Whether you are in a corporate environment or running your own business, it is vital to get noticed and that means raising your profile. When Rosemary Cooper-Clark left the corporate world and set up as a leadership coach, she needed to get to grips with raising her profile: online, in writing and in person. Here are Rosemary’s top tips on what she found useful.
First of all I needed to work out what I wanted my profile to say about me. What was my ‘unique’ message? What impressions did I want people to have about me and what conclusions did I want them to make? This took some time and in fact is still something I am continuing to work on.
Analysing others is one of my strengths which completely disappeared when I tried to apply it to myself! So, the best way, I found, was to ask others.
- What were their thoughts about me?
- What assumptions and beliefs do they have about me?
- To whom did they think I would appeal most?
Once I had this “message” and the essence of my profile, I was ready to go.
How to get known
Getting known and recognized is a constant marketing activity and needs to use as many channels as possible. It is not either online or in person but both. Some people say to me ‘well I don’t find my customers through my website or online’. This may be so, but supporting your presence in this way will help with lead nurturing and will also demonstrate your professionalism. A further benefit is that it gives you an opportunity to stay in touch with your existing, as well as your future and past clients. So, how to go about it? There are a number of elements to your activities. Online, written and physical presence. Here are my tips for each category.
Your online presence
I did include some tips in my previous article about becoming social media savvy and these tips are a further build on that content.
- Yes you do need a website. It is an expected element of your professionalism. It can also provide a place to hold updated information.
- Join LinkedIn and particularly the groups where your current and prospective clients gather.
- Once you are a member of appropriate LinkedIn groups, post discussions and invite other members to connect.
- Better still, do you have a reason to create your own LinkedIn group? I launched Highflyingdivas for professional women to share insights, gather ideas and generally support each other. The group also provides me with an opportunity to connect with my contacts and offers a channel to publicise Forum events. It now has over 275 members.
- Set up a Twitter account and tweet ‘nuggets’ that demonstrate your expertise and that readers would find useful. If you cannot find something to say, then retweet other people’s interesting snippets. It all goes to raising your profile as the reader sees your name each time they look at the tweet and will link the subject as being one of your areas of specialism.
The objective is to promote yourself as someone who has something interesting and useful to share. Even better that you are a ‘Subject Matter Expert’ in your chosen field. Writing a blog is widely recommended and I would add:
- Write an article. The ideal channel is the business press. Most magazines will have guidelines on future topics and editorial guidance on how to submit your ideas. Look for a topic relative to your field and put together a short summary to forward to the relevant Editor.
- If this is a step too far, you can start by using ezine and then circulate your article to your LinkedIn and other contacts.
- You can also look for opportunities to post your article as a guest blog on websites that you feel would enhance your profile.
Being there in person
- Start by attending relevant conferences and seminars. Is it a place where you ‘ought’ to be seen? Does it give you an opportunity to influence other professionals? It is not always about finding potential clients, rather sometimes about being part of the right circles.
- Then you can move to seeking out speaking opportunities. Public speaking frightens the life out of most people but starting small by giving presentations to small groups will start you on the journey. To gain confidence, you could join a Speaker’s Club to practice.
- Include networking but try to be discerning with the networking events you attend. I tried 2 networking events a week to determine the ones I ought to be seen at, and those that were marketing focused. My criteria for marketing, was whether the event represented my market or was a channel to my market.
- Being in the audience of an event provides an opportunity to speak up and be noticed. Again, this may be daunting at first, so perhaps you could find a webinar that has a questions and answer session. Pre-think your question in a way that demonstrates that you have something worthwhile to say. Remember to say your name and company and then contribute to the discussion.
I found these tips worked for me and now I try to set goals on how many activities I will complete to ensure that my profile gets as much attention as my other clients. I remind myself that this is not an arrogant quest for self-importance. The rationale is that you are the biggest asset in your business and the time spent on managing that asset should be seen as part of your business strategy. After all, are you not your most important client?