9 Ideas for Sending Networking Messages on LinkedIn as a Freelance Editor
As a self-employed editor, you are constantly growing your network. On a daily basis, you have multiple occasions to start a conversation with a new colleague. You may be more selective or you may prefer to connect broadly, to have access to a specific connection later on as needed.
Since you only get one chance to make a first impression, it is worth taking the time to express how you found the person and why you want to connect. It is also important to maintain connections by getting in touch every two to three months.
Here are some ideas on when to invite your colleagues to connect with you on LinkedIn.
1. You attended or want to attend an event (e.g., conference, webinar, or book launch).
You may have heard a colleague present. Or, you may be about to attend a conference and want to connect prior to the event or ask questions about it.
If you are writing after the event, mention one or two key points that resonated with you. Tell the person why you are connecting, as a door opener for subsequent conversations. If you are writing to ask a question before the event, it is fine to put the question in your invitation to connect, or simply hint that you are connecting to ask some questions.
Your message may look like this:
“Hello Ann, I was reviewing the XYZ conference schedule and saw that you’re presenting. I’d love to connect and follow your updates here on LinkedIn. I’m attending the virtual portion this year, and I look forward to what’s coming in 2024.”
“Hello Ann, I recently attended your webinar on XYZ. I specialize in editing art history, and it was particularly useful to learn about plain language for museum contexts. Thank you for that. I’d love to connect and follow your updates on LinkedIn.”
2. You read a colleague’s work (e.g., book, podcast, or article in an industry publication).
Reading industry and association publications is the best way to find out about your colleagues’ specializations or industry trends. Every time you discover an interesting resource, let the author know that you liked it and why. How was their work useful to you? Did they help you move forward in some way? Did they offer an innovative approach to your area of expertise? Anyone who creates content is pleased to hear about its impact. You can also start more specific conversations with these authors as needed.
“Hello Mr. Ginna, I am reading your book What Editors Do, and I wanted to thank you for it. The chapters on acquisition editing gave me a wealth of information for potential career decisions. I have been looking for these answers and I was glad to see them collected in one book. I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn!”
3. You have recently joined an association.
When you join an association, make the best use of your membership. Introduce yourself to other members and leaders, review the member directory, read the website, and attend networking events. Mention your specializations and ask what you can contribute to the organization.
“Hello Ann, I’m also a member of XYZ association, and I just attended my first welcome session via Zoom. It was great to learn about the committee and your roles in the organization. I’d love to connect with you and eventually contribute through association activities.”
4. You worked on a book or a project in a specific area of study and want to connect with people who work in the same area.
“Hello Ann, I’d like to connect with you. I recently translated this book of oral history on the genocide in Ukraine in the 1930s [include a URL]. I’d love to follow your updates on genocide studies.”
5. You are considering applying to XYZ company and want to talk to past employees.
Past employees have more freedom to give you honest feedback about the company where they worked. You may be curious about the company culture or compensation. In your introductory message, you can let them know that you have a few questions. If they accept, rather than writing all your questions right away, try to show them that you have done some research. Summarize what you found out and ask, “Is this accurate?” or “Was this similar in your experience?”
6. You applied to a company and want to follow up with a hiring manager.
LinkedIn is a great tool for following up on job applications. Identify a hiring manager, your potential supervisor, or an executive, and reach out to let them know that you are still available and interested in their organization. Treat the follow-up as an opportunity to offer additional information to make their selection process easier. You can offer to send your references or samples, or provide your phone number so they can call you at their convenience.
7. You want to spread the word about your aspirations.
I hope you do! Some niches are harder to enter than others. Some are more welcoming. Sometimes your regular workload will occupy you for months, keeping you from actively pursuing your passion. Connect with the people who are currently doing the work you want to do, and simply let them know what you do now and what you aspire to do. After they accept your invitation, you may be able to ask for an informal conversation to find out about how they got started.
8. You want to connect with reliable colleagues you can refer your clients to.
Your clients sometimes ask if you provide a certain service that is not part of your scope. Identify several colleagues with whom you could partner. Schedule introductory calls and keep their names and specializations in your notes. They may appreciate learning about your work and start referring clients to you.
“Hello Ann, I’m an executive résumé writer. My clients occasionally want to work with an interview coach, but this is not a service I provide. I’d love to connect and schedule a short call with you so I could potentially send them your way in the future. Thank you!”
9. You are considering professional development options.
Identify program directors and graduates and reach out. Tell them that you are in the process of selecting a certificate program or course and would love to connect to ask some questions.
“Hello Jill, I’m a graduate of CSU (literature), and I’m considering applying to the Denver Publishing Institute in a year or two. I’d love to connect with you on this platform. Thank you!”
These are just some of the situations where you can reach out. Your daily workflow may suggest other ways to connect. When your invitation is accepted, you may want to follow up with more details about how you learned about the person’s work and what makes it interesting to you. A lot of us use LinkedIn on our phones, and conversations can be easily overlooked at busy times. Don’t feel discouraged. Keep adding new connections so that you can learn about their news from your LinkedIn feed, or reach out via private messages when you have a topic to discuss.
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