I love social networking. Last week, through networks I belong to, I learned of a headhunter looking to fill a speechwriting position at a global company headquartered in the Chicago area.
I spoke with the headhunter but did not pursue the position because it would have meant relocating from my central Indiana home.
However, the recruiter was very kind and helpful to me. He gave me pointers on updating and improving my resume, and also told me two ways I could identify and pursue clients for my freelance speechwriting business.
Because blogs are about love (which is the “killer app,” after all), and wanting each other to succeed, I thought I’d pass along one of the things he told me now, and one in my next blog.
Here you go…
Call the largest library in your area and ask if they have a reference book called The Standard Directory of Advertisers (sometimes called The Big Red Book of Advertisers). You want the 2009-2010 edition, if possible. My local library didn’t carry it, but the central library in downtown Indianapolis did. I’m told it’s sometimes only found at university libraries.
At any rate, once you get hold of it, you will be in love. This book lists all the companies in the nation, by state, that have advertising or PR departments and the names and sometimes the e-mails of the persons heading those departments.
Beyond this, each company profile includes company address and phone numbers, e-mail and web addresses, revenue figures, number of employees, year founded, business and product descriptions, and the company’s top executives.
So, for example, an Indianapolis company called Brightpoint, Inc. is one I would like to target for my speechwriting services. It’s in the mobile phone and wireless accessories business, and I have a telecommunications speechwriting background.
The Standard Directory of Advertisers tells me Brightpoint has annual revenue of $4.6 billion, employs more than 3,000 people, and a fellow named Anurag Gupta is the Senior VP of Global Strategy, Investor and Public Relations. That’s what I call “actionable” information.
Once you have this information, the headhunter suggested this: Contact the person and ask to meet him or her for coffee. You’re not asking for a job. All you’re asking for is a sense of the freelance speechwriting landscape. If you’re new in your town, like I am, even better. Tell the individual you’re new to the area, are getting your “land legs,” and you’d love to hear his or her take on the environment for freelance speechwriters.
Follow up with a hand-written thank-you note in which you enclose a $5 Starbucks gift card and you’ll have made a good contact and a good impression.
Who knows where it might lead?
Good luck. And don’t say I never gave you anything.