I see this all the time with small business owners.
They get wrapped up in having the spotlight on the actual product, the amazing service, the brand as a whole or even a paid spokesperson or random employee.
Truth is, to really amplify your business, you have to be ready to shine a light on YOU.
Yes, you, the small business owner, are the most influential piece of marketing in your brand. And although it may feel warm and safe staying behind-the-scenes and letting your product or service take the spotlight, you need to come out in the open and authentically connect with your audience.
Here’s why: People connect with people.
That’s why some of the world’s top brands spend millions of dollars to create personas that will connect with their audience.
That’s why McDonald’s has Ronald.
Progressive Car insurance has Flo (so annoying, I know!).
has had Jared. (talk about a PR crisis…).
There’s Mr. Clean, Mr. Peanut, Cap’n Crunch . . . you get the idea.
But lucky for you, you don’t have to pour your money into creating a brand persona out of thin air. You are your best spokesperson.
People want to know why you started your business, what inspired you to create your product, the struggles you’ve overcome and the impact you’re making. They are ready to connect with you.
And you know what? People are going to love you!
But I know how nerve-wrecking it can be to share openly about your business and to open yourself up to judgement, criticism or even praise- attention in any form can be overwhelming.
You’re thinking: “But it would be so much easier to just pay someone to do it for me!
Well, you can, but I’m telling you… it’s going to be very expensive (to hire someone good!) and not nearly as effective.
So, time to suck it up and come out from behind your brand! Here are a few tips to get you started.
*Curate your own interview. Whether you’re doing an interview with a high profile magazine, a local TV show or a popular podcast, it’s always smart to tell the interviewer what to ask! This is helpful for the person doing the interview + extremely helpful for you.
The best way to do this is to create an interview guide that includes your name and your title, a suggested introduction, and a list of questions. Send it via email in advance to whoever booked you for the interview.
They may not take all of your suggestions but I’ve found 9 times out of 10, the interviewee relies on the provided guide 100%. Remember, these are busy people so if you can make their jobs easier, the better your chances of a great interview.
*Prepare for the questions you don’t want to answer. Even if you give a reporter or blogger the exact questions you want them to ask, be prepared in case they ask some of their own. And be especially prepared for those questions you don’t want them to ask.
Like, “What were your exact sales from your launch?”
“How many employees do you have?”
“What is the super secret ingredient in your best-selling, bazzillion-dollar vegan corn dogs?” I’m a sucker for a good vegan corn dog, btw.
You want to know the best way to nail even the tough questions? Predict them and practice confident responses! It’s that simple. You don’t have to talk about things that make you feel uncomfortable but you do need to have a good response ready to go.
(One note here: sometimes producers/shows will request that you share specific information in advance. If you agree to sharing this information in an interview, you better be ready to spill the beans! There’s no quicker way to burn a media bridge than to not deliver on what you promised).
*Arrive early. This sounds simple but if you get this wrong, your whole interview will suffer. If you’re doing a Skype interview, log-on early. Tech problems are the worst. Just plan on something going wrong and leave yourself some cushion.
If you’re driving to a radio station or other location, make sure you know where you’re going and leave extra time for parking. It’s standard to arrive at interviews at least 20 minutes in advance to leave time for getting your mic on and going over any questions. If you are bringing props of any kind, like for a cooking demo, arrive even earlier! Being late will not do your nerves any favors.
One you’re there nice & early, take a couple behind-the-scenes pictures and post them on social media to promote your upcoming coverage… or go to the bathroom, check your make-up, text your mom. Do whatever puts you at ease!
Now, I’d love to hear from you! Have you stepped out from behind your brand and shared your news with the world? How did it go? What could you have done better? Share in the comments below… we can all learn from your experience!