Are You Networking?
Earning a living as a writer is about two things: writing well and connecting with the right people–your readers, editors, publishers, etc. (Some people would question whether you really need to be able to write well, but that’s another matter.)
I’ve met most of the freelancers on my go-to list through networking. Someone knew so-and-so was a writer and introduced us. Sometimes those relationships last years and add up to thousands of dollars.
Many of the writing and editing jobs I’ve taken on have also been the result of networking. Not the kind of networking where you hunt people down, but the kind where you’ve done a great job for a client and they or one of their impressed contacts refers you to someone looking for your services.
Bottom line: If you’re not networking, you’re losing out on opportunities to write, speak and earn more! Kristen Eckstein’s book, 21 Ways to Powerfully Network Your Business offers some excellent tips for connecting with others. Here are a few strategies that have worked well for me:
Quick Tips for Networking
- Make sure everyone in your life knows you’re a writer. One of my favorite freelancers is a good friend’s cousin. The friend isn’t a writer, but years ago she connected us. Beth and I have since worked together on countless projects.
- Make sure you’re able to describe your ideal client. People often ask who they can refer to me. I tell them that my ideal clients are speakers, coaches and subject-matter experts who want to share their message, but they aren’t expert writers. I want to work with quality people who desire to publish credibility-building books.
- Be a connector! You very likely know two people who need to meet—introduce them! People will naturally reciprocate by referring you to others.
- Don’t go to events cold. You know you’ll need a sweater or jacket in those chilly conference rooms, but you also need warm contacts. Use Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about the people you will be meeting. Start the relationship before the event by introducing yourself online.
For more tips on networking at events, check out this free e-book. This guide was created by Inbound, an event for sales and marketing people. The advice applies to writers attending conferences in hopes of connecting with an editor or publicist, or to the writer or speaker who wants to expand their contacts and increase their engagements.
(Note: Someone got paid to write this book. Other people will be paid to speak at this event, and you can bet they’ll sell their books there as well.)
Opportunity is everywhere. Get connected!