“How does someone become a member of the Read & Trust network?” I get asked this question frequently. And frequently these questions come from people that want to join or who want to suggest someone else for membership. The answer is simple: you can’t join. You can only be invited.
How do you get invited? By earning the trust and regular readership of a large number of the current members. If you want those current members to read your site, then write amazing stuff. Contact one or two of them to mention a new post. Then write more great stuff. Rinse and repeat. If enough of the members begin to read your site on a regular basis, and even recommend some of your work to their readers, then you’re moving in the right direction.
Read & Trust isn’t meant to be a fitness club that anyone able to pay the membership fee can join. It’s not the Chamber of Commerce. It is more like that person in your life who you always say, “she’s just like family”. Those people become part of your family over time as trust and friendship grow into something deeper. You can’t force it. It happens.
The entire premise of Read & Trust is to be a collection of writers who all read each other regularly. They trust the other members of the group to provide them with quality content. And they can even recommend posts from the other members to their own audience from time to time. That kind of relationship takes time. You can’t just join the group as a stranger and expect them to recommend your writing right away. Trust takes time.
Most people have a favorite writer, so for many of them, learning about who their favorite writer loves to read can open a door to new content of similar caliber. Content that connects with us faster. Content that somehow feels familiar right from the start.
Will there will be haters? Sure, there always will be. And believe me, that part guts me, because I’m inherently a people-pleaser. But we have to say no more often than yes. The goal isn’t to be elitist. There’s no limit regarding how big the group can get, but there’s also no requirement to grow at all. We have no gender requirements, no race or age or topical limitations. The only key is trust.
So go. Write great stuff over and over again. Connect. Network. Grow. You’ll be amazed by what happens when you do.