Take time to honor accomplishments of women in the media and mentor younger women to grow throughout the year.
Last month, one of my college journalism professors shared an article on social media titled, “59 Women in Journalism Share Their Top 5 Tips to Excel as a Journalist” in honor of International Women’s Day and to recognize a former student who made it on the list. The article was originally posted by Yitzi Weiner and Daniele Robay on Thrive Global, a platform started by Ariana Huffington.
Each woman on the list shared her top tips for growing their career in journalism. Wanting to learn some of their advice, I scrolled through the entire list one evening. Many of them advise being credible reporters, always double-checking the facts even when pressured by tight deadlines. Several others suggest media professionals constantly keep up on learning and improving in marketable skills such as web design, videography, social media and photography.
While most of the women on the list don’t work for B2B media outlets, almost all their advice is translatable for B2B media professionals. As a young professional, I found these to be some of the best tips:
- Read and write every day – According to Charanna (C.K.) Alexander of The New York Times, it’s important to regularly read what others are writing to stay in tune with what’s going on in the world and read different writing styles. Along with that, she says to make a habit of writing every day to finetune this skill.
- Be accessible – Kelly Phillips Erb of Forbes magazine recommends always being accessible to readers and sources. She says her first job in the media was at a local newspaper answering phones. This taught her the value of listening and responding to readers. So, if readers reach out, connect with them on social media, respond to their questions and provide them feedback to show a level of professionalism.
- Stay curious – Several women on the list highlight the importance of always being curious. After years of covering the same industry for a B2B publication, it can be tempting to grow overly familiar with the industry and become apathetic about it. However, losing curiosity means losing the ability to find unique stories. So, always maintain childlike curiosity about the industry you cover and the world around you to find the most engaging content.
- Develop thick skin – Amy Gutierrez, an in-game reporter for the San Francisco Giants on NBC Sports Bay Area, shares the importance of developing thick skin and not taking everything personally. All publications and news stations will have some haters. Yet she stresses that it’s impossible to make everyone happy. The important thing is to focus on telling good stories rather than trying to please everyone.
- Support other women in the business – This was another good tip from Gutierrez I think all women in media should embrace: lend a hand to other women in the industry. She says particularly in broadcast women can be territorial, but she advises leaving that attitude behind. Instead, she says to help other women in media both young and old alike. Become a mentor to young women in the industry – this will then set the stage for them to go out of their way to help the next generation of women in media.
This last point seemed very important: women need to support one another in this field and not just during Women’s History Month or on International Women’s Day. Recognizing the accomplishments of leading women in the media and mentoring younger women to grow should be a year-round effort. We should all take time to recognize women role models in B2B media.
While there weren’t many B2B media professionals on Thrive Global’s list, there are many women in B2B media worth recognizing for their leadership in the industry. I’m grateful that I’ve worked with many phenomenal women both young and old in B2B media over the years.
One of my role models is Bethany Chambers, director of audience engagement at North Coast Media. Chambers was never my direct boss, but I always admired the fact that she went out of her way to help young professionals. She helped to schedule lunch-and-learns in the office and always invited younger editors and sales reps to get involved with networking events in the Cleveland area. She’s very down-to-earth and approachable, as well.
I asked her to share a few tips on what helped her to grow in her career, as well. Here’s her advice:
- Get to know people – All too often, networking doesn’t go beyond handshakes and pleasantries at mixers. People go into these with selfish attitudes thinking “what’s in it for me?” Instead, cultivate an attitude of truly getting to know other professionals. Start simple by getting to know the people in your own office, from the president to the nightly cleaning crew. Listen to what they have to say and show them that you’re listening. Tell people happy birthday, send follow-up emails and even drop cards in the mail from time to time.
- Show up – Easy ways to do this in the media business is by joining industry groups like ASBPE, SPJ or a local press club. Be an emissary for good journalists and editors everywhere. Also, show up for alumni association nights, community groups and charitable organizations. Most importantly, show up in the lives of others in this business by giving your time and attention.
- Never burn bridges – Everyone knows everyone in the media business. I have worked with spouses, in-laws, second cousins and acquaintances more times than I can count. So, if you’re about to say, text or email something you wouldn’t want someone else to hear about, just don’t do it.
- Never stop learning – The most important thing you should have learned in college is that you can teach yourself anything if you take the time.
Who are some of your women role models in B2B media? What have they taught you? Let ASBPE know in the comments below!