Networking can be scary and intimidating, especially if you’re more of a shy person. But in the world of entrepreneurship and small business owning, it’s all about who you know. No need to fret, though. We have listed some tips below on how to network and build your media list, further enhancing your brand and unlocking the key to success in connecting with new people who will push you further. Break out of that shell and get ready to shake some hands!
1. Organize and update
Organization is key, and so is updating your media list. I try to do this at least once every two months or so. That means going through emails, messages and business cards and jotting down the email addresses of new connections I’ve made. Organizing your media list by industry is helpful beyond measure. Create a spreadsheet tab for each industry (music, fashion, general lifestyle, entertainment, travel, health & wellness, etc.) and add your contacts by outlet, email address, name of journalist/writer, genre or focus and any additional details you might want to include in each horizontal row. Arrange your contacts alphabetically, and you’re lists are easy to skim through when searching for someone specific.
2. Connect and make plans
As you’re building your media list, it’s just as important to get to know your contacts as people, not just as writers and journalists you reach out to when you need an article written for yourself or a client. Connect with the contacts you believe you will be reaching out to more often than others, and also the big-timers. Introduce yourself, ask questions about where they live, their hobbies, favorite artists or genre of music, etc. Contacts are more likely to respond to and accept your pitch if you’re personable in the approach. If you’re located in the same city, make plans to grab a cup of coffee, or to meet up at a future event. Networking is the most important part to growing either your business or your client’s. Again, it’s all about who you know. Get to know others and create some friendships. I can’t tell you how many of my connections have turned into close friends, and I will be forever grateful for those relationships.
3. Join and engage
There are many Facebook and LinkedIn networking groups out there for you to join, depending on your industry. Some are broad and consist of any and all people working in PR, marketing and media. Some are more narrowed, with anyone working in the music industry. Joining them all doesn’t hurt you - except you may get annoyed with the abundant notifications. Once a week I choose to scour these groups in search of posts that either fit myself or a client. Engage and interact with people’s postings. It’s a great way to automatically connect with someone, just shoot them a quick intro via Facebook messenger!
4. Attend and befriend
There are always networking events taking place for young entrepreneurs and professionals. Often times I scour the Facebook events tab, or events happening in my city on Eventbrite, where you can narrow down the category of event. I try to attend at least 2-3 networking events in my cit a month. Sometimes they are brief morning meetups with coffee, sometimes they are full-on jam-packed happy hours - regardless, it’s an easy and accessible way to network with others in your city. Networking events are also a great place to pick up potential clients, as many small business owners attend in search for graphic designers, publicists, social media and branding mavens, etc. Smile, mingle and make those connections!
Easy as pie! There are many ways to open up, get your name out there and into the hands of prospect clients. For more networking tips and pointers, feel free to reach out to me via email or social media - links below! Looking forward to connecting!
Connect with Amanda!