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Attention writers: networking isn’t your enemy.

We know it can feel like that sometimes. If you’re an introvert like us, putting yourself out there can be scary. {We’ve psyched ourselves up for more video calls this past year than we’ve probably done in the rest of our lives.}

But as much as you might view content creation as a solitary job, relationships can still make or break your career. And you don’t build relationships by never putting yourself out there.

So today, let’s talk about networking and relationship building as a content creator, from the steps you can take to develop relationships to why they’re so important in the first place.


Content Creation Isn’t A {Totally} Solitary Job

If you work as a freelance writer or content creator, you spend most of your time alone. Even if you work as part of an agency or team, the actual act of creating tends to be a pretty solitary one. {And hey, that might be one of the things you love about the job!}

But professional content creation is never a 100% one-person-show. Like any other done-for-you service, you’re actually working with some very important other people: your clients.

The problem is, you’re so used to writing away on your own little island of one… sometimes you might forget to give them the attention they need. Maybe you forget to send that check-in email. Or you don’t remember to follow up months later. And instead of building lasting relationships with your clients, you let them slip in and out of your life without a second thought.


A network of connected dots


Building Client Relationships As A Writer

In a lot of ways, running a business is about your bottom line. You need money to live, and you need clients to make money.

But to bring in {and retain!} those clients, you need to build real relationships with them. And delivering great copy to someone, only to never speak to them again, isn’t going to cut it.

Instead, here are some ways you can actively work to maintain relationships with your clients.


1. Reach out first.

The biggest, most important step in relationship building? Reach out! How is anyone going to know you want that relationship if you don’t say so?

Remember, you can’t control the response, but you can control the invitation. If you’re not reaching out and putting yourself on people’s minds, they’re not going to think about you. So do your part to make sure you stay top of mind!

See how you can help them. It’s not just about securing them as a client. It’s about being of genuine service to them. Maybe there’s a referral you can make for them. Or you can just check in to see how their adorable pup is.


2. Follow up.

So, you reached out… and you didn’t get an answer. Maybe they’re really not interested, and you’re never gonna get one.

But don’t run and hide under the covers just yet—maybe they’re just busy!

We all have a million things going on in our lives demanding our attention. {And come on, you’ve forgotten to answer an email before, right?} Give them the benefit of the doubt, instead of taking their inbox overload as your personal rejection letter.


3. Find the right audience.

Building a network doesn’t mean you’re networking with everyone. Narrow your niche so you find the right audience for your work. Do you create certain kinds of content, like social posts or website copy? Do you work in a certain industry, like healthcare or entertainment? Do you want to work with clients who uphold certain values? Answering these questions can help you focus on building relationships that best fit your work.

Remember, networking doesn’t have to feel icky. If you’re truly focused on building lasting relationships, selling yourself won’t seem so uncomfortable.


A person standing on a mountain peak


Refer Your Way To The Top

So you’re working on your relationship building. Great! Have you taken the next step to build a referral network? Essentially, this involves you maintaining relationships with people who may or may not hire you, but they’re likely to recommend other people in their network hire you.


Past clients

This is where all those follow-ups and check-ins pay off! Say a client hires you to rewrite their website copy. You finish the project, and they love your work… but it’s not like they’re going to need to redo their website again next month.

You might instinctively consider this a one-and-done project, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you maintain a relationship with this client, they might ask you to write social posts in the future. Or they might hear a friend needs their website redone, and recommend you for the job. If your past clients love your work, they’re your #1 resource for landing both new jobs and repeat business.


Adjacent jobs

To extend your referral network even further, you can expand your relationships to people working adjacent jobs that complement yours. For instance, if you’re a freelance writer who mostly works in web copy, try adding some web designers to your referral network. Then, when they land a design job, they can recommend you to update the client’s copy. {And vice versa!}

Building out a referral network is a great way to create a safety net for your writing business. Your referral relationships can cut down the time you spend searching for new projects, and help you reach new clients you wouldn’t have contacted on your own. That means more jobs {and money!} for you, and less time and effort exhausted to find them.


Why Making The Connection Is Worth It

Look, maintaining relationships is work. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing; you have to actively put in the time to build them up.

But you know what’s even more time and more work? Relying exclusively on complete strangers to determine your income. Because if you don’t have existing relationships to fall back on, that’s what you’re doing: spinning the wheel each time you need a new project, hoping you get lucky.

Pretty much all our major business successes at North Star can be traced back to nurturing key relationships, so we know firsthand the power relationship building has for writers and creators. Beyond helping you generate a more reliable, consistent income, it reduces your stress and just generally makes your job more enjoyable. Plus, you get to work with amazing clients.

Because at the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather have clients you know and love, who value your work and want to see you succeed?


Want to learn more about networking as a content creator? Check out episodes 18 and 19 of the Brand Your Voice podcast!

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