Monday, July 30, 2012
Communicating your message. Are you being heard?
What are you doing to get your message out to the world? What approaches are yielding the best results? How do others get their message out to you? How are your communications landing on others?
These are great questions to ask yourself as a leader, business owner, speaker or author. And these are exactly the questions that I explored with Shannon Skinner, PR Expert and Talk Show Host of Extraordinary Women TV, when I interviewed her on my Conversations with Charmaine radio. Shannon suggested that we are in an era where now, more than ever, creativity and speed is essential.
Publicity and marketing are both very important yet different. Publicity really increases your credibility and raises your profile, and with marketing, it is something businesses need to be doing all the time, not just when the pace slows down. In fact, this is a common mistake. Businesses, organizations and authors market during the slow times and when it gets busy, they are busy doing business. The challenge is that it creates peaks and valleys in your business, and in your bottom line.
Shannon provided some practical and tactical tips to help you with publicity. Let’s look at these one at a time. The first tip was to develop a Planning Calendar for your marketing and publicity. I love (did I say LOVE!) this idea. Why? Because in addition to helping you plan and organize yourself for success, it creates a system/process which you can use in future. It becomes somewhat of a template. Second, it makes it easier for you to share or hand off this task to someone else once you have built the plan. Many publicity approaches require a lot of lead time. For example, getting into magazines can require 4 plus months of lead time. You can also plan your publicity around specific themes such as “Small Business Week” or “Workplace Health and Safety week” or “Customer Appreciation Day.” You can also plan around certain times of the year such as Valentine’s Day and holidays. Publicity takes time to plan and to build momentum.
The next step is sustaining the momentum. Social media is a useful tool in creating and sustaining momentum and buzz, but it is not the only one. And of course your actions and decisions will be dependent on your budget. Once you know your budget you can pursue the activities that will work, and within your means. Activities to sustain the momentum could include an ongoing news release campaign such as press releases and media opportunities, article writing and offering tips in both articles and press releases.
Remember, you are more than your job. You are more than a leader or business owner. Find interesting hooks such as your hobbies or a cause that you are involved in. Are you an avid reader? Maybe you garden? Perhaps you are a cyclist. How about that volunteer board you sit on. Maybe you make a rocking hot chocolate chip cookie using your grandma’s secret ingredient. Find what sets you apart.
For authors, Shannon suggests blogging (regularly), having a great media room on your website with all the past media, press releases, a great bio, a professional headshot, and your videos. Listen to our radio interview with more great tips from Shannon at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/your-book-as-a-business/2012/05/26/guest-shannon-skinner