Tag Archives: personal promotion

Social Media/Online PR for Business Promotion–Don’t Try This at Home…

…if you don’t have the time or experience to produce and manage it (best to leave it to the traditional promoters and publicists of the world).

Online/Social Media is the reality of our world these days–it truly is “new media channel” for personal and business PR, promotion, marketing and advertising. It has also become one of the best new tools for job search and recruiting.

There is absolutely no shortage of social media coaches, seminars and books on this new hot topic. However, these particular platforms can usually only provide a short-term solution or even simply overwhelm those who are new to social and online media production and management. Unfortunately the real work comes into play after the meetings and workshops are over! Social media strategy is one thing, but the implementation and management of it all is a whole other job in itself.

While many companies are slowly embracing this fact (hiring social media managers to work alongside marketing management), most business people may not think of outsourcing this new and very constant personal professional business task!  If you think about it, this type of service may not be so much of a luxury these days, but really MORE of a necessity especially for busy professionals who know they need to be more in tune with their personal online PR and reputation management and who do not have the ability or time to concentrate on it all–above and beyond their core business tasks.

I recently commented on a very good blog post by a “social media expert” who wrote about the five key success points of social media management (or something along those lines). While I agreed with most of what she wrote about, I did not agree with her in regards to the fact that since social media should be handled personally by the person or business that chooses to participate in this new media channel. I commented to her (on the blog) that this “rule” of social media production and management should not always be the case—and for the majority of people who are using online or new media to promote their personal professional brand, service or products.

Social media is no different from traditional media and if you want it to work and provide the best results (ROI), you better have a background in PR or marketing, the experience and ability to produce creative and engaging collateral, the ability to handle crisis management issues (that happens more and more now with new media being so wide open) and the time to manage it all on a consistent basis—or it will absolutely do NOTHING for your personal brand or business.

It’s a shame that there people out there getting other people to believe that a quick seminar or coaching session will help them learn how to be more in synch, and in tune with social media (for their own professional or business brand) and that just because “social media” is based in such an open type of forum (over traditional media), that they MUST produce and manage it all on their own. Even Reality T.V. programs are produced and directed by other people (kidding, but true). Just because social media is online it should not give people the license to think that they can or even should try to handle their online Personal PR initiative—and whether it’s for their own personal or business brand. If also takes a lot of time and effort and it really is a whole other job that should not be taken lightly.

With close to 25 years of PR/marketing experience, I’ve evolved my own professional/business brand into the production and management of social (new) media as it started to surge in the early 2000’s, but I also didn’t dive right into it as an expert! I slowly submerged into it. Believe it or not traditional publicists and marketers are still catching up and trying to infuse new media in with traditional practices. Then there are all the new “social media experts” who usually have limited traditional and basic PR or marketing experience—no one is an expert. Social Media or Online PR as I like to call it is NEW and things change every day–its growth is unprecedented. If anything, the expertise is really more about the ability to stay on course and change and adapt as new techniques, tools and platforms change or come into place and then continue to develop, build and manage it to ensure it creates a return on investment. The expertise falls into place from there.

Staying on top of all the learning and tasking can be overwhelming for most business people–which is why personal web/social media managers can provide a very necessary service to support business professionals in a similar manner to how most celebrity, government official and company brand personas are handled and represented on the web. I actually think that most businesses and professionals need web and social media managers even more so. Many celebrities have the down time to manage their own social media and online PR, but most do not. Being online in a professional manner is also about maintaining reputation and image—which is what a publicist or third-party should always handle as it is.

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LINK BUILDING and Good Content…essential for online/personal PR results!

Too funny, I used my cool new WordPress App on my BlackBerry to write the original version of this post.  The App is great, but (1) I am not used to writing a blog post on my phone (too small of a screen?) and (2) the App is way to fast, I thought I had saved it as a draft, but it posted.  So this is the redo of the original WordPress Blackberry App post (ahhhh the power of technology…).  Okay back to what I wanted to say…

I am ALL ABOUT LINK BUILDING. Content is KING if you are looking for online marketing RESULTS.  Honestly, I have always known this… the key word, meta tag thing just old-fashioned, I mean we still need it (especially in social sites like Twitter), but it’s  really a gamble if you’re looking for search engine placement on an organic level.  Buying the key words will get you the results, but as more people start driving the price of the key words up you will need to pay more and you really don’t have to do that.  Continuing to build your CONTENT.  Think about all the other people using the same exact key words. How do you compete with that?  So the more you post up in the form of articles, blogs, tweets, press releases, photos and video the more content you create and the more votes of confidence you earn from the search engines. The more votes of confidence, the MORE you will be seen and found online. It’s pretty simple, yes, but remember that content must have merit or your audience will not remain.

