Are your customers buying your bio?

When it comes to promoting your business, one of the most important tools at your disposal is your biography.

You can talk until you are blue in the face about the amazing range and quality of whizzy products and services that you offer, but it’s always worth remembering that in most cases, when it comes to business, people buy people. Customers want to know that they are working with someone they can trust and who has the experience and skills to help them.

The reputation of any business is only as good as the people that work in it, but to be honest, in my opinion, the majority of biographies I see are dry and dull and certainly don’t make me think I want to work with the people in that business.

The biggest mistake that people make is to see their biographies as another kind of CV and then they proceed to recount in minute detail, exactly where they’ve worked and what they’ve done, year by year, and by the second sentence the reader has already lost the will to live! Of course you will need to include information that is in your CV, but think about the biography as a CV in a story format.

Your biography is a very versatile document. It can be sent directly to prospective customers or published on your website or in marketing materials to show that you have the depth of experience that clients are looking for. In addition, your biography can also be issued to the media  to demonstrate that you are an expert in your field, so that when journalists are looking for someone to comment on an issue related to your work, they will hopefully contact you for your opinion.

I have six steps I like to remind myself of whenever I’m writing a biography for client or colleague:

1. Put yourself in the reader’s position

The starting point is to consider who you are writing for. Put yourself in the position of the person who is likely to be reading your biography. What is it that he or she would like to know about you?

The reader needs to clearly understand what it is that makes you different and why they should be dealing with you rather than someone else. You need to make sure that the start of the biography is interesting and gets their attention so that they will want to read right to the end.

2. Quality not quantity

The most effective biographies are generally those that are relatively short and succinct. You should condense your experience and skills into a few paragraphs. However, you may also want to produce a slightly longer version that goes into a little more detail in case someone such as a journalist for instance, wants a bit more information about you at some point.

3. Set the right tone

It is important to remember that the biography is effectively a story about you. As such, it is best to keep it informal, not only including details about your career, but also your life outside of work. Readers want to know what kind of a person you are and what other interests you have. They also like to know that the person they are reading about is human and has a sense of humour.

Most  biographies are written in the third person rather than the first person, however it really comes down to your own personal preference as to which style you would prefer to use. If you are unsure, I would recommend that you write it in the third person as it tends to give the impression that someone else wrote it for you!

4. Don’t forget the interesting stuff

If you were writing a book about your career, what would be the momentous achievements and key moments that you would want to include? You need to make sure that you get these across in your biography and explain to the reader how these things helped to make you the person you are today and why this has helped to make you different to your competitors.

5. Third party endorsements

If you want to tell people how good you are, the best way is to get someone else to do it for you! If you are putting your biography onto your website, it is always useful to ask customers or other people that you have worked with  to give you a recommendation, a short comment that you can use besides your biography.

It also really helps to include a photo of yourself (preferably looking happy!) that you can use to accompany the biography.

6. Review regularly

Over time there will be new achievements, qualifications or even hobbies that you might like to include in your biography. I would recommend that you review it every few months and have a think about whether there is additional information that you want to include in it to bring it up to date.

If you would like to have a chat to us about how we can help you put your biography together, give us a call on 0115 922 0540 or email hello@nelliepr.co.uk

Ellen Carroll

Ellen Carroll is a strategic PR and communication consultant. I provide PR training, mentoring and consultancy to help people and businesses to step out of the shadows with #PRthatPAYS

Find me on: Web | Twitter

Ignoring the social media time traps

So, you’ve got your blog, you’ve got your Twitter account and you’re fully engaged on Facebook. Your brand and social media are now synched in an Internet form of harmony and you’re conveying your message well. Three cheers for you

But are you over compensating? And what’s the real reason you’ve just wrote that blog post? With so much ‘banter’ going on through Twitter and so many updates to like, retweet or share, social media can suddenly turn from being your brand’s best friend to something rather damaging to your business.

Whilst engaging with your audience is great, time can easily get carried away and soon enough your other half is calling you asking where on earth you are.  And, we haven’t even touched on those time-thief iPhone apps.

However, with sensible planning and a bit of restriction, you can really make the most of your digital PR platforms as well as being highly productive in other areas. Like most things in life, it’s all great in moderation. So give us a shout at Nellie PR if you want help taking back those time-thieves and creating an effective social media strategy.

