TheMentor:KEITH FERRAZZI on
I'm extremely passionate about Self Branding. This is an article from the book: "NeverEat Alone" which, in my opinion, is one of the best read for young entrepreneur and about Branding in general. Enjoy it. (Brizzo-AICY)As long as you're going to think anyway, think big.—DONALD TRUMP
Now you have your "content," and the beginnings of a brand. You're getting good, really good. That's how you've become an authority in your company. But your job is not done. If the rest of the world isn't familiar with how good you are, you and your company are only gaining part of the benefit. The fact is, you've got to extend your reach and level of outside recognition. That's how you'll become an authority not just in your company but in your industry.
You don't have to look far to see why increased visibility might be important for your career, and for extending your network of colleagues and friends.Take, for example, self-promoting phenom Donald Trump. How many other real estate moguls do you know offhand?Right—I can't name anyone else either. Why is the "The Donald" considered the ultimate dealmaker? Probably because he's called himself that a million times over in any number of articles and television interviews and now a highly rated TV show. Because he has a book entitled The Art of the Deal.But his self-promotion is not just ego (though by how much, I'm not quite sure); it makes plenty of business sense, too. His buzz-worthy brand now has a value unto itself. Buildings with his name on it are more valuable and bring in higher rental fees. When The Donald went bankrupt, banks that would have otherwise foreclosed on any other struggling mogul gave Trump leeway, not only because they knew he was good at what he did but because they knew his name alone would go a long way in helping him recover from his setbacks.Trump is a talented developer, but then so are a lot of other people. The difference? He promotes himself.
The fact is that those people who are known beyond the walls of their own cubicle have a greater value. They find jobs more easily. They usually rise up the corporate ladder faster. Their networks begin to grow without much heavy lifting. I can hear the groans of discomfort already stirring. You may be thinking, "I'm shy. I don't like to talk about myself. Isn't modestya virtue?" Well, I can assure you that if you hide your accomplishments,they'll remain hidden. If you don't promote yourself, however graciously, no one else will.Like it or not, your success is determined as much by how well others know your work as by the quality of your work. Luckily, there are hundreds of new channels and mediums for you to get the word out.
So how do you promote Brand You?
Every day, you read or hear about companies in newspapers,magazines, on television, and on the Web. Most of the time the article or story is about celebrity CEOs and big companies. It's not because they are more deserving of the press than you or me. It's the result of well-planned and strategic public relations. Big companies have PR machines working for them to shape and control their image (though not always successfully). Smaller companies and individuals have to do it themselves. But by using some pluck and a strategy of your own, access to the media is not as difficult as you may think. Journalists do less sleuthing for their stories than you'd imagine. They get a majority of their stories from people that have sought them out, and not the other way around. And like everyone else in any profession, they tend to follow the herd. Which means once you get written about, other reporters will come calling. Assigned you as a subject, they'll do a quick Google search, and presto: They'll find you are an already cited source and will seek you out to cite you again. One article creates visibility, which in turn will put you in front of other journalists, creating the possibility of more articles and visibility. A journalist's deadlines make magazine and newspaper work the art of the possible, not the perfect. The key is to view the exposure of your brand as a PR campaign.
How are you going to get your message out there? How areyou going to make sure that the message gets out the way you want it to get out?Sure, your network is a good start. Everyone you meet and everyone you talk to should know what you do, why you're doing it, and how you can do it for him or her. But why not broadcast that same message to a thousand networks across the country?The answer is, YOU created buzz: that powerful, widespread ph nomenon that can determine the future of individuals, companies,and movies alike. Buzz is the riddle every enterprising personis trying to solve. It's a grassroots, word-of-mouth force that can turn a low-budget flick about a witch into a multimillion-dollar blockbuster. (Ever hear of The Blair Witch Project?) You feel its energy in Internet chat rooms, at the gym, on the street, and all of it is stoked by a media hungry for the inside scoop. Buzz is marketing on steroids.
Here's an example of how well it works: Remember Napster? One day it was a clever software idea hatched in some kid's dorm room allowing users online to link up and share MP3 music files. Six months later, it was a Silicon Valley start-up, the source of a major lawsuit, playing bandwidth havoc with servers around the country. Even when it was shut down, the name had enough buzz to be bought for something like $50 million. As a marketer, over the years, I have developed an idea of how buzz is created. One way is to generate what I call "catalytic moments." When you watch a big football game, have you noticed how the tide of a game will suddenly turn in favor of one team or the other? It starts with a huge play, and in many cases is followed by more key plays. Buzz is like that. It needs a situation, a pivotal moment, an inside scoop, a crazy giveaway—something that will get the crowd whispering.
