How Smart Companies Use PR to Get the Word Out

English: WRAL-TV reporter Adam Owens in Chapel...

English: WRAL-TV reporter Adam Owens in Chapel Hill, NC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s pretty common knowledge that PR is the cheapest way for small businesses to market themselves. All it takes is spinning an interesting and timely story to the right media outlet whose audience is interested in your story. Here are some more tips to mesmerize masses of people with your message in the most inexpensive way.

1. No one cares about your story.Media is interested in one thing: the effect of your product. The lives that have been changed or made better by your company and your product.

2. PR masters don’t write stories about themselves. They write stories about their customers.

3. Here’s a powerful PR example. A story about a new website that sells discount airline tickets is not very interesting to many reporters, or their readers. But a story about two long, lost twins who attended a family reunion and finally met again is good reading. And the fact that those twins mention that they were only able to get to the reunion because the then-new website (which I co-founded) made the trip affordable to them is a great sidenote.

via How Smart Companies Use PR to Get the Word Out.

Having a clear vision of your brand voice, your niche and your audiences pain points, you will be armed to charm the headsets off any interviewer and get your story across.

Remember, it’s always about stories. Good ones, bad ones but always those that evoke deep emotion. Get out there and get your own free marketing. I can’t wait to hear your story.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Suck At Keeping Your Word? You Could Be Losing Customers

Trekkie as a Borg

Trekkie as a Borg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a Trekkie (although I’m married to one) and yet somehow I’ve coined the phrase “Say-Do Continuum” in observing my fellow humans. The Say-Do Continuum is a phenomenon when a person actually does something as he promises to (Do) and tells you (Say) what he’ll do truthfully at all times. Basically it’s someone who keeps his or her promises.

I looked for this simple quality in my mate, I cherish it in my friends and most of all, I actively seek clients who have the Say-Do Continuum. You can bet that your clients are also judging you by the same yardstick. Here are a few things to look out for:

Can’t keep a promise?

If you’re often cancelling dates (no matter with whom, your mom, bff or potential client), you rarely deliver something when you promise it, you forget promised introductions to your networks or you find it much easier to disappoint and ask for forgiveness rather than to say ‘no’, then– you my friend suck at the Say-Do Continuum.

Get a mirror

My first question to someone who sucks at the Continuum is whether they’re even aware of this problem and its consequences.  Sometimes people need a figurative (and sometimes literal) mirror to see that this is a pattern and a problem. Continue reading

Lunch Meetings: 5 Reasons They Work

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year is to spend more time face to face with clients, prospects and other small businesses I can partner with. This is a perfect article if you’ve been thinking along the same lines. Here are some compelling reasons to have a lunch meeting with someone you want some alone time with to grow your business.

1. You’ll Control the Environment

Their office is their territory: their colleagues may interrupt you, or they may be distracted by calls or emails.

2. You’ll Be on Equal Footing

I hate going to someone’s office and sitting in front of their desk. They sit in the power position and wait for you to perform.

3. You’ll Have Captive time

Eating is an expected social experience and few people schedule a lunch for less than 60 to 90 minutes.

4. You’ll Create a Shared Experience

Create a memory that becomes the basis for your future relationship. Let it be an awesome experience you both recall with fondness.

5. You’ll Do Them a Favor

Pick up the check!!! It may seem obvious but many business people are inclined to split bills today. Going Dutch is not an option if you want to retain power.

via Lunch Meetings: 5 Reasons They Work.

I know you’re probably a social media maven but if you’re a small business, your face IS your business and it needs to get out of the office and actually look at other faces you want to do business with in person.

Go ahead, pick up that phone and make those lunch reservations, your business will be glad for it.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Can Lance Armstrong Rebuild His Brand?

Lance Armstrong at the team presentation of th...

Lance Armstrong at the team presentation of the 2010 Tour de France in Rotterdam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Along with the rest of North America, my husband and I sat captivated by Oprah‘s interview with the man who’d defied all odds and risen to unbelievable heights of success. Now he was confronting a ton of lies he told with a stoic grimness. As a brand marketing expert myself, I was intrigued by this article. I share with you some of the lessons of how to pick up the pieces when a brand screws up.

Joey Reiman, the founder and CEO of an Atlanta-based branding consultancy and author of The Story of Purpose (Wiley, 2012), thinks that story could still have a happy ending. “Lance could become Sir Lancelot if he had a greater purpose,” Reiman says. “When brands don’t operate for a purpose beyond themselves, they get into trouble.”

Tactically there are three things Lance should do to redeem himself, says Reiman.

1. Speak directly to the people. Armstrong can make a heartfelt apology while reminding people of what was admirable about him.

