Whether you need new freelance projects, you want to strengthen your contact with agents and editors, or cull more readers, reaching out can be a highly effective strategy. Although cold emails or phone calls sometimes yield results, you'll often reap better results by contacting clients you've worked with in the past or chatting with others in your industry who may be able to give referrals. Here are seven ways you can keep your network of contacts alive.
1. Send a card - The holidays may be over, but you can come up with other reasons to send cards. Maybe Easter cards? It's a good excuse to reach out to people you've worked with in the past and wish them the best, plus since emails are the norm it's more likely that your cards will get noticed.
2. Connect on LinkedIn - While LinkedIn can be a great place to track down an editor's name or figure out who to contact about opportunities, it's recommended that you only send invites to people you actually worked with, rather than people you want to work with. But if you notice an editor or colleague is on LinkedIn, asking to connect can be a smart way to subtly remind them that you exist and want to continue the relationship (plus, if an editor or client leaves their current job, you'll still be able to keep in touch).
3. Share an interesting article - Not every email or post has to lead to an assignment or advertise your project. Editors are always looking for the latest, greatest stats, studies, and more, so if you see something relevant that they might not have, sharing helps keep you on their radar.
4. Congratulate your contact - It can be a bummer when a favorite editor or client leaves their job. But it's also an opportunity for you to land a new client! When I read that one of my contacts has been promoted to a new job, I'll often send a quick congratulations email (depending on the relationship, I might also mention that I'm available if they need freelancers in their new position). You can also do this for fellow writers who've scored a a great publication. It's good karma!
5. Share relevant opportunities - When I see a lead that's not quite right for me, I'll share that lead with someone else who might be a perfect fit. I try to help my friends who are searching for jobs. You could do the same thing with your editors or clients if you know them well enough. Say your editor mentions that she's looking for a wedding photographer or a retailer who specializes in vintage clothes. If you know someone great, then hook them up!
6. Invite your contact to meet in person - If you live nearby to your client or editor, then inviting them to lunch or coffee can help strengthen that relationship. Alternatively, if you're taking a trip to NYC or another city where editors or clients are located, this can be the perfect excuse to invite them out for coffee. This may lead to a frequency in work opportunities as yo'll be fresh in their mind. You can also do this with freelancers in your area to swap ideas or leads.
7. Participate in a Blog Hop - In just one week, the A to Z blog hop (see top of sidebar on right) will begin. Blog hops are a great way to connect with readers, or fellow writers. I have connected with some very creative and talented individuals, developed a new system for my blogging, refined my communication skills, and initiated what turned into an amazing relationship with some of my readers! Want more reasons to join a blog hop? Try these 12: http://writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/2012/02/benefits-of-blog-challenge.html
How do you keep your network alive and well?