6 ways to grow your small business brand without breaking the bank

“If you already have clients, is branding your business a waste of time?”

I saw this question in a Facebook group and it made me sad. In short, the answer is no way!

Sure, branding can be a waste of time if it is not executed properly or you faff around redesigning your website twenty times. Do it right and branding will open your business up to enhanced customer retention. Helping to generate new leads and take your business to the next level.

In my opinion, a brand is the all encompassing characteristics and execution of your business. So things like your online/offline presence, customer service and overall reputation. How you answer the telephone and treat your customers is still part of the ‘branding’ process.

Having an amazing brand (and reputation!) enables you to attract new projects and higher ticket clients. Growing the business much more easily than plodding along without any clear strategy.

If you are the decision maker in your business then you’re in a beautifully fortunate place to make a difference to create and grow your company’s brand.

Let’s keep things real simple.

Simplicity is key for me when talking about brand reputation. Yes, we can go ALL in on branding your company. Here are my favourite tips to easily grow your brand reputation and attract new leads or grow your business.

1. Boost your credibility

Mentions in the media will help build your brand reputation. Provide your expert comment on news stories relating to your business and your clients industry. Write how-to articles that showcase your expertise to your ideal clients.

Once you get featured, be sure to leverage the opportunity to attract other media and even speaking gigs.

If you’re not sure how to do this, check out my article ‘6 ways to leverage and make the most out of your media coverage’ here.

2. Have your ideal client in mind

All of your branding should represent your business but it should also resonate and speak directly to those you want to serve. Your ideal clients.

Use language that speaks to them, show them how to connect or work with you, and get that brand personality across.

3. Update your cover pics

Social media cover images are a great opportunity to show the viewer of your personal profile or business page who you are and what you do. You can even use the space for special offers or ask visitors to get in touch with you.

Personally I use mine as a quick introduction. I add a recent photo, what I do and an ‘as featured in’ so people can see I practice what I preach when it comes to media coverage.

Quick Introduction Image for my Business Brand
Quick Introduction Image

4. Consistent profile pics

Update all your social media profile pictures to the same image. This helps with brand recognition so if someone finds you on LinkedIn, they’ll think “ah great, I like their Facebook page, I’ll like them here too”.

Side note: use pictures, not logos. People want to see the people behind the brand and who they are following.

5. Website

Branding isn’t just about logos and a fancy website. Although a well thought out website will no doubt attract new leads and show your ideal clients YOU are the person for them.

Bonus points for adding a ‘as featured in’ media logo strip to your homepage and having a press page to show off how awesome you are.

6. Nail your brand personality

Once you have your brand personality and archetypes in mind, it just makes everything easier. You’ll be able to pull out how you communicate with your customers and be able to attract new clients. Your brand values become portrayed in the best way possible that resonates with your audience and you’ll grow your following and client base.

Defining your brand archetypes is such a fun exercise and one of my favourite parts of my company Brand Reputation Workshops.

If you want to create a business that attracts the media and new clients to your brand, drop me a message.

I’d love to hear from you!

6 ways to leverage and make the most out of your media coverage

Congratulations, you’ve been featured in the media!

Most people will not take action or make the most of this incredible PR opportunity. I don’t want you to be that person.

Exposure is amazing but the magic happens when you now do one thing.

Leverage.

Leveraging your media placement is the secret to getting the most out of your media coverage. It’s actually my favourite part of the process because it’s SO effective.

Think about it… you were in the newspaper yesterday, but did your ideal client see it? Potentially not. Newspapers don’t last forever. That days paper will be tomorrow’s recycling. But the potential for content and PR collateral you can now create is phenomenal. So much so that one appearance in the newspaper can still win you work in years to come.

Here’s my top 6 ways to leverage exposure once you’ve been featured…

1) Share it!!

Seems simple but I continue to be amazed how many people don’t share their PR activity. Share images, links and shout about it ALL over social media for 7 days. Bonus points for sharing a pic of you holding the magazine or newspaper.

2) Add it to your ‘as featured in’

This is an incredibly effective way to boost credibility and wow prospective clients. It shows the media validate you or your business and is a powerful tool I recommend you consider.

Your ‘as featured in’ media strip can be added to your website homepage, social media profiles and can even be added to your email signature too.

To give you an example here’s mine I created on Canva and currently use as a social media cover image on my profiles…

Example Featured In Image

3) Create content

One piece of media coverage can easily be repurposed into blog posts and LinkedIn articles.

