Attending Conferences 101: Connecting with Alt Summit Winter 2015 Sponsors

In less than 80 days many of us will be gathering in Salt Lake City for Alt Summit Winter 2015. Yet, successful connections with sponsors actually begin before we arrive.

How we engage with event sponsors prior to touchdown sets the stage for successful relationships. Take these five steps beginning today to ensure you shine, and join us for #AltChat on Twitter today November 5th at 9AM PT/12PM ET to get to know Kirkland's, one of our Alt Summit Winter sponsors.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Making Your Blog Irresistible to Brands

By: Cynthia Zamaria  Photo by: Ciera Design

During my working hours, I’m a marketer agency in Toronto. Part of my role is helping clients identify people like you who they can collaborate with. So I have an interesting perspective when it comes to matchmaking bloggers and brands.

As a blogger, I know we all do this for various reasons – to create, to connect, to make money. Indeed, studies indicate that a large majority of bloggers are looking to gain some form of compensation from their labor of love. This is a good thing because increasingly companies are ready to pay you for your efforts.

So when brands look at all the talented bloggers out there, what sets you apart? With the benefit of sitting at the table where we evaluate bloggers on behalf of some pretty cool brands, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind if you want to stand out.

• Do focus on driving traffic to your site. Brands look for bloggers with good influence and high unique monthly visitors.

• Do work on your social networks. Companies want to know you have extensive reach and are engaged on other social platforms outside of your blog like Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

• Do spend time designing a professional-looking site with lots of beautiful visuals.

• Do amplify the reach of the content on your blog by pushing it out on other platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

• Do guest blog on blogger networks to increase your exposure.

• Do be an active blogger. Post regularly. Answer comments. Link to other blogs. Participate in conferences.

• Do enter blogger contests or submit your blog for awards so you can get additional credentials.

• Do be true to yourself. Brands want to work with you because you have a point-of-view and are happy to share it.

• Be transparent. Ethics are as important to brands as they are to you. Be clear about the companies you are working with so your readers know.

• Do establish a social voice. Think about your personality, tone and style of writing. Deliver it consistently.

• Do follow, comment and engage with the brands you are interested in. If you love a particular product or company, become a fan and be a part of the conversation.

• Don’t try to be all things to all people. Keep your interests focused as brands are often looking for expertise in specific topics like food, home, family.

• Don’t get stuck in your ways. Continue to evolve your blog so it looks fresh and current.

• Don’t expect to get paid for everything you do. Not all brands are willing to offer compensation for your input but they may offer other benefits like product or exposure through their network.

• Don’t sell your soul. If you promote every brand that comes your way, your authenticity will be diminished in the eyes of a potential sponsor.

Adding Ads and Sponsor Links to your Blog

By: Joy Laforme  Image by: Eric Cahan

 There are a lot of great opportunities for bloggers in Ads and Sponsorships. If you’re making a career out of blogging, it’s important to know the ins and outs of how to place ads and sponsors links in your blog’s sidebar, as well as the footer, in between posts, and the leaderboard sections of your blog.

Ad Network Scripts

An Ad Network will likely give you a line or block, of JavaScript known as a ‘snippet’ to place somewhere on your blog so that it can generate the appropriate ad link and image for you. A simple ‘snippet’ looks something like this:

<script type='text/javascript' src='http://static.adnetwork.net/'></script>

You’ll likely want to place this JavaScript directly into your themes source code. If you’re adding it into your sidebar, you can place the JavaScript directly into the sidebar and widget area. Make sure you know what size you are enabling, as many standard Ads come in different sizes. Know the width of your footer, header, content area and sidebar by the pixel number, to ensure that whatever ad you decide to place on your blog is the appropriate size. Here is a great reference on Ad sizes and where you can place them, published by Google AdSense.

Sidebar Sponsors

Sidebar sponsors are the most common of the typical “sponsor links”. Whether someone paid you to add their image, or you decided to ad swap with another blog, this type of sponsor is the easiest to add to your blog.

You can simply add the image and link into your sidebar, using standard HTML, or you can manage your sponsors by adding a plugin that helps manage and track clicks for you as well. Recently, someone recommended U-Ads, Ad King Pro, and AdRotate for managing Ads through Wordpress*. If you’re running on a different platform, you can also sign up for Google AdSense to help manage your sponsor images, clicks, and impressions.

*Be sure to check with your Web Designer on the compatibility of these plugins with your current theme.

Check out Joy's class on the Alt Channel for more secrets to coding! 

Introduce Yourself Like a Pro

By: Sara Urquhart. Image by: Justin Hackworth

As an entrepreneur, you have to be your best representative for your work, your brand, and your projects, and that means introducing your business clearly and concisely. Whether you first meet someone in person or online, describing your work succinctly indicates your ideas are solid and informed, and that you’re an articulate, clear thinking professional.

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