This interview is an oldie but a goodie but I wanted to bring it back so that those of you who didn’t catch it when this interview was first published by www.entreprenhers.com in early 2016 have the chance to watch it now.
In this lively interview hosted by Heidi Richards Mooney I discuss how to create a personal brand, stand out in the marketplace and how to connect with and “pitch” the media and much more.
Be sure to let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
Have you ever walked into a room and found it filled with 10 to 15 people with the same job title as you and they are all at the event vying for the 3 or 4 potential clients in attendance?
Knowing that those other people have the same objective as you, what do you?
Here’s what I tell my clients – stop relying on just your job title or the name of your firm or business to distinguish you.
Don’t get me wrong, working at well recognized companies and having certain titles at these companies definitely adds a level of prestige and may make someone consider you as an option to work with, but do you really just want to be an option?
If you want to increase your odds that the person or client you want to work with, also wants to work with you- it’s time to start putting work into developing your personal brand.
No one else can claim the exact same brand as you. It is as unique as you are.
Let me explain,
No matter what field you work in, having a personal brand is your GREAT DIFFERENTIATOR.
When you have a personal brand you stand apart and above others because you showcase your attributes – your vitality, your personality, your passions about your work – and this generates genuine interest in you the person and creates chemistry with other people and can pre-qualify you as a viable candidate that others want to work with and be around.
You are the only thing that is unique about what you do – the rest of it is just frosting on the cake. Frosting is great but when you go into a bakery do you go in planning to buy just the frosting or do you look at the cake?
I’m sure you’ve invested time in your education, invested time in certifications but if you have a CPA designation and the other person also has a CPA designation what’s the difference? I hope you can see my point here.
A strong personal brand will distinguish you from being just another person on the market to actually being someone that people know and that people want to work with.
Listen, I’ve invested over $100,000 to get two university degrees, I’ve invested in being a member of professional organizations for my field, I’ve spent years thinking I needed to work at high level corporate firms to make it and in short that thinking has cost me a ton of money, time that I can never get back and very little real substance.
The #1 thing that has made a difference in my career (and subsequently my life) is investing time in putting myself out there and distinguishing myself through my personal brand.
So if you’re ready to do things differently so you can finally find that missing puzzle piece in the masterpiece of your profession, then let’s talk.
Let’s start here – You know that you are good at your job. You know the value you bring to your clients. You know what the going rate for similar services in your area is. You know that your prices and your expertise are better than your competitors and the clients that work with you will get value for their money and amazing results.
And even though you know this, prospective clients/customers that you speak to just don’t seem to get it!
How many times have you had to push your services, discount your rates or bend over backwards to convince a client that they should work with you over someone else?
As unfortunate as it is, if you don’t stand out from the sea of competitors you will constantly have to prove your value to clients. And you will also have to compete against everyone else on price, or other variables that put you at a disadvantage.
A lot of times I see entrepreneurs and professionals leading with their job titles or qualifications in the hopes that these factors will make new clients/customers want to work with them.
Talent and ability are great but talent and ability won’t answer the questions running through potential client’s heads and make them want to work with you – but distinguishing yourself and developing a personal brand will!
One of the most underutilized tools that can have a huge impact on your business is developing a personal brand.
Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. It is the way you package yourself and tie your experience and vision to the needs of your target clients.
Three Reasons Why You Should Invest Time in Developing Your Personal Brand
1) Prospects will have an easier time determining if they want to work with you.
The #1 rule in business is that people like to do business with people that they know or people who are known. So you want and need to instill a sense of familiarity and trust in potential customers. By developing your personal brand and communicating your viewpoint, potential clients who check out your website, view your social media pages or spot your company’s advertisement can connect the two together and decide if they can envision themselves working with you or not. This helps to bridge the gap and bring clarity to the potential client enabling them to make faster decisions about working with you.
2) Prospects will have an easier time differentiating you from competitors.
If you’ve taken the time to define and reinforce your personal brand, your business will stand-out to persons in need of your service.
