Yo, our week of celebrating Business Valentine’s Day (#BizVDay) is continuing with a new post to help you show your blog or business some love: 33 Blogger Collaboration Ideas. Some of these are just for fun (and to build community and blog traffic) and some of these can be done for profit (dollar dollar bills y’all and brand awareness).
So, I want to talk (1) reasons to collaborate, (2) types of free collaborations, (3) collaboration ideas for profit, (4) pitch etiquette, and (5) pitch “musts” in the form of a checklist.
Reasons to Collaborate with Other Bloggers
Collaborating with other content creators is about so many things beyond simply growing your blog traffic. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Collaboration will expand your community and your opportunities to connect with people who want and need what you have to offer. Collaboration will also connect you with like-minded people; these connections can go anywhere (from friendships and people who share your stuff to long-term profitable relationships).
- Collaboration allows you to be seen in a different light. I mean this in two ways: (1) The person or people you collaborate with will present you in a different way than you would. Whether in an interview, or an introduction, or a promotional tweet, the other person can say things about you that would look ridiculous, conceited, or just plain weird coming from you. (2) You can easily collaborate on something that is a hop outside your normal content—this allows you to pivot into new areas of expertise or simply add to what you already do.
- Collaborations allow you to expand your offerings. You can begin to establish new areas of expertise for yourself . . . or collaborations can simply allow you to offer more products + content in your original area.
- Collaborations will shed light on the feasibility and opportunity of new products and content. If people go cray cray for something, make it a product. If it fizzles out, modify it or move on.
- Collaborations allow you to make more of an impact than you might be able to make alone. Two audiences instead of one. Two sources of ideas. Two people marketing something. Two voices adding value. You get the point.
- Collaborations allow you to see things differently. You’re an absolute genius ninja, that is not to be doubted. However, sometimes it can be a beautiful thing to see the world, or a problem, or a product, or an idea through someone else’s viewpoint.
- Collaborations provide a built-in sounding board and “checks and balances” system. Here’s the deal: We all have outlandish ideas at times. We all think of epic brand names, product features, and ways to word things that end up being not that great. Your collaboration partners mean that you will have constant reality checks. You’ll have another entity or two that’s a part of your target market to go, “Umm, I don’t think that’s going to go over as well as you might want. But good job though.”
Collaborations Offered For Free + For Community-Building Purposes
Below are some collaborations to consider without the pressure of trying to make money (though you can certainly monetize some of these).
1. Guest posts
Other bloggers’ posts that you allow on your site.
2. Guest appearances
Posts that other bloggers allow you to share on their sites. Great for SEO, since usually the blogger will link back to your site from the post.
Of gift cards, products, services, free consultations, whatever. Combining with another blogger (or multiple bloggers) can really increase the value of a giveaway.
You can include the opinions or thoughts of multiple bloggers or experts in your field as a way to entertain and educate your readers. Here’s an example by Pauline Cabrera over on Twelveskip.
Give your thoughts and suggested uses of another blogger’s product. P.S. If you don’t have anything nice to say, maybe don’t say anything about the product at all?
Host a challenge/movement of interest to your audience and your collaborator’s readers.
Whether it’s a “photo-a-day” or video submissions (or something we’ve never seen before), consider engaging your audiences in a combined contest.
Twitter chats or talks hosted at a specific time in a Facebook group or Google+ community.
10. Office hours
How about hosting virtual “office hours” with a fellow blogger to provide answers + tips to your communities via the social media platform of your choice?
Or, what about a pre-recorded show on YouTube or a live Google+ Hangout?
You know, Internet radio shows and stuff.
Why not create a social media community together?
14. Pin party
A specific time and board on Pinterest to which guest pinners are invited to add content on a certain subject.
15. Live webinars
One-time or repeating trainings/conversations that you and your collaborator host. These are usually built for educational purposes, whereas shows (#11) can be educational or fun.
Collaborations For Profit + Brand Awareness
And now, here are a few collaborations to pursue with other bloggers when you want to make some money (but you’re of course able to offer some of these for free if you wish).
16. Seminars or webinars
Think of longer sessions (half-days or multiple days) that you and your collaborator develop together and charge for.
17. Books, eBooks, and/or workbooks
^^Often the easiest place to start for paid products.
Let people come meet (and learn from) you and your collaborator(s) in person.