If you have an exclusive agreement with a media outlet on your story, instead of repurposing and republishing the story, you can create a blog post talking about your experience being featured with a link to the published piece.

One of my most popular blog posts was about my experience of being booked and appearing on live BBC TV. There is always an angle to share your story and leverage your media appearance.

If you wrote a how-to article that was published online, check out if you get any comments about your advice and use this as inspiration for future content too.

4) Pull out quotes

Multiple social media posts can be created from your media placement. If you were interviewed on the TV, pull out your favourite standout quotes and turn them into graphics and posts for social media.

5) Get it on your Press Page

If you want to raise your profile and haven’t got a press page on your website I thoroughly recommend you get one up. Asap.

Your press page is where you point the media to where they can find everything they need to know; your head shot, bio, media kit, your Zone of Genius, past media coverage and contact details.

6) Save it for later

Be sure to save your media clippings, images, links and anything to do with it. Even if it just a screenshot of you appearing somewhere, make a note to shout about your media wins again in the future.

If you want to discover how to get coverage you can then leverage for MAJOR exposure, drop me a message.

How to design a Press Page for your website (plus free cheat sheet)

Having a press page on your website shows the media you are open to hearing from them and if YOU are the right person for their story.

Putting a press page together once means you won’t need to constantly rewrite the same information over and over again. When journalists ask you for some info, boom, it’s ready and waiting.

You can add SEO details to the page for certain keywords that will then make your press page pop up in Google searches.

Plus, seeing a press page or media area on your website REALLY impresses your clients and prospective customers too. Appearing in the media shows validates you as an authority in your industry. When you leverage each opportunity and create this press area in your website, it’s a winner all round.

If you’re keen to add a press page to your website, here are my top tips on what to include to get you started.

Your Bio

Share your professional bio. Let readers know more about you, your work history and why you are the person they need to speak to.

Company Info

Include who founded the company, when and why. What your services or products do and who you help or work with.

Zone of Genius Topics

List in bullet point format your topics of interest that you can write or speak about. This can include causes you are an advocate personally for as well as professional discussion points.

Photos and Videos

Include your head shot, company logo and product images. Make them easy to download. If you are interest in speaking or on-camera opportunities then a show reel or video of you talking is ideal too.

Links to Recent Media Coverage

Add the links to all your media coverage. Guest blog posts, TV appearances, radio interviews etc. If there isn’t a link then a screenshot or photo of the exposure looks great.

Mention Awards

Remember to note your award wins or runner up entries. They build brand credibility and give you major ‘cool points’.

‘As Seen In’ Media Strip

When you’re featured in the media, grab their logo and add it to your ‘as seen in’ or ‘featured in’ media strip. You should also add this to your website homepage and social media profiles.

Media Kit

You can put all of the press page information in the format of a media kit, also known as a press pack, that can be easily downloaded.

Contact Details

Share your direct (not admin@) contact details to contact you for media opportunities or book your for a speaking gig. Assign a media contact for your company if it will not be yourself.

You can download my cheat sheet and template for you to work from here. Check out my company press page.

How about it – will you be creating a press page for your website?

Should I be paid to be in the media?

I’m all for setting boundaries and not working for free but when it comes to being mentioned in the media, PR is not something you should expect to receive payment for.  Emma Cossey (off of The Freelance Lifestyle) invited me into the #NOFREEWORK Facebook group to ask me about why being the media is completely different to the ‘No Free Work’ movement of, quite rightly, not working for free.

In short…

It is ok to be featured in the media and do credibility boosting PR activities for free.

It is ok to feature in the media and do credibility boosting PR activities @KerriLWatt #NOFREEWORK Click To Tweet

To work “for the exposure”  to me means: “Come and work for free for a day/week/months and do all this stuff we need and don’t want to pay you for and we’ll maybe give you a testimonial afterwards.”

Being in the media actually IS exposure. Not working for free in the hope of being introduced to someone cool. PR gets you out there in the world, potentially in front of your ideal client and then you get to add the logos to your ‘as seen in’ image to boost your credibility.

THAT is working for the exposure.

The ethics within PR and journalists also comes into play when we’re talking payment. Imagine a journalist is writing a news piece and they invite  you to provide an expert comment to include in their story. If they paid you for your comment, it would look like they had coerced you into your opinion. Whereas, had you not been paid and just give your expert comment you are seen as truthful.

