How social media sparks relationships and content
In our interview for “Blogging About Sensitive Topics,” Victoria Tomlinson of Northern Lights PR noted that “people don’t create relationships with faceless corporates; they do with a named and pictured individual.”
In her email to me, she added: “I was thinking Linda – you did brilliantly engaging with me online so that when I saw an email from you I opened it as you had built a small relationship with me – and here I am now answering at length!”
That was no accident, Victoria! While I didn’t have the specific goal in mind of interviewing you for my blog or being featured in your blog as I am today, I definitely made a deliberate choice to reach out to you.
Six steps to build relationships
Here are the six steps I take to build relationships with accomplished professionals in my industry, and how this leads to fresh content for my blog:
1. Discover new voices – When I browse online I’m looking for two broad categories of information. First are the topics my ideal clients are interested in, and next are insights about my industry I can use to improve my services and stay up to date.
Since I work with wellness practitioners, one place I look is the LinkedIn Healthcare channel. That’s where I saw Victoria’s post about whether a doctor or director should be allowed to tweet their personal views.
2. Monitor activity – I immediately liked the post and followed Victoria’s LinkedIn blog, but I also scheduled regular times to manually check her LinkedIn activity stream to catch any new content she has posted, commented on, or shared.
3. Show appreciation – On one particular day, Victoria had shared a link to a guest post she had written for PRiME Women (where she suggested that blogging is ideal for sensitive businesses).
I shared the post with my own networks on LinkedIn and Twitter, being sure to tag Victoria’s name. I also added my own positive comment about why I valued what she’d written.
4. Reach out – When I emailed Victoria through the Northern Lights website to ask if she wanted to collaborate with me, she noted in her reply that she recognized my name from my LinkedIn share, and she was very receptive to my idea.
5. Follow up – As is often the case, connecting with Victoria led to another connection. She introduced me to Dorthy Miller Shore, board chair and editor-in-chief for PRiME Women, who is actively looking for contributing writers for her site.
I responded quickly, followed up by meeting with Dorthy, and now we have a plan in place for me to start guest posting for PRiME Women.
6. Keep in touch – Using Wunderlist, I have a recurring task to check back in with Victoria and my other key contacts so we can build on what we’ve started. I will continue to monitor her updates and watch for opportunities to share her wonderful work and collaborate further.
Write first, connect later
If you don’t get a response when you reach out to someone, or you already have your own complete take on the topic, go ahead and write the post yourself. I call this writing a curated post, one that builds on someone else’s content.
Then, reach out again by email and on social media to let the person know you mentioned them. The point is not to ask them for anything, but to show your appreciation and spark a relationship. From there, proceed with the steps above.
As a side benefit, your new contact may indeed decide to share a link to your post with their networks. And the next time you reach out, you will no longer be a stranger.
Linda Dessau is the founder of Content Mastery Guide, where she helps wellness clinics and their practitioners attract new clients with a great clinic blog. She provides blog writing, blog editing, blog training, and blog management, so you get all the benefits of blogging with none of the headaches. She lives in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.