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January 17, 2012

What’s the Power of Your Network?

Antenna tower covered with 100 antennas of various shapes and sizes

Let me start by profusely thanking everyone who bravely participated in Pitch Your Shorts and everyone who helped spread the word about the pitch session.  I was out of town all last week for my grandmother’s funeral, and yet the pitch session was a great success because of all of you.  Thank you!

(I’ll share the news about the editors’ requests once I hear from them.  They’re probably still fighting over who gets dibs.  I’m tempted to install hidden cameras and send them Nerf guns.  *snicker*)

Even before I became a writer and had to worry about this publicity thing, funerals always made me think of networking.  When someone dies, everyone who knew the person has to be notified and often the immediate family isn’t up to the task.  As if that isn’t a big enough job, the timing of the funeral and visitation hours at the funeral home imposes deadlines.  So the way news travels in such instances has always fascinated me.  (Yes, I’m weird.)

Take my grandmother’s funeral.  She lived to 100 years old, so she had a long list of family, friends, and acquaintances.  A steady stream of people attended her visitation hours and her funeral procession was the longest I’ve ever seen.

Despite the large turnout, I could think of several friends who’d attended her 100th birthday party and who weren’t at the funeral.  Did they not get the news?  Were they out of town?  Do they avoid funerals?  I don’t know.

Yet for every person who didn’t show, there were the surprises who did.  One of my dad’s high school girlfriends.  (That was…er, interesting.  *snicker*)  A cousin none of us knew we had (not nearly as scandalous as it sounds).  How had those people gotten the news?  Not a clue.

This unpredictable nature of networking was echoed by the spread of the news about the pitch session with Entangled Publishing.  I saw several trackbacks from people linking to my blog with something along the lines of “I can’t remember how I came across this post, but here’s a great pitching opportunity.”  Countless people I’ve never talked to tweeted about the pitch session.

The pitch session received the most hits for a post that wasn’t listed on StumbleUpon or other big traffic-generating site.  Every visitor came to my blog the “old-fashioned way,” hearing about the post through my network and my network’s network and so on, one person at a time.

It’s easy to see why that post was so popular.  I was offering something of real value to my readers—an opportunity to pitch to six editors hungry for stories.  I try to provide something of value in every post, but some things are valued more than others.  *smile*

My point is that our network, real life and online, spreads messages when people think the information is wanted by the receivers.  It’s up to us to strive for that level with all our writing.  If we write things others want to read, our network will be there to share the news.  And that’s the not-so-secret secret to harnessing the power of our network.

Has the reach of your network, real-life or online, ever surprised you?  What type of message spread the furthest or the fastest?  What’s the oddest path someone else’s news has ever reached you?

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Melinda Collins

Hi Jami! So sorry about your grandmother. 100 years though? Wow! She really had a long life – it’s amazing the things she saw throughout her time.

The reach of my network first surprised me this past summer when we did The Week of the Writer. We had 5 awesome posts from wonderfully brilliant writers and the traffic that came through to celebrate with us was amazing (Susan’s post is still the most popular by hits 😉 ). This in particular surprised me because, well…. I had only been blogging since May and there I was in August using the network I gathered to put something like that together. 😀

I have a similar story to yours about finding a cousin you never knew about – that’s the oddest path of discovering news I have. My great aunt died shortly after I started with my current company about 5 years ago, and an email came through stating that one of the reps in my office had a sister who passed away. Needless to say, her sister was my great aunt! Ever since then we’ve held onto that tie since it proves just how small a world we live in. 😉

Michele Shaw

Sorry about your grams. 100 is an inspiration! The spreading of news good and bad has exploded in the last…however many years. (Just depends on how you look at it.) But, your main point is so right on. That being, it doesn’t matter how you try to spread news, it’s the content that matters. A service to offer, a product to sell, a laugh to share. If they are wanted or needed, you get results. And/or by using the right key words. My post with the highest hits had the word naked in the title…people have dirty minds;)

Susan Sipal

Jami, I’m sorry too about the loss of your grandmother, but hope you have loads of wonderful memories stored up that you can take out and treasure in the years to come.

I’ll join with you and Melinda in discovering a long-lost relative in an odd way, and like Melinda’s, mine was through work. I met a cousin I didn’t even know I had (she was a second one, so a bit understandable) when I was working with Habitat for Humanity years ago. It was interesting to reconnect with a side of the family I wasn’t as close to.

And thanks so much for the wonderful opportunities and connections you forge here at your blog. I’m so glad to be a part of your network! 🙂

Angela Quarles

Yay, am so glad it was successful!

KarenG

What a thought-provoking post! (and you’re not weird, I think about funerals as a symbol of many things– and I often worry that no one will come to mine LOL)

I love your bit about needing to write what people WANT to read. Regardless of the network and promotional ability of the author, if it’s not what people in general are looking for, the sales just won’t be there.

Murphy

Hi Jami,
Sorry about your grandma. I’m glad you were there for your family.
M.

