Networking is an extremely crucial aspect for anyone looking to advance in a career or launch a new business venture. The common adage advised is that it’s not about what you do; it’s about who you know. The real truth is that it’s not who you know, it’s …
WHO KNOWS YOU!
Looking back at the various jobs I’ve had in my life, one factor stands out most prominently. In every single one, I never got the job solely on how well I filled out the job application or performed in the interview. Most of the time, I either knew someone directly in the organization, or I knew someone highly influential outside of the organization that those in charge of the hiring process would know and trust as a credible recommendation to help me get my foot in the door.
When it comes to freelance writing, many writers are pitching blindly to editors that have no idea who they are. These editors slough through hundreds of these emails every day. If you don’t absolutely tantalize them with the first paragraph in your query letter or even your subject line, you will end up in the slush pile quickly.
This leads many writers struggling to find clients. The failure lies in not developing those key connections first in a meaningful way before the pitch is made. Think about this for a second. When you go through your email each day, which would you open first: an email from a close friend or family member, or an email from a person you don’t recognize?
Editors are more likely to give the work to someone that they know firsthand or who comes highly recommended by someone they know and trust. They are also going to open emails from those they know and trust first. If your email is one of the first ones opened, it shows that you stand out from the crowd.
Does the editor you are pitching to know who you are? Find a way to establish a personal connection with him/her. Doing so will significantly increase the odds that the editor will give you the break you are looking for. How can you get to know those people?
Social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn make establishing these kinds of connections so much easier. Look for ways you can connect on a deeper level with influencers that are in the market you are trying to break into.
You ideally want to get to the point of having engaged in a few conversations with the person first before you pitch your great idea. If they get to know and like you, it will be much easier for him/her to be willing to take a chance on you. What things do you have in common that you can talk about?
Take a hard look at your networking approach. How effective are you? If the opportunities out there are not beating down your door to get to you, it may be time to freshen up your schmoozing in a whole new way. How are you building those connections?