It’s not easy starting a business from scratch at any time, let alone doing so in the modern world, with all of the challenges out there. No matter what your business or ventures entail, it is likely that at one time or another you will have to harness your inner strength and resolve to overcome some challenges that will pop up time and time again. But what can tech entrepreneurs and business founders specifically do to overcome the specific challenges they are likely to face in the 21st Century?
Sarah Woodhouse, Director at Ambitious PR provided TechRound with her insights…
What do Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have in common? Ok yes, their bank balances are eye watering but what else?
All three recognise the value of personal branding. They are more than happy to represent their respective businesses and be the figureheads for their companies. Why is this important? For a start people generally like to buy from other people. Also, when it comes to dealing with the media, journalists want to know about the human story behind a product or service.
That’s because they know their audiences are much more likely to engage with a story if there are humans at the centre, no matter how innovative or revolutionary the business is. So, be brave and be prepared to put yourself out there to promote your company, don’t just assume that your products or services “speak for themselves.” Be opinionated and have the confidence to air those opinions, both online and off. If you’ve never dealt with journalists and the thought of saying the wrong thing makes you wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat then get some media training, we’ve helped countless business owners in this way.
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Know Your Audience
Who do you really need to reach in order to help get your business off the ground and grow it? Business partners? Investors? New customers? Map out who these key people are and where they can be reached. Ask yourself “where do they hang out?”
If the best way of getting attention is through the media, where should you start?
For example, if your aim is to generate more sales then coverage in a daily newspaper might do wonders for your ego, but not very useful if your ideal customer lives within a 50 mile radius of your business, in which case coverage in a regional media outlet would be far more beneficial. Likewise, if you’re trying to catch the eye of serious investors, then you’ll definitely want to focus on national and trade media coverage.
Whether you’re looking to engage journalists or just planning content for your social and digital channels, you’ll need a healthy pipeline of stories for your marketing efforts. Because they are so close to the company it’s very common for business owners to either think they have no newsworthy stories whatsoever or go the other way and come up with all kinds of story ideas that are completely inappropriate.
This is where a PR company can help, as they have expert storytellers with years of experience who can objectively look at your operations and identify those brilliant stories which are just there under the surface, but need a bit of refining before they can be let loose into the world. When starting with a new client we unlock the whole spectrum of potential PR opportunities, such as company profiles, thought leadership, data insights and company news. This creates an ongoing pipeline of news and views to help you stand out from the crowd and generate interest in your company.
While it’s true that most of the output in the news media is an unequivocal misery-fest, it’s a misconception to think that journalists are only ever interested in bad news. In fact, now more than ever, the media is clambering for positive stories, such as the “Captain Tom” phenomena. Look at social media too. People will always be attracted to doom and gloom, but there’s a definite hunger for brighter stories. This is most noticeable on LinkedIn which in recent years has moved from being that “thing I’m on but not sure why” to a brilliant, supportive place to make connections and share business successes.
Beware though as there’s a careful line to be walked though between providing entertaining, engaging and valuable information with blatant self-promotion.
Become an Influencer
No, we don’t mean start tweeting pictures of your lunch or sign up for the next series of Love Island. What we have seen emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic is the rise of the “everyday” influencers.
These might be a key worker, community leader or business expert. They will more than likely have normal jobs and certainly won’t get offered free trips to the Maldives by big brands, but nonetheless they are trusted and relatable amongst the general public. A great example is Martin Lewis, founder of moneysavingexpert.com. Over many years Martin has built a massively influential personal brand off the back of being the authoritative and trusted voice of personal finance. So, think about the industry in which you operate, who can you identify as being the main influencers. Are they journalists covering the sector? CEOs or other senior managers?
Content and insights by Sarah Woodhouse, Director at Ambitious PR