Founder and Director, The Blogger Union
Almost four years ago, Coral Gables native and UM grad Paola Mendez (B.S in computer science) founded South Florida Bloggers, headquartered in the Gables where she blogs via the www.coralgableslove.com site. It has since then morphed into the national Blogger Union and spread to seven other cities – Fort Lauderdale, Greenville (NC), Houston, Minneapolis, Orlando, Madrid and Rome, and today has 4,000 members. The purpose of the union is to offer education to help members become professionals – or to perfect their blogs as hobbies. They also instruct small businesses that want to blog for marketing purposes. The South Florida Bloggers meet monthly around South Florida, but mostly in Coral Gables.
Mendez today is expanding the membership of the bloggerunion.com by adding additional chapters to the mix, with West Palm up next. Others likely to emerge this year and next include Charlotte (NC), Omaha/Lincoln (NE), Port St. Lucie (FL) and Williamsburg (VA). She is also now using the union to funnel leads from businesses to bloggers.
WHAT SHE SAYS
“We work with brands for paid posts – influencer marketing from the union for brands. They are always looking for bloggers to help promote a specific product, or a new line,” she says. “We reach out to members to see who wants to work with a brand. We have members in every niche… It’s very important for running a blog to have a relationship with your audience. You don’t want to do something that is not authentic for your life. Beauty brands don’t fit with food bloggers. If they did, their audience would say, ‘What are you doing?’ Most of our members are good about staying with their authentic coverage.”