One of the toughest challenges an entrepreneur faces is marketing and public relations. You can have a great idea and you can have a great product; but if you can’t effectively market your idea, you’ll never be as successful as you were meant to be. With so many other competing entrepreneurs and ideas, marketing can be a tough nut to crack. We asked some successful business owners and entrepreneurs for their tips on marketing, and how their strategies led them to success. Here’s what they had to say:
#1- Be yourself while discussing your brand
In a world of imposer syndrome and buzzwords, people are looking to hear your authentic voice. People are smart and won't be sold on flashy language and overly professional nonsense. When you discuss your business remember why you started it, because you were passionate about your product or service- not the buzzwords that describe or sell it. Your customers and clients are people who have a lot in common with you- they want to purchase things from you because they too are passionate about what you made. They are real people and appreciate knowing you are a real person, too. Speak from the heart and let your true self shine. People respond to realness not from buzzwords.
Thanks to Nora Livingstone, Animal Experience International!
#2- Send your PR to relevant people
Will anyone outside your company really care? If not, don't send it out as a press release. If you're struggling to think of a target audience for your PR, then it's not only going to vanish into the constant avalanche published every day, but journalists and bloggers will slowly stop paying attention to any emails they see from you. Make sure you're sending your PR to relevant people, not carpet bombing every possible contact you've ever made, and if you're not sure whether it's interesting or relevant enough, get an outside opinion from a friendly third party, especially if that person is experienced as a journalist or PR person/agency.
Thanks to Dan Thornton, The Way of the Web Ltd!
#3- Being the expert guest
Instead of trying to break through the noise, we've focused on getting in on the conversation that our ideal prospects are already listening to by being the expert guest on targeted podcast interviews. This is the cheapest and most effective media buy available. The targeted audience and evergreen content provide unmatched results both in the short and long term It's scalable too since there is no travel to these digital stages as interviews can be done anywhere there is a solid internet connection.
Thanks to Tom Schwab, Interview Valet!
#4- Visual content
My best PR tip for businesses is to incorporate visuals and video content where possible. This includes content on your website, press releases and social media channels. These visuals will grab more attention and set you apart from the competition. As an interiors specialist, our PRs tend to focus on product launches and new collections. Within this type of content, we explain the key facts briefly but then let our visuals do the talking. Why describe soft textures, beautiful weaves and stylish patterns when you can actually show how they look and feel?
Thanks to Amy Kilvington, Blinds Direct!
Create an emotional connection to the product/ service you’re selling. Want to grab the journalists’ attention and make your startup memorable, open with a success! When pitching to media, it's very common that ventures, startups and businesses “bury the lead.” Meaning that they hide the main hook somewhere in the middle of the pitch. Why? Probably because the startup/ business hasn’t distilled and iterated their pitch enough to see what's the compelling success story. Start the pitch with the most important item. The soundbite. That’s what media want. I recently attended a Pitch the Media Panel and all of the panelists agreed that they prefer only 5 sentences as an initial media pitch. With only 5 sentences to wow the journalist, it better be really good.
Thanks to Mordecai Holtz, Blue Thread Marketing!
#6- Make your pitch relevant
PR is a lost art. With SEO and PPC taking over marketing, many companies are forgetting the power of PR. My #1 tip is for your pitch to be relevant. We are so over-consumed with links that we forget the foundation of PR is the people. Write a relevant pitch for your targeted customer in mind and you've won a good chuck of the battle.
Thanks to Amanda Basse, Alan David Custom!
#7- Don't be afraid to go rogue
In Fat Lama's early days (December 2017), we brought two 7ft male llamas to a tech recruitment fair in Shoreditch. Besides them proving a hit with attendants *within* the venue (we had a long list of job applicants from that day), City AM featured a picture of one of them taking a stroll down Brick Lane – valuable early exposure and a lot of fun.
Thanks to Chaz Englander, Fat Lama!
