Publish or Perish

Many people think of publishing articles as “publicity”, but not as “networking”. Keep in mind, though, that the three key aspects to increasing the value of your network are the number of connections, credibility, and intimacy (see Make Your Business Click: How to Value and Grow Your Business Relationships Online). Publishing articles dramatically increases both your exposure and your credibility, making it a great networking tool.

If you’ve never written before, you may want to get your feet wet with some local publications or newsletters first, or perhaps by publishing on your own web page or weblog. As you develop your topic, you can start contributing guest articles to sites and e-zines such as About.com, SmallBusiness.com, or niche sites or e-zines for your industry or interest. The beauty of publishing on the web is that you can usually get published within thirty days or less. Once you’ve refined your writing skills, developed your topic, and established some reputation and credentials, you can start looking for freelance opportunities with major publications who will pay you for your submissions.

Those major publications both reach a larger audience and increase your credibility, but that really only helps you if you receive a byline that has your contact information and a one or two line bio, and are not just listed by name. Make sure that’s specified in your contract in advance.

To start finding places to publish, you can start online with Google Directory’s Markets for Writers, which lists a variety of sites with lists of places to publish. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, or if you want a nice, large list all in one place, then check out the 2003 Writer’s Market Online. This 1,100+ page book provides a comprehensive list of both online and print markets plus a one-year subscription to the Writer’s Market web site. Or you can just subscribe to the web site for about $3 a month.

Remember, one of the main advantages of online networking is the ability to be networking 24x7x365. Getting published is one of the most effective ways to create a passive presence that’s attracting connections even when you’re not there.