Some time ago, I had a conversation with a client (before he became a client) and asked about his agency's work. "Our work speaks for itself", he told me. Really? "Then why do you want to hire me?" I shot back.
For me, that was the crux right there. Getting others to know who you are and what you do, whether your company is built upon selling tangible goods or marketing those of others. As a marketer, what you do for your clients is something you should be doing for your firm at every opportunity. You know, creating authentic, credible communications. If you aren't committed to your brand or don't convey that same passion about your "products," how can you expect others to?
You'd be shocked to learn how many marketing firms have no real marketing or PR strategy to speak of. It runs more on an ad-hoc basis, driven only by the need to announce a new something or rather. Too often, I see marketing firms of all disciplines repeating the same mistake. They simply don't promote themselves like they do their clients. Great work isn't great until others really know about it.
I came to this realization as I struggled with my agency's evolution. How could I gain credibility amongst my peers, and most of all, how could I "PR myself" when I was in the business of PR? It made sense that if I could promote my company effectively, I could promote yours too, right?
I discovered that all it would take was time and commitment. And to practice what you preach.
Practice what you preach
Take some time (yes, you can spare some) to think about what you want/need to achieve. Market share, brand awareness, industry recognition and relationship building? You develop kick-ass strategies and campaigns for your clients to achieve those same goals, so do the same for your company. Decide what your goals are, then go in for the kill. And do it now, the recession's almost over.
Don't do PR for Dummies
Once you've decided what's important, i.e., ego-tripping, lead generation, industry recognition, all of the above, call in professionals who speak your language and can remain objective about your business, while understanding journalistic needs, and they will sell your story the right way.
Just say no
To the temptation of sending another press release. Journalists will thank you, trust me. Learn to understand what's really news: Differentiate from what's news for your customers and news for media outlets. We're talking two very different messages here. Unless you're a biotech company announcing a brand spanking new sustainable energy, the press release is not the be-all and end-all. Stuart Elliot is truly not interested in your new hire, new client or new whatever. And neither is Amy Corr. Give your targets what they want -- something of value.
Be creative in your approach, just like you do with your clients. In many ways, publicizing a marketer is so much harder because your skills and work are almost intangible. That's why you need to dig deeper. Find a common thread between your work (which, after all, is you) and the world outside your company.
As basic as my premise is, it's still the fundamental basic of our existence as marketers. So forget the hype, create great conversations instead. Create opportunities to present your message where it counts most. And make that commitment to making your company a lot more visible today.
Just do whatever it takes and start practicing what you preach.