Build a Successful Business Development ProgramWe are on day two of The Content Secret to Closing More Clients bootcamp and already everyone is having fun and learning a ton.

Even for those who can’t attend live, I’m getting messages at all hours of the day and night with questions and thought-provoking ideas.

Yesterday, we began to set the foundation for how to build a proactive business development program.

One that will generate qualified leads, close more clients, and make you more money…while you sleep.

And today we’re going to start to build on that foundation by beginning an owned media plan.

If you’re not already signed up, I highly recommend you do so.

The recordings will be available until Sunday evening, so you have time to catch up.

Business Development Must Be Proactive

When we pulled together the data from the 2017 State of the Independent PR Pro survey, we found most of you rely on word-of-mouth or referrals to keep yourselves afloat.

In fact, 42 percent of you said you just don’t have time to focus on proactive business development.

Which, as you well know, leads to feast or famine.

And that’s not good.

There is only one way to get off the hamster wheel and predict your income and growth: Build a proactive business development program.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the things we need to do to be successful and grow our businesses.

We Need to Get Our Names Out There

In the early years of my business, we had a managing supervisor who is, hands down, one of the best communicators I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.

She is smart.

She is savvy.

And she is always right (which, admittedly, led to some issues for my fragile and inexperienced ego).

She used to tell me we HAD to start applying for awards, paying attention to the PR trade publications, and doing our own PR.

I remember saying to her:

But clients don’t want to know we’re working on ourselves when we should be working on them.

Sound familiar?

As it turns out, she was right.

You can’t attract new clients if no one knows who you are and what you do.

Which leads us to the next challenge.

We Need to Walk Our Talk

Ironically, especially in today’s social media world, people  won’t hire agencies to do work they don’t see them doing for themselves.

Let that sink in for a moment.

I know many of you are probably thinking that’s unfair.

That other professionals aren’t held to the same standards.

  • We don’t expect a surgeon to have operated on herself, right?
  • But, on the other hand, would you pay someone who was out of shape to act as your professional trainer?
  • Or hire an accountant who had filed for bankruptcy numerous times?
  • Or have a hair stylist whose hair you hated?

PR firms have historically been notorious for being the shoemaker’s children when it comes to doing our own PR.

But now it’s a necessity.

It’s also one of the best ways to distinguish yourself from the regional offices of the mega agencies you may be competing with for business.

We Need to Compete for Top Talent

PR professionals are in demand, and it’s no longer an employer’s market.

Your potential hires and current employees are being courted by startups, Fortune 500s, and not just other PR firms, but digital, advertising, and integrated agencies every week.

You need to project and manage your agency’s reputation within the industry as an ethical, creative, and innovative workplace to position your firm as a place where a talent PR professional can grow their career.

We Need to Navigate the Shifting Media Landscape

These days that means having backup plan upon backup plan for gaining media and influencer attention and sharing our messages as the media landscape shifts.

We truly have to do the work for ourselves that we do for our clients.

Just like our clients want a waterfall of interviews, stories, Q&As, features, and more, we are pros at creating this for ourselves.

We just have to do it.

Creating Content in a Vacuum

That said, many of you aren’t getting any traction with your own media relations.

In some cases, it’s due to a lack of making this a business development priority.

But in others, it’s due to not taking a strategic approach to content.

In fact, the 2017 Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs survey data shows only 37 percent of B2B marketers and 40 percent of B2C marketers have a documented content strategy.

That’s a lot of communicators creating content in a vacuum.

Content that takes a ton of time and resources to create, and is highly unlikely to help you reach your business goals.

But if you learn how to integrate your owned and earned media activities, they will support one another to build your credibility, and help you meet real business results.

You’ll be doing more than just racking up social media followers or video views.

Nanna Nanna Nah. Nanna Nanna Nah. Hey, Hey, Hey Goodbye.

It’s time to say goodbye to random acts of PR.

It’s time to increase your website’s domain authority and visibility in the search engines.

When you do your own PR, you will show up on the first page of Google results.

You will have qualified leads coming directly to you.

And that is how you attract and retain the best clients and employees.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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