Help yourself – don’t hurt others

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One thing I have come across in the last week is how competitors in a marketplace will sometimes, instead of trying to improve themselves will try and harm their opposition. I think it is such a childish and immature way of behaving, your actions may do what they intend and harm your opposition but only at the price of harming yourself, which is very bad business.

Growing your business

If you are passionate about growing your business and developing your product, all of your time should be spent on it. Any time spent trying to harm your opposition is time wasted and a missed opportunity to further and improve what you are doing. When you try and harm your opposition, it also looks unprofessional to anyone watching on and your motives will be there for everyone to see.

By trying to hurt someone else you make your entire industry look bad. If you are a small and growing industry, this is something you cannot afford to do. It is this sort of behavior that puts people off getting involved in and supporting your industry.

Don’t react

If someone is trying to hurt you the key thing is to not react in a negative way to them. If you don’t stoop to their level or get involved with it, then eventually the people doing it will either get bored or people will turn on them. The worst thing you can do is react, as it will only keep it going longer and make you look as bad as them.

If you want your business and industry to be taken seriously you have to act like a professional at all times. You have to be the business and industry you want to be, even if you aren’t at that stage yet.

Just like you

There will be many people like you in your line of work, people with the same dreams, motivation and ambition as you. If you weren’t competing, you would probably get on. So my advice for this week is – don’t try and hurt someone that is just trying to do the same thing as you, if you care passionately about what you do, don’t ruin it for someone else.

Competition can be a great thing if it is used correctly, as it can make better products, brands and businesses, so you should crave competition. Just crave winning and not wanting other people to lose, just because it is a competition it doesn’t mean that more than one person can’t win.

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Getting your name out there

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If you want to be noticed and recognised for something you do, you have to be prepared to put the work in. Unless you are out there telling the world about what it is you are doing, people aren’t going to know what you are doing and how good you are at something.

Taking notice

You could have created the best product, the best piece of art, the best company, the best charity, the best sports team etc. but just because something is good, it doesn’t mean people are going to take notice.

It’s like with my book at the moment. Unless I get out there and promote it – no one is going to know about it. With my book, the more people that know about it, the more lives it has the chance to impact. Something being great isn’t going to change and impact lives, it’s people knowing about it that is going to change lives.

Being the best self-promoter

Once you have a great reputation, people will get to know about you and your work through word of mouth but until you have that platform you have to be brave and be the biggest self-promoter on the planet. If you want something to take off you can’t be shy. You have to be prepared for people to laugh in your face, to criticize and to not want to listen. You can’t have too much pride, you have to keep moving, keep smiling and above everything believe in yourself.

I am constantly emailing people, ringing people and tweeting people to try and get the word out there. I am trying to make connections with influencers in the marketplace and get them on board. I am trying to get endorsements, features in publications and opportunities to speak at events. These are the key ways I have to drive this book forward. I’m not going to get that good review or endorsement that propels the book forward without going out there and finding it.

Right audience

Your life can change just by getting yourself in front of the right audience; so don’t stop until you find it. To get yourself ahead of the competition you have to be prepared to work harder, do more and think in different ways to your competition. The marketplace is very crowded so getting yourself noticed is harder than ever these days, so you have to be prepared to work harder than ever.

Set yourself goals and targets for the work you want to have done to promote yourself this week and stick to it. Remember being good at something or having something good is only one part of the battle. It’s time to start thinking of self-promotion as a positive thing and to stop letting it be the thing that stops us from getting to where we want to be.

The best marketing is free

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Over the last couple of months I have been doing something I have always wanted to do and that is working for a Professional Wrestling company. It has only been as a volunteer but I have had an absolutely awesome time doing it. The company is called Plymouth Wrestling Association and they are a fantastic group of guys.

I felt really passionately about helping a local promotion out as I want to see more quality live wrestling happening in my local area and I want more people in my area to get in to wrestling. I may not have the ability or the desire to become a performer myself but I have skills in media, PR and communications so I was determined to use those skills to help them. So many people these days either hire their own marketing staff or outsource to a marketing company but me personally I would prefer to see those funds used to improve the product and the company, not to market it.

Unfulfilled promises

When you have something you want to advertise it is tricky to know where to begin. It is so easy for companies to plough money in to advertisements, gaining email addresses for leads etc. etc. etc. but in many cases these will not lead to increased business at anywhere near the rate of investment splashed out. There are too many media organisations making promises to businesses that they can’t keep and sadly too many people getting suckered in by them.

There are so many ways to get attention to your product or business that don’t cost a single penny, which so many people are not exploiting. The best return on investment is when you see increased business from doing something that cost you nothing. So before you think about investing in marketing, why not invest some time and energy in activities that don’t cost anything and see what response you get.

