Professional Networking

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Image Pixabay (Public Domain)

I have a long history of ensuring that I am developing my professional networks.  Before taking my MJ in digital journalism (2011-13) I spent most of my time developing contacts offline and very little time online.  That has almost completely reversed in the last 5 years as I moved out of the business I knew, producing for television,  and into the new world of digital communications storytelling and strategizing.

Before starting my new job six weeks ago as a Business Lead in a media buying and strategy agency I was focused on the creative side of branded content on social media.  Now I am starting to build a new presence and spending a lot of time listening in the world of digital media strategy and buying.

As I settle in I am finding that I am really missing the part of the business I love to do, the creative job of helping shape and create content for social media, as well as strategizing on how to get it out there.

This business is primarily about helping clients find the right channels to get their messages out on, but it’s not so much about shaping the message by creating content.   Although the customer intelligence and profiling part certainly informs what messages resonate for consumers.  Whatever happens down the road I have no doubt this is an incredible opportunity to learn and grow my toolbox in digital.

So the strategy for now is twofold.  I am maintaining developed presence on LinkedIn and Twitter on the areas of great story telling for social media content, and I’m having to develop a newer presence in media channel strategy.

I already participate in groups and I do comment and engage, BUT I ONLY do it when I really have something to say.  I find that there is a cacophony of voices that aren’t that interesting, but speak up I think mainly to push their services and businesses.  Honestly, I find that unless they have real added value which means insights and analysis then I actually turn off and sometimes unfollow.

My takeaway from the courses I have taken in this certificate is that it would be absolutely foolish to jump into the conversation in the areas that I am now moving channel buying and consumer strategy too quickly.  What I am doing is cultivating and learning both at work and through my social feeds in the new area.

Because this is a related field I am able to slowly add in the content I find most intriguing from this side of the business into tweets and LinkedIn posts.

Meanwhile I will maintain my ongoing presence in the world of creative branded content.  As mentioned the primary ways I do this in LinkedIn communities and on Twitter primarily.

Over the next six to 12 months what I have yet to do is actually go into the offline world in these new areas.  Surprisingly I haven’t felt the need to do that yet.  The realities are that as a freelancer with a tight budget going to conferences (my mainstay in the television business) feels like an indulgence right now, although I know from my old business that some of my biggest opportunities were afforded me by that one on one interchange either usually in an informal gathering at a conference where I would meet peers that I hit it off with.

I think what I would like to do is to take a few on-line workshops and eventually perhaps locate local initiatives where I can meet people.  Halifax, however, is not a big community, so I suspect that reaching out will still largely be on-line.  I already have been accepted into a few digital marketing communities and I will continue to grow these networks.

Also at work I am beginning to be introduced to suppliers and I will try to go and have some lunches and create working contacts that are reaching out to help me get my feet under me.

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