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Utilizing Publishing To Go Beyond Conferences


CEO & Bestselling Author at StrategyTraining.com. We turn clients into influential leaders. Get started at FIRMSconsulting.com.

The world will get past Covid in some form or another. As humans, we need personal interaction. In-person meetings are coming back in many instances, and conferences are already returning and proceeding with caution in the face of new variants of the disease. 

Most of us built our networking skills for in-person interactions. We know how to connect face-to-face (or now mask-to-mask). And with vaccinations and other precautions, we want to go out there and build our social capital. 

For years, conferences and industry seminars have been some of the primary avenues we use to network. Where else can we get in front of five hundred or more industry leaders and managers to share our thoughts? Presenting at these events is a mainstay for many consultants, bankers, lawyers and the like. 

Making As Many Connections As Possible

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But while a conference is a great idea, there are some downsides. Even before Covid, the returns had seemingly lowered, and it was always very time-consuming to participate. And while a conference gives a chance for you to establish credibility and get noticed, that is only if you are lucky enough to present at the conference. 

Most of us are attendees and do not have the platform to present, so we have to connect with people one-on-one. Could you reasonably build a bond with more than ten attendees? How many attendees would you need to meet before sifting out those ten? I would say at least 40 for me personally. 

In each meeting, you would need to determine if a relationship can be built. Of those original ten then, at most, maybe three relationships may lead to something. So you need to think about the effort of moving a relationship forward. You need to consider the time and financial investment in the conference, the follow-up and any presentations you would need to do after the conference.

A conference is an active investment. It’s a variable cost of your time. If you don’t spend the time, nothing happens. You may need to travel to another city or even another country; you will need to get up that morning and do the work each day and be your best self in each interaction. Should you have an off day or get sick, the whole thing could be written off. If you cannot make the time and do the work to follow up within days after the conference, everything can evaporate.

If the goal of a conference is to meet people and impress people, why not meet as many people as possible?

Publishing As A Thought Leader

An effective way to meet people with minimum time investment from you is to become a published author. And you don’t even need to write a whole book. You can write a chapter and publish that chapter in a book with other leaders. The easiest way to think about this is that a collection of your writing and advice is an asset, achieving superior returns to a conference. It has the potential to generate future streams of revenue and opportunities in one form or another for years to come. 

When you are sleeping, it works for you. When you are on vacation, it works for you. When you are at home sick with the flu, it works for you. When you cannot travel to a conference, due to Covid or another reason, someone can still be reading your book somewhere, learning about you and potentially contacting you as a result.

It’s a passive income and passive opportunity creator. It allows you to instantaneously and simultaneously engage with an audience around the world, and it helps remove geographic and even language barriers to meet people and clients.

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With published work, you don’t need to seek as many opportunities. Opportunities find you if someone likes your ideas. When you don’t know how to manage small talk, the book or the chapter tells people who you are and helps you build rapport.

In my view, your book could have the same impact as if you were presenting at a conference with no additional work from yourself and no additional cost. 

Guidelines On Publishing

One of the easiest avenues into publishing is writing a book chapter. And when the process is managed by a publisher, it can take as little as a few hours to contribute. One option is to be interviewed (in one- to three-hour sessions) and give an interviewer enough valuable content so a good chapter can be written.

While preserving your voice, the publisher can then take over ghostwriting a chapter for you. Once they send you the final draft, make sure to spend some time editing your chapter. I would say for someone who is not planning to be a publisher themself, it is best to work with an established publisher as their expertise can help you save a lot of time and headache.

Generally, you want to find a publisher who will help you market your book. For co-authored books, the publisher usually does the bulk of the marketing work and co-authors can help if they wish. Some effective marketing approaches include promoting your book to your audience through a newsletter, on Linkedin or on other social media platforms.

You can also use ads to promote the book, but be careful as it is easy to lose a lot of money very fast with ads. The goal is to always focus on how you are adding value. For example, on social media, you will want to ensure each post adds value even if the reader does not end up buying your book.

Conferences are an analog way to build your career. I believe a book is a digital, more advanced equivalent. As the world’s companies transition to the digital in order to reap the benefits of scale, efficiency and a global audience, you should be doing the same for your career.


Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?

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