October 27, 2015 by johnnyseifertradio
It seems simple. But, so many starting out radio professionals are networking wrong. We all want to get a job in the radio industry but, how can YOU stand out from the crowd? What is the reason that YOU should be listened to? How can YOU not annoy an employee leading you to be blacklisted from future career prospects at their station(s)?
1. How to use Twitter
It is so important to follow radio bosses and company groups on Twitter to see updates on what they are doing for their station. For example, by following Andy Roberts you will see him sharing content from Kiss Fm that you can then share their content and comment on. Secondly, it will allow you to have little ice break conversation with them on Twitter to start building a rapport to hopefully follow through with them following you back. The benefit of them following you is that you can demonstrate on your timeline that you have an invested interest in radio without annoying them and have creative ideas about how to push the boundaries that were previously set. For example, do you have an idea of how to make a piece of content more multi-platform? or Do you know how it can reach further potential listeners. What you can also do is tweet about an event you are attending and say that you are looking forward to hearing them speak. For example, I found out that Dick Stones, Smooth Radio was doing a talk at the Student Radio London Training Day 2015. I had found my notes from his 2012 Birmingham talk and tweeted about how useful his tips were (refresh, reuse and renew). This meant Dick would hopefully remember who I was due to a recent conversation. However, what you should not be doing is tweeting them links to your work that they are not interested in. For example, there is no point embarassing yourself tweeting the head of Radio 1 programming with the link to your vlog that has 5 viewers let alone 1million viewers which is what they look for, for their Monday 21:00-22:00 show. Think, what do I gain by them watching it? Why should they watch it? On the flip side, if you are writing a blog about a station to praise or criticise them, then it is worth tweeting it to them for them to have a look at. The reason for this is it shows you care about the station and they may hire you for your fresh creativity to help better the station and in turn bring bigger business marketing oportunities leading to more revenue for the station.
2. When Speaking To a boss
It is important to be seen. Attend radio conferences. If you can not afford the Radio festival/RAIN Summits due to costs, attend the Student Radio Training Days, RIG Days and Podium.Me conferences that are free. Once you are there interact with fellow radio professionals, share your knowledge and radio interests and keep learning! It is also a great way to introduce yourself to bosses that you want to have meetings (with a purpose) with. Standing in the green room at The Radio Festival 2015 I was surrounded by radio bosses and presenters. Two of these were Rhys Hughes, head of Radio 1 programming and Ben Cooper, controller of Radio 1. I easily could have gone over to talk to them, but what would I have said? Hey, my name is Johnny hire me! WRONG! Firstly, they are so busy they are not going to suddenly invite you to a meeting on the spot. Secondly, they were at the festival to do talks and not for socialising…to an extent. Thirdly, I have no reason to speak to them realistically. In this situation it was best not to say anything. If I did have something to say it is easy to email. All you need is a name and then it will always be- firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If you still can not find an email address use the media.info database where it lists all people in the radio industry. Secondly, always flatter them and talk up a recent piece of content that you have enjoyed by their station. A big tip is to talk about their podcasts as it is more of a niche and shows you are a real listener rather then having done a Wikipedia of their schedule and spoken about their Breakfast show…so standard! Alternatively, if it is with a presenter talk about what they are doing. For example, I spoke to Christian O’Conell about Radio Bannana due to the topicality with #BanTheFooFighters that is occuring at the moment in Sweeden as spoken about the Next Radio Conference 2015. I engaged with him as a fellow radio anorak rather then going hey Christian get me a job. As a side point, the most annoying thing is actually from my parents when they hear I have met someone and they go “Can’t they give you a job? No they can not they are not HR silly people. Thirdly, always know your introduction if you get to talk to someone on the phone, email or in person. After you have said your name, how can you summarise where you are in three lines to gain their interest. Here is what I use:
My name is Johnny Seifert and I am currently working as an entertainment reporter at AudioBoom. Prior to this I was a student at Birmingham City University where I graduated with a First Class Honours in Media and Communications (Radio). This led to being nominated for Best Journalistic Programming and the Kevin Greening Creativity Award at the Student Radio Awards 2014 sponsored by BBC Radio 1 and Global Radio (editing the sponsor for the station I am directing).
I have made sure I have told them a piece of information to show I am currently involved in the industry. I have not specified that I am freelance as that is not relevant for now. I have shown I have engaged with the radio industry for at least four years and have a deep understanding by doing a degree in it. I have demonstrated that my work has been credible by securing nominations for the biggest student radio. I have kept it short and sweet which can now be used to start further conversations where I can speak about the work that I have produced.
3. What you should talk about with a radio boss
I have a secret to tell you. I have a spreadsheet that has every radio professional I have met with their contact details, job title and a fact I know about them. For example, yesterday I spoke to a CEO of a company and realised I had worked with her when I did an intership four years ago. I mentioned to her that I remember us having a conversation about sushi. By talking about sushi it made both of us relaxed in a friendly and familiar atmosphere where they are more likely to listen to you and help you if they can. This all stemms from a conversation Andy Martindale, Free Radio had with me in 2011 when he played a clip of him in conversation with Cheryl Cole pre- interview talking about Starbucks. If you can make a guest feel comfortable on air they will open up. The same applies to phone calls to bosses. In the first instance always call them rather then email. Yes, you will be told to email them but as you want to go into radio why would you decide not to sell your voice at the earliest opportunity that you are given? If you want to meet with them you need to have a reason. There is no point emailing Radio 1 and saying I want to meet with you to take over Nick Grimshaw as you do not like his Breakfast show. Firstly, his show is doing fine as shown with his brilliant Adele interview last week that went viral worldwide even appearing on Good Morning America. Secondly, you will be told to send a demo which the liklihood is you have not even got. Only email them if you have a reason. For example, if you want to discuss a show idea you have had that is different to what is on their schedule. The reason to ask for a meeting is in the hope that they like it and want to work with you in making a pilot.
These are a couple of my tips, what would yours be?