Last week I had the opportunity to speak at another Bloggers Night Out event hosted by Magic City Fashion Week. During my talk, I discussed “The Art of Collaboration,” explaining how bloggers can collaborate with one another and why they should.
Writers and bloggers need to collaborate. Period. Sayings like “A rising tide lifts all boats” and “Teamwork makes the dream work” may sound like a cliche to you, but to me, they are my mantras. I believe in the power of community and this belief is why I started See Jane Write in the first place.
Collaboration > Competition
Perhaps you’re not collaborating with other writers and bloggers because you see them as your competition instead of your community. But you have no competition. Even if someone blogs about the same thing you blog about her blog will not be the same as yours because she’s not you and she doesn’t have your story. Your story is your brand and your story makes you unique. And when it comes to opportunities, I believe that’s what is for you is for you and will be yours.
The Three Cs of Collaboration
Perhaps you’re not collaborating with other writers and bloggers simply because you’re not sure how. So I want to share with you the three Cs of collaboration.
Before you reach out to a fellow writer or blogger about collaborating you must establish a connection. You must begin building a relationship. This can happen online through social media and offline at networking events.
Don’t see social media as just a way to promote your work. Get connected to people by interacting with them and asking questions. At networking events don’t just talk about yourself. Find out what the people you meet are passionate about and be sure to follow up with an email after you meet. In that email include something useful (such as a free resource you offer or a link to an article) related to the conversation you had at the networking event.
Before you reach out to someone about a possible collaboration get crystal clear on exactly how you want to work with this person. Too often people email me saying they would like us to work together and when I ask what they had in mind they say they want me to come up with something! No! That’s not how this works!
Here are some different ways you could collaborate with other writers and bloggers:
- You could be accountability partners, checking on each other as you both strive to complete a book project, stay consistent with your blog, or launch a podcast or YouTube channel
- You could be writing partners or blogging buddies and meet regularly to work on your books or your blogs.
- You could critique each other’s work
- You could take photos of each other for your blogs
- You could guest blog for each other’s sites or take over each other’s Instagram accounts
- You could host an event together
No, I’m not saying you need to pay someone to collaborate with you, but there does need to be something in it for them.
(Side note: Collaboration and coaching are NOT the same things. Asking someone to coach you through a project for free or to do you a favor that is so time-consuming people are normally paid hundreds of dollars to do it is selfish and inconsiderate.)
When you reach out to someone about a collaboration be sure that it’s clear what they’re getting out of it.
When I hosted a virtual summit at the start of 2017 the women who participated all volunteered their time, but in exchange for that they got access to the list of people who signed up for the summit. Thus, the virtual summit helped them grow their email lists.
Related Reading: How to Host a Virtual Summit
Your Collaboration To-Do List
I’m a teacher by day, so I love to give homework. Here are some things you can do to start collaborating with other bloggers.
- Make a list of five of your favorite Facebook groups for bloggers and start interacting in each group daily or at least interact in one group each weekday.
- Make a list of Twitter chats you can participate in and actually participate!
- Make a list of questions you can ask on your favorite social media platform to spark conversation and start posting.
- Make a list of local networking events you should attend. Ask a friend to come with you if the idea of going alone sends you into a panic.
- Make a list of bloggers you’d like to collaborate with. For each one figure out how you want to collaborate and what you can offer them.