I’m one of those people that get an adrenaline rush when I think of a networking opportunity. Throw a venti coffee from Starbucks into the mix and you get a really tall girl in heels that cannot walk fast enough to get a front row seat for a panel discussion. This week I had the pleasure to attend my first DePaul networking event for Careers in Communication and Writing and I was pleasantly surprised.
I’m not going to lie, after being in Washington D.C. for Public Relations Student Society of America’s National Conference over the weekend (blog post to come), I assumed that I was not going to take away anything from this small event. What I actually gained was some really great insight from professionals across the industry.
Give the client what they need, not what they want.
Sometimes clients come up with ideas that sound great but in reality they aren’t feasible. The example that Kenny Lapins, Senior Copywriter at Leo Burnett, gave involved a client pitching to put out a magazine on their product. While this seems like a good idea, all print media outlets are going through a massive change. Instead of creating a magazine, which would be costly and not garner that much attention and impressions, the firm suggested that they create a website instead. It would be basically the same concept of the magazine but would live virtually and be much more accessible. I even thought that it would be a great idea to create an iPad magazine application since those are becoming even more commonplace these days. The point is that your client may not have the same understanding of the media market right now. When you see a potential problem and have an idea, let your client know and make it seem like they thought of it all along.
Stop trying to control the message.
Seriously. Social media space is not the place to become a controlling dictator. There is no possible way for you to control what everyone is saying about your brand so stop. Learn to take feedback whether it is positive or negative. Sometimes the best way to gain the relationship in the social space is to lose control. Social media is supposed to be about taking risks and letting the world tell you what they think. Turn it into constructive criticism and stop mandating a strategy that is bulletproof.
Look for the voids.
The best way to get noticed is to find the void in the industry and create your own niche. To do this, Diane Mermigas, owner of Mermigas on Media, told students to study the marketplace every day and keep track of what is being talked about. At the end of the month, do you notice that there is specific and relevant content missing? If so, you can own that void and become the expert on it. Andrea Metcalf, Spokesperson for Healthy Lifestyle, made it clear that all students should be reading more material and blogging. A great point she brought up is that the media is dying for content. This content could be from you. How would that look on a resume? So start blogging about something you love that is timely and, if possible, fills a void in an area that needs a voice.
Overall, I had a great time at the networking event. I was hoping to talk to a representative from 435 Digital but I think something came up in her schedule. I really encourage students to attend these events even if they may seem “lame” at first glance. But I might just be a major networking junkie.
Happy weekend before Halloween!