#9- Put your own business needs last
Hard to decide when I spend every day thinking about how to put my clients' needs and brands first. Their PR and brand building is my utmost concern. So, my best PR advice is to never put your own business needs last. While the clients SHOULD be a top priority, growing your business and building your brand must also take precedence. Make sure you invest the time and the money into properly positioning your business for growth. If that means purchasing ads, investing in a quality website or attending events..then commit to doing it. If you don't make the time and effort to invest in your business no one else will. There are so many affordable alternatives available to enhance your business brand on a budget. Also, search online for opportunities like HARO. A great FREE resource to brand yourself and your business as an expert in your chosen field. Utilize the online mentions, clippings and interviews your garner back into your social media and website to further build your professional worth.
Thanks to Gretchen Hahn, Green Grass Marketing!
#10- Make it easy for your audience to find you
Be where your target audience is … What are they reading? Where are they going? Have a diverse communications toolbox so your key messages can be repurposed for those publications, social media platforms and locations. They won't know about you if they can't find you. Make it easy for them.
Thanks to Kristine M. Gobbo, Spectrum Public Relations!
#11- Create your own media list
Tailor your media list to relevant journalists who have previously discussed topics that are relatable to your campaign. Simply research into appropriate publications and take on a more personal approach with journalists. To help create and organise your list, sign up to media list programs like MailShake or BuzzStream and then compile your list with journalists who are likely to be interested in your newsworthy information. Once you have built that list and received coverage, be sure to make a note of journalists who successfully published your company’s campaign. With this information you are at an advantage; you can build personal relationships with them, which can consequently increase campaign coverage in the near future.
Thanks to Steve Pritchard, Cuuver!
#12- The Two C’s
Clarify and Crystalize your story. I’ve been an entrepreneur for a decade and I learned early on that no-one was interested in my amazing, interesting and one of a kind company and its story if I wasn’t able to succinctly and concisely articulate what made it stand apart and why its story was noteworthy and unique. This may sound obvious but as an entrepreneur your business is your baby and you live it, breathe it and dream it – and that’s a perfect recipe to get lost in it and lose valuable perspective on what your true message and brand promise is.
Thanks to Wences Garcia, MarketGoo!
Whether you're a local business or a Fortune 500 company, trendjacking is one the of best ways to get media exposure quickly. The term trendjacking means to take something that is trending and give it your own spin. For example, locally there were big discussions regarding trash during our annual Cherry Festival. Given that we teach people to use psychological principles in business, we wrote an article about the psychology of trash. Then we pitched it to local media and it was quickly picked up. Look at what is trending on YouTube, Apple News, or local Facebook pages, then give your own spin to be part of the conversation.
Thanks to Joe Sanok, Practice of the Practice!
#14- How To Get Value From A No
Most marketers and publicists think that a No is the worst case scenario. The reality is, just getting a journalist to engage with you is a win. Now that the conversation is open, you can ask them what kind of pitches they'd prefer to see, and to keep you in mind as a source on whatever your speciality is. You've now set the stage to win with your next pitch.
Thanks to Emmanuel Nataf, Reedsy!
#15- Know where your article will be placed
Press releases don’t work anymore as the top sites like CNN, Fox News etc. hide them from their front pages. Other news which are proudly included by PR professional into executive reports are also so buried in the depth of websites that you need to click through the pages 4 or 5 times to get to the story. Surely, having your story published in the top media is one great achievement, however it doesn’t necessarily equal reaching the audience. Therefore, we at Mediametric believe that it is very important to know where exactly your article was placed on the media’s page, how much space it occupied and for how long. Combining this with the statistics from Google News will make a big difference on your PR campaign results.
Thanks to Oleg Khadartsev, Mediametric!
#16- Don't forget the usefulness of press releases
My favorite PR tip for entrepreneurs is to not forget about the usefulness of creating online press releases and disseminating them via as many free online press release websites as possible. Building links is one of the most important things an entrepreneur can do to help their business in the online space, and receiving many backlinks from online press release websites not only increases your website’s total number of backlinks, but also helps add a level of professionalism to your backlink profile. Research free online press release websites, create user profiles, and publish your releases as needed.
Thanks to James McCarthy, Placement Labs!