When you’re shepherding a fledgling business through its first steps, it can seem daunting. You’re suddenly CEO and overseer of every penny going in and out — not to mention the company secretary, clerk and maintenance in a lot of cases. So how do you have time to sit down and create your presence online?
I’d love to tell you that there’s a secret that will automatically take all of your most brilliant tidbits about your business and instantaneously turn them into your next blog post and video series, but we don’t yet have an App for that. What you DO have – 24/7 in your full control – is your knowledge, experience and opinions – and there are two super simple ways that you can share them. But you have to get over yourself first and get out more.
Step One: Networking Groups
I can hear you already – but I don’t have the TIME for Networking! If I had time for networking, I would never have found this blog while I was sitting here struggling with how to build my business.
So here’s the deal: this needs to become part of your What I Do list. How do you get started networking? Join Meetup.com for starters. Look for entrepreneurial groups or groups that share in your passion. Join them and then GO.
Step Two: Video
Your sweet face and soothing voice is something that can make a quick and easy connection with prospective customers. You can use Facebook Live, YouTube videos, or even your own website to post SHORT clips. Give tips, shortcuts, or even just a quick hello and how do you do. What’s important is that you want your content to be VALUABLE. How do you come up with that list? Start by completing this simple statement — when I first started out in this career, I wish someone would’ve told me….
Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” That’s the kind of thing that sticks with a writer – finding the right words.
The right words electrify, draw your eye through the page, and create a desire to learn more. The almost right words send a reader back to Google for the next search down. The right words cast a line from the page and into a person’s psyche — a pebble into a pond of their thoughts that sends ripples through them and creates a connection.
We all want connections. We strive for them as human beings – that sense of belonging, of being cared about or being understood. It’s all about finding the right frequency – and when you’ve found it, lightning shows up.
I’m the first one to admit that I’m snobbish – even arrogant – about the way that any business presents themselves with their written words. There’s room in my grammatical nitpicking to allow for slang, the occasional emphatic “dammit!” and other words of color. Even incomplete sentences if they fit the moment. And dare I include the grammatical pariah of starting sentences with conjunctions?
Yes. I dare.
I get a lot of crap for being a Grammar Queen (I’ll take that over being a Drama Queen). I can feel clients and co-workers hitting their forehead every time they open one of my revisions to their work and begin reading my edits. They’re seventeen and back to getting bitch slapped by their high school English teacher again. They take it personally that something they slaved over for hours was sent back to them with deletions, word changes, and “why is this included?” questions throughout it (and probably in a fraction of the time that it took them to create it in the first place).
Here’s the crux of the issue: when you put something out there that has misspellings, downright bad grammar or is written just exactly as you would say it, it’s like going to an interview without showering, wearing wrinkled clothes and having remnants of food stuck to your face from your last meal. Would you take whatever you’ve just written into a job interview as a way of showing your best work?
Your appearance speaks for you. You could be the most brilliant in the world at your particular vocation and it won’t matter if the person you’re speaking to can’t get past the spaghetti sauce that’s crusted on your chin.
If you have a website, Twitter feed, Facebook page, Instagram site or Pinterest board, your brilliant marketing efforts will undoubtedly pay off. What if a big client is researching you? If your business has any component of audience outreach or client representation, put your own personality aside for a moment and remember that everything you post is going to be scrutinized by lawyers, PR agencies and handlers who are asking the question, “would we want this person in a board room representing us?” What if a key blogger or a reporter who has your core audience wrapped around their keyboard finds you? Will they find someone that they want to promote? Or someone wearing a beer stained t-shirt and day 5 jeans?
Budget for a writer. Whether it’s a college Journalism major that will charge you a buck a page just to clean up grammar or a seasoned PR pro, it’s important that your writing is pressed, clean and makes a positive impression on everyone who finds it.