One the more important things you can do in developing a network is conduct one-on-one meetings. After all, what better way is there to get to know somebody and learn about their business than meet face-to-face? But what happens after the meeting? How confident are you that the person you just met with has a handle on what your business is all about and who your best prospects are? One way to ensure networking success is to have at least one article you can pass on to your network that they in turn can use to reference your business.
You might be saying, “we haven’t received any coverage in the press that really describes our company well enough”. Even if the press hasn’t covered your business, that doesn’t prohibit you from writing an article about what it is you do.
For example, if you’re a CPA, you could write an article on “The Top 10 Reasons Small Businesses Get Audited by the Government”. Or if you’re a web designer, you could write an article entitled, “The Top 10 Things to Look for in a Web Design Firm”.
You’re probably noticing a pattern with the “top 10” theme but that’s strictly to address the reason many entrepreneurs have for not having a prepared article that describes their company, “I can’t write”. Poppycock!
If writing is not your thing, that’s one thing. But you should be able to talk about the 10 best ways to work with a ___ or the 10 things you should look for in a ___. Even if you have to say it into a tape recorder first, you can communicate that. Then, it’s really a matter of finding somebody who can take that information and make it read well. And there are many resources to find freelance copywriters or firms that can do that.
Once the article is written, with your name and bio included as the byline, you’ll want to publish it somewhere to make it look official. There are hundreds of free article submission sites who are desperate for content from subject matter experts. Ezinearticles.com is one. It really then becomes a matter of submitting your article and waiting for it to be available online.
Once your article is online, you now have a tool to share with your network. You can print it out with the masthead from the publication to make it really look official. Or, you can forward the link so your network can e-mail it to potential prospects. The recommendation here is to print it out—keep it to one page if you can—and hand it to your network as you conduct one on one meetings.
One thing you’ll find about networking that it places a premium on your collateral marketing materials. How well those pieces describe what you do gives your network the ammunition to generate leads for you. So even if your company brochure or website aren’t up to snuff, a bylined article can give your network all it needs to trumpet your capabilities.