Buffy Armstrong

Hi Jami,

First of all, I want to tell you I am sorry to hear about your grandmother. I was extremely close to my maternal grandmother and I remember how difficult it was to lose her.

Thanks for hosting the pitch session. I had fun getting mine ready and I enjoyed checking in to read everyone else’s pitches. Hopefully the folks at Entangled will find some stories that will work for their respective lines.

The one thing that keeps surprising me with my own social networking is just how many interesting people that are out there that share the same interests. And then there are the really nice ones. It amazes me sometimes how a tweet or a note on my blog from some random person can really make my day.

Murphy

*waves again* I couldn’t be my wise-cracking self in that last posted comment, ya know? So, I’m leaving a fresh one. (heheheh)

I agree with this post whole-heartedly. Therefore I’m going to say good job! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Which, as you know, is 10o percent factual because I’d get all the comma placements wrong. 😉

Moving on…

The question, What’s the oddest path someone else’s news ever reached you? , jumped out at me. Why? Because I usually make it a point to title my blog posts with sparkle and bling words to entice the clickage. *taps finger on pursed lips* Right, here's an example of one such title, Sex, Lies and A Spanking. I don't remember now how I spun that into funny, but I do remember what I wrote had nuthin' on what comments I didn't approve for posting *insert owl-eyed expression here* and some of these comments were from people I knew. *blink, blink* I've tried and I cannot unknow those little gems. So to answer your question, I would have to say, learning who likes to be spanked was never my intention with that post, but oddly enough that's how it wound up. *insert Homer Simpson shudder here* Geez, thanks for the reminder. Eck! Seriously…
M. *leaving now to go scrub the memories off me hard-drive* 😉

Stéphanie Renboit
Stéphanie Renboit

Hi!

First, I don’t think you’re weird to take funerals as an example. I need much more to be taken aback 😉

Also, I have to say that your networking about this pitch session was awesome. I love twitter for that. It’s unbelievable how many things can come to us just with a single social network.

About your grandmother, I can’t imagine how hard it must be.

Thank you for this pitch session. It was really great! I’m crossing my fingers for all of us.

joanne pibworth

Hi Jami,
I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother, losing someone is tough whatever their age. Wow, she must have had some stories to tell, what a terrific age!
I def came to your blog via twitter, the power of social media now is amazing, isn’t it? You’re totally right, if the message is something interesting, or entertaining, or valuable, people will come – that’s def something to take back as we write.
I also have to say that I’ve never really forayed much into reading paranormal – ‘Being Human’ on UK TV is about as far as I’ve ventured! I’ve really enjoyed reading your site and the snippets of paranormal stories posted in the pitches, so my eyes have been opened to new things just by taking part. Thanks for the opp, and lots of luck to everyone! Jo x

Patrick Thunstrom

Well, you know I found you through WANA, so I guess our network connection is pretty simple.

I will admit, though, that I’ve been shocked, more than once, at the response to some of my blog posts. My blog, being young, doesn’t have a huge following, a few hundred viewers a week. I’ve had a few posts absolutely explode in terms of traffic, comments, and likes. People I’ve never met before, didn’t know exist, posting on my website. It’s a great feeling, and interacting with all of them is wonderful.

My most popular post was when I discussed my abuse experience. It was a tough one to write, but I had some friends tell me it would be good for everyone to have it out there. Sure enough. I had so many comments from so many people I was overwhelmed. I’m not sure how any of them found me, either.

I think I’ve rambled enough, now!

Lacey Devlin

Hi Jami,

I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother. It’s great that she had such a lovely long life 🙂 My great-grandmother lived to 100 too. I’m kind of hoping those genes rubbed off on me…

Kaitlin

Hey Jami!

Thanks for hosting the pitch session! It got me off my keester and back into writing, gave me something to blog and tweet about. I too don’t even remember how I heard about it. Even if the publishers at Entangled don’t want it, I’ll probably do some more work and self publish the thing. 🙂

Sorry to hear about your grandma, but I’m especially glad she was herself till the end. Sound like quite a lady!

Nancy S. Thompson

My network recently reminded me how small our community can be. A couple of weeks ago, while participating in an online blogfest sponsored by a writer back east, I met another writer who just happens to live a mile from my home on the west coast near Seattle. We met for coffee & now we’re friends. How’s that for networking? What a small world!

Kyla

I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad your grandma lived such a long life (you mentioned a 100th birthday? What an accomplishment!), but it’s always sad to lose a loved one.

I think your idea was fantastic! But, no, I can’t say my network has ever surprised me. I’m not much of a social butterfly, I’m afraid.

But this gives me something to think about. Thanks for the great article, and I hope things get better for you soon!

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[…] Jami Gold gives us food for thought on connections and the varying and unpredictable ways information is now being received with What’s the Power of Your Network. […]

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[…] it had already been a month of emotional extremes for me, what with my grandmother’s death followed by a request from Pitch Your Shorts.  At least those events were spread out by more than […]

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