Optimizing your Collaboration Currency

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The importance of teamwork is drilled into us as kids. But as we grow older and become more independent in life and work, we lose sight of the values of working together. But is there benefit in it for us now? We invited podcaster and authority amplifier, Melanie Benson to talk about it all. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Melanie Benson
Topic: Optimizing your collaboration currency
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What is Collaboration Currency?

It’s the idea that when you collaborate and create something with your competitors and peers, you’ll all get the benefit of it, rather than just one person.

The best thing about collaboration is that it eliminates the winner-loser scenario. When everyone’s working together to create something, everyone gets an equal opportunity to make their mark—everyone wins.

As our guest pointed out, it’s important to remember that collaboration should come from the heart and not from the mind. It’s not a strategic move you make so you can get a bigger share of the profit. Rather, it’s a genuine desire to work with others and to help each other.

Q2: What type of businesses will benefit from collaborating with their competitors?

Every business will benefit from collaborating with each other. How that success looks like will depend on each industry and niche, though.

There are various ways to collaborate with your peers. If you run a podcast, for instance, invite them to be a guest on your show. From there, you can build a relationship with that person and look for more collaboration opportunities.

If you have an active social media community or group, share your peers’ content.

Give freely without expecting anything in return. Your audience will appreciate the value you bring by sharing others’ content. Though a small gesture, it’ll also help you make those initial conversations with your peers and build lasting connections.

If you and the other person have the same or a similar audience, you can collaborate to create an offering that caters to both types of audiences. In this case, you’ll be serving your community without jeopardizing each other.

Q3: What kind of activities are involved in collaborating with business peers?

To collaborate and create something worthwhile, you need to find something that’ll benefit both parties.

As we mentioned earlier, participating in each other’s podcasts and email newsletters are great ways to start. You can also email your audience about what the other person offers while they do the same for you—this way, while one person gets leads, the other person gets referral commission. Success all around!

Social media activities are another good way to collaborate with new people. If you own a community, introduce people, involve them, and help them reach a wider audience.

Just as is the case with podcasts, you can also invite your peers to be guests on your Twitter chats, Twitter Spaces conversations, Facebook or LinkedIn lives, and other engagement-driven activities.

Our guest shared three more ways to collaborate with peers, using her own examples.

1. Compile a list of recommendations, suggestions, or ideas from your community members. This is a great opportunity for you to engage with them, and to help some of them widen their reach by mentioning them in your blog, podcast, newsletter, or your social feed.

2. Make a list of people who are leaders in their chosen fields. This way, you’ll bring together many people from all walks of life and you’ll have a good chance of making new connections and engaging with each other.

3. Write about someone else in your blog. If your story is compelling enough, they’ll share it again and again over a long period of time, making sure you get consistent traffic and hits on your blog.

Q4: Why should you ‘borrow influence’?

To ‘borrow influence’ is to invite someone else to share their expertise with you and your audience for a period of time. This is an excellent way to step back and show your community that you are comfortable enough to share the spotlight. It’s a quiet way to establish your credibility.

Q5: When should you start collaborating with other businesses?

There’s no specific time. The sooner you start, the more benefits you can get.

Remember, collaborating with others to amplify your message should be an ongoing practice. It’ll work regardless of what business you run and how big you are. That said, if you’re just about to launch a new product or campaign, it’s a good time to launch a collaboration as well.

Q6: How do you identify ideal businesses to collaborate with?

Look for businesses that are similar, but not exactly alike. This means that their audience is similar to your own—whether in terms of age, profession, interests, or activities—but they don’t have the same offerings.

Even if you don’t host a podcast, there might be other businesses like yours that do podcasts, blogs, and regular Twitter Spaces conversations. Pitch to them and find ways to work collaboratively.

Q7: How does collaboration increase your credibility?

Collaborating with another brand puts you in front of new audiences. It elevates your presence, and as we said about borrowing influence, it shows that you’re confident in what you do.

Q8: How do you go about initiating a collaboration?

Step one: Be visible and be there when your peers are looking. This means showing up consistently, sharing valuable content, and being actively engaged with your community.

Once you’ve decided to collaborate with someone, don’t wait for them to approach you. Take that first step yourself—interview them for your blog or podcast, share their content on your feeds, and put them in the spotlight.

Don’t stop there, though. Reach out to that person for a conversation. Talk about how you intend to collaborate with them and discuss what they’d like to do. Sometimes, just by being open and transparent, you’ll come up with a lot of great collaboration opportunities.

Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading through and for more great insights from our chat with Melanie have a look at this Twitter Moment. If you think this summary is pretty good, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us next Thursday at 1 pm ET for #TwitterSmarter. We also hang out on Twitter Spaces at 5 pm ET to continue our chat. Catch you there!