April 2017

Monthly Archives

  • Who Are You Actually Talking To?

    Whether you call them key stakeholders, ideal clients, or your target audience, you need to be clear about who you’re trying to reach. We all know that you can’t please everyone, so “everyone” should not be your target audience.

    Who are you best suited to help? Why? How?

    If you have clear answers to those messages, you are well on your way to developing a communication strategy that will attract the right people for your service or product.

    When I begin working with a new client, I ask, “Who, precisely, are you hoping to communicate with and what do you want them to do as a result of this communication?” Goals can be big or small, short-term or long-term, but they cannot be vague if they are to be useful.

    Are you better suited to work with men or women? Young or old? Rich or poor? Socially conservative or liberal? Active or sedentary? Are they parents or grandparents? Twenty-somethings or teens? Are they college educated? Are they white collar or blue collar? Are they building their future or thinking about their legacy?

    Depending on the answers to these questions, your approach should vary widely. A message that will strike gold with a rebellious teenager probably won’t impress his or her conservative grandparents.

    Of course, a single organization can serve more than one audience. Just be clear about your communication goals each time you communicate, whether you’re writing a blog post, publishing a press release, placing a paid advertisement, or hosting a booth at a community outreach event.

    I work with a philanthropic foundation focused on helping people extend their legacies in perpetuity through charitable giving. That same foundation wants those looking for grants to apply. The messages to these two audiences are quite different, yet completely consistent with the overall goal of “offering people effective ways to engage in advancing the well-being of our communities.”

    Now, I know there are those of you out there saying, “But I really do want to reach everyone. My (fill-in-the-blank-with-your-product-or-service) can help everyone.” While that may be true, your messages won’t hit their mark if you don’t narrow your approach, so pick a few audiences you most want to work with and develop messages for them. It’s okay if those messages don’t resonate with everyone. They’re not meant to.

    Want to hone your messages? Let’s chat.


  • Consistency Builds Trust

    Public relations is about building a relationship with your public, and relationships are built on trust. What builds trust? Consistency.

    As you consider how to promote your product or service, think about what your work means to your clients. If you’re a banker, people want you to be extremely reliable. If you represent a fashion brand, they want you to be stylish. If you’re a graphic designer, they expect you to be creative. If you’re in the tech industry, embrace your inner nerd–the more tape on your glasses the better.

    Ask yourself, how does my  product or service benefit my client? What do they want from me? What problem do I solve for them? Then look at your advertising and other promotional efforts–do they address your clients’ core needs?

    We all have biases, and when someone behaves in an unexpected way, it can make us feel uncomfortable. That’s not to say you can’t bust out of your industry’s box–but be aware of the effect it may have on your business. When you think about your branding, be clear and consistent. Help your clients understand what they should expect from you, and then deliver it over and over.

  • The Business Bio: Introduce Yourself So People Notice

    Making a good first impression in a relationship-based business can mean the difference between getting a new account or not. Your bio serves as an online interview, so it’s worth spending a little time to get it right.

    Tips for Writing a Good Bio

    It’s pretty easy to write a boring bio that turns people off because it sounds self-aggrandizing. Here are some tips to help you share your best qualities without sounding like a braggart.

    • Focus on the clients’ needs – who is your audience, what do they want?
    • Choose the top three traits that differentiate you from your peers
      (ask friends to chime in if you can’t come up with any)
    • Choose your tone (e.g. professional, friendly, folksy, humorous, no-nonsense)
    • Highlight your specialty – within your industry, what sets you apart?
    • Write in the third person (“He” or “she” instead of “I”)
    • Explain why you do what you do
    • Share some personal details about who you are
    • Let others brag for you (brief testimonials can work here)
    • Keep it short (about 300 words)
    • Use a professional head shot/portrait, not an iPhone selfie

    How to Avoid Common Mistakes

    • Do not share a laundry list of accomplishments
    • Do not try to be something you’re not—celebrate your genuine and authentic self
    • Do not be boring (unless that’s your personal brand – see below)

    “I’m a ‘no-surprises’ Realtor. You might want sexy and exciting, but nope—that’s not me. I will get every disclosure signed, every inspection scheduled, and every detail attended to with plenty of time to spare. If you’re looking for that thrill of the unknown, that last-minute rush, that fingernail-biting, edge-of-your-seat experience, I’m not the Realtor for you.”

    Although this breaks the “third-person rule,” I think it’s an approach that could work for some.

    If you’d like help writing your bio, feel free to get in touch.

  • How To Share Your Press Release

    So you’ve written a press release. Now what? Press releases don’t do you any good unless you share them with all sorts of people. Before you send the press release anywhere, make sure you’ve written it well and had someone proof read it for you. Once it’s compellingly written and error free, it’s ready to publish. Time to share it far and wide.

    Stakeholders: Internal and External

    Before publishing press releases publicly, first share the information with internal audiences–or at least publish the information simultaneously by sending the press release to employees when you send it to the media. Most people don’t like to hear big news regarding their company after everyone else has already heard it. The advantage to sending the information internally before it goes to the media is that you can provide talking points so everyone understands (and hopefully adopts) the company line.

    Media: Print, Radio, TV, Online

    When it comes to sharing information with the media, it’s best if you have a relationship with the reporters/bloggers who cover your beat. If you’re in health care, develop a relationship with health care reporters. If you’re in education, figure out which bloggers cover education stories. You get the idea.

    Share the press release with newspapers, news magazines, bloggers, TV news programs, radio news programs, and any organizations who may find the information of interest. Compile an email list (with an opt-out, of course) and cultivate it over time.