Becoming Top of Your Class with LinkedIn for PR: It’s More Than Endorsements and Spam
Oh, LinkedIn. That magical professional social network where jobs are found, endorsements are made, great content is shared, and complete strangers can privately message you to say - “If I could endorse you for a beautiful smile, I would.”
Ok, so maybe if you’re on LinkedIn, there’s a 1% chance you may be on the receiving end of spam in the form of an online pick-up. That was a very real example, you guys. But here’s the thing, the other 99% of LinkedIn is a breeding ground for amazing opportunity. And yes, I’m talking about opportunity far beyond collecting endorsements from everyone you know.
So what are you waiting for? With so much potential, every PR professional should be rising to the top of their class with the power of LinkedIn.
Here’s how to do it.
Join the Swim Club, Chess Club, Debate Team, School Council and Cheer Squad
How many Valedictorians do you know that weren’t on any school committees? Odds are, probably very few. In fact, I’d bet not a single one. Why? Because Valedictorians work hard for their title on graduation day. They know that the key to being acknowledged as one of the best in their class isn’t just about landing straight A’s. It’s getting as involved as physically possible.
Maybe you don’t have the energy levels you did as a teenager, but here’s some good news. With LinkedIn, you don’t have to master the backflip, swim 50 laps, or participate in any kind of track and field event to get involved. With a nifty little thing called LinkedIn Groups, you can identify a number of industry related communities to join and get social with.
For us PR professionals, that could mean joining Public Relations and Communications Professionals or PR - Public Relations to find out about exciting PR webinars or industry trends that others in your field are observing or getting in on. It could also mean joining groups that are relevant to your clients and getting an inside look at their industries and the trends within. Or you could use LinkedIn Groups to hone your skills, like checking out the Writing on LinkedIn community.
It can take as much or as little time as you’d like, but we promise you’ll come off as a stronger thought-leader in the PR world if you do.
Show Off Your A+ Essay on the Fridge
There’s no prouder moment as a student than seeing your parents proudly display your artwork, A+ essay, or report card on the fridge for all to see. You worked your butt off to get that grade or complete that masterpiece - now is not the time to be shy about showing it off.
The same applies for LinkedIn. It’s become an amazing destination for sharing and discovering really great content. If you’re looking to position yourself as the ultimate PR thought leader (and why shouldn’t you) this is the place to do it. Whether you’re sharing articles you’ve written elsewhere or using LinkedIn’s publishing platform to publish some really great thought pieces - SHARE SOMETHING!
Reuse and Recycle: Did you write a really great article for Entrepreneur, Forbes, or your personal blog? Don’t let such great work spoil so soon. Republish it on LinkedIn! Just make sure to give proper attribution to the post’s original debut and you’re set to expand your audience one social network further.
Pass Notes Like a Boss, No Guesswork Required
Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of PR is trying to get in touch with those who have gone to very lengthy measures to ensure they cannot be contacted. You know who I’m talking about. Those very stealth, very sneaky journalists who have ensured that their email address is absolutely impossible to find.
Hey, guys, I don’t blame you, I know you get pitched a hundred times just when you get up to go to the watercooler.
In high school, when you wanted to get in touch with someone you admired, you had several options available. You could simply pass them a note via their closest friends or you could slip something into their locker. Nowadays, as PR folk, the object of our affection is always those highly sought after journalists who have their pick of whose story they want to cover.
So what happens if you can’t figure out their magical email combination? Is that the end of the line? Absolutely not!
While other options do exist, such as tweeting journalists to request their email, none is as powerful as the coveted InMail feature on LinkedIn. Now, this option is reserved for those connections with whom you’re already connected, it can be bypassed with a premium account. Yes, for a few extra bills a month, you can conquer the world with InMail.
This is an excellent way to reach out to those hard to reach media folks, but remember that quality over quantity is key! LinkedIn only provides so many InMail credits monthly - use them wisely on only the best and most promising opportunities, and write the best darn InMail you can.
Shamelessly Scroll Through the Yearbook
Remember once upon a time when internet was only available via dial-up, ICQ was how everyone communicated and Facebook was non-existent? Yes, I realize I just completely dated myself. Back in the dial-up age, the yearbook was the go-to resource to know who was who. It’s totally how we stalked our crushes without them ever being any wiser.
In the Facebook era, we can pretty much use the famous social network to find anyone we want (please creep responsibly) but when it comes to tracking down journalists, influencers, and possible business partners, it’s not as easy as sending a Friend Request.
LinkedIn is a great resource for finding out more about who works where, what they do, what their work history is, and in many cases, how to get in touch with them. We’ve used LinkedIn to broker HGTV pilots, pitch feature stories, lure investors, and more - all by making use of the directory readily available to any user.
No premium subscription required.
Just search a name (or a company) and click to see their employees on LinkedIn. It’s THAT easy.
Pro Tip: Unlike the days of the yearbook, LinkedIn will notify its users when someone has checked out their page. While journalists are totally used to this, you may want to avoid searching your high school crush if you don’t want them to know about it.
Alright, kids. Now that we’ve revealed the secrets, there’s absolutely no reason for you to settle for anything less than straight PR A’s across the board this year.
With the power of LinkedIn added to your existing PR wizardry - you’ve got this, all-star.
How have you successfully leveraged LinkedIn for business? I’d love to hear your all-star tips in the comments below or tweet me @crystalcrichard!