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Get paid to promote your business
Friday, July 09, 2010I'm currently writing this sitting on a plane from Brisbane back to Sydney after speaking at the National Small Business Summit. It was a great event run by COSBOA (Council of Small Business Associations of Australia) and Kochie's Business Builders. This has been part of a hectic week where I also facilitated a seminar on "How to build your dream team of business advisors" for the Let's Talk Business series held by the City of Sydney.
Last week, I was also a panellist at the launch of "Winning Business Online", launched by the Federal Minister for Small Business Craig Emerson, where the Sydney Writers' Centre features as one of the video case studies on how to use online strategies to build your business.
You can check out the video here.
Get paid to promote your business
Presentations and speaking gigs are not only an excellent additional revenue stream, they are also ideal channels to promote your business. But how do you get them? How do you get people to pay you to speak about a topic you love? In a sense, they are actually paying you to promote your business. What a great situation to be in!
Well, you can be a top expert in your area – but if no one knows about it, that doesn’t matter. One of the most effective and efficient ways to showcase what you do is to build your profile online. It costs nothing – or next to nothing – and it’s quick to distribute your message.
I must admit, when I first started to experiment with online strategies to showcase my expertise and build the profile of the Sydney Writers’ Centre,
I didn’t know whether it would work. But I can unequivocally say that this
has been the key strategy for our success.
I’ll tell you a secret
In fact, I discovered the power and reach of online video and marketing by accident. I’ll tell you a secret. Regular readers will know that I love my furry babies – cats Rex and Rocky, and my little dog Rambo.
Rex was the first one to enter my life four and a half years ago. I was so madly in love with him that I used to take little videos, just like any obsessed parent. But, I confess, I secretly wanted Rex to be a star. (Rex’s mother is on a Hallmark card, his sister is on the Aldi cat food tins, and Rocky’s aunty is the Fancy Feast kitty. I wanted Rex to follow in their footsteps.) So, being a true stage mother, I decided to manage his career by making videos and posting them on Youtube.
Now you have to understand that these weren’t silly little videos of Rex playing with a ball of string or hiding in boxes. I figured I needed Rex to stand out from the crowd. So we made videos of Rex against the background of (real) world news. (What can I say? I’m a journalist.)
It was simple – try it
All this was edited on my little laptop using free software (either Windows Movie Maker or Apple’s imovie) and uploaded free to Youtube. We (Rex and I, of course) started a Rex blog and Flickr account. Meanwhile, my friends would alternately tell me that I was either:
(b) had too much time on my hands.
While both may have been a little bit true, the reality was that it didn’t take long before this little cat was getting emails from people all around the world – I kid you not. They were engaging with him on his blog, leaving comments on his Flickr photos, and I knew something was really taking hold when I was in a pub and saw someone show their friend Rex’s blog through their mobile phone browser. True story.
I figured if this can happen by spending a little time tapping away at my laptop on a Saturday afternoon, imagine what could happen if I put some effort into promoting a real business and human beings!
Build your online profile
That’s when I started to embrace the power of building a profile online. So my efforts turned away from helping Rex with his online presence (yes, he’s a bit dirty about it but there are only so many hours in a day) and towards building the online presence of the Sydney Writers’ Centre and myself.
Without a doubt, this has contributed to the growth of the business, additional revenue channels, paid speaking opportunities and more.
In fact here is another example. It’s a video, currently on Youtube, but which I saw on the big screen yesterday when I went to the Dell booth at the National Small Business Summit. I came face to face with ... myself! This is a video made by Dell about how I use the Dell Latitude Z, the very computer I’m
typing this message on while sitting on the plane.
If you can’t see the video embedded above, you can view it here:
How you can do it
If you are a speaker, trainer, coach, author, wannabe author or business owner, you’re nuts if you don’t take advantage of the simple online tools that can help you build your profile.
As literary agent Nathan Bransford said ‘Every writer [and speaker, trainer, coach] should have some sort of Googlable web presence so that when someone sees your work or hears about you they have a way to contact you.’
Our 5-week course – run by the online savvy Tristan Bancks – could be just what you need to get you started.