During a recent flight, I was catching up on reading social media posts when a response to a question caught my eye. I don’t remember the exact question now, but I do remember the answer because it was wrong.
Mind you, it was exactly the right advice…4 years ago.
And if I give a really thorough answer, in our current day and age this person’s advice is correct in a a very narrow range of campaigns, but is no longer the overall “answer” to everyone as to how to capture media attention in local markets. In fact, I could think of 8 action steps that that could be done, which would offer more effective results than this person’s advice.
I don’t mean to be harsh. This person really feels their advice is correct. But unless you’re out working with the media on a regular basis, actually doing the work you’re teaching others to do, then it’s easy to fall behind and not even be aware of it. The only way to know the best, current advice is to in the trenches, making necessary adjustments along the way, otherwise, how can you possibly know?
Each of us, no matter what work we do in the world, must stay relevant. The only way to do that is to constantly be curious, to explore and ask questions, to test and experiment, and course correct when necessary. It’s that constant rotating back and forth from being the expert to being a student, to being an expert, to being a student again that keeps you relevant.
In fact, the ability to learn and learn quickly, IMHO, is the currency of today and the future.
But let’s say you don’t work in the publicity and marketing field every day. You have your own business, maybe you’re a doctor, or a therapist, or speaker, business person, author, or what have you. You can’t be expected to know everything about securing media and staying relevant in that field. Understandable. However, if you want to be your own publicist and do it on our own, then you have to carve out time to remain current.
Or, you need to have a friend who is willing to act as your publicist.
Or you need a publicist and/or marketer to do it for you and someone who is actually working in the field. Not someone who was doing it five years ago.
And even then, YOU do have to have an understanding of how publicity and marketing work because you have to be able to work with your publicist and/or marketer.
So how do you stay relevant during times of great change (which is all the time, by the way.)?
Definition: The dictionary definition of relevant is “bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; pertinent: a relevant remark.”
Being relevant is all about what people need NOW in an ever-changing world of tactics, strategies, and solutions. The good news is, you don’t have to go into fear mode or overwhelm to address relevancy. Here are a few tips that will help you:
Check dates on everything. Some people leave dates off of blog posts and other content purposely so they don’t look outdated. This is annoying because having a date will tell you right away if the information you’re about to read is still timely. What to do?
See if they post regularly, and how frequently and you may be able to figure out the approximate date from that. If it’s within the last couple of months, you’re fine. (That’s not to say that some information isn’t evergreen and has a long shelf life, but a lot of information is not evergreen and you have to start somewhere.)
Check copyright dates. I know some authors aren’t going to like this, but if you’re looking at a marketing book from 2014, guess what? Some of it is going to be out of date. Search for what you can find that is as current as possible.
Plan on being a student, at least some of the time. Keep learning. That may be in the form of online and on-the-ground courses, webinars, classes, groups, books, white papers, etc., etc. If you want to remain relevant, you have to keep learning. Don’t worry. Everyone else has to do this, too.
Make it a priority to stay relevant. There is a general human tendency to know what we know, teach what we know, and stick our heads in the ground about changing, but change we must. To stay relevant, you have to make a decision to do so. This way your eyes and ears are open to what is new and what is working. It doesn’t mean you have to make every change someone is suggesting, but you do want to use your own critical thinking skills to listen, evaluate, and then either incorporate it or let it go. Here are some additional ways to do this:
- Set specific times to do your own research for new trends
- Utilize the power of the Internet (This probably goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway…)
- Make trend spotting part of your daily routine. …
- Be sure to check on your competitors, or Niche Mates as I like to call them (Hat tip to Jeffrey Van Dyk and Suzanne Falter for that one.). What are your niche mates doing?
Join groups. Listen to what is being said. This is so easy these days. How often are you being added to various Facebook groups? (Without your permission, no less, but that’s another blog post for another time.) The point is, you can actively research and find groups that are discussing information relevant to what you are doing. Join them. Listen. Learn. Contribute.
Go to conferences and events. There is nothing like on-the-ground-old-school-face-to-face time with other people, including Meetups and other social gatherings. Don’t worry that they’re all 20-somethings. So what? We can learn from others, and they can learn from you.
Embrace technology. Chances are you already have and in that case this tip is not for you. I, however, run into people who have some big resistance to this, but the time has come. You simply have to let that go. See if you can refrain from complaining about it and just go for it. Rather than saying you need your kid to do it for you, understand that you have a brilliant brain made for learning. You can learn it too, but you have to suspend any old beliefs you have about not being able to do it because you weren’t raised with it. Talk about irrelevant information. Time to let it go and get down to business.
Stay social. Through social media you can stay in touch with others to know what they’re discovering and sharing about your area of expertise. Be sure and offer helpful information back to those who follow you. It is social, after all.
Read. It’s easier than ever to find websites offering daily articles specific to your expertise. Take advantage of that disseminated knowledge. Buy books! For the authors among us, we love that advice.
I recently had a client ask me to do some research for her, which is perfectly fine. Yet, what she really needed was someone to show her HOW to do the research, which I did. Gone are the days of someone else doing every little thing for you. For example, if you’re wondering how some feature on your phone works, there is probably a YouTube video showing it. We all have to stay up-to-date and now it’s easier than ever.
Bottom line: You can stay relevant but you must make a point to do so. It really is a simple decision. As is the case for the person in the story I relayed at the beginning of this post, you don’t want your information to be outdated. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to find the information you need.
To your success!
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