When a writing colleague on AbsoluteWrite.com asked, â€œWhatâ€™s the best way for experienced writers to get writing gigs nowadays?â€ it sparked an interesting conversation.
The writer noted that she used to attend Chamber of Commerce meetings, collect business cards, follow up, and sign clients. I realized that many of my recent clients have come from similar means â€“ except I rarely leave the house for networking events.
Here are three steps to land clients on the Web using time-tested networking techniques.
- Set up an impressive website.
By impressive, I donâ€™t mean flash everywhere and zillions of pages of marketing copy. While Iâ€™m not thrilled with the look of it (I did it myself) my Website at www.allcotmedia.com has gotten me many clients. It contains five important elements:
- A photo of myself
- What I can do for clients/visitors
- A bit about my credentials and experience and how that helps potential clients
- Links to a diverse collection of published clips of my work
- My contact information
Beyond that, itâ€™s clean, easy to navigate, and professional-looking, albeit a bit on the dull side in my opinion.
- Promote the Website and yourself through LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media outlets
By promote, I donâ€™t mean sending out tweets every hour that read: Need a writer? Go to www.mywebsite.com. Instead, share links to your work and your own knowledge about writing. Most importantly, be yourself. Engage others â€“ both other writers and potential clients â€“ in conversations.
You wouldnâ€™t go up to someone at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, business card in hand, and say, â€œHi, My name is ___ and Iâ€™m a writer. Do you need me to write copy for your business?â€ Thereâ€™s a simple rule for Internet networking: If you wouldnâ€™t do it in person, donâ€™t do it on the Web.
I often send out tweets promoting the blogs I write for, but I have never tweeted asking for clients. They can figure out what I do based on my tweets, my links and my website â€“ they come to me if my talents fit their needs.
â€œAlways Be Networkingâ€
To paraphrase Alec Baldwin in the movie â€œGlengarry Glen Ross,â€ writers may not â€œalways be closing,â€ but they should always, always be networking.
In another post on AW, this one from last year, a new writer received advice that he should network to jumpstart his career. In a thread titled â€œJust Hit Send,â€ many of us post our goals for each month, and some even post daily to-do lists. In his next JHS post, that writer posted his schedule for the week, with time set aside Wednesday morning for networking.
While networking can be a discrete activity, performed only when you check your Twitter and Facebook accounts twice daily, itâ€™s much better to approach it as something youâ€™re always doing â€“ or at least looking for opportunities to do.
If you go out to dinner and engage the waitress in a conversation about her day job â€“ youâ€™re networking. If you compliment the person in line behind you at the bank on her brooch â€“ thatâ€™s a potential networking opportunity. Networking, when done correctly, is really just another way to say, â€œAsking people about themselves so you can find out how you can help them.â€
Now, go network!
Leaving a comment here is networking too!
What are the most effective ways you network?