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.
How you market and position your business impacts how your audience perceives you. For better or for worse, the image you project needs to attract your target audience, establish your credibility and contribute to, rather than detract from, your branding efforts so that you can ultimately drive more incoming business.
Our team has had the opportunity to work on several amazing projects and have had some great clients and one of the things that we know to be true is that marketing and promoting a business can seem like a daunting task when you’re on a shoestring budget.
Below are some tips that we’ve used to help build Fresh Image PR before there was any income; so hopefully these points will help you to start thinking about ways that you too can begin to market and promote your businesses.
1) Build a product according to what people want/need
Before you begin thinking about the specific marketing tactics you want to employ, you need to know who your target audience is going to be and you need to know if that audience needs your service/product.
2) Get customer input – do market research
Once you’ve honed in on who your target audience is, interview potential customers to see what their problems are. This will help you to frame your business offerings and present potential customers with solutions or products that they would be willing to pay for. Websites such as www.surveymonkey.com are free survey generation sites that allow you to easily create and disseminate surveys online. After receiving survey feedback go through the responses and take a look at your business plans and your initial marketing strategy/ideas and confirm that your planned business messaging is what the audience really needs – if not tweak your messaging.
This is the process where you create a unique name and image for your business – your goal should be to create something that will resonate within your audiences’ mind. Once you’ve decided on a business name and logo you need to maximize that logo and place it everywhere – your email signatures, Google Places pages etc.
4) Build Strategic Partnerships and Talk About Others
Be generous – one of the best ways to promote your business is to promote others instead. It’s business karma… sometimes people reciprocate, sometimes they don’t. Either way, you are letting those who listen to you know about businesses and resources that you believe can help them and that is providing value to the recipient. If you provide value, you increase your customer loyalty, loyal customers talk about you.
5) Share Your Knowledge
If you have a Facebook or Twitter page use these pages to share tips and strategies related to your business. If you belong to a charity or community group offer to do a presentation to provide insight for free. Whatever you can do to present yourself as knowledgeable in your area will raise your business profile.
6) Promotions and Discounts
Promotions and Discounts are great for calling attention to products and services because they add extra value for the purchaser. Everyone loves a deal and offering discounts is a great way to not only market your business but also reward your customers and establish loyalty.
7) Content Marketing
Email marketing is extremely cost effective and provides an outlet for you to highlight products, sales and make announcements. The one thing to note with content marketing is to be considerate of the receiving audience – people typically only give their attention to things that they want or that directly apply to them. Just because you have a persons’ email address doesn’t mean they want to be spammed with event flyers every two weeks. Sites like www.mailchimp.com and www.constantcontact.com are a great resource and are free depending on the size of your email list.
8) Generate Publicity – Do Something Remarkable
Instead of playing it safe and sticking to what you have seen others do, do something that’s worthy of taking notice. Be unique don’t feel like you need to copy another company’s brand or advertising pattern – stand out. Host an event that is unique and offers value and that people want to attend.
9) Test your marketing ideas in small batches
Marketing is all about IDEAS – there are several “tactics” you can employ but at the core of it, promotion is all about generating ideas and executing on those ideas. Some ideas are going to work while some are not, so before placing both feet in the water with one set idea, test out your ideas in small batches.
10) Be authentic – you are your brand
The key to everything both as a business person and as an individual is to be yourself. One of the main reasons why I think Fresh Image PR has made it to the five year mark is primarily driven because I’ve always authentically been Samantha – what you see is what you get. As cliché as it sounds people pay attention and consistency is appreciated and people will gravitate towards you and your business because of this – be consistently you and go from there.
NOTE: THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY SAMANTHA WHITTAKER FOR AND FIRST PUBLISHED BY PINNACLE MEDIA GROUP (CAYMAN ISLANDS) FOR USE IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 2014 SMALL BUSINESS EXPO SUPPLEMENT
If you’ve ever wondered how I started Fresh Image PR or how I approach business and keep things moving, listen to this radio interview that I did with UR Business Network out of Boston, MA.
Fun Tidbit: I came up with the name of Fresh Image PR Growing A Business with help from my dog – Inspiration is EVERYWHERE!
Listen in to hear how I approach idea generation, how I am growing a sustainable business and why I believe appreciation is key!
>>>>>> Click Here to Listen To The Interview <<<<<<<
We can’t help it. Whether we hear Apple, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, or Target, we habitually create very specific images in our head about each of those brands and what they signify to us. Likewise, very specific images come up when we hear names like Beyonce or Oprah or Michael Jackson. You see where I’m going with this?
Brands pertain to people as well. So it’s important to understand that whether you are trying to or not, you represent your brand. And whether you want to accept it or not, there is absolutely no way to separate your personal from your professional brand. (So if you’re tweeting things you don’t want a potential customer or partner to see, you may want to stop.)
Just think of the late Whitney Houston. What she may have considered “personal business” still managed to impede her professional brand.
So if we know this is true, let’s tackle the three areas where your personal life impacts your professional brand.
1. Your Appearance. What does your appearance say about you? Remember that getting up and getting dressed is not just reserved for the days you go into the office. In today’s society, any place you set foot in has the potential to produce an ideal client, business partnership, or new contract. The question is, “Do you enter each day expecting opportunities to come your way?” If so, there’s no such thing as just “running out.” You never know who you might run into. In my book, Real Money Answers for Every Woman, I say, “Someone with the power to bless you is always watching you,” even though you may not physically see them. I speak at conferences frequently, and it’s impossible for me to remember every face in a room of 80 people. But in just the past few weeks, I’ve run into attendees at Target, the mall, and Ikea. And not one can say that I had to apologize or make an excuse for my appearance. One woman even asked to take a “selfie” with me and I was ready!
2. Your Social Media Profiles (all of them). What do your tweets, pictures, and status updates say about you? If you’re a business owner but every picture of you on social media portrays you as a drunken party animal, how seriously do you expect potential clients or customers to take you? People who may want to do business with you are searching far beyond your LinkedIn profile and website. Yes, we see your crisp collared shirt and blazer on LinkedIn and yes, you’ve managed to scrape together a pretty impressive paragraph or two about your experience, but consumers are smarter these days. And we know that the truth about you lies within your late night tweets and Instagram posts. As far as we’re concerned, that’s the real you. Potential clients and employers alike want to do business with you – not your LinkedIn representation!
3. Your Associates and Extracurricular Activities. What do your friends say about you? We’ve all heard the saying “Your network determines your net worth” and the famous Jim Rohn quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” When you’re out and about, whom do people see you hanging out with? Remember, whatever perception others have of them, they may begin to have of you. As Grandma always said, “Birds of a feather flock together!” If you’re investing a lot of time with folks that aren’t going where you desire to go, you’re really wasting a lot of time and setting yourself back. Make sure you’re seen at networking events or associations that have to do with your industry. Invest your time in people and activities that support your dreams and goals, as well as put you in front of and around people who have brands that can lend credibility to the brand you’re developing.
Building your personal and professional brand will take time, a little maintenance, and even resisting the urge to show off some of your best midriff shots on Facebook. But regardless of the sacrifice, it should also be a part of the process that prepares you for your destiny and a few extra dollars. Now that doesn’t sound too hard, does it?
Article is by Patrice C. Washington and appeared on www.BlackEnterprise.com on October 10, 2014
- Create your own opportunities – look in the mirror it starts with the reflection staring back at you.
- Your mind is your greatest weapon – how you think is everything! Think success, not failure.
- Be impeccable with your word. If you say you’re going to do something, do it.
- Commit to producing excellence, even when you don’t feel like itand give it 100%.
- A warm smile and a genuine attitude are the greatest attributes.