How to Grow Your Brand While Still Employed

How to Grow Your Brand While Still Employed

access_time Jun/28/2017

Christy Wright is a business coach, author, sought-after speaker and Ramsey personality. Yes, that's Ramsey, as in Dave Ramsey. As Ramsey explained when I interviewed him, he is focused on a long-term legacy that will outlive him. He also shared that each movement within Ramsey Solutions has a face attached to it. When he noticed a growing number of women who wanted to turn their side hobby into a full-fledged business, he decided it was time to create a female-focused business movement. He chose Wright to lead the way. Together, Ramsey and Wright created Business Boutique, a series of live events, an online course, a podcast and the recently released book.

Wright was raised by a single "mompreneur" and has also had successful side hustles herself. After watching her mom run a bakery her whole life, she learned the value of hard work. So much so that in her early twenties she decided to rent a farm -- a dream of hers -- and launch a horse boarding business to pay the rent. While her peers were going to concerts and brunches, she was bailing hay and mending fences. This is a woman who is not afraid to hustle for what she wants.

Related: 7 Steps to Building a Personal Brand to Support Your Business

In the last year-and-a-half she's counseled thousands of women on how to turn their passion into a profitable business -- to staggering results, Wright reports, such as "women quitting their full-time job that they hate to go home . . . we're seeing women earn six figures plus, where the year before they earned $900."

I was excited I met her on her book tour recently to discuss the ins and outs of building a personal brand -- while still employed -- and what she's learned are the biggest hurdles and best strategies for aspiring businesswomen. Here are the best lessons I learned from our chat on her tour bus.

Create your own opportunities.

Wright eventually decided to put her business degree to work and re-enter the corporate world, first in the nonprofit sector and then as a product liaison for Ramsey Solutions. About six months into her new position, she had to let a client know that Rachel Cruze, Ramsey's daughter and another Ramsey personality, wouldn't be able to speak at 10 scheduled upcoming events. Exasperated, they asked her, "What are we supposed to do?" Wright jumped in and volunteered to take Cruze's place, even though she had no formal public speaking track record.

Related: 8 Reasons a Powerful Personal Brand Will Make You Successful

Wright shared that she didn't ask for permission, she just saw the opportunity and jumped. She quoted Sheryl Sandberg, "She says, 'Some of the greatest career opportunities are not jobs that are posted, but they are problems that you solve and that becomes your position, that becomes your job.' And that's certainly been true in my case. I just solved a problem and that thing became my job."

If you want to become known in your industry, look for roles you can fill while still employed, or needs that need to be met in your industry or local market. If you see an opening, jump.

Fake it 'til you feel it.

When we start to create our own opportunities and stretch ourselves, especially as we start to promote our work or position ourselves as experts, we often immediately face Impostor Syndrome. By that I mean an internal voice saying, What are you doing? You don't know what you're doing! You don't belong here. Who are you to do this? Wright, who instantly began speaking to crowds of 1,000, when she'd never done so much as a mic check before, has some advice.

"Just fake it, just fake it until you feel it. And if you fake it enough times, eventually, that confidence becomes authentic."

She went on, "I was like, I'm nervous, I'm trembling, but I'm not doing the audience any favors by being awkward and being nervous . . . . I'm gonna fake it as best I can and just pretend like I belong."

She also recommends putting in as many practice rounds as you can. "Just start speaking. High school reunions, family reunions, high school cafeterias, Kentucky libraries -- I've been to all of them."

Related: 4 Tips for Branding Yourself Like an Online Rockstar

Another piece of advice I love to mention when discussing Impostor Syndrome comes from past guest, Story Brand founder and multiple New York Times bestselling author, Donald Miller. He explained, "There's one way to fight through [that imposter feeling] and it's very, very important: What you're offering has to work. When it starts working and you see it working and the results are verified, that's when you gain confidence. Until we find that success for our clients, we are a fraud."

If you're in a position that plays to your strengths -- and you can produce results -- just fake that you feel comfortable, and soon you will.   

