Although it is not entirely by design, it is a natural part of the brand I call Conversation Agent, which is tightly connected with the work I do. It so happens that this post follows one about egos.
Revealing yourself to others is an important part of the process we call "building relationships," from which we build credibility, trust and loyalty.
Thus, the businesses that choose to speak in a more distinct voice, stand out. Those who come to the fore to be spokespeople for their company, become important ambassadors while they gain visibility. They become physical embodiments of what those businesses stand for - they own that brand. That makes it easier to buy into what they offer.
Social Media - Does it Help?
As more and more people begin to use social media, more information about them is revealed. But is all the information about you out there accurate? Bob Walker has an insightful column in the March 2008 issue of Fast Company. In Our Profiles, Ourselves, he gets into why marketers who use social networking sites may be pitching into the void. The payoff - thanks to the help of marketers and pundits, we have now become quite good at managing our own identities. As in not all you read reveals the real deal - more likely a public persona.
Revealing yourself takes place over time. There are many layers. That's why there are really no shortcuts to building relationships through permission and a fair exchange in value. Has mutual disclosure through memes, for example, also become a form of PR? Take a look at the definition of PR: the managing of internal and external communication of an organization to create and maintain a positive image. There is more to it than meets the eye.
How Much is Enough?
There is a point of balance to revealing enough information that is useful for people who engage with you and your business to get to know you. And not too much as to overwhelm the other or harm your own business. You know that expression: "that was too much information."
Of course, your work speaks louder than words. That is your work with and for that person. One of the reasons why comments in blog posts and feedback in social media are so important to me is that they provide an opportunity to show that you are listening and care. It's the experience of you that matters to others. Not so much all of the accomplishments you have in your past. Another good case for being in the moment.
4 x 4 Secrets About Me
Like one of my favorite professional editors and marketers, Ann Handley, I do not like to talk about me. This here is not about me per se, as much as how I see business topics and issues.
At the same time, I believe in participating in conversations around the Web - Richard at Dell tagged me with a new meme on revealing things others don't know about you. We are a creative bunch, so it makes sense that each of us would respond in our own ways. Cam Beck's the most direct and to the point I've seen so far.
Since I receive so many pitches from PR agencies, people with products, and people with advertising, I decided to use this opportunity to reveal what works well, and what doesn't work so well in pitches to me. Plus bonus bits of information on job titles I would like to have and a dash of inspiration.
4 Good Pitches
- Even if we haven't engaged in conversations at this blog or elsewhere, you have been reading what I write about long enough to know what peaks my interest. This place is full of hints, take them.
- The pitch is polite, short, and inquisitive. It's not a long list of what your product or service does. The first time I hear from you it's not with a press release. You've got to make the connection first.
- It's through recommendation. Someone in my network who knows what I like to write about referred you to me.
- The topic has possible angles that fit within a larger context my readers would want to learn about. I like to connect ideas and people in the context of marketing, communications, and social media topics. Journalists are most welcome. Trends and research bits are best.
4 Not So Good Pitches
- My name is misspelled or not mentioned at all. It's a classic turn off, a sign we don't now each other. An indication that the attention was only partial. Sales people are masters at getting the name right. If you want to sell, take their lead. We are in the era of personalization.
- It's about you and your product, and not about what my readers have come to expect of this space. Think if you were applying for a job, for example. How are you a fit in that company? Same thing here. Tailor your approach.
- There's no follow through. This is a cardinal sin. It's an indication that you don't have a process in place. It signals you don't care. I try to answer most pitches with a response. Even when it's not a fit here, I may consider revisiting with you for some future opportunity elsewhere.
- I answered the request you made for more information and you've disappeared. Relationships are not built on one night stands.
4 Jobs I'd Like to Have
- Strategist - "think and do" tank.
- Curator - ideas and trends.
- Chief maker and storyteller.
- Idea catalyst.
Something that would allow me to think and do, connect and contextualize. Curators are needed for the distribution of people's attention.
4 of the Best Lines I Read
- "Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave." Rainer Maria Rilke
- "Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark." Rabindranath Tagore
- "The truth is more important than the facts." Frank Lloyd Wright
- "It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us." Victor Frankl
I leave you with a thought from fiction writer Alan Judd (Legacy): "Because we think we know, we stop looking." What is revealed is in the eye and ear of the beholder, too. That's why there is so much talk about listening and paying attention.
[collage of Mina album covers. The most beautiful, versatile, and enduring voice of Italy. One of the best examples of marketing I've seen - the voice, in both writing and interpreting.]