Would you be so kind as to cover our CEO [redacted]‘s counterpoint to [big media outlet]‘s story published today title “[some story about some social media thing with a link]“?
He was interviewed by [big media outlet] for the article, but unfortunately they took his comments and twisted them out of context.
His counterpoint was published in [another big publication] a little bit ago here: (link)
Any reference you could make would help us a lot!!!!
It’s hard to know where to start.
1. I don’t know you. I’m not your prospect, I’m not your fan, I’m not your customer. You just found me on some social media blogger list and did zero research as to the content I typically discuss on my blog. That’s obvious. You’re just hoping that I’ll use whatever reach and attention I have for your benefit. But let’s let that one go for now, and focus on the deeper problems here;
2. I know nothing about your CEO or his original interview. Why would I take your word for the fact that he was misquoted, or your version of which story contains his correctly cited comments or point of view?
3. I know even less about your company. Why would I stake *my* reputation and the valuable attention of my readers on coming to your or your CEO’s defense based on a single email you send me in a moment of crisis? Moreover, why on earth would I want to get involved in some kerfuffle between you and a major media outlet? Is this about you trying to call out some gross breach of ethics on their part that I should rally behind, or is this about saving your brand’s butt? Judging by your closing sentence, I’m going to go with the latter.
Which brings me to the crux of this whole thing.
As a marketer, your job is to build, enhance, and preserve the brand of your company in order to help it grow. Doing that requires more than promotion and spending the entirety of your efforts on how you can get attention. Doing that requires establishing a reputation over time with everyone that can make a difference to that brand in the long run. That includes your customers, your prospective customers, the media, the public, investors, and even competitors for starters.
That means giving attention. Investing time and effort in activities and relationships that are not about immediate gratification for your company, but that are about establishing a sound network that has derived some kind of mutual value from being part of your world long before you ever need to ask that network for a thing.
We have done corporate communication work a gross disservice overall by turning it into a continuous navel-gazing exercise populated by quick hits and desperate shortcuts, and social media hasn’t helped us there. We don’t have to work much at all to have an instant audience, or to find one for rent. So we exploit the hell out of it whenever we can. Communication as a continuous process of input, consideration, and relevant output is a dying art when it comes to organizational work.
If you haven’t done the work to build that foundation, you haven’t earned the right to call on legions of bloggers or customers or anyone else to rush to your defense when you step in it. When you ask for that before you’ve invested a thing, you look desperate, presumptuous, and sloppy.
At that point, when a problem hits, you’re on your own.
You’ll need to figure out how to rally your own resources and the people that do know and trust you today to work extra hard to be your advocates in your moment of need. They’re the ones you should be asking, anyway, if they know you best and can vouch for your reputation, or your people, or the work that your company does.
Your perception of the momentary “influence” of some random blogger who doesn’t know you from Adam is horribly flawed. As is your belief that one of us would cash in some of the hard work that we have put into building the trust of our readership and ask for their attention on your behalf simply because you dashed off an email when your neck was on the line.
Maybe after you’ve weathered the storm, you’ll understand the value of relationship investment before it can actually and immediately benefit you. And maybe – just maybe – you’ll spend some really smart time evaluating why you didn’t have a network of advocates that you could rely on to have your back in the first place.
I promise you, the best time and money you’ll spend in the next six months, Marketing Manager, is in understanding the subtle currency of trust and reputation. They’re what drive almost everything in business, and it’s been that way since the dawn of time. Knowing how to use and not use them is incredibly important stuff in this open and hyper-connected web-driven world. Especially when you’re about to hit the panic button.
We, your communication colleagues who value those things deeply, thank you.