Create a focused personal brand.

When it comes to building a personal platform and branding yourself, Wright explains, you need to be clear on who you are, what your values are and what you want to be known for. She said this is particularly important in today's "side gig economy."

She explained, "It's very tempting [to have] 15 side businesses, and when you do that you dilute your efforts and you confuse the heck out of your customers. [People] know what to come to me for. I am the Business Boutique woman. I help people start and grow businesses. There are other things I enjoy, but I am focused on business."

Even if you have multiple hustles to pay your bills, if you want to reach success and influence, choose one platform, mission and message to focus on. Make sure the answer to "What do people come to me for?" is clear.

Related: Why It's Important to Build a Personal Brand -- and How You Can Do It

Make sure you meet a need in the market.

There is a second, very important part of building a successful personal platform. "If what you're all about is not something that's needed in the market place, then you're never going to be successful," Wright says. For her, confirming the need meant that before launching the first Business Boutique event in 2015, she conducted years of research. "I did one-on-one interviews with women at all levels of business, I asked them all the same questions, took pages and pages of notes, then I tested those theories and themes on a larger scale in focus groups and in surveys." she recalled. "So it was years and years and layers and layers of research until I said, okay, now I know this market and I know what they need and I can go take my experience, and my branding, and my skills and strengths, and meet their needs."

This tip is especially relevant in online business and the influencer space; just because you can create a great course on something doesn't mean people need or are willing to pay for that course. Take the time to ask your existing audience what they want and need. Conduct surveys, call and ask for customer feedback, and do your research before investing the time and energy into your new idea.

Related: How to Create a Standout Personal Brand

Create your ideal calendar.

The biggest pain point Wright has noticed with her students and clients is time. Men and women alike, we simply never have enough time. For those that tend to be people-pleasers, there is trouble prioritizing, saying no, etc. Many entrepreneurs who live and breathe their work have trouble finding their own unique version of balance and deciding on boundaries. I loved her solution to this problem.

She says to start by charting your schedule on a visual calendar, as it is now. "You can look at your schedule and say, 'Okay, I'm crazy and here's what crazy looks like.'" Next, she advises, take into account non-negotiable obligations and then create your ideal schedule, on a separate calendar.

"Then you can start to take incremental steps to cut out some stuff of the crazy and add stuff, so that it begins to look like it has the margin of your ideal schedule. That won't happen overnight. It may happen gradually over six months, but you baby step your way into your ideal schedule."

She says the problem here is often that we're too far in the weeds to make this plan. If you feel that you never have enough time, pause long enough today to try this exercise and begin to think about the changes that will to take you in the right direction.

Related: How You Can Become the Kanye West of Your Industry

Working parents, get over the guilt.

Wright -- who wrote her book while pregnant with her second son, and is currently on the road while he is just 7 months old -- has a specific exercise to overcome what's commonly called "mom guilt" (although of course fathers feel it as well).

"A lot of the guilt in our lives, I believe, comes from focusing on where you're not," she said. "The analogy I used is that we're always looking through the rear-view mirror of what we're leaving behind versus the front windshield of what we're driving to."

When Wright is home after events, she makes sure to take extended time off, unplugged, in order to be present with her family. "Right now both of my boys are home . . . but focusing on that does me no service [here on the book tour]. It would make me miss out on this moment with you and this book signing tonight and all the fun things that I'm getting to do which, by the way, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

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4 Ways to Structure a Great Promise in an Irresistible Presentation

The following excerpt is from Dan S. Kennedy and Dustin Mathews’ book No BS Guide to Powerful Presentations. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

The Irresistible Offer -- the one those in your audience would crawl across broken glass on naked knees to get -- is the heart and soul of a great presentation. Creating and delivering anything less is a squandering of some of the opportunity you obtained by being able to make a presentation.

Related: How to Make the Offer the Most Important Part of Your Presentation

One way to think about your Irresistible Offer is as the means of fulfilling a magnificent, desired promise. Great presentations make great promises.

