Giving Value to Gain Credibility: Mastering the Art of Reciprocity

May 23, 2023

The Power of Providing Value

In a world teeming with brands scrambling for visibility, the most powerful way to rise above the noise isn’t through sheer volume, but by offering something invaluable: assistance. This nugget of wisdom, articulated by PR strategist Josh Steimle, turns traditional PR strategy on its head. The secret to successful PR, Steimle posits, lies in providing value to others, specifically the writers and contributors who can offer the visibility your brand seeks.

Navigating the Modern Journalism Landscape

First, let’s understand the terrain. Today, a significant number of writers for top-tier publications like Forbes aren’t directly employed by the publication but are independent contributors. Recognizing this sets the stage for a symbiotic relationship, wherein you offer help to writers in their endeavors, simultaneously paving the way for your brand’s exposure.

Ghostwriting: A Strategic Tool

Ghostwriting emerges as a potent tool in this strategy. By studying a writer’s style and understanding the expectations of their editors, you can offer to ghostwrite articles. This not only supports writers in meeting their publishing requirements but also allows you to subtly weave in your brand or your clients’ work. It’s essential, however, to remember that the primary goal is to foster a relationship grounded in mutual aid, not overt self-promotion.

Practical Takeaways:

  1. Understand the writer’s tone and style: Immerse yourself in their previous articles. Note their unique voice, their approach to topics, and the angles they prefer.
  2. Learn the publication’s standards: Research the stylistic and content guidelines of the publication to ensure your ghostwritten article meets their standards.
  3. Subtly infuse your brand: While the priority is aiding the writer, subtly incorporating your brand’s narrative can provide an organic introduction of your company.

Beyond Writing: Offering Multifaceted Assistance

Providing value isn’t confined to writing. Your assistance can take myriad forms, all of which foster stronger bonds with writers and position you as a valuable asset. Can you contribute data or research that bolsters a writer’s article? Can you introduce them to industry experts or provide unique industry insights? These actions not only display your willingness to help but also showcase your industry expertise, bolstering your credibility.

Practical Takeaways:

  1. Be a data resource: If you have access to unique data or research, offer it to writers working on relevant articles.
  2. Leverage your network: Connect writers with industry leaders who can provide authoritative voices for their pieces.
  3. Offer industry insights: Share your expertise and knowledge about your industry that could be beneficial for the writers.

Promoting the Writer’s Goals

Another potent strategy is promoting the writer’s goals. Do they have a book launch, a speaking engagement, or an initiative they’re passionate about? Sharing these through your network not only helps them but also solidifies your relationship, making them more likely to assist you in return.

Practical Takeaways:

  1. Understand their goals: Learn about the writer’s personal or professional initiatives that you can support.
  2. Promote their work: Use your network to spread the word about their projects.

As you navigate the PR landscape, remember this principle of reciprocity. By offering value without the immediate expectation of return, you plant the seeds of relationships that can yield significant benefits in the long run. It’s about changing the narrative from “What can you do for me?” to “Here’s how I can assist you.” And in that subtle shift, you’ll find your brand gaining the visibility and credibility it deserves.

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