on a farm? Below is the comment I left on her blog about how to find a job using Twitter.

“I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere and struggled with the very same thing. I found that Twitter is the absolute best way to network early in your career. (or anytime really)

First, find people in the industry you want to network with and start tweeting at them. Don’t tweet at them that you want to be their friend or have a question or need advice because people hate that. Instead, answer questions that they ask on Twitter, re-tweet smart things they say and eventually they will probably follow you back. Once they follow you back you are getting your tweets and the smart things you say in front of them AND the ability to send them private messages if you ever have a specific question for them.

My friend Claire (ClaireDiazOrtiz.com) suggests creating private Twitter lists of 10 people you want to network with right away. You can interact with those people and then each month switch up your list so you are constantly growing your network.

Lastly, meeting these people in person is the only way to close the deal. Find out what conferences or events are happening that lots of people in your industry will be at. Go to at least one of these conferences (save your money up) and connect with the people you really want to meet on Twitter before you go.

This is how I landed a job at a NYC PR agency while living in a town of 2,000 people in Illinois.”

Anyone else have any small town networking tips? Leave them in the comments.