How to Write Your Elevator Pitch

When it comes to making a strong impression, it normally happens within the first two minutes of your presentation or delivery. The first piece of your presentation – otherwise known as your elevator pitch – is the most important element to announcing your business or brand. Today, video content is critical to your brand’s performance in its respective industry. This means that elevator pitches are moving from the boardroom floor to the digital screens.

A strong brand video can help present your brand, but it is most important to be able to stand out among the influx of video content. This comes down to your opening lines – the elevator pitch. Your elevator pitch should be short and sweet but very effective. It only takes two-to-three sentences to get your point across and should take about 15 – 30 seconds to deliver. Since you have a limited amount of time to make a considerable impression, it’s important that you have all of the elements for success in your two sentence elevator pitch for your video marketing strategy.

The first thing you need to do is understand the elevator pitch and its impact. A strong elevator pitch explains your brand and/or business and its purpose right from the beginning. It provides the listener, whether that is a potential investor or future employers, with a clear understanding of who you are, what you do and why it is important. This can be used to introduce your business to potential clients and customers as well.

Here are a few essential pieces to the elevator pitch puzzle:

Identify Yourself and Your Business – Like any introduction, it’s important to make it clear from the beginning who you are and what you represent.
Provide Your Purpose – Make it clear why your there and what you came to deliver. What is it that you do and why does that matter?
Point Out The Problem – If your brand is to be considered valuable, it is critical that it addresses an issue or tackles something that other people can relate to as well.
You Are The Solution – This is where you can lay it on heavy; your time to shine! Make sure you point out two or three key points that make you a valuable asset and solution to the aforementioned problem. Tell your story on how your experience and knowledge make you a valuable contributor.
Close Out Strong – There are many ways you can close out the conversation. Some suggest using a question to turn the conversation to your audience. Others say to make sure you put your own personal spin on your closing. This might be a mantra or slogan that represents you or your brand.

One of the best ways to develop your own personal elevator pitch is to watch other elevator pitches and see what works well and what doesn’t work well. Entrepreneur has an online video season of elevator pitches for brands and individuals. This is a great way to look at other quick elevator pitches and what key pieces of information to include in your opening sentences.

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What constitutes credibility?

What constitutes credibility?

I can firsthand attest to the fact that one of the greatest challenges for young entrepreneurs to gain success is the big bold red stamp veteran peers tend to place on them that claims “Lack Of Credibility”. In most cases, it takes a little bit of time for people to build a brand that their consumers believe and trust in, even when that includes personal branding. When I first embarked on my path as a free-lance publicists a few years ago, it was a constant battle having to prove my credibility without simply showing them my resume. But as an advocate for young entrepreneurs and small businesses, I am always looking to provide opportunity for startups that may not have the notoriety that comes along with well-known brand names. There are a number of small startups and entrepreneurs who do a great job at what they do, but still struggle to maintain their foundation due to this ‘lack of credibility’. So it brought me to a question: What actually constitutes credibility?

Pomp and Circumstance – That pricey piece of paper (AKA Degree) that so many people associate with a sense of prestige is normally one of the first ‘signs’ some people look at when evaluating a person’s credibility. It takes a level of dedication and commitment to finish four (or five, six, eight) years of additional schooling, so this is supposed to directly correlate to your credibility and work performance. Eh, well I’m sure there are plenty of people who wish they could have the chance to reevaluate the credibility of Apple genius Steve Jobs. In fact, there are a number of successful entrepreneurs who lack that flimsy piece of paper elegantly framed next to their mahogany wood and Pledge polished workspace. That’s right! People making MILLIONS without dishing out THOUSANDS for a college degree, an acceptable form of credibility according to society. I am not discrediting the importance of an education, although the American education institutions are not designed for everyone to succeed. What I am saying is that disputing a person’s level of skill and credibility by whether they dished out enough money and avoided life’s distractions long enough to finish college is incredibly absurd.