I have read an incredible eBook (which will be now known as my Link Building Bible) by Back Link Building Guru, Mark Collier. His “Link Building Mastery: How to master the art of link building” provides 86 powerful link building strategies to build thousands of high quality back links to send your site to number 1 on Google (and then some). According to Mark: “Everyone knows that back links are one of the most important search engine ranking factors.” Yet again, the quality of the content is the first priority— and in my mind’s eye quality content is the baseline of online publicity, but without back links your content and your website will never be found.

The Link Building Mastery eBook is a fantastic do-it-yourself guide to will learn how to get:

* Better placement on Google
* More search engine traffic
* Direct traffic (to your website or “main hub’) from people clicking on your links
* A better online reputation
* More direct sales or interest as visitors who come from links pointing to your site are far more likely to buy from or hire you.

Get Mark’s book – a great guide, great read. Well done! If you need a good “go-to” plan, it’s a fantastic ($47) investment!

One last note: The ability to work and communicating online,  does not equate to an ability to market and promote online. This mentality drives me nuts. I drive a car, but I am not a mechanic. Follow me?  The social media “how-to” books, seminars, and coaching service are fine, but my opinion is that if you usually do not handle your own publicity, writing, marketing or promoting and/or you do not have the ability or the time to do what it takes to build and then maintain all of your web content (including websites, blogs, articles, press releases, tweets, updates/micr0 blogs) then it might be a better idea to bring in someone who knows how to connect the dots.  I’m just saying…

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Social Media for Executives – Dip a Toe In to learn and get used to it (the water is not as cold as you think!)

Based on what I have written below, it remains to be seen who will actually find and read this post—of course I will be sending the link directly to a lot of my “would be clients” via email.  So here goes….

I just LOVE this CEO Magazine article, July 2010 (by Karen Albritton, President, Capstrat)

Social Media: Where’s the C-Suit

Albritton speaks to the EXACT CONCERNS of most of my clients/prospective clients….right along side the “should I really pay someone to help me produce and maintain my online persona and social media” (albeit less the cost of hiring a receptionist or file clerk they will probably never  see or talk too– kidding, but kind of true). She (based on research via a couple of major business publications) states that most of the concerns about engaging in Social Media (and I am assuming for the good of a personal brand or the company brand or both) generally fall into one of three categories:

1. Productivity:   The C-suite sets the tone for productivity and social media is often seen as a time drain without much benefit. Some restrict access to common social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, in part due to concerns over potential distractions for employees. Executives are often tightly scheduled during the day with meetings and obligations. Finding time to engage online is a challenge.

2. Privacy: Many executives are inundated with information and requests. They have gatekeepers screen their email and phone calls to filter out unnecessary and unwanted contact. They deal with sensitive information and have to be mindful of what information they put out in the public. Social media is all about tearing down walls, putting yourself out there and engaging. This (partaking in new media) runs counter to traditional behavior for many corporate executives.

3. Profit: A recent survey of professionals conducted by Workplace Options showed that only 16% of workers felt social media helped them with their job. While many executives understand their company’s need to have a social media strategy, there’s still a fair amount of scepticism about the value that social media can provide.

My 48 year-old CFO sister falls right into all of the above–super successful, but won’t touch Twitter, Facebook or even Linked In (she thinks they are DUMB and “just a fad”).  Then there is me, I am older and I have built my business via social media over the least several years. Why? Well I am in PR/Marketing (my sis is in Insurance so that could be the difference right there!)–I saw the power of this new media a long time ago and I realized that I had to get in on the action or I’d be left behind and forced to play catchup.  So as I started to succeed with social/online media, I started to support my clients in doing the same.  Naturally some have tried and have gotten either fearful, impatient or both.  After all leaning something new takes trial and error – and a lot of execs (especially the ones that were successful pre-internet/social media) hate that! So not everyone needs my support or wants it, that’s fine, BUT…

Albritton goes on to say that she had recently attended a CEO forum in North Caroline just prior to writing her article, and one of the most profound things she heard that entire day was a comment made by Chuck Swoboda of Cree (regarding the adoption of sustainable products — but the same applies to ANY new technology right?). He said “I decided I couldn’t serve my clients or my business if I didn’t use the technology too.”

