Are You Making this Huge Linkedin Mistake?

By Lori

Woo hoo! Congratulations! You’ve got a profile on Linkedin!

But wait, something’s missing…

Would you believe that some professionals don’t put their picture on their Linkedin profile? Yep, it’s sad but true. Someone goes to the trouble of creating a Linkedin account, enters their professional information and then stops short. No profile picture. (And too often, nothing but job titles in the career section – a serious waste of marketing real estate, but we’ll tackle that in another post.)

Why is not having a profile picture such a big deal? Let’s start with a practical reason. Close your eyes and imagine:

You and I just met at, say, a conference. Based on our conversation, you know that my life would be so much more fulfilling if I used your company’s services.  Post conference, you’re back in your office, going through the stack of business cards you collected and you’re dutifully firing off Linkedin connection invitations, because you want to keep in touch. I receive your Linkedin request and don’t recognize your name. I can’t remember where we’ve met. I click through to see your profile, hoping that your face will jog my memory.  Nada. Silhouette city. I decide to ignore the invite until I can recall who you are. I get busy.

Seeing your face is vital to spark a new relationship. And if you want to grow your network and the relationship, it’s a must. As human beings, we are visual creatures. Seeing a person’s face forms the foundation for working together by building what’s known as the “know, like and trust factor.”

Before someone is willing to buy your products or pay for your services, they have to feel that they know you, that they’d enjoy doing business with you (like) and that you wouldn’t steer them wrong (trust).  Seeing you – physically or virtually – is an important building block for all three points of the KLT factor.

A real connection starts with a face. Your face.

Get Media Coverage, the Web 2.0 Way

By Lori

Wondering how other people in your field get quoted in the media? Tired of seeing names that aren’t yours being featured as “experts” in your industry? Dying for the opportunity to share your best tips and advice with people who could use it?

You’re in luck. There’s a fabulous free resource that connects experts like you (c’mon, almost everybody is an expert on something) with reporters and bloggers who are desperately seeking your insight and advice. (Actually there are several, I’ll focus on just one for this post.)

It’s Reporter Connection, a free daily email service that “connects busy journalists with experts available for media interviews.”

After you sign up with your name and email address, you’ll receive a daily email with media opportunities. Steve and Bill Harrison, founders of Reporter Connection, explain how it works:

When an expert sees a listing they wish to respond to, they simply click the link at the bottom of the listing in our newsletter and go to a reply form on our website where they answer the reporter’s questions and hit submit.

Once they do, their reply is instantly emailed to the reporter who’ll get in touch with them directly if they’re interested in interviewing the expert.

A few helpful hints:

  • Respond quickly! If you see a query that would be a great fit for your expertise and your business, jump on it! Reporters are perpetually under deadline pressure. If you wait a few days, your wisdom will be buried in a flood of responses, never to see the light of publication.
  • Follow directions. If the reporter or blogger asks you to give your best advice for hiring a new employee in 500 characters or less, don’t pen a page and a half of brilliant insights – it’ll be deleted. Immediately. Give exactly what’s asked for and if appropriate, include a link or two for additional information.
  • Stay on topic. Don’t respond to the query by proposing a different story. Reporters hate it.

So what are you waiting for? Jump over to Reporter Connection and sign up! Start scoring yourself some web ink that’ll catapult you to business fame.

Niches: The Magic of Thinking Small

By Admin

Last week I met a business coach at a networking event. As we started chatting, I immediately called up my mental rolodex, ready to start the search for a good match. “What’s your specialty? Do you coach businesses or individuals?” I asked.

Him: “I coach everyone.”

Me: “Really? Any type of business? You don’t have a specialty?”

Him: “Yes. Any type.”

Me: “Any issue or goal?”

Him: “Yep. Anything. I coach everyone.”

And that’s when the lid snapped shut on my mental rolodex.

No one likes a generalist. Think about it: do you want a generalist performing that quadruple bypass on you, or would you hold out for one of the country’s leading surgeons?

If you want to stand out in your industry, you’ve got to narrow your focus. Develop marketing niches to target. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work with clients outside the your selected niches, but it does mean that you concentrate your marketing efforts on a particular service, client type, issue or result. You give up the undefined, scattershot approach.

Business leaders frequently shun naming specific niches or specialties, fearing that it will drive away prospects who don’t fit the targeted niche, but reality is counter intuitive: when an organization or an individual becomes known as the best in class for a particular niche, it creates higher level of interest and desire among non-target profile prospects as well.

