One of the underlying precepts of good networking practice is the understanding that our success in our life is dependent on how much we can help others to succeed in theirs. While, of course, this includes making referrals, recommendations, and introductions in order to help our connections directly, we also have numerous opportunities to give back more indirectly.

One of the ways we can all do this is through the written word. Blog posts, news articles, white papers, e-zines, etc, etc, etc. They are all great mechanisms to show yourself as a servant to your target market and build a reputation within your network as an expert in your field. “Oh, but no one would want to read what I write!” I can hear some of you saying. I think you’d be surprised. There are aspects of what you do, who you are and what you know which are mysteries to other people. Take the time to show them a little bit of your world.

Here are some styles you can try out:

Educational: This is pretty straightforward. Whatever you do, there are mysteries for the uninitiated. Think of all the jargon you had to learn in order to do your job effectively. You could start a blog to explain some of the technical issues in your field in terms that a non-expert might understand. Remember, analogy is your friend.

Personal: Expose some small pieces of your personal life in your writing. A few years ago I sent out a biweekly electronic newsletter in which I talked about cool stuff I found out on the Web. The introduction to the newsletter always included a short story about life in our family — usually starring our daughter Kaylie. Ironically, most of the comments I got after sending out the newsletter were about the personal story, not the well-researched and carefully crafted review of some piece of software. People respond to us when we are open and vulnerable about our personal lives.

Review: While my example above might make you think otherwise, reviewing books, techniques, audio/video programs, tools, systems, seminars, etc, etc, etc, can be a tremendous benefit to your network — especially if the topic of review happens to affect their bottom line.

Reporting: Are you in touch with the newsmakers in your field of choice? Could you be? Set up a Google Alert for some of the terms in your industry and check out the results when they come in. Find out those new trends before they hit the mainstream and let your connections know what’s going on.

Tomorrow we’ll cover a few more styles you could pursue — even a few which work to strengthen specific connections. In the meantime, start looking at the possibilities. Giving back through your writing can not only serve your target market with all the information you can provide as an expert in your field, but it can also help to let them know who you are as a person.

And that’s a good way to strengthen the relationship

Photo credit: stock.xchng user Mattox