5 Ways to Sidestep Common Storytelling Pitfalls

by Angela Kambarian, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Dear savvy business professional,

While storytelling is one of the most important marketing strategies, it is not always easy to implement. Inundating your audience with facts, figures and statistical data may bore them to tears. And if you think dry chronology or hyped language will save the day, think again.

But here is the great news. You can win your readers over with a captivating well-thought-out story and win more trust, more business and more fans. In fact, storytelling is an ideal tool for Public Relations and marketing and serves as a better and more reliable alternative to dry data, charts and statistics.

Winning the battle for attention is no easy feat. Let’s face it: there is a myriad of entertainment options available and crafting a business story to promote a product or service doesn’t always measure up. Besides, most people are swamped, overwhelmed or cynical and highly reluctant to peruse your tale, no matter how intriguing.

To help you overcome creative setbacks, I came up with a few tactics to sidestep common storytelling pitfalls and get noticed in a crowded marketplace.

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1. It is NOT always about YOU

Here is what I know for a fact: mediocre “run-of-the-mill” stories are focused on businesses while great stories are about people. Every story needs a hero. This may come as a big surprise, but oftentimes the most interesting hero could be a low-level employee or even a customer. Intuit and Hubspot both do a great job celebrating their core customers (i.e. small businesses) in their storytelling. Also, there is Slack’s Variety Pack podcast championing the workers themselves who happen to be the end users of its product.

2. Don’t confuse emotion with hype.

When a writer is facing the dreaded writer’s block and struggles to come up with a fascinating narrative, he/she may eventually resort to a bunch of empty adjectives or chest-beating messages to spice it up a bit. Sadly, the writer ends up with very little substance and a mediocre story that may undermine trust and deter some prospects. Mark Twaine famously wrote: “When you catch an adjective, kill it”. Therefore, when it comes to adjectives and “action verbs”, don’t get carried away. Keep in mind that less is more and a more precise word will beat a vague one anytime.

3. Thinking about incorporating chronology? Forget about it.

A lot of people have the urge to start at the very beginning and present a chronological narrative. The only problem is, it can be so insanely boring, lengthy and complex. Let me assure you, there is a better way to get your message across. When promoting a business, pretend you are making a 30-second video. Lead off with a pivotal moment. For example, you may tell about the founder of your company trying to solve a common problem, such as how to dress well without breaking the bank (Rent The Runway). You can also describe a “new” idea” providing instant 24/7 availability to software (Saleforce.com). In other words, everything should revolve around those intense moments that become obvious in retrospect. You can start in the middle, then fill in the blanks.

4. Don’t leave out the rough edges

There is a tendency in business storytelling to sugarcoat anything negative or embarrassing. Guess what: some high-growth tech entrepreneurs tend to be more transparent about their setbacks, obstacles or failures. That’s something most large companies try to avoid and choose NOT to dwell on their weaknesses, mistakes or miscalculations. Contrary to what you might think, these are the very developments that make a narrative more real, and thus, more compelling. There is power in admitting you are not perfect – something everyone can relate to.

5. Steer clear of tired old cliches

When it comes to effective storytelling, you should break the cliche habit and focus on high-stakes moments. I am talking about early failures, internal or external conflicts, business threats or challenges. But what if those moments are already well-known or simply don’t exist? Here is what I recommend. Why don’t you alter the point of view or try an analogy? Take software testing. It’s a commodity but there is an art to it.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Main Reasons NOT to Clean Your Email List

by Angela Kambarian, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Dear savvy business professional:

As you may know, the conventional wisdom has long been to zap people from your email list if they have never responded to any of your messages, offers or newsletters over the course of the last 6 months…especially if they have not opened any of your emails within that time.

So should you or should you not “obliterate” them from your digital rolodex? See my thoughts on this below.

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Contrary to popular belief, inactive subscribers are not worthless. Far from it! According to the MailChimp study, not every inactive subscriber will remain dormant and, believe it or not, may eventually take action – even after a year or several years of being invisible. In fact, evidence suggests that on average about one-third of online revenues from your e-list will come from inactive subscribers. What it means is that these folks DO have real value and should stay in your system until they opt out. By the way, keeping the inactives on your list is relatively cheap and inactives are at least 26% more likely to make a deal with you or make a purchase.

