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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

ConnectED Talk Today: "Content may be king, but clarity and contacts (or was it connections?) determine the size of the kingdom"

Penny Haywood Calder from PHPR gives PR talk to boost business at ConnectED meeting
3 vital Cs: Content, Clarity and Contacts

Really enjoyed giving Publicity Tips to ConnectED members: mainly small business owners this morning.

A phrase that really pulls together a lot of what we do popped out during the talk. From a Google search, it looks like no-one else has said it: 

"Content may be king,
but clarity and contacts determine the size of the kingdom"

Penny Haywood Calder, founder PHPR Ltd

From the buzz on the ConnectED LinkedIn group, it is entirely possible that I actually said: 

"Content may be king,
but clarity and connections determine the size of the kingdom"

The truth is: I can't remember, but both seem apt and I have a slight preference for the latter which seems to roll off the tongue smoothly.  I may shorten it to 

"Content may be king,
but clarity and connections shape the size of the kingdom"

The gist of the talk is that publicity is the oxygen of business, otherwise, no-one's heard of you. 
Underpinning all effective publicity for business, from word of mouth to website to media to marcomms to sales is: Clarity, Clarity, and Clarity.

That stems from clear purpose/vision and the hard work that goes into really nailing your core business proposition. Bill Joos - Silicon Valley VC & supreme clarity-meister suggests that to stand out from thousands of applications for funding (or indeed, anything else) you need to nail your key proposition in seven words or less, including an emotional hook. 

Ours is: 

PHPR gets businesses noticed on and offline. 

Getting noticed is a major issue for people as all too often businesses ignore them. 

Websites are the cornerstone of marcomms, yet many websites neglect to clearly spell out what they sell on the front page - including many large companies which have become so big, they are generalists. We sell solutions may have had shock value when IBM was best known as a hardware provider, but if a small business echoes such vague general statements, they are not going to get far. The annual Bowen Craggs large corporates' websites survey sponsored by the FT is due out at the end of this month. If this year is anything like its predecessors, it will show that there is still plenty of room for improvement which will be good news for small businesses: more chances to nibble away at the big guys' markets, one niche at a time.  

I say niches very specifically as it's much easier to reach people in niche areas effectively - find Joint Venture partners who need to reach the same markets (e.g. trade associations, complementary non-competing companies or....? ) and offer a major benefit to their customers/members - and they'll do your publicity for you provided that you keep them supplied with relevant news and titbits. 

Plus small businesses can nurture key contacts and use social media more effectively to plug the gaps between meetings and accelerate the relationship. That's because the networking tends to be done by the top people - or by people with a very short line to the top. 

I passed on various tips today on tools to use to remember to stay in contact, such as 

Plus work smarter with social media using Hootsuite. And provided a run-down on social media and the specific merits of the main platforms. With several B2B business owners in the audience, the reminder to optimise their Linkedin profile seems to get the note-takers scribbling. And use the Linkedin groups to expand their reach. Plus an example of the power of using Linkedin's shared connection lists intelligently.

Constant Contact or Mail Chimp are good solutions for newsletters. In our experience, the former is easier to use, while the latter is FoC: you takes your pick: time or money? 

Plus's automated curated content newsletters and associated Twitter feed plugs the posting gaps that are inevitable with owner managed or very small businesses. 

The Qs and As ranged over a variety of tools, plus the value of blogs: very high if they contain good content that sits on your own domain. 

Fund-raising for Practical Action

When I originally offered to do the talk, I hadn't planned to do this year's 5x50 challenge and associated fund-raising. The entry fee goes to Comic Relief and I've chosen to raise funds for Practical Action who lift an amazing 1 million people out of poverty each year. I was delighted that several people were sufficiently pleased with today's publicity tips that they agreed to donate to the cause, although I did suggest they wait until they had benefited materially. PR tips in exchange for charity donations is a first for PHPR, but it seems to work! 

If you benefit from anything above, do consider helping Practical Action lift even more than a million out of poverty next year by donating here: 

More about the 5x50 challenge and my progress here: 

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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