Working closely with others makes your message stronger.
The allies you have out there are not just the people who pay your bills.
Whilst these may not be people you can call clients, they can have an indirect influence on your business and the marketplace you are part of.
These are the collaborators, the people who are willing to champion your corner. These are the people who trust you, think like you and happy to stand shoulder to shoulder together.
It doesn’t have to be forcing someone else to do something they have little time to do or feel coerced to do it, it works when everything is set-up and feels straightforward. When the groundwork is already done, people are more obliged to say ‘yes’ to you.
Back in 2016, I ran a small survey and went to a selection of the 100 people I interviewed for the Talking Content Marketing project (this was a Q&A based project from 2013 to 2017) and asked people why they said yes. These are people who have built their reputation over the years within marketing and there was me, a complete stranger to them (at the time) when I started this in 2013, asking them to participate. There we two main threads I took from what people said and why they agreed:
I asked (it was as simple as that)
The first point of contact via email was done in a familiar way ie. I picked up on an article they had written, a book the had published and to find that place of connection that didn’t feel overawing
By creating a sense of familiarity is key to all this. This is what makes it easier for someone to agree to work with you.
Take It Onboard
I am seeing it played out in front of us. This has got nothing to do with influencer marketing and paying strangers to endorse what you do and the world revolves around the highest bidder or who gives things for free to someone so they can advertise. This is about a shared sense of responsibility and companies accepting that they can’t work within a lonely piece of land.
The reward is there, I can see it from the content programmes in place for clients:
This is the client who cherishes the association with others when clients step forward to create articles with them
This is the client who has paid it forward over the past seven or so years and now is the time for their ‘ask’ from others
This is the client who wants propulsion of their content by approaching their clients they work with and where there is the least chance of resistance ie. global brands that participate and not an approval process from one level to another before anything sees the light of day and the whole process slows down
It is the relationships forged that makes stronger content and a sense of mutual trust to make something far more compelling. In the words of Andy Crestodina, ‘an ally in creation, is an ally in promotion.
Let me explain what the notion of an ally in creation, ally in promotion means. I certainly get a lot of mileage out of this. I look at it two ways. The first is when you bring people you know into your fold and they play a central role in your content (written, audio, video). The second is the fact you could produce the deepest, most thoughtful piece filled with fact, evidence and opinion but if there isn’t anyone to help with distribution apart from a search engine where you are heavily down the pecking order, it is an isolating ride.
You have to continually ask yourself, ‘who will amplify my content?’
What About You?
You can find the right people and do something that encourages momentum.
Finding the right people to align with you works with a simple process.
Here is how you can build a strategic framework in three steps:
Recognise who your allies. This doesn’t have to be your clients, but the people you respect within your industry. I was surprised by how easy it was to approach people when the Talking Content Marketing project started building momentum. I went for the jugular at the very beginning by targeted the ‘superstar’ marketers, so people could see I was serious. Remember that the person/people you approach have to align with your business. For instance, if I approached a friend who is a gym instructor to talk about health and mindset, that would not fit into the You Are The Media categories (have a read of this article about categories)
Raise the level of engagement with your allies. These are the people who think the same as you, these are the people who have the same goals. Interaction doesn’t just have to be behind a Twitter DM, over time, having this sense of closeness opens up the conversation. For instance, in 2014 I bonded with my good friend Ian Rhodes (based in Cheshire), we met up, we chatted, we had a shared kinship that in 2015, it was easier to launch the Marketing Homebrew Podcast (that ran until August 2017). Ian is still someone who I regard as a talented marketer and a good friend.
How can you help each other and then your marketplace? Remember, this is never about you, it is about creating work that people enjoy and others recognise that you enjoyed putting it together. You have someone who has that shared sense of responsibility, now it is time to make it work. It could be a one-off, it could be an ongoing project. It is all about moving towards the same goal. For instance, will participating in a podcast help make other voices stronger than your own? By interviewing those who you have a close connection with, will it help make the stance you have within your industry more robust?
Here are some dos and don’t to make this easier to work:
DO – make everything easy for someone else to join in
DON’T – start putting up walls where people lose interest such as too much their side ie. asking them to write full articles, or send over a deluge of questions
DO – have the breadcrumbs already laid down so people can pick up on what you believe in ie. your blog
DON’T – think that you can get abundant interaction if no one can see your approach and where you reside
DO – have a consistent process in place
DON’T – adopt an approach where all this is sporadic, you won’t be able to build any momentum
DO – choose your allies carefully
DON’T – treat the world as one giant begging bowl where you think that someone should owe you something
DO – work with respect
DON’T – make the whole process a waste of everyone time such as missing deadlines and delving into the world of irrelevance
DO – express gratitude
DON’T – go into this thinking that it is you who should take all the glory
DO – be clear on what you want to get out of it
DON’T – forget that there has to be an actual goal for all this ie. awareness, build subscribers
Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is
I realise that other people with a shared mindset make things stronger.
When it comes to the You Are The Media project others now have a role to play:
– Bournemouth University produced the conference magazine, filmed the talks and are hosting the You Are The Media Lunch on 30th August
– Chris Huskins produced You Are The Media Summer Special Podcast
– Oli Perron from Lunchd supplies the food for You Are The Media Lunch Club
– The Dorset Growth Hub helped facilitate the You Are The Media Summer Tour during July 2018
I am now looking to open up You Are The Media to others to join in. The You Are The Media Network is the latest element to be introduced.
Those who share a regular message with their audience now have the opportunity to be a part of the You Are The Media network. These are people who are part of the You Are The Media family and where there is really comfy fit. These are podcasts and blogs that have an audience first approach. These are people who are creating and sharing, the You Are The Media Network is a way to highlight to others a connected approach where the narrative that is produced stems from the value being created for others to help make sense of the industries they are within.
By promoting those who are part of the network is intended to give a nod to the independence and drive of others who believe that a consistent message helps build their own identity for others to associate with. It also brings things back to a common thread that You Are The Media is all about, championing people to build a loyal audience within the spaces that they control. As Charles Dickens said, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of others.”
As we begin our drive to build the network, alongside the all new You Are The Media Podcast will be Trevor Young’s ‘Reputation Revolution,’ Ben Roberts ‘Marketing Buzzword Podcast‘ and Neil Humphrey’s ‘People Like Us, Do Things Like This.’
Working with others can become a huge success when there is a shared drive in the same direction.
The ally in creation, is an ally in promotion mindset takes on a much more holistic approach where you look beyond the immediate delivery and amplify a message that can go in a host of channeled directions. There are people out there who can make your message stronger and for you to give the credit to others.
What about you? If you have a podcast, or a regular blog, where you would like to be a part of the You Are The Media Network, let me know.