Your book: the ultimate networking tool – Birds on the Blog

Your book: the ultimate networking tool

YouIn your business you have lots of different types of relationships: there are your core relationships, your existing clients and your closest social media communities and your email list, including prospective clients, past clients, and hopefully some raving fans: there are partners and suppliers, peers, network coordinators and connectors, mentors, and other contacts such as friendly journalists or people in related industries.

And then there’s a whole group of people you don’t have a relationship with right now, but you’d like to – your future clients, the rockstars in your field, Oprah, whoever, all of whom will be connected either directly or indirectly to someone in your existing network – Facebook did some research recently that showed we’re no longer separated from anyone else on the planet by 6 degrees of separation, it’s now just over 3.5 degrees of separation on average.

One of the best tools for extending that network is the book you’re writing.

How? Well,  that will depend on your wider business strategy, but here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • If you want to get speaking gigs, start introducing yourself now at networking meetings as ‘author of forthcoming book on … ’ whatever it is, identify the best-connected people and tell them you’re actively looking for speaking opportunities.
  • If you want to connect with potential clients who don’t know you yet, can you contact them to request an interview to include their case study or their opinion in the book? Most people are flattered to be asked, and it’s much more likely to get a warm reception than a simple pitch of your business.
  • If you want to connect upwards within your sector, can you approach a big name to write a foreword, or at least an endorsement? You’ve nothing to lose and again, often people are pleased to be asked.
  • If you want to build engagement in your Facebook group, say, how about posting the table of contents inviting people to comment, or to offer themselves as beta readers? You could even invite your fans and followers to become part of your launch team: in return for a free copy, they promise to post a review, post to their network, share your posts, come up with marketing ideas and generally get the word out there.

Involving your tribe in your book before publication has three big benefits: firstly, you’re far more likely to actually get the thing done if you’ve made it public. Secondly, you will build anticipation and awareness of the book so that when it’s finally published there’s a group of people ready to buy immediately and recommend it to their friends – and the more they’ve felt involved in its creation, the more true this will be. Finally, and quite simply, the more you involve your target readership in the writing of your book, the better the book will be.

But if I talk about my book before it’s finished someone will steal my ideas!

Well, crack on and get the thing written already! But also, more seriously, it doesn’t work like that: once you put the idea out there and make it your own you claim it publicly; it then becomes a risk to reputation if someone steals it and passes it off as their own. You wouldn’t take that risk, what makes you think your competitors would?

I believe the benefits of being open about your book in its early stages massively outweigh the risks. You can crowd-source ideas and examples, trigger discussions, carry out research, invite opinions and strengthen your network to build your business.

So if you’re writing a book, think about how can you use it today to grow your network. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or email me at alison@alisonjones.com!

About the Author Alison Jones

Alison is a book coach and publishing partner for businesses and organizations with something to say. She hosts the Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast.

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