Monday, September 19, 2022

Connect with Readers Through These Follow-Up Strategies for Writing and Marketing Success (Part 1)

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

In the sales world and probably many other areas, 80% of opportunities are lost due to lack of follow up. The writing industry is very relationship based, so it’s vital to cultivate connections. 

We meet people in all sorts of places. They can be potential readers, connectors, or industry professionals. On a plane trip recently, I met a Christian woman who loves reading. I gave her names of authors she might enjoy. Then she shared some difficulties, and I realized I had a book from a friend in my bag. I gave it to her. She emailed when she got home to thank me, and we agreed to pray for one another. That’s a new connection that could blossom into a friendship, or even a fan.

Basic Communication Strategies

A plan of action to follow through plus good habits make it easier to effectively engage with others and build relationships. These include good timing, adding value to conversations, and great listening skills.

Everyone you meet is a potential connection to grow your network, readers, and relationships. Start with a simple introduction and asking the other person questions. Through questions seek to find out the individual’s passions, interests, and goals, plus communication preferences. See where your own interests intersect to build a relationship. Ask if you can follow up and the best time and way to connect.

Try to connect as soon as possible after meeting someone and getting their contact information. Friend them on social media and add a comment, or email to let the individuals know you enjoyed meeting them. When you get a business card or enter the person into your data base, add a note about what you discussed or an interest the person expressed. Continue to follow up with holiday greetings or news they may need.

When you connect, add value to cultivate the relationship and trust. Show respect while offering tips, feedback, or something of value related to your books in response to their needs or interests. I recently attended a retail show and offered store owners and managers an activity for the children who come to the store. They know the parents who shop at their stores appreciate people who notice their children, or occupy their little ones with something to do to make shopping easier.

Organization for Follow Up

It’s easier to follow up if you have a system. It might be as easy as adding a note to your calendar to schedule times to send notes, email new connections, or follow up on submissions to editor. Some follow up can be scheduled out, such as a friendly note to send several weeks after sending a submission.

Keep contacts organized. Transfer cards to an online place, such as Camcard, where you can sort them into groups and find them by the group or name. Build a list or spread sheet of important contacts. I built spread sheets for various groups including media, retailers, and launch team volunteers. I pray over the lists, for the individuals listed, and for the businesses and careers in which they are involved.

Set goals and follow up on them. That helps build good follow up habits. When I received some great awards and posted about it, I had hundreds of people post comments. I set aside time that day to follow up respond. For people I did not know well, I clicked through to their page and read a little. That way I could make a comment, offer to pray for a need, or congratulate them on an accomplishment they posted. That sparked a number of conversations. I will return to that post and follow up again in a week or two. Those interactions build new friends or add to relationships made in the past.

John C. Maxwell said, “Diligent follow-up and follow-through will set you apart from the crowd and communicate excellence.” It brings you to a higher level of professionalism, and also brings more success. If you truly want to reach more people with what God has put on your heart, then make the most of every contact to build relationships.


Karen Whiting (WWW.KARENWHITING.COM) is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-seven books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, The Gift of Bread: Recipes for the Heart and the Table reflects her passion for bread and growing up helping at her grandparent’s restaurant. Check out her newest book Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love from Mothers Past, Present, and Future. It's full of heartwarming and teary-eyed stories of moms.

Karen has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than eight hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Crosswalk. Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting Pinterest KarenWhiting FB KarenHWhiting.

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