Presentation – This one is kind of a no-brainer. If you aren’t taking the time to make sure you are properly and professionally presenting yourself and your brand/business, then why should anyone take time out to try to take you seriously?

Credibility is defined as the quality of being trusted and believed in.

When an aspiring rapper comes to me wearing tattered clothing, knock off luxury brands and gaudy plated chains all whilst rapping about his fame and fortune and his endless resources, I am most likely going to send him the opposite direction and tell him to completely reevaluate himself. Same thing goes for the rapper in his parent’s house rapping about selling dope and killing people while sipping green tea . Yeah, sorry, that’s not even remotely believable. It might be if you actually tried to play the part! Your business and brand work the same way. If your presentation is on point, and you actually carry yourself like you know exactly what you are doing, who is to say you have no credibility?!

Consistency – If everyone was forced to have the word “consistency” tattooed in the middle of their palm, I truly think the world would function as a better place. It is single-handedly the most important key to success. Branding without consistency is futile. Your presentation, your product and your mission should all be consistent. Your performance, of course, should be seen as consistent. Even for the serial entrepreneur starting business venture after business venture, it is critical that each endeavor you start on proves consistent from start to finish. If you are continuously ‘starting over’ but not following through with consistency to your brand and your consumers, your credibility is immediately struck in the consumers eyes. You want to provide the impression that everything you touch will turn to gold! That is the kind of promise your customers want to see.

Reputation – Word of mouth is the most effective form of advertisement. If it wasn’t, there would be a lot of publicists that would be out of a job. Although the hippie in me loves the coined phrase “Who cares what people think!?”, when establishing your credibility it is very important what people think. When looking for a product or service, how many of you take to the internet to read through those reviews? My hand is definitely raised. It’s so important to maintain a positive reputation in order to keep your credibility intact. Your reputation is a result of your presentation and execution of consistency combined.

 

So for those of you who are starting a business and lack the ideal clientele, or maybe didn’t finish your degree, or don’t have a killer office space with the top floor view; keep your head held high, talk the talk, walk the walk, and do the best job you can do all the time! That is what constitutes real credibility.

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Perfecting Your Press Kit

Having a well put together press kit is one of the most important self-branding tools to keep under your belt. Most people think that simply having a website or landing page with all of their materials is the only thing that they need. Although this is a critical element to your artistic delivery, a proper press kit allows you to have your materials readily available and on-the-go at a moment’s notice. There are a couple to things to consider when setting up your press kit :

Electronic vs. Hard Copy PK – Today’s digital age opens up for opportunities to create electronic press kits that can be distributed by the click of a mouse. I highly recommend having BOTH an EPK and a hard copy kit available for each major project that you are working on. An electronic kit is great for mass distribution and easy handling. However, there is something personal and literally more “hands on” about having a traditional hard copy press kit. The publicity world is great with advancing with the times, but nothing beats a bonafide system of hard copy materials. It’s probably a good idea to go ahead and have a flash drive or CD with your EPK when delivering a hard copy press kit.

Design/Format/Delivery – Designs should be original, exciting and reflect the image of the artist. There should be a balance between individuality, creativity and clarity. Stay creative but don’t stray too far that it distracts from the purpose of the text delivered in the press kit. Length is a huge factor. An effective press kit should be a minimum of 5 pages and no more than 8. This should include your cover letter, cover page, biography, fact sheet, contact info, discography (past and future), reviews/features, and photos/videos. Don’t have it set up where the person looking at your press kit has to open a separate file for each page. This should be a document or PP set up that flows easily from beginning to end and can easily be accessed online. Make sure the color schemes and logos are all cohesive with your artistic identity and/or brand.

Update It – This is extremely important. Sending out a press kit that hasn’t been updated in several months is not a good look. It makes you and your brand look out of date, or it may just make you look lazy. If you aren’t consistently creating new content and materials to distribute, it is harder to get people to want to take notice. People want to feel like they have their hands on something NEW. Sending out recycled materials decreases your product value in the grand scheme of things.

