How journalists can make the most of LinkedIn
Posted October 19th, 2011 by Sharon Green in social media
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 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.
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”.
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?