For example if there are two Internet Marketing Consultant’s and one refers to himself as an “Internet Marketing Consultant” and the other describes himself as “I am a Marketing Trainer for professionals who want enhanced Linkedin pages. I help clients find more Business to Business opportunities and show them how to develop qualified leads through the largest online business social network.” Who do you think a customer will remember first when they want to explore using Linkedin to find business leads?
3) You’ll sell more.
Customers/clients know they have options and can get a similar product or service from other businesses. What they can’t get from other businesses is the experience of working with you. Therefore, by creating a distinct personal brand, you’ll connect with prospects who want to specifically work with you and this will make it easier for more customers to choose to work with you and your company over other businesses.
So you are just starting out and you don’t know where to begin to build up your credibility and attract clients who are 100% confident that you can deliver on what you say you can.
One of the secrets to gaining that trust and proficiency is simply by starting to promote yourself.
Below are five ways that you can immediately position yourself and your business as a competent and trusted resource no matter where you may be in your journey.
#1 – Define and Claim Your Expertise
Be bold and clear about what you do and what you offer. Think about it, when you are deciding whether to work with someone would you rather trust the person that says “Yeah ….um…. I guess I can help you make some money” or the person who says “I’m an Investment Expert.”
State what you do boldly it makes you appear credible.
# 2 – Press Relations
It is one thing if I tell you that I’m an expert at what I do, it is quite another if someone else does – especially the press! When you are just starting out and you can’t figure out what could be newsworthy about your business right away, a great first step is to become a resource for reporters – find out who your local reporters are, build relationships with them and let them know that if they ever need background information or comments for a story relating to your area of expertise, that you would be happy to help them out.
#3 – Articles
Drafting articles is an easy way to position yourself. You can start out by writing a simple ‘How To’ article on your subject matter and leverage it everywhere – post it on your blog site, post it on Facebook, post it on Linkedin, post the link in the comments section on conversation threads you’re engaged in. You can even submit your article to dozens of targeted article directories on the internet as well as send to prospective clients as a means to keep in touch and add value.
This is a very powerful strategy for driving traffic both off and online.
# 4 – Get Testimonials/Endorsements
One of the best ways to raise others confidence in your skill set is to use testimonials or endorsements from existing clients or people who have worked with you. If you are just starting out in your business and you don’t have a client roster as yet, start by looking closer to home. Look at what your old boss or perhaps someone you worked alongside in the past has said about you, or look through your social media pages and look for comments where someone posted about your performance in this particular area and post these testimonials on your website/blog/profile page.
#5 – When you do Begin to Get Results Talk about Them in Percentages
People like statistics and the great thing about statistics is that they also give you results that you can claim and use to give your business more credibility. A great way to do this is to express your results in percentages. What sounds better “I had 3 people turn up for my opening event” or “This year’s event attracted a great crowd and we had a 50% increase in attendance numbers indicating a growing interest in the company.”
You can also create percentages using numbers from your website’s analytics site like Google Analytics or Social Media following on pages like Twitter and Instagram.
Presenting percentages gives your business perceived credibility and this builds trust within your audience.
Remember, just because you are starting out it doesn’t mean that you are at a disadvantage. Everything is attainable when you take steps in the right direction.
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I was tempted to start this blog post off with talking about how to make your audience focus on your brand like how they focus on celebrities walking on the red carpet. But as I began writing I changed course slightly and this post became more about how to get people to focus on you instead of just your company or brand.
Audiences don’t fall in love with companies; they fall in love with or are attracted by the people who represent those companies. Doubt me? Think Oprah, think Richard Branson, think Nike deciding to reach out to Michael Jordan to put his name on a shoe – need I say more!
There are specific skills and techniques one has to embrace if they want to become not just good but AMAZING at having people gravitate towards them and one of those skills is learning how to become a magnet for attention and making yourself hard to forget.
To get a better idea of what I’m talking about, take a second and watch this scene from Will Smith’s 2005 movie, Hitch.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can make yourself hard to forget:
– Grab Your Audiences Attention
The essence of any coveted brand is the story it conveys, so you should always start with a bang and not a whimper.