4 Ways to structure a great promise

There are different kinds of promises and structures for promises. Most people put them into presentations, but they put in weak and poorly designed ones. Here are the four ways to structure a great promise.

#1: Big stated promises versus small, implied promises

Examples of ordinary, small promises are:

  • Learn how to boost your immune system
  • 50 tips for a more bountiful garden
  • The five best hiding places in your home for your valu­ables
  • Amazing home remedies that heal without drugs or doctors
  • There’s a new frontier in America -- making some who are “in the know” rich.

All five of these have two flaws in common. First, they share implication. The direct, personal benefit to you is not boldly stated, but left for you to get for yourself from the statement. Second, they’re small and rather timid. They’re all good but not great.

Related: Why Every Personal Brand Needs a Target Audience

Here they are, re-crafted as big, stated promises:

  • Discover the Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick!
  • Get 50 Tips from Master Gardeners and Grow Twice the Garden for Half the Cost -- and Make Your Neighbors Green with Envy!
  • Foil Even Professional Burglars and Thieves So They Can Never Find Your Valuables Hidden in Your Own Home.
  • Live at Least 15 Years Longer Than Your “Life Expectancy” -- and Stay Out of the Hospital, and Rarely Need a Doctor, Even Stay Off of Prescription Drugs!
  • You Can Get Very Rich, Very Fast -- If You’ll Join Those “in the Know” About “The New Frontier” in America.

You can see that the stated, big-promise rewrites lend themselves much better to Irresistible Offers.

#2: Promises framed as questions

In some situations, for various reasons, you may not want to make a direct, stated, big promise. In these cases, you can frame the promise as a question or even a series of questions, still setting up an Irresistible Offer. Here are several actual examples from different presentations:

  • YOU -- a millionaire? Did you know there’s a new millionaire explosion going on in America right now? More ordinary men and women rose to the ranks of millionaires this year than any prior year. How can this be? Do they share a secret? If you knew their secret, could you and would you be willing to follow simple 1–2–3, A–B–C directions, and invest as little as one hour a day?
  • Have you ever noticed there seem to be some people who can eat whatever they want, as much as they want -- but never gain weight? What if everything you’ve been told about dieting is wrong? If you could actually reset your metabolism to burn more body fat without starving or exercising, would you be interested?
  • If you could be guaranteed financial gains but fully protected against losses, if you could share in the upside of a rising stock market but never risk more than 20 percent of your principal, would you want to know about this special investment strategy? What if you could be “in the market” but never again have a worried, sleepless night? Is it possible to double your retirement income without any risk?

The beauty of these questions in presentations is that people hear the promises and don’t really hear the question marks punctuating them. The promise is what “sticks,” so you can loop back to it with your Irresistible Offer.

#3: Primary promises and secondary promises

You more than double the impact of a primary promise by following it with several reinforcing, secondary promises. As an example, for my Magnetic Marketing System® for salespeople, my primary promise is, put an end to “cold” prospecting once and for all. That produces a number of secondary benefits that can also be promised:

  • Now you can invest 100 percent of your time in actually sell­ing -- not hunting for someone to sell to.
  • You can double or triple your income easily and auto­matically, when you’re able to stop wasting time on prospecting.
  • You’ll be the envy of everybody else in the office -- when they watch good, quality prospects literally line up to talk to you, without you ever making a cold call or suffering through another networking event to get them.
  • With the stress of never quite knowing where your next prospect is coming from -- or when -- erased, you can relax and enjoy selling again.
  • You’ll be home on time for dinner! Your spouse, kids and friends will notice the difference in you.

A good rule of thumb is three to five secondary promises for each primary promise. If you prefer, these three can all be reframed as questions. Either way, again, your Irresistible Offer loops back to them.

#4: Complex, stacked promises

Dale Carnegie’s and Napoleon Hill’s famous bestselling books’ titles delivered two-part, stacked promises:

(1) Win Friends and (2) Influence People

(1) Grow Rich with (2) Peace of Mind

Arguably, either one would be a good enough promise, but stacked, the sum has more impact than 1 + 1 = 2.