Here is what one prominent marketer had to say about inactives: ” If someone raises their hand in terms of going to a workshop or seeing me, we keep them on our newsletter until they cry uncle or die. We get a few new clients a year that have been on that list for years. There is gold in unconverted leads.” Well…I couldn’t agree more with  him.

That being said, some business professionals seem to be in favor of purging inactives simply because they are convinced that having a lot of them on their list may hurt their delivery rate. Is it true?? Well, yes and no 🙂

There are two types of services providing email delivery.

The first includes vendors such as Bronto or Constant Contact who charge you more for a bigger list and make more money from clients with larger lists. Therefore, they have absolutely no incentive to penalize you for having a big list.

The other category is services that give you an unlimited number of email distributions for a fixed monthly cost, such as shoppingcart. Since it costs them money to distribute and earns no extra to email to large lists, they do have a motive for actively encouraging you to drop inactive subscribers from your list. And some of them do so…

Still, I agree with the folks who maintain that there is gold in unconverted leads. Let me assure you that I am really not into throwing gold in the trash.

Here is another argument in favor of purging inactive subscribers. The main concern is that their non-responsiveness brings down your key metrics including click-through rate and open rate. If your open rate is below benchmark despite having consistently good content, there is probably some dead weight on your list. Keep in mind that low CTR and open rates are an issue only if you have a boss or client judging you by those numbers; if you are an entrepreneur with your own internet marketing business, the most crucial key metric to utilize is weekly gross sales. Simple as that. So  if you stick to your strategy of emailing to your inactives, it can boost what is arguably the most essential key performance indicator – your revenue.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to chatting with you.

 

 

 

 

3 Simple Ideas to Catapult Your Content and News Past the Noise

 

by Angela Kambarian, Founder of New York-Based Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

 

As the competitive landscape continues to heat up, business professionals are facing the challenge of constantly upgrading, improving and enhancing their communication skills; their roles as content creators or news sources have to evolve and they should always come up with new ways to capture attention or cement trust with their audiences.

It goes without saying that one of the best ways to build trust and increase your visibility is to put out valuable content – something interesting, intriguing and insightful to educate, engage and inspire your readers.

Here are three crucial tips to catapult your story past the noise and elevate your business to the next level.

Become an empathetic storyteller

As you already know, news fatigue and skepticism are on the rise among audiences. In fact, according to the 2019 C&S Sense & Sustainability Study, more than 50% of Americans do not fully trust businesses and seem to be unsure of their efforts to contribute to society. In addition, most folks are convinced that companies are doing a poor job communicating their messages.

So is there any remedy for that?

Oftentimes B2B content is full of facts,  figures and familiar corporate buzzwords. That’s what makes it flat, boring and forgettable and may potentially put some readers to sleep. You don’t want this to happen, do you? It’s okay to showcase some evidence and share statistical data with your audience. Just let people – not data, products or technology – be your storytellers. You may even feature star employees as subject matter experts whose hard work, creativity and dedication lift your company to success.

Don’t forget to incorporate customer or client testimonials into your story, to tout positive experiences with your business and demonstrate results. Keep in mind that third party testimonials can make all the difference in the world and transform your credibility. For obvious reasons! By the way, customers’ success stories may take the form of long-form video, social teaser, written story and other vehicles. Why don’t you spend some time brainstorming? See what you can come up with.

Use simple language

When it comes to communications, many businesses heavily rely on tech-speak and industry buzzwords. If that’s how you get your message across, it is essential that you upgrade your communication style and become fluent in both industry parlance and natural language. By the way, big changes in search engine technology have propelled the rise of business communication that is more natural and conversational.

Back in the day, many SEO copywriters would mainly focus on planting fancy, obscure or intricate keywords to boost their B2B site’s page ranks. But times have changed and these days results from “semantic searches” are more accurate simply because they are based on the content of a query or the meaning intended by the searcher.

Ready to become ‘YouTube star’? Step up your game

Let’s face it: YouTube Channels are increasingly being used to serve up B2B content. If you are determined to tap into this invaluable resource and get the most of it, avoid offering stale behind-the-scenes footage of your company or boring sales presentations that will get you nowhere. Why don’t you offer a fresh look at your business, its people, mission and ideas.

Are you working on a few different initiates focusing on diversity in the workplace? Are you contemplating an inclusion campaign emphasizing the growing presence of women in business? Are you taking steps to contribute to local communities or bring together local businesses?

