5 Reasons Online Relationships are Important for Freelance Writers

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You probably see me on Twitter…a lot. The truth is, I like Twitter for many reasons. for example, it breaks up the monotony of the day when I’m home alone. There’s more to it than that, though. I find the networking to be invaluable. Twitter has enabled me to build on so many different types of relationships with clients, sponsors, community members and friends. In 2010, anyone wishing to be a success in business, needs to consider the various social networks as a way to meet others and build up buzz around a product and brand, even if the brand is a personal one. If you ever wonder why I’m on Twitter so much and not working, the truth is, I am working. I’m building community, relationships, friendships…and trust.

Why are online relationships important for freelancer writers?

1. Everyone you meet online has the potential to become a client

Every single person who is a Facebook friend, or who shares videos on YouTube or who follows on Twitter, is someone who may need a writer one day. If you’re the only writer one of these online friends know, you’re the one they will turn to for help should the need arise. Also, the people you meet online know people. They can make recommendations to others who need writers. They might also tell you about available job openings. By taking the time to know your online friends and followers, you’re letting them know you value their relationship. They’ll show their appreciation when it comes time to hire writers.

2. Online relationships build trust

There’s a reason I talk to people online,  I mean, besides the fact that I truly enjoy being around people and sharing, learning and enjoying a good conversation.  It’s because I like to surround myself with people I trust. It sounds silly coming from someone with almost 6,000 Twitter followers, right? How can you follow that many people and talk about trust? The truth is, I trust you until you give me a reason not to.  If someone betrays my trust I don’t follow him or her anymore. I even block the people who do whatever they can to create drama or a negative experience. If I can’t trust someone, if I wouldn’t spend time with them in real life,  I don’t want to spend time with that person online. I think other people feel the same. They follow the people whose advice and humor appeals to them, and who they like and can trust to steer them in the right direction. Once you have trust, everything builds from there.  When you talk to the same people day in and day out, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with freelance writing, you’re building trust.

3. People who trust you are more likely to do business with you

See: potential client, above. However, once you build trust the “potential” isn’t part of the equation anymore. People DO seek you out for projects. A potential client who is also a Twitter fried contacted me recently because he saw something I wrote two years ago and wanted writing along the same vein for his website. When I quoted my rate, he told me he wasn’t prepared to pay so much. Two weeks later he came back and told me I’m the only writer he trusts for the job. After reading my work and following me on the social networks he’s sure his money will be well spent. Trust won out over the need to go cheap.

4. People who trust you are more likely to collaborate with you

There are several writers and bloggers with whom I’m collaborating on projects. We have ebooks, traditional books and speaker proposals in the works. I met all my colleagues online through the various social networks. We met in person at various events and solified the relationship. Now we have some cool stuff coming up. Would we have gravitated to each other and brainstormed ideas if we didn’t trust each other? I’m guessing no.

5. People who trust you can also be trusted

Trust isn’t a one way street. The people who follow you and trust you are also people you can trust. You can trust their information, you can trust their friendship and you can trust them to be loyal – until you do something to betray that trust.  You can trust them to recommend products, services and potential clients. With a large network of trusted friends, the possibilities are endless.

Talk to me…has networking online helped you professionally? Tell us about your online relationships…

Comments

  1. I totally agree with you, Deb. I’ve made many friends online who have turned into clients, or refer me to people who needed writing services. I didn’t set out to do business with them, but the evolution of the relationship built trust, as it has in your case.

  2. Still relatively new to social media. Have finally managed to figure out twitter to some extent, but still have a long way to go with FB. And you’re right. Once I started getting the hang of twitter and learned how to find people with common interests or where the big discussions in my area of interest were going on – it’s been a lot of fun. And very useful to find resources and people whom I trust and with whom I can connect. But all that took a while to figure out. Maybe it’s just me. My problem however is finding the time and a way to understand everything’s that’s going on and to handle multiple accounts( have tried seesmic and tweetdeck but they don’t seem to make it easier. And still hv many Qs on using them) So, while I’m reasonably active with one of my twitter a/cs (@babylovesbooks), I’ve let my other one(@rupatweets) languish.
    Finding the time to keep up is a huge challenge. How DO you social media goddesses manage?!!

    Thanks, as always, for these great discussions. I benefit from them even if I don’t always participate.

  3. I am in Rupa’s shoes. I am new to social networking and have learned from some of your posts, Deb that I was kind of spamming when using Twitter and FB. My intention was not to do that, as I really have nailed down my niche (I just began online freelance writing in April 2009) Furthermore, I didn’t really understand the whole concept of online socializing. I came across, and still do, some very interesting people, places and things – I love it! Most recently, I have made more friends and I really enjoy the conversations – I feel like I have known them forever. Yet, we have never met in person. I am a faithful follower of your site, because I trust you. When I first found your site, I felt your writing style exuded sincerity, with authority. I must say that every professional relationship I have developed online has come as a result of following your advice and reaching out to others in a meaningful way. Thanks for what you do. I hope to be found sincere by others as I continue to muddle through to get it right. Ta ta

  4. Twitter I’m still figuring out, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. I was so negative about it to begin with, because I thought it was vacuous tripe, but I think now that people are starting to harness its networking potential so it’s not quite the teenage-girl verbal diarrhoea it used to be.

    Facebook I keep personal – though as I, and my friends, grow up, people are starting to develop careers and their own businesses, so maybe one day someone will remember what I do and come to me.

    I also have trouble finding the time to keep up with all these sites. There are only so many hours in the day, and I need to do real work for at least some of them!

  5. GESKLIN says:

    Hi Deborah,
    I share Debora and Rupa’s view of social network. Honestly, I thought of twitter or FB as a medium for strangers to invade one’s privacy. But reading your blog gives me a broader understanding of how those social networks can be used to a wider range of business opportunity and also discover new ways of doing things.
    Thank you Deb

  6. Thank you for writing this blog. I found it, while searching to find out if my whole thinking of freelance writing is wrong.
    I have a friend who is very old school. He wrote me to tell me that I cannot build relationships online, in order to market my writing business. His business is corporate law, so, yes, his business will be more personal, while mine can reach worldwide.

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