Increasing your visibility at ASTC (NSW) 2014

I’m attending the annual conference of the Australian Society for Technical Communication (NSW), ASTC (NSW) 2014. These are my session notes from the conference. All credit goes to the presenter, and any mistakes are mine. I’m sharing these notes on my blog, as they may be useful to other technical communicators. Also, I’d like to let others know of the skills and knowledge so generously shared by the presenter.

Adrienne Mclean presented a session titled, “Increase your visibility – 6 ways to promote yourself”. The session looks at marketing: ideas and ways to promote yourself, that you can use in the workplace and as a small business owner.

There are more than 2 million small businesses in Australia. How do you make yourself stand out? Here’s an overview of the presentation:

  • Why businesses need to innovate
  • Marketing principles
  • 6 marketing approaches
  • How to stay connected with your audience
  • The 4 step process for implementation

The presentation was primarily targeted at small business owners, but Adrienne emphasised at the start that these techniques are applicable in the workplace too.

Innovation

Adrienne talked about some businesses that have shown innovation. McDonalds diversified from the plain hamburger. IBM from hardware to software. Apple is know for its innovation, says Adrienne. Innovation is important in marketing, as well as products and services.

Marketing principles

Think about these questions:

  • Who do you serve? Who is the target customer? Adrienne uses a marketing system called Book yourself Solid.
  • What do you help your customers do? You need to be clear about this, so that you can fine tune your offerings.
  • What do you stand for, and what makes your business so important?

Define your message. People want to know who you serve, what you stand for and what you will help them do. This is what people are looking for when they come to your website. The clearer and more concise your message is, the more likely your customers are to interact with you.

Be yourself, so that you can be passionate about what you do and so that you can let your clients know this.

6 marketing strategies

What we’ve already looked at forms the foundation. Now the 6 core strategies come into play.

  • Networking is the core of any business. It’s mandatory, says Adrienne. Use a CRM system, such as Contractually (which Adrienne uses) to keep track of contacts and to share information. Introduce people to each other.
  • Outreach is also mandatory: go out and look for people who may be able to help you. For example, you may be looking for quality assurance coordinators. Find out the names of some people at the Australian Bureau of Standards. Link to them on LinkedIn. Find someone else who knows them, and get them to introduce you. For example, for this presentation Adrienne looked for people who might want to sell their services. She made connections with people who are now interested in seeing the presentation. The lead time may be quite long.Adrienne met someone in April, which resulted in a presentation booking at the end of October.
  • Asking people for referrals is another mandatory activity. Be proactive. Ask the people you know or meet to refer you to someone else. The “gang of five” is a technique where a group of 5 people are associated with each other, although they all do different things. They refer each other for relevant roles.
  • Speaking is not mandatory, but is a wonderful way of getting your business known. It’s one-to-many whereas networking is one-to-one. Think about video as an interesting channel. You’re speaking one-on-one (typically, only one person looks at the video at a time) but it’s one-to-many in that it reaches many people. Embed your videos on your website. They’re a great way for people to get to know you and get a picture of you and your business. It’s a way of building rapport with people. Adrienne talked us through some presentation skills, such as confidence, rehearsing, knowing your audience, and more. Adrienne uses the Speaker’s Training Camp program, which focuses on steak (the content), sizzle (what makes the topic important) and style (the way the presenter presents). This program is similar to ToastMasters, but for presentations. Look at ReelSEO for enormous amounts of information and content around video marketing. Adrienne talked through the benefits of video marketing, including the increase in likelihood of purchase by 1.8%, and a more than 50% increase in views of press releases.
  • Writing is particularly applicable to technical writers. Write articles relevant to our world of technical writing. Perhaps specific “how to” tips on tech writing, or wider topics such as writing for business, how to prepare eBooks, the process of putting a novel together, writing for small business.
  • The Web – use it to post videos and articles. Find the social media platforms that work for you: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and so on. Choose one or two social media platforms that work for you, and post regularly there. Adrienne compared LinkedIn to the yellow pages. She posted an update on LinkedIn and got 1100 views. This would not happen in the Yellow Pages, she says. Also, the social media are international.

Staying connected

Find ways to stay connected with the people you serve. Social media, mentioned above, are very useful here. You’ll see what people are doing in your world. Writing is a way of building your credibility, and you can post it on social media to show yourself as an expert in your field.

Write newsletters. Use an email marketing system like Mail Chimp. Produce promotional videos and how to tips and put them on YouTube – it’s the second-largest search engine now. Produce webinars or Google Hangouts. The hangout can be videod, which you can then edit and publish on YouTube. You can screenshare on Google+. Write articles and put them into eBooks. Books are the best business card. Self publishing is a valuable technique in marketing. Most professional speakers have a book and vidoes.

Implementation in 4 steps

We ran out of time, so Adrienne just mentioned these 4 steps:

  • Planning
  • Practice
  • Presentation
  • Promotion

Conclusion

Thanks Adrienne for a gentle and persuasive introduction to marketing yourself.

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 18 October 2014, in ASTC and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Love it! Sound thinking, human approach.

  2. Absolutely useful and clever advices, thanks for sharing ’em, I’m going to give it a try in my 3d printing related start-up project!

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