When I started John Bailey & Associates Public Relations in 1996, I knew that my network of people in business, comprised of persons I of course liked and kept in touch with during my (then) 30-year career, would be important.
I had been a successful PR professional and knew hundreds of people in business, media, government and the community in general. I was confident these people would be willing to help me as I opened my new business.
However, as I opened the doors to JB&A, I quickly found that I had underestimated just how important my network would be to my success. I didn’t just happen to know these people. They upheld my very reputation in the community. Former clients, colleagues and such spoke about “John Bailey” and “John’s new agency” to others, which helped to land new contacts (and eventually, contracts). This continued for years. I became known as a person who said what I meant and did what I said.
Being linked in, then and now
Today, social media makes it easier to build a network. I continue to build mine through social networking, and unsurprisingly, because of it.
Still, your network needs to be more than names on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. The persons in your circles need to know:
- who you are,
- what you stand for,
- what you do and how good you are at what you do.
What’s more, to main a positive reputation in good standing, you need to reinforce these messages on a regular basis. Through action, not just words.
Stay in touch. Foster your network, and continue to build it through a healthy mix of social media and face-to-face interactions. Get out there. Do things. Go to seminars; give seminars. Join both professional and charitable organizations, and do great work for them. Always reach out to listen and learn, and to build you network.
Last but certainly not least
If you want to know someone who does a great job of networking, follow Jason Brown of PublicCity PR. In my humble opinion, he is one of the best* in the business at building his network and reputation, which in turn, helps to drive new business.
* Well, at least since me.