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How To Write An Article Online: Importance of Networking

How to write an article online: the importance of networking is the last in the series of A Blogger's Books' popular How to Write An Article series. As you know, this series was designed to help writers and bloggers improve their skill. It's especially useful for new writers and bloggers, but because it deals with online article writing, it brings insight to older, more matured writers, helping them adapt and modernise their writing to fit in with today's article writing requirements. This last article in the series deals with the importance of networking for writers. The rest of the series can be found and bookmarked here: 
How to write an article online

how_to_write_an-article

How to write an article online - 5: the importance of networking with other writers
The first question we need to clear up is this one. Why have online writing friends? Why do I need friends if all I’m doing is sharing my work with the public?
Well, if all you want to do is see your work published on the web, and have no interest in having anyone read it, you don't have to have writing friends.  If writing articles online is just a hobby (you have a right to do this) and you just like seeing your creativity displayed on the Internet scene, you do not need to add friends and network.

However, if you're working towards becoming a serious writer online, who earns a portion of your income from your content, one of the first thing you have to do when you sign up with any online publishing sites that pay is to look for some friends who share the same interests as you do.

How to write an article online; how can networking help me?
Your friends are the first people who'll read your work when it’s published and shared. If they have you on their list of friends, anything you publish will immediately show up on their dashboard/ community page on most content writing sites. Even if all you have is a blog, people who’ve subscribed to your blog will be notified every time you post something new. If you're starting out as a blogger or writer online, this could be your life line when it comes to building up your confidence. 

Many potential clients (and even publishing houses) ask you about your writing platform. They want to know how many people you know and how many people you interact with on a daily basis. I'm communicating with a publisher at the moment and one of the things they asked me is to list how many friends I have on my social networking sites. Years ago a platform was about how many articles or books you've already published. Today, a writing platform is about how many people you know in social media, forums, writing sites, blogging etc. 

Online friends you network with regularly will usually leave you feedback - an ingredient every writer needs to soothe the inherent ego which exists inside everyone who creates. If there is something amiss, a good friend will let you know about it and may even suggest ways to edit or change the content. I know I've benefited from free editing from my network of online friends. I've often done the same for others. Your network are the people who freely share your articles with the rest of the world where it’s viewed by hundreds of thousands of potential clients. Remember that your network have friends you don't, and no matter how popular you are, you don't know everyone they do. Your network have friends - your potential fans - who are looking for work that’s been already read, vetted and recommended by people they know and trust. A writer cannot afford to be an island in today's online writing climate. 

Do I still need friends if I write outstanding articles
A writer needs a healthy network of online friends, especially if you create fantastic articles. How else is the world going to know about your amazing talent? So your writing is superior and all your articles flawless. However, this is also true of  literally thousands of other people writing about the same things as you are. You have to ensure you have the ingredient to tip the scales in your favour. Your network of online friends are the ones who will place yours where the right people can see them. You cannot and should not do it all, because sadly, this makes you a spammer, someone with whom no one wants to be associated. 

So, how does a writer make friends online
The worst way to make friends and network is to stuff your articles in bulk on your social networking sites. It's a good idea to also share other people's work and take an interest in them. The best way to make a friend is to continually seek out the work of people you genuinely like, and show an interest in it. People are generally wiser than we think. Showing an interest once is like saying to the person, “Look, I want you to be my friend, because you’re popular, but I’m not really interested in you. I’m going to comment on a handful of your work. There, I’ve done my bit, now over to you.” The popular people have already put in their hard graft for years, they have a right to be where they are. You can expect to have to do the same and battle through until you find a place you like and are comfortable.
Here are three high-rated writing forums you may like to join: Absolute writewriters forum, creative writing forum

With whom does a writer make friends
The last thing you want to do is to make friends with the entire writing community and join every social networking site there is. You’ll be informed each time every one of them posts something new and be so overwhelmed, you won't be able to keep up with writing- the most important thing to you.  Most sites have subject/topic divisions. Make friends with the people who publish the same things as you do. If you're on twitter or Facebook, do a keyword search to find like-minds. If someone is a popular writer on SEO topics, they may have no interest in someone who publishes poetry, for example. You'll be wasting your time following them. Choose someone who is most likely to want to read the type of articles you write. Treasure your time and network wisely. A barrel of friends within your network does not mean a barrel of reads.

