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This week’s lunch conversation comes from Tyler Nalbach who messaged me on LinkedIn.
I love this question. Truth time — I owe 99% of my freelance success to my network. My best clients come from referrals which come from various industry groups/platforms.
I’m going to break industry opportunities into two parts — online and offline.
Interacting with the broader SEO industry online can be done in a few ways. Social media as well as Slack groups.
I’m active both on Twitter/”X” as well as Linkedin. Over the years the SEO industry has been exceptionally involved on Twitter. I recommend you follow some of your favorite folks (you can check out who i follow here) and your timeline will start flooding with SEO insights/articles and conversation. I recommend jumping into conversations, asking questions, and continuing to follow folks that pique your interest. LinkedIn works very similarly and while I’m not involved, there are active groups on Facebook and Reddit too!
Slack communities are also a great source of knowledge share. The SEO Community is an upcoming free Slack channel. Women in Tech SEO is more than a Slack community but is another phenomenal (and safe) space for women to join. Traffic Think Tank is a paid Slack community that you may enjoy as well.
Regardless of the platform you use, each allows you to get your face and name in front of other like-minded people. This can be especially valuable if you have an opportunity to meet folks in real life.
Again, I’m going to break out offline networking into two parts — local and national.
Local Events – Through your online communities, see if you have any local events that occur. Here in Minnesota, I’m a part of MNSearch which has a monthly get-together as well as an annual conference. Even if you don’t have an “official” group in your location, meeting up with a few locals to talk shop and enjoy a beer has been some of my favorite time spent networking.
National Events – Have a little budget and time to get out of town? SEO conferences such as Mozcon, Pubcon, BrightonSEO, SMX and WTSFest are just a few fantastic opportunities to level up your skills and meet people.
Even if you are not a drinker, I highly encourage you to join the happy hours. I have learned more and made more connections with these happy hours and meals than any other effort. Don’t be shy, our industry is awesome. Say “HI” and start talking shop. Whether you are in your first year of digital marketing or have 20 years of experience, we all enjoy dorking out with one another.
Pro Tip 1 – Social Hacking Going to an upcoming conference? post on social/slack and find out which of your online connections are also going. Set up times to grab a meal, coffee or even plan to sit next to each other during the conference’s lunch break. Meeting folks in real life and getting beyond the “avatar” is very exciting.
Pro Tip 2 – “UnConferencing” Not in a position to drop thousands on conference tickets but maybe an event is nearby? Hang around town. Find out from your social circles who is flying into town and offer to buy them a coffee/beer. You may not choose/afford to participate in the conference sessions but you can absolutely maximize the fact that all the amazing minds are in town.