Here is what I recommend. When considering YouTube’s capacity to attract viewers, try different video genres. You can produce mini-documentaries to share your culture or innovative ideas. You can also attract subscribers by offering a series of upbeat educational videos with colorful graphics that break down technical details in a way that informs and entertains.

Final thoughts:

No one would deny the fact that the media ecosystem has become more complex and audiences have grown more discerning. But in my opinion, these factors are shifting the advantage of toward B2B communicators, businesses and brands.

So with these three simple tips, business owners and business communicators can use their purposeful storytelling to connect with decision-makers, build trust and develop long standing relationships that matter the most. Good luck with your endeavors!

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to chatting with you.

 

 

 

 

A Few Steps for a Successful Podcast Launch

by Angela Kambarian, Founder of New York-Based Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Most folks would probably agree that “making a podcast” is one thing, while “making a successful podcast” is a totally different ballgame. One thing is for sure: the road to podcasting success is paved with challenges and your job is to figure out how to climb the mountain toward more fans, downloads and higher rankings which should help you tremendously with your business.

Here is the deal: In today’s fiercely competitive business environment, building credibility should be of the utmost importance. That certainly explains why so many business professionals are increasingly embracing podcasting and adding it to their marketing mix. It goes without saying that this is a great way to expand your outreach, position yourself as an industry leader and build trust with your prospects and existing clients. But doing something JUST for the sake of doing it or simply “f0llowing the herd” is not going to cut it. In fact, it may turn out to be a waste of time, energy and resources…and time is too valuable to waste.

So if you are ready to jump on the podcast wagon, step up your marketing game and do it right, here are a few simple tips to ensure you make the biggest splash possible and get noticed in a crowded marketplace.

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You Will Get Out of It What You Put In It

When it comes to podcasting, doing your homework is the step you shouldn’t skip. In fact, the more time and effort you invest in your research,the more likely you are to come up with interesting insights, draw attention to your program and stand out from the crowd. Besides, if something is created WITHOUT much thought or genuine purpose, it’s easy to quit and move on.

So what goes into launching a successful podcast? From coming up with a catchy title to selecting your recording devices, you should get your creative juices flowing and put a lot of thought into the process. By the way, do you know what your biggest competitors have been up to? And what makes YOUR podcast unique, interesting and compelling? Are there any new trends, developments and ideas you could share with your audience? Do you think you are well-equipped to educate your listeners and get them hooked? These are just some of the questions that will help you with the process.

Turn Your Podcast Launch into an Event

Celebrating the launch of your podcast is a smart way to make the initial splash and spark some interest. Once you put a great deal of effort, determination and creativity into your new venture, the next step is to attract the attention it deserves and “propel it forward”. After all, what can be worse than working incredibly hard to produce a program, only to remain invisible or fade into obscurity.

Build Excitement Ahead of Time

Figuring out how to turn your podcast into an exciting event is always worth your time. So give it as much thought as possible and build the buzz. I suggest you strategically put all the pieces in place in a way that will inspire curiosity, anticipation and excitement.

If you want to get the word out, set a specific launch date and notify all your contacts about your new undertaking. Don’t forget about the impact of a simple email — use this cost-effective tool to reach your ideal listeners and get your podcast into their inbox prior to launch by offering them a valuable resource.

Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Long-Term Allies

Creating a thriving podcast takes so much more than selecting a mike and recording your voice. Tap into your social media community it took you so long to cultivate and get the most of it. Your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook followers are your goldmine and an extension of the things that you like. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to bring them in as part of the excitement for your new venture.

Offer Sneak Peaks of Podcast Episodes

I think one of the best ways to pique some curiosity about your podcast is to share work-in-progress versions and encourage your audience to provide their feedback. In addition, you can share short, fifteen-second clips of your podcast leading up to your first episode. These actions will give your community a sense of the podcast with a short and sweet preview.

Take It to the Next Level with Sponsors

Once you set the wheels in motion and get your podcast rolling, the next step is to monetize the show so it can grow. Corporate sponsorships can help you fund the project, bring in more fans and make you a nice profit. With a strong following, sponsors might be willing to partner with the show to spread the word about their products or services. I suggest you pick the sponsors that resonate with listeners and appeal to their interests, goals and inspirations.

