I recently had a call from a business owner who feels left behind by her competitors. “They’re out there getting attention instead of us and what they’re saying isn’t even very good,” she said.
It’s a common feeling among small business owners. It’s as if there’s a party on, and you haven’t been invited. Why didn’t we get asked to do the interview? Why aren’t we running that session at the conference? Why can’t anyone see how good I am? Hello – I’m over here!
The answer is pretty simple: Your competitor has been brushing up on their public profile. They’ve made their presence felt and voice heard while you were busy with your head down. And yes, you may be a better source of industry observations and insights, but unless you’re out there – who’s to know you can be the life of the party?
One of the typical failings of business owners is to avoid engaging and updating their online presence. In case you haven’t noticed: the publicity party has moved online. So if you’re not visible or participating there, you’re going to miss out on invitations.
So let’s get your party started.
Write a blog
This is your conversation starter. If you’re not talking at a party, you can be certain of one thing: nobody will know about your great ideas and opinions. Stop over-thinking it. Open a blog tab on your website and next time you leave a client, note what they valued in the conversation. Chances are it was an insight that others would also appreciate. Now jot down 400 words and post it on your blog. Do it again in a week or two and you’ll start to feel like you’ve got something valuable to say.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are excellent tools for you to share ideas, network and make your presence known. Social media is like an opening-night cocktail party for a conference. There’s someone in the room you’ve admired for years. There’s another one you used to work with, but haven’t caught up with since you branched out on your own. And there’s that person you’d love to collaborate with on a new project. Take this opportunity to connect and network with people who could open doors to new possibilities.
Fix your website
Okay, so your site hasn’t been updated for two (or more!) years. It doesn’t quite reflect where you’re at now, but you don’t have time or money for a complete revamp. Don’t worry. Just as we can make a party outfit look new by adding a new tie or jewellery, we can make a website look fresh with some basic changes.
Add recent testimonials, ensure the business and team bios are up to date, and maintain your fortnightly blog.
Think of social media and your digital presence as the best cocktail party you’ll attend this year, with plenty of great people to meet. Your blog will make a great ice-breaker and your website fills them in on the back story and key messages. Now go and have some fun!
What are your tips for getting publicity?