A very successful presentation for a luxury time-share vacation club stacked its promises this way:

(1) You stay in magnificent, multimillion-dollar man­sions, lakefront and beachfront homes, and ski and golf resort homes -- never hotels or condos, with (2) complete privacy, (3) made ready for your stay to your liking, by your instructions, (4) all-inclusive, with no hidden or surprise charges and (5) your satisfaction completely guaranteed.

Related: The 12 Parts of a Successful Signature Presentation

Such complex promises might not be practical in advertising given impatient and fleeting attention, but in a presentation delivered to a captive audience in a physical location, or to a deliberately tuned-in audience at a webcast or online video, a multi-item, stacked promise can work well. It can be repeated. It can be said and shown on slide or screen graphically. It can be dissected and re-assembled. When looped back to the Irresistible Offer, there’s a higher level of support for the offer than by any single, simple promise.

Once you decide on and craft your presentation’s promise or promises, and decide on the Irresistible Offer that fulfills or facilitates fulfillment of the promises, you have the foundation of and the bookends for your presentation. In a sense, everything between the promise and the fulfillment by Irresistible Offer is a bridge the audience is guided across. You are literally leading them to The Promised Land!

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Interact With Customers Through Instagram Stories and Live Videos

The following excerpt is from Kim Walsh Phillips’s book Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business. Buy it now from Amazon Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

They say you have eight seconds to grab your prospect’s attention. It takes quite a bit of skill to generate a compelling message in such a short amount of time, but now marketers are called to face a further challenge. Instagram (and also Snapchat) is allowing people to create brief messages that disappear almost instantly. And users love it!

Related: The 7-Step Instagram Ad Campaign Blueprint

The next step beyond capturing attention is creating a message or visual that’s memorable. Instagram’s latest updates include the Stories and Live options. Both allow brands a unique way to interact with their fan base. Stories contain an interesting set of short video clips or images which will disappear after 24 hours, and the Live option notifies followers about videos that are being recorded in real time.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories allows users to share moments of their day without permanently placing them on their profile, easing the fear of over-posting. There are three posting options: live, boomerang or normal. As these short videos or images are uploaded, they are grouped together in a mini slideshow using your profile picture as the cover photo. They can be found along the top of the Instagram app but disappear after just 24 hours.

Before creating your first story

Adjust story settings: Click the week in the upper-right-hand corner of your profile page. Select “Story Settings.” You can choose to allow replies from no one, everyone or only people you follow. You can also hide your story if there are people you do not wish to share it with in your audience.

Viewing stories

The stories that appear along the top bar of your feed are organized left to right, from most recent to those already viewed. New stories will feature the colorful Instagram ring. When viewing, you cannot comment or like the story, but you have the option to send a direct message to the account owner.

Create your first story

Step 1. Tap the profile picture with the blue “+” from the top-left-hand corner of your feed. Choose “Enable Camera Access” and/or “Enable Microphone Access.”

Step 2. Select the appropriate post option:

  • Live. Recorded in real time and only available to those who engage while you’re live. It disappears as soon as the broadcast finishes.
  • Normal. Images and videos disappear after 24 hours.
  • Boomerang. Small bursts of images played quickly forward and then backward.
  • Hands-free. Allows you to record without needing to hold your phone.

Step 3. Record or take photo.

Step 4. Edit options. You can easily add filters, emojis, drawings or text by using the tools below:

Related: How to Make the Power of the Hashtag Work for You

  • Change the filter. Instagram is known for its overlays and filters to dress up your photos. You can now add these to your stories too by sliding left or right over your image or video.
  • Add emojis, drawings or text. Available on the top-right menu.

Step 5. Save to post your story. Save your video/photo to your device from the icon in the lower left, or select the arrow on the right for more options.

Send to select people. Your list of followers will appear, and you’ll be able to choose specifically who you want to view your post.

Create a new group. Choose a group of people to allow access to your post.

