If you have a good idea for a paper or a publication then you can use this as an opportunity for networking
In order to complete your research, it often helps to conduct some interviews with subject matter experts – people in the field who have concrete experience. As you interview people, you are beginning to understand their needs, and this is often an important aspect of building a networking relationship. This means that as a networker, you can benefit from the implicit relationship that comes from interviewing.
Of course it helps if your research topic is close to your career path, but in an ideal world it should be anyway.
A potential issue with this is that, as a relatively unknown writer you might not be able to attract prestigious interviewees – but then this is all part of your self-development as a writer and/or networker. You need to start with people who are close enough to you, and where possible develop further relationships through them. As you continue your reputation will spread, and so will your ability to draw interest from a wider group of professionals.
In all cases, a crucial factor will be the topic you choose – the more exciting or relevant it is, the more people you will attract to be involved. And naturally if you are enthusiastic about the topic, more people will be drawn by your passion in the subject – both contributors to the writing stage, and later your readers too!
Does that sound like a win-win strategy to you?