Years ago in careers lessons at school children aspiring to be entrepreneurs, therapists, authors – unless massively successful – would probably have been laughed at.
People had one or two jobs for life and worked purely to earn enough to pay the bills and have one holiday, I’m generalising of course but today it’s widely accepted that we should aspire to follow our intuition and follow our dreams. The best teachers are those that are passionate about their subject, the most successful businesses are those that are started from passion and enthusiasm.
In my work recommending natural and organic products the story is often the same – people can’t find the natural product they need so they concoct their own and end up with a business. Examples of people I have worked with include a mother who found nothing worked for her child’s severe skin condition so she set about hand-crafting natural skincare products which worked and a NHS nurse who when suffering from severe stress in her life tried Mindfulness, realised how effective it was and now helps patients and runs courses for other NHS staff.
But just because you are passionate about your product or service doesn’t mean it will be ‘out there’. Experts, teachers, entrepreneurs often have the feeling that ‘If I build it they will come’!
Well maybe they will, the best clients always do come from referrals, but surely if you really have something worth sharing you will want to get that out to a wider audience. In fact I would go as far as to say that if you have a valuable message or a great product it’s your duty to share it. So once you’ve written a book or started a business, how do you get visibility?
In my Conscious Business courses I’ve identified these five tips:
5 Tips to Getting Visibility for Your Business:
1. You are the brand – Do you have absolute clarity on your USP?
Consider whether you can put yourself at the heart of your brand. People do business with those they like know and trust, you need to be clear on your USP (your unique selling point) so that you know exactly what makes you different.
It’s critical because recognising that you are a unique brand will help you attract new ideal clients to you rather than sounding exactly like your competitors and everyone else in your field. New business owners often make the mistake of thinking that everyone knows their ‘niche’, recording artists will often say ‘I don’t want to be labelled – I just make great music, it’s no particular genre’…But the truth is it’s got to be filed in one or perhaps two categories, i.e. Country music and pop music. There are very few bands that really do sit across all musical genres, and are regularly featured in Kerrang Magazine alongside the latest mag about dance music!
If you make wonderful skincare you will want your products featured on the beauty pages of magazines, but if you have sixty products it’s unlikely you will attract coverage for your whole range, the trick will be to choose a ‘signature’ product, for example an anti-ageing product, and let that be your first ‘PR’ project. Then it becomes easier to target your marketing to that sector initially.
2. Create great content – Do you have awesome free resources?
It’s well documented that free content is what people want, information, new ideas, recipes, how-to lists, advice, the list is endless and people don’t want to pay for that, it is however a brilliant way to attract and then potentially maximise publicity for your work. Some of the people who connect and enjoy reading your posts could become clients or customers at some point, many won’t, but if you have a heartfelt message to share, you won’t mind – it’s your duty after all!
You may think you aren’t a great writer, but if you have any knowledge, passion or info to share you can do it. Writing a book is a great calling card, you may not earn much money from writing a book but that’s not what it’s about, it’s a great springboard to other opportunities, in my own case I was often speaking about holistic recommendation in my work as a radio presenter, a publisher heard me (yes publishers do listen to the radio!) and asked if I wanted to write a book, it became a Number One Amazon best seller, and resulted in another career for me recommending and accrediting natural and organic products.
It’s not just books of course you can write e-zines, press releases, blogs – the list is endless but establishing yourself as the writer in your field can greatly increase visibility for your brand. At one point self-publishing was seen as naff, not any more, it’s becoming the new rock and roll. Don’t underestimate the power of being an Author – add three letters and you get ‘authority’, and as I’ve found from my work in TV and Radio, when producers or editors want to book experts to comment on a programme or news story, they often book authors as they assume a level of knowledge and commitment. If writing really just doesn’t float your boat then create audio or video content, so long as you find a way to share your message that will interest your potential ‘tribe’.
It’s a fine balance between how long you spend creating content and promotion, most people put hours and hours into their blogs, social networking and creating videos and then just cross their fingers and hope it will get shared and read and viewed, they pray that it will result in people coming to their site and signing up to their list but I would suggest that the emphasis needs to be on attracting people to read or view that content, if they don’t know about you yet how can they find you?
