With a 21% increase of people listening to podcasts in 2016 (an estimated 57 million people according to Edison) coupled with growing evidence that “a podcast can drive engagement, build brand loyalty and fuel purchasing decisions”[*] – it’s no wonder that more businesses are now including a podcast in their content creation and marketing strategy.
Ever been in a situation where you’ve read or heard something that made your blood boil? So much so that you had to come forward and make a stand for what you truly believed was fundamentally important? I did – this week.
With over one billion websites as of September 2014, and increasing rapidly every second (according to Internet Livestats) – that’s a lot of noise you need to compete with when building an online presence for your coaching practice.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu
Wise words from Lao Tzu, especially when it comes to our businesses.
I’ve always loved the start of a New Year. Like the pages of a new journal that has not been written in yet. You get to start all over again – afresh.
I don’t know about you, but every year I set myself audacious goals.
In 2013 I set some pretty major goals for myself – then life happened.
My elderly mother was diagnosed with bowel and lung cancer, so the first half of the year was involved with doctor, surgeon and specialist appointments – not leaving me much time (or focus and energy) to work on my business.
With my mother being diagnosed cancer free and back on her feet again (praise the Lord), the second half of the year wasn’t without its challenges either.
I was diagnosed with severe anemia – so needed to be extra careful of my energy levels, which pretty much was zero.
Life happens. You just have to go with the flow – especially when it has to do with someone you love, or your own health.
So, this year, more than any other – I’m really excited to getting a fresh start.
As we are nearing the launch of the Smashing The Glass Ceiling Telesummit, I’ve asked my community to share one tip that has been crucial to each of them being able to build a successful business.
Before I share these tips – a quick reminder about the live Telesummit Kickstart event. [Note: The Kickstart has already been! You can watch the video below for further great insights and aha’s from our business experts. We had a blast!).
Our business experts and I answered the question:
“Knowing what you know now in your business, what’s one thing you’d do differently, or implement sooner to smash through your glass ceiling – much faster?”
Now, back to the tips.
Through my own experience (and what I’ve seen time and again with other entrepreneurs) there are three common issues I’ve recognised that will often keep people stuck and unable to take their business to the next level.
Here they are – do you recognise any?
1. Trying to do everything yourself
When you’re starting out in business, while it makes sense to do as much as you can (as you don’t yet have the income to hire staff) – NOT investing in team as soon as possible can keep you stuck.
We’re all told to do it – it’s Market Research 101, right?
After all, how can we distinguish ourselves from everyone else if we don’t know what they are doing!
But what happens when a harmless ‘search and analysis’ exercise turns into an unhealthy ‘comparison, stalking and spying’ frenzy?
There you are unable to stop yourself from revisiting a competitor’s website (and social media platforms), and then wishing you didn’t because it leaves you feeling inadequate, incompetent and disheartened because no matter what you do – you just can’t keep up with what they’re doing?
Can you relate? Be honest.
I believe there’s a competitive streak inside each of us.
This week I attended a networking event with 120+ women executives and business owners (my ears are still ringing from the level of noise we made with all the networking and relationship building going on).
As I connected with people I received numerous comments about how much they loved my business card.
Specifically the colour, the shape of the card, and the business name/tag line, which sums up my services and what I help people achieve – perfectly.
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while- you’d know that I’m passionate about helping women entrepreneurs create an authentic, memorable Signature Brand so they exude an influential message so they get noticed, hired and paid what they’re worth.
Credibility, visibility, hireability AND profitability is what I help client achieve, hence my business name and tag line: “Communicate Your Brand – Get noticed, hired and paid what you’re worth” being prominently displayed on the front of my business card.
Here’s a picture of my business card:
Business Card – Front
Business Card – Back
What about your business card? How influential is it?
When you hand it out – do people stop and take an extra moment to look at it? Do they comment about the uniqueness, colour, style and/or design or whatever it is that you have done to make your card stand out?
And, what about all of your other marketing/brand touch points, including brochures, website, answering machine message, pens, stationery – in fact pretty much EVERYTHING. Do they continue to send out a consistent message that represents your Signature Brand?
And, I’m sure you’ll agree this was captured beautifully in my business card.
MY PERSONAL MESSAGE TO YOU:
What special elements does your business card incorporate to help you incorporate your brand message? What ‘aha’s did you have? What action step are you going to take after today’s article? Go ahead and share, it’s always great to hear from you!
Are you communicating your brand in the most effective way?
One of the best ways to boost brand awareness and your overall credibility, visibility and hireability is to write and share informative articles and blog posts.
