Establishing and maintaining relationships with other industry professionals is a useful tool in building a network and making yourself well-known in your field. The same holds true in the public relations industry. There are several steps that you can take to bolster your reputation, and Becky Jones of PR Daily has concisely listed them in “Five sure-fire ways to become known in the PR industry.”
- Follow up when you meet people – It is imperative that you follow up with new professional acquaintances as soon as possible. It lets them know that you valued their time and opens the door for further discussion. It’s great if you have a professional website or social media profile to link to in the email so the contact can associate your face with your name.
- Share your expertise within your own company – This will allow you to become known as an expert on a particular subject matter. For example, let your colleagues know about new social media platforms that have recently launched and are becoming popular. Or, share interesting news tidbits that could be relevant to your agency. Just be mindful to not overwhelm others struggling with heavy workloads. People will be more likely want to work with you and hear your opinions because you have made yourself an asset to the team and company.
- Check in with your clients – Do this even if you are not currently working on a project with your client. The biggest part of public relations is maintaining the relationship. Send a client an article with a summary of why you thought of them and why it is beneficial to them and their company. Do this about once or twice a month as to not clog client inboxes. They’ll appreciate your updates and will look forward to receiving them.
- Publish – Find ways to contribute to websites or publications that are well-respected in the industry. People remember names that are regularly in bylines and this can help open doors for you.
- Make introductions – This step is pivotal in expanding your network. Introduce people who can benefit from knowing one another. Help a friend by introducing him to someone who you know is hiring. Point colleagues toward great websites or resources for work. Be open to communicating with students looking to break into the industry and have lunch with them. Your advice and time is invaluable and greatly appreciated.
While your success in the public relations industry is not contingent upon your ability to network, it is a tool that could propel your name and open up innumerable opportunities. All you need to do is establish and maintain your professional relationships and be willing to help others in need when the time comes.