What niche marketing can do for you:

Sharpens your focus.
By concentrating your marketing resources on specific niches, you can spend less money reaching the specific prospects who need your services. You’ll devote your marketing time and dollars to the activities, events, and organizations that fit your niche.

Increases your effectiveness.
By trying to reach a narrowly defined target client, with a service or specialty just for them, your message will break through the clutter and speak directly to that person. When you target the masses as your client base, you have a hard time differentiating yourself from others in your field. When you’re considered an expert or thought leader in a particular niche, you have stronger recognition and more credibility. Clients will seek you out.

Increase your revenue.
People pay more for specialized information. Being considered a “specialist” in a particular client type or industry allows an individual or organization to command higher fees for the greater perceived value. Experts are sought after, they get paid more, attract more media attention and get better results for clients (which generates more referrals, too.)

Best of all, you can expand your niche strategy as your business grows. Start out targeting one or two niches that you wish to dominate, and as you achieve authority status in those, you can add new and complimentary niches.

Take Action
Here’s an exercise to get your brain flowing on possible niches:

On a piece of paper, make three columns. In the first column, list your services. (If your organization is large, list a subset of services. For example, an IT consulting firm may start with IT strategic planning.) In the middle column, think hard about your clients and prospects. What consistent problems or challenges are lots of people having that you know how to solve. In the third column, you’ll develop your special twist: what trends or new developments are emerging that affect these services or clients?

Once you’ve developed these three lists, spend some time thinking about ways that those three items – services, problems or challenges, and trends – intersect. What niches do you see?

In a future post, I’ll give you tips on developing authority in your chosen niches so that you can become Famous in Your Field.

Everyone gives the same terrible advice about public speaking–ignore it and do this instead

By Lori

Famous in Your Field public speaking tipsYou are:

  • a budding motivational speaker.
  • an ambitious professional who knows that public speaking will set you apart from all those other people in your industry.
  • a business leader who needs to inspire your team.

You’ve probably taken some kind of “Introduction to Delivering Presentations” course. (Maybe more than one!)

It might have been your high school speech teacher, or a well-meaning seminar leader who drilled public speaking commandments into your head.

But I’m here to tell you that some of the “conventional wisdom”; the stuff we all know about speaking to a group, is just plain wrong.

Let’s dive into three pieces of public speaking advice that you’ve heard again. And again.

Myth #1 – Don’t move your hands while you’re talking, it’s distracting to your audience.

Who hasn’t read or been told that they should keep their hands still? It’s one of the oldest bits of advice that gets passed down, from wise teacher to eager pupil.

Annndd it’s not true.

Sure, you don’t want to make repetitive, nervous tapping or coin jingling noises, but moving your hands – yes, frequently even – to emphasize points you’re making?

THAT builds an impact.

Vanessa Van Edwards is a body language expert who runs a human behavior lab. She talks about science, psychology and body language on her site, Science of People.

Vanessa’s team ran a study on the most popular TED talks. They found that even when two talks covered the same topic:

“…the talks that had the most hand gestures correlated with the talks that were overall favorites.”

Moving your hands from side to side and up and down actually makes your talk more compelling.

Why? It gives the listener visual, as well as auditory content to keep the brain engaged.

Myths #2 – To keep people’s attention, speak quickly. 

The gist: You should speak quickly in order to capture your audience’s attention and keep them interested.

“Speaking quickly shows energy and excitement,” they say. “Don’t take too much time. You need to speak fast, otherwise your audience will be bored.”

No. Just no.

Instead, use your voice to influence others.

UCLA acoustic scientist Rosario Signorello conducted charisma experiments. Here’s what she told the Wall Street Journal: “You have the capacity to shape your voice in a way that makes people perceive you as a leader.”

So, how can you become more charismatic while speaking? By speaking more s-l-o-w-l-y.

Think about the qualities of a nervous (sounding) person:

  • squeaky, high-pitched voice
  • rapid speech

To broadcast confidence, slow down. Don’t rush to get the words out; pause a second or two between points for emphasis. Silence, used strategically, builds interest.

Speaking more slowly and pausing demonstrates that you’re confident in the importance of what you have to say and in your audience’s desire to hear it from you.

Myth 3. Focus on your words.

Here’s a bit of speaking advice you’ve heard over and over, “Script what you’re going to say. Plan it carefully! Using the right word or phrase is crucial.”

In fact, most people who have to give a presentation or a speech spend nearly all of their preparation time crafting the words.

They agonize over this phrase or that. Have they used a certain word too often? Is it the right word? Is there a better word? What if I flub the word?

The content that you deliver matters. There’s no doubt.

But the way that you deliver your content, the non-verbal matters so much more than you think.

