In today’s digital era going viral is not impossible and in fact it is happening more and more frequently as new media has become more popular than traditional media. It is a fascinating occurrence which is, more often than not, unpredictable and this is what makes it so exciting. If we were able to measure or predict the ability to go viral too much it would lose its essence and that sense of collective enthusiasm. Brands and media outlets try to tap into this sensation and if done correctly it works but if forced down people’s throats it can come across as inauthentic. The beauty of “viral sensations” is that they are usually just normal people (sometimes influencers who already know what their audience wants) who share content at the right moment on social media.
In this video I offer some guidance on how you can deal with going viral and what you should do to capitalise on your moment in the spotlight. Going viral does not guarantee long benefits unless you are willing to do the work and remember that you have to learn how to handle the sudden fame that comes with going viral. You don’t have to necessarily hire a publicist but you should definitely consider investing in media training. I made this video so that when the news cycles move on you have strategies and steps to ensure that you can take advantage of your “15 minutes of online fame”:
Here are a few recent viral clips that have lead to some exciting opportunities and exposure for the people involved.
This adorable video of Zoe Turner trying to speak to get Alexa to play her favourite song “Baby Shark” and it soon went viral across social media and achieved plenty of press coverage:
Osh with “My Yé Is Different To Your Yé” has had extensive media coverage from a viral clip that was posted on his instagram (which has since been removed) and might even end up with a music contract. Who knows? This twitter post suggests that the future is bright:
Having been in PR for so long, I have had more potential clients than I can count. In fact if all of the people who approached me to undertake their PR actually became my clients I would be a millionaire by now! It is exciting to receive interest in my work but there does come a point when becomes frustrating. Why? Because all too often prospects are simply not prepared when they approach PR agency or want to hire a publicist with regards to knowing what it is they really want.
If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur here are just a few questions that you should be asking before you approach anyone to undertake your PR. The same applies if you are a creative you might need to assess whether you understand the difference between an agent vs a publicist for example.
Do you actually know what Public Relations is? I know this might sound simple but it still surprises me that so few people have a basic understanding of what public relations is. I have written pieces and even made videos about public relations so I won’t explain it here again but I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to gain an understanding of PR. Once you understand what it is then you will be clear about how it can make an impact in your business or even on your own personal brand on a strategic level.
Do you have a budget? Publicists and PR agencies are not free to hire, they charge money, you might wonder why I have written this but you would be surprised how many requests to undertake free work I have received in the past. So before you approach a publicist please set aside some funds ready to assign their services, this means that you will need to do some research and compare and contrast. Be respectful of time and capacity, if you really want to work with an agency but they are out of your budget you will need to be mindful of how you choose to negotiate with them, think about how you would want someone to negotiate with you with regards to pricing. Also do not judge an agency on price alone, you really need to dig deep and check to see if the publicist you want to pay will be the best value for you. That means different things to different people and it does not just boil down to cost alone, it can be reflected in your overall experience of working with them and how they engage with you, what further value do they add to your business? Above all else be ready to invest in a quality service so have a budget ready.
Have you done your background research? I have a very good business website and yet people will still contact me with questions that could easily be answered if they just took 10-15 minutes to browse through my business website and even business social media pages. It saves so much time and prevents awkward moments if you do as much background research on the PR agency or publicist that you are looking to engage with as possible. This also means reading testimonials and paying attention to how they work which will enable you to see if they might work well with you. After you have done your research then of course send that email, make that call and if you need to; request a meeting. This also works even if a PR agency or publicist approaches you or pitches to you for your business, make sure you undertake the necessary research to see if they will be a good fit for you before you proceed.
Can you do the PR yourself? This might seem strange but realistically you might not have the money to pay a retainer (or even a one off fee) to hire a publicist. That does not mean that you should take PR less seriously, in fact if that is the case then you need to learn how to do your own PR and take it just as seriously as if you were hiring an external party. If you have a team then you should try to include the team in the strategic PR plans of the business. Attend seminars, business books, eGuides or book affordable consultation sessions which will empower you to do your own PR.
Is your business ready to incorporate PR? I believe that all businesses should have PR as part of their business plans, from pre-launch to the every day management of the business. Have an internal and external communications plans, understand media relations, have a crisis communications strategy in place before a crisis happens and more – if you really want to make an impact with PR. However there are a few factors that businesses much keep in mind when it comes to readiness to incorporate public relations. A very good example is the media relations aspect of PR which many small businesses and start-ups use to enhance credibility and increase brand awareness. If a business is not ready internally with solid logistics and infrastructure when they receive major media coverage they might not be prepared for any sudden spikes in orders. This could have a negative impact on a brand, particularly in the social media age in which customers and clients can amplify mistakes leading to a PR disaster. So really take the time to think about whether your business is ready.