Think creatively

At Plymouth Wrestling Association we had to think a bit creatively this week but because of a bit of creativity we have had a daily feature on the biggest commercial radio station in the area on their breakfast show, we have a slot on the local BBC this Saturday the day before the big show and we are all over social media and the internet. All of this activity has led to us nearing a sell out of tickets before doors open which is an incredible achievement.

Your audience has never been closer and easier to get in direct contact with so lets use these opportunities. Why pay someone to do something you can do yourself. At the end of the day that is what marketing is, I don’t know of many people on this planet who don’t have the ability to let someone else know about something.

Ideas

You don’t need to be a marketing guru to have a good idea of how to get the word out. Ideas aren’t linked to experience or intelligence. So if you are trying to promote something stop and think to yourself, who are your audience? Where are your audience? And how can I reach them?

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your own hard work pay off and if your willing to work hard at marketing your product you will see the rewards.

The Netflix effect

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When it comes to selling products in this day and age, I think the most important things are – where you sell them, how you package them and timing of their release.

A key example of this is Netflix. Over the last year they have purchased many different TV series and made them available for subscribers to view. The thing with many of the shows they have made available is that most of them were panned by the critics and not picked up by any of the major channels here in the UK at least. When they had their run on TV, not many people were talking about them and not many people were kept interested enough to watch the entire runs of these shows.

Stamp of approval

There is this strange thing that is happening with these shows and how we consume media. It seems by Netflix deciding to air them, that this is a big stamp of approval and just because of being on this platform, people now want to watch them. One trailer from Netflix and we are all rushing to add the series to our watchlist. Some how having every episode available for us to watch when we want to, makes a show more appealing than watching them every week on the TV or recording them on your Sky+ or TiVo.

I have to admit to also falling in to this trap, as last night I added the TV series ‘Gotham’ to my watchlist after seeing a trailer for it. When the series was on TV I had no interest in it whatsoever but now because it is on Netflix and has a cool trailer I am looking forward to getting round to watch it.

For many new shows getting on Netflix is now more important than getting on TV and now production companies, who thought they had got the most exposure and money out of their series that they were going to get, have a new platform to try and get more out of what they produced.

Brand

Netflix is a prime example of how in todays world your brand is sometimes more important than what you are selling or what you have in your store. If you have a product to sell, putting it on the right platform can mean more to the success of the product than all the work and investment you put in to making it.

What is perceived as ‘cool’ or ‘in’ changes at a very quick rate these days, so when you get to that point you have to cash in fast, as if you don’t you can miss your chance of making the most of your product. When your product or company are popular your priority above anything else should be doing everything to make sure that this lasts for as long as possible. If what you are selling isn’t ‘cool’ or ‘in’ keep working on how you are selling it and how you are packaging it, keep making changes on these sides until you are positioned where you want to be.

What Netflix proves is that as an audience we are more influenced by packaging than we ever have been before. I think in a way that is a sad comment on today’s world but as a company you should be cashing in on this, as even if your product isn’t the best, if you can get people believing it is great, then you will be successful.

How Clickbait has made the world focus more on headlines than quality content

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It seems we are a generation that are a sucker for a headline and will click links based merely on what they say. We get overexcited about what we are about to click through to and then 9 times out of 10 are left disappointed.

Viewing statistics are King

In today’s world no one seems to care about content and brand, all people care for is views so that they have impressive figures to boast to potential advertisers and sponsors. If I were running an organisation that created content I would want my brand to be known by what it provided, rather than how they sell what they do.

If something is being heavily promoted it is usually because the company behind it isn’t confident enough in the product. As a world we need to become a more discerning audience. I hope that one day that instead of being guided towards things by well-worded links that instead we go directly to the content providers that we value and that we think provide great content.

Sharing content has never been easier

I think because sharing content is so easy these days, there is so much out there and everyone is fighting to get noticed. This isn’t the only problem, one thing I notice on my social media feeds is that someone has been duped in to watching something through clickbait and then it then shows up in all their friends newsfeeds, so they in turn have a look and not before long the video, article or media has spread like wildfire. Hitting a share, retweet or like button I think at times has made it too easy for people to share things and has contributed to the clickbait world we live in.

The biggest and most successful companies in the world are the ones that provide the best service or product. If you are a growing company that wants to be big then you need to act like a successful company in the way you deliver your product, brand or service.

Engaging an audience

As a company you surely don’t want an audience that clicks through once and then never again, you surely want to be a company where your audience continues to engage with you. If you have to hide your brand to get people to clickthrough because you are regularly clickbaiting, then what is the value of clickbait?

You know you are a successful company when people are talking about your organisation without you having to use clickbait. There is more value in your audience posting things online off their own back, than there is in you posting things talking about how great your own company is.