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Day 19. Using PR.

With just three days to go how is your Money Making Plan shaping up?

Today we’re going to consider how you can use Public Relations to raise awareness of your money making venture. In essence what we want is for other people to do the promotion for you without being paid!

Referrals and recommendations

One of the best ways to generate interest in your money making venture is to get existing customers and people in your network to recommend you. Some will do so without being asked, others may be willing but need prompting. Think of ways that you can encourage referrals and recommendations:

  • Ask for them, include a note on receipts (e.g. if you are happy with your purchase tell your friends, if you’re not tell us)
  • Thank people when they pass on a recommendation, send a card, write a letter, call them, thank them publically at a networking event. If the lead turns into significant business go a bit further by sending flowers or taking your recommender out for a meal
  • Set up a recommend a friend scheme perhaps with a money off voucher for both the new customer’s first purchase and for the introducer, or formalise it into an affiliate scheme
  • Use your networking events to make it clear what kind of referrals you are looking for
  • Produce some marketing material that those willing to recommend you can have  to pass on to their associates

Media coverage

Advertising can be very expensive and is rarely as effective as an article in a publication read by your target audience. If you have a big budget then you can appoint a PR consultant to get you into the media but this can be expensive and results are not guaranteed. You can improve your chances by choosing your consultant carefully. Make sure that they specialise in your area of interest and that they have contacts in the relevant media; ask to see examples of the coverage that they have got for other people.

There is a lot you can do yourself with a bit of time and effort. Remember that journalists are not there to do your advertising for you but to produce stories of interest to their audience. This means that, to get news coverage, you need to have a story not a sales pitch. Surveys are often popular, can you turn your market research into a story without disclosing confidential information or giving away your competitive advantage? Can you celebrate your launch? Are you breaking new ground with your idea? Are you doing something unusual? Can you create a story? Take a lesson from Richard Branson who makes stories when he needs press coverage e.g. by dressing up as a Maharaja and riding an elephant or by abseiling down a building when Virgin Atlantic is opening a new route.

Daiva, Ursula and Yemi from our Hounslow Enterprise Club had their new businesses featured in the local press this week.

Daiva, Ursula and Yemi from our Hounslow Enterprise Club had their new businesses featured in the local press this week.

Turn your story into a news release and send it to named journalists who write on your topic in publications that target your market. Do your homework, Don’t be tempted to blanket mail all journalists, they will bin your release. Think carefully about possible media, you may have success on smaller publications produced on a shoestring than in the mainstream. Think about your local media, small special interest magazines, company newsletters, customer magazines, student media, local radio, smaller TV channels etc. Click on this link for more about how to put a news release together.

Remember to keep an eye on your target journalists in your Twitter stream. Are they requesting help with stories? If you can’t help do you know someone who could? Reply to the tweet with an introduction. Re-tweet the message, Compliment them on interesting articles. Share some knowledge or information that will add to the article. Build a relationship.

A word or warning. Unlike paid for advertising or advertorials you will have no control over what a journalist publishes so be especially careful about what you disclose in an interview. Off the record conversations don’t always stay that way. Don’t tell a journalist anything you wouldn’t want to read about! Remember a journalist’s primary interest is a good story.

ACTION: How are you going to incorporate PR into your promotional plan? Devise a system for getting recommendations and referrals and/or develop your story into a news release and send it to at least one journalist.

Should you be running an event?

This one isn’t low budget! However running a launch party, an open evening, a party or some other event to which you can invite customers, prospects, journalists, local dignitaries and perhaps celebrities can go a great way to creating a buzz about what you are doing and get you some press coverage. This 21 Day Make Money Challenge has been a PR activity for me and whilst I’d love to see more of you commenting, tweeting or joining us on Facebook it has got people following across the world which was one of my objectives.

If you are going to do an event make sure you are clear about what you want to get out of it, set a SMART objective. Set a budget and think what you can do for that money. Get the word out early and often to make sure that people come; there’s nothing worse than having the press and a local dignitary as your only attendees! Ask your friends and family for support if need be. Consider bringing in a professional events planner if your budget will allow.

Think what message you want people to take away. Will you deliver a speech? What do you want the press to write about? If you want a celebrity or local dignitary to say a few words brief them about what you want them to say. Do you need business cards, fliers, brochures or a promotional gift for people to take away with them?