If you are issuing an announcement use an attention-getting heading by using words that are saucy, funny, heartfelt or motivational to ignite emotion and connect you to your audience.
If you are giving a speech or promoting your company at a trade event deliver a performance, not a presentation. Make an entrance, start by having an appearance that people take note of – look polished and smile (nothing makes you blend into the masses more than a bland expression on your face) and then incorporate something unexpected into your delivery.
– Tell Your Story
Regardless of the communication mechanism, be it advertising, press releases, social media, SMS texts or web-app push notifications, messaging should be intriguing.
Tell a powerful story with emotional content about how you got into the business that you are in and that brings the audience into your world and grabs them.
When you share with an audience what attracts you to your topic, you invisibly connect to people who share the same value for what you’re talking about.
If you can master telling your story powerfully and emotionally, then others will start to talk about you to others, and this is where interest and attention really begin, because people you may not even know start to pay attention to you.
– Be Willing to Accept Criticism
I recently read an article and for the life of me I cannot remember which magazine it was, but there was a line that stuck out to me so much that it felt fitting to include it in this section (my apologies for being unable to cite the source). The line was “When you know you’re alienating some people, you are probably doing it right” and the truth is, that writer was smack on point when it comes to seducing audiences. The image, messages and overall presentation you put forward should be tailored to attract your target audience and not every audience.
You’re going to receive criticism from thousands of people in your lifetime. It’s important to remember that not all criticism is created equal. Determining the source of the criticism and the motivations behind it will help you know how to handle it. Fight the urge to argue or justify yourself and just listen to your critic. You’d be surprised what you can learn and how you can make improvements that move you towards your ultimate goal if you simply soak it in.
In conclusion, to seduce your audience, you will need to put yourself out there, then learn from experience and improve as you go along.
It’s a New Year and to help get you on your way to getting better public relations results in 2015 here are some steps you can follow to create your own PR plan
1) Begin by Reviewing
Review what PR activity you had the year before. Look at the ideas that worked well and resulted in positive coverage. Take note of which journalists reported in your favor and which didn’t. Take note of any comments left on social media platforms or blogs. Note what was said.
2) Set Objectives
Next, consider your overall business objectives and use them as a basis for developing your key media messages. Make sure that what you say and how you say it reflects what you’re trying to achieve. Your messages will form the backbone of your communication activity for the year. Determine your message by answering the following questions:
– What’s different about you or your company?
– What are you the expert of?
– What makes you better than your competitors?
– What’s your “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP)?
– How can you stand out?
Once you know what worked in the past and you know what the objectives that you are trying to meet are and the messages you want communicated begin sketching out your plan to reach those objectives
3) Plan your Moves
– Review your objectives through the eyes of a journalist
– Determine what type of coverage you want – local, regional or major news outlets
– Create a list of everywhere you want to be covered: newspapers, magazines, blogs, trade journals, etc.
– Identify the reporters at each publication who write about the specific topic that you want to be covered for. Find their contact info. This will usually be included with their stories but if it’s not, search LinkedIn, Google, or on the publication’s site. If you’re still stuck, call the publication.
– Create a spreadsheet with all the publications names, corresponding reporters and their contact info.
– Create a news release calendar to plan out the news/blog topic press releases you intend to issue in the next three months. This will give you some initial structure and help you stay focused on generating news.
– Look at editorial calendars of the publications you want to target. Researching them will enable you to identify opportunities to offer yourself as an expert source, submit your own article or pitch a feature on your company.
– Once you’ve set your list of targets, begin contacting publications as soon as possible.Pay careful attention to the closing dates, or you’ll risk losing out on the opportunity.
– Prepare for the future by taking pictures or shoot video of events, as these images could be used on your website and in future advertising materials in subsequent years.
Review your task list and timetable repeatedly throughout the campaign, making adjustments as necessary. PR is a fluid field that requires flexibility and an understanding that things will change. However, if you don’t have a plan in place and you take the “go with the flow” approach to your PR efforts you are never going to get the results you want.