As well as sharing some simple ideas for PR newbies to starting raising their profile and discussing exactly why appearing in the media is completely different to unpaid work, here’s a juicy question I was asked…

What’s the benefit of giving a quote or telling a story to a journalist?

PR is all about creating and maintaining your reputation. It’s what people say about you when you’re not listening. How you deal with a crisis, a customer complaint, your customer’s journey, it’s all part of your brand. PR is the reputation side and you establish yourself as the go-to leader in your field, thus media coverage coming into play.

Being featured in the media shows propsective and current clients that you are validated by this third party. PR activities should be seen as credibility boosting or should land you right in front of your dream clients. PR gives you the competitive edge and makes you the clear choice when people are deciding where they should buy or who to trust.

A mention in the media is fantastic but the magic happens when you leverage it. So when you’re on TV, share the journey with your audience, utilise social media stories and posts to show your day out, share key takeaways etc.

Add the logo to your ‘as seen in ‘ image on your website home page so it’s one of the first things visitors see, as well as your press page and social media cover images. 

Here’s more ideas as to how you can leverage speaking at or attending events.

There are loads of ways to start building your credibility and start landing media coverage. I share simple ideas to get you started in our #NOFREEWORK interview.

Check out the interview here…

1. Join the Facebook group here.

2. Watch the interview here.

Top 10 publicity hacks to get your business in the media

There’s nothing I love more than sharing a little nugget of knowledge around publicity. To help you gain exposure in the media for your business, here are my favourite 10 tips…

1. Get in the media your ideal client consumes

The big names are great to have in your ‘as seen in’ image. There’s no denying it. It boost credibility and gives you, what I like to call, ‘cool points’. BUT it’s also a good idea to be featured in media outlets you know will get you right in front of your ideal clients.

2. Find the decision maker

Type in the job title and media outlet into Twitter or LinkedIn to find your exact contact name. This is the person who you need to pitch your idea to so you know it gets seen by the right eyes. Try writing ‘Editor’ or ‘Fashion Editor’ and then the magazine name. Boom.

3. Befriend Hunter

This is a great tip for anyone looking to find the email address of a specific person. Add a URL into the website Hunter.io and it will bring up every single email address they have. It can even guess someone’s email as it knows the format they use. For instance, firstname.lastname@company.com.

4. Pitch a story idea not a topic

A general topic is much too vague for the media to decide if they want you or not. If you want to write an article for a magazine, pitch an actual article title. Sharing your work history doesn’t help the magazine know where to put you or know what you could write about.

5. Check the media pack

Be strategic with your time and spend time pitching yourself to media outlets with an audience. Magazines and other media often have a ‘media pack’, ‘media kit’ or the like, featured on their website. This is created for advertisers to see who and how big their reach is so will give you a great idea if they are the right place to feature your company in.

6. Say no to advertorials

Advertorials are paid-for media. They are often something smaller businesses or those new to PR get collared into because they don’t realise how else to appear in the media. If you know your ideal client is absolutely going to see you and you will leverage the opportunity to the max then it may be worth it. Chances are there are other ways to gain exposure.

7. Find your PR sweet spot

Once you have defined what media your ideal client is consuming, now think about which PR activities you want to try and where the sweet spot between them lies. If you are a great writer and know your dream client reads certain magazines, then you know it is worth focusing on that as a strategy.

8. Be media-ready

Once you start putting yourself out there people will Google you or land on your social media profiles or website. Make sure everything is up-to-date, page 1 of Google reflects your current business, and that you are ready to be found.

9. Have an opinion

If you agree with all your industry says or do everything perfectly it doesn’t make a great story. If you have an opinion, voice it. Just keep your published opinions on brand and in line with your business values. People love to see a negative turned into something amazing so if you overcame a failure that’s something your audience can (and will) resonate with.

10. Have a plan (however simple!)

Having a communications plan helps keep you and your team on track with your marketing, channels you are engaging on and the messaging you share. You’ll be able to plan for publicity and content for your business events, awareness days etc. I cannot recommend having a comms plan enough, however simple it may look.

If you would like to see your business in the media, I now host Brand Reputation and Communications Workshops at your office.

10 tips for pitching your business to the media

Have you ever seen an ‘expert’ make a comment on a news story and wonder how on earth they were invited to do that? Is it because they’re the best in their field? Of course not. It’s because they put themselves out there and usually all it takes is one email or phone call.