That’s it, you’ve just created your very first story.

Instagram Live

This new feature engages users in a similar way to Periscope and Facebook Live. If your followers have Live Notifications turned on, they will receive an update when you are recording and be able to watch your video in real time. However, when the video is over, it doesn’t stay on your profile or story. It disappears altogether, similar to Snapchat’s six-second snippets.

To create an Instagram Live

Step 1. Create a New Story. Tap the profile picture with the blue “+” from the top-left-hand corner of your feed. Choose “Enable Camera Access” and/or “Enable Microphone Access.”

Step 2. Go Live! Select the “Live” option. (Note: You can’t use flash in this mode.) When you’re ready, tap “Start Live Video” to start recording. Instagram will notify your followers that you are doing a live broadcast so they can join in.

Step 3. Manage Live Broadcast. As followers tune in, you will be able to see the number of viewers in the upper-left corner and their profile names at the bottom of the screen. Any viewer comments will also appear at the bottom, so you may respond or assess the engagement of your audience. You can disable the comment feature by tapping the three dots in the lower right and selecting “Turn Off Commenting.”

Step 4. End the Broadcast. When done, tap End in the upper right and select “End Live Video.” This will prompt the analytics screen. Remember, your live video won’t be saved to your Instagram Story and can’t be viewed again.

Step 5. Review Live Analytics. This screen tells you the total number of viewers who watched your broadcast. You can measure this number against your total follower count to determine what percentage of your fans engaged with your video.

A huge business benefit of using the Instagram Stories and Live features is that your account can reach followers who don’t normally have Notifications turned on for your individual posts. They will automatically see your Instagram Story in the top bar of their feed.


Related: Harness the Power of Stardom With Instagram

As a business who wants to get the word out to your target market with as high of an ROI as possible, Instagram Live and Instagram Stories cannot be ignored. For now, at least, these platforms allow you to reach your target market in droves for free. They have high interaction rates and are easy to use.

While you can still take advantage of these platforms, utilize them quickly for maximum results.

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5 Ways to Generate Word-of-Mouth as a Small Business

Humans rely on their network to make decisions about where to go, what to do and what to buy. Ninety-two percent of consumers trust referrals from people they know, and 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. According to Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger, author of the bestseller Contagious, word-of-mouth is 10 times as effective as traditional advertising.

You might be fooled into thinking that word-of-mouth is simple to generate, but it isn’t. Creating a buzz-worthy message that goes viral is not an easy task and, unfortunately, there is no clear-cut formula (much to the dismay of marketers). So, how do you turn customers into brand advocates? How do you fuel conversations that make people want to share your message with their network?

1. Exceed your customers’ expectations.

According to Entrepreneur, “businesses should be focusing on creating customer service that transforms customers into fans who can’t stop talking about your brand.” But it goes even beyond excellent customer service. Word-of-mouth is triggered when a customer experiences something far beyond what was expected. Hence, you need to delight and please your customers with their entire experience. It’s important to remember that this is not so much about gifts and promotions, but about how you treat and communicate with the people who drive your business growth.

How can you, then, improve the customer experience as a whole? One example is when Colorado’s Vail Resorts created a mobile app that connected skiers with their networks on the mountain. Dupped EpicMix, the app allowed guests at any of the Vail’s five resorts to capture their performance and share it with others on social media. With RFID technology embedded into season passes and lift tickets, riders were able to learn where and when they skied, and how far they traveled. Riders were motivated and challenged to push themselves while sharing their achievements with their friends and family. After going live in December 2012, 100,000 guests at the resort were using the app, generating more than 35 million social impressions. With the use of mobile technology, Vail Resorts managed to exceed their customers’ expectations of their stay at the resort, leading to an immediate influx in word-of-mouth.

