Five Steps to Repositioning Your Business
In my experience, it takes 1) five steps and 2) anywhere from six months to a year, to turn a really cool person (ie, someone with “the goods”) into a thought leader recognized by mainstream media and VIPs – in turn opening golden doors that transform that cool person’s life. I am now working on a series of DIY (do-it-yourself) virtual classes on topic, and I will let you know when these classes launch. Meanwhile, here is a sneak peek to get you started. If you would like my help with any of these steps, shoot me an email, and we can discuss how I can support you in catapulting your career to a whole other level!
Build (or rebuild) the foundation:
You can’t live in a high rise building if the foundation is unstable. Similarly, your business will not achieve a high level of success if its foundation is shaky. You can do all the marketing and media pitching you want, but if three things are unclear or misguided, your efforts will fall flat.
- Brand: What is the essence of who you are, what you do, and why do you do it? What distinguishes your work? Why should someone come to you and not to someone else? These and similar questions need to be answered clearly, before you are able to communicate effectively and compellingly about your business.
- Target audience: Who is most likely to respond positively to your brand? If you answer “everyone,” you have not done your homework. Think very clearly about the exact market for your business. Do you make the luxury car for the upper income bracket or the practical car for people on a budget?
- Message: With your brand and target audience in mind, what image is ideal for you to project? What language is the most appropriate for communicating about your business?
Build (or rebuild) an online presence:
Once you are clear on your brand, target audience, and message, take it all to cyberspace, on a website:
- Determine your keywords: Keeping in mind the answers to #1, who is going to search for your products and services? How are they going to search for these things? Not knowing that you exist, what words are they going to use in their online search? Be sure to incorporate these words in the tags your webmaster puts on the back end of your website, as well as in the language you use in your website content. These are your keywords.
- Keep it simple: Put as little information as possible and as much as necessary (really necessary) in your website content. Use the blog for more information, and provide a hyperlink to the blog post that is directly relevant to a particular topic. Those who want to find out more can do so, but those who are not interested will not “bounce” from your site because of TMI (too much information).
- Optimize the site: In addition to optimizing the site for search engines (using keywords), optimize it for visitors and media. For visitors, be sure the content is engaging and concise. For media, be sure you have your press kit, press release, and media clips all on one page, so that editors and producers know exactly where to go when they come to your site.
Launch (or optimize) a social media campaign:
- Establish your accounts: Make sure your accounts are all consistent. If your company name is Gookie Cookie, for example, have at least one of your website URLs be gookiecookie.com, and have all your social media go by the same name – twitter.com/gookiecookie, facebook.com/gookiecookie, youtube.com/gookiecookie, etc. Make it as easy as possible for people to find you.
- Establish relationships: Social media is called “social” for a reason: It’s all about building relationships. Do not just post information about this product or that service. There’s a word for that: SPAM. Instead, establish relationships with people in cyberspace. Do a search for people who are interested in your kind of work; observe the kinds of things they discuss; engage in conversation with them; and repost their content, when it resonates with you. As people get to know and like you, they also will begin to trust you. At that point, you can begin promoting your work, in the interest of helping out with whatever a given person needs (as determined by your social media conversations with them).
- Create content that will get reposted: Many people use social media as a distraction from work. They are looking for quick, inspirational, and/or entertaining bites. Short tips are great to post. They give a sense of your expertise, help establish brand trust, and are some of the most likely posts to get reposted – thus expanding your network.
Raise your profile.
- Know the playing field: There are three key prongs of a public relations campaign: network, venues, and media.
- Network: Who are the most prestigious people you know now? Who are the most prestigious people in your field – the ones with whom you want to rub elbows, whether to collaborate or simply to increase your own credibility?
- Venues: What are the venues most likely to offer you speaking engagements, art exhibits, or music performances? What are the most critical venues in your field – ie, where do you want to end up presenting?
What are the most niche or local media outlets who are most likely to take a chance on you now? What are the most prestigious media outlets in your field and in general – the places where you want to end up being featured or publishing articles?
- Throw the pebble into the pond: The world of public relations is one of psychology – specifically the psychology of connection and perception. If you trust Jane, and Jane trusts Joe, chances are that you will more readily trust Joe than you would if you met Joe on your own. Similarly, to get from where you are now (A) to where you want to be (Z), you need to work your way step by step from A to B to C to D and so on. When you throw a pebble into a still pond, you will see the ripple effect, with smaller rings near where the pebble hit the water, and larger rings farther out. Work your way out from where you are to where you want to be, one ring at a time.
- Play professional ping pong.
Leverage your accomplishments to achieve even more. Use venues to attract media to attract VIPs to attract media to attract venues and so on. Start where you are and work your way up the heirarchy of prestige. Name drop whenever you pitch, and always update your bio with your latest and greatest accomplishments.
- Write a book
- Recognize that you have something to contribute: If you are running a business – be it a medical practice, yoga studio, restaurant, or consulting firm – chances are that you know your field and have a lot to say about it. Books have a funny way of making media look at people like “authorities” on topic, so writing a book is a terrific investment into raising your profile.
- Decide whether to go indie or mainstream: If you are just starting out, you can use a book to establish your voice and attract niche or local media. If you already have an established platform and want to take it up a notch, go after a top literary agent, in the interest of getting a mainstream publisher. For a literary agent, you don’t need to write the entire book; you just need to write a book proposal – which is equivalent to a business plan for a book, plus a chapter outline and sample chapter or two.
- Be proactive about book promotion: Whether you are self-publishing or going with a mainstream publisher, you will need to take the reins of the media and marketing campaign. Arrange a national book tour, and get professional help pitching local media at each city where you are presenting. Unless you are well-established already, choose smaller cities with less competition for the attention of the media. (Do not go to New York City.) Also be sure your representative starts pitching long-lead media (national magazines and, to a lesser degree, local magazines) six months ahead of time and short-lead media (TV, radio, newspapers, and online publications) one month ahead of time. Media wants to write about a book the week or month it comes out, or in the case of a national book tour, the week of the local event. Keep in mind that a book tour is a way to get attention for a book even after its publication.
Were these tips helpful to you? Forward them to a colleague or friend who can benefit!