The below is taken from my new book “Progressive Partnerships – The Future of Business”. For a free sample download, or to purchase the book on Amazon, please see below:
Progressive Partnerships in Action
Progressive partnerships start with two core ideas:
1. Everybody needs something
2. This partnership is merely a stepping stone to the next one.
We know that we need stuff. Maybe it’s more customers, a venue, staff, knowledge, results – whatever. The point is that just as we need something, so does everyone else out there. The biggest challenge most people have with progressive partnerships is being able to think in terms of other people’s needs and not their own.
Let’s say that your need is to get some media exposure. You know your ideal customers read a particular magazine or website and so you decide to approach that publication. A typical approach would be to say, ‘Hi, we’ve got a really cool product that I think your readers would be interested in. Would you like to feature us?’
Sadly, your likelihood of success from an approach like this is minimal. So you need to discover what the magazine or website needs. For example, you know that they make their money through advertising, so of course they are always looking for potential new advertisers. What else? If they’re a magazine, then subscriber numbers are hugely important to them. What else? Compelling content. Fundamentally, they need content that can educate and/or entertain their readers. What else? Exposure. They are, just like you, a business that needs exposure. The more exposure they get, the more readers they are likely to attract, the more potential advertisers and subscribers they could reach, etc.
When I approach a media partner I phrase everything in terms of how I can help them in one of these four areas: advertisers, subscribers, compelling content or exposure. If I know they have a specific need outside of these, for example they need a new key member of the team, I will mention that too.
So instead of saying, ‘My business is cool, will you feature me?’ I might say something along the lines of ‘Your business is cool, would you be interested in new advertisers?’
Now think for a moment what happens when the phone rings in your office. You answer it and the caller is either interested in buying from you or trying to sell to you. Which caller is more likely to get your attention?
Understand what they need, what they are looking for, and pitch yourself as a way to help them achieve their goals.
So before I can pitch for media coverage, I need to show that I can create value for my potential media partner. The easiest way to do this is to see what I have in my network that might be of interest to them. Many of my clients advertise, therefore under the right circumstances I could put my clients together with the publication I’m approaching.
If I don’t think my customers would buy advertising from the publication, maybe they would be interested in subscribing. Get creative. There is always a way you can create value for others if you are prepared to think first.
Now I am going to the publication saying, ‘I think my clients would be interested in advertising in your magazine. How might we work together?’ It’s not always going to work, but more often than not it will help you start a conversation.
Case study – media partnership – Asian Entrepreneur
The following is an example of a media partnership I’ve created that would be easy for any network manager to replicate. Understanding that the more value I could provide for people in my community, the more people would be attracted to the community, I started looking at how I could increase the visibility of the members in the group.
I started approaching websites.
First of all I approached popular sites where I knew someone, or knew someone who knew someone. I wasn’t asking for anything in return, just offering to showcase ‘leaders who were doing cool stuff in Asia’. For example, I occasionally write for the website The Next Web, so I approached them first. It’s been about a year since I did and I haven’t heard back from them yet. I’m guessing they’re still thinking about it…
The second site I approached replied straight away: ‘Thanks, but no thanks’. By now I was widening my search to sites where I didn’t know anyone but I thought they would get value from the additional content. The top websites can be quite selective about the content they accept. The second tier less so, so that’s where I looked.
I found a website called AsianEntrepreneur.org and sent across my pitch. Within a few days I had got a positive response. Bingo! My network members were going to get some added exposure and a chance to link to the profiles from their social media accounts and websites. The website was going to get free content, plus a lot of influential people linking to their site. Now I just had to find fifty-two people a year who were doing interesting things and interview them, and everyone would be a winner.
This had the potential to be a perfect win/win scenario, so how could I amplify it? If fifty-two people would be great, surely more would be even better?
It struck me that although AsianEntrepreneur.org had great content on its website, it really didn’t have enough. It was posting about one story a day, while the big sites were posting tens or even scores of articles every day. In a moment of light headedness I suggested that I up the interviews from one a week to one a day.
The theory of it was fantastic.
If you are creating value, amplify it!
I just had absolutely no idea how I was going to do it.
This deal has now been running since 2014 and several hundred people have been featured. It has provided enormous value for those being featured and for Asian Entrepreneur. Better still, I have outsourced the entire process, so today I have three weeks’ worth of interviews lined up at any given time. I spend no more than fifteen minutes per week on this project, yet it brings enormous results.
Whilst this is a relatively easy way to create value for your network and for a media partner – I recommend you start with monthly features not daily!
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This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/case-study-media-partnership-entrepreneurs-callum-laing/