2. Create the WOW factor.

The Missouri Business Development Program states that: “All successful small businesses seem to have an edge. They have found a way to distinguish themselves, to rise above the commercial fray, to put the WOW into their business.” It’s not enough to offer a quality product or service. You need to surprise and delight your customer, not simply satisfy them. How do you do this? By incorporating a WOW factor. Transform a satisfactory experience into a special and memorable experience. For example, if you run a Bed & Breakfast, you can go that extra mile by providing your guests with a handwritten note and a local bottle of wine in their room.

One of my personal “wow experiences” was after a trip to the vet’s office. The doctor and nurse took the time to thoroughly explain why my dog might not be feeling well and gave her the necessary medication. While I was already very pleased with my visit, the doctor personally called me the next day to check up on my dog. She answered my remaining questions and told me to call back anytime. I was left thinking “wow!” I also went straight to Yelp and left them a glowing review. The conclusion: you want your customers to say “wow”, because “wowed” clients are loyal clients and will tell others about their experience.

3. Make it easy for people to leave reviews.

When running a word-of-mouth campaign, the worst thing you can do is make it difficult for customers to communicate with each other about your brand. So, make it as easy as possible for people to leave reviews and recommendations. Make sure you turn on your reviews on your Facebook page. This has to be done manually, before anyone can leave star-reviews. Similar, you should set up your Google My Business and Yelp account, if you haven’t done so yet. Also, allow customers to give feedback directly to you on your website, as you’ll learn a lot from this. For example, 3M ESPE, a manufacturer of dental products, made its review process so simple that the company increased customer review volume by 200 percent in three days.

4. Set goals for word of mouth.

Just as with any other type of marketing strategy, goals like “getting everyone to talk about our product” are too vague to be effective. In your marketing plan, you will want to set certain objectives and measurable goals. For example: “We want X number of new customers through referrals per month”; “ We want to obtain press coverage in three X places per month”; “We want to generate X number of leads per month via word-of-mouth marketing.” Every goal should have time limits and detailed methods for accomplishment.

5. Promote your business through PR.

Public relations is a way to keep your business in the public eye. As a small business, develop relationships with local journalists, newspapers, radio stations and online influencers in your niche. Keep them informed about your company’s latest developments and future plans.

Take it up a notch by organizing something that will create a real buzz with the local media. For example, an interesting trend in the restaurant industry has been the rise of the “pop-up” restaurant. Pop-up restaurants are temporary restaurants hosted in a shared kitchen, giving customers and journalists a feeling of urgency and excitement surrounding the business. As Kabbage mentions: “Pop-up businesses also enable small business owners to test new concepts, bring products to local markets, try a wider variety of products and connect with customers in a more personal and efficient way. All of these characteristics make pop-up businesses an ideal fit for local marketing.” Organizing these special stunts can really drive press coverage and, subsequently, word-of-mouth. 

Generating word-of-mouth isn’t easy, but with a little strategic planning, a small business can create a real buzz in their local community. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, you can achieve a lot with creativity even on a small budget. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of advertising a small business can have, as each happy customer can steer dozens of new ones their way.

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The 5 Ingredients of Content That Supercharges Your Advertising Effort

Now, more than ever before, brands are on constant lookout for content integration opportunities. Advertisers have learned that it’s no longer enough to educate the content consumer. They have realized that it pays to educate consumers with a sound and well-projected intention.

Through branded content, advertisers have the opportunity to really engage with their audience in a new and better way while maintaining the purity of content marketing.

Related: 3 Ways to Avoid Mediocre Marketing Content

Speaking on the findings of his company in 2016, Unmetric co-founder and CEO Lux Narayan told Adweek, “this year really showed that there is an appetite and attention span for longer branded content if it’s authentic and tells a story that resonates well with people, not merely as consumers but universally as humans.”

Bottom line: Branded content is working and it’s no longer limited to 30-second videos and few-hundred-words blog posts.

So, how can you make it work for you? Below are five tips on how to boost your advertising programs with content:

1. Incorporate an interactive format.

Creating your content in an interactive format allows you to speak more directly and start a conversation with your audience by, for example, asking questions and giving them room to give their opinion or voice preference.