For more research-based speaking advice, let’s again look to the Science of People’s TED talk study. SOP recruited over 750 people, asking them to rate hundreds of hours of TED Talks, looking for specific nonverbal and body language patterns.

What the researchers found was amazing. And counterintuitive.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

Viewers who watched talks with sound and those who watched speakers on mute both rated the same talks highly.

Both the with-sound and the without-sound viewers rated same speakers as the most charismatic, intelligent and credible. (Yes, whether they heard the words or not!)

The lesson here is that anyone who has to deliver a message should spend at least as much time practicing delivering the content as what they’ll say.

Focus on the energy you want to bring and using it to connect with the audience.

“Anyone with a big idea should be able to express their passion both verbally and nonverbally,” advises Vanessa Van Edwards.

Your fame boosting assignment

This week, pick one of these three speaking myths and practice doing the opposite.

If you normally keep your hands at your side while talking, bring them up to your waist and move them to emphasize your points.

Try slowing down your speech in a conversation. Use strategic pauses when leading a meeting.

Or, focus on your energy during a presentation, not a script.

The forecast for your week? 100% chance of awesome!

11 ways to get more results from speaking

By Lori

Famous in Your Field tips: 11 ways to get more results from speaking

Famous in Your Field tips: 11 ways to get more results from speaking

Speaking and presenting are super effective ways to bring business in the door. (Skeptical? For all the reasons speaking can ramp up ROI, check out my three part series on speaking engagements.)

Done right, you’ll put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into a presentation. There’s the pitching, the planning, the rehearsal, the travel, and possibly, the stage fright.

After all that, don’t you dare leave business growth opportunities back at the conference. To get the most mileage out of your speaking events, here are 11 ways that you can get a bigger, better results from your efforts.

BEFORE

1. Ask your audience, clients and prospects for input.
Even before you devote hours to developing your speaking topic or crafting a killer slidedeck, solicit input from fans, current clients and prospects. Let them help you drill down on hot button issues.

The very act of asking for input and opinions (especially when you can let them know it’s for an upcoming speaking engagement *wink wink*) promotes your thought leadership and positions you as a playa.

How can you gather insight quickly? Through your blog, via email, Twitter, Facebook, professional forums, Linkedin groups, etc.

Ask a question, create a poll or send out a short (no more than three or four questions, please) survey.

DURING

2. Continue the relationship with your audience.

Use your presentation handouts as part of a lead collection or newsletter signup system. Attendees can sign up for your newsletter or blog to receive slides, notes or resources. By providing additional value, you can keep in touch with more people, even if you didn’t have a conversation at the event.

AFTER

Now that you’ve crafted and delivered your presentation, it’s time to accelerate the marketing momentum. How? By practicing one of the key principles of content marketing and your “be everywhere” strategy: repurposing.

Wait. Just in case that little voice is niggling at you, saying “I can’t distribute the same thing again. My prospects and clients have already seen it – they want something that’s fresh and new. They’ll never come back to my website again!”

Wroooooong.

Your prospects and clients are far, far less aware of the material that you distribute than you are. They’re busy. They don’t remember things. Most of them didn’t see that last article/blog post/tweet/email you sent.

Messages have to repeated, repeated, repeated and delivered in different modes to be absorbed.

3. Create multiple blog posts from the content of your talk. Break down the talk into single idea, bite-sized chunks.

4. Write one or more articles. Hate to write? Hire a freelancer from Scripted.com or elance.com or just speak your presentation into a recording tool and have it transcribed. A teeny bit polishing and boom-pow, you’re done.

5. Post your presentation on a sharing site like Slideshare.net or Scribd.com.

6. Post the presentation slidedeck (or just a few slides) on your blog. Slideshare makes it super easy to paste the embed code right into your post.

7. Republish the talk as a whitepaper or ebook.

8. Link to the presentation via Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

9. Tweet a series of soundbites from your talk.

10. Record yourself giving the talk and post audio on iTunes, Stitcher and your website.

11. Record and post video on YouTube, Vimeo and other video sharing sites.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite way to get more mileage out of a presentation? Am I missing some great ideas? Comment below and share your faves.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Dig out a presentation or talk that you’ve given. Shake the dust off and repurpose it in two ways, using ideas from this list. The world needs more of that magic you’ve got. C’mon, give it to us!

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

Share the Love on LinkedIn

By Lori

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor.

This week’s tip is all about spreading good will, using LinkedIn. You know all about LinkedIn, right? And you’re using it to market yourself and your business, right?

While LinkedIn might look like a social networking pygmy at only 120 million members, compared to Facebook’s world-dominating 700 million users, Linkedin still has one huge advantage.