Keep the Buzz Going Post-Launch

Sadly, most podcasters tend to forget about the importance of the post-launch promotion. This could be one of the reasons why their launch is not as successful as it could’ve been. I strongly recommend you continue with promotion even if the launch date has passed. Let your email list know how it is going via a weekly newsletter and remind them of the upcoming episodes/guests/events. Furthermore, keep your “podcast tour” going by appearing as a guest on other podcasts and mentioning your own venture. Finally, make sure to ask your listeners for those 5-star reviews. Some people would be more than willing to give you a glowing review but may need a little call-to-action or incentive to take the time of their busy day to actually do it.

Final Thoughts:

With the advent of technology, podcasts are on the rise. In fact, podcasting is not only a great opportunity to share your expertise, thoughts and insights with your audience but also an opportunity to increase your profits. In addition to that, evidence suggests that oftentimes podcasting becomes a labor of love for many entrepreneurs.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to chatting with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Get Better at Delegating

by Angela Kambarian, Founder of New York-Based Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Dear savvy business professional,

What happens when your business starts to grow? Your free time starts shrinking. You feel exhausted and decision fatigue sets in… Eventually, you may come to a “sad” realization that you can’t handle everything yourself without compromising the quality of your work. Besides, keeping track of the minutiae of every project and handling every tiny detail may not only overwhelm you, but also preclude you from seeing the “big picture”, engaging in the big-scale thinking and doing the planning which is absolutely crucial to the growth of your company. At some point you may come to the conclusion that it’s time to assign the routine duties elsewhere while fully focusing on what you do best – building your business and moving your organization forward.

That being said, being a good delegator doesn’t always come naturally to many strong-willed business professionals. What a surprise! 🙂 So many of them are struggling to let go and are convinced that the risk of delegating may far outweigh the potential benefits. But delegating is a critical skill for any business leader to learn; it can dramatically increase productivity, result in the highest-quality work and boost revenues. Interestingly, evidence suggests that CEOs who delegate typically generate 33% greater revenue than those who do not.

Therefore, I decided to put together a few simple tips and tricks that will enable you to offhand certain tasks to your colleagues and keep your sanity. Take a look at the pointers below!

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1. Do it the SMART way

I suggest, initially you outline a few low-to-mid-level responsibilities that you can clearly articulate to your employees. Set deadlines and explain the tasks; just make sure you have realistic expectations and do NOT ask the impossible of your team member which may quickly become de-motivational. Think SMART – Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-Bound.

2. Select the right person for the job

It is important that the tasks you choose to delegate are based on your employee’s skills, strengths and talents. In fact, finding someone eager for more responsibility should make your first experience delegating easier.

3. Create clear instructions

Don’t be one of those leaders who just hand over tasks and assume the job will get done properly. It is YOUR responsibility to clearly articulate the procedures and make sure they sink in. At first it may seem like a hassle but, on the other hand, it’s  worth your effort and it’s an investment that will pay back many times over. In addition, come up with a specific time frame and decide how progress will be measured.

4. Keep track of progress

When it comes to delegating, monitoring results and following up is part of the game. Check in now and then…just to see if the employee is on track or has any questions. Keep in mind that providing feedback is one of the most essential aspects of the delegation process, and it works BOTH ways. If the employee does a great job, let him or her know by publicly acknowledging their input and praising success. Alternatively, if they fall short, don’t be afraid to provide constructive criticism.

5. Take a step back

While you should be available for guidance and lend authority as needed, refrain from micro-managing or taking over. You don’t have to outline EXACTLY how you would do it. Let your team member exercise some freedom, show the initiative and get creative. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

By the way, one well-known business leader maintains that delegating is a learning process. It takes courage to let go of that control and put more faith in your team members. Delegating may take some time…however, in the long run assigning certain tasks to your subordinates will enable you to build and motivate your team, create more leaders and ultimately result in a well-run business that can survive even during your absences. It’s not just about offloading your work; it can actually deliver tangible benefits in terms of business growth.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to chatting with you.

 

 

 

 

How to Use PR in the Sales Process

by Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Oftentimes, converting a sales lead into a customer or a client is a challenge. What’s more, it is not always easy to get ANY type of response from your prospects – be it good or bad. It typically doesn’t occur to sales and marketing teams to incorporate PR activities into the sales process precluding them from closing deals and boosting profits. In fact, it’s a big mistake which may result in missed opportunities.

Simply put, if your sales team isn’t utilizing earned media to move your prospects through each stage of the sales funnel, then you are neglecting the full potential of your communication efforts.

The capabilities PR provides in the context of the sales cycle include some of the following:

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1.Serving as a valuable resource for your prospects, providing some of the latest updates, insights and tips outside of sales.