I agree– my opinion is at least “dip your toe in” to discover and learn.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain (as an executive in business). Here are the stats:

  • In the last 7 years, Internet usage has increased 70% PER YEAR.  Spending for digital advertising this year will be more than $25 billion and surpass print advertising spending (forever)…Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI these days.
  • Naked Pizza set a one-day sales record using social media: 68% of their sales came via twitter and 85% of their new customers
  • Dell has already made over $7 million in sales via Twitter thus far.
  • 37% of Generation Y heard about the Ford Fiesta via social media BEFORE its launch. 25% of Ford’s marketing budget is spent on digital/social media.
  • 71% of companies plan to increase investments in social media by an average of 40%
  • A recentAltimeter Group study found companies that widely engage in social media surpass their peers in both revenue and profit (and I know this can also pertain to the executives that run them).

Think of TV in the 1940’s, people jumped in and some with just a “toe in” first,  but they experienced it and got used to it and well, the rest is history.  Many did “dip a toe in” at the beginning  and either helped a company grow or their own personal brand to explode and in some cases BOTH HAPPENED.  Remember Uncle Milty? (I am dating myself – I was a 1960’s baby, but I remember him… talk about a personal brand in, then, the new media).

We support our executive clients in engaging in social media producing it for them to start ( just like how it used to be when you hired an agency or in-house person to design your company brochure or advertisement collateral).  Then, yes, as Personal Publicists, we support the placement/promotion and management of the executive media channels and content (not everyone is good at writing about themselves or writing in general and this a huge part of social media, next to video and audio messaging of course).

We keep our clients on track and in action so they learn not to be fearful (of the unknown?) and to embrace our new media to their own personal advantage and or the advantage of the company brand.  My team and I are NOT experts (who is?), and while most of our clients do engage on their own (as they should), they know that they can rely on us to support them, encourage them and even help them say the right thing at the right time and place. It’s easy, as with anything new, to just throw in the towel when you aren’t seeing results at the speed of light (the internet is new and fast, but it also does not give out miracle ROIs).

As any business or executive consultant (or any successful leader) says, “success is not singular” or “it takes a village” or…you know the drill, the same applies to social media.  And while Albritton provides tips on how to start and stay involved in social media, I still say that for many busy (Baby Boomer– “I already have a business model or process in place”) executives/professional all the TIPS can be overwhelming too! Yes you need to engage and participate (it is not called social media for nothing), but sometimes it makes sense to engage with another to help you be successful.  Social media participation is not a once in a while thing (and most C-suite execs on Linked In have oh, about 10 connections), once a month or even a once a week commitment.

If it’s not in your genetic makeup (like it is mine?) to want to jump in to the social media space, then ask someone to support you to engage and make it happen!  I don’t handle the up-keep of my own front and back (h0use) yard for the very same reason, but sometimes I jump in to clip the roses, plant a plant etc.

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Personal PR, Branding, and running a Campaign for Job Search…more important than ever before…

Okay so it’s not like running for the job of President or even Mayor, but let’s face it job search now requires creative professional personal branding, better online messaging, targeted spin, direct pitch marketing and much more.  Producing a full-fledged campaign is a not something one should take lightly– it’s now a MUST if you hope to land the right opportunity.  Of course there are never any guarantees of the exact timeline either, but the game has changed (get out of the 1990’s people!) .  Like it or not, today’s competitive business environment now requires professionals to develop and keep up a complete personal brand package and a visible digital persona as well as a robust online network and following.

You’ve probably seen all the media interviews with personal branding and social media experts as of late. Everyone’s talking about (online) personal professional branding and publicity and why it is so important to have in place due to the explosion of online networking, social media and internet search.  Not to toot my horn, but I’ve said this for YEARS!  The difference with me though is that I DO  THE WORK, while these experts give plenty of direction and advice about “how to” go about creating a personal brand and promotion program.  I am sure you can agree that most busy professionals do not have the time, desire or ability to even think about developing this on their own, let alone be able to manage it all on a somewhat consistent basis. 

