This Monday I was profiled in the local Business Journal. Already, the article has helped me reconnect with several key people in my network, including a significant referral source. The experience has been a great reminder that there’s nothing like good press. But it also validates a few important networking principles:
Follow their work: When you read a piece in the media you like, take note of the author. Add a handful of journalists to your LinkedIn and Twitter networks so that they stay on your radar.
Acknowledge their work: People appreciate positive reinforcement. Journalists are no exception. Let them know when you read a piece you like.
Build a relationship: If they are local, offer to take them out to lunch so you can find out what they need for their current story and make introductions as appropriate.
Be respectful of their time: When you have a pitch for them, make sure it’s relevant to the issues and themes on their beat.
Be cognizant of their angle: When Stephanie Henkel first approached me with this story, I prepared a list of accomplishments to share with her but she was not interested in another puff piece. She wanted to offer a substantive value-add to her readership. So, rather than focus solely on my own agenda, I spent much of our interview sharing business insights and best practices so that the end result would satisfy both of our agendas.
Most people practice these kinds of concepts with their top prospects, clients, and referral sources, but they often forget about the people who can help raise their profile. Don’t be the jerk who only calls a journalist when you want something. The press are people too. Seek to foster a win/win relationship.