It’s about business.

People are on Facebook to post about their personal lives, to share pictures of kids and pets, and to have fun.

People are on LinkedIn for business.

Don’t get me wrong. You can have fun on LinkedIn, too. (And you should!) Make sure that your profile conveys your personality and your company’s brand. People who are curious about you and are even casually considering buying your services are checking out your LinkedIn profile. It’s become one of the basic steps in “fact checking” before hiring anyone.

So, how can you amp up the power of your LinkedIn profile? Here’s a tip that might seem counter intuitive: recommend others.

How does recommending others help to boost your own business’ fame factor? Several ways:

  • It shares the love, digitally. People will be more likely to want to hire and work with someone they view as helpful and generous.
  • It feeds the cycle of reciprocity. That doesn’t mean that you recommend someone on LinkedIn and then immediately ask them to recommend you. It’s much more effective to give a genuine, heartfelt recommendation to several people who you believe are doing great things in the world, expecting nothing in return. By being generous with your influence, people who are connected to you on LinkedIn and had positive experience working with you will be more likely to recommend you. That’s just the delicious way the world works.
  • It spreads your name. Now, instead of just reaching the people you’re already connected to, you’re also increasing your visibility to an even bigger network.

Your Famous in Your Field action:

Start sharing the biz love. This week, choose two of your LinkedIn connections that you think are really rockin’ it out, business-wise and recommend them.

Business Boosting Books: Book Yourself Solid

By Lori

Business boosting book: Book Yourself Solid

Business boosting book: Book Yourself Solid

I love books. I read all the time.

And yet, I know that there are brilliant people roaming the streets who are perfectly capable of reading a book but think of reading the same way that Newman from Seinfeld reacted to broccoli. (I may or may not be thinking of my own hubby here.)

So I’m going to justify my book hoarding do you a solid service by passing along some of the very best nuggets from business books, straight to you, without all that pesky nose-in-pages time. You’re welcome.

Today’s book could now be considered a classic for solo business owners: Book Yourself Solid, by Michael Port

(Actually the full title is: Book Yourself Solid, the Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling. Pretty juicy, right?)

But don’t be fooled – his system works for a professional working in a company, too.

Book Yourself Solid gives clear, simple and systematic approach to marketing and selling your services.

In fact, the material Port covers in BYS looks a lot like the what we talk about here at Famous in Your Field:

  • Establishing credibility
  • Creating visibility
  • Getting your message out there in a big way
  • Earning higher fees
  • Increasing your confidence
  • Standing out from the crowd
  • Getting more clients

What’s makes the system truly powerful is that Michael’s book also focuses on your mindset and how it can impact the approach you take in creating and promoting your business.

I’ll zero in on just one, his “velvet rope policy.” (Isn’t that perfect for becoming famous in your field?) Port describes it as determining “your ideal client so that you work only with people who inspire and energize you.”

We’ve all heard this, right?

But are you actually living it in your business?

I know, it can fill you with panic to think about turning down someone who wants to work with you.

Your mind immediately shouts thing like, “what about the money?” And worse, “who do you think you are, turning someone away? What if no one else hires you?”

Here’s how to quiet the panicky voice – instead focus on the energy and satisfaction that you get from your ideal clients. The ones who bring out your best work, and make you enjoy being in business. The others just suck your energy and leave you frustrated.

Book Yourself Solid is packed with exercises that you can use to apply Michael’s teaching directly to your own business. Here’s one to start developing your own velvet rope policy:

Identify the types of clients you don’t want, consider which characteristics or behaviors you refuse to tolerate. What turns you off or shuts you down? What kinds of people should not be getting past the red velvet rope that protects you and your business?

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

Jump on this exercise today, please. First, make a list of the characteristics and behaviors that suck the life out of your soul. Is it the client or customer who changes her mind constantly? Are certain industries or professions a total turnoff?

And make a list of the opposite; what qualities do your best, most delightful clients, customers, fans and followers have in common?

Now, start creating your own velvet rope policy! When you say “no” to the clients (or ban the followers) that zap your mojo, you magically start to attract the right people. (It might sound a little woo-woo, but you’ve got to trust me on this.)

You can buy the book on Amazon for an absolute steal. There’s even an illustrated edition. (Nope, I don’t make any money if you do, but you’ll make your business a much happier and more profitable place to be.)

Publicity is your aircraft; marketing is your jet fuel

By Lori

CONGRATULATIONS!

Publicity is your aircraft, marketing is your jetfuel

You were just quoted in The New York Times/O Magazine/Wall Street Journal/Inc (insert your scream-worthy publication here.)

