Thank you to the wonderful journalist, copywriter, blog coach and press consultant, Marina Gask for this guest blog.
www.audreyonline.co.uk.. She is also editor of
Of course, you might not personally want to be famous, but if you’re an entrepreneur you need to spread the word of your brilliance or your amazing range of products, so there’s no point being shy. So… Fame it is.
The dream for many is a double page spread in a national magazine or newspaper, all about you or your products or services. A glossy photo shoot that shows you from your best side, with your website address and logo emblazoned all over it, with a shareable digital version to match.
And that really can happen. But first you need to get all your communications matching up, and, most importantly, aligning with your personal brand. Business cards, website, blog, newsletter – all of them need to match, to convey the same message in the same recognisable way.
Most of us find it a struggle to blow our own trumpet, to convey our message in a clear and concise way – so when you’ve written your home page, get friends or fellow entrepreneurs to give you feedback on how it comes across. Or even get them to write it for you or find a reliable copywriter.
Don’t feel like you have to include everything you’ve ever done on there, writing reams and reams on your background. Focus on what’s important for your customers to know, ie, how you can offer them solutions.
When you’re writing your website copy don’t get caught up in describing the process of what you do – stick to the benefits. How will your customers benefit from working with you?
Don’t be over formal unless your profession requires it. Make your website a pleasure to visit, with great visuals and inspiring testimonials.
Remember to focus on what’s unique about you, that clients won’t get from someone else in your market.
The great thing about blogging is that spreading the word is no longer something only achieved through getting in magazines and newspapers, or advertising. Now anyone can do it, so take full advantage of that fact.
Blogs aren’t meant to be worthy and dull. They’re meant to be a chance to show off and make people love you. Or at least love what you do and come back for more.
I just bumped into someone who told me she dreads writing her blog. Blogs are about passion. What are you passionate about? If you dread writing your blog you may be barking up the wrong tree.
Think about what you know – what is your expertise? What do people always ask you when you tell them what you do? What insider information always surprises people about your line of work? What intrigues and mystifies? Blog about that – it’s what you know and that has enormous value to potential customers.
Other things to blog about are:
Newsy angles – use what’s going on in the news or in the world or just your area as a ‘hook’ for your blog.
Latest products or offers
Solving client problems – you can write about this without identifying the client
Your best advice
What you’re working on at the moment
What you’ve learnt and how
Funny or illuminating stories that relate to what you do
Keep it short and make it funny, different, opinionated – just not boring
Add some great pictures. People love something great to look at, and it makes them associate you and your blog with feeling happy, amused or inspired.
GETTING IN THE MEDIA
Write a good press release
Journalists receive hundreds of press releases a day, mostly read the top two or three lines – in some cases only the email subject line – and only read on if it grabs their attention. So journalists need to quickly understand WHY this information is significant so they can decide whether they can use it.
Make sure you include the following
What… are you announcing?
Why… is this significant?
When… is or has this taken place?
How… has it come about?
Where… did or is it happening?
Who… is involved?
Give it a really eye-catching Headline, provide images if relevant and – perhaps most importantly – how can they get in touch for more info?
Be persistent without being a nuisance
If you are making contact with an editorial team, be prepared to do so a few times, with different angles relevant to recent news, trends or the season. Get to know the journalists by helping them with whatever they need, building a relationshjp of trust. One day (but probably not today) it will result in the press coverage you are looking for.
Write a blog that demands to be read
A good blog that offers a genuinely different perspective or insight will bring you to the attention of journalists when they are researching a subject, and generally create a buzz around you. Follow key journalists on Twitter, commenting on their latest articles and drawing their attention to your blog, so you get on their radar for future use. Use Twitter to spread the word. Offer to write guest blog posts on websites that will increase your kudos.
You’ve heard it before but it’s worth saying again – networking is crucial. Journalists are very well connected, so the person you meet at that business function may know the EXACT right journalist to help you. If you’re a journalist on deadline and stressing over finding an appropriate ‘expert’ to comment for a feature, you ask all your contacts – on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn etc – who they recommend. So get yourself out there and get connecting, business cards at the ready. Stay in touch with anyone interesting, especially if they seem well-connected. Share advice and contacts, and stay in touch.
Be a case study
Is there something unique – and newsworthy – about the way you started your business? Maybe you set up in business with your mum/sister/best friend/former enemy. Maybe you turned a hobby into a business, or a disaster into a triumph. Maybe you had a eureka moment that led you to invent the product you sell, or learn the skill you have acquired. Do your research – pore over the publications that interest you. What sort of case studies do they need? Many journalists alert their followers on Twitter when particular case studies are required (I certainly do) – so keep an eye out for case study opportunities. That photo shoot dream might become a reality. But always make sure the publication agrees in advance to give your business a mention. Because that’s how you’ll become famous.
Marina Gask is a journalist, copywriter, blog coach and press consultant. . She is also editor of www.audreyonline.co.uk.