I mentioned in my vlog that I've been lucky enough to work with a dream client. Now I can finally say that the dream client I've been working with is the National Trust. Not just a specific property - but with the National Trust HQ in Swindon on their social media; and the best bit? They're one of the nicest organisations I've had the pleasure to work with.

That's the news, but I wanted to explain a little about how I came to work with them and how I the phrase 'You miss 100% of the shots you don't take*' is still ringing in my ears. 

LinkedIn & The National Trust

It was about 9pm one weekday last October and through no other reason than sheer boredom I was flicking through LinkedIn. My evenings are that exciting. Between the less than inspirational quotes and general bragging from recruiters there was a post from the Head of Social Media at the National Trust with a shout out for freelancers.

And like any post looking for freelancers the comments were already in the triple figures with people expressing their interest. 

At this point, I had three thoughts -

  • That would be an incredible gig
  • There's no way I could work with an organisation as incredible at the NT
  • There's so many people already commented there's no way I'll be seen

After 9 years in the digital marketing game you'd think I'd stop doubting my own abilities but no, my mind likes to flit wildly between crippling doubt and ballsy peaks of self confidence. In this instance the balsy self confidence won out.

My Approach

The only way to stand out I reasoned was to get a message in front of said Head of Social Media. I was not going to be just another comment. So, looking through the chaps profile I realised a further three things - 

  • He studied history at uni (me too!)
  • He loved everything to do with the National Trust (who wouldn't?)
  • His other posts were pretty chatty and informal

That's a winning combination.

The day after, still thinking about whether or not to throw my hat into the ring my thinking concluded with to hell with it, I might as well give it a shot.  If it didn't work out then I hadn't lost anything. 

So, with him not being a connection I signed up for free trial of LinkedIn premium and DM'd him. The message was deliberately chatty, definitely mentioned our shared degrees and happened to have a link to my Instagram account which is at least 25% of images of National Trust locations. 

A few days later and sitting there in the inbox was a response! 

Between then and now I should mention I did have to submit a proposal of previous social media work and followed it up with a presentation day at Heelis, their HQ in Swindon, before getting to dive into the actual work - but the point remains. Had I not sent that message I never would have had the opportunity to end up doing all of those incredible things. 

LinkedIn Lessons

So as a quick lesson for anyone reading this and a reminder for my future self...

  • Keep an eagle like eye on opportunities via LinkedIn
  • Do something which stands out
  • Try never to doubt your own abilities
  • If you're in doubt then try for it anyway.

What have you got to lose? 

*"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" is a quote by professional ice hockey player and head coach, Wayne Gretzky. I have it printed on my business cards to act as a reminder to try and approach business this way.