Now what?

You might have been expecting that interview to open up the floodgates for your business, but then…crickets, baby. Nada. (Sure, your mom saw it and she’s telling all her friends, but where are the clients?)

That’s because your publicity needs marketing to pull the business to you.

Being mentioned or featured in the media is terrific for credibility. (Remember that publicity works to create an implied endorsement?)

To really get the full benefits of appearing in the media, you’ve got to market it. Who should you broadcast the news to? Here’s a starter list:

  • visitors to your website (add it to the As Seen In section)
  • your email subscriber list
  • your Facebook fans
  • your Twitter followers
  • write a press release and send it to your local media.

Got more ideas to leverage media mentions? Leave a comment below.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Have you been guilty of letting your publicity idle on the runway? Blast it into the clouds with a little marketing. This week, get your media mentions on your website, in your newsletter and out to your local media.

The Testimonial Tweak that Transforms Skeptics into Believers

By Lori

Famous in your field: testimonial tweak that transforms skeptics into believers

Skeptics into believers: tweak your testimonials

Testimonials on your website from raving fans…you’ve got ’em, right? 

If you’re like most professionals, your testimonials probably read something like this:

“I hired Flowers by Suzanne to provide the flowers for my sister’s surprise 50th birthday party and she did a fantastic job! You should definitely hire her.”

That’s a nice testimonial. But here’s the thing. Your readers are likely to skim right past it.

(Think about it  – when you check Amazon reviews on a book and find seven 5 star reviews all gushing and exclamation-pointy, do you buy that jazz?)

How do you make your prospects stop dead in their tracks and read every juicy word of your testimonials (convincing themselves to hire you in the process?)

Go negative.

That’s right. Instead of having your raving fan clients start off by singing your praises, start with an objection.

When your now-delighted client was considering hiring your company or buying your product, what was their worst fear? What were they skeptical about?

Here’s a great question to ask your clients: “What hesitations did you have about hiring a [marketing consultant/web designer/health coach]?

Then you take your client’s skepticism and start the testimonial with it. This technique is super-effective for two reasons:

1. It breaks down your prospect’s defenses.

He or she *expects* you to have effusive, raving testimonials. So, a testimonial that starts “I was concerned about hiring a web designer. I’d had a bad experience before with someone who didn’t listen to me and missed deadlines…” will stop your prospect’s “skim and go” scan dead in her tracks.

She’ll have to read more.

2. It makes your prospects identify with your clients.

Everyone who is considering buying your services or products has some doubts. By putting those doubts front and center in your testimonials, your prospect feel assured that your satisfied clients are real people, just like them.

And because your once-skeptical client is now delighted, chances are your prospect will be, too.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Ask your happy clients what their biggest concerns were about hiring your or buying your products. Then get those objections into your testimonials, front and center. Show how real people, with real fears and concerns, were wowed by working with you! 

Revealed! How to Measure the Value of PR

By Lori

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor.

With the new year so close you can already hear the noisemakers,I wanted to share a quick tip that you can use when you’re planning your 2012 marketing. (You do have a 2012 marketing plan, right? With a budget and initiatives mapped out on a calendar, yes?)

Solo entrepreneurs and small business owners often struggle with how to allocate their marketing budget – how much money to spend and where to get the biggest return.

And measuring the value of publicity or public relations can be one of the trickiest concepts of all. Getting exposure in the media by buying an ad,  paying an exhibitor’s fee or sponsoring an event are marketing expenses often referred to as “paid media.”

Publicity or mentions in the media that you didn’t pay for are what’s known as “free PR” or, more accurately, “earned media.”

PR coverage generally isn’t free. While you may not pay a fee to have your business mentioned in a local news segment, you (or your PR consultant) have likely invested many hours, researching the right media outlets to cover your business, establishing relationships with reporters, editors and producers and crafting a pitch (a story concept) that’s truly newsworthy.

So when you score some ink for your business, how do you actually measure the value of media mentions?

Here’s a simple method:

“Ad equivalence x 5”.

To break it down, ad equivalence is the cost of purchasing the same number of column inches as an advertisement in the same publication, or same amount of time on TV/radio.

Then, you multiply this equivalent ad cost by 5. Why 5? Because PR has five time more credibility and is five times more authoritative than advertising.

(Readers and listeners are skeptical of advertising. They view it as self-serving boasts, while PR is considered to be news that’s been vetted by an independent party – the reporter, editor or producer.)

Now that you’re armed with your formula to measure the value of PR, make sure that this powerful little tool makes it into your 2012 Marketing Plan!