The ability to network is a fundamental part of running a business. Running a business in isolation is difficult, so it helps to have expert partners and acquaintances available to share ideas with. For an online entrepreneur, the best niche experts might be located all over the world. But regardless of location, there are still a number of effective ways to build relationships that are mutually beneficial for both partners.
Write a Roundup Article
A roundup article uses crowdsourcing to generate content. Make a list of every expert in your niche, think of an interesting question, then contact each person asking them to contribute. Not everyone will respond, but you should receive a number of interesting responses. While a roundup article will provide great content for your site, it also enables you to start building relationships with a number of experts.
Create a Podcast
Podcasts are extremely popular right now, so you should think about creating one for your niche audience. In terms of networking, though, a podcast can introduce your personality to relevant experts. Getting an interview might be your priority, but you can get better results if they are tempted to contact you directly instead. Discussing important industry news and updates will be interesting to industry leaders who are passionate about their niche.
Be an Active Commenter
Every blog owner hopes for an active comment section. If you can be an asset to a blogger, they will be open to further contact. To be recognized by the blogger, make sure you read the article thoroughly, write an insightful comment, and respond to any feedback.
Interview an Expert
An interview will give you direct contact with an expert, allowing you to make an impression and promote their brand. You might not get every interview you desire, but most experts are looking for ways to promote themselves and will oblige. If you can approach them with a credible website, there is a good chance you can get some of their time.
Use Social Media
Social media is perfect for networking, particularly when people are open to communicating directly. If you find an active expert in your niche, respond to their questions or comments. By making good contributions, you will quickly be noticed.
Correct an Error
While it won’t always be an option, if you notice an error you can use it to make an introduction. Many websites have errors, whether technical, grammatical, or factual, and you can often spot them without too much digging. Send an email or social media message politely correcting this error for the expert. If the error is very minor, it might appear too pedantic, so only do this when it is genuinely helpful.
Respond to a Blog Post
Commenting on blog posts is an effective method, but the next stage would be to write your own blog response. If you can make some points that are useful or thought-provoking to the expert, you can use this to open up a dialogue. At its simplest, a response could simply quote the original posts and add a few points of your own.
Conferences are a way to actually meet in person, so the results can be hard to beat. Most conferences have time set aside for networking, allowing you to meet everyone in your niche. There might be more work involved in getting to a conference, but the networking opportunities alone can often be worth it. Best results can often be gained by creating a good impression in person, followed up with an online contact.
Buy Their Product
There is no guarantee that purchasing a product will help you network with the creator, but there are instances where it is possible. Courses where the creator is heavily involved should let you make contact, whether it is through a forum, webinar, or support desk. If you become particularly knowledgeable about the product, you could provide some valuable help, suggestions, or amendments.
By implementing these methods, networking will become far easier. One of the problems with networking is the effort it can take for no results, but these methods all involve adding value. When an expert can see that you are being helpful first, making a connection becomes a smoother process. All it really requires is a few people with a reputation to support you, with this social proof adding to your own status.