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Early in my career, I wrote an article for a small business magazine about self-publishing as a marketing tool for businesses. Because I specialize in helping businesses get into print, the article only took a few hours to write. A few months later it was published. Almost immediately, my phone began to ring and my email box filled up with inquires.
As a result of “Be An Expert, Get More Business” I landed two clients, submitted several proposals, and added dozens of names to my mailing list. Later I used the article in my email newsletter, made glossy reprints for my marketing materials, and arranged to reprint the article in other magazines targeted at potential clients.
Years later, the benefits continue to roll in as prospects read my article on the Internet, recommend it to associates, and hire my firm because I'm an expert in Slightly Famous marketing strategies.
In one instance, a reader became a client even though her company had almost finalized a decision to hire a competitor. "We came across your article, and it made all the difference," she said. "We knew from your article that you could help us."
You might be thinking that success came easily to me because I am a writer. But you don't have to be a professional writer or seasoned journalist to get your name in print. Whether you're a management consultant or a masseuse, you can learn how to pursue print media exposure and succeed. And with more than 10,000 publications in print today, opportunities are virtually unlimited.
Visibility + Competence + Word of Mouth = REPUTATION
Getting Slightly Famous in print media means reaching a larger audience, rather than relying entirely on human contact. After all, there is only one physical you. No matter how much you network, get around, or attend meetings, YOU can only go so far.
Appearing in the media is the equivalent of expanded networking. You reach a targeted audience of people who might buy from you, and you build a relationship with your target market that can lead to sales. Even if you have a small local business, media exposure helps you establish a regional or national presence without leaving your desk.
Media exposure works because it associates your name with the authority of the media. When you read about a business in the newspaper or hear about it on the radio, chances are you immediately elevate that business above its competitors. It has solidity and credibility.
Appearing in media that reach your target market establishes a bond of trust upon which future sales are possible. Ultimately, your Slightly Famous media strategy will develop your reputation as a business of choice in your market niche. As more prospects run across your name in publications targeted at them, you will acquire an aura of expertise that will get you more business with less effort.
Publishing Articles & Columns
Bylined, contributed articles are a mainstay in many trade and special interest publications because most cannot afford full-time writers. From fillers to features, these magazines rely on freelance writers and contributors like you for at least some of their content. Often written for a small fee—or given freely in exchange for an author bio designed to elicit business—these articles show off the expertise of the businessperson or consultant who authored it.
Besides exposing your business to thousands of prospects, it’s possible to get feature articles devoted entirely to your business. As a bonus, article reprints make excellent, low cost sales literature.
The key to publishing expert articles is to package your ideas in a benefit-oriented fashion. Tell prospects how to think about or apply your business solution. Give readers real information they can use, regardless of whether they will buy from you. If you don’t, and use a thinly veiled sales pitch instead, editors will see through it and reject the article.
Articles are usually a one-shot deal. Columns, on the other hand, are regular engagements that allow a writer to build relationships with readers. Columns appear on a weekly or monthly basis in newspapers, magazines, and Web sites. They can brand an author not just as an expert, but also as a friend, confidante, and mentor.
You don't have to achieve “Dear Abby” status to be a successful column writer. As with any Slightly Famous marketing strategy, your column only needs to reach the right people in your target market to position you as a resource.
Be A Media Resource
Bylined articles are not the only way to see your name in print. Read any newspaper or magazine article. You will see a handful of experts quoted within stories as diverse as international business, stock market forecasts or the latest fashion trends.
Reporters are not experts. That's why they need experts from the business world to create their stories. The secret is to position yourself as a media resource.
The media rely on you, the industry expert, to give substance and credibility to their stories. Experts can be book authors, speakers, consultants, managers and professionals. If you have knowledge about a specific subject—and that subject can be your business—you qualify too.
People who get quoted in the media pursue a strategy to be on journalists' radar screens when journalists write stories about their industries. They make themselves available as expert interview sources so that journalists will think of them when they are writing relevant stories.
When you learn how the media works, and mold your expertise into a carefully-crafted media attracting strategy, you actually help the media do its job in exchange for valuable exposure for your company.
With a little effort, you can become the first person on a reporter’s list when a story about your business area comes up. But it won't happen if you don't let the media know you exist!
Time, Commitment, and Consistency
You wouldn’t expect a massive return on a monetary investment overnight. The same goes with getting Slightly Famous in print, where huge dividends come to those who persist.
Like all marketing activities, print media exposure is a long-term commitment that will yield long-term rewards. Is it worth the time? Yes. Landing just a few clients can pay for all your marketing costs for the next year.
If you don't give print media exposure a chance, you'll never know what it can do for you. Establishing your reputation in print takes time. But if you are committed, an inevitable "snowball effect" will take place and can bring you all the business you can handle!
Steven Van Yoder is the author of Get Slightly Famous. He's helped dozens of business owners get "slightly" famous in print and become mini-celebrities in their fields. Visit his online community at http://www.getslightlyfamous.com where you'll find free resources and programs to help you attract more business with less effort by positioning yourself as a media resource.