Many months ago, before summertime haze took over my blogger-mind, I attended a local blogger meetup event in Raleigh. I had discovered it by chance through one of the many Facebook groups I am in for bloggers. As I left, thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to meet so many local bloggers, another blogger friend texted me, saying she had forgotten all about the event. She mentioned that there were just too many blogger events in various places to keep track of these days.
The light bulb came on.
Our Story: What is the NC Blogger Network?
I am a content marketing strategist for small businesses. I take my well-earned knowledge on the road and speak on blogging and content marketing. I give blog consultations and LOVE it. I blog to drive my freelance writing and also, for me. Writing is part of who I am. I had recently handed over the reigns of my first ever Blog-child (Mom in Chapel Hill). It put me in a place to think about things.
Nikol was the founder of Talking Moose Media, a mom-blogger, a woman with a big personality and big ideas, and she KNEW people. She had live-tweeted more events than I could have imagined possible, trained so many folks on how to grow their online presence, and she was a people-person. I loved her immediately.
The entire drive home (which from Raleigh to Chapel Hill is not short), I mulled the text over in my mind. I thought about how all these Facebook groups I was in, all these bloggers I worked with, all the local writers I enjoyed, were all so interested in community. They all wanted to support each other, to meet, and, of course, to constantly learn.
And yet, everything was so disjointed. Not everyone was able to access information that was really good. There are so many incredibly talented and experienced bloggers in North Carolina. Shouldn’t we all be learning from each other? Shouldn’t we all be sharing?
You see, when the blog community comes together when we share knowledge, tweets, and posts, blogging across our state becomes an industry to be reckoned with. As we all support each other NC Bloggers have a louder voice and, to be blunt, then companies will want to work with us. Right? It is beneficial for everyone involved.
I got home from my drive, called Nikol (who I hadn’t actually known very long but knew she had an amazing “IT” factor).
I jumped right in:
“Hey. Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if there was, like, a network for all of North Carolina Bloggers where we could learn, and share events, and meet, and have special functions, and just be really great together?”
Nikol paused. Thought it over. Then said, “Yes, you should do that. That’s a great idea.”
To which I said, “No, no. US. Nikol. Us.”
She laughed. I knew she was in.
THAT is how the NC Blogger Network began.
Fast forward to a furious summer of finding our awesome, big-hearted developer and designer, meeting and doing more Google HOAs than I thought possible with our leadership team and regional ambassadors, and it started to come together. Everyone was just as excited as we were.
We knew that since we wanted first and foremost for the NC Blogger Network to be about bloggers learning and creating community, our first big event had to prove that. We were on a mission to demonstrate what we were about. We booked a place, got a line up of phenomenal star talent from the Triangle area, and had our ProBlogging MiniCon on September 4, 2014. We’ll share more about that later… stay tuned to our blog …
Our Blogging411 show actually started what now feels like eons ago, but it struggled to find the right platform until it nestled perfectly within the NC Blogger Network. We were honored and touched to see how many of our audience followed us to our new platform and we continue to be amazed by the growth of the show as well as the number of views. Again, this shows that bloggers want to connect and learn.
Then just last week we opened up membership, officially.
So here it is today. September 30, 2014. And the North Carolina Blogger Network is legit.
We have a leadership team that helps us manage our social media accounts, making sure you all are heard and answered, as well as provide us with great feedback from the ground up. Our regional ambassadors are some of the most enthusiastic bloggers we’ve ever met and they believe in community building. As such, each one of them is working on events in YOUR area. Yes, YOURS.
Still, though, the biggest question we keep getting is: “What, exactly, is membership?”
Right off, know that we will ALWAYS have some freebies for you. Our blog will remain public, where we hope to continue to highlight fabulous NC Bloggers and their unique voices, as well as provide content to help you blog better. You can interact with us on Twitter, engage with us on Facebook, and sign up for our email list. A lot of our events will be open to public sales. We will never make membership a requirement to serve you.
BUT, membership has benefits, too. Always.
By signing up to be a member of the NCBN it gives you access to a whole slew of additional benefits:
– You can be listed in our directory and then access and search our directory. This gives you a chance to find invested and serious bloggers in your area. Also, when brands want to work with NCBN (which we know is coming), our directory members will be first in line.
– You can share on our Forum boards. Forums are coming back, haven’t you heard? And we are groundbreaking (in a retro way).
– Members’ discounts are located in our Members Resources portal. Right now there is a discount code for blog hosting (cheap!). You may have missed the latest registration for Media Kit Smash but we have a code in there that is good for ALL of Blog Clarity’s Media Kit Smash classes in the future. Plus, we’re on the cusp of announcing another big discount (you already got a hint on Twitter).
– We will be giving members breaks on our event prices, and some events members will attend for free. Events cost money to put on. Always. But since our members provided us their financial assistance with their one-time annual dues, we’re applying that for them. And trust me when I say we have BIG events coming up. BIG. You all want community and education. We want to bring it.
– Members get access to special information and education. This is education we have either had to pay for or spend a LOT (I mean, bleary-eyed wee morning hours) creating. Right now: a document from TypeA about bloggers & the law as well as an Ultimate Bloggers Checklist. My itchy fingers are also typing away at documents for our members including where to find “copyright safe” pictures and Nikol is in partnership with some powerhouse bloggers to provide exclusive information.
– Members have the opportunity to be featured in our Friday Meet series, have an NC- or blog-related tip of theirs shared (which drives traffic to their blog), and be a guest on our Blogging411 show. Up until now, we’ve just accepted any great content as we build our legacy, but members will get preferential treatment.
– Members get accepted into our NC Blogger Network Members Facebook group, which is already a source of immense knowledge sharing and conversation, as well as the ability to Pin to our boards on Pinterest.
– Our calendar for blog events can be added to by members. While our calendar is available for everyone to view, only members can add their events to it.
Does that help? Too wordy? Just enough? Does it help explain what Nikol & I are up to and who we are? And why do we really want you on board?
Another question we get, is who the NC Blogger Network is “for?” The answer is YOU. ALL OF YOU. If you blog, this is for you. Men, women, parents or not, fashion bloggers, craft, and lifestyle, faith, photos, financial, news, travel, mountain biking, beer… WHATEVER you blog about, this network is for you.
This isn’t about us. Promise. This is about asking you all to invest a little so that blogging across NC can be the amazing, cohesive powerhouse it SHOULD be.
Nikol and I never stop working on the North Carolina Blogger Network so we might need to update this again in a month. But this is where we are right now. We want to build our community across North Carolina.
Thank you so much for all your questions and support. We would love to have you join us.