In a digitally shifting media landscape, many journalists struggle to advance in their profession. For Alexis Stodghill, the key to circumventing obstacles has been employing skills such as networking, resourcefulness and versatility. As a result, Stodghill has held various staff positions from senior editor to technical producer at companies such as Interactive One, Moguldom Media Group, Blackvoices.com and more. Now she is a staff writer with theGrio.com. Rolling out spoke with Stodghill about the power of networking and marketing yourself to sustain a career in media.
What are the most effective tools and strategies that you utilize to market yourself as a writer and how have they been beneficial to your career?
The most effective tool in marketing is knowing people. Most [of my] jobs have come from developing my network of contacts, even if that means cold-emailing people. It is also important if you can do favors for people first, before you ask for things. One of my best relationships with a prominent site came from doing a profile on the owner for another site. Also, becoming involved socially online and offline with the groups who are a prime audience for your writing, is critically important.
Many freelancers wonder how they can land a staff position. What factors do you believe contributed to your success in going from freelancer to staffer with various companies?
Again, it is about knowing people. If you know the right people and do good work for them, they will think of you for future projects and positions. Getting your foot in the door is crucial, as is doing a good job and treating people well along the way. So network and get your foot in the door, even if you have to write for cheap or free.
Do you belong to any professional organizations? If so, has your membership been beneficial or not?
I am a member of Blacks in Technology. I have also attended events given by organizations like the National Association of Black Journalists, but never joined. Honestly, what is better is attending the events if you can. I would even invest in attending expensive galas to meet people. You can also get a lot out of attending events by professional organizations without joining.