2. Offering crucial recommendations on how to clearly communicate your messages to various audiences.

3. Acting as a proactive information resource to elevate your company’s stature in the industry – from pointing out industry awards to gaining recognition from industry influencers to becoming a trusted source on the latest industry trends and developments.

Being proactive can make all the difference in the world

Your company should rigorously seek to secure media coverage. When good things happen, don’t keep them to yourself. Go ahead and share the news. If you sit back or rest on your laurels for too long, it is highly unlikely that your prospects will beat a path to your doors.

In addition, make sure to take full advantage of social media. It is essential that you keep your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social channels current. This way you will attract more followers, drive more traffic to your website and potentially become a go-to resource.

Earned media hits are excellent conversation starters with prospects and could be leveraged in so many different ways.  For example if you choose to distribute a monthly newsletter to your target audience, email marketing that mentions your most recent placement goes a long way to keep your company competitive and top of mind, while your prospects are considering purchasing your offerings.

What I have found from years of experience is that significant benefits accrue when PR is integrated into a sales strategy. In fact, it can facilitate an interactive environment that prospects tend to view as informative rather than too sales-y or intrusive.

At a time when prospective clients or customers have access to a myriad of information, options and suggestions, PR serves as an added dose of stickiness and trust. According to one marketing guru, “sales still reels in the catch but PR provides the irresistible bait.”

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to chatting with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Content Creators

by Angela Kambarian

Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

As you may already know, content creation has become one of the most essential aspects of a marketing and Public Relations strategy. Sadly, very few business professionals are capable of developing riveting content that educates, informs and inspires their readers. Why? It could be due to a lack of time, expertise or creative ideas, among other things. Most folks are fully focused on what they do best, with very little energy left for writing, marketing or PR activities.

So what does it take to become a savvy content creator? What is the best way to establish yourself as an industry leader in your field and take your competition by storm?

In a nutshell, content creators produce a wide variety of entertaining or educational materials that bring value to their new and existing clients. This content can take many different forms including (but not limited to) infographics, images, blog posts, videos, ebooks, etc.

Whether you choose to develop content on your own or hire a content marketing team, there are some tried-and-true methods that can help you engage your audience and dramatically improve your reputation. While miracles do not happen and your skills may not improve overnight, the sooner you embrace the right habits and techniques listed below, the sooner you will be on your way to becoming a high-quality content creator.

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  1. Try to devote some time to writing on a regular basis

If you don’t use it, you lose it. Simple as that. Therefore, I suggest you get in the habit of writing – every day or every other day. Of course I am not talking about a highly-detailed and polished 2000-word essay on an industry-specific topic. I am talking about setting aside about 10-20 minutes just to jot down some of your thoughts and ideas. Doing so should help you work through ideas that might be cluttered in your head and potentially identify nuggets that could transform into successful strategies. Without a doubt, it’s worth the effort.

2. Identify your own voice

Are you the only one providing advice, writing articles and sharing your insights? Obviously not. Your job is to figure out how to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Diversifying into a new content medium, promoting your content on different channels and gaining trust are just some of the things you can do to set yourself apart. How are you and your organization different from others? What can you incorporate into your story that nobody else can? How would you define your personal voice? Here is what I want you to know: Readers click on your content for the information, but they come back for the personality.

3. Pay attention to your key performance indicators (KPIs)

Here is the deal: Just because you publish content online doesn’t mean you will get all the traffic your story deserves. To get your content discovered, you need to focus in on a key performance indicator and optimize your content for it. KPI is a metric you have chosen to measure how well your content is doing against your expectations. Please note that KPIs include social media traffic, direct traffic to your website, the number of visitors who use search engines, or the number of people who submit their contact information in exchange for your articles (a form of lead generation).

4. Offer solutions, not just commentary

For successful content creators, expertise isn’t everything. If you want your readers to remember your content, don’t just recite the things you know – explain why they are important and what your audience can take away from it. They are not interested in just hearing you talk. Your job is to help them solve a problem and put your market observations into terms they can understand and learn from.

5. Play devil’s advocate

As a savvy content creator, you should get in the habit of questioning the status quo. Taking the contrarian view of a piece of content can be difficult at first, but if you start to question why the author thinks this way and what happened in the industry that triggered this point of view, you will begin to think more critically about the content you are consuming. By the way, critical thinkers usually make great content creators!

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to chatting with you.