Marketing is not a task most writers look forward to. It is, however, a necessary evil.
I hear you groan at the thought already. It’s nice and safe behind your laptop. Getting out there is scary. But the importance of including networking in your marketing strategy cannot be stressed enough. To land clients and grow your business, you need to get out there.
Marketing is not a task most writers look forward to.
There is a rich local market you should be tapping in to, i.e. local businesses, communities, schools, non-profit organizations, newspapers, and magazines, to name a few. And to find the nuggets of work in this goldmine you will need to get up off your tush and go meet and greet.
But where should I go, you ask? Here are six simple ways to network.
1. Local Business Networking Groups
Business networking groups, as well as your local Chamber of Commerce, are great ways to get your name out there. Everyone who joins these groups is in it for one thing – to find business.
In addition, members tend to be supportive of other members. They are inclined to make use of the services available in the group or refer members’ services to somebody else. Likewise, you should return the favor. It’s the principle of one hand washing the other.
2. Meetup Groups
Meetup Groups have become increasingly popular. There are Meetup Groups for almost anything these days, including groups for business networking, small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs. If you live in a city you will find plenty of Meetup Groups to join for the purposes of networking. Hop online and search for groups in your area.
3. Online Networking
For those who are shy and more introverted, you’ll love this one. No need to step out the door and make awkward small talk at a boring cocktail party!
Networking online involves interacting with people on various social media platforms, bloggers, and many others who work in the digital realm.
Getting to know people in cyberspace can open up opportunities. For instance, a blogger you’ve been interacting with, either by chatting with them or commenting on their blog, may decide to ask you to do a guest post. It may be an unpaid guest post, but it could lead to paid work in the future.
LinkedIn is a great space for making professional connections, but all social media channels can be a source of potential clients if you go about it the right way.
4. Previous Employers and Clients
So you left your traditional job to live the freelance life and perhaps you want nothing more to do with ex-employers who remind you of that awful ‘rat race’ life. But if you parted on good terms, keeping in touch with previous employers could bring in some work, especially if you know the company makes use of freelancers.
Regularly touching base with previous clients can also bring some more work down the line or bring some referrals your way.
After all, your previous employers and clients already know the calibre of work you do.
5. Other Freelancers
This may not be one that immediately comes to mind. You may think that building relationships with other freelancers is a waste of time because you are competing against one another. You probably think that even if they were drowning in work they would be too scared to let go of projects or potential clients for fear of losing out on future work.
But think again. Many freelance writers have been pleasantly surprised when a fellow freelance writer they knew dropped them a line to find out if they have time available to take on a job or project. Freelancers who suddenly find themselves swamped with work may be only too happy to pass a prospective client along to someone they trust and know will do a good job.
6. Friends, Family, and Acquaintances
Never overlook your closest network – people you know such as friends, family and acquaintances. Do they know you have stepped out to freelance? Word of mouth is the easiest form of marketing. Even if they don’t need your services, they could pass your name along to their friends and other people they come across who could use the services of a writer.
Networking is about making connections and, more importantly, building relationships. The old adage of ‘doing business on the golf course’ still rings true. Putting a face behind a name and building relationships still goes a long way in business. Plus it gets you out of the house, you’ll meet some great people and you may even have some fun along the way!