Tim Burrowes: Remember who you’re really doing it for

 

It’s funny how a trip out of the office can give you a new perspective on what you do – and the similarities you share with other industries.

A few days ago, I visited OMD to talk about the story of how we started Mumbrella, and what we set out to do for our readers.

Our job is pretty straightforward. Regardless of whether we’re writing a story, organising a conference or putting on a training event, our job is to help our readers in their working lives and careers. That means giving them content which is both relevant and interesting. Simple as that.

And if we do it well, we build up a relationship of trust and can hopefully find business models that allow us to turn a profit. Sometimes that’s through advertising, and occasionally through conferences which might have both sponsors and paid delegates. (There are also books to be published and subscription databases to be created and jobs ads to be placed, but you get the picture…)

However, the point is, that no matter how often our sales team talk to our advertisers (and however much we appreciate those advertisers), they are not our primary customers – our readers are.

If we do our best to tell stories from the ordinary reader’s perspective, and to simply tell it as we honestly see it – rather than how we think our advertisers or contacts might want us to – we shouldn’t go too far wrong.

But the thing that gave me the new perspective was something that Horgs said at the end of the session. (To those who were there by the way – thanks very much for being kind enough to listen…)

Horgs pointed out that there is a parallel.

In my job, our journos have to remember that although they talk to their contacts all day, they are actually writing for the readers.

Horgs made the same point about life in media agencies. Although the day-to-day sees far more contact – and often closer relationships – with media companies, anyone working at an agency needs to remember that they are there to serve the clients. And those who remember that shouldn’t go too far wrong.

It’s obvious when said aloud. But in daily relationships, we sometimes forget who we work for. Making it a bigger part of thought processes is no bad thing.

 

Tim Burrowes is Content Director, Mumbrella. You can follow him on Twitter @mumbrella

Watch Tim’s presentation on the OMD YouTube channel.

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