The Art of Value Exchange

  • Category: Blog
  • Author: Colin Wayne
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I was able to be featured on over 50 magazine covers without a PR firm or agency by utilizing a form of value exchange. Step 1: Establish a rapport with editors, photographers, and others within the publications I want to be featured in. I would become Facebook friends with them and start to engage with some of their posts for a few weeks before I ever reached out to them directly. Step 2: Once I’ve had a few interactions with them, I would reach out and compliment their success and show gratitude for adding me as a friend. Step 3: Once they’ve replied, I would give them my pitch, which included a short bio (2-3 sentences) and what I wanted in return (a cover and feature story). Additionally, I would let them know how I could be of direct value to the publication by providing a value exchange at no cost to the publication and extending the publication’s reach. A lot of people would ask, “Why would you work for free?” My response was always, “I’m not.” Inadvertently, the success of landing 2-3 magazine covers across the world helped me retain sponsors, resulting in a much higher rate of endorsement deals in the long term. Gary V talks about value exchange in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” and this was the same approach that I took early on in my career. Provide value to the publications, so they wanted to continue to work with me.

Value Exchange, Establishing a rapport, Strategy, and Mutually beneficial relationships

In today’s competitive world, gaining media coverage and being featured in notable magazines are key factors for establishing a strong personal brand and can lead to various opportunities. However, the downside of receiving significant exposure often requires spending a large amount of cash on public relations (PR) firms or agencies. In this blog post, we’ll discuss an alternative approach that won’t deflate your pockets nor impair the intended outcome with the use of “value exchange.” By following this strategic approach, you can leverage this principle and use it to establish mutually beneficial relationships with editors, photographers, and executives within the publications. This will guide you towards building further visibility in the public eye and allow you to greatly expand your reach.

Step 1: Establishing a Rapport

In order to build value exchange effectively, maintaining a personal connection with the key individuals in the publications requires establishing a genuine rapport as the first step. Directly approaching them with your pitch may not always be productive; however, taking the time to connect with them on a personal level might do wonders in the long run. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter prove very effective for this purpose since they allow for initial engagement and mutual interaction. By showing your interest in their work, engaging in their content, and writing meaningful comments on their post, you will create an excellent foundation of trust and familiarity that boosts the likelihood of them being receptive to your pitch in the future.

Step 2: Expressing Gratitude and Complimenting Success

After having several interactions and engaging with their content online, the next step is to reach out to these individuals directly. Start by expressing your gratitude for being added as a friend, and then show genuine appreciation for their achievements. Compliment their success, highlighting specific accomplishments that resonate with you. By doing this, you demonstrate your sincerity and make a positive impression.

Step 3: Presenting Your Value Proposition

Once you’ve established a positive rapport and they’ve responded to your initial interactions, it’s time to present your value proposition. Begin by sharing a brief and compelling bio that showcases your expertise, accomplishments, and unique selling points. Then, clearly state your intentions and what you are seeking from them, whether it’s a cover feature or an opportunity for a comprehensive profile. But the real key to a successful value exchange lies in what you offer in return.

Providing a Win-Win Solution

To make your value-exchange proposition irresistible, it’s essential to provide a clear and tangible benefit to the publication. One effective way to achieve this is by attaching a monetary value to the exchange. For example, I always gave a monetary value to the exchange to provide a known cost of exchange. I would mention that I typically charge $2,500 per post, and for a 4-post roll-out that included a variety of promotional content, the value would total $10,000. I would outline the different types of posts, such as a hype post, a release day post, a Q&A post for engagement and cross-promotion, and a final post with me holding the publication. Then I would make sure to emphasize how these posts would drive traffic and extend the publication’s reach. Additionally, I let them know that I wouldn’t charge a talent fee, typically ranging from $3,000 to $5,000, and IF the photographer or editor had a license fee, I would commit to covering that cost as well. By presenting these terms, I assured the publication that they wouldn’t incur any financial burden and that the potential upside for them was substantial.

The Value Exchange Philosophy

The concept of value exchange is not a new one. Renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” emphasizes the importance of providing value before asking for anything in return. This philosophy aligns with the value exchange strategy we have discussed. By providing immense value to publications without expecting immediate monetary compensation, you establish yourself as a valuable asset, paving the way for ongoing collaborations moving forward. This approach may raise questions about working for free, but in reality, you are betting on yourself and investing in your long-term success. The recognition gained from landing multiple magazine features worldwide can attract sponsors, leading to higher rates for endorsement deals in the future.


Mastering the art of value exchange can be a game-changer in your quest for media coverage, features in top publications, and personal brand recognition. By taking the time to establish rapport, express gratitude, and present a compelling value proposition, you can create mutually beneficial relationships with editors, photographers, and other key individuals. Remember, the key lies in providing a win-win solution where you offer significant value to the publication while positioning yourself as an asset without expecting a financial return. If you embrace the value exchange philosophy, you will surely unlock new opportunities, expand your reach, and solidify your personal brand’s reputation within the industry.


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