These days, many professionals, including writers, believe that being registered with LinkedIn is necessary to find success — as though prior to the existence of LinkedIn, professionals were in a quandary and struggling to find business.
However, long before LinkedIn came into existence, there were many writers who had freelance work coming out of their ears.
I’ve had a home-based editorial service (which includes LOTS of writing) for years, all without using LinkedIn.
It’s my professional opinion that LinkedIn is overrated. Furthermore, the influx of unsolicited invitations from LinkedIn has left a very sour taste in my mouth.
As the author of thousands of online articles and more print magazine articles that I can ever keep up with, not to mention scads of freelance gigs involving editing and proofreading, I just cannot fathom how any kind of LinkedIn activity could possibly benefit me.
Or anyone else, for that matter. How would I acquire more writing gigs if I were to accept an invitation? Let me guess: The invitee might one day connect me to a person who needs a writer.
However, why would the invitee bother to do this if that person is a total stranger or barely knows me through some brief e-mail correspondence several years ago? Just about every invite I’ve received is from someone I’ve never heard of.
Those invitees who are familiar, are familiar only in a fringe way, or in a non-suitable way: One of the invites was from a previous personal-training client of mine; another was from a woman whom I wrote about nearly eight years go, when she was 72 and in remission from cancer. Her web site hasn’t been updated since 2006, so I’m speculating she’s no longer with us. A few other invites have been from court reporters whose transcripts I have proofread. But the rest are from strangers.
I’ve contacted LinkedIn multiple times about the unsolicited invitations from strangers, and the LinkedIn reps kept insisting that these people knew me and wanted me in their network.
Look, I am not that popular. If I don’t know an invitee, then that person is a stranger. Period. I’m pretty good at remembering if I’ve ever had a correspondence, let alone a business relationship, with Johnetta Kingsberry or Syviah Olaczewski.
I don’t believe for a second that they are willfully inviting me, and I don’t believe for a second that my former personal-trainer client, who’d now be about 75 years old, would have intentionally invited me into her network.
It’s obvious that the unsolicited invitations from LinkedIn are the product of some mechanism in its system, either a malfunction or an intentional design on their part to get their name out there. I believe it’s intentional, which makes it impossible for me to believe that a company with this kind of intrusive self-promotion could possibly enhance my writing business.
And if this design is a malfunction, again, why would I trust a company with such an intrusive, unresolved malfunction?
I’m proud to say that I do not need LinkedIn to generate writing gigs.
I continuously have plenty of work and must even turn down work periodically. My advice to writers who believe they must be faced with having to figure out how to make LinkedIn work for them, is to just skip it.
Though there are people out there who’ve gotten writing gigs as a result of being registered with LinkedIn, this does NOT mean it’s necessary, nor does it mean that by skipping it, you’ll be doing yourself an injustice.
Why rely on networking when you can cut to the chase, avoid the middleman and bid for editorial gigs on Elance.com? If you don’t like this kind of set-up, there are numerous sites that simply list parties who are seeking writers and editors, and have direct contact information.
Next, slam down articles on content sites for page-view revenue. It will take time, but think of how many articles you can have amassed in your content library five years from now if you stick to it faithfully. That’s a lot of page views (and passive income) if you know SEO-style writing.
Start a blog and register with Google AdSense. Tailor your ads to align with your content. So if your blog is about gardening or home schooling, filter out ads about dating services. If a visitor to your site clicks on an ad, you get money.
Register with stenosearch.com if you think you’d be a great pair of eyes for a court reporter’s transcripts. Contact editors of print magazines and express your interest in writing for them. If you spot errors on a web site, contact the person in charge (if possible), eloquently point out the errors, and offer your services. Be persistent and you’ll end up with a “feast or feast” editorial business.
Don’t be brainwashed into believing that LinkedIn will make or break your writing business. Point blank, a writer does not need LinkedIn to be successful.