Networking Secret #10: Go Ahead and Write Something
By Keith Ferrazzi
This is one of those tricks of the networking trade that may not seem big, but boy, can it come in handy. If you have any writing skills — and yes, the good news is we all have some level of skill — you can get close to almost anyone by doing a piece on them or with them, even if it’s for your local newspaper or your very own blog.
These days, with the Internet and newsstands busting at their seams with publications of every imaginable orientation, everyone can be an author. And writing articles can be a great boost for your career. It provides instant credibility and visibility. It can become a key arrow in your self-marketing quiver, creating relationships with highly respected people and helping you develop a skill that’s always in high demand.
Find the Hook
The process I’ve used to pull these types of things off is simple. First, what’s your content? What kind of interesting things are going on in your industry or personal life? Have you learned to do what you do differently or found an easier and more efficient way of doing it?
Once you’ve got a hook — some subject of interest you’d like to explore that you think others will find interesting — get in touch with the editor of a publication that’s likely to publish such material. You don’t have to make the op-ed page of the New York Times. Community newspapers, professional newsletters, even in-house company publications have white space they need to fill.
At this stage, all you’re looking for is some tentative buy-in, a small show of interest that you can use to gain access to others in researching the piece. And once you get published, you’ve got a track record and samples of your work you can use to snatch more chances.
Make the Pitch
What’s an editor going to say when you pitch an idea? Probably something like: “Sure, sounds great. Very busy. Gotta go. Let me see it when it’s done.” This is how editors talk, and this is what they invariably say.
But now, when you call others to interview them, you’re not just Joe Shmo, you’re Joe Shmo calling about an article targeted for the Poughkeepsie Gazette or something like that. And these aren’t just random people you’re calling. These are the people you’ve painstakingly targeted as the top experts and thinkers in the subject you’re investigating.
By calling these people and setting up an interview, what you’ve just unknowingly done is established a terrific environment for meeting anyone anywhere. The odds will never be stacked so clearly in your favor. The subject of conversation is something you know the other person is fascinated with. And by then, you’ll have had the time to become pretty snazzy with the subject yourself. You’re offering value through the publicity you’ll potentially garner. And the mutual understanding that you’re working together toward a common objective will make what would normally be a formal affair into something much closer. It’s an opportunity to shine!
- Networking Secret #1: You Can't Get There Alone
- Networking Secret #2: Make Business Relationships Personal
- Networking Secret #3: Find Your Blue Flame to Heat Up Your Career
- Networking Secret #4: Build It Before You Need It
- Networking Secret #5: Don't Be a Networking Jerk
- Networking Secret #6: Become an Expert at Something
- Networking Secret #7: Never Eat Alone
- Networking Secret #8: Buddy Up for Success
- Networking Secret #9: Be a Conference Commando
- Networking Secret #10: Go Ahead and Write Something
Share the Credit
Most of the time, I like to share credit by offering a byline to the person who becomes most helpful. Explain that their insights are truly unique and impressive and that you would welcome their co-authorship. You’ll do the research and writing and all they have to do is give some time and energy to the project.
Then, once you begin to collaborate, ask them (more than likely they will volunteer) to open their network to you for additional research and interviews. And just like that, you’re expanding your network exponentially with contacts that otherwise might have seemed out of reach.
Guess what? By article’s end, whether it’s been published or not, you’ve managed to learn a great deal and to meet a group of important people who potentially might be important to your future. And you now have a very good reason to stay in touch with them.