I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and for good reason. More on that soon. I remember in my early days doing PR a particular savvy client repeating over and over just how important relationships were to the success of any media campaign. By her estimation they were pretty much everything. While there is merit in this sentiment I actually don’t quite agree. Relationships are vital in our world, but content is actually just as important. You can call your friend the journalist all day long, but if your content sucks you’re pretty much dead in the water.
But contacts? Well you’re not going to get very far without them. You can’t move projects forward without the right grease, and grease in our world is the people you know, and the spheres of influence in which they move. So, how important is it to guard your contacts, and is that even a possibility? People are people and they will go where they will. Unless you plan on controlling people, ultimately you can’t control your contacts. Controlling people falls into the realm of manipulation, and while a fair amount of that rolls around in our worlds, it’s not pretty and not a tactic I like to pursue.
Here’s the thing, contacts are vital to our life in business. We can’t exist without them. And you can’t control them, though no doubt you would like to.
Relationship does play into this scenario, because if you have a solid relationship with your contact chances are they will remain true to you, while clearly exploring other relationships. It’s not possible to own your contacts, so quit trying. Foster some great relationships and see where it goes!