People don’t want to be sold things
When approached by a salesman, do you automatically lock up and are put on guard? Do you immediately become defensive and wonder how someone is going to take advantage of you? You probably answered yes to those and you would have good reason to doing so.
When making relationships, I see far too many people who are trying to quickly get in, close the sale, and leave the relationship at that. Often, because of the previously mentioned scenario, things usually don’t working that way, especially in the WordPress community. What reason does that person have to trust you?
Make friendships, not partnerships
A mutual friendship will always be more powerful than a business relationship that has no other weight outside of monetary value. In my experiences with the WordPress community, salesmen are shut down extremely fast. You’re certainly not the first person who wants the publicity of whomever you are reaching out to, and will not be the last. So how do you break that barrier? You become friends first and any business relationships that come from it is just an added bonus. The WordPress community is first and foremost a community, not a revenue stream.
Sponsor to help, not to cash in
Sponsorships in the WordPress community should be made with the intention of assisting with event or product. When you lose sight of the big picture of open source software, you have already lost the fight. The purpose that WordPress was founded upon is to produce a stellar product and ask for absolutely nothing in return. As a company that makes money from WordPress, you should also keep that mentality and continue to contribute to the success of entire ecosystem. As you reach more financial success, pass it along because without the community, you have nothing.
Dive in and help where you can
Whether you can help financially, or volunteer at a local WordCamp, you have the power to help the WordPress community. Getting involved and making connections will get you much further than mindlessly throwing money around in every aspect of the WordPress community. Regardless of how big you get, never lose sight of where you started and the CMS that got you there