I had no idea there are so many great resources available to make a small business – even micro businesses – look BIG to the rest of the world. Thirty years with Fortune 500s and one start-up that grew bigger fast, I saw how pricey public relations, social media, and other marketing resources could be. Completely unaffordable for the average entrepreneur, I thought.
Then I jumped ship. Yes, 5 years ago I became a full-fledged solopreneur, investing in – and promoting – my own business. I made a career change from a corporate sales and marketing executive to a career speaker, author, and private coach.
Like most small businesses, I don’t have boatloads of money in the bank and I’m certainly not independently wealthy. So I need to make this work on my own nickels. I want to “think big” but how? How can “objects in the mirror appear larger than they are?”
From the very first day in business, I researched the myriad tools and resources now available online, offline, and in the cloud. I don’t think I’ve even scratched the surface.
GO BIG resource #1: ProfNet for BIG publicity
While reading an article online or in a print magazine or newspaper, have you ever asked yourself, “How DO those people get quoted?” I did. And I thought that a public relations firm must have discovered those opportunities and promoted their clients. Of course, that’s what they do. BUT what I didn’t know is that I, by myself, can invest a small amount of marketing dollars and get great placement! Imagine this:
- Every day, you get an e-mail from ProfNet, tailored to your area of knowledge and expertise.
- In the e-mail, there is a synopsis showing topics where reporters are looking for input from experts. Who cares if the actual publication isn’t always identified, right? If you’re thinking big, you want it all!
- Respond to the ones where you can call yourself an expert and give the reporter your insight and opinion on the topic.
- One of three things will happen: (1) you will be notified that the writer has selected your input and it will be published, (2) your comment/opinion magically shows up in the press, (3) crickets… you’ll never hear. Even if you don’t get quoted this time, keep trying. It’s a numbers game.
I invested in ProfNet through one of their partners, PR Leads*, so I could pay for the service monthly. For less than $100 per month, I receive daily proposals and respond to the ones that I am a fit for. And it’s fun!
Within just a few months, I had placements in large national and regional publications such as Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Times, The Fiscal Times, Investor’s Business Daily, and more.
Some tricks I learned along the way for appealing to journalists and reporters:
1 – Right up front tell them why you are an expert. I say, “I’m your expert because…” then I provide 3 short bullet points.
2 – Respond to their question or request. I write, “My insights for you are…” then I write 3 or 4 bullet points that provide my perspective on their topic. Keep those bullets to no more than 2 short sentences for each point.
3 – Close by telling them that you will be available if they need to talk or if they would like for you to elaborate on any point. Keep the conversation going!
4 – My e-mail signature block automatically has my name, title, cell number, city/state, website URL, and my e-mail address. That way, if they use my input, they know what title to call me and can provide my website if it’s allowed by their publication.
Remember, reporters are very busy, under tight deadlines, and receive a lot of responses to their queries. Make it easy for them to use you as a source, but don’t expect a response or try to follow up to ask if you were chosen. Use a monitoring program like Mention.net to track your quotes through any media: social media, newspapers, and magazines, etc.
You can do this!
And sometimes there’s a surprise – and really cool – outcome! ProfNet recently featured me as one of their success stories AND placed my face on a huge megatron in the heart of New York City’s Times Square. I always wanted to see my name in lights…