Gone are the days of “being found” via a job board ad or resume post. YOU HAVE TO CAMPAIGN! If you don’t have the resources to launch a campaign, you at least have to have good online branding and messaging and key words up and consistent. Then once you’ve landed your dream job, don’t think that your brand and promotional package is something that gets tucked away in a corner. It’s very important to manage and maintain an online personal brand and promotion program to align with your company brand (so many organizations are requiring this now too) as well as to develop more business/contacts that can enhance your business and corporate positioning.

As more and more executive search professionals continue to recruit via a cloud recruiting platform (internet search/key word search), staying on top of your personal brand, messaging and campaign effort will only help you remain visible to future (job) opportunity. Hopefully our economy will get back to normal in the next few years and we’ll all be ready as companies being to hunt down talent again on a regular basis (sigh).

All that said, putting a promoter in your corner who is capable of producing and managing your personal brand and self promotion campaign is not so much luxury these days, as it is a necessity.  Yes,  Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, Oprah even the President make the whole personal publicity and branding thing seem easy (well maybe for some–I think most of you GET IT), but COME ON do you really think that they stay up late at night PRODUCING and IMPLEMENTING their own personal publicity campaigns?

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It’s not what you say, it’s what you DO (with your Personal Brand).

Last month, Blogger and Senior Executive Business Development and Operations Strategist, Jeff Plante wrote piece about branding in business and why it’s necessary and essential to “back up” up words with actions (within operations, policies and procedures)  in order to continue build a company brand and have it continue to be successful for an organization long term.  In his post on July 24, 2009 (read the complete version on his Growing Profits Blog), Jeff wrote:  

Branding, as a concept, is easy enough to understand. It is the process by which an entity takes certain actions and creates messaging around itself to project an image associated with the entity. The image that a person or company seeks to project is referred to as “the brand” in a company’s or person’s eyes.

He goes on to say:
Success in branding is truly about the journey.  In other words, a business has to be brutally honest with its own self when it comes to defining a brand. What is the image that comes to mind in the market when your company name is heard or signage is viewed or a product is purchased? That is the starting point. The end result point is aligning an executive leadership team and the employees on the brand or image you wish to be seen in this manner in the future. What do you want people to think? What do you want them to feel? When they hear the name of your company? 

A company that understands what a “branding campaign” is really about is truly interested in changing or improving its brand. It will embrace this understanding and will actually tie in its messaging and communications with company operations, polices and procedures that reflect and support this message!

A strategic plan associated with annual operating plans and which ties in the desired brand to specific improvements and changes in the company’s operations, policies and procedures that impact the external environment is a key approach.

The very same practice can and should also apply to every individual out there who is currently looking to build on and HAVE a well rounded and LIKABLE brand.  So I  have rewritten some of  Jeff Plante’s observations as it applies to building a great PERSONAL BRAND AND KEEPING PERSONAL PR in continuous movement.  Please keep in mind that I have learned a lot of this “the hard way” over the years, but glad that I went through what I did  via my own and my clients’ campaigns (especially in the last few years as the term Personal Brand started to come into play) to truly understand that it takes more work than just words to build personal branding, thought leadership and great publicity! 

Let me know what you think:

Branding, as a concept, is easy enough to understand, but it is the process by which a PERSON takes certain actions and creates messaging around HIS/HERSELF to project an image associated with “HIS/HER PERSON.” The image that a person seeks to project is referred to as “the brand” in THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER.Success in branding is truly about A PERSON’S journey.  In other words, a PERSON has to be brutally honest with HIS/HER own self when it comes to defining HIS/HER OWN brand. What is the image that comes to mind in the market when YOUR (INDIVIDUAL) NAME is SEEN OR HEARD or YOUR POST/signage is viewed or YOUR PRODUCT is purchased? That is the starting point. The end result is  being able to get OTHERS  to align (your staff, your publicist, your agent, your colleagues, fans, attorney .. etc.) with YOUR brand or the image NOW and in the future. What do you want people to think or feel (even believe) when they see and hear YOUR NAME?

THE PERSON who understands what a “branding campaign” is really about is also truly interested in also providing a human spirit to as well as always developing, changing or improving upon THE PERSONAL BRAND.  A SUCCESSFUL PERSONAL BRAND will embrace this understanding as well as actually tie in THE RIGHT messaging and communication pattern with HIS/HER own personal (or company) viewpoints and concepts that reflect and support the message!

