If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Another way to position the general topic of the riddle is: Can something exist without being perceived? For the sake of argument, and this article, let’s just say that the answer to the riddle is no.
If sound is only sound when a person hears it, in order for an organization, company or individual to “exist” in the eyes of others, it has to make a sound. In other words, you need to get the word out about who you are, what you are doing, what your benefit is and where you can be found. Otherwise, no one is going to hear you.
You may have the best deal in town or be an expert in a particular field or offer a superb service, but if you don’t publicize it, then how will others know about it?
The first thing that comes to mind to most is to advertise, but that may not be appropriate for your line of business or may be cost-prohibitive to carry out effectively. So, how do you make a sound? The old-fashioned way: You walk, talk and announce.
Here are a few ways to let people know about your product — be it your organization, company or profession:
- Develop a simple website that provides information about your company, your qualifications and areas of expertise. Write articles that are related to your line of business and submit them for publication or post them on your website or blog.
- Start an e-newsletter and send it to clients and prospects on a regular basis. Provide them with useful tips and updates on your business.
- Create an identifiable logo and/or stationery that represent your business.
- Get involved in various business and civic organizations and get on at least one committee. Get to know the people in the organization. Position yourself as an expert in your area of business by seeking speaking engagements through business/civic/trade associations and organizations that may be interested in what you have to say.
- Network, network, network. Every person you meet — whether it is at a business or social event — is a potential client. Your business can’t grow if you don’t network. Let people know what you do and “talk shop” with anyone willing to listen. Make sure that you always have a business card handy. Also, follow up with the people you network with by e-mail or using a handwritten note.
- Finally, don’t be shy about what you’ve achieved. Publicize your accomplishments, including speaking engagements, appointments, awards and honors, new products and services, and so on.
Unlike traditional advertising, these public relations steps will help you build relationships that will either turn into direct business or referrals. Though each item may seem obvious, it is the synergy and consistency of “walking, talking and announcing” that will help you make a sound. While an ad in the paper can gain you instant recognition, it can’t substitute for third-party verification and it can’t build a reputable reputation. Only you can do that by making a sound and leaving an impression. Do these things on a regular basis and you can ensure a steady flow of business for your company.
Janice B. Gonzalez is the president and CEO of JBG Communications, a full-service marketing advertising and public relations firm that specializes in strategic marketing. In 2010, she honored by the Coral Gables chamber of commerce as a Business Woman of the Year finalist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.