I want you to think for a second about the relationships in your life—good and bad. Think about your parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, coworkers, mentors—any relationship at all.
Now think: what are some of the foundational elements of those relationships? What are some things that have built or broken some of these relationships? I’m willing to bet at least one of them—if not the biggest—is trust.
Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said it best: “Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
Because trust is an essential pillar in any relationship, it should also be a foundational element of your public relations strategy. After all, B2B tech PR is just building a brand's relationship with the public.
Today, PR goes beyond a five-star pitch and well-curated media list. As PR professionals, it’s our job—and literally in our name—to develop meaningful and mutually beneficial connections with media on behalf of a brand, and, just like any other, those relationships are founded on trust.
Brands these days are powerful and they have impactful stories to tell. Reporters are the conduit for telling those stories. So, what lies between brand and reporter? Answer: public relations. As the liaison between the two—especially in an agency setting—it’s our responsibility to build trust with our clients that we will tell their story well while establishing the same trust with reporters that we’ll deliver what they need.
So, why exactly does trust matter?
First and foremost, trust establishes credibility. Reporters are some of the most overworked professionals in today’s job landscape and they’re being pitched 100+ stories a day, mostly from people they hardly know.
When we, as B2B tech PR professionals, establish trusting relationships with reporters, they know they can count on us to deliver quality news, sources, contributed pieces, etc., that their audiences will care about (and in time to accommodate their deadlines, no doubt). When they see our names in their inboxes, they know they aren’t receiving a pitch that might pertain to them and the 150 other contacts on a half-baked media list. Instead, they already know that the information we’re sharing with them is relevant and timely to them.
In turn, this level of trust between a PR professional and reporters helps build your brand. Especially in today’s world where consumers, partners, and investors want to know they can trust the brands they are working with above all else. This includes anything from knowing that a company will deliver on its promise to aligning with its core values and the way its employees are treated.
One of the most effective ways to tell that story and reassure the public of that trust is through media visibility. Audiences mostly realize this content isn’t being purchased or controlled by the company itself, but instead, being shared from a third-party point of view. In the same vein as establishing credibility, audiences recognize that a reporter is covering a reputable company or quoting a reliable source and ultimately gain a little more trust in the brand. This is a small but mighty way for brands to develop relationships with their audiences.
Furthermore, trust drives results. We see this on a regular basis here at Idea Grove. One example in particular is our relationship between Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) and Clear Admit, one of the most highly regarded publications for business schools. Over the last few years, our team has cultivated a relationship with the Clear Admit editorial team to deliver timely, credible and newsworthy stories for the publications target audience. This trusting, mutually beneficial relationship has led to countless high-priority stories for Stanford GSB being covered in a top-tier outlet. When we’re able to provide a reporter with what they need, it’s easier for them to return the favor.
Just like good media coverage, trust is earned. The relationships we develop and maintain with our clients and media contacts is constantly evolving and building off the most recent success. The trust we’ve established in these relationships is baked into every PR campaign we execute in order to establish credibility, further build our clients' brands and drive results on their behalf. So, as you consider your next announcement or thought leadership pitch, consider how trust will play into your strategy...or better yet, how we’re already doing it for you.