A strategic plan and a consistent campaign that ties in A PERSON’S DESIRED BRAND to specific qualities and practices that HE/SHE can offer on a consistent basis (again, WITHIN A BUSINESS OR CAREER PATH –for instance) to impact an external environment or audience in a positive way is THE  BEST approach TO BUILDING A BETTER AND  MAINTAINING A CONSISTENT PERSONAL BRAND THAT WILL SIMPLY DOVETAIL INTO EXCEPTIONAL PERSONAL PR.

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“Do it yourself PR” is not always the best practice (focus on what “you do”).

I keep going back to this article that was published in Entrepreneur Magazine last month (I had to put it on my website): Get Thee to a PR Firm (by Sara Wilson).  Sara’s short article says it all.  I sit here on a daily basis wondering why most people still tend to believe that “self promotion” is the only way.  Here’s my train of thought: I you are not a regular promoter of “thy self” (i.e. in the vein of Donald Trump— who in fact does have PR people) or a promoter/publicity producer in a company or for an agency (those people don’t have the need to self promote for the most part – they are too busy working for their company or clients), you should not be in dabbling in the business of personal publicity.  There is no such thing as “do it yourself PR” – and there are ways to outsource it to people who can provide a 3rd party representation angle with production and management.  In my opinion, focusing on “what you do” best should always be your best practice.

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You have to be able to tell a good story

The ECMG (business talent representation with personal publicity production/management) side of my business focuses on executives who are in opportunity search mode (passive or agressive).  I still find it fascinating when I meet an executive who has been having a hard time finding a job, but who still thinks that his resume is going to open doors (like it used to maybe 10 years ago?).  I know about the old saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  However in this case, if  “it is not doing what it used to do (i.e. if the old way is broken), you better fix it.”  What I am trying to say here is that simply floating around (even a really good) resume in this market without a strong pitch, promotion, or even a third party rep/ pitch person to go along with it won’t do much (unless of course you have a super strong and extended network and the time and DESIRE to be your own pitch person and promoter) .  This is especially true for those individuals who have a unique and highly successful career path. You have to really push the envelope these days and get out there and TELL your story. Whether you do that via a personal publicist (who will do all the story telling and pitching for you), a blog and/or a personal website (with really strong SEO) or through on-line social networking and media, the more channels you can put you message out through the better.  Posting a resume or floating it around (marketing it) will not create personal publicity – your STORY will.  A resume is an outline of your career and while it can outline your success (quickly), in today’s COMPETITIVE  MARKET need to tell your story AND BE ON THE LEADING EDGE  to be able to get the traction that is needed now and in the future (for opportunity growth).

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Got PR?

Got PR? Well if you think you don’t need it and you are in business or looking for a job you need it.  Executive and Business Opportunities do not simply occur and when they do they happen and go away quite quickly.  To stay on top of what is going on (in any market) at all times, you  (YOURSELF) have to be READY to be in the “in the right place, at the right time” –as the old saying goes.  Getting a totally different kind of professional endorsement and representation is one of the key ways to be able to do this (right place, right time thing). DON’T DO IT by yourself if you want press, opportunity or people wanting to “know more” (about you).  You need spin and you need PR people to do that for you. There is now such a thing as “personal publicists” and business talent agents (yes, just like how it works in Hollywood) and yes, these people have contacts, but they also know how to create and make contacts –for you.  The bottom line is ARE YOU WORTHY of their time and effort (think about that for a minute!).  Of course you want to know that your personal publicist CAN DO the job for you and the right publicist will work terms with you to be able to allow the “let me prove to you” thing to happen (and if they don’t provide, you need to fire them!).  The best personal publicists will create collaterals and branding that you can take away and walk home with (something for the price/retainer you pay at the top of your campaign/project).  Yet again, you do need to make sure that they do take you from point A to point B. References are a good thing to ask for, but don’t expect the same EXACT thing to happen for you that has happened for the other guy because very campaign or project is different only because EVERY PERSON IS DIFFERENT. References should be used for character and ethical ratings only. Just have patience – PR is a PROCESS and the more consistently you can work at it (or have other people work it out for you), the more publicity you will gain. Keep it building and keep your name out in lights (or computer lights?).

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