Following on from the post about how journalists can start using Twitter for work, this is part two of my presentation to the Guild of Health Writers – here we’re looking at other forms of social media including LinkedIn and Facebook.
(It was at this point in the presentation that I realised I had far too much to say.)
Using LinkedIn to get work as a journalist
- Fill in your profile to get your name at the top in Google searches
LinkedIn ranks incredibly highly in search engines, so if somebody Googles your name (and editors will), your profile will pop up at the top. Particularly useful if you don’t have a website for your journalism work (though frankly, you should).
- Ask for recommendations
Get people you’ve worked with to fill in a LinkedIn recommendation to add to your credibility.
- Include keywords in your profile relating to services you can offer
Recruiters are searching, so make it easier for them to find you. Nobody can offer you work if they don’t know what you’ve got to offer.
- Join groups relevant to your specialism
There’re thousands of professional groups on LinkedIn, so there’s bound to be a special little haven for you.
- Check out potential clients
If you’ve got a meeting coming up with an editor, check out their LinkedIn profile to get the cut of their gib. *stalker alert*. LinkedIn normally tells users who has looked at their profile, but you can turn off this facility if you want to be more discreet. This means that you in turn won’t be told who’s looking at your profile, so turn it back on if you want to know that.
Facebook fan pages for journalists
I must admit that I nearly had the dry boak when I heard about these. Why on earth would a journalist want a fan page? But they do seem to be on the rise, with one New York Times writer amassing nearly a quarter of a million ‘fans’ to his page. I don’t think we’ll all be rushing out to create a Facebook fan page, but keep an eye on them. In particular, if you’re an author you may find it useful to create a Facebook page for your book as an additional resource for your readers. These are the benefits:
- Separates your personal and professional life
If your Facebook network has grown to include people you’ve never actually met, and you want to group those more distant contacts away from your mother in law and teenage children, a separate page focusing on your work only could be the way to do it.
- Showcase your work and build an audience
These days, publishers and editors like to hire writers who can bring a guaranteed audience with them. So things like the number of Twitter followers you have, or Facebook ‘likes’ will become an asset to help you get more work.
- Make unlimited connections
You are limited to 5,000 friends in the traditional Facebook network, but a stand alone page can have unlimited people liking it. Useful if you’re that guy from the New York Times.
- Stay in contact with interviewees and other professional contacts
You might not want them to see your every status update, but maybe you’ll work together again in the future?
- A testing ground for ideas you’re thinking of pitching
You can throw out a question and see if your network bites, and get a sense of how easy case studies will be to find before you pitch rather than after.
Using forums as a journalist
- Lurk a little, but not too much
It’s easy to fall into the habit of only ever lurking, especially if a forum seems to be dominated by a long-standing gang of regulars. Hang back to get a sense of the place, but you will get much more out of any forum once you start to contribute and participate.
- Give before you take
Don’t just leap in and ask for everybody’s best contacts at once. People notice if you only ever take and don’t give, and will less inclined to help you as a result.
- Journobiz; MediaWomenUK
Both useful forums for journalists. There’s also a forum at journalism.co.uk which is better for newbies.
- Starting your own group is easier than you think
If you have a specialism and there’s no dedicated forum, start your own and you’ll instantly be the Head Enchilada.
In the final part of these posts, I’ll be outlining the kind of jobs you can get in social media, and how to make sure all this stuff doesn’t take up so much time that you never get any actual work done.
Click here for more information about hiring Joanne Mallon as your media career coach
image credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
UPDATE – April 2015
Since I wrote this post, I went on to write a book about using Twitter (and other social media) for journalists and writers. Social Media for Writers has now been published and is attracting some great reviews – click on the image to see them for yourself.