Alt Chat Wednesday: Giving Back to Your Community

As social media influencers we have the ability to positively impact our communities. We can rally followers behind a cause. Often the hardest part of making a difference is knowing where to start. So, let's talk about it. Join the Alt community and our co-host Bridgewater Candles, on Twitter Wednesday morning (tomorrow) March 4th at 9 AM PT/12 PM ET for an hour-long chat about doing good and making a difference in our communities. 

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Alt Chat Wednesday: Lifelong Learning

By: Eden Hensley Photos by Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Most of us are constantly learning, whether intentional or not. As we pursue our passions and share them with our readers, we often desire additional skills to round out our stories. If our strength is prose, we look to improve our visuals through design or photography. If design is our strength, we want to hone our writing and editing skills. And regardless of what we share, today's ever changing media landscape, challenges all of us to keep abreast of new technologies and find more efficient ways to complete tasks as the platforms we need to be on expand and evolve.

Join the Alt Community tomorrow Wednesday September 17 at 9AM PT/12PM ET on Twitter for our weekly #AltChat conversation. We will be discussing how we keep our skills fresh and learn new things and sharing where we go to acquire and practice these new skills.

Sometimes lifelong learning can feel a little overwhelming as we search for the best places to learn: conferences, workshops, eCourses, websites, blogs, and more. But, know that this thirst for knowledge and passion for pursuing hobbies is protecting us against cognitive decline. And that we are in this together!

New to Twitter chats? Here are some basics to get you started:

  1. First follow @AltSummit on Twitter. Over the course of the hour we will be posting questions to guide the discussion.
  2. Open your favorite Twitter client, such as Hootsuite (or Twitter in two browser windows), or a Twitter Chat application, such as TweetChat. The first stream or window will be a search stream for #AltChat (be sure to select All and not Top). The second stream or window will be your Twitter notifications (the little bell if you're opening Twitter)--these are direct responses to what you are tweeting. 
  3. Before you start chatting, tweet to let your followers know that you will be participating in a Twitter chat and that your feed may be more active than normal. For example, Friendly PSA: My feed will be active for the next hour as I participate in #AltChat We are talking about lifelong learning today.
  4. Retweet our question before posting your answer to give your followers context.
  5. Begin your 140 character answer with A1, A2, and so on.
  6. Include the #AltChat hashtag in your answers and replies to other participants so that we can see your tweets.
  7. During the chat favorite any tweets that you especially like or people you would like to get to know.
  8. After the chat, be sure to follow or add the people to Twitter lists if you engaged with them and want to stay in touch. 

Alt Chat Wednesday: Constantly Innovating

By: Eden Hensley Photo by: Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Each day we hope to engage our communities. We stretch ourselves to present new approaches and fresh perspectives to retain and grow that community. We look for new ways to connect with our community and for our community to connect with each other. Some days, as technologies evolve (Facebook's continual algorithm changes) or die (Google Reader's demise), we simply look for a way to reach them and to know we have reached them. Innovation and how quickly we adapt to change are essential skills.

Join the Alt community Wednesday morning (tomorrow) at 9 AM PT/12 PM ET for an hour-long chat about innovation. We will be talking about where you come up with new ideas, find new platforms, and more.

To participate, follow @AltSummit on Twitter as we will guide the discussion with thought provoking questions. To view others' responses to our questions, search for the #AltChat hashtag on your favorite Twitter client (if you want others to see your responses be sure to include the #AltChat hashtag).

See you tomorrow!

Being a Guest Blogger for Your Favorite Brand

By: The Honest Company Top Photo by Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

At The Honest Company, we get numerous inquiries about guest blogging for Honestly. We really appreciate working with contributors that stand out from the crowd because it keeps content fresh and allows us to build relationships with bloggers. So, how do you write for a business? Based on our experience, here are five steps you can take on the successful road to being a guest blogger for your favorite brand.

Do your research.  While customers and fans make the best brand ambassadors, knowing the company’s products is only part of the equation. Before crafting your pitch, familiarize yourself with the company’s mission and voice. Subscribe to its blog or actively read posts for a few days to get a feel for the variety and style of content published. Then, craft your pitch with this in mind.

At The Honest Company, we look for guest contributions that align with our goals of providing readers with useable information regarding healthy, natural, and stylish living — and showcases the blogger’s talents. It’s especially impressive when a blogger boldly suggests an idea she thinks is missing in our editorial lineup that would round out the reader experience.

Find the right person to pitch. Visit the company’s blog, look for the “Contact Us” page, and reach out to the e-mail address provided there. If the company doesn’t provide a blog-specific contact, look for the e-mail address of the in-house PR manager. Finally, if those roads lead to nowhere, reach out via the brand’s general media inquiries channel. Your pitch will find its way into the right hands.

Before hitting send, make sure your e-mail also introduces your blog and social media channels, includes links to a few sample posts (provide one that is similar in scope to your pitch), and a media kit.  And don’t forget to personalize it! Content managers receive numerous inquiries each day, so this is an easy way to stand out from the crowd of boilerplate messages.

When you get a “yes.” They love your idea. Now what do you do? If the company doesn’t automatically share this information with you, send a follow-up note asking about:

  • Editorial and style guidelines
  • Word count
  • Creative asset formatting (e.g., minimum pixel width)
  • Deadline(s)

Armed with this general information, you can focus your attention on what really matters — delivering a polished post that requires little to no editing. It’s really appreciated when a contributor hyperlinks where appropriate throughout her post. For example, if you cite a study or adapt a recipe, link to it so the content manager doesn’t have to search for the source. Provide original photography or artwork to accompany the post. And include any links to your blog and social media channels, so the company can tag you in promotion of your post.

“No” sometimes means “not right now.” At Honest, we finalize our editorial calendar a few months in advance. So, we often have to pass on a pitch because the timing isn’t right. In this case, it never hurts to ask the content manager for insight regarding the upcoming themes slated and pitch a holiday post as early as September.

Photo by: Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit

Join Us for Alt Chat Wednesday: Building an Online Community

Growing and nurturing a thriving online community takes work. Join the Alt community and The Honest Company this Wednesday morning at 9 AM PT/12 PM ET for an hour-long chat about community. Honest will be giving one lucky participant a Family Essentials Bundle. Simply follow along by searching for the #AltChat hashtag on your favorite Twitter client. Participate by answering questions posed by @AltSummit and including both the #AltChat and #HonestatAlt hashtags.

Want to win a Family Essentials Bundle from Honest? Here are the details:

  1. Join the #AltChat on August 6 from 9 - 10 AM PDT, if you can.
  2. Every tweet using the hashtags #AltChat and #HonestatAlt will be entered to win the bundle. You can tweet once or tweet 17 times, each is another chance to win.
  3. Tweet all day! All tweets related to and using the hashtags #AltChat #HonestatAlt will be entered to win from 9 AM - 5 PM PDT. You must use both hashtags.
  4. One winner will be randomly selected and announced on Twitter Wednesday night before midnight PDT. The winner will also be listed here. 

This post was sponsored by The Honest Company.