In-person Networking: Why It’s Vital To Your Freelance Writing Career

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Let's say you have a very unique story idea and you spent some considerable time in developing its content. Here's my question, do you think this material will generate traffic to your website or will it interest publications and publishers prompting them to reach out to you? You probably know the answer: maybe or maybe not.

Even if content is recognized as the king in print and digital worlds, it will never give you the assurance of landing a Pulitzer Prize award or a series of writing offers. Truth is, there is always a marketing side to writing and publishing.

Marketing and Writing

Hear this: no successful, six-figure writer has received lucrative assignments without an effective marketing strategy regardless of the medium. This is especially true when you're a newbie in the industry and you opt to explore the freelancing terrain.

As a writer, your written content is your product. And like any product, it must be promoted, marketed and advertised.

According to WorldWideWebSize.com, the indexed web contained 3.32 billion pages as of July 10, 2014. This figure did not include indices for Ask.com and Yahoo!.

As excellent your content may be, the statistics gives us a glimpse of the overwhelming competition in the digital space. It's a Goliath vs. David match, you being the latter, and your marketing strategy, the formidable sling.

For those into digital writing, your problem is not whether there is enough audience, but how to get your content to them. According to HubSpot, 46 percent of people read blogs more than once a day, most of them reading 5-10.

This explains the around 40 percent of U.S. companies using blogs for marketing purposes. This is also true for the huge and is still growing indexed web - there is a thriving market for your web content.

Capturing The Market via In-person Networking

I wouldn't tell you to upgrade in an all-in-one SEO pack pro or strengthen your website, you're probably doing that and have read articles dedicated to these ventures. I would like you to focus on one approach that is actually a weak point for most writers: in-person networking.

I've never really thought about this until lately. As the introvert that I am, I am trying to get out there and talk to people. As you know, these statistics are real people. And the best way to get to these people is not before the computers. The digital world hasn't phased out in-person meeting, it actually makes it even relevant.

If you are just starting or struggling to have more clients, go out and attend networking events, connect with few local writers in your area, and see how your network and clients increase.

I am still more comfortable with marketing e-mails, query letters and social media as far as promotion is concerned, but in-person networking is one effective approach that should occupy a portion of your marketing toolbox. You have to realize that writing is not the way to nurture the melancholic, introverted you if it will be a source of living. You have to embrace the people-business side of your craft.

According to U.S. News, 80 percent of employers hire applicants with a referral. Referrals are the #1 source of hires in corporate America, added Chris Forman, CEO of StartWire. Need I say more? This also applies in capturing your market: you need professional connections.

 In-Person Networking Tips

Getting out into your community, meeting people, and making a good impression on potential clients are a good start. You can also try some of the networking ideas below:

1.) Hand out your business card whenever you find an opportunity. Whether you meet a restaurant manager or supervisor while having a family dinner or the president of an advertising company during a casual conversation at a book launch, hand your business card. You'll never know who they know and what bridges your business card will be able to connect.

2.) Tame your inner critic. If you're an introvert, there are a lot going on in your head: you're going to make mistakes, you will stutter, you're not ready, you will be rejected, and a lot more. Shut it off for your own good. You will always be your worst enemy and to succeed in marketing your craft, you have to tame that inner critic. There is always time for everything, and entertaining your negative voice during an attempt to connect with your prospective clients is like fighting a losing battle. You had lost it before you started.

3.) Polish your portfolio. Ensure that your portfolio gives clients a complete picture of who you are, your experience, your education, your accomplishments and your skill sets. A typical portfolio contains your resume, a list of your accomplishments, samples of your work, certifications, testimonials, honors and awards among others. If there is a proper venue to brag about yourself and accomplishments, this is it. While self-effacement shouldn't be given any room in your portfolio, fibbing should also be avoided. Emphasize your strengths, but do not exaggerate.

 
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