People occasionally ask me what they need to do to succeed in the increasingly crowded field of photographers.The usual advice given by a lot of people appears to be to contribute to the equivalent of the nuclear-arms race: promote the crap out of your work on "social media" (let's include email newsletters in that category). I'm not sure that does much, but of course those very few who somehow managed to get something out of it will be held up as examples for why it's so important.
What I tell photographers is a little different. Essentially, I suggest they take care of three very basic things.
First, be nice. Be courteous. If someone sends you an email, say, send a polite response. If you go and see someone, send a thank-you note. That kind of stuff. It really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and people will remember this. Crucially, don't treat other people as a means to your ends.
Second, be punctual. When you promise something by some date, or when there's a deadline, make sure you get things done before or by that time. Don't miss deadlines. Be on time.
Third, be reliable. When someone asks you to send them something in a specific way, do it. Don't send files that are too large or too small, don't forget to send half the stuff that was asked of you etc.
None of this sounds original in any kind of way. But you'd be surprised how many photographers don't even fulfill one of those criteria. For example, even though I tell photographers very clearly what they need to send me for my Portfolio Competition, less than 50% of the send-in emails follow the guidelines. Around 10% don't even contain information what I'm supposed to look at. I don't have the time to follow up, so those 10% are being discarded.
Of course, none of this is a guarantee that you will get ahead. Ultimately, it is going to the quality of your work that matters. But being a punctual, reliable photographer who happens to be a nice person to deal with goes a very long way.