Overhauling your company’s own PR and marketing can often feel like a mountain you need to climb—one that you ascend while also somehow attending to the full-time work of meeting client demands, paying your staff, and keeping your own head above water. There are so many moving parts, potential pitfalls, as well as room for successes, failures and experimentation involved, it can feel entirely overwhelming. I know, because I’ve done it many times for myself as well as for many clients.
While this series has attempted to break this process down step by step, one piece at a time, sometimes it can be helpful to view it from a bird’s-eye-view level. This helps us get a sense of what’s possible when we get different moving parts working together. As I’ve said before, the PR & marketing part of your business is best described a an ecosystem; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.Once you’ve taken the brave step of simply starting, it can be hard to predict what will work and what won’t. In fact, even though I’ve spent thousands of words telling you there are rules, there actually aren’t any rules that you must follow. But there is one key requirement: consistency.
It’s been said that success is the sum of small efforts, day in and day out, and the world of PR and marketing is no different. You don’t just wake up one day and get a front page story in a glossy business journal from magic PR wizardry; you do a lot of work leading you to that stage which is unglamorous, incremental, and can often feel like a lot of hard drudgery.Take, for example, this book you’re reading now. It was once just an idea in my head, a moment where I thought “huh, what would happen if I put all that knowledge I’ve accrued over the years in writing, in a step by step format?” Then I assembled a small team, made a plan and agreed that we’d all stick to a schedule and a style of doing things. I tried over and over to get to the point of writing and then reviewing this +40,000 pile of words, thoughts and ideas. Several long haul flights seemed to offer the solitude to complete the review and edit, but there was just never the time to get through and complete.
Inspiration arrives sometimes from unexpected quarters, and a chance conversation with Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, who explained that his first book on Inbound Marketing, was drawn from a series of blogs. So we flipped the book into “A year of blog posts” and tried another approach. We help from my editors, we wrote and posted 52 weekly blogs, somewhere between 600 and 1200 words at a time, and built a community of interest online by sending our blogs to social media, and responding to our readers when they gave us feedback. And most importantly, we delivered what we promised: posting one blog per week, every Monday, with a tip at the end.In the process, I was able to create and ‘sign-off’ these 52 ‘bite-size’ chunks, each with a useful tip and in so doing complete the massive task review, approval, editing and sign-off.
This would have meant I had to stop everything else I was doing (not feasible) and it would have assumed that once I got to the finish line, there would be people waiting to buy the book to make my efforts worthwhile (not likely, because I’m not an established author). Instead, we moved slowly using the tools we had at hand: online publishing tools, social media accounts, analytics to measure who was reading, and invitations to get them to sign up for updates. Aside from our time, it didn’t cost us a thing.
And what did we get in return, you ask, for taking this slowly-but-surely method? We got a community of people who are interested in what we publish every week. We have proof of concept that there is a need for this book in the market, and we got the joy of seeing an idea come to life in a consistent, albeit piecemeal way. More quantitatively, we gained followers on social media, visits to our website, and drove social capital around what my company does.By the time you are reading on an ereader or on ink on a page, All That PR & Marketing Bollox will, for me, be so much more than just a book. It will be the result of a PR and marketing experiment brought to life using the very techniques it espouses.
And I’m here to tell you that you can do the same. You should do the same. Creating a community of interest around what you do is not only possible, it’s entirely gratifying and, dare I say, creative. So what are you waiting for? Now it’s your turn.
Tip #50: Pick yourself.
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