Credit: Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

This article first appeared on IJNet and has been republished with permission

Although LinkedIn has positioned itself as a resource for finding professional opportunities, many people today use it only to post about their career wins and milestones. 

As journalists globally contend with discouraging layoffs, and rely more heavily on freelancing as a result, they can turn to LinkedIn to help find new avenues to build their brand, connect with potential clients or collaborators, and expand the reach of their reporting. 

Among the myriad of social media platforms available, LinkedIn can be an especially powerful tool: if leveraged effectively, journalists can significantly enhance their visibility, credibility and accessibility. 

Here are seven ways to harness the platform’s full potential:

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Optimise your profile

Start thinking of your LinkedIn profile as your digital business card and resume rolled into one. 

Ensure that your profile accurately reflects your professional identity: upload a professional headshot and craft a compelling headline that highlights your expertise as a reporter. 

Learn how to customise your LinkedIn URL to make it simple and more easily remembered. Utilise the profile summary section to showcase your skills, experience and passion for journalism.

Share your work regularly and be consistent

LinkedIn is an ideal platform for journalists to showcase their writing skills and expertise. 

Get into the habit of sharing links to your published articles, opinion pieces or multimedia content regularly. When sharing your content, consider accompanying it with an engaging caption that provides context or further insight. 

Be prepared, too, to experiment with different formats such as articles, videos or infographics. This will help diversify your content and engage your audience.

Similar to other platforms, LinkedIn requires users to share their work and post consistently to grow their network and increase their reach. 

Engage with industry professionals

One of the best ways to utilise LinkedIn is to build community. Developing a strong network on the platform is crucial and requires you to get comfortable with connecting with fellow journalists, thought leaders and media professionals within and outside of your area of expertise.

Engaging with professionals on LinkedIn not only means following them, but also liking, commenting on, or sharing the content they post. Taking this extra step can give you an edge, and help get these connections to notice you.

Joining relevant LinkedIn groups or communities, and actively participating in discussions about journalism, media trends and other related issues can also help you establish your presence on the app and expand your network.

Showcase your expertise

Positioning yourself as an expert on a specific subject in journalism is essential if you want to thrive on the platform. 

For example, writing articles or posts that demonstrate your knowledge, insights and unique perspectives on current events or industry trends offers your connections a reason to want to work with you. 

Sharing tips, analyses or behind-the-scenes stories that showcase your expertise and credibility as a freelance journalist can help you get the ball rolling. Consistently providing valuable content will attract followers, and enhance your reputation as a journalist and a trusted voice in your niche.

Utilise LinkedIn's publishing platform

Amid the media layoffs that have become too commonplace, freelance reporters looking to keep the wheels rolling can take advantage of LinkedIn's publishing platform to help them reach a broader audience with their content. 

Writing articles on topics relevant to your expertise or interests coupled with engaging visuals, data or personal anecdotes can help captivate a reader’s attention. 

Publishing on the platform can also help you establish thought leadership, generate leads, and drive traffic to your website or portfolio.

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Seek freelance opportunities

LinkedIn is also a valuable resource for finding freelance opportunities. 

You must constantly be on the lookout for job postings, freelance gigs or content creation opportunities that media companies, publishers, hiring managers and human resource personnel share. 

Be sure to follow relevant hashtags like #FreelanceJournalist or #MediaJobs to discover new journalism opportunities, and do not hesitate to reach out to potential clients or collaborators directly to pitch your services, or inquire about freelance projects.

Engage with your audience

Building meaningful relationships with your audience is key to success on LinkedIn. 

Responding to comments, messages or inquiries promptly and courteously shows a genuine interest, which many of your connections will value. Show appreciation for your connections’ feedback, shares or endorsements. 

LinkedIn's live feature permits you to interact with your audience in real-time and showcase your expertise/skills. Consider hosting live Q&A sessions, webinars or virtual events, to foster genuine connections and dialogue, and cultivate a loyal following.

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