In fact in Hubspot’s report: ‘The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing’ showed that companies who used blogging as part of their marketing not only gained brand exposure, they also generated leads that later converted into clients.
While blogging is fantastic for brand exposure, leads and customer acquisition (and should be part of your Brand Communications Wheel) it’s important to realise that if you’re ONLY relying on writing articles to get your message out you could be leaving money on the table. Especially if some of your ideal clients don’t enjoy reading.
If their preferred representational system (i.e. visual, auditory, kinesthetic, internal dialogue) is NOT visual and you are only using articles/blog posts as the way you share your information, you could potentially be missing out on numerous opportunities to build relationships and your credibility with these people.
So what the heck is a representational system?
Representational Systems – how we code events, experiences and information:
Many years ago I completed studies in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and learned there were four Representational Systems:
Visual = sight
Auditory = sound
Kinesthetic = feelings and touch
Self-talk = internal dialogue
Representational systems are how we code events, experiences and information, and our preferred representational system (or primary representational system) is the one we tend to favour over others.
I discovered that my Preferred Representational System was visual, followed closely by kinesthetic and auditory (internal dialogue).
Leveraging multiple ways to communicate, build rapport and strengthen relationships:
So what does this have to do with you and your business, you may ask?
Being able to recognise other people’s communication styles and preferred representational systems can enable you to build rapport and strengthen relationships with your community faster and in a far deeper, more meaningful way.
And, I’m sure you’ll agree – in business (and life in general) being able to build strong relationships and communicate your message so that it is understood with the meaning you intended, is important.
I learned a valuable lesson when starting a joint venture (several years ago, now) with one of my colleagues – Keith Keller through the launch of our internet radio show – Career Success Radio.
While my preferred representational system was visual, Keith’s preferred representational system was auditory (i.e. sound). In fact, his preference for audio was very strong and he really disliked reading.
I quickly learned that sending him long emails and written instructions just didn’t resonate with him.
Shorter paragraphs and sentences were better.
And, if I really wanted to make sure important messages didn’t lose their meaning, I’d ring or leave a message so he could listen to the content.
Thankfully those years of training on representational systems and being able to recognise and adapt to different communication styles certainly came in handy – and still do, for that matter.
Your lesson and takeaway:
So what can you learn from this?
To be mindful that not all of your clients (or prospective clients) will have the same preferred representational systems and that you should integrate different communication methods to build brand awareness.
That way you don’t miss out on connecting with an ideal client because you’re not delivering your information in a way that enables them to absorb it.
Through making sure your Brand Communication Wheel incorporates a number of different ways to get your message out.
Podcasting and audios
Graphics and pictures
Or a combination of all of these
Here’s an example of my Brand Communications Wheel and how I’m currently building awareness about my business:
Annemarie’s Brand Communication Wheel
I recognised podcasting was increasing in popularity so started the Ambitious Entrepreneur Show – a weekly podcast focusing on business to bring my message (and that of my guests) to people. Through doing this regularly I have now created an audience who enjoy listening to the weekly podcasts.
I also enjoy recording and sharing audio biz tips, such a this one:
I’ve incorporated video (both talking head where I am speaking to camera and by recording my screen) allowing me to combine both audio and video together so people can see and hear me – a powerful combination.
[While I haven’t been actively creating videos lately, I have set an intention to do more soon and will be dusting off the lights and camera in the coming months.]
[Note: This is an older video so some of the social media platforms have since changed their formats/layouts]
Because I love speaking I’m always looking out for opportunities to get involved in telesummits, teleseminars and other speaking events. I’m now regularly being asked to be a keynote speaker and participate in telesummits
My weekly newsletter is sent out to my database; and I’m regularly posting and communicating with people on various social media platforms.
So, what about you? Does your Brand Communications Wheel integrate other methods so that people can absorb your message in a way they prefer?
If not, why don’t you commit to adding one different method to your wheel over the next month to see what kind of response you get from your audience.
For those of your who love to write, here are a few tips on how to present your blog posts/articles so that people who don’t like to read can still benefit from your wisdom.
Use headlines to separate paragraphs
Write smaller paragraphs
Get to the point – quickly
Write in a conversational style
Add lots of white space
And, some advice from my colleague Keith Keller to help him read your article should he stumble upon it:
Use bullet points
Incorporate images that convey the message
Use lots of graphics
Add a video
Are you already using different methods of communicating your message? If not, have I inspired you to try out a new method? Which do you prefer? Do you have an idea what your preferred representational system is? Let me know below – it’s always great to hear from you.