A few months ago, I saw Guy Kawasaki’s blog post, 10 Ways to Use LinkedIn, and it made me realize that you can use LinkedIn for a lot more than just networking. For example, journalists can get value from LinkedIn both as a research tool and as a tool for career development:

Here are ten ways for journalists to use LinkedIn:

1. Get noticed for the work you do
I’ve seen a lot of journalists with pretty sparse profiles. This is a mistake. You don’t have to write a novel, but at least put information about your areas of interest so that people know what to contact you for. The text that you include is searchable, so if you’re looking for travel-writing gigs, make sure you include this somewhere in your profile. Also, listing your past employers and education makes it easier for old colleagues and classmates to find you. Here’s an example of a well crafted profile: David Lidsky, Senior Editor of Fast Company.

2. Build a network without making networking your full-time job
To use LinkedIn well, you need at least 20 connections. But, this doesn’t mean you should connect to every publicist who sends you an invitation. LinkedIn works best when you connect to your top sources, important industry contacts, coworkers, and people who know you well. These are the people who can help you do your job, find new opportunities and pass on story ideas that are more likely to be of interest to you.

3. Network without suffering the deluge of requests to “write about me!”
Journalists and high-profile bloggers tend to be highly coveted individuals. In fact, TechCrunch blogger, Michael Arrington, is the second most contacted person on LinkedIn (after LinkedIn’s founder). Control who makes it to your in-box by going to LinkedIn’s Accounts & Settings page to alter your notification preferences. If you find yourself overwhelmed with requests, you can opt to receive notifications once a week or only when you log into the LinkedIn website.

4. Use a connection to get a great assignment.
If you’re a freelancer or looking for a job, perform a search in the “Writing and Editing” industry sorted by “Degrees away from you” to see who might be able to help you in your network.

5. Find an expert fast
The advanced search feature is the most powerful tools you can use on LinkedIn. You can search for any combination of keywords, job title, company, location, industry, and you can sort by “degrees away from you” to find people close to you in your network. This is a great way to find experts in almost any field or subject matter. You can also track down executives at companies.

6. Confirm a rumor
One of the best ways to find out the inside scoop on companies is to find former employees who are willing to talk to you. To do this, use LinkedIn’s advanced search for the company’s name and uncheck the “Current companies only” box. The results will include both current and past employees.

7. Get responses to queries from non-PR types
Often, if you send a query to a place like PRLeads, you get mostly public relations people answering you. This works fine in most cases, but sometimes you need something different – for example a quote from a type of person who would not typically hire a publicist. LinkedIn’s Answers service allows you to ask questions to the network and get answers from a wide range of people. Answers are tied to the professional profile of the person who responded so you can quickly assess credibility and determine whether to contact the person. Here’s an example of a journalist’s question on LinkedIn Answers.

8. Get ideas for sources, topics and trends
If you don’t want to post a question, LinkedIn Answers has a search box that allows you to search the archives. This is a great way to search for sources. A search for keyword “Des Moines” will likely find you folks in the city who like to talk about it, a search for “iPhone” will show you some of the buzz around the product. A great way to get ideas for stories is to peruse through the various categories of LinkedIn Answers to find out what people are saying about topics and trends. For example, here are a few of the many categories: career development, personal finance, technology.

9. Qualify pitches
f you find yourself getting daily pitches from the “hottest new [insert industry buzzword] company,” try searching for the company on LinkedIn. Take a look to see if you are connected to any of the employees, check out their profiles, their backgrounds, and their relationships. If they’re really hot, then they’re probably connected to key industry movers and shakers.

10. Promote your book!
LinkedIn allows you to publicize websites. There are a few pre-selected categories like “My Website,” “My Company,” etc. If you select “Other” you can modify the name of the link. If you have a book, you can create a link to a webpage that promotes it or directly to an Amazon page where people can buy it. You can bet that I was all over this feature: My new book: Brazen Careerist.

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58 replies
  1. Jess
    Jess says:

    I like LinkedIn, but so far I’ve found it only of limited use in my work as a journalist. This is mostly because to unlock many of the best features – such as contacting someone you’re not connected to – you have to pay a fee vastly in excess of the worth of the service.

    It would be OK, it you could find someone’s name by job title, then track them down by more traditional means, but that’s usually not possible.

    It’s been of more use to me in solidifying contacts with editors than sources.

  2. Frank Roche
    Frank Roche says:

    You just gave me a good idea about doing a quick question on LinkedIn. I’m polling HR practitioners about how they chose their career path — corporate or consulting — and how they arrived in the first place. I posted a Q on LinkedIn…thanks for the idea!

  3. Sheila at Family Travel
    Sheila at Family Travel says:

    Well, gee, that just blew an afternoon for me!

    I was not familiar with LinkedIn, so instead of working on the article I’m SUPPOSED to be writing, I had to go figure it out. It was very interesting to see who has a profile among the people that I know and/or have worked with.

    We’ll see if this results in anything, but now it’s almost 8 pm and I really must return to the correct grindstone.


