I’ve recently had a few people say things to me such as ‘I got a mention in the Daily Mirror, why haven’t I sold out of stock?‘ or ‘I’ve done some blogging, why isn’t my website at the top of Google?‘ or ‘I’ve started an Instagram account and posted a few times, why aren’t I making more sales?’
When you’re raising your profile or using the internet to build your business online and give you increased flexibility in your life, it’s only natural to want quick results. And as humans, I think we have a natural tendency to want immediate results!! And so if you write a blog post or get a piece of publicity and your phone isn’t immediately ringing off the hook with orders, you begin to wonder if your efforts are paying off.
Add in the fact that us Brits can be funny about promotion anyway. Firstly, we think we shouldn’t be promoting ourselves and what we do (how much easier must it be if you were born American!?). And then when we do it, we throw into building our profiles for a week, and then giving up on it because we thought it didn’t work!
This week, I’m sharing my 3 top truths about promoting yourself and your business.
You’ve got to have grit to promote yourself or your business.
First of all, you’ve got to have the right mindset.
I have pitched thousands of stories to national media outlets over the years, and I know one thing. Journalists are a pain in the ass. They can be rude, they don’t reply to emails, they’re short on the phone. It’s extremely annoying and enough to make people give up.
I also know this. I will spend a day pitching for clients and getting nowhere. I can’t speak to anyone, noone gets back to me. The day ends and I might feel deflated and frustrated. Yet always that day pays dividends. Over the coming days, people slowly get back to me. And if they don’t, I chase them and that pays dividends too.
You’ve got to be prepared for promotion
If you’re going to start trying to get publicity for your business or promoting yourself online, then you want to give yourself the best chance of a good result.
When it comes to the media, I would suggest you keep in mind two things: that journalists want their lives made easy and when they are looking for experts or commentators, or to feature products or businesses, they just want people who look and sound the part, have interesting opinions and ideally can provide them with free high quality photography!
So before you start promoting you need to have your ducks in a row. You need to look the part, sound the part, BE the part and act the part. You only have two seconds to make a good impression.
You’re not promotable unless they can instantly tell that you have ‘good story’ part, ie your business looks the part, you have interesting things to talk about, you’re credible (and they way they will tell all of this is through your website, your online presence, your social media as the first thing any journalist does when considering promoting someone is google them).
I am telling you from years and years of pitching stories into newspapers and securing front page deals that journalists want their lives to be made easy. It takes a longer and more effort to convince a journalist through words. It’s easier to show them via a great site, and the pictures part: and again this is where your online forward facing appearance really matters. If they land on your website and see professional photography of you, that’s a tick in their box. You’ve even saved them money on a photoshoot as they can just use your photos.
If you came to me and said, can you do my publicity, it doesn’t matter how great or interesting you are or what you have to say, if you don’t have good photos I’m going to say no, or say you have to get a set done. And if your website looks like something from the dark ages, again I’m going to say, this won’t cut it with a journalist. You just don’t look credible. You don’t look like someone they are going to want to feature.
And it’s the same thing with whatever marketing you do online. There is no point paying to send traffic to a terrible website, or putting hours into content creation when you don’t really know what you are offering or trying to sell.
You’re looking for a culmulative effect, not overnight success
I work with a lot of people who look (at first glance) like overnight success stories. But they’re not. One swallow does not a summer make….
You launch a (great) website here, you can get more bookings or sell more products there. You get in the Daily Telegraph here, you have more credibility for your social media followers there. You consistently blog and create content here, you get more following there. You build your social media following here, you get a book deal there. You get a book deal here, you are asked to appear in a brand video there. And all of this gets you more website traffic there.
What I witness is that there is no straight line or overnight result to standing out, being more visible, getting more opportunities or whatever it is that you want, BUT results do come from sustained, consistent effort and putting yourself or your business out there across numerous platforms and through numerous modes, including traditional media, online media and even getting out there and talking to people in the real world.