Archive for the ‘Clients’ Category

The magic of the long tail

Back in October I told you about our work with Paul and Jenny Geelen. There is some real magic happening on the Geelen blogsite, and I’d encourage you to have a look at David McKenna’s story in particular.

The magic of Paul and Jenny’s site lies in the content. The stories that are unfolding are absolutely fascinating. And you can understand immediately how valuable they are for people who are dealing with eye loss.

Paul and Jenny have been finding their audience through organic content. And now they have started a Google AdWords campaign outside Australia. Its a very precisely targeted campaign – they don’t need a whole lot of clicks for it to be effective.

Its the magic of the long tail at work here, and I just love it.

The virtues of publicity

Publicity requires faith, patience and commitment.

Advertising brings instant gratification.

Ross Wallace WAPPA winning entry

We ran a publicity campaign back in June and July for the Australian Institute of Professional Photography.

Publicity has been phenomenal, yet some of the coverage has yet to appear.

Magazines that publish quarterly or bi-annually will sometimes sit on a story for a couple of issues if it’s not time-sensitive, which means a long wait and lots of nail-biting.

But when the coverage comes, it has enough impact to blow advertising out of the water.

The photography campaign enjoyed local and national coverage in mainstream and specialist media, and it keeps on coming. This week we saw coverage in Scoop magazine, and Flourish has a full page coming out in its November issue – a full five months after the release.

So if it’s instant gratification you’re after – advertise – but don’t expect the same return on investment.

Photo: Ross Wallace, student category winner

The zen approach to publicity

Fish hookThe secret to a successful publicity campaign is having a story that captivates your audience.

This means finding a ‘hook’ – the thing that captures the attention and imagination of the media as the crux of a great story.

For a new small business, the hook is often the thing that sets that business apart from its competitors – but sometimes this isn’t enough. Sometimes a business’s point of difference simply isn’t different enough – or fascinating enough.

So how do you find a sharp hook?

In my experience, the thing you expend heaps of energy looking for is more often than not right under your nose the whole time (hence the zen appoach). You just don’t see it because it’s too close – or you might even perceive it as an obstacle and be desperately trying to get around it.

This is where brainstorming with an objective consultant can be helpful. And while we are willing to enable our clients to run their own publicity campaign, one aspect of our service that I would highly recommend they pay good money for is our publicity planning session.

This is where the hook or hooks come to light. More often than not, a client will be talking about their business features and benefits, history and personality, when something small and sharp slips into the conversation – a hook. Instinctively I grab it with both hands (carefully of course) and show it to the client.

That’s a hook?, they exclaim in surprise.

The hook might be something that defines the way they do business, something that occurs between them and their clients every day, or even something that’s holding them back from their audience – but they don’t see these things because they are so used to them.

One example is our client, Mardon Recruitment. They wanted to raise the profile of the company. During our publicity planning session while examining Mardon’s services and business model, proprietor Angie Mardon happened to mention that she always provides a human resources consultancy service and report for every client – free of charge.

This had become such a familiar part of her business model, that she was surprised to see our jaws hit the table.

What a great hook.

Another client runs an IT cooperative, where programmers concentrate on producing innovative technology and software, sharing a communal workspace in a highly desirable seaside location, coming and going during hours that suit them, and enjoying regular brainstorming sessions over a beer and game of pool.

The products they aim to promote are remarkable – but their work environment even more so – providing a hook that’s likely to attract attention from a wide range of IT consultants and businesses.

For more inspiration on finding your hook, check out How to Find the Hidden Hook, which also links to Fishing for Hooks.

A new client leads us into a new service area

Blogo for Paul & Jenny Geelen

We went live today with a new blogsite for one of our clients, Paul and Jenny Geelen. Paul and Jenny are Ocularists, which means they make prosthetic eyes (or “glass eyes”, to use the well known, if technically inaccurate, term). We’ve been working with Paul and Jenny on several fronts, and what has emerged from this has been truly fascinating.

When we first started talking with Paul & Jenny about their business, it became clear they were exceptionally good at what they do. Consider this: they make prosthetic eyes by hand, and then hand paint them. The test of whether they’ve done a good job? The prosthetic eye moves naturally, is comfortable to wear, and you can’t tell the difference when talking to the person! That is extraordinary, when you consider that when we meet people we look them in they eye. The skill of an Ocularist is both that of a technician (to construct an eye of the right shape and quality) as well as an artist (to hand paint an eye that can fool a human observer).

After discussion, what became clear is that Paul and Jenny’s expertise is potentially of interest to people outside Western Australia. How is this, given they have to be with their clients for many consultations before completing an eye? First of all, Paul & Jenny are starting work collecting the stories of individuals who have have an artificial eye, to help others who may be facing a similar experience. The trauma of losing an eye can be devastating, and access to information about what to expect is something Paul & Jenny want to make a lot easier.

A blog is a great way for Paul and Jenny to let people understand what they really do. For families and friends, as well as individuals adapting to a new eye, information is of enormous value. We are hoping the personal voice enabled by a blog is going to be a good way for Jenny and Paul to convey this information, as well as sharing the stories of their clients (with their full consent, of course).

As the blog takes shape, we are also helping Jenny & Paul publish their client stories online, using an ebook format. This is a great format for the nature of the information, helping get very specific information to a very specific audience. eBooks are likely to become are regular part of our service offering, complementing print/broadcast publicity and blogging. The common thread for us is that they all involve getting an authentic story out to an audience.

We’re looking forward to working with Paul & Jenny in the coming months.

Use your expertise to attract publicity

One of our newest clients recently clarified for us the value of expertise in the publicity process.

Angie Mardon is a goldmine of information and advice drawn from many years of experience in business, specifically in human resources and recruitment.

Her daughter, Shelley, who also happens to be her business partner, had been looking for ways to harness this invaluable resource to best advantage and was delighted to discover the business blogging concept.

There are many other ways buzzing around my head of harnessing Angie’s expertise, including working with the media to offer an expert opinion on relevant subjects, or even regular columns, becoming a guest speaker or panel member for industry forums, and so on.

Outlets like these enable you – the expert – to become a respected ‘voice’, providing an ongoing source of inspiration and help to a network guaranteed to reach potential clients, whether they be local, interstate or international, and raising the profile of your business.

Back bendTime for a Little Personal Publicity? urges readers not to view this kind of publicity as ‘artless self-promotion’ and I wholeheartedly agree.

On a more practical leve, Five Benefits of Being a Specialist crisply outlines some excellent reasons for giving it a go.

And if it all sounds daunting, there’s help available in the form of ghost-writers and media coaches – and of course PublicityShip.

It’s natural for a small business operator to be unsure that the world wants to hear their point of view, but we often find that running ideas and opinions past an objective audience in the safety of our offices or phone lines convinces them of the worth of their expertise.

No doubt there are countless other small business operators out there with a wealth of experience that others can only benefit from sharing. And the benefits to the business are clear.

  • For a start, by linking your byline to your website, every reader can be potentially drawn into your site with a clear call to action.
  • Another, less obvious, benefit is a refreshment of your business focus. Every small business needs an edge over its competitors, and establishing your personal niche will help you to hone that edge. We are finding this to be a hugely beneficial spin-off from our blog content planning meetings.
  • And finally, publicity gained through shared knowledge helps to build trust in a way that advertising never can.

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