How journalists can make the most of LinkedIn

Posted October 19th, 2011 by in

Credit: www.linkedin.com

Credit: www.linkedin.com

LinkedIn operates the world’s largest online professional network with more than 120 million members worldwide, including more than 6 million members in the UK and more than 2 million members in Australia. So how can journalists, in particular, make the most of this medium to attract work, promote themselves and their services, and build their online presence?

Australian LinkedIn expert Raz Chorev | Credit: www.razchorev.com.au

Australian LinkedIn trainer and author of 8 Steps to LinkedIn Success, Raz Chorev, says LinkedIn is not only a place to display one’s CV online, but a way to connect with other professionals, keep in touch with colleagues, clients and other business associates, and keep up to date with industry trends. LinkedIn, like most tools, requires practice in order to maximise return. “The more you use it, the better results you’ll get from it – whichever results you’re after.”

Journalists can use LinkedIn to contact sources and experts directly for interviews, says Chorev. “Using Introductions, Add Connections, or InMail (premium account feature), allows you to reach anyone on the LinkedIn network. Use it to expand your reach and influence.” Journalists can also get new ideas for news articles and features by observing what other people are interested in, talking about and sharing via LinkedIn. “You’ll be amazed at the depth of information your connections will share,” notes Chorev.

Journalists can keep up to date with the industry or topic they are writing about by connecting with companies, groups and contacts in these fields. According to Chorev, your network will share stories and articles which interest them and the most popular stories will appear on your home page, as a sample from LinkedIn Today’s news aggregation service powered by your LinkedIn network.

According to Chorev, freelance journalists can increase their chances of finding work by using LinkedIn to connect with editors at relevant publications and getting to know them through this online platform. Editors will often turn to their network when working on a story or when seeking contributors across certain topics. “Jump in and put your hand up when the opportunity arises,” advises Chorev. Another way to attract work via LinkedIn is to constantly update your profile. This keeps you “front of mind” in your network and means that when opportunities present themselves, editors or clients will be more likely to hire you because they remember that you’re there.

But all of the above advice would be futile without a proper, 100% completed LinkedIn profile notes Chorev. To take full advantage of LinkedIn you need to clearly state who you are and what you do in the header, include a professional head shot, list your professional experience, ask for recommendations from your connections, add skills and specialties, write a succinct career summary and don’t forget to include your contact details in the contact details settings.

UK LinkedIn expert Michelle Beckett | Credit: www.linked2success.co.uk

According to Michelle Beckett, partner of UK marketing and social media sales company Linked2Success, journalists can find new jobs or paid work through networking on LinkedIn. When it comes to seeking work or freelance commissions, Beckett suggests using LinkedIn tools to actively network. Features such as Groups, Advanced Search, and Q&A forums can assist in putting you in touch with people in your industry. On their LinkedIn profile, journalists can also choose to display whichever skills and past expertise will portray them in the best light to seek new work, adds Beckett. “Being bold enough to connect directly with potential new employers means that journalists can take control of their careers, using LinkedIn as a powerful tool.”

Beckett shares her top 5 tips for journalists using LinkedIn:

  • Make sure your profile or “global shop window” tells the viewer succinctly about your expertise and background
  • Build a substantial WIDE network – the more 1st degree connections you have, the more individuals you will be able to find for whatever reason you need them e.g. sources, experts, new clients etc
  • Join LinkedIn Groups and become known for commenting as an expert in a particular field you may wish to focus on. For example, you may be a medical journalist with specialist knowledge on that sector – use that knowledge to position yourself as a valuable contact within that sector
  • Use Advanced Search tool to source experts for comment and to find new work. Use it to create that “wish list” of whoever you need to “shake hands” with at that particular moment in time. E.g. editors, media recruiters, companies that outsource work to journalists etc
  • Use the Network Status updates to share links to your own articles as well as other relevant articles. “This will build visibility and help you attract new work”.

For further tips, journalists should view How Journalists Use LinkedIn or join the group LinkedIn for Journalists.

 

Have you had any success using LinkedIn as a journalist? Have you secured freelance commissions, found valuable contacts and experts, or other useful information on LinkedIn to assist you in your work as a journalist?

 

5 ways Twitter made me a better journalist

Posted October 3rd, 2011 by in

My Twitter profile. Follow me: @SharonJGreen

Twitter has been hailed the top online tool for journalists. RMIT online journalism lecturer Renee Barnes spoke about this in a previous blog post. So what are the key things that Twitter has taught me to improve my writing skills? How has it allowed me to make the most of being a journalist?

Here are the top five ways Twitter has made me a better journalist:

1. Twitter taught me to write succinctly
If you’re a “wordy” writer Twitter will force you to say exactly what you want to say, in as few words as possible. It can be difficult to compose a message in 140 characters or less so Twitter can help you to improve your copywriting and headline writing skills. It has also made me think hard about writing effective headlines and titles for online articles and blog posts and has therefore taught me to communicate those ideas as succinctly as possible. Twitter forces you to cut out the fluff, get to the point, and be concise.

2. Twitter lists have helped me to find sources for my stories
Whether you’re looking for talent, spokespeople, experts or other sources for your stories, organising your Twitter lists into categories can help you find them quickly. I have multiple lists that help me with this on a daily basis. Consider creating lists on Twitter through which you can sort your followers into groups so it is easy to find them later. For example, if you’re a journalist who frequently writes across education, environment and political issues why not create lists for each of these categories? It will be easy to locate and get in touch with a source in a specific field if you have filed them into a Twitter list.

3. It’s given me the opportunity to participate as a citizen journalist
Disseminating news and information via Twitter has given me the chance to engage with the medium from a different perspective. I’ve tweeted live from events, broken local news, and shared information as it happens via Twitter. Consequently, I’ve received a boost in relevant followers who share similar interests and are willing to engage with me on those specific topics. This has allowed me to interact with and respond to people from the perspective of being a public news creator without the limitations of a traditional news media setting.

4. It allows me to interact with my audience
Twitter not only allows me to share links to my stories but provides a channel for my audience to send through immediate feedback and responses to my articles. It also gives me a greater sense of what my readers want. From time to time, I’ve even posed questions to my followers (often based around a topic I am writing about at the time) to gain another perspective, opinion or insight into that discussion. In turn, this gives me a clearer indication of the type of content my audience enjoys consuming and allows me to have a better direction when selecting story ideas and blog topics.

5. Twitter has allowed me to establish myself in the media industry
By far, Twitter has been the most useful and valuable tool that I’ve used to position myself as a journalist. Through Twitter alone I have been able to self-promote my writing services, share links to my articles, collaborate thoughts and ideas with my readers and network with fellow media professionals. It has been, and continues to be, my primary source for breaking news and a constant pool of information through which I can access topics of personal interest. I have also been approached, numerous times, directly through Twitter for work opportunities and article commissions. In its essence, Twitter has supported what I do for a living and provides a platform for me to continue my online presence as a journalist.

 

How has using Twitter helped you in your work as a journalist?