The Dos and Donts of Connecting with Journalists on LinkedIn
There are more than 30,000 ICF-credentialed coaches around the world. With the plethora of competing non-credentialed coaching businesses, it is essential for credentialed coaches to do all they can to differentiate themselves from others. Building and maintaining relationships with the media is a key step to leverage the credibility that comes with an ICF credential and showcases your brand to grow your coaching business.
Taking the first step toward cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with the media comes with a few challenges. Often at the top of the list is who to contact and how best to reach them. While email is typically used for initial media outreach, LinkedIn also is a helpful resource to connect with journalists and begin the process that can lead to a lasting bond. Here are three tips for using this social media platform to elevate your coaching practice.
Do: Make Strategic Connections
Before you begin contacting reporters on LinkedIn, it is important to do some research to ensure you can make a positive first impression. Consider which publications reach your potential clients. Don’t try to engage with any or every journalist or media outlet you can find. Being focused can help spark positive engagements for you and your business.
As you narrow your research, create a media list, paying special attention to the subjects covered by the journalists you want to reach out to. Before reaching out, read their published articles to learn their writing style and interests. This will help you consider newsworthy story angles to share when you’re ready to send a pitch. Also, take note of the posts they share with their LinkedIn connections and other influencers in their network. Those posts may provide additional insights into how to successfully start your outreach and build your relationship. For example, noting in your first outreach that you enjoyed a prior story can at least give the journalist confidence you have done your homework.
Don’t: Send Generic Private Messages
Once you investigate the appropriate media outlets and journalists to include in your outreach, send a personalized invitation or private message. Personalization is key. If you do not have an established connection with the contact, always include a note in your message that demonstrates how your interests align and the unique value you can offer as a resource and member of their LinkedIn network. Journalists always are looking for experts and individuals they can interview. Keep your first note short and friendly—don’t use this outreach to try to pitch a story idea but do let them know you have something to offer that aligns with their interests.
Before you send an actual story pitch, take the time to build rapport. Compliment the journalist on their articles and reply with your insights when appropriate. This will show the reporter that you recognize their work and that you have something meaningful to offer, rather than reaching out solely with a request.
Do: Join Targeted LinkedIn Groups
In addition to reaching out to journalists directly, joining relevant LinkedIn groups also will help you cultivate relationships. Strategically engage with other group members to become more familiar with the reporters covering the coaching profession and related topics.
Share your thoughts on industry developments so journalists can view you as a valuable subject matter expert they can turn to when an opportunity for a story arises. This may involve writing a short article of your own and posting it to the group’s page. Surely there are many other members of the group, so take advantage of this opportunity to stand out.
Expand Your Network and Business Through LinkedIn
With COVID-19 dominating the current media landscape, it can be daunting to secure media attention. It is possible, however, to begin a dialogue and foster a relationship if you take strategic actions. LinkedIn offers unique opportunity to build connections with reporters who can elevate your coaching expertise to new audiences.