In business, clones and copycats make it hard to get noticed. It's expensive to get noticed. It's time-consuming to get noticed.
But man, is it worth it!
Print and broadcast professionals are deluged daily with pitches from all directions. Well-paid, experienced Public Relations professionals work hard to get their clients discovered by the news media. Frankly, it's hard for a small business with limited time and money to compete with the big boys.
But business owners who want to increase their prospect base do have options. If committing to a PR firm retainer isn't practical, they can focus on credibility marketing in their quest for attention.
Customers want the freedom to make their own selections. This is the concept of “Credibility Marketing,” as outlined in a book by Larry Chambers. Customers do not want to be sold to. But when they encounter experts who distinguish themselves, they are likely to initiate contact that leads to business.
Most credibility marketing tactics depend more on time and persistence than on spending money. The explosion of social marketing combined with a slower economy make now the perfect time to explore the key elements:
- 1. Speaking to Groups
- 2. Getting Published
- 3. Becoming a News Source
- 4. Developing an On-Line Presence
These concepts will help you become recognized as the expert in your niche.
Speaking to Groups
- Unpaid speakers educate or entertain members of civic (Kiwanis) or professional (Georgia Association for Women Lawyers) groups.
- Typically 20 to 40 minutes are allotted, during or after a meal.
- Volunteers (“Program Chairs”) who line up speakers welcome fresh voices with new material.
- Speeches can never be sales pitches. Ever.
- Invite further contact: sell books at a back table, or collect business cards or email addresses for your newsletter.
- Trade journals are geared to professionals in very specific fields (cosmetic dentistry, mortuary science).
- Their subscription base is usually limited to trade association members.
- Short, relevant articles are used as “filler” among ads and feature articles.
- The resource box at the end of the article includes your name, contact information (website or email) and a reason to contact you, such as a free bonus report.
Becoming a News Source
- Sending one-page briefs to news reporters and producers can help you become known as an expert.
- It may take months of persistent effort to be recognized.
- Repeated exposure to your name may spark recall when a busy producer needs a source for a breaking story (foreclosures, tornadoes).
- Being quoted in a news story brings priceless attention.
- Be different: consider sending your briefs ON paper IN envelopes–ideally brightly colored–with stamps.
Developing an On-Line Presence
- The gold standard of course, is your own website or blog. But you have other easy options to consider:
- Right now, submitting on-line articles is sizzling hot. Among dozens of websites that will accept and publish articles, medium.com and LinkedIn “Publisher” are the most popular.
- Smart use of keywords, and submitting articles in quantity, will yield high search engine rankings.
- The resource box should include a call to action with a clickable website link.
- Appropriate use of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can propel your reputation. Giving advice, giving answers, giving kudos all earn you credibility online.
There is always a market for excellent business and professional service providers. I hope that the above ideas will help you get noticed and known as the expert!