5 Mistakes Journalists Make on LinkedIn
Social networking colossus LinkedIn can help journalists find sources, scoops and jobs. Some journalists, however, never get that far.
Mistake #1: Not Using LinkedIn Advanced Jobs Search as a Reporting Tool
Curious to find out what positions your beat company is hiring for? Want to get a sense for the direction companies you follow could be going in? LinkedIn’s Advanced Jobs Search lets you easily look for jobs that certain companies have posted on LinkedIn. If you work for a local network affiliate, you can use the tool to search for jobs by ZIP code to find out which businesses are booming in your area.
Mistake #2: Having a Lackluster Professional Headline
Given that journalism is your profession, you should have an attention-grabbing headline on your profile. If you don’t fill this portion out, the default displays your most recent job title and company name in search results. Take a few minutes to craft an enticing professional headline that will draw in other professionals. It could be “Freelance writer who’s interested in working with clients that have amazing stories to tell” or “Banking industry beat reporter who’s always looking for stellar scoops,” Canfield suggests.
Mistake #3: Using LinkedIn’s Basic People Search and Calling it a Day
When you’re looking for expert sources, you can use LinkedIn Skills to search for professionals with precisely the kind of expertise you need, from experts in bodybuilding, to Hadoop professionals. Remember to add the LinkedIn Skills you have (like headline writing and AP Style), to your own profile. LinkedIn Advanced People Search lets you search not only for editors who live in your ZIP code, but also for former employees of certain companies if you’re hitting a “no comment” roadblock on a big story.
Mistake #4: Working Way Too Hard for Scoops
LinkedIn makes it easy for journalists to follow LinkedIn Company Pages and stay updated on senior level changes and new hires. Search for your beat companies’ profiles and click “Follow Company” to get regular updates on hiring, promotions, departures and job listings.
Here are three recent examples of scoops that came from LinkedIn:
Aug. 31, 2012 — The New York Times, “How Is H.P.’s WebOS Doing? Hundreds No Longer Work on It“
Aug. 31, 2012 — The Wall Street Journal, “One Year After Solyndra Collapse, Where Are They Now?“
Sept. 5, 2012 — GigaOm, “Will Amazon Announce an Apple TV Competitor This Week?“
Mistake #5: Not Completing Your Own Profile Before Reaching Out to Prominent Editors and Sources
If your LinkedIn Profile has no photo, shows only four connections and simply notes that your current position is “reporter at freelance,” you’re in trouble. You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed on LinkedIn if you have a photo and 12 times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have more than one position listed on your profile, Canfield says. If you forgot to add previous roles at other media outlets, you may look like a more junior journalist and get excluded from search results.
At a minimum, connect with at least 50 professionals you know and trust. Add a simple head shot photo, and list all of your work experience on your profile. It’s also important to note the names of the publications for which you’ve written, beats you cover and include keywords for which editors or clients might be searching (like “case studies,” “feature articles” or “investigative reporting”).
Yes, It’s Worth Your Time
This article originally published at International Journalists’ Network