DIY or Outsource – This really comes down to your resources. If you have the skill and talent to design and develop a press kit that accurately demonstrates your brand/product, you can definitely save some dollars on having someone develop it for you. However, if this is your first time doing such a thing it might be a safer bet to hire a professional to bring the design and the description content together. There are several websites that set you up to develop your EPK for a small fee (Check out sonicbids.com). But many limit you in what you can input, design and format, and where it is distributed.

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Why We Love Multimedia! (And You Should Too!)

We live in an era of constant digital evolution. It’s hard to escape media advertisements, so why not use it to YOUR advantage? Utilizing multimedia solutions in your business will broaden your content base and expand your delivery approach. In other words:

DIVERSIFIED CONTENT = RESULTS!

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines multimedia as using or involving several forms of communication and expressive content. By effectively using diverse forms of content for your customers, you give them more options to look through when exploring your brand. Note the keyword: effectively. Too much information and too many images may be distracting for your average customer. Multimedia professionals can assist you in finding a harmonious balance that is equally engaging and attractive.

There are FIVE major components to Multimedia –

  1. Audio: Audio files are found all over the web. Including audio files on your website or applications can expand your content delivery methods. Give your customer’s eyes a break and include audio files that aid interaction through your site or application. Or add supplemental information for other files by including an audio component. Give visitors the option to download, or stream as they go along.
  1. Video: Video streaming has taken a new wave in business development. Although most video streaming formats include specific plug-ins, most modern day browsers have the resources included to open and display video files. Add life, information and personalization by including video components to your brand content.
  1. Animation: Animation is no longer limited to the world of comic books and morning cartoons. Using animated components allows your consumer to be more engaged with your site and product offers. It opens up your information to become INTERACTIVE. The more action taken by the visitor, the more information they open themselves up to. You just happen to make it fun for them along the way. Most animation files can be displayed using AdobeFlash. Flash also uses ActionScript code for animated design.
  1. Images: The most obvious of multimedia components would have to be digital images. Whether its photographs or original digital designs, images bring visualizations to your content to help open the minds of your consumers. The use of images is imperative for websites and applications. Too much information and not enough imagery might bore your customer, or make things hard for them to digest. Even buttons and clickable links normally use individually designed graphics. A professional graphic designer can help combine complex visual effects with digital images.
  1. Text: A tale as old as time. Text content is tried and true. Use text content to inform specifics on your website or application. Text can additionally be used as reinforcement to an image or visual display. You can place text directions or alternative text options where images may not appear for your customer.

Your customers will appreciate creativity! Take a second to think outside of the box on how you can implement multimedia to reach your target audience and take it to the next level. Before the internet, people fought for a space to be seen. Now, in the vast space that is the world wide web, businesses are fighting for attention! Don’t let your business or product get lost in the cyber world and just take up data. Integrate multimedia content to engage your audience and increase leads.

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What is in a name? – The power behind your business name

Across borders and cultures and throughout the eras, there is one universal recognition of ownership that has not changed: your name. It is something you own and with which you can identify. More importantly, it is something that no one else can take from you. It tells people who you are!

The same rules apply when it comes to your business. Coming up with a name for your new business should be one of the most important steps you take on your new endeavor. Just like choosing the right name for your child, make sure to pick something you can live with forever. Take a look at some things to consider when naming (or re-naming) your prized possession.

  1. Does it describe your business? – This doesn’t have to be as obvious as it sounds. If Sally is starting a dessert and candy buffet business, she doesn’t necessarily need to name her business “Dessert and Candy Buffet.” She could go with something with a little bit more character. Something like “Sally’s Sweets.”  Short, simple, and to the point. We can identify by the word “Sweets” that her business might entail something tasty. But it still allows room for the customer to look into it and find out more!
  2. The Big Easy – Ask yourself these two questions: Is it easy to explain? Is it easy to remember? If you answered ‘Yes’ to both, great! If you answered ‘No’ to either question, you may want to reevaluate. Don’t dumb it down to the point where it loses all creativity. Try to aim for something creative and concise.
  1. Short and Sweet – The name of your business should not be too lengthy. Referring back to the second point, it needs to be easy to remember. In addition to cognitive recognition, you want to consider the length for your business cards, signage, banners, website address, etc. Don’t settle for a lengthy name that constantly need to be shortened or abbreviated, or even replaced with an acronym.
  2. Hand in hand with your brand – Does the name you chose work with your desired branding? Can you add emphasis with a color or logo that will bring more meaning to your business name? Will your business name be equally identifiable with your business message? These are all questions to ask yourself before settling on a name that will become your brand!

