We all feel it: overwhelmed by the long to-do list. Either your business is going so well you don’t have time to breathe or you’re in such a rut you don’t have the inspiration to market robustly. What you are clear on is marketing is a must. So here are three tips on prioritizing your marketing goals.
Have a clear picture of the end game
Have a clear picture of what a successful marketing program looks like. Perhaps there is someone who works in your space that is a great marketer. Do you aspire to market the way they do? Are your marketing goals driven by growing your business or sustaining your existing business? Answering those questions will help you get started and drive your focus.
Set aside time for your marketing goals
Prioritize marketing time the way you do exercising or responding to emails. You will likely never get to it unless you have designated time blocked off in your calendar. Make sure you allow yourself chunks of marketing time. It is also a good idea to get in the habit of writing down ideas when they come to you, so when you sit down you have a framework. During your designated marketing time, revisit your notes and figure out a way to take actionable steps that will get you to the end game. For novices we recommend two hours a week. You can do it all at once or break it down into 30-minute increments. The goal is to get it done!
Track results and ROI
Lastly, once you have made some strides, make sure you are tracking results. For instance, did a social media post turn into a lead, did that lead turn into a call, and did that call turn into a client? You must be strategic and track results, and there are several online tools to help you do so. Tracking results helps you craft messaging to target markets, and a solid understanding of return-on-investment (ROI) will motivate you to have the robust marketing plan you are dreaming of.
Having a clear picture of a winning marketing plan, setting aside time to market and then tracking progress will pay dividends in expanding or sustaining your business. Congrats—now get going!
Creating interesting and compelling content is critical to bringing new business into your firm. When you impart information about you and your firm that resonates with your target audience and which they can relate to on a personal and emotional level, they will get excited about working with you. That’s why storytelling is once again coming back in style.
As Andrew Martin relates in his recent article, “5 Tips to Bring the Art of Storytelling Back to B2B Marketing,” stories can illustrate ideas, engage audiences and inspire action in ways that cold, hard facts often can’t. A well-told story can create a connection between your target audience and your message.
After 13 years, a half dozen newsrooms and multiple states, I made the switch from a career in journalism to public relations. There was a sense of anxiety: would this new career be as fulfilling? There was also guilt for abandoning a journey that so few get to travel. Then there was the ridicule (albeit jealously) from my fellow “newsies”. You put in 9-12 hour days, missed many holidays, bar mitzvahs and weddings to “just end up doing PR.”
Last month, I received a message through Facebook from a former colleague who congratulated me for having the chutzpah to leave news and step to the dark side. (Dark side: an industry term to describe the sheepish actions of a seasoned journalist for leaving news to take a cushy PR gig). I giggled, we exchanged pleasantries and then I got back to the breaking news for a client I was working on.
In that very moment I realized that despite my new title, nothing had really changed but the date. A fatal helicopter crash still meant I was canceling dinner plans to work late, but instead of covering the crash at the scene, I was pitching my client as an aviation expert to a reporter. Now I am using my experience as an on-air reporter coupled with my client’s aviation expertise to inform the public. I will reluctantly admit there was an adrenaline rush that only a weirdly wired communications professional can fully understand. Communicating during crises is a high-stakes, action-packed endeavor, and there is absolutely no room for error.
After years covering news, I know everyone has a story, but a well-crafted story can inform, enrage, inspire and even effect change. The key to good PR is not selling empty promises to the public, but using what you know to help others. I’ve always been fascinated by human potential, and public relations usually examines an aspect of people doing amazing things, living out their dreams – and doing it in an inspiring way. I will never be able convince a fellow journalist of this, but the newsroom was the perfect training ground for figuring out the best ways to tell stories. That said, it’s not the only option. Truth be told, PR and journalism are interdependent.
Both require impeccable writing skills and having a nose for what’s newsworthy. Communication skills are nonnegotiable, and journalist and PR professionals must adhere to tight deadlines. You have to also be a Jill-of-all-trades. You need to be well-versed on a variety of topics that affect the industry and clients you serve.
I try not be annoying like the practitioners I used to dodge. And many days I eat a huge slice of humble pie. Knowing the challenges of the journalist on the other end of my pitch can only help me become a better PR professional and give clients the coverage they deserve.
Is it dark that I have the holidays off? Perhaps.
Ever wonder why you see the same recycled faces on television or quoted in the newspaper? You may find yourself outraged, because oftentimes they don’t have the experience or even the knowledge that you have. What they have is PR advocates, or the Trump effect.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “sex sells”. Well, provocative sells as well, which is why despite your politics, you’ve listened to Trump. He’s either excited, ignited or infuriated you. As a former journalist, I can tell you the best told stories have characters driving the plot. People often will buy into an aspect of your personality before they sign a contract or retain your services. Business is not emotional, but people are; media helps you merge this fundamental dichotomy. An easy way to create credibility, trust or outrage is through media attention.
The Trump effect is composed of two main ingredients: the mouth and the proximity to the mic.
Say the things that others won’t. You may love or hate Donald Trump, but it’s an irrefutable fact: he is a media maven because of that big personality. When preparing for media opportunities, make sure the person speaking to the reporter is equipped with both facts and the ability to have fun. Journalists will gravitate toward someone who is knowledgeable and relatable rather than someone who is stiff but an expert.
Are you ready at a moment’s notice? You need to be. Reporters hate when their experts ask, “Can I get back with you next week sometime?” No! The story airs tonight, or will printed in the morning paper. If your time is tight, ask the reporter when their deadline is.
Trump is effective at getting coverage because of his willingness and availability to talk to journalists. You don’t need to research what you already know. Trust me, if they are asking for an intellectual property lawyer, they aren’t going to make you cite precedents nor will a general assignment reporter on deadline have the background, time or knowledge to refute what you share.
If you make a reporter wait, you’ve lost coverage. The people you see on CNN or as regular contributors answer their cell phones, respond to texts and will come out of a meeting to give a quick quote. That’s what makes them regulars. They aren’t always the best or even the most eloquent, but they are easy to work with. Accessibility is critical when growing a relationship with the media. The Trump effect gets you to the top of the media and free marketing tower, which is always good for your bottom line.