(Ones that you plan to sell from.) If you’re unsure of how you’ll come up with enough stuff to email people once a month or more, why not combine with a brand/blog that complements yours and send out one together?
21. Digital or physical magazine
Yes. People still read these.
22. Membership sites
23. Speeches or presentations
That you give at conferences, schools, community organizations, adult education courses, etc.
24. Physical products
So many possibilities.
25. Subscription services
Emailing or mailing out cool stuff to subscribers regularly. That’s cool.
26. Separate, new blog
Or, the two (three, four, five) of you could just start a new blog together that has a targeted/specific purpose. Think The Well.
27. Worksheets or resources
28. Software or tools
Think the apps that A Beautiful Mess makes, or any other tools you can develop for your audiences.
29. Coaching or consulting
Offer services that complement each other or simply deliver separate parts of a whole package.
30. Freelance services
Corporate (or not) trainings that you deliver together.
32. Affiliate reviews or programs
Lots of bloggers offer affiliate programs on their products. You could either join other affiliate programs for products you love or you could create your own affiliate program.
33. Referrals or recommendations
You could always just refer/recommend each other to your readers when you get certain types of inquiries. These can be done with or without a stipend/commission.
Blogger Pitch Etiquette
A few guidelines for you to consider when you pitch other bloggers on collaboration ideas:
Make sure you have enough time to really make a great collaboration—a bad experience can ruin your street cred and jeopardize your chances at future profitable collaborations.
With any potential collaborator, try to support them before you contact them. Tweet them beforehand, pin, re-pin, like, or +1 their content before you approach them—make your best efforts to connect.
During and after your collaboration, keep tweeting out the other person’s posts and products—keep supporting the other collaborator. This will leave a lasting impression of your helpfulness and it will solidify a strong online relationship.
Don’t exaggerate or misrepresent the benefits of working with you to the potential collaborator. You’re awesome, and you’re going to work hard. If someone can tell that, it will mean more to them than the large audience you could claim that might not necessarily be there when it’s time to start promoting your collaboration. If your audience is smaller right now, acknowledge the smallness (without seeming ridiculous), and highlight the things that you authentically offer.
Don’t make it seem like it’s about the money. Most people do not want to work with those prone to creepy, money-hungry, or overly-self-promote-y behavior. You’ll likely form deeper connections with the types of people you want to work with if you make it about the people you can help instead of about the money.
Pick the best format for your type of pitch:
- Email: In the form of text, an attachment, a presentation, a video, or a mix of things.
- In person: You know, a face-to-face meeting or presentation (of your portfolio or your plan).
- A call (phone or online): Voice calls of any type.
- Social media: Think Facebook message or a proposition within an online class or community.
- Video chat: Google+ Hangouts, Skype video, etc.
- Through a third party: When the person you’re pitching has assistants or partners you have to pitch to first, or when you know someone (who knows the person you are pitching to) who is willing to present the idea.
Based on your relationship with the blogger you are collaborating with, you may actually send them a short message first with just a few pitch details, and ask for the opportunity/permission to send along your full pitch or to talk in person. The checklist below is for a more complete pitch email.
- a non-spammy subject line
- a subject line that makes it clear what the email is about
- a subject that would make you want to open the email
- an introduction fitting of your level of relationship (speaking of: I enjoyed this post from Mattieologie >> How to Write Amazing Emails)
- a clearly defined idea
- acknowledgment of the collaborator and their hard work, their amazing community, or whatever is authentic and true
- well-explained benefits to the collaborator
- explanation of the benefits to your audiences
- explanation of your skills and what you bring to the project (done in a non-showy way)
- links to any relevant items on your site or on the potential collaborator’s site
- notice of areas which are open to wiggle room or in need of your collaborator’s expertise
- information on how you will promote the collaboration
- clear deadlines or suggested dates and next steps for the potential collaborator
- recognizable and clear contact information for you
P.S. The pitch checklist above, plus the philosophy and benefits of blogger collaborations, ideas and/or pitch tips for each type of collaboration, brainstorming worksheets, tips for contacting the multiple types of blogger entities (growing blogs, peer blogs, and well-established blogs), and more are included in the 44-page eBook + workbook: The Epic Guide to Blogger Collaborations, which is on sale for a special price of $5 right now.
So tell me please, are you going to try one or more of these blogger collaborations in the next month or two? Which ones appeal to you? P.S. Are there any I missed that you’d recommend? Thanks.