I wouldn’t go so far as to say that you’re not going to get into the media unless you know X, who works at Y. Because that’s just not true – if you’ve got a great story, strong visuals and can communicate it effectively, it’s going to get picked up. However, relationships are important and I’ve got an example of it below. It may seem like Ministry Of The Obvious, but I’m seeing so many people who aren’t prepared to put the time in – researching, getting to know someone’s blog / publication / platform, before barrelling on in there and being surprised when they are rejected. And then complaining about it to all and sundry.
Here’s my take on relationships in a work context:
1. Being memorable is a good thing. Don’t let other people make you think that it’s bad to be noticed. They are the people who a) don’t have the chutzpah to get themselves noticed or b) are doing it themselves and don’t want to encourage other people to get in the way of their sunshine
2. Making relationships with people, even if you don’t know if you’re going to be any use to them, or if they are going to be of any use to you – is a good thing. Because you never know who could be useful in the future!
Here’s a great example of 1 and 2 in action.
I bumped – and I do mean bumped into someone in the lift, whilst we were all being squished like sardines, at a bloggers event. She was Blessed of Clevage, as I am, so there was no option but to say something! I took the opportunity to find out who she is. Turned out she’s an Editor of a magazine and although I couldn’t think of anyone who I could pitch to her there and then, we get chatting, because she’s a nice person and seems really interesting. I asked her what she was there to find out more about and how she wanted to benefit from the day. I mentally noted it, and followed up with her with a couple of links that she might find interesting. She replies and says thank you.
And then, last week, I’m sat with a client, brainstorming how best to use a case study that’s landed on our lap, to maximum effect, and I realise, it’s with the person I bumped into in the lift !!! I get in touch with the Editor, she says she doesn’t want to promise us anything because she’s not sure her publication will be appropriate. I say it’s not a problem, lets have breakfast together anyway, so we meet up. And lo and behold, that case study wasn’t right, but something else was. And that, is where taking time to develop a relationship with someone – especially when you think you’ve got nothing to “gain” from it – is something you really should do.
I’ve been mulling over how to best express this in writing – but here are a few summary points:
- It’s good to “make friends” with people without having an agenda. Even if it’s because there’s definitely less than 7 degrees of separation in the world!
- You should be as professional, polite and collaborative as possible – even when you don’t want to be – because even if you’re on the way up, you never know who you will need on the way down.
- In this digital world, there is a lot to be said for balancing online and offline relationships. Many of our professional relationships are never even mentioned on social platforms. Yet just as many are sustained using social media. We got with whatever works for the people we are talking to.
I’m re reading this – it’s truly Ministry of the Obvious. It just takes time and effort. It doesn’t have to be complicated though. The photo below communicates how The Sweet Shop at Saffron Walden put my relationship with them online – positively, and by remembering that I like “space ships”! Simple, personal and memorable. A perfect combination and a nice bit of PR for them as I immediately re tweeted it!