They say it’s not “what you know,” it’s “who you know.” That idiom has some legs, but this isn’t an “either / or” world. If you want to be successful, especially in any form of communication, you need to know what you’re doing, and you need to know who wants what you offer.
That basic fact will not change, no matter what kind of media we have and who is running it. The relationships you have with the right media outlets are a huge metric in determining your capacity for success, whether you are the brand or you are helping to promote one.
No matter how fast things move in today’s media market — and they definitely move fast — knowing the right people and having the right content or message to offer them can help keep you grounded, slow down the lightning-fast treadmill, and bring everything together at a pace that allows you to do your best work.
Here’s the secret: that isn’t new. Media has always moved at a blinding pace. Newsrooms were always a hive of controlled chaos, and information was always distributed best because of relationships with the right people.
What has changed? The focus of those relationships. Don’t get ahead of me and make the wrong assumptions. You definitely still need to have carefully cultivated relationships with key people in Big Media outlets. But if you are not connecting with other key people across the spectrum of media, you are missing huge opportunities to connect your brand with a ready audience.
From popular local news channels, to YouTube personalities and “Mommy Bloggers,” the new media revolution is here. In fact, for certain brands in specific markets, these kinds of connections can prove to be the most important. Your market may very well be one that pays much closer attention to local news, bloggers, or social media pages than they do to the Big Four on TV or their local print publication.
If that’s your market you need to know, because these connections are all about relationships. Social media and blogging is not about putting information out there. It’s about connection, about conversation, about drawing people in and finding ways to keep them connected by making them feel a part of your life… making them feel important. Because the people and channels that are best at this understand the need for relationship, they will appreciate your efforts to build relationship before you ask them for something.
And that step is fundamental. As with media representatives at larger outlets, people are more apt to pay attention if you understand who they are and what they’re looking for, and you craft your message to fit their audience.
Big or small, no matter where you want your brands to “be the news,” then you need to be a known quantity and a proven source. Especially when it comes to smaller outlets and their painstakingly cultivated audience, they need to trust you before they put you in front of their audience.