During an exchange of emails, I had a moment of clarity. It’s an example for my students to understand a bit of marketing.
A photographer had sent me some photos of cars on a track and I immediately saw all the sponsor decals. I see every sticker as a potential client--most photographers just see it as decoration.
An example, Goodyear might be interested in photos and an article for their internal newsletter. Every single sticker on that car is a potential corporate outlet. Two departments at each of these corporations one should contact. First, check their PR office, which often have internal and external applications. The second group is Marketing/Advertising.
Every time you talk to anyone on the driver's team you need to find out where they are from and what schools they went to. Their hometown paper is interested and their college alumni publications are interested.
Don't forget to then look at everything on your list; then think through all the associations these folks are members. Each of those organizations may have publications as well.
Goodyear is most likely a member of TIA (Tire Industry Association). They too have publications that need photos. They run ads of their members in the publications.
While HomeDepot and Lowe's maybe competition, most likely they are both members of the NRHA, North American Retail Hardware Association.
You may not cover motorsports, but think about everything you photograph as having people interested in the photos for the same reasons that sponsors put decals on race cars. Then you have one of the best pathways for market your services.
Everyone has a story that others want to know about. Learn to connect the dots between the story and the audience.
When you pitch a story, you are pushing content. Learn to pull content as well with each contact. "…here is a story for you on …." Always let them know your availability and what you are doing in case they want to piggy back an assignment for you. "I am going to cover ____ race on____. If you need any coverage of this let me know. Also, I can take time on the way there and back to stop and get coverage for you along the way. This will save you the travel expenses since I am already in the area."
Whenever you travel take time to stop by and visit some of these people you are contacting. "Hey John I am in the area for a job tomorrow. Do you mind I stop by and say hello. Maybe we can get a cup of coffee." This can lead to more jobs.
It is about networking. The more contacts you make the more times you will get a job that pays.