Your peers are as important, if not more important, than your paying customers. Peers offer a huge support for your freelance writing career. They can help boost your business, bring in clientele, get you out of a sticky spot, offer advice, suggest improvements, lift your morale and provide that break you need for success.
So how are you treating them? Are you enjoying their company and making friends? Or are you condescending to them, showing off or being the know-it-all? Worse, are you coming off as the snotty diva, the argumentative witch or the arrogant SOB?
You could be, and that’s a problem. If you alienate your peers, you won’t get any of that good stuff they offer.
You see, people like to help those who help them first. The friendly, hardworking, open-minded writer is typically always going to get ahead more with both potential clients and with peers than the writer who puts sticks in wheels, takes people down a peg, and gives them a hard time.
You know the ones. You’ve probably seen a few yourself. You read a blog post you enjoy, skim down the comments and then… “Oh man. Not that person again.”
When you get that feeling, you have two courses of action: Work with them, or work against them. Choose carefully indeed.
Leave a comment that seems overly sharp, condescending or argumentative, and suddenly you don’t come off as an expert – you come off as a troublemaker. Heated comments or barbed tones quickly cause conflict in the community that may leave you looking like the bad guy, and that damages a reputation quickly.
That’s not what you want. Your comments should always clearly convey you’re a buddy trying to help – even when you don’t agree with the person.
Instead of trying to trip the person up, opt for another route. Agree with some part of what the person has stated, so that you show unity of some sort. Get the person on your side, or at least enough so that he or she will listen to your view.
At the same time, suggest an alternative course of action as if you’re just tossing the idea out there. Just some friendly advice. We’re all in this together, right? That way, your peers will think more highly of you and your views provide assistance instead of blunt disagreement.
Here’s another area to be careful with: using controversy to inspire blog posts.
It’s great to disagree with a post you’ve read, and it’s good to present the opposite side, but how you do it makes all the difference. Do it the wrong way, and your post comes off as finger pointing and nasty. Do it the right way, and you just created a friendly debate that everyone benefits from.
One of the best ways I’ve seen to present your views without creating a bad rap or causing a rift with peers is the tactic of agreeing to disagree. Send a quick email to the author and mention that you’d like to debate his or her post. Point out that it’ll be a fun, friendly experience, and that you want to make it a proactive situation for readers.
A blogging debate provides other people with a helpful double shot of opposing views and information that lets readers choose what they feel is best for them.
Remember that you want to increase positive associations with you and your business so that people always think well of you and see you in a good light, whether they’re potential customers or peers. Choose your words well, and convey the best attitude you can.
Want to know just why your peers are important to your business success? Check out The Unlimited Freelancer. It’ll teach you the tricks you need to know to get ahead with your peers – and your clients.