Fake it till you make it...the art of self-promotion...
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”
Mohammed Ali, boxer and self-promoting guru
Self promotion (of your business or yourself) is important if you want to spread the word about your products/services. Ultimately nobody will buy from you if they haven’t heard of you or had a pitch from you.
As an employee you can survive without marketing – you don’t sell anything, you will probably still get paid at the end of the month.
As an entrepreneur, nothing happens unless you sell something. And in order to sell you must get rid of your fears of selling to the world or your “friends” and remember to make a living.
Running a company 7 years ago, I didn’t really have a clue about the world of PR. It took so much effort to get a mention on Marketing Week or Media Week. I had to sell just as hard to a journalist to get a mention, as I did to a client to get a sale. Hard lesson I learned was that “nobody cared about my products or services”. They cared about a story for their readers.
I had another weakness at that stage – I didn’t gather all my media assets. So for instance, being written about in Marketing Week, I thought would get me the clients. Now I know that the direct story might not get me the clients but saving the newspaper clip and putting it on my website or showing to prospective clients will more likely reassure clients and potential clients into buying. The “As seen on TV” logo really works.
People feel reassured when you are in the press.
Think about all the stories that are generated about Apple through the media – when the iPhone was first released it is estimated that Apple got over 400 million dollars worth of free publicity. Having CNN talking about your product is a lot cheaper than taking an Ad out on their station. A news story is also more credible. I know that an “ad” is trying to sell me – but a news report is simply “educating” me.
After selling off my business and doing an MBA for a year, I had a chance to reflect. How could I have made my previous business much bigger? I wanted to be in the same league as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson – not just another small business. I realized what they had mastered was the world of PR. Branson is doing crazy stunts to get talked about. Bill Gates has a team that looks after Microsoft’s PR. You can also get yourself a PR agency (can be expensive if you are starting out) or do your own PR.
Doing your own PR means developing relationships with the press. Ensure they know that you want to get interviewed. Pitch them a few stories. I even connect to many of them on facebook just so they occasionally see my news feeds and call me for an interview.
You also need to “promote yourself” through your social media. Again use “internet emotional intelligence” on how much you do it. The social networking gets a few friends to remember that I exist and introduce me to their contacts. You might only have 300 friends on facebook, but remember any one of them can open up the door to big things.
Once you appear in the media, record it and then upload to your “press” section. These are digital assets to be collected for the longer term. Someone in the media saying you are great is much more credible than you saying that you are legit. A good PR firm will report all the clippings to their client every week or month.
Fear of Media – I have a confession to make. I had a big fear of being on television or in newspapers. What if I said the wrong thing? I’d look like an idiot – forever captured. But thankfully having exposure to facebook/YouTube and other social media means that I’ve slowly conquered the “fear of media”. In the new economy – you have already become a celebrity.
Getting on Television now is simply the fact that someone else is doing the video editing rather than yourself doing it. Slowly getting on YouTube and getting used to seeing my (handsome) face and listening to my (Barry White-ish) voice made me over time get used to seeing myself. Even pictures on facebook made me realize that everyone that I actually cared about “making a fool of myself” in front of, I had already gotten the practice in through social media. Now it was simply amplifying through mass media. If you are starting out – simply buy a camera and get used to watching yourself and hearing yourself.
And now, I’ve started to gather the “Press” that I’ve been appearing in. Overtime you also want to be doing regular “press releases” and using services like “PRnews” so that your search engine rankings also go up.
Your media strategy is a long term game. You won’t instantly get clients or recognition, but slowly the press begins to add up and as one journalist sees or hears about you, they start contacting you. Eventually you become an “authority” in your niche so it’s easier to receive contacts.
Other people are not going to do the promotion for you. Conquering media and self-promotion is essential to thrive in the new economy. Remember that humble people don’t get very far.