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I believe the cornerstone of marketing today is a relationship built on trust.
That trust can be based on incredible customer focus, which explains why we buy from Amazon so much. But for personal brands like you and I as authors, it is based on connection with people on a personal level. Today, Monica Carter Tagore explains how to build those connections and I can tell you that this is exactly how I have built my platform over the last 4 years.
Social media encourages us to amass the largest followings, but building a smart writing business isn’t about collecting the most people. It’s about connecting with the most.
Connecting with contacts turns you from simply a name on a friends list or mailing list, to a relationship. And it’s the relationship that actually makes things happen. Relationships mean help requests get answered, favors get performed, and partnerships come together. And for authors, they mean promotional campaigns get built.
If you are a freelance writer, author, blogger, or other content producer, relationships can help you grow your business. Relationships multiply your efforts because they mean you can enlist the help and support of others who also want to see you succeed.
So how do you turn contacts into connections that become relationships?
(1) Be authentic
It’s tempting to try to hide who you really are in some vain attempt to pretend to be someone else or blend in so you don’t upset anyone. But hiding who you are doesn’t do much for making you stand out to your contacts, in the long run. Try this instead. Go for authenticity. Share who you really are in your social media updates, blog posts, and other marketing activities. This doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone about that embarrassing thing you did in grade school. But it does mean speaking in your voice when you communicate, and not in some watered down attempt at pretending to be someone else.
Your authenticity will resonate with your contacts and make them remember you. And those who truly identify with your message — what you are actually saying, the story you are telling, and the way you tell it — will connect with you. They will respond to your emails, retweet your posts, visit your blog. They will come back again and again. Looking for you.
And brings us to …
(2) Tell a story
What makes your writing business different from the next one?
It’s the story. What is your story? What's the story of your business?
Examine your personal story and see how it can connect you to your audience. Did you come to this line of work because of a particular cause or experience? Do you write a certain type of book or about a certain issue because of something that happened in your past? Have you learned from a certain experience a lesson that can help others?
Telling your story may be about sharing your hopes, goals, and dreams in the context of your writing business. Sometimes this can be shared in the About page of your company’s website. Sometimes it can be shared in a blog post. Oftentimes, it is shared in a variety of ways — your blog posts, your speaking, your creative projects. Joanna tells a story with authenticity when she shares her hopes for the year. She tells us of her hope to land a book deal for her new crime fiction, get speaking engagements, as well as some other goals.
Make your writing business or book about more than the writing and the book. Make it about the story.
Tell a compelling story, and you’ll have clients and readers who identify with what you say, maybe because they have had a similar experience. Your shared experience will be the basis of your relationship. In some instances, that connection can be so strong that your readers will seek to become ambassadors or advocates for you, telling their friends, family, and contacts about you and your work because they identify so strongly.
(3) Help others before you need help
If you are a freelance writer looking to grow your writing business, or you are an author looking to grow your audience, then why not help others do the same? Are there writers in your community, on your friends list, or on your mailing list who need help?
If you see someone tweet a question and you have the answer, then reply with the answer. Or if you see another author on social media working to promote her work, then why not lend a hand? Retweet the link to your followers or share a post on Facebook.
Your generosity will likely be noticed. This author will see the way you’ve extended yourself to help and may drop you a thank you note or retweet. This exchange can be the beginning of a new relationship. I’ve become friends with authors that I’ve not actually met in person. All because one of us reached out to help the other.
Maybe you two decide to do cross promotion, where you each share with your readers news about the other. Or maybe you two decide to team up for some other effort that can help both of you — anything from producing an ebook together to splitting the cost to attend a conference to sharing industry contacts. When you turn a person from a contact into a connection, you open the possibility of a relationship as you two get more familiar with and trusting of each other.
Whether you have a large social media following or a small one, you can use these tips to build a more intimate connection with those who follow you, or those you follow. A few, deep connections that turn into relationships can help you grow your writing career.
Have you found connections have helped your writing career or book marketing? Please leave your comments below as this is an important topic.
She helps freelancers, solopreneurs, organizations, and others turn contacts into connections for meaningful relationships that grow their businesses and organizations and create impact. Learn more about her at www.monicacartertagore.com. Or visit her business of writing blog at www.writersliving.com. Follow her on Twitter @monicatagore.