Have you ever thought about networking as a function of reputation management? It’s not a word that most associate with it, as many people think first about SEO results and social media participation.

But association is a powerful tool. Association determines whether or not your friends will post a drunken photo of you (even if you’d never post such a thing). As Trackur.com points out, it also determines whether or not one of your very public business associates does something unethical, thus dragging your name through the mud as well. Granted, as solopreneurs we don’t tend to have a lot of very public business associates, but you can still take some wisdom from the principle.

However, you can use “guilt by association” to help your reputation as well. First, take a look around your network. Who do you really admire or respect?

Once you’ve identified a few key names, you can start thinking about how you might strengthen your association with that person. You can do this for associations, too. For example, is one of your friends a prominent charity? Perhaps you can ask him or her about upcoming projects that you might sponsor or get involved in. This will give you a great story to add to a press release, too. Many solopreneurs don’t have many opportunities to generate good press releases, so this kind of exposure is a real blessing.

Does anyone in your network own a blog? Getting your guest posts published is a lot easier when you have a positive association with someone else. If a person knows you, then you might even be able to get placed on high-value blogs and websites that don’t accept guest posts from the general public.

Some of them might help you create outstanding content for your blog, too. You can reach out and begin asking some of these individuals if they’d be interested in granting you an interview. Those interviews tend to rank well and share well–and they tie you to that person in a very positive, public way.

Blog commenting offers you another easy way to create “positive reputation by association.” Is there a thought leader in your industry that is very well-regarded? Start building a relationship by commenting and contributing on that person’s blog. Share some of their content on your own blog. You might just find them reciprocating. Being linked on a Kikolani post or a Danny Iny post might make a huge difference to both your online reputation and the number of clients that you receive. And, you might just make a brand new friend, too.

We may be solopreneurs, but today’s success is not a solo affair. We all have to “plug in” to our online communities in order to succeed.

Share with us some ways you’re using your networking connections to boost your online reputation by leaving a comment below. We would love to hear them!

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