In the meantime, here’s some tips I’ve picked up as a PR intern:

•    Objectives: What do you want to achieve from social media? Do you want to create awareness of your brand? Do you want to use Facebook to find out more about your consumers? Do you want to contact old colleagues on LinkedIn and add to your client list? Create an objective and have it written on the brightest Post-It Note you can find and stick to it
•    Don’t add your friends: It sounds simple enough but you’d be surprised at how many businesses follow their partner on Twitter or add their best friend on Facebook. If you don’t add them, the temptation is less likely to be there to check to see how bad their hangover is or where they last checked-in on FourSquare
•    Start the clock: Aim to dedicate a certain amount of time to certain social media platforms. Are you going to spend two hours a week writing blog posts? Are you going to spend twenty minutes of your lunch hour on Twitter? Stick to a time plan, you’ll sharp see the effect it has on your productivity in other areas.

Like everything, it’s all about resisting temptation and distraction. Someone you follow Tweets a celeb story? Click! You’ve just wasted half an hour on Heatworld.com. Your friend just happens to fancy a chat? Soon you’re swapping Saturday night stories over MSN. Keep your business head on and your hand out of the social media cookie jar!

 

Posted by Hollie-Anne Brooks, PR intern at Nellie PR.

Ellen Carroll

Ellen Carroll is a strategic PR and communication consultant. I provide PR training, mentoring and consultancy to help people and businesses to step out of the shadows with #PRthatPAYS

Find me on: Web | Twitter

Content Marketing

Content marketing – no need for another dress.

I spent last Saturday afternoon shopping for a new outfit to go out in that night.  It’s something I’d not done for a long time. “Surely not, Ellen?” I hear you ask. “I thought you PR types were always at one party or another. In fact isn’t that what PR’s about?”

Well, no, sadly the life of a PR isn’t quite as glamorous as that. But I do get along to the occasional (OK not that occasional) night out. No, the real reason I’d not bought a new party frock for a while is because I do what most people do with their outfits – I’d been re-using them. I’d worn the same one at different parties knowing that no one there had seen it before. And where I was seeing the same people again I’d put different pieces together in new combinations.

But last Saturday the time had come. I had to bite the bullet and hit the shops. I found a lovely dress, and it was a fantastic party, so it all ended well, but it did get me thinking about how we’re increasingly doing the same thing with marketing material these days (re-using it for a different audiences, I mean – not taking it out and dancing with it on Saturday nights).

It’s an idea that makes such perfect sense it amazes me that more organisations don’t do it. Very often we meet a potential new client and we describe the vast array of press releases, whitepapers, presentations, training material, how-to guides and so on that we’ve produced for our clients, they raise their eyebrows and ask how much this all costs. They’re amazed when we tell them how much, and then we explain that it’s cost very little because much of the content has been created once and then re-purposed.

To give you just one example, we recently took an e-book we’d produced for one of our clients, and we used it as a website download, in e-mail newsletters, for top tips articles, as content in articles and blogs, as the basis of a live webinar, as well as several events and training sessions. The messages we developed in that e-book appeared in the marketing press, and in social media such Twitter and LinkedIn.

You see how much can be done with the one piece of content? It’s also incredible how using content in a new way can bring it to life. Just as the same skirt can be transformed by the right pair of shoes, or a more appropriate event, so what wouldn’t quite work as a press release can really galvanise response when used as, say, a blog post.

What’s more this tactic allows our clients to put out a high volume of outstanding content, reaching more and more people, all for a surprisingly affordable investment of time and money. There aren’t many marketers right now who aren’t looking for ways to cut costs – this is one that everyone can implement right now.

If you’d like to have a chat about how we can help you do this, then don’t hesitate to call us now on 01626 249045 or drop us an email at hello@nelliepr.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you.

Ellen Carroll

Ellen Carroll is a strategic PR and communication consultant. I provide PR training, mentoring and consultancy to help people and businesses to step out of the shadows with #PRthatPAYS

Find me on: Web | Twitter

Hashtag Event Revolution

Twitter is great for supporting live events. As more and more of us trade nationally and in a global marketplace, so attending all ‘must go to’ live events becomes less and less possible and effective – when 100% of your potential leads were based in the UK, an event at the Birmingham NEC would reach many of them, but when 10%, 25%, 50% or 90% of them are based in the EU, North America and South East Asia, that event in Birmingham becomes a much less attractive marketing proposition.

