Writers and scientists are not known for their outgoing natures. Personally, I have been criticized for my habit of bringing books to parties. Having these characteristics, I find the self-employed person’s mandate to “SELL YOURSELF!” a challenge. Fortunately, in the business of writing most work is found through networking, and with a small amount of effort even the book-carrying partygoers among us can build strong networks and grow stable, successful businesses.
When I’m closing out my writing day and I’ve yet to attempt any marketing or networking tasks, I look to achieve at least one of five small daily goals. Ultimately, these efforts are bite-sized enough for me to stomach even on my most introverted of days, and as weeks turn into months they add up to a respectable online presence and foundational marketing tool for a growing company:
- Reach out to a pro in your field. This is easier than it sounds. A simple LinkedIn search with keyword specific to your field, you’ll likely find someone doing similar work who is farther along in the development of their business. In my experience people are remarkably helpful when asked a concrete question in a gracious manner.
- Write a thank you note to a client or mentor. Some nice stationary is a treat to have, and handwritten words will make you memorable.
- Post an article: either on a personal blog that posts to social media channels or LinkedIn, this will make you more visible to connections. Certainly there are days when you don’t have the juice to come up with original material. But, as we all are constantly reading in our research, keep future posts in mind and bookmark a timely or interesting article that your followers might appreciate. Add you 100-word personal take and re-post. You’ve added personal content and done the favor of passing on a piece of interest.
- Make a new connection: Once you’ve got a presentable LinkedIn profile, the sky is the limit on who you can connect with—as long as, as “The Mighty Marketer” Lori de Milto advises, you personalize your LinkedIn connection requests. I have connected with professional heroes by adding in a true and complimentary detail such as “I read your book in nursing school. You describe bedside nurse life so well. I made my husband read it so he understands me after a hard shift. Thank you.”
- Comment on the work of others: You’ve probably read the work of a peer in your daily research or perusing of the internet. If you have an opinion, or even better a reference to another article that adds to the discourse, jump in the pool and leave a comment.
One of these a day and you’ll be well on your way to a robust network gleaning insights into the health and medical writing business and finding new clients.