 

The most important thing to remember is to take your time! Do a little bit of online research and see what names are out there in your industry. Do they follow the steps that were listed above? If not, how can you make yours stand out even more? Make sure to do thorough research and check available domain names. Some new business owners will make that simple mistake, and then get stuck with a website url that isn’t easy or doesn’t easily identify with their business name or service. If doing the research is something you just simply don’t have the time to do, you can always contact a consultant or consider hiring an attorney. Your business is your baby. Give it all you’ve got to come up with a lasting name!

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Social Media – Addressing The Right Age Group

Today’s world feels like it can’t function without social media. More and more people are spending more time engaging in social media. With the increase and advancement in technology, there is never a moment where someone is NOT on social media. Think about it. We’re checking in at work, the gym, our favorite lunch spot.

Companies and marketers know that they have to go directly to their audience. Some may think that creating a profile on every single social media platform will automatically increase their customer traffic. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Yes, social media is an excellent and affordable tool to reach the masses and gain exposure. However, the ins and outs of effectively marketing on social media are a little bit more complex than that. Certain users are more active on certain sites. So if your target audience includes males in their mid-thirties, you are probably going to want to utilize a different social media platform than a company targeting females in their late teens/early twenties. Don’t go shooting aimlessly in the dark. Find your target and hit it! Let’s dive a little deeper by exploring some social media age demographics broken down by platform.

Twitter (271 million users) According to 2014 twitter analysis, most of the users are predominately male. As you can see in the numbers below, users between the age of 18 to 29 make up 35% of their network. Twitter is also a “fast blog” network. Where people can quickly send out links and short excerpts for their followers to see. You can also note that this particular platform may not be the strongest suit if you are pushing a product aimed at the 65+ community, as they make up only 5% of the twitter world.

18-29                95 Million          35%

30-49                54 Million          20%

50-64                30 Million          11%

65+                   13.5 Million       5%

 

LinkedIn (300 million users) – Geared as a more “professional” network, LinkedIn is a great social media platform to link to like-minded individuals as well as reaching out across industries. It is also a more in-depth resume or portfolio for businesses and individuals (versus a Twitter bio with character limits). Unlike Twitter, over 100 million LinkedIn users are over the age of 50! Their largest audience is between the 30-49 age threshold with 81 million of its users. This is a great platform to promote professional services, business startups, software or supplies.

18-29                45 Million          15%

30-49                81 Million          27%

50-64                72 Million          24%

65+                   39 Million          13%

 

Instagram (200 million users) – A picture is definitely worth a thousand words in the Instagram world. Instagram is a great platform to incorporate digital media into your marketing strategy. By posting pictures and videos you allow the user to have a different look into your business or product. Studies show that 57% of Instagram users access the application daily. It is definitely attractive to a younger market, as 74 million of their users are between 18 and 29 years old.

18-29                74 million          37%

30-49                36 million          18%

50-64                12 million          6%

 

Pinterest (70 million users) – Pinterest users have been found to be mostly women. In addition, the audience range is much younger than the aforementioned social media platforms. 20 million of their users are between 18-29 years old.

