Love it or hate it, networking is an important part of making new connections and sourcing more work.
At Waypoint, our virtual networking event, networking (as you may have guessed) will take centre stage. We firmly believe that just because we may not be able to meet in person at the moment, that human connection is now more important than ever. Plus, many brands and destinations are seeing just how important content creators and influencers can be in their marketing recovery plans post-COVID.
While networking may on the face of it seem like a daunting entity, it is in fact a brilliant way to shout about your personal brand, meet contacts who can turn into long-lasting connections and ultimately lead to work and opportunities.
It’s important to remember that the brand representative sat in front of you (or in 2020, on your laptop screen), is only human and will simply be looking to find out more information about you and discover if you’d be a good fit to collaborate with in the future.
Ensure your media kit is up-to-date
With networking sessions, you often don’t have very long to make a good first impression. Make sure you have a media kit that is up to date and relevant and include any case studies you may have. You don’t need to give everything away, but statistics are always a great way to show off exactly what you can do, especially for brands looking for good ROI.
You may wish to show a short video clip, highlighting some previous work or a highlight reel of the content you’ve produced. Be careful that this doesn’t take up the full allocated time: keep it short and sweet!
Perfect your elevator pitch
This tip is from Traverse’s own Michael Ball, who stresses the importance of perfecting your elevator pitch:
“Practice explaining what you do in under two minutes, repeat it a few times to get the flow. Get used to introducing yourself and your work quickly so you don’t end up missing out key points or rambling on for too long.”
Do your research
Tea Gudek Šnajdar from Culture Tourist offers the following advice:
“Do a little research and see who’s going to be at the event beforehand. Get in touch with a few people/brands that are interesting to you and set up a meeting in advance. Or just say hello, introduce yourself and say you’re looking forward to meet them at the event. It makes a big difference once you actually meet them in person (or online in this case :).”
At Waypoint, you will be able to check out all the attending brands in advance in the ‘Exhibitors’ section of the platform, so you can schedule meetings with brands that are a good fit for your demographic and niche. There’ll be videos, links to websites and PDFs available in this section, so while you don’t need to spend hours Googling the brand, it would definitely be worth checking out these resources.
Make sure you do your follow ups
Arguably one of the most important parts of networking with new contacts is ensuring that you follow up with them. Perhaps you discussed how a particular destination is trying to focus on a certain angle (the gastronomy or culture in their destination, for example) try and spin your follow up to be relevant, and propose ways you could collaborate. A personal follow up will go much farther than a blanket, generic email.
It is probably best to wait a few days too following the event, as in the days immediately afterwards they are sure to be swamped with new contacts and information – and you don’t want your emails to get lost!
As cliché as it may sound, try and enjoy the experience. At Traverse (as you may know by now if you’ve ever attended one of our events) we strongly believe that the best connections are made when you get to know each other on a personal level, when you’re having fun and are relaxed! Try and take this attitude into speed networking sessions and just be yourself!