By Tyler Harris
Since 2016, AAEA has offered members a chance to get involved in Special Interest Groups, or SIGs, related to their specific focus area or interests. There are currently five SIGs in total – an Editors SIG, Association Communications SIG, Freelancers SIG, Photographers SIG, and Young Professionals SIG.
Want to join a SIG, but aren’t sure how to get involved? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick look at 4 steps you can take to get involved in a SIG.
1. Make sure you renew your AAEA membership. It’s that time of year to renew AAEA memberships, and one of the many perks provided through membership is that all SIGs are free to join.
2. Figure out which SIG is right for you. Are you a journalist working on deadline who’s interested in improving your writing/editing abilities and networking with other editors? The Editors SIG may be the best fit for you. Or, if you’re a freelancer looking to network with fellow freelancers while also expanding your footprint to work with more publications and content providers, the Freelancers SIG would probably be a good fit.
3. Reach out to individual SIGs – you can specify an interest in joining an individual SIG when renewing your AAEA membership, or you can always reach out to any of the SIG chairs listed here. Meanwhile, some SIGs have their own Facebook groups, including the Editors SIG and Young Professionals SIG. While anyone can request to join these groups, they can give a preview of what you can expect by joining an individual SIG, and help stay connected with fellow members when you do join. It can also serve as a way to stay updated on certain events, like meetings at Ag Media Summit, with fellow SIG members.
4. Step up – once you’ve joined a SIG, there will be a number of opportunities to get involved. Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the SIG and consider how you can contribute to the collective goals of the group, how your experience might be beneficial to other members, and what you hope to gain as part of the SIG. If there’s an area you feel you can contribute to, don’t be afraid to throw your hat in the ring – whether it’s organizing and moderating a webinar, writing an article for a newsletter, coordinating meet-ups at national events, or managing your SIG’s Facebook group. When a challenge presents itself – like using a new online cloud tool or hosting service you aren’t familiar with – don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions or help from other SIG members.
AAEA’s Special Interest Groups are intended to give members an opportunity to work with a group of people with similar interests and backgrounds, and with a focus on similar professional development goals. Getting involved with the SIG that best aligns with your professional goals can help not only network with other ag communicators and journalists, but also help fine-tune your craft. Learn more at: agcommnetwork.com/member-resources/special-interest-groups/