An interactive format also goes well with your CTA. For instance, quizzical posts like, “What kind of home best suits your lifestyle?” or “Do you need to switch banks?” may revolve around results that suggest certain brands are best positioned for specific audiences. With such a title, you can even go deeper with micro-questions that lead the customer on without aggressively advertising your brand.

If you know your audience well, this approach can help you better retarget since you can aim to go for specific reader segments and nudge them to look up your brand.

2. Leverage testimonials.

It’s a known fact that people will buy from brands they trust and can identify with. They are even more drawn to buy if they see relatable accounts by other customers. This is why using real stories by real people can be so effective.

These characters should not only relate to the audience but also be able to personify your brand’s core values. With this approach, you’re not just telling people about what your products can do. You’re actually showing them what the products have done. It makes them want to be in a similar position as the customer giving the testimonial.

In an excerpt from her book, Ultimate Guide to Platform Building, Wendy Keller explains how to get and use testimonials, referrals and reviews.

Related: TV or Digital Ads? The Case for Investing in Both

3. Don’t neglect SEO.

Remember that the goal is to get your readers so intrigued they click a link in the article or look up your brand. Therefore, you want to make sure that you don’t lead them to a competitor’s website by not appearing on the first page of Google’s SERP. Your search marketing efforts should, therefore, match your content marketing efforts.

4. Include an appropriate CTA.

Most advertisers assume the branded piece speaks for itself so they don’t need a CTA. The idea is usually to create a piece of content that clearly positions them as a thought leader in their field, leaving the potential customer to figure out the next step -- to buy. Others would rather not screw up everything by coming out too direct on the CTA and turning off the readers. With this group, the intention is also to tell the reader what to do without actually telling them in order to maintain credibility.

Both of these groups make a mistake that could end up costing them easy business. Readers want to be told what to do. Otherwise, they could finish reading your article and move on to something else. A subtle but effective CTA that not only boosts your brand recognition but also maintains transparency and credibility is necessary.

5. Consider outsourcing.

How do you know if your content is performing? Better yet, how do you know that your content will perform well in the sea of similar content out there? The truth is, content marketing is much more than just churning out great pieces. It’s also about gathering relevant data that will help you decide on your next move. Sometimes this can be really hard and time-consuming. Thus, it would be smarter to invest in a dedicated expert.

Related: 5 Strategies for Creating Epic Content Marketing on a Tight Budget

Brian Zweig, one of the first Facebook marketing partners and current SVP of partnerships at Social Native says in a recent press release, “technology has evolved to a point where brands can deliver personalized advertising experiences to all consumer segments. However, brands have been ill-equipped to create the necessary content required to fuel those ads.” Further stressing the need to outsource.

As Grady Burnett, a former ad sales executive for Facebook, puts it, “the next evolution of advertising lies within content optimization.” While banner ads may still work, it’s undeniable that content optimization is taking over as the more effective advertising medium. It’s time to learn how to create branded content and direct it to the right demographics.

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5 Ways to Make a Strong Impression With Every Audience

“You make a first impression and people never forget it,” stated Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody.

In business, it’s imperative that you start off with a great and memorable first impression and even more critical when you’re speaking in front of groups. It’s the difference between being heard by your audience or having them sleep through your presentation.

Related: How to Hack a First Impression

Consider these benefits of taking your speaking abilities up a few levels and advance to celebrity influencer status. Here are the five key ways to making sure you’re seen as the ultimate authority.

1. Grab them before they see you.

Having a fantastic introduction will immediately boost your status. The very first secret to becoming an authority in public speaking is in how you position your introduction. This positioning secret is essential in guaranteeing that the message and energy you want to be communicated are directly expressed to your audience even before you take the stage. You are not always going to get a show host or sponsor that will have the kind of energy or speaking skills that are ideal to have them introduce you before you give your talk.

Rather than leave this to chance, a respected member of the Speaking Empire community, and founder of the Women's Success Summit, Michelle Villalobos uses a version of this powerful video introduction to position her before she sets foot on the stage. The video can also include testimonials from other influencers and authorities that sing your praises, so you can take the stage as the rockstar you are.

