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In recent months, I’ve come to realize that a lot of business owners, myself included sometimes, do not proactively promote their businesses. They wait to be discovered. As I mentioned in a previous post, many times this comes down to our willingness to put ourselves out there, and our nerves win out over our intentions to grow our businesses.
Waiting to be discovered, however, probably won’t get your business to the level of success you hope to achieve. You can’t wait for people to stumble on your site, thinking that that’s going to be enough to generate the leads required to sustain your revenue goals. You have to be proactive. Here’s how.
- Find a way to quell the nerves. This starts with being willing. I’ve approached many business owners in recent months to ask them to be guests on my blog, podcast and radio show. Most of them emphatically accept, but occasionally, I do run into people who turn me down simply because they’re too nervous. In many of the cases, I convince them to start with an interview for the blog, and if they feel comfortable moving on to the podcast or radio show from there, great, but if not, at least they’ll get the traffic from the article. Inside tip: Start small. Inch your way into bigger and more visible media outlets.
- Be prepared. Another concern I run into when asking business owners for interviews is that they worry they’ll look or sound silly. What questions will I ask of them? What bio or leading information will I use for the article, podcast or segment? What photo of them will I put on my site? These are just a few of the questions I’m asked from prospective guests. Mostly, their concerns stem from wanting to control the image that is presented of them and their companies. I reassure them by letting them know that I intend to portray them in the best light possible. Inside tip: Be prepared. Create a media page on your site that houses this kind of information (topics you’re prepared to discuss, sample questions you can answer, your bio and your photo). From my own experience, I can tell you that the job of a writer or interviewer is hard enough, and any bit of information like this that you can provide will not only be appreciated, but will also be used, so you can better control the direction of your media appearances.
- Take the initiative. I’m finding this out for myself, so I know other media outlets, reporters, bloggers, podcasters and anyone else who generates any kind of content on a regular basis are always on the lookout for great stories and great sources. With a business to run on top of that, it’s especially helpful to have someone approach me with an idea or source for an article or segment, but I can tell you that it doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d expect. What does that mean? Most small business owners don’t think about approaching bloggers and podcasters to pitch their stories (let alone radio shows, magazines, and larger media outlets). Inside tip: Go for it! Pitch your story to that blogger or podcaster. If their content focuses on the audience that you target, then you have valuable information that could be shared. Make their lives easier. Send them a quick note to say, “Hey, I’d love to be on your [blog, podcast, show, etc.]. I’m an expert on [your topic of choice], and I think it would be a great topic for your [site/program].” It’s really that easy.
- Get help. If you’re still worried about tackling media and publicity for your company. Find an expert to help you get started. These folks often have direct access to the media reps and can help you get your foot in the door. Nancy Juetten of Main Street Media Savvy is a personal favorite and has an arsenal of free and reasonably-priced resources to get you started in the media.
Be proactive. Take charge of your company’s publicity. Find ways to get in front of new and bigger audiences so that you begin to grow your own following. It doesn’t have to be so intimidating, and if youl inch your way into it, you’ll be a media favorite in no time!
How do you proactively market and promote your company?