2. Ride for redemption. Reiman suggests a cross-country ride, stopping at hospitals and schools in every city to speak to children about cheating, lying and bullying.

3. Do an act of good faith. Armstrong should ask everyone to hand in their bracelets and offer, for each one returned, to donate an amount of money out of his own pocket to the treatment of cancer patients.

via Can Lance Armstrong Rebuild His Brand?.

When businesses and brands screw up, they need to acknowledge, act and apologise. Memories are short when what you’re doing now is much more relevant and believable and stands for something bigger than making money.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Co-Marketing: Twice as Nice or Double the Trouble?

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Four Weddings and a Funeral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love weddings and the concept of partnership. One is the loneliest number, after all. So just like real life marriages, how come some brand partnerships go bad? Here’s a great article about just that:

Danger arises, though, when partners have very different products, client lists, marketing approaches or reputations. To protect your business, put each cross-promotion proposal through a five-question test:

  • Do the partner businesses complement and not compete with each other?
  • Do they appeal to similar but not identical customers?
  • Will the partnership enhance the reputation of all partners?
  • Are the reputations, marketing styles and promotion goals of all partners a good match?
  • Do all partners agree to a promotion plan, a budget, a timeline and responsibilities?

Then answer one final, all-important question: Can you explain the promotion in a single sentence, and do all partners describe it in exactly the same way? If not, it’s too complicated to succeed.

via Co-Marketing: Twice as Nice or Double the Trouble?.

The whole idea of sharing the spotlight with another business is to enhance success for both of you equally. So remember to keep your brand character, your target group and your values in line with each other, then the rest will hopefully be a match made in heaven.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Is Your Personality Attracting Customers?

The Real Slim Shady

The Real Slim Shady (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Chala, Chala, Chala!” my boss shook his head as he sighed in disappointment at my questionable joke during a meeting with one of our suppliers.  The poor man was fond of me and he was also used to me but as he’d disclosed at my recent performance review, he didn’t think I had “corporate maturity”.  That folks was my first ever job exactly 20 years ago.

The Subterfuge

Sad to say, through the years, I had to shed my jokes, my laughter and my sense of fun to climb up the corporate ladder.  I can’t say that I was all too good at the subterfuge because I never quite fit in until I found my last job.   At my last job, I was too old, too experienced and too good at what I did to care much about “corporate maturity”.  I was also surrounded by a warm, caring and appreciative culture.  The honeymoon lasted 7 long years and it prepared me to fly out on my own.

The Entrepreneur Personality

Now as an entrepreneur, my personality is the most critical element of my marketing. My flippant jokes and irreverent style are the key things that set me apart from hundreds of other marketing coaches.   As a small business owner, are you trying to fit an “acceptable” mold or owning who you truly are at your heart?

Your Brand Voice

At the core of your marketing is something called your “Brand Voice”.  Everything from your tag line to your business card to your elevator pitch should come from this consistent “voice”.  This “voice” either attracts people or lets them know that perhaps you are not the person to help them.

Too scared to be me

When you think and talk in a way that you think is “acceptable” to your boss, your clients, your networks or your newsletter audience, you’re actually cheating.  You’re cheating yourself out of living authentically and cheating others by fooling them into thinking that you’re a match for them when in reality, the people you’re too scared to attract probably need you the most.

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up?

As in Eminem song which definitely dates me, will you let the real you please stand up and stop thinking about whether it’s acceptable or not?

The fake allegedly “acceptable” you is uncomfortable, unsustainable and a waste of your true shining self. So shout out the “unacceptable” you and feel the joy of attracting those who love you for your courage and spirit and will pay big bucks for your honesty because you are DIFFERENT than others who are all so very “acceptable”.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Spend Money to Make Money

Canadian 2 dollar coin

Canadian 2 dollar coin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the biggest objections I get from entrepreneurs when I introduce the concept of hiring me as a marketing coach and consultant is that they don’t have enough sales to justify the spend. They want to get some clients in the door before committing to a 6 month coaching contract. What this article so clearly shows is that companies in trouble get better when they spend money on marketing. See the stats below:

Here are results from a survey of 600 U.S. companies whose revenues increased after the 1981-82 recession, and what they did with their advertising during the recession.

  • Companies that increased their advertising saw revenues increase 275%.
  • Companies that decreased their advertising saw revenues rise only 19%.

It couldn’t be much clearer. You have to spend real money to make money.

via Spend Money to Make Money.

If you are a new business or things have slowed down for you, you need to have faith that you need the help in improving your marketing to be able to move forward and get more clients. When I left my fulltime job, my last pay cheque went to my coach. I had no clients, I had no prospects, and I was darn scared. Here I am a year and a half later and I have a full practice, confidence and direction.

I mean, is it really the chicken or the egg that comes first?

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!