Both your blog and your professional network can be extremely valuable in advancing your career or growing your business. There are a lot of great resources available on the value of blogging as a marketing tool. There aren’t many on how blogging can help you build an awesome professional network. In fact, blogging is a great way to engage your existing network and make new contacts. . Below are seven best practices to use blogging as a networking strategy.
One of the core principles of effective networking is to first make the effort to be helpful and add value to your contacts before expecting anything in return. Blogging is a great way to deliver valuable content to your network. Writing content that’s of interest to your audience, such as “how-tos” or summarizing research you’ve conducted, is a great way to be helpful. For example, if you’re an expert in sales, you could share your knowledge of various sales tactics. If you’re an expert on the healthcare industry, you could let people know about your current research projects.
Display your Expertise
People like to have professional relationships with people they respect, admire, and/or see as potentially being valuable to their career or business. Blogging is a great way to display your expertise. Write about topics to impress your network in a non-imposing way. Writing your perspectives and providing analysis will help you to be recognized as an expert.
Show your Character
While there’s no perfect substitute for in-person interaction, blogging is a great way to build rapport. When you write in authentic voice, your character shines through. Doing so can provide a great supplement for people to get to know you better and build rapport. Encourage readers to comment on your blog by posing questions to increase engagement and build rapport.
Cast a Wide Net
People are always inclined to share great with their peers and via their social channels. By reaching a wide audience, you increase the chances of people reaching out to you directly. In-person events and meetings can be time consuming – blogging allows you to network in a more time-effective way. In addition, if someone has read your posts, they may feel more inclined to respond and meet with you.
Update your Network
Updating your network about your accomplishments is a great way to stay in touch and display your value (as discussed above). Blogging helps you report your accomplishments and news without Interpretation from a third party reporter. It’s also less invasive than e-mailing each of your contacts directly.
How to Get Started and What to Write about
People often tell me that they know how valuable blogging can be for their career and business, but have trouble getting started. I recommend starting small by writing very short blog posts, perhaps even just publishing status updates on Twitter or Facebook. If people regularly ask for advice on how to complete a certain task or for your opinion on topic, you know there’s demand for content on the topic. You can also search Quora to see what kinds of questions within your interests are being asked and commonly followed. Blogging your answer instead of providing a one on one response will also save time. You can also share your perspective and value-added commentary on an article or blog post you’ve read.
Promote your Network
Promoting your network is a highly effective strategy. If a contact has big news, cover it on your blog. An interview with the person may also be of value to your audience. Offering your network a guest post on your blog would be especially helpful if you have a large and relevant audience to your contact. Linking back to a contact’s blog or website when contextual to a post you’re publishing, is a small but still nice way to promote your network.
Bio: Mike Fishbein is the author of the book “Business Networking: How to Build an Awesome Professional Network” and an entrepreneur in New York City. You can connect with him at www.twitter.com/mfishbein.
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