As authors, it’s not long before we realize that networking is an integral part of spreading the word about our book. In a workshop I did in Richardson, Texas last week, I told the attendees that no one will love your book as much as you do, so you need to be willing to spread the word about it like you were the only one who will do it.
Fortunately, we live in a time when networking is easier than ever before and through platforms like blogging, we can become virtual social butterflies, meeting with someone in Texas at lunch and someone in Australia an hour later.
One benefit I have found that my blogs gives me is the ability to use it as a virtual handshake when meeting new people. Where I’m from, a handshake is almost always the thing you do when you meet someone new. But when you deal with networking in cyberspace, walking up to someone to introduce yourself with a shake of the hand is a little hard to do.
That’s where my blog comes in. It gives me ample opportunities to network and introduce myself to readers of my book, prospective readers, experts and gurus, other authors, and my peers. Here is how I have used my blog reach out with a virtual handshake:
• Responding to a comment on my blog - I can’t tell you how many times I met a colleague on my comments who ended up being a guest blogger for me at a later time. Comments are a great way to interact and meet new people and redevelop a relationship that goes beyond the comment itself.
• Inviting someone to be a guest on my blog – Often, when I read a book that has intrigued me or a post that has taught me something new, I reach out to offer that person a spot as a guest on my blog. I have built strong professional relationships that have lasted to this day from an invitation to be a guest on my blog.
• Replying to a tweet/Facebook comment about a blog post - I scan the Twitter stream often to look for opportunities to respond to people who mentioned me and my blog in their tweet. The same is true for Facebook comments. It’s a special privilege when someone talks about your blog outside of a comment on your blog, and when it happens, it gives you a great opportunity to approach someone and introduce yourself.
• Linking to someone else’s blog post - I love to link to other blogger’s posts when I can. Not only does it lend credibility to my post, but it gives me a chance to send the blogger a message to let them know I linked to their post. It’s a great way to initiate a virtual handshake.
• Reviewing/Recommending a book, product or service - When you talk about another author’s book or a person’s products/services, you have reached out the ultimate handshake to these people. Often, you’ll find that they will link back to your post and send people your way. Writing reviews can be a great way to launch a new professional relationship by using your blog.
These are all ways that you can use your blog to meet other people. When you blog with networking in mind, you also have the added benefit of having an abundance of things to blog about. Look over that list again and ask yourself how you could engage in those activities. My guess is that it could keep you busy blogging for a long time.
If you look at your blog as being more than a repository for your muse, you’ll find it can be a powerful tool to use for networking and building relationships. Look no further than this post as proof. It was my blog that first introduced me to BookBuzzr and that has led to more mutual endeavors than I could have imagined.