Monday, August 22, 2011

Sing Out Loud - Finding Your Voice

Recently I had a communications professional tell me that she had nothing to say that anyone wanted to hear.  I was shocked hearing that from a young hip-looking comms pro.  I chalked it up to low self-esteem.  But maybe I'm wrong.

I began thinking about the businesses who have told me the same thing.  Award-winning ground-breaking innovating businesses who are successful say the same thing as this young woman.  They have products and services that people want, so someone obviously is interested in what they have to say.

Its the job of a public relations professional to help businesses find their voice.  I'm a strong believer that that everyone has something interesting and important to say, but that you might just need a little help saying it. Here's a few tips that might help you find your voice:

  • Look in the Mirror.  What makes you stand out? If you don't know ask a friend. You don't need a long list of differentiators, just a couple of things will do.  It doesn't have to be hot and sexy to hang your hat on it either.  What may seem mundane to you is interesting to others.
  • Make it Authentic - I know you are tired of hearing this word but there are times when it just works.  You need to make sure your messages are true to who you are.  That makes it easier to come up with ideas and you don't run the risk of losing someone's trust if they find out that you really weren't Miss America 2007.
  • Claim It - Don't be afraid to plant the flag and claim your territory.  I've worked with companies that never claim their position and regret it later.  Staking a claim tells your potential customer what to expect. Companies who wait to stake a claim often find out that ideal potential customers can't find them or that a competitor has claimed their ground.
  • Define a Purpose - Your communication needs a purpose whether its sales collateral, a website, social media or even a simple blog.  The purpose of my blog is to help potential clients as well we those who are considering public relations know how I think and what they can expect from working with me.  
  • Do It - This is the most difficult step. So many people are afraid to try to communicate. So much has changed in the past 10 years. Communication has turned into two-way street where you communicate directly with customers and influencers. Your customers expect to hear from you. Take an hour and write a blog post, a few minutes to answer questions on LinkedIn,  a few seconds to compose a Tweet. 
  • And Always Be Yourself - The most important part of communication. Don't get bogged down with the details and making every stroke and phrase perfect.  Its okay to let people know you and your company.  If you are being authentic, then what you write will be well received. 
Okay, now you've decided to communicate and need to know how.  I'll follow this blog up with Using Your Voice next week.  In the meantime, I'll catch you on Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogger,, Facebook......and maybe in person if we are lucky.