Every entrepreneur knows that reputation makes fortunes. Get it right, and you gain more opportunities to send your business to new, dizzying heights. Get it wrong, and you may need to press start all over again or hear crickets outside your company doorsteps.
Reputation is PR. It helps to shape conversations, strengthen engagement and influences how customers see you. It helps to communicate your vision with your customers and influence their reaction to it.
Good PR does not need a lot of cash. It helps, but there is very little correlation. Often, you pay more for managing PR across different countries and regions, and handling different levels of PR.
For the budding entrepreneur, this is usually not a problem. In fact, all that is needed is a bit of strategic thinking and working with what they already have (or are born with).
- Start With Your Bio
Every good sales person knows that customers do not buy products; they buy outcomes. Brand helps in promising this outcome, which is why one buys a TV from a well-known brand as opposed to a TV from an unknown brand built at the same factory and with the same parts. If your brand is not there yet, you have your dashing personality.
This is where a good bio comes in. It is really you, in the form of a piece of paper. That’s why bios are not CVs. Instead, your bio should allow the reader to picture the person they are looking to meet or do business with.
A bio should also be designed as a pitch. In less than 100 words, the customer needs to know why they should be buying from you—or at least get excited about meeting you. Begin with the most important information, and then you can add other areas of expertise, some background and experience to support it. It is also good practice to have multiple bios on hand, just like you would have different business proposals for different opportunities.
- Become a Perfect Listener
This is difficult. Many entrepreneurs are not natural listeners. But the best ones have learned to value listening.
This is why employing PR agencies helps. They aid you in listening across multiple channels to understand customer perceptions and opportunities. If you do not have the budget, build those skills yourself. You will be amazed at how much information can be gained simply by shutting up and letting others do the talking.
A very good PR professional can even point out inconsistencies and veiled lies by listening to the way others talk and explain.
- Get Social
You need a social media strategy. Social media offers the least expensive channel in which to market your product and services. It is also a very noisy and crowded segment that is full of opinionated dogmatists. [bctt tweet=”A good strategy helps to stay focused & cut through the noise”]
A good strategy helps to stay focused and cut through the noise. Get the help of a PR pro or just simply chat with them. They can show how to create a plan on building a reputation, as well as offering guidance on how to effectively pitch to media professionals (who often use social media for developing story ideas).
Get the above three steps right, and you will be well on your way to building a solid reputation.