The feeling of “that should have been me” is something I hear all too often when I’m welcoming new clients aboard. This is why I cover media pitching in my Brand Reputation and PR Workshops.

There is a knack to pitching and you can absolutely learn how to write a killer email pitch that not only gets opened by an influential editor but also gets a “hell YES!”

Here are my top 10 tips for pitching your business to the media for monstrous exposure…

1) Introduce your idea

The first paragraph is crucial to get right. We need to get your idea and why you are the right person to deliver it across in 1-2 sentences.

Unless you are famous or known to the journalist, you won’t need to share your name immediately. Start by introducing your idea (we’ll talk about this in a moment) and, for example, your job title. If I was to pitch myself I would open my pitch like this…

I wondered if you would be interested in an article on ‘how to create and maintain your brand reputation’ by an an award winning Media Strategist.

2) Dude, TMI

This in an initial pitch email to introduce you and your idea so at this stage. There is absolutely no need to divulge too much personal information or your entire resume.

Unless it is relevant to your pitch, try to refrain from sharing your whole life story. If you are pitching a real life story of which you have experienced then of course it is relevant.

Your first paragraph is about introductions to you and your reason for contacting them. If you want to reveal more information about you, that is relevant to your pitch, then your next paragraph is the perfect place.

I open with “To give you a little background…” and take it from there. This means the recipient can decide if they would like to read more about the story or not.

3) Share a story idea not a topic

Nailing your idea is key to the success of your pitch.

There is a big difference between a story and a topic. An actual idea would be the title of the article you want to write. Sharing that you want to write on a topic is too broad and doesn’t give the reader enough to go on.

For example, which one of these would you be more inclined to accept if you ran a magazine?

  • Topic: Business growth
  • Story idea: How to use LinkedIn to gain inbound leads and never cold call again

The latter right? Business growth is such a broad topic with thousands of elements. A topic such as this would not give an editor enough to go on as they won’t know your Zone of Genius is within using LinkedIn for business.

4) Make decision making easy

You need your pitch to give the recipient everything they need to make their decision. Everything. If needs be make a checklist or create a pitch template to work from ensuring you include all the key elements needed.

5) Be clear what you want them to do next

This may sound obvious but it’s amazing how many people slip up on this one. Most pitches that editors and journalists receive are just emails introducing a business or a product. This doesn’t tell the recipient what they want them to do with their email.

Do you want their product in a gift round-up feature? Were you wanting to be interviewed for the weekly ‘spotlight’ feature? Or were they intending to write a how-to article for them?

Close your email by showing the journalist what you want them to do next and why you are contacting them. Make it as easy as possible for them to make a decision, don’t make work for them.

When I pitch an article idea I will close my pitch with “I would love to write the article [magazine name]” so they know exactly why I am contacting them.

6) Do your research

Whatever ideas you have, make sure you have researched your media outlets first. There is no point pitching a how-to article idea to magazines that never publish those articles.

Start by figuring out what media titles your ideal client is reading, watching and listening to. Then do some research and see where you could fit into those.

7) No spammy attachments

You may think it’s relevant to send a bunch of images with your email pitch for an editor to make a decision on whether to publish you. Chances are that email will go into the SPAM file and never be seen.

If images or additional information are relevant to your pitch then add a link instead.

8) Killer email subject

Any good email needs a great subject line. It’s all very well creating a beautiful pitch but unless the subject line rocks, your pitch will not be read. I like to add the story or idea into the subject and what I’m pitching for.

Article idea: 10 brand reputation hacks”

This allows busy editors to come back to my email when they are ready to look at their pitches for that day. Plus it gives the idea so they will decide there and then if they are keen to read more about it.

9) Proofread it

We’ve all been there. An email gets sent with the wrong name or you forgot to change something after you copied and pasted it from the last one.

Remember to proofread your pitch before you hit send.

10) Find the decision maker

Sending your pitch to the person making the decisions, rather than the generic email address the interns check, means your pitch will be seen by the right eyes.

You can have the name of an editor or journalist within seconds using the social media platforms LinkedIn or Twitter. Search for their job title and media name, for instance, ‘Fashion Editor Cosmopolitan’.

Now you have a contact name, your idea and a killer email… start pitching!

Want your pitch to land media coverage?