Top Approaches To Expanding Your Professional Network

 It has never been more important to expand your professional network. Whether it’s for new job opportunities, career advancement, gaining new clients or simply growing your professional platform, gaining new contacts in your field are extremely important for long term career success. 

Here are some ways you can expand your network in natural and meaningful ways. 

Attend Networking Events

Most cities, even small towns, have various networking events that you can attend. The best place to start is with your local chamber of commerce. They often have cocktail hours that you can attend. 

Also, check out local or regional chapters of national organizations in your field. For example, if you are a training professional, you can look up your local chapter of Association for Talent Development (ASTD). They have meet and greets and chapter meetings on a monthly basis that you can attend to expand your network. 

Trade Shows and Conferences

Another great source for industry contacts is at trade shows and conferences. These are places where everyone attending is interested in expanding their professional network. 

Most of these events have time specifically allotted for networking to happen. It’s usually a cocktail hour, breakfast event or even a fun activity scheduled in order to rub elbows with other people in your industry. 

Online Professional Networking

The internet is also a great place to expand your network. If you haven’t already, you should setup a LinkedIn account and work on creating a professional and attractive profile. 

Then start adding your current professional contacts. Once the people you already know have connected, then you can start connecting with their contacts. 

Spend 5-10 each day and add 10-20 contacts in your immediate network. LinkedIn is great in that it shows you who is 2nd or 3rd degree separated from you. Focus on the 2nd level contacts and you’ll have a large network of professionals you can tap on when you need them. 

Be a Connector

Another great way to expand your network is by connecting people who should meet. Although it doesn’t expand YOUR immediate network, the next time those two people think of you, they will connect you to others in the same way. 

It’s a way to invest and add value to your current network so that they will do the same in the future. Don’t underestimate the power of a good deed to expand your professional network and advance your career. 

Be Awesome At What You Do

One of the most powerful ways to expand your network is by producing excellent results for your clients and colleagues. If you’re really good at what you do and you treat those in your network with respect and outstanding service, they will recommend and refer you whenever a need for your skills comes up. 

People are usually enthusiastic and excited about referring those who have served them well in the past. Word of mouth, organic marketing is the best way to expand your network. 

Never Eat Alone

Okay, this may seem extreme, but get the gist of the idea here. Your meal times are a great opportunity to connect with people. 

Next time, instead of eating alone at your desk or going through the fast food drive thru, think about someone you don’t know well who you could eat with. At the end of the meal, after you have thanked them for whatever value they added to you and the time they gave you, ask them, “who else should I meet?”. More times than not, they will think of 2-3 names to refer you to. 

These are some of the best ways I’ve found to expand my network. Having a strong professional network is one of the keys to long term success. Hope this helped and good luck out there!

How To Make Your Writing Stand Out in 2019

 2019 is going to be a great year for writers on the Internet, with new opportunities, and new ways to reach lucrative clients. However, with new opportunities comes new competition, and the space of online writing is becoming more crowded than ever. Whether you’re writing for your own blog/web property, or taking on contract work as a freelancer, learning how to make your writing stand out will give you a massive edge over the competition. 

Know Your Audience

As a writer you have to remember that above all else, you’re writing for the reader. This of course means that knowing your audience, and speaking to them in their language will get you much further than just being knowledgeable about the subject matter. By making the reader feel like you are one of them, you not only gain their trust, but also present yourself as an authority in your niche/industry. 

Know Your Goals (Or Your Client’s Goals)

When you write, you’re writing for a reason. Is it to add value to your blog and increase engagement among your mailing list? Is it to help your client sell products? Or is it to get people to visit your online store? In any case, identify your goals, and then write in a way that works towards those goals. 

Develop Your Own Voice

This applies more to scenarios when you’re writing for yourself, as when you write for a client they will dictate the style you use in many cases. Developing your own voice is essentially a form of branding, allowing your writing to become instantly recognizable. This again will help you to build trust, authority, and respect within your niche/industry. If you’re having trouble understanding what makes your style unique, read back over your old documents and find the similarities within them. 

Use a Bio and Profile Pic

While most online writers know that using a bio at the end of posts is a must, many neglect to include a profile picture. Having a picture of yourself in your bio allows readers to instantly connect your writing with a face, improving your branding ,and helping them to develop a familiarity with your work. If you’re a freelancer, having an attractive profile pic in the footer of your emails, or on your profile on online work sites, will help you land more clients. 

Specialize

This falls more on the freelance side of things, but can be applicable to bloggers and other writers as well. The more you specialize your writing, the more you become recognized as an expert in that area. For example, if you’re a freelancer you could specialize in writing emails, whereas if you’re a blogger, you could specialize in writing about pets. There are a lot of ways to specialize so find your passion, and go for it. 

Formatting Your Text

How you format your writing can be a great way to make your work stand out. You can play around with everything from your headers, to how you use bullet points and highlighting. There are a ton of ways to format your writing while still maintaining best practices, so get creative and make your work stand out with a consistent, recognizable formatting style. 

Getting the Most Out of Your Writing

Writing online can be great for both fun and profit. Regardless of how you choose to make your writing stand out in 2019, make sure that you don’t forget to set concrete goals for yourself and continue to work towards those goals. Also, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Writing is an excellent way to calm the mind, relax, and express yourself. If you take the time to enjoy it, your unique voice and style will be sure to come through in your work.