How important are relationships to your freelance writing business? If your business is anything like mine word-of-mouth accounts for up to 80% of your paid commissions so building relationships is vital. Meeting new people is important but it is just as, if not more, important to develop and reinforce the relationships you’ve already established. Is strengthening your working relationships one of your goals for 2010?
Writing a recommendation or testimonial is an effective way to boost morale and deepen a professional relationship. If you value the professional courtesy and service you’ve received one of the simplest ways to give back is by recommending that individual to others. A recommendation or testimonial for a job well done creates a lasting impression. People remember you for saying something encouraging and positive.
“Who are the people you most value professionally? Do they know it? More importantly, do others know? In a perfect world, we would all proactively make sure that the people who have earned our trust and respect knew it, and that others knew it as well.” ~ Adam Nash
Write A LinkedIn Recommendation
One of the reasons I love building my network of LinkedIn freelancers is because, as a community, we are encouraging and positive. No matter what level of the industry we stand on there are others around us who support our business and want us to succeed.
On LinkedIn we have an opportunity to connect with new friends or colleagues. We can create a new impression on people we’ve worked with in the past, see what our associates are doing now, find professionals to work with on new projects, and reconnect with talented minds to deepen relationships. But how many of these connections will think of you if they need to hire a writer? What sort of relationship have you developed with your connections?
Writing a LinkedIn Recommendation is easy and it’s one of the most effective ways to put your name on the lips of the person you recommend. It is important to be honest about your experience with that person but every interaction we have with another individual offers us insight into their professional atmosphere. Think about the other writer’s amongst your LinkedIn connections… Have you enjoyed a post or article they’ve written? Have you read their latest book? Have you used them as a source for something you’ve written? Have you interacted with them via social media? Have you been touched by their experience? In what way has that person affected you positively?
“Be aware that the person youâ€™re writing the recommendation for is looking for your words to help act as leverage with a prospective new business partner.” ~ Chris Brogan
Get Started Now! I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn and exchange recommendations in our quest to get to know each other better. A special shout-out goes to the five wonderful ladies (Michele L. Tune, Mysti Guymon-Reutlinger, Kimberlee Ferrell, Hope Wilbanks, and Jenn Greenleaf) who have recommended me in the past!
#FollowFriday on Twitter
Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to say, “This person is great” is to join the #FollowFriday trend on Twitter. Every Friday, Twitter enthusiasts offer up name after name of fellow tweeters they recommend. I suggest adding a few words about WHY you recommend a particular Twitter user because I like to know why “I” should follow them. But even if you don’t offer any detail, just taking a moment each Friday to name-drop is a rewarding way to let those you admire know they offer value in your life.
“The idea is to think of interesting people you already follow and recommend them to others.” ~ Micah Baldwin
Not only is this a great way to show your support and respect for the people you follow on Twitter but it is also an opportunity to grow your following. You recommend your friends to others and they recommend people you might be interested in getting to know. Writers are constantly recommending fellow writers on #FollowFriday and your recommendation can lead you into further Twitter discussion with your personal Twitterati.
Get Started Now! Follow me on Twitter and join the #FollowFriday craze.
Testimonials, Endorsements, and Reviews
Twitter’s #FollowFriday and LinkedIn’s Recommendations are all about WHO. But another way to build relationships is to share the WHAT. That is where testimonials, endorsements, and reviews carry the most weight. On Writer’s Round-About we have a whole category dedicated to Reviews and Reviewing. If you’ve read a fantastic book, watched an entertaining movie, used an effective tool, or purchased a quality product you can build a relationship with the creator by writing a recommendation of their product.
You can even recommend content you find online by sharing a link. Use bookmarking and sharing tools available on most blogs. Take a moment to thumbs up on your StumbleUpon Toolbar. Use your favorite social media networks to spread the word about what you’re loving online. Write reviews for blogs, send testimonials in to website owners, add your reviews to sites like Amazon, etc.
And you can do this with anything at all. People talk about the food they love to eat, the gadgets they want to buy, the brands they love to use. These simple recommendations develop relationship, not just with the creators of the products you recommend but with the people you are recommending them to. If I’m looking to buy a new game console I’ll remember how much you raved about your Wii.
Get Started Now! Have you used a product or read a book that has helped you be a better writer? I’d love to take this opportunity to invite you to submit your review to WRA. Tell others what you think and share your recommendation with WRA’s readers.
A Final Word: Recommendations in Reverse
One final thing to remember is that recommendations work in reverse. If you feel a product fails to live up to expectations, a practice is shady, or a person has falsely presented themselves you can say so. Act with integrity, be honest and forthright. A balanced review will have more weight with readers than a biased one but you should avoid sounding trite or petty.
Remember: What you say about others says a lot about you.
Writing recommendations is a fantastic way to develop relationships with others and there are lots of ways you can express your opinions. Who has added value to your life? How do you show your appreciation? What have you done today to strengthen your business relationships? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments!