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November 8, 2007

Building Your Online Reputation

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Lunch is over and we’re back. This time Steven Van Yoder is here to talk about how to go about building your online reputation and branding strategies for a Web 2.0 world. And he can talk as long as he wants because I’m sitting next to the power outlet. Who’s the smartest blogger in the room? Me!

Steven hands out a personal fame assessment. I don’t need to take it. I already know that I’m totally famous.

The genesis of his book “Get Slightly Famous” went back to his years as a working journalist. It was about how the media works and the role of subject matter experts. The media wants to give you free coverage because they need story ideas. The media are looking – can they find you?

The 6 Step “Get Slightly Famous” Marketing Model

Steven’s “Get Slightly Famous” marketing model has six steps:

  • Target the best prospects: Don’t leave success to chance, Look at your total marketplace. Know who your competitors are. Looking for the openings. Drill down and focus.

  • Develop a unique and focused market niche.

  • Position your business as the best solution.

  • Maintain your visibility: Make sure your best prospects know who you are.

  • Enhance your credibility. Get quoted in magazines, be a guest on podcasts, speaking during conferences, etc.

  • Establish your brand and your reputation.

This is the model you want to apply to your own business. He’s going to be focusing on creating a multimedia approach to getting slightly famous. He says he reads the blogs and thinks they’re the best marketing inventions ever created. They’re going to stick. They’re not going anywhere. They’re the best way for small business owners to develop their own platform and become a thought leader. However, don’t forget about traditional media. Traditional media is here, bloggers have a seat at the table and it can be a symbiotic relationship where everybody wins.

A message for Web 2.0 evangelists:

  • One media does not fit all markets.
  • Increasing competition in the big world.
  • Google makes the rules.
  • Traditional media still has credibility.
  • Take a multimedia approach.

Success story: Kiva

They wanted to make a community portal for people who want to donate to other organizations around the world. A person is trying to start a business and Kiva connects them and lets other people make loans to them. In two years, they’ve raised 14 million dollars. They used media to expand the reach of their company. Realize that traditional media is part of your growth.

Be a Thought Leader

Who is your sphere of influence? It’s the journalists, online communities, offline media conference planners, other people in non-competing related industries, industry watchers, analysts, bloggers, search engines, etc.

It’s about positioning yourself as a thought leader. A thought leader is communicating via online content, public speaking, blogs, media interviews, podcast, white papers, strategic partnerships, books, articles, etc. You want to be findable the moment users are looking for you.

It starts by putting together a traditional media public relations plan. How do you do this? You identity target media, build a media list, study publications and then pitch to editors.

[I think half the people in this room are playing with Twitter as Steven is speaking. Awesomeness.]

Getting articles into print magazines offers up a number of benefits. Published articles provide high credibility, they’re low cost/high impact marketing materials, you don’t have to be a season journalist to get started, and you can get one to three magazines pages devoted to your business

Success Story: A Fitness Trainer/Podcaster lands in the NYT

The trainer knew that on Jan. 1, a lot of stories would come out about staying fit. He wrote a press release and sent it to the media and said "I have a product". Someone picked it up and he was featured prominently in a NYT article. That NYT article was then run in other magazines. All he did was follow the news cycle. This stuff is possible when you add mainstream media into your marketing mix.

Speaking Strategies

Get with the program. If you’re not embracing public speaking, you’re missing an enormous opportunity. You can speak live or telecast. Steven does both. Hunt for conferences on Google and follow the listed speaker guidelines. If you do enough of these, people will pick you up. Do a few more and even more people will pick you up.

Teleseminars offer a telephone bridge line and you can hold your own seminars (bring in people from your mailing lists).

Success Story: Ted Demopoulos

"The meeting planned called and said ‘I don’t know what a blog is but I’ve been reading yours since we got off the phone. You’re perfect for the job. If you want to speak, we’d love to have you’ I knew I was on the something then."

Syndicate articles online

Take a short online-friendly article (750-1,000 words) and publish it on Web sites that reach your target market. He talks about an article he published when his first book came out a few years back. He wrote the article pretty quickly, found Web sites that gave business advice and submitted that article. To date, 200 or so people have syndicated that article. It’s a big source for leads for him. He also gets calls from journalists questioning him about it and other things. It’s a good way to be found by journalists because they do their research online. Establish yourself as an expert.

It’s also good for search engine optimization because it create backlinks to your Web site. Focus on high authority/niche sites.

See your topic and anticipate many uses for it. A good blog post can become a short article, which can be turned into spoken form, which can be made into a speech or a book.

Question & Answer

When syndicating articles, can it be the same article or do you have to write different articles for each publication?

As long as they’re non-competing companies, it can be the same article. Most people don’t care.

I have no marketing background. Any suggestions for tweaking my perspective so I can identify new markets?

Two things come to mind. Before you start grabbing tools off the shelf, talk to people. If you’re starting out in a niche and you want to know what’s going to work, talk to people who already know those people. Talk to non-competing businesses. Find out what people are going to gravitate to. Attend trade shows and talk to vendors. Immerse yourself a little bit and find out where the high impact areas are going to be.

When it comes to articles, do you actually completely the article and send it out?

Steven is going to be doing a seminar on this tomorrow at 1pm at booth #128 for free. The easy answer is no. You don’t write the whole article. You write a query letter and see if people are interested. You don’t write the whole article.

An audience member stands up and gives us a case study about her business.

[I don’t know. I’m feeling kind of slimy after this one. Like I just spent $499.99 to sit through a motivational seminar on how to change my life or lose 30lbs through the power of positive thinking. ]

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2 responses to “Building Your Online Reputation”

  1. Jay Ehret writes:

    Lisa,
    Great re-cap of Steven’s session. I think I was sitting close to you.

    This was probably the best session I attended during the entire Expo. Steven took the time and effort to give us value and actionable items. I felt like most of the other speakers were winging it.

    Thanks for taking such detailed notes.

  2. Amanda writes:

    I really enjoyed the points that were made in this article. As a Public Relations student, I am working towards learning more about the industry, as well as developing a name and brand for myself as a public relations professional. The ideas presented in this article, including becoming a thought leader and using public speaking and various media available to get known, were especially useful to me in beginning my career. I understand that it is important for me to establish myself through using many available means – podcasts, articles, conferences, etc. Thanks for sharing these notes!



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