Yes you need to invest time in content creation, but don’t forget content can be re-written – you can repurpose and recycle your ideas – become a ‘green’ writer! You may need a couple of longer sessions to create some great blogs, social networking posts, record some videos, audios etc. but after those initial content creation sessions I’d highly recommend spending 20% of your time crafting content and 80% of your time promoting it. Seems a lot doesn’t it?
Bill Gates famously once said ‘If I had only one dollar left I’d spend it on marketing’
3. Stand in the spotlight – Are you a confident public speaker?
I’ve met many people who don’t feel confident as a speaker, and are unsure of their voice and worried that how they look may not reflect what they’re selling. In fact public speaking is second on the list on the greatest fears (number one is fear of spiders).
It comes down to great preparation, you know the five ‘P’s – Plan, Prepare, Practice, Preview, Present, there are other ‘P’s too, you may want to Ponder that you really have the right topic and the right call to action, and while it doesn’t sound the ‘P’ you will definitely need to be aware of your Physical Presence.
Remember too – ‘Poor Preparation Proffers Piss-Poor Presentation!’
Don’t get caught up over using power point, the audience want to connect with you, not a series of slides. If you know that confidence is an issue for you, there are many simple techniques available to help. You may have heard of Tapping techniques such as EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique and TFT Thought Field Therapy. If it all sounds a bit hippy dippy to you don’t dismiss it, I’ve had clients who were terrified to speak into a microphone who now do weekly radio shows as the expert in their field – after just a couple of sessions. It’s simple to teach yourself too so can be an extremely inexpensive way of solving even lifelong issues with confidence.
Make sure you construct a talk or presentation that is applicable to the audience (who hopefully are your ideal clients / supportive tribe – if not why are you doing it?) Ensure it will be interesting, captivating, emotional, though provoking – or all of the above. You must be enthusiastic and passionate about your subject – that’s key.
Don’t shy away from public speaking, get some training so that you are confident and if you are asked to speak at an event put yourself forward, it’s a brilliant way to market yourself and attract new customers who are exactly right for you.
4. Be a great interviewee – are you a great guest on TV / Radio?
It’s not just local or national radio, there are lots of opportunities now to be interviewed and it can be a great way to market what you do. You may have a good product or service but may not be great at selling yourself, it’s really worth investing in some training and at the very least practice with a microphone, the first time I heard my own voice I was in shock! Get used to it and ensure that you pay attention to yet more ‘P’s – Pitch, Pace, Pause and Power, don’t get hung up about it though, unless you know you have a tendency to speak in a very high voice when you get excited, or speak much too fast, just make sure that it feels easy on the ear.
Learn to love the sound of your own voice! Remember a TV or radio interview is not an exam, be clear on your own agenda (have a listen to politicians) but of course you must connect and ensure that your answers acknowledge the questions.
Again it’s all about preparation, do the basics, make sure you know the programme you are being interviewed on, preferably listen or watch a segment in advance, be clear on the angle they are expecting from you and always be enthusiastic. Yet again it’s about the audience wanting to know more about you because they feel a connection. Don’t think its ok to rock up to an interview without doing any preparation, because you think you know your subject so it’s OK – you may know your subject but that doesn’t mean you have necessarily worked out how best to get that message across succinctly and in relatively short sentences. Know your key messages inside out!
For TV appearances beware of too much jewellery or jangly keys, don’t be camera shy, get your messages out there on YouTube, even if you haven’t been asked to be on TV, you can create a great series of YouTube videos which will attract your audience, keep them short though 3 mins max.
5. Get Social – Are you connecting with potential clients across several platforms?
Don’t underestimate the importance of social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest et al, and anyone who thought Twitter was just frivolous, think again, it’s becoming a powerful free marketing tool and you can devise a PR strategy while making connections with potential clients.
Don’t make the mistake of using social networking just to advertise your wares, it’s about connection, make those connections so that people become genuinely interested in the content you have to share and then divert them over to your mailing list, that’s where the real collateral is, when people commit to wanting to be connected with you regularly they really start to take notice.
Of course it’s become harder now to attract likes on Facebook but there are free tools to help analyse data so that you can see when people are viewing your posts, you can also boost posts at a very low spend and obviously benefit from asking contacts to share your posts. LinkedIn also has analytical tools, so use them and find ways to share your content across all your platforms, as well as on your own website too. Follow and comment on posts and blogs by journalists, editors and producers whose shows / magazines you have identified would be a good match for you.