Once you light a fire and get the buzz going, you want to get
your story in front of journalists.
The misconception is that youhave to "work" the press. But overeager PR professionals, whodon't know the meaning of "No," are working reporters hourly.Journalists get fed up with people who are nitwits and pitch articleswithout substance. The media is like any other business. Theyhave a job to do. If you can help them do their job better, or easier,they're going to love you.You have to start today building relationships with the mediabefore you have a story you'd like them to write. Send them information.Meet them for coffee. Call regularly to stay in touch. Givethem inside scoops on your industry. Establish yourself as a willingand accessible source of information, and offer to be interviewedfor print, radio, or TV. Never say, "Nocomment.
You Are Your Own Best PR RepresentativeYou must manage your own media. Public relations companies are facilitators and act as leverage. I've been represented for years. The best ones can be strategic partners, but ultimately the press always wants to talk to the big guy—you, not a PR rep. Most of thebiggest articles about me came from my own contacts. Yes, a PR firm can help you generate those contacts, but early in your career you won't need them and you probably won't be able to afford them. Who better than you to tell your story with credibility and passion? Start making calls to the reporters who cover your industry. Have lunch with them. If something timely occurs around yourcontent, send a press release. There's no secret behind press releases. They're nothing more than two or three paragraphs describing what's memorable about your story. It is that easy. Remember, media folks are just plain fun. They tend to be interesting and smart, and they're paid to be up to speed on everything that is going on in the world. And they need you as much as you need them. They may not need your exact story at the exact time you want, but with a little stick-to-itiveness, they'll come around.
Work the Angles
There are no new stories, it has been said, only old stories told in new ways. To make your pitch sound fresh and original, find an i novative slant. What's your slant? Anything that screams, "Now!" Let's say you're opening a pet store. To a magazine devoted to entrepreneurs, perhaps you play up how your store is one recent example of the entrepreneurial boom in the opening of local retail stores. Suggest why this is happening and what the magazine's readers could learn. Selling it to your local newspaper is easy. What caused you to switch careers? What is particular to your situation that highlights something going on within your community? And don't forget catalytic moments. Maybe you sell a rare animal no one else does. Or maybe you plan on giving away puppies to orphans. That's something worth covering to a local or neighborhood newspaper. Get the word out.
Are you Bill Gates? No. Maybe you've developed the antidote for the common cold? No again. Well, the New York Times probably isn't knocking on your door quite yet. Go local first. Start a database of newspapers and magazines in your area that might be interested in your content. Try college papers, the neighborhood newspaper, or the free industry digital newsletter you find in yourinbox. You'll get the fire started and learn how to deal with reporters in the process.
Make a Reporter HappyThey're a rushed, impatient, always-stressed bunch of overachievers. Work at their pace and be available whenever they call on you. NEVER blow off an interview, and try to facilitate the contacts they'll need to produce a good story.Don't Be AnnoyingThere's a fine line between marketing yourself properly and becoming annoying. If a pitch of mine gets rejected, I'll ask what else it needs to make it publishable. Sometimes it will never be right in the editor's eyes, but other times, you can answer a few more questions or dig deeper and repitch the story. It is okay to be aggressive, but mind the signals, and back off when it's time.It's All on the RecordBe cautious: What you say can hurt you, and even if you're not quoted or you say something off the record, a reporter will use your words to color the slant of the article. I'm not advocating being tight-lipped. That's what corporate communications directors get paid for, and I don't know anyone in the press who likes them. Just remember: All press is not good press, even if they spell your name right.You've Got to Market the MarketingOnce you've put in all that hard work and landed a nice article, it's no time to be modest. Send the article around. Give it to your alumni magazine. Update your class notes. Use the article to get even more press coverage. I'll attach a recent article about me toan e-mail and in the subject line write, "Here's another one of Ferrazzi's shameless attempts at self-promotion." Most people get a kick out of it and it keeps you on everyone's radar.There's No Limit to the Ways You Can Go About Enhancing Your ProfileThere are literally thousands of different ways to get recognition for your expertise. Try moonlighting. See if you have the time to take on freelance projects that will bring you in touch with a whole new group of people. Or, within your own company, take on an extra project that might showcase your new skills. Teach a class or give a workshop at your own company. Sign up to be on panel discussions at a conference. Most important, remember that your circle of friends, colleagues, clients, and customers is the most powerful vehicle you've got to get the word out about what you do. What they say about you will ultimately determine the value of your brand.