18-29                20 Million          27%

30-49                18 Million          24%

50-64                10.5 Million       14%

65+                   6.75 Million       9%

 

Facebook (1.2 billion users) – Yep, you read that correctly. Facebook, as some may go as far to deem the mother of all social media (because we’ve clearly disregarded MySpace), has over 1 BILLION users! That is a huge market. This number is probably what makes Facebook advertising and marketing strategies so profitable for businesses. Facebook has created a great way for the consumer to communicate directly with the provider. The social media platform has a pretty broad scope of users at all ages, with their highest range being users between 35 and 54 years old holding 31.1% of users space.

13-17                9.8 Million         5.4%

18-24                42 Million          23.3%

25-34                44 Million          24.4%

35-54                56 Million          31.1%

55+                   28 Million          15.6%

 

Using social media strategically can be a great tool to market your business and product. Now that you have a closer understanding of what age groups are most active on each platform, you can tailor your marketing campaign by platform.

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5 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Social Media

5 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Social Media

Social media is an excellent tool for many reasons. Not only does it provide a company or person with a platform to distribute their services and let the world and consumers know who they are, but it is an excellent resource to learn! Observing the patterns and trends used by successful companies on social media can help you figure out what you should be doing in order to gain similar results. In life and in business, it is very important to observe mentors as well as competitors to stay ahead of the game. Here are five things that your competitors can teach you about social media:

  1. Who to follow? – When you take a look at your competitors profiles, take a peek at who they are following. Do they follow their consumers back? Or do they mainly follow other partner companies or even competitors. Be brave and follow some of those people on your own account. If the big guys can do it, why can’t you?
  2. How to tweet/post? – This really comes down to one thing: what do you say? In other words, what does your audience want to hear? Take a look and see if your competitors are posting original content consistently. Do they have a separate blog page that links to their social media accounts? Or are they “reposting” other company articles or relevant news information. Take note of how their audience interacts with their posts, and what kind of posts receive the most attention and try to mirror those efforts in your own social media profiles.
  3. When to post? – It is true that there is a secret to when to post. When looking at your competitor’s profiles, see if they are more active at a certain time of the day, as well as a certain time of the week. Do they post consistently throughout the day? Do they post weekdays mostly? Morning updates and afternoon updates? When are their followers most active? Finding the answers to these questions can show you the best time to post on social media.
  4. What to put in a bio? – A well written bio is very important for your company profile. It should be concise, but enough to let your reader know a little bit about you. It should also include a link or directions to where they can learn more (i.e. a blog, website, or other social media platform that you are heavily engaged in). See what other companies are doing with their biography sections. Are some more lengthy than others? Are you prompted to click on an external link that leads you to more information?
  5. Does their profile match their branding efforts? – Here you want to look at a few different aspects of their profile. Logos, backgrounds, color schemes and campaigns. Are they running a special campaign that aligns with all of their media links and pictures? Are they consistent with their brand colors? When you look at the profile, can you visually connect it with their profile and business?

Do some research on your competitors and use these questions to analyze their profiles. Use the information you gather to add onto your social media profiles and engage your audience the way the big wigs do it!

 

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How to do business for your business: BeYou, not Beyonce

Working in the field of Public Relations and Communications has given me the opportunity to work with several different types of clients; startup companies, new designers, comedians and music artists. A pattern that is often overlooked is that no matter the business or area you are trying to break through, systematically the fundamentals are all laid down the same way across the board. So frankly speaking, if you haven’t “taken off” in your respected field yet, chances are that you are missing some fundamental pieces to branding you/your product. A little over a year ago I wrote up a piece covering some of the key essentials for breaking through the underground music scene for a blog colleague of mine, JustPolitickin (check them out if you have a chance). This time I’ve expanded it a little further to address those who seek professional help from either managers, publicists, attorneys or any other type of outsourced agents.

Set a budget

I cannot emphasize this enough! There are two types of entrepreneurs in this world: one that does it as a ‘side hustle’ or hobby and one that completely commits and submerges his/herself to their craft. Both however, should take the time to map out what it is they think they need to further their business, and then be ready to invest! This goes beyond investing in your business, but more so investing in yourself. Very few people will do work for free, so always keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

Set out a budget for production. What is it going to