By Joe Fuentes
Media Relations Representative, Xcel Energy
Let me borrow from Gene Amole: Relationships.
That’s where we are going. That’s where we need to be. And that’s what will be key to our future.
Yeah. Yeah. You say. We’re already doing that. Not really, so we must return to the basics.
When did you last call a reporter or editor or producer with a story idea? And the tip wasn’t about you, your company or a client? If you pondered too long and it’s taking you a moment to arrive at an answer, then it’s time to go back to basics.
When was the last time you sent a ‘well done’ note to a journalist? Again, it wasn’t all about you. If your answer is ‘I don’t remember,’ then it’s time to go back to basics.
Altruistic or otherwise, stable relationships are the foundation for everything we do and what we must have to be successful in the future. Relationships touch every fiber of what we do. Relationships are the foundation to trust. And we all know that if you’d don’t have the trust of your media contacts or clients, hang it up and try again.
We all know that relationships are a bond/connection between two people. It is not about the company and the media outlet. So, the conversations that start out ‘this is (insert company name) calling about a news release we sent 10 minutes ago. Did you get it.’ How silly, but it happens.
The future has to be about … ‘Hi! Joe the reporter/editor, is this a good time to visit? I saw your piece on X. Nice. What’s up? What are you working on? Is there anything I can do to help? OK then, here is a little tidbit your readers would be interested in knowing.’ In the back of your mind you have to know if Joe the Reporter trusts you. If Joe doesn’t trust you, it’s time to work on that relationship.
So what are you gaining with a strong relationship?
Day-to-day, you earn respect for your point of view, your company, your client. Joe the Reporter will be more willing to collaborate with you on a story that gets you points with the CEO. You become a must call resource.
In a crisis, you get the benefit of the doubt. And you have a person who will listen.
When we go about predicting the future, we can’t forget about the evolving social media. However, beware of the red flags. Using all the latest tools of new media can rob us of the eyeball-to-eyeball contacts and the personal and satisfying interactions that are at the root of a good relationship.
Sure, this all sounds like common sense. It’s good sense, but so many professionals have forgotten the basics.
I predict we are going back to basics and building solid relationships built on trust.