  4. Barbra nuen
    Barbra nuen says:




    This site is the biggest scam , on the Internet. They are NOT a friendly Professional business site. To network, means to meet new people in your related Industry. They don’t advertise the fact that the first time you send an email to add a contact, that person can send the ”don’t know you” response, and then with very few,,like 3..they lock your account down, to have to ”know everyone you send an add to. Kinda of defeats the idea, of BUSINESS NETWORKING! I NEVER SPAM! To be a treated like one was a real insult. No one is home in customer service, auto-responses only. It’s just a trick, to get you to upgrade, more money! AND, they also have a very low classed- environment, [ MONEY DOESN’T BUY CLASS] That uses the dreaded” don’t know you response” to dishonestly, eliminate the competition. They send that response on you to purposely , use linkedin’s stupid ”rule” to keep you from being on the site to network, because they know, how easy it is to get your site locked. I was told, if you pay, we will fix it, $200 per month later…still can’t use my account, and they kept my money. It’s not a proper business model for any professional. What I found there was the pre-school bullies,,, all grown up, still much more egotistical. Are you good enough to join our group of pathetic losers??? No, Thankfully I guess not. I will be blogging about this much hyped, poor business site, EVERYWHERE!! To save good people from this very bad experience. Don’t believe the hype of this poorly run site. First of all,,,does everyone in the World ”know each other”?? Most of all, read your own advertisements!!! It doesn’t say ”network site for only people who know each other” or, we will keep your money, and lockdown your networking abilities if 3 people say ”they don’t” know you! False advertising, insulting to real professionals, who think it’s a real networking site. No warning til after they take your money, about the hidden-unwritten rules. Also, the REAL spammers, that PAID the highest monthly rate..still networking, NOT CLOSED DOWN! my average, 80 contacts knew me, only 3 said they didn’t. So 3 out of 80!!! I’m Definitely NOT a spammer. Someone needs to put these guys out of business. SOON…. This situation is so common, that their is a group on their site called ”toplinked” and, they have better respectful members. The main thing was the total ruthless attitude of the linkedin members, and lack of respect by the managers and owners of this site. I paid for them to insult me. NO REAL MANAGEMENT,

  5. Barbra nuen
    Barbra nuen says:




  6. Gina Chen
    Gina Chen says:

    Great tips for using Linked-In.

    I’ve had a linked-in account, but I haven’t really delved into how I could use it as a journalists — except basic networking and using the question feature to see whether an idea is generating a buzz. I also use it to promote my blog, sort of tacitly.

    I will try out these ideas, particularly for contacting people directly.

  7. Journalistics
    Journalistics says:

    I don’t know. I love LinkedIn, but I think it’s probably hit or miss (like all the other tools) for finding and vetting sources. There’s a lot of PR people and marketing folks camped out in LinkedIn (part of the reason only 1 in 10 questions or responses in LinkedIn Answers are actually plugs for products or services).

    It’s also getting increasingly difficult to reach journalists through any of the social networks, because PR professionals infest any one of them. Create an online group, discussion or chat for journalists and you’re bound to get 50% attendance from the PR community.

    Great tips for anybody using LinkedIn in general though. Thanks.

  8. Martin Jonestyll
    Martin Jonestyll says:

    Guy’s blog turned ME on to LinkedIn too, and since then I have been in love with it, and it is easily the most useful business tool on the internet for me.

    If you are interested, the networking expert Jan Vermeiren has written a new book called ‘How to REALLY use LinkedIn, and there is a free light version at [how-to-really-use-linkedin.com]

    Keep blogging! And long love LinkedIn!

  9. Wilbert
    Wilbert says:

    Even though I am not currently using Linked in i certainly see the potential. I see many people using it for networking mostly. I guess definitely doesn’t hurt to use facebook, linked in and other professional services to promote ones career.

  10. Atniz
    Atniz says:

    I just joined LinkedIn, about 2 months ago. I still don’t realize the true potential of this site until read what Guy Kawasaki wrote 3 almost 3 years ago. Truly, he is one of a kind when it comes to social media marketing.

  11. Oklahoma Court Dockets
    Oklahoma Court Dockets says:

    Well I am using LinkedIn for the last few months and it proved very useful for me. Truly speaking I wasn’t aware of using LinkenIn in this way, so its very helpful for me. I will try them for my profession, as I am a practicing lawyer, so I hope some of the tips will be beneficial for me as well. Thanks

  12. Uhren
    Uhren says:

    I don’t know what to say except that I have leaned a lot of important information concerning this bulletin that i was ignoring before thank you for the update .



  13. Fetal doppler
    Fetal doppler says:

    Well LinkedIn proved to be very useful for me, I learned a lot about effectiveness of social media from here, now I can easily communicate with people similar to profession. So LinkedIn is very useful for me as it is another job platform for me. Thanks

  14. Candace Grover
    Candace Grover says:

    I am not sure I belong here. I love my job. I love the people I work with, I love my customers. I am not looking for something new. We are all well connected in this small city. I am happy with what I do and maybe should be on the contented track. My DH is happy with what he does. Those of you who know me, know that. When we leave B’ton it will be for a warmer climate for me. Scleroderma and Reynauds’ make that necessary. That won’t happen right away, but any long time friends welcome for visits. Food, friends, testing recipes for friends cook books make me happy along with the shop, Doug and Suzy & Loulou. Maybe a new St. Poodle puppy this spring. They are the best snd the older dogs train the younger dogs. I have bit gold mine. The older poods train the younger ones, I have bot have had t train the younger ones in years!

    Come for a visit. We love all of of our friends and never get ti see enough of you. Doug’s mom will be 90 in June and mine 87 in May. “Time keeps on slipping…………….”


  15. esoy1989
    esoy1989 says:

    Wow this is a very cool page. Though I’m not a journalist, still I know the ten ways journalist can use linkedin.
    Its still be use in my part, someday,somehow who know I’ll become a journal.:D

  16. Evan
    Evan says:

    I used to work in television as a reporter and the toughest part of the job was to find “experts”. Linkedin is indeed a great tool for this…my life would have been much easier back in the day.

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