I understand that hiring any service provider can be a big investment and so it really is important to take the time to prepare yourself before you consider hiring a publicist so that you don’t waste your time and theirs. Hopefully these questions will help you make the right choices so that your business and brand continue to thrive.
One of the most powerful PR tactics that an entrepreneur/business founder can use when undertaking a public relations campaign is public speaking. Aside from boosting your personal brand visibility, by allowing you to share your expertise becoming a confident public speaker enables you to build your own influence and solidifies your relationship with an audience, who in turn can become “micro brand ambassadors” by sharing their experience after listening to your talk. The impact that regular public speaking has on strengthening credibility and enhancing public image is something that is all too often underestimated. There are a number of reasons why this might be the case; fear of public speaking, uncertainty in brand values, inexperience or lack of awareness of where to start. Fear is a serious progress blocker and it stops us from doing some of the very things that are best for us. It is natural to feel nervous about speaking in front of groups of people, large or small but we must not let those fears stop us from moving forward. As the saying goes “feel the fear and do it anyway” – use the energy of fear to push you towards your goals.
Here are some tips on how you can become a confident public speaker and start using your voice to make an impact:
Start from wherever you are – either at team meetings, during board meetings or even at home. Challenge yourself to speak up in spaces in which you would normally not feel comfortable doing so. That is not to say that you should just speak for the sake of it, anything you say should add value to the conversation/meeting but through developing a habit of speaking in front of people, even small groups your confidence will grow.
Work on your story
Before you can step onto any stage you need to know your story, not just your own personal story (of which you should have already created a bio for) but your business story. Know the “why?”, “how?”, “where?”, “who?” behind your business. Create a compelling narrative that highlights your expertise but also enamors the audience. This is not about being fake or copying anyone else’s style, this is about being bold in the way you speak about your brand story. Try to be original too – when you tell your story, give your speech or presentation try to make it memorable – that could mean sharing an anecdote, using humour (tactfully) or encouraging audience participation. Learn the art of being yourself and you will become a truly confident public speaker.
Know your subject matter
If you will be speaking on industry themes, make sure that you research and stay on track of what is happening in your sector. So if you’re a food entrepreneur make sure you know about what is hot in the food sector, if you’re in fashion understand market trends, if you’re in tech keep up to date with the drivers in tech and so on. Don’t stop learning, the more you read fact based resources the more confident you will be as a public speaker and subject matter expert. Remember that this does not mean that you have to be perfect, just know your stuff!
The worse thing you can do is get on stage and try to copy anyone else’s style. You can watch other people’s speeches for inspiration and to learn the art of stage presence, timing and body language but when it comes to delivery you have to be yourself. Being authentic means that you will relax and give off the best energy on stage. Be yourself, that is the best way to build your confidence as a public speaker.
Look for opportunities to speak
Sometimes the very thing you are waiting for is actually waiting for you. A good example of this of this is the Tedx initiative, local TedTalks that you can apply to take part in. You don’t have to wait for TedTalks to come to you! If that stage is too big for you or you don’t feel ready then consider approaching other events, introduce yourself to event facilitators in your industry. There are so many to choose from and there is absolutely nothing wrong with sending an introductory note letting an event co-ordinator know that you would be willing to speak for them. If all else fails why not consider hosting your own event? It might take more planning and time but it’s worth it!
Don’t allow the fear to stop you.
It is inevitable that you will be nervous, especially if you’re new to public speaking but you are worthy and capable of speaking publicly. Don’t let the fear that you feel deny you of your right to shine brightly! Watch this video to help you get over the fear of public speaking:
Once you can conquer the fear you will find that you start to enjoy the opportunities that are offered to you and you are more likely to say yes when invited to speak. If you want to work on those nerves undertake some confidence boosting activities which can include giving a speech as a social gathering like a party or wedding. Be daring and ask for feedback from colleagues and friends, positive reinforcement is a real confidence booster (but don’t become too reliant on this otherwise you may miss opportunities to learn and grow).
Be of value
One of the most powerful things that you can do as a public speaker is to be of value to the audience. This means leaving them with something that they did not have before hearing you speak, teaching them something and leaving them with a message that lingers. Do not simply regurgitate your life story without turning it into a life lesson. As a public speaker you can add value to the lives of the audience. This also works even if you are chairing a panel for example, you can direct questions that brings the best out of panelists. So remember to always think about the value you will be adding to the audience through your speech or presentation.
Hopefully this piece has helped you, when you start undertaking speaking engagements make sure you promote the events at which you will speak, share images and testimonials from any events that you speak at and keep momentum going by seeking new opportunities or maintaining your visibility enough to attract them.