When it comes to media networking, your connections are always a work in progress. But the end of the year is a great time to assess your network and how it might be improved. Here are three tips to get you started.
1. Search for Quality Over Quantity
When you’re thinking about expanding your network, be smart. It’s not about simply connecting with all the suggested people on LinkedIn—it’s about finding the right people for you.
Think strategically about what you’re trying to get out of your expanded network before diving in. Say, you’re a buyer and you know you need more contacts on the selling side of the industry. Look for ways to target people that can help you get what you’re after!
“Look for people who are doing what you want to be doing and don’t be afraid to ask them for advice or constructive criticism,” notes Callie Wheeler, manager of product marketing for Flywheel. Monster.com also advises you to exchange stories during your outreach as a way of grabbing the person’s attention—get to know them on a human level, while also subtly sharing how you can help them.
2. Give Your Knowledge Freely
When you’re expanding your network, people always want to know what’s in it for them. Make sure this is clear by sharing your knowledge with the world. You can easily publish articles on LinkedIn without having to employ serious technical ability. Write to explore things you’re passionate about and that are relevant to the media industry, and you’ll have followers and connections coming to you instead of you having to reach out to them. You’ll also build your personal brand in the process.
3. Create a “Mastermind”
Originally popularized in Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich, a mastermind is a collection of four to eight individuals who meet on a regular basis to help one another reach their full potential. If you want to go beyond the typical networking tactics, think about creating your own mastermind and fill it with people who can push you (and each other) to the next level.
Taking advantage of professional development opportunities is always a great networking strategy. “The way I build my network is by becoming more involved in think tank groups in my industry and by attending conferences, participating on panels when possible,” explains veteran media consultant Charlene Weisler.
It may sound simple enough, but finding a handful of creative, dedicated, successful folks who will commit to regular meetings can be a bit of a challenge! If you can make it work, however, it can be an invaluable experience. Lifehacker offers some tips for those ready to tackle it.
A once-a-year reset is great for re-evaluating your media networking strategy, but keep in mind the process never really ends. Always keep your eye out for opportunities to connect with the right people to help you get where you want to go!