Friday, August 24, 2012

Sweet Swag Almighty: The Benefits of Local Blogging

Ah, yes. You're a blogger. You blog, blog, blog about whatever suits your fancy. But do you take advantage of all the benefits you get from being a local writer and photographer? Because, believe me, they're out there. Swag awaits. And so does a good time!


Blogging and candy going together?
That's what I call sweet!
Lately, for me at least, the benefits have involved food. Which makes me happy because as an Italian, I've grown up loving food. It's a sign of love when an Italian feeds you. And good eats are a vital part of enjoying life. But what's really great is when I get to connect my love of food and my love of writing, and that's where writing locally comes in handy.

To take advantage of being a local blogger, you've got to let people know you're out there.

For me, this happened when another local blogger, Tasha, scheduled a Meet Up for bloggers in our area to meet and greet each other. She arranged with a local restaurant to host us, and the restaurant provided light snacks while we paid for our own drinks. (Let's face it: alcohol is a major money-maker for restaurants, so this was a win-win situation for everyone.)

I went to the Meet Up, even though I tend to be a little shy in crowds of people, especially when I don't know anyone. It stretched me out of my comfort zone. I chatted with a few people, most of whom I admit I haven't stayed in touch with. (I made a friend, though, Marty aka the Napkin Dad. I keep in touch with him on Facebook. Check his work out here.)

Now, this event happened two years ago. But my name went on a list of local bloggers, and lo and behold, I got invited this week to stop by the grand opening of See's Candies in our area. Because my name was on the list. Cool, eh? Here are pictures of the store. And all the lovely candy!







Talk about fun! We got to go behind the counter and attempt to box candy, like the classic I Love Lucy episode, which as it turns out, was filmed at the See's Candies factory in Los Angeles. We watched video of the 7,000-pound, Guinness Book of World Records chocolate lollipop that See's made and displayed in California. We sampled chocolates. We took candy home. My sweet tooth is quite content today.

And the opportunity came about because I'm a local writer. How cool is that!

So, how do you take advantage of being a local blogger?

1. Do a Google search to see who is blogging in your local area. Or use Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter to ask around for contacts in your area. When you final local authors and bloggers, connect with them and see what happens. This is how I connected with a local food blog that I plan to write for.

2. Keep an eye and ear out for media pieces on TV, radio, and in the local newspapers. Often, local bloggers are local freelance writers looking for opportunities. Tasha, my initial contact, used to do a radio segment on things to do locally on the weekends. I connected with her on Facebook because of it, and that's how I found out about the Meet Up she was arranging. Which leads me to...

3. Check Meet Up (meetup.com) to see if there are already writers and bloggers groups in your area. If there are, join the group! If not, consider starting one. Most writers know the value of networking. Not all of them will be good at it. But some are. And it'll be fun to meet them, so do what you can to get out there.

4. Tell people you're a blogger. Word of mouth is a great way to network. Often it happens indirectly. You know the whole Kevin Bacon thing. Six degrees. But you can often do it in less than that. Friends of friends may be blogging. Friends of coworkers may be freelance writers. The nurse at your doctor's office may be working on a novel of her own. (That's a true story, by the way.) This is a good way to connect because it's informal, but these people know you and know their friend, and they may be able to hook you up so you can help each other.

Now, you share: How do you make local writing connections? If you have ideas I haven't mentioned, I'd love to hear them. Do you find it easy or hard to network locally? Have you had successes because of your local connections? Tell me all about it. Inquiring minds want to know!

Copyright (c) 2012 by M.A. Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

4 comments:

  1. Hello there!~ It was nice to meet you at See's Candy last night! I'm looking forward to reading more about your writing here! I am an avid reader and love a good book.
    Hope you're enjoying all that chocolate, wasnt it amazing?

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    1. Hi, Heather! Glad you stopped by the blog today. It was great to meet you too. I love chocolate, so yes, had lots of fun yesterday and enjoying the peanut brittle today. :)
      I loved my quick look at your blog, but I want to look at it in more depth. Beautiful artwork!

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  2. Great post, and terrific advice (as usual). Am thoroughly jealous about your getting to go to See's grand opening. I grew up in the Bay Area, so See's was top of the mark in my book from day one (have had to order candy by mail order since moving to OK), and while Russell Stover's has tried to be my friend they've never really had a chance.

    Joanie


    I invite you to visit my writing-business blog at http://leftbrainedwritebrained.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks, Joanie. It's nice that you have a little bit of home in the area now, isn't it? And yes, I'll definitely stop by your blog. I already read it, but I often don't comment. I'll remedy that so you know I've been by.

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