Related: 5 Tips to Reduce Presentation Anxiety

Your video introduction will make sure that you are putting your best foot forward, up to your own standards. First impressions are lasting impressions, so when you can captivate your audiences with your intro and position yourself as a celebrity from the get-go, your audience is more likely to pay attention to the content of your speech.

2. Leverage the transition of power.

The second strategy is to always make sure to have the promoter, event organizer or whoever is the top authority at the event introduce you. There is so much power to having a celebrity or someone that is familiar, recognizable and respected by an audience to come before you and present you.

I see it as a transition of power, whether it is the master of ceremonies or the head of the organization -- it is a powerful thing to be brought onto a stage by someone that has an influence on your audience.

The premise is that an audience is more likely to pay attention to the content of someone they trust. It is called the "halo effect": when there is a tendency for an impression created to transfer or influence another. If the speaker is brought onto the stage by someone seen as an authority, the audience will be more receptive to the presentation that follows.

In a room of people that have never heard of you before, you automatically receive a boost by having the known person introduce you. The transition of power and authority gives validity to the new speaker before the speaker even opens their mouth.

Related: 3 Steps to a Well-Structured Presentation

3. Call upon the transference of credibility.

Like the transition of power, the transference of credibility can be leveraged by simply having another celebrity mention your name. If a credible source mentions your name from the stage before you take the stage, the credibility you gain is phenomenal.

As an example, I was at a conference with business coach and author Dan Kennedy, and he mentioned that he and I had a book coming out and that I had a lunch break session coming up that everyone should attend. We had the biggest turnout we’ve ever had for this style of event.

Simply because he was the celebrity or authority, he did not have to describe me or introduce me. Kennedy merely mentioned my name from the stage, and everybody came to see me because he transferred authority to me as a speaker. I would say that this is simple but extremely powerful.

Related: 5 Ways to Become a Radically Better Public Speaker

4. Covertly influence.

Let’s say that you just have not networked enough to have a celebrity or the promoter introduce you -- not even to mention your name once. What do you do?

It’s not the end of the world. You can always apply covert influence to your introduction.

Given that you do not have a famous or familiar face to transition power or transfer credibility over to you, you can always have a client or an affiliate introduce you by selling you to the audience with their own authentic story about you.

A client of mine and founder of the Bold Brave Women Movement, Mai Vu, speaks at a number of events -- many where the audience knows or has heard of her, and some where attendees are meeting her for the first time. No matter her situation, she always looks to have a member of her community, that she has impacted or dramatically changed the life of, make an introduction for her.

Mai says, “Everything is so polished nowadays so when someone the audience doesn’t expect introduces you and speaks from the heart, they will be able to raise your credibility and trust with the audience, and sell you in a way you cannot do yourself.”

That’s covert influence.

Related: 3 Ways Effective Communicators Structure Unforgettable Messages

5. Blitz them with pre-event marketing.

Pre-event marketing can make a lasting impact on how you are perceived at an event. The challenge is no one gives much thought to pre-event marketing, missing out on big potential payoffs. 

To get started with pre-event marketing, talk to the event organizers and ask them how you can provide value ahead of time for the event. It is a simple gesture but will make you stand out because you will be seen as a professional wanting to build value for the promoters and their audience.

Salespeople know it takes six or seven “yeses” to make a deal, so promote yourself the same way with at least six to seven touch points before the event to market yourself as an authority speaker. This pre-event marketing can include online and social media, webinars or Facebook Live presentations, direct mail campaigns and employing the event hashtags.

You will be shocked at how easily you can become a perceived celebrity by following these five simple strategies.

The next speaking engagement you have, don’t leave your introduction to chance, work with the event organizers to implement these strategies to make sure you make a great and lasting first impression, and are seen as the celebrity speaker that you are. Plus, the word will get out, and you will become a sought-after speaker.

After all, as Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has said, “A good first impression can work wonders.”

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