Who doesn’t want more friends? I’m talking real, genuine connections—not just growing numbers on your list of fans and followers.
In this world of scanners and slashers, creatives and dreamers, you’ll take all the support and companionship you can get. But sometimes finding it is harder than you’d like. You shout into the ether all day long and hear nothing back, then wonder why you’re trying at all.
Here’s the trick: You’ve got to stop shouting.
To truly be noticed in the growing pool of creatives all trying to stand out, you’ve got to give before you can receive.
It’s very simple: Build your network by being generous.
Not “offer your blog readers a free ebook for subscribing to your newsletter” generous. It’s even simpler than that. Give them the simplest, most valuable gift of all: share their work.
One of the most valuable things you can offer to any budding artist/creative/entrepreneur is publicity. And, it’s free for you. Share a link on your blog or social networks to their website, blog, book, course, album or Etsy store. Mention their Twitter handle or tag them on Facebook to help your followers find them. Refer them to a client looking for the services they offer.
Beyond making friends, keep your business hat on and remember the value of networking to your budding creative career. Share the work of an artist you’d like to get to know better and send them a quick note to let them know you support them. Tell them about your simple gesture in the email—it’s the closest you’ll come to wrapping your little gift!
Here are 10 ways to get noticed by being generous:
1. Mention a follower and link to their work on Twitter.
2. Share a friend’s link, photo or event on Facebook.
3. Add a review for a book you just read to Goodreads and/or Amazon. Find the author’s Twitter handle and include it in a tweet that lets your followers know your rating.
4. Take a picture of the awesome arts or crafts you buy on Etsy and pin them to your boards on Pinterest with a link back to the artist’s store.
5. If you’re a writer with the right connections, give local artists press in your local publications or online. Remember to send them a quick email or Facebook message to let them know about it in case it escapes their Google alerts.
6. If you don’t have press connections, send in a tip about their work to local or online press. Next time you compliment their work, casually add, “I’d love to see you get more attention; I even mentioned you to [the local news].”
7. Email a friend with a recommendation of your mentor’s product, website or information and ask them to mention your referral if they check it out.
8. Refer a creative contact to a client seeking the services they offer.
9. If you have an assistant, intern or apprentice, endorse them or offer a recommendation on LinkedIn.
10. Tell a friend at a party, meeting or networking event about the products or services of an artist you respect. Offer to follow up with an email with a link to their website. If it’s appropriate, include both your friend and the artist in the email, saying something like, “Jerry, here’s a link to the website I told you about Friday. I’ve cc’d Angela, the painter, so you two can get connected.”
How can you leverage your influence or connections to help creatives you know and grow your network?
Dana Sitar is a freelance blogger and indie author of “A Writer’s Bucket List: 99 things to do for inspiration, education, and experience before your writing kicks the bucket.” She shares resources, tips and tools for writers in search of a path through DIY Writing and on Twitter @danasitar.