Get your name out there - Media, Marketing and Communications

In this article, we take a deep dive into the takeaways from the panel of experts at this Global Entrepreneurship event

Before you start to think about getting your story out there, you need to know what your story is, who your customers are and how to reach them. 

Start this journey of discovering your story by creating some marketing personas to reference to. Personas are a user-centred design tool, a fictional character created to represent a customer that might use your site, or buy your product. So in order to know your audience, ask who are they? What are the challenges you can solve, why would they care about your business? Where are they and how do they receive information? Refer back to these personas again and again throughout your entrepreneurial journey to stay on top of your growth and possible marketing changes.

 This in-depth knowledge of your audience is going to help you shape your message and make it more compelling, so you need to figure out what your customer needs to hear, and how they will hear it. Explore your key messages to show what you do and how you differentiate from your competitors. This is a great time to think about WHY you decided to start the business in the first place! Was it because you have a new innovative way of doing something? Or a secret cake recipe handed down through generations? It all boils down to what you do and what you can do for your customer, take time to get your story straight and don’t rush this stage.

"Don’t just rush ahead and think- social media is the answer!" Says Nichole Culverwell CHART. PR, MCIPR, Director of Black Vanilla, "You shouldn't dismiss traditional media when planning your communications plan." 

Nichole's quick tips -

  • Set yourself some objectives for your communications plan, they will keep you on track. Link them back to your business aims and use these to think about your personal brand.
  • If you want to use social media marketing but you're short on time, pick one social medial channel and do it well.
  • Cultivate a positive reputation, it makes having a business easier! Your customers will make or break your reputation based on what you do and say, how you behave and how well your product or service performs.

What’s at the heart of a good story? It’s people! 

Have you ever heard of the mum test? Will Green, Business Editor from the Guernsey Press, explains that of course your mum is going to love what you do, but is she going to understand it by reading your story? Would other mums, and your target audience also understand it? And be interested in it?

That spark of inspiration that came to you is a great place to start when writing your story, as this can help to engage with your customers early on. That might be you and your journey to this point, the people that your product/service is helping or a eureka moment in the bath! However, be careful not to let your story become more whimsical fiction than the truth! Back up what you are saying with facts and figures, and take out what you can’t credit.

For an editorial story to work it also mustn’t be overly commercially driven, no one wants to always feel like they're being sold something right? Tell the human story behind your business and make it relatable to those reading your story to connect with them. When sending in articles to newspapers and magazines, its best to be prepared. You'll need to send in a straight-forward piece with good quotes and a decent photo and be ready for the journalist to take apart your release, which you may have spent hours pouring your heart into. They could've spotted a better line in your story or see a way to make it more engaging for readers, remember it’s not a personal criticism, it’s just the journalist using their skills and knowledge.

Will say's "Don't forget advertising!" That means portioning some of your marketing costs to go towards adverts in the paper and magazines. This sponsored content is not necessarily a hard-sell but is about you and your expertise and will help with gaining some traction and a profile within the market.

Will's quick tips -

  • You don’t have to announce you’re setting up your business right away, build your story and traction over time, no success is built overnight. 
  • When writing a press release, include a good story with a good quote! Remember to put your contact details in so people can get in touch later on.
  • Catchy headlines! Make your story more memorable, and more likely to be read with a short punchy headline.

Craft your message around the community!

Aaron Walden, Commercial Manager from Skipton International started his talk on how Skipton International craft their message around the community. They do this by supporting charities and getting involved with fundraisers within their teams. This has a great effect on your brand awareness, and it’s a good way to connect with your customers and align your company with the ideals you hold. Creating this positive opinion of your company is a great way to encourage sales and really drive home the positive messages you’re trying to get across to the community.

What are your key principles when you start your business? As we spoke about earlier, a positive reputation can do a business wonders. All it takes is one disgruntled employee or ruffled customer to lower your reputation, especially in such a small verbal community like Guernsey. So match your story with your company values, take care of those within your company to promote loyalty and engage with your community. Try to look to within your company for the talents you may need to support your comm's efforts, this kind of support to your team's growth will show in your story.

Make sure to do your research when it comes to PR, what campaigns/organisations can you support that will drive your business? when considering these you need to ask yourself who is relevant at the moment and who is raising awareness to issues that align with your ideals. Remember to spread this collaborative content out over time, you don’t need to rush! 

Aarons quick tips - 

  • Embrace the Guernsey together spirit!
  • Make sure to research your keywords when naming your articles and events. 

A Q&A at the end of this event provided us with some great takeaways about managing media for your startup.

- "How do I control negative news?’’ Reputation control! Make sure you're mindful of your behaviour as you want to protect your business, Nichole says. If something negative happens, such as a staff issue or service issue, you need to get a hold of the situation as quickly as possible, and issue an apology. With social media being so transparent these days, crisis communication plans are vital. You can't squash or ignore bad news, so show your control over the situation and have compassion for those who are affected.

- "How to scale your comm's to international?" Paid advertising and communications! says Aaron, this will radically expand your exposure as a brand and is vital to any growth.

- "How do I know my advertising is being received well?" Think of your goals, do you want to drive sales or sign-ups? Or drive traffic to your website? Make these goals measurable and achievable, this way you will know what is working and what is not and can fine-tune your future communications. 

- "How do I rebrand my company's image?" Go back to the beginning, says Nichole. Learn from your first go around and see where you can adjust your objectives and story. Forget what your business should be or was, and look at it with fresh eyes. Speak to your friends, family and customers and ask them what their impression is of your brand. Don’t forget your visual branding -  however exciting and tempting it may be to start drawing up a new logo before anything else, this task should come at the end of the rebranding journey once you have laid down your story.

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