Different phone chargers and a power strip made up to look like a person with arms, legs, and a face drawn on with black magic marker.
The Art of Networking in Creative Industries: Making Connections that Count

Breaking into the creative industry can be a tough ask for anyone. Talent alone won’t get you anywhere, and to make things worse—85% of jobs are filled through either personal or professional connections. After all, nepotism is the connective tissue between the arts. 

But according to research, one in four professionals doesn’t network at all, which is self-sabotage at its finest. With that in mind, we want to show you how to depart the harbor of your comfort zone, make valuable connections, and have your art get the attention it deserves. 

Leverage Academic Networks to Create Connections 

Whether you want to admit it or not, knowing how to network is a fundamental skill. Fortunately, the foundations for your business-driven socializing may already be established because many people have found success by maximizing their alumni network. 

And one of the best ways to connect is through commonality, or shared academic history, so don’t feel anxious about reaching out to our alumni office. The University of Redlands prides itself on organizing a plethora of events that bring alumni together, along with maintaining alumni-specific pages on Instagram and LinkedIn, as well.  

Likewise, building guest lists or sending invites can give you a rare opportunity to reach out to people you’d like to meet without seeming awkward. Seminars and alum clubs also offer a great chance to cultivate diverse alumni relationships, giving you another thing in common, other than your place of learning.  

Focus on Fostering Strong Relationships Through Meaningful Conversation

Having the intuition and initiative to get into advantageous social situations is invaluable, but so is learning how to build the right relationships. The goal is to create long-lasting, meaningful relationships that will continue beyond your first meeting. Among the best ways to achieve that is to eschew the chit-chat and focus on asking relevant, consequential questions. 

Attentive listening is also vital. Accordingly, you can achieve that by listening to genuinely understand your interlocutor and thinking about what you can do for them, and not vice-versa. If you extend your hand first, the ball will be in their court. 

Remain Open-Minded 

Networking also requires being open to new interpersonal experiences and a willingness to engage with people from all walks of life. Especially in the creative industries, where uniqueness is celebrated and those who are different aren’t shunned by others. 

Exploring various arts is a great way to expand your circle and to meet people with intriguing, character-building differences. 

Also, don’t feel beholden to older methods of networking. Use the full potential of today’s technology and digital social environment to reach out through various digital channels. Whatever your platform is, be creative. Include a QR code for registration if you have a newsletter or a new single/piece out. You have nothing to lose! 

Networking with Other Creators

Simply searching for relevant networks or events can open up a new world of creative industry events and contacts. 

Other than the alumni circle, you should look into both massive, global events, like Twitch Con, or more local gatherings, depending on who you want to network with.  

Likewise, it’s also advised to establish yourself as a thought leader and a participant in relevant discussions. 117 million Americans are estimated to use generative AI by 2025, and many think it’ll replace art as we know it, especially with OpenAI’s Sora on the way—what do you think about it? Let the people know, and they’ll remember your opinion as a relevant one. 

Challenges Creators Face When Networking 

While it’s true that creators tend to stick together, creating a form of solidarity in creative industries, there are still some unique challenges when looking to network in such an environment. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Scams. Every now and then, there’s a brand selling software or exclusive memberships, promising aspiring creators with tangible results from networking. More often than not, it results in vendor lock-in, a multi-year deal you can’t get out of. 
  • Competitiveness. While there’s enough room under the sun for everyone, some creators don’t share the same opinion and can sometimes refuse to help their peers. 
  • High patience requirements. Without a doubt, networking as a creator isn’t for everyone. Not only is the lifestyle itself hectic, but it can take weeks or even months before you meet the right person to keep things moving. 
  • The time-consuming nature of networking. Yes, it can take a long time before networking yields results, with preparation potentially taking a significant amount of effort. However, it’s important to think things out, run tests and only execute once you’re certain your efforts are well-targeted. 

Final Thoughts

Even though networking is a primary part of getting your name out there, long-term success can be bolstered through other means, such as having access to a rich and diverse resource library to continue your upward progress. 

Connections are as essential as skill and imagination, and if you’re able to combine each of these aspects you can significantly boost your chances of soon achieving an upward career trajectory.   

About the Author | Magnus Eriksen is a copywriter and an eCommerce SEO specialist with a degree in Marketing and Brand Management. Before embarking on his copywriting career, he was a content writer for digital marketing agencies such as Synlighet AS and Omega Media, where he mastered on-page and technical SEO.

By Magnus Eriksen
Magnus Eriksen