What can I do for my network of writing friends
This, my friend; this, is the most important part of the topic. So, you’ve made friends with one of the popular writers in your niche. What next? It's important to read, comment and promote their work. If they see you doing this they may do the same for you (they don't always return the favour, but in that case you can move your kindness elsewhere - where it's appreciated :-)
Always keep in mind that your promotion of their stuff, does very little for them because people do not yet know who you are. However, their Goliath promotion your articles works in your favour a hundred times over. This is a fact that they are fully aware of, so savour it.
Be smart and progressive with this. Don’t be afraid to 'un-friend' anyone who’s no longer active or who seems not to be interested in your work any more. Life is short and the time writers spend on the Internet is very limited.

How to write an article online: make your work and superior 
“Hang on,” you say, “What does this have to do with making a network of writing friends. Have you lost your marbles on this one?”
The answer is, no, I haven’t. My marbles have been gone for ages :-) Seriously, though, I don’t want to make friends with people whose work I’m ashamed of. Have you disassociated yourself from articles posted on your wall because you were a bit embarrassed of passing them on to your friends? In addition to this, I want to be certain that if there's an error in something I’m promoting, I can write to my online friend and suggest a change, and she/he will know exactly where I’m coming from. I’ve respectfully suggested grammar corrections to writers in the past, only to find out they thought I was being nasty. Others on the other hand, have been most gracious.

Us fallible writers know that everyone has typos because it's very difficult to edit your own work. The difference between someone who knows their stuff and someone who doesn’t, is the way they behave when you point their mistakes out. Popular writers - and more importantly - those potential clients you want to attract, won't look at your work if you're happy with substandard stuff from others. This is why, for the sake of everyone, let's all strive to write better articles online.Something to think about: if the work is rubbish, don't leave comments saying it's great. What does that tell the public about your taste?


Online writing friends make useful and cheap editors
Professional/semi professional career writers know how expensive and difficult it is to get a good editor to give your work the once over. If you’ve ever written a book of more than 90,000 (or a magazine article of 2,000) words, you know that it’s impossible to edit your own work. If you’re lucky enough to have met a friend in your network circle who's willing to point out flaws, you’ve hooked yourself an instant, cheap editor on your side. Use them.

If you've written articles online for a while you'll understand that a person can't tell you what doesn’t work in your article, unless he/she has actually taken time off to read the work you slaved on. Be thankful on the rare occasions this happens, consider the suggestions seriously and edit if need be. It’s better to have the mistake (or correction that will make your work stand out) taken care of after ten people have seen it, rather than be judged as a crappy writer by the thousands of people you hope will eventually read it. This makes perfect sense, so I never allow my ego to trick me into believing it’s not. The first time you say to someone who’s offered you constructive editing advice, ‘I like it just how it is, because it’s me.’ Is the last time you get any help from them.

Writing articles online successfully comes with lots of unwritten laws. Many of us have had to learn them the hard way, over years of grafting and research. Making friends is just as important as producing superior and helpful articles. They both go the full mile in getting you noticed.

In closing:  publishers and potential clients want to know that you come with good baggage. Many of them don't want to build you up from scratch (I suppose you can say they're a bit lazy). They want to feed off your already established platform/circle of friends/support system. (If those people are reading this, sorry, but  you know it's true). Build your network from scratch yourself because for success as a writer, it's just as important as being able to write well!

Revision - How to write an article online: importance of networking
  1. If I’m serious about making it as an article writer, I cannot do it on my own.
  2. My network of online friends are the ones who first read and vet my articles before they go out into the world.
  3. Creating fantastic content does not necessarily mean they will find their way to the top of the Internet slush pile.
  4. Trying to network the wrong (and selfish) way can hinder my chances at being great, and can place me in the circuit of the spammer.
  5. Making friends with everyone I come across is not ideal. I’ve got to build my network carefully and wisely.
  6. Making friends is just as important as keeping them.
  7. Good, intelligent friends will sometimes offer suggestions for edit before the work goes out to thousands of people who will judge me harshly for mistakes.


3 comments:

Dr Erhumu February 24, 2012 at 10:15 AM  

Yes, its truly discouraging to continuosly comment on an established writer's blog without any reciprocal acknowledgement just because they can now do without you. Thanks for the tips and the links.

Icy BC February 24, 2012 at 10:41 AM  

Networking is just as important as having a great article, and generosity in sharing your friend's work go way beyond.

However, finding a faithful group of generous friends will take time to build.

Anne Lyken-Garner February 24, 2012 at 2:21 PM  

Definitely, Icy. As we know, it's very hard to build up that community, isn't it? But when you find those people, you've got a friend for life.

DR. E. You've got to hang in there. It'll happen in time.

Anne's a published author, freelance writer and experienced editor. She's just signed her second publishing contract this year with 2 separate publishing houses. You can hire her or see her available books in the side panel on the right.
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