The fun of blogging and social networking is connecting with others without having to leave your screen, right?
But sometimes it takes a face-to-face connection to bring followers to your site.
Traditional networking such as conferences definitely has its place, but is there some other kind of fun program or class you can offer based on your blog topic to draw in completely new audiences? Can this be done without leaving the house?
Online seminars and videos are an option, but seeing smiles and positive reactions from an audience can be an instant charge. Here’s how to find your blog’s offline audience.
Find Your Fun Common Ground
I had to learn blogging for my work years ago and discovered a passion for writing about my massive vintage cookbook collection.
It amazed me to find others willing to discuss Jello and the sandwich loaf online. Writing the posts and checking the comments became an obsession.
Someone suggested I do live presentation programs about vintage cookbooks, as I talked about them all the time. I figured I’d gain a little cash so I could buy more cookbooks and vintage items.
I’ve now bought a lot more for my collection, but have a steady, five digit income from the programs. In four years, I’ve been booked for over 200 presentations.
Take the Online Offline
If you think no one wants to hear about your passion for 80′s toys or superheroes, remember: Jello. You just have to find opportunities to talk to your offline audience. They’re out there.
Send a letter describing your possible program to local libraries, continuing education programs and recreational districts. Or get the names of the folks who recruit program presenters and send them an email. Develop a few possible programs: I added recipe scrapbooking and retro crafting to my range to attract teen audiences who are mad about macrame.
Take the Offline Online
Plenty of folks do not want to spend their evening hours online after being in front of a computer at work all day.
That’s why they choose to attend live educational programs instead of learning online. The goal is to find them at these live events and show them it’s worth their time to look you up online.
You don’t have to repeat information from your blog in your live programs. If your blog is about writing, your program can still be about food history, or travel, as long as there’s some fun stuff on your website to please your live audience members.
Get a mailing list going at live events. Send an online newsletter every month listing your speaking dates and include some bonus information. My online book sales jump after every program, even though I don’t mention them at most events. I hand out recipes or patterns at every program along with my social networking information.
Don’t Worry if You’re Not an Expert
I am not a good cook, and the photos of my cooking disasters are among my audience’s favorites. I certainly help them know what to avoid!
Research the history and trends of your topic to find aspects people may not know or would find useful. What’s humorous about your topic? What would audiences relate to?
Notice Who Shows Up
In my case, lots of seniors, who then look me up online and send their friends and families to check out my blog. I’ve also found a new book cover artist in my audience, as well as links to bigger speaking assignments, newspaper reporters and more.
Be Passionate, Not Perfect
Are the most polished speakers you’ve heard your favorites? Do they really hold your attention? Chances are your audience will remember only your shared passion for the subject.
Count on equipment failing, a chatty group in the audience, room issues and more. Be prepared for anything. When it happens, be ready to laugh about it and the audience will relate to you.
The best way to become a better public speaker is to keep doing it. You don’t have to be word-perfect. If you feel a solo appearance is too much for you to handle, another option is to do your programs with a partner or a panel.
Look at the programs local libraries and night schools offer. What’s missing from their range that you would attend? List your hobbies or skills that someone else would enjoy learning. Don’t think you have any? Remember the Jello. There are people out there who want to hear more about their favorite subjects.
They’d love to hear from you. They just don’t know your blog exists.
Take your blog to the offline world and bring a whole new audience back online with you.