In PR, becoming the trusted resource is an important part the of the communicator’s professional brand. For me, it is one of the thirds in the brand pie, right up there with strategic communicator and relationship builder. However, becoming the trusted resource is a career long effort and it should not be taken for granted. Just like any part of your brand, if you don’t deliver a consistent experience, then you may jeopardize your trusted title.
For years, we’ve watched companies struggle with “trust” issues. Some of the greatest brands have lost public confidence, and gaining back the same level of trust is very difficult. In many cases, it is near impossible. Well, it’s no different for the communicator who achieves the trusted resource status. One slip, or maybe if you are lucky you may get two, but after that, the trust factor erodes. When there is trust in a relationship, you are relied upon for your credibility, accuracy and transparency in your communication. Trust is also based on the consistency of the experience with you, and your ability to deliver information or material on time.
Because time is such a huge factor in today’s society with our highly digital lifestyles, time will often get more emphasis. Of course, what you say is important, however, it is also how and when you deliver that speaks volumes. Today, you have to deliver on time, for so many reasons. And, this is not just with your media friends; it’s with your colleagues, organizations, friends, family, partners, etc. Everyone is pressed for time.
Here are three tips to help your brand remain as as the trusted resource, paying closer attention to the time factor:
- Understand the time factor thoroughly. Don’t take on the assignment if you can’t work the deliverable into your already busy schedule. Regardless of how small the deliverable appears to be, it is better to say, “No,” graciously, because of a hectic schedule. Otherwise, you will risk your trusted partner or relied upon resource status that you’ve work so hard to achieve.
- Ask if there is any flexibility on the timing so that you know if it is a cushioned deadline, or if it is a hard / tight deadline. The media, content publishers, clients, etc. may require very specific timing. You know this as a communicator. But, by asking, you will at least show that you are interested and want to make the timing work. Then, if you get an extended deadline, you need to stick to that date.
- Be honest and approach your contact early, or as soon as you know you are not going to hit the deadline. Being upfront shows your partner, friend, colleague, media contact that you respect their deadline. You are also giving that person the opportunity to find another resource, if necessary. Everyone messes up with deadlines. Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us. However, identifying an issue with a deadline, and bringing this knowledge front and center is important for your relationship moving forward.
There are many ways to be proactive to protect your status as the trusted resource and relied upon partner. These three tips have always worked for me. The actions you take from this point forward will make a big difference in your relationships, and will also help to preserve your trust factor status.