Don’t just do an event for the sake of it. If you are raising money for charity have lots of ways in which people can donate. If you are doing it to win new customers or raise your profile tell your guests how they can help you. Then go and have some fun!

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m working on my PR on @Glenda_S 21 Day Make Money Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be taking action.
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Day 11. Getting help.

If you have completed yesterday’s challenge you will now have your project plan so today we’re going to consider where you might need to get help and how to get it.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses, the things we do really well and the things that are best left to others. How much time do you spend doing tasks that someone else could do better and more quickly? Ask yourself, is doing this task the best use of my time? If you can sell your time at £50 per hour why are you doing a task you could delegate to someone who charges £25 per hour?

Do you ever find yourself saying, ‘By the time I’ve explained what I want to someone else I could have done it myself’? Do you think Richard Branson does everything himself? No, of course not, he knows his strengths and his weaknesses and has built a team to work alongside those. He appreciates the value of delegation and knows how to do it. I know that, for many small business owners, the costs of employing other people to do things for you may seem prohibitive but we’re going to look at ways of making it affordable in today’s challenge.

Know your strengths and weaknesses

My profile proves how right brain dominant I am. Focus is something I have to work hard to achieve!

My profile proves how right brain dominant I am. Focus is something I have to work hard to achieve!

 

Do you show a preference for left brained or right brained traits? If you’re left brained you are more task focused, you may be analytical, results driven and detail conscious. If you are right brained you will be more concerned with people, building relationships and may be more creative.

Of course we’re all a bit of both although one side is likely to be more dominant than the other. If your dominant side is right brained then you may need help getting things done and if you are left brain dominant you may need some help to generate ideas.

When we’re looking for help it is tempting to go for people like ourselves but this is often a mistake, two right brained people will probably have a lot of fun but struggle to get things done whereas two left brained people will have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed but may not be able to find creative solutions to problems. Which are you?

ACTION: Use the SWOT analysis tool from Day 7 to analyse your own strengths and weaknesses; be honest!

If you would like a more objective view of your strengths and weaknesses I am offering 20% off Prism Brain Mapping profiling for the duration of this challenge. You complete a questionnaire and then receive a report detailing your strengths and weaknesses which I will go through with you by telephone or, if you are close enough, in person. Click here for more information.

Work to your strengths and delegate the rest

 

Take a look at the project management plan you completed yesterday. Which of the tasks on the list are ones that you are good at and should be done by you? Which will take you a long time and cause you anxiety? What skills, qualities or experience will someone need in order to those tasks well and speedily? Develop those into a job description or project brief which you can then use to recruit the help you need. You can then get on with making money at what you do best.

Finding help

Do you have other members of your team whose skills are better suited to those tasks? Do they have capacity in their working day to take on these new tasks or is there something you can do to rejig workloads?

If you don’t have anyone on your team is there someone in your network with the right skills and experience whom you could pay as a freelancer? If paying for help is not an option is there something you could trade in return for the help you need? For example a beauty therapist might be able to trade a treatment in return for some copywriting; a virtual assistant might be able to offer some admin support in return for a wardrobe makeover.

How about turning your problem into an opportunity for someone else? For example many graduates are looking for work experience to help them get a better job. Could you offer an internship or  work experience to help them and help yourself (whilst graduates are sometimes willing to work in the right job for no money they do have to live so try to pay them a minimum wage or at least their expenses). N.B. Employment law varies from country to country so make sure you know what you are allowed to do in your country.

Could you offer an Apprenticeship to a young person looking for training and qualifications to improve their career prospects? In the UK there is some government help to support employers taking on an apprentice (the Mayor for London is topping up that help for a limited number of London employers to encourage them to take apprentices.) Apprentices have to be paid and receive training but this is still less expensive than taking on a more experienced person and allows you to do something to help young people and your business.

Do you need the sort of help that can be done from anywhere? If so why not post your job on the internet and invite bids from people who would like the work? Websites such as http://www.peopleperhour.com/ can connect you with people who are willing to work at very affordable rates. Other options are http://www.guru.com/ and https://www.elance.com which allow you to post your job opportunities which freelancers can then pitch for. To find more just Google ‘posting freelance opportunities’.

ACTION: Decide which tasks to delegate and give yourself time to recruit the appropriate help in line with your project plan.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m working on Day 11 of @Glenda_S 21 Day Make money Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be putting together our budgets.