Who’s in Your Circle?

In my public relations work, I encourage my clients to give careful thought to who’s in their circle, and how they might reach an even wider audience by expanding their circle of contacts.  (My friend Chris Brogan has said that it can be useful to look at the relationships in our lives in term of four circles.  The first circle consists of our relationship with Self and with any spiritual or religious influence in our life.  Our second circle contains our family members and loved ones.  In this third circle, we focus on other relationships that are especially meaningful to us — our close friends, our clients, and those individuals who influence us and who we hope to influence in return.)  The heart of my public relations work is, of course, helping my clients expand this third circle — so that they can share their message through a variety of media outlets, and reach the widest possible audience.

As I mentioned in a recent newsletter, the other evening I had the pleasure of spending some time with hip hop pioneer, media mogul and philanthropist Russell Simmons as he spoke about the strategies he has used over the years to encourage others to consider embracing a healthier lifestyle.

Through a number of recent books and also through media interviews, Russell has made an effort to let others know about the health-enhancing and stress-reducing benefits of yoga and transcendental meditation.  When he spoke with us the other night, however, he acknowledged that he is not able to reach absolutely everyone with this message.  He said that he realizes that he is more soft-spoken about these topics than some of his friends — including Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres — and that he does his best to inspire them to move this message forward.  Also, as he speaks with media hosts and journalists representing a wide range of media outlets, from “Wendy Williams” to Bloomberg News, he is careful to adapt his message and put the focus on topics he knows they will most appreciate.

Russell told us that even the titles he selects for his books are chosen because he knows certain words and phrases are most likely to engage the attention of specific audiences.  Then, once he has gained the attention of his audience (through producers, reporters and the hosts of these shows), he can proceed to deliver his intended message.  For example, Russell said some individuals who purchased his New York Times bestselling book “Super Rich” were surprised to find that the book’s focus was not on strategies for manipulating the stock market but was instead devoted to ways of engaging with the world more consciously and on exercises for connecting with one’s “higher self.”  In other words, the message he sought to share through this book is that wealth is not measured only by the size of one’s bank account.

I believe that we can all put this lesson into practice — giving thought to how we might first engage the attention of our desired audience, and then how we can best expand on that message.

I focus on ideas for connecting with new audiences — and with those in the media — in my weekly newsletter.  If you’d like to subscribe, please visit

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