Twitter solves this problem by allowing your potential customers to attend the event virtually. It also means you can take part in events that are always train trip away – very handy for a Nottingham-based company like us.

By doing this you not only vastly extend the reach of your event, you also enhance the experience of all those who are able to attend, and you can exponentially grow the number of people who follow your future tweets.

So, how do you do it?  Begin by establishing a suitable hashtag for your event. Make sure no one else is using it for something unrelated to the event. You can also set up a site which contains all the tweets carrying your new hashtag, as well as a space for people to upload text, photos and videos of the event.

You have now created a virtual space for your event. Encourage people to start using it by integrating the hashtag into your existing marketing: add it to your email marketing campaigns, your existing Twitter conversations, and your sign-up process for the event itself. You can monitor how many people are noticing it and beginning to use it by dedicating a column to it using a tool such as Tweetdeck.

Running this sort of social media mash-up is a fairly straightforward process, but it’s one that can produce impressive results.  We helped to run a social media mash-up for our client Infogroup/UK back in 2010 at Technology for Marketing & Advertising (TFM&A), in Earls Court, London.

The website recorded more than 2,000 hits during the event, 75% of which were from new visitors to the Infogroup/UK website, with the average visit lasting an impressive 17 minutes. So, not only did this campaign convey Infogroup/UK’s immediate messages to this audience – many of whom were not at the event itself – it also provided a long-term boost to Infogroup/UK’s social media following with Twitter follower numbers rising by 20%.

It is a vivid example of just what can be achieved through more advanced use of Twitter, and is just one of many ways in which social media is changing marketing. As Carly Ferguson, former Infogroup/UK Marketing Executive, and now Marketing Manager at B2B Marketing, concludes: “I’d always been enthusiastic about using Twitter and other social media, but the work we did at TFM&A really opened my eyes to the possibilities.”

To join the hashtag revolution, and start leveraging the power of social media for your next event, either give us at Nellie PR a call, or start yourself by following these five top tips:

1.    Establish the hashtag sooner rather than later and make sure no one else is using it for something unrelated to the event.
2.    Integrate the hashtag into email marketing campaigns, through Twitter and within invitations and sign up confirmation emails.
3.    Monitor the success of your hashtag by dedicating a column to it using a tool such as Tweetdeck.
4.    Give attendees content to aid their blog posts about the event by capturing as much on film as possible and promoting it via YouTube, Flickr or Vimeo.
5.    Finally, monitor increase of followers on any of your social media platforms, as well as traffic to your website from new visitors, to get a view of the success of your social media campaign.

Want to know more?  Contact Nellie PR.

Ellen Carroll

Ellen Carroll is a strategic PR and communication consultant. I provide PR training, mentoring and consultancy to help people and businesses to step out of the shadows with #PRthatPAYS

Find me on: Web | Twitter

Top speaking slots and coverage secured for client, Bryony Thomas from Clear Thought Consulting

Bryony Thomas came on-board as a Nellie PR client late last year and we kicked off her PR campaign with a very early win – an invitation to join other industry leaders on the platform at the B2B Marketing Annual Conference.

The audience of senior marketers and business owners heard her advice on how to get the finance team to love marketing.  Here’s what delegates had to say about her presentation: “Bryony Rocks”, “brill presentation”, “Bryony Thomas is owning the panel”, “presentation of day on reporting to board. Inspired practical love it.”  Click on the link for more speaker testimonials for Bryony Thomas.

We’ve since secured coverage for Bryony in the likes of The GuardianBusiness ZoneSmallbusiness.co.uk, Retail Bulletin and B2B Marketing Magazine where she’s now a resident B2B Marketing Magazine blogger and trainer delivering workshops, including this one in May: social media training, as well as additional speaking slots too.

This is all fantastic early success for our work with Bryony. We first hooked up on Twitter through a mutual contact, and Nellie PR began working for two of Clear Thought Consulting’s clients.  Bryony was so impressed at the results we achieved for them that she hired us to build her own profile as a compelling and expert ‘practical’ marketing speaker.

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Ellen Carroll

Ellen Carroll is a strategic PR and communication consultant. I provide PR training, mentoring and consultancy to help people and businesses to step out of the shadows with #PRthatPAYS

Find me on: Web | Twitter