Yesterday we talked about using writing as a part of your networking practice. Your written “voice” can strengthen connections through testimonials and Gratitude Notes. It can build your reputation through blogs and articles, and it can maintain a low-level “touch” through a regular newsletter. Now, most people don’t have a problem with writing an occasional testimonial or sending off a big thank you. Where the problem comes in is maintaining that regular writing schedule — especially writing which others will read. How do you find enough to write about day after day or week after week?
Here’s a few ideas which should keep your topic list full for months.
Definitions. No matter how brain-dead simple you think you job is, you probably use some sort of jargon or specialized terminology which would confuse an outsider. I had the oil changed in my car today. One of the technicians working on my car called out for a “visual check”. I was curious to what they were referring. Was it just to verify that the various plugs and caps were present or was there something more to it?
Helpful tips. These can be peripherally associated with your business. My buddy Bruce Webb, a realtor, includes tips on home care and maintenance in each of his emailed newsletters.
Customer profile. This is especially powerful in a blog or newsletter. Write a piece about one of your clients. Think of it as almost a reverse testimonial. You are writing to talk about them and all the cool things they are doing not about what they think about you. You could even extend this category to include anyone in your network.
Personal stories. Most people who have gotten to know you will be interested in what you do when you aren’t working. A few years ago I had a biweekly newsletter about tools and tips about using the web for personal productivity — a subject that tied in loosely with my Web development business. At the beginning of the letter I included a short introduction which often related an anecdote about my daughter Kaylie. With most issues, I received more compliments about the intro than I did on the main article. Whatever. The most important thing was that I was maintaining contact with the recipients.
Humor, quotes, short stories. I had another networking acquaintance who, for a while, sent out a monthly newsletter which had a thought-provoking quote from some famous person and a short joke. Neither had anything to do with her business, but I always looked forward to those newsletters. Wouldn’t it be cool if people looked forward to receiving yours?
Industry news. Another friend of mine, Andrew Miller, maintains a blog where he writes about SEO — search engine optimization or how people find things in Google and other search engines. When industry news comes out, he explains what it means. Then he goes further to tell his readers how it might affect their own search engine strategies.
If you start maintaining a list of topics which fall into these areas, I’m certain that you will soon have enough to write about that you could do so every day for a year. By the time you got to the end of that, you’d probably have some more to write about.
Like how you built a reputation writing once a day for a whole year.
Photo credit: Jakub Krechowicz