1st January, 2015
When running your own business, it’s often easy to get hung up on planning your marketing, to the point where ‘analysis by paralysis’ kicks in and nothing gets done.
It’s an easy trap to fall in to. Sometimes the simple act of just doing ‘stuff’ can clear the brain and kick-start some momentum. Thus, it’s with this theory in mind that I give you four things you can do today to start raising the profile of your brand.
We live in an information-rich world dominated by an amazing plethora of online media outlets, ranging from small blogs through to professional or semi-professional digital publications (essentially, blogs), right up to the sophisticated web-based versions of magazines and newspapers.
These outlets are hungry for content. They’re committed to posting new material around the clock but haven’t got sufficient resources in-house to get the job done.
Hence, many blogs and online publications are keen to receive relevant and interesting stories (especially opinion pieces) from specialists in the field.
What media outlets service your industry, profession, or niche? Can you think of an idea for a story that will suit their editorial style? If so, why not flesh it out a bit and then pitch it to the powers-that-be? You don’t need a PR person to handle this for you. You are the expert — make it happen!
Identify a relevant and active industry group on LinkedIn, preferably one that’s popular with Australian professionals, and join it. That’s the first step.
Once you’re accepted (some LinkedIn groups vet potential members first, while others just fling open the virtual doors to anyone) — participate! Ask questions, answer people’s queries, and share links to relevant articles or videos that you think others in the group might find useful.
Remember: These are not forums for you to beat your chest and pitch your wares. Get involved and add value, and people will notice!
Still on LinkedIn: Dig out all your old business cards (you know, the ones you’ve got hidden away in your bottom desk drawer). Trawl through them, selecting people who you’re not already connected with on LinkedIn but that you perhaps should be.
Systematically over the next three to four weeks — every couple of days — send to these people invitations to connect with you. Concurrently, if you’re not a regular reader of news and information relevant to your industry or profession (or the broader business world generally), set aside some time to identify articles that you think others will find interesting and useful.
Then, select two articles or videos a day and share the links by updating your LinkedIn page. (Click ‘home’ on the menu, then add your update in the box at the top). Do this for the ensuing weeks. (Better still, get in the habit of doing it regularly!) Also, don’t forget to like and share other people’s stuff on LinkedIn as well.
Hint: Visit LinkedIn Today, a section where some of the brightest minds in business, politics and the nonprofit world publish thought-provoking articles. This might be a good starting point for you.
And finally — and probably most importantly — create some evergreen content (meaning: relevant, year-round), publish it on your website and then share across multiple channels.
You know your customers, right? Do you know what questions they ask when it comes to your business or industry? Do you know the problems they have relevant to the solutions you provide? Okay then…
Create a series of articles that explore these issues and questions, and provide answers in simple, jargon-free language. Be open, transparent and frank — write from the customer’s perspective, not your own. Don’t try and shill your products and services; be useful by adding serious value.
If you don’t like writing, get your iPhone out and record some simple ‘to-camera’ videos (or, if you get excited, publish a combination of text and video). Try creating a PowerPoint presentation around said topic or issue — make it very visual with few words, and upload the deck to SlideShare. SlideShare itself is a great platform from which to get noticed and build awareness of your brand. However, you can also embed the slide deck on your LinkedIn profile, as well as on your website.
Small steps today could lead to bigger initiatives later — all will help raise your company’s profile online.