Being the best at what you do simply isn’t enough in today’s noisy, hyper-competitive world.
I cannot forget a call I recently received at my PR firm – a crying man asking to speak with me. Sobbing, he told me he was valedictorian of his medical school class and is the best at what he does, yet can barely make a living. He explained; “I went to school to learn to help people, not be a PR person.” (The sobbing was clearly the result of a domestic fight about finances as the call ended abruptly with screaming between the man and his wife.) As he wrote me later;
“I have no time for reading a zillion books, written by as many PR experts, making me crazy by telling me to do a zillion different things to get publicity. My question is how does someone like Dr. Phil who really is not very good at what he does, become world famous, while someone like me, who is very good at what he does remain broke all the time. Can you point me in a direction as to how I can become better known? I usually show a negative profit in my business at the end of the year.”
The truth is I couldn’t help him, honestly because he couldn’t pay the bill – and that’s the harsh reality of the world today.
Many people today work for themselves – and that requires public relations and marketing skills. Being the best is not enough and everyone today is a brand which must marketed. And make no mistake, marketing yourself is no just optional – and there are some absolute basics which everyone must do (and should urge their teenage kids to start doing even now). Think Ahead.
Some basic (super low-budget) tips:
- Be the Master of Your Domain. Every person on Earth should buy the domain for their full name as well as iterations of that name. Simply non-negotiable, if even to protect yourself. At the very least post contact information and your resume and bio to the site.
- Create profiles on the most popular social media properties – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. I don’t care what you use them for – but anyone in business today should be participating to some degree in these venues. Personally, I don’t post any personal information to any of these properties as I am private about my family, and no one needs to see pictures of my children or home. Everyone can use marketing as they best see fit – but the basics must be tackled.
- Creating Content is not optional. At minimum post 4x a year to any of the existing user-friendly platforms like Blogger or WordPress (very SEO and user-friendly). For nearly anyone, those posts will reflect thoughts, ideas, and insights and will often appear on page one of many Google searches.
P.T. Barnum fairly encapsulated this whole idea with the quote:
“Without promotion something terrible happens… Nothing!”
For today’s bread winner, no matter what the profession, marketing one’s self is more crucial than ever. And the reality is, if you do not have the skills to be your own PR, you’ll have to hire someone to do it for you.
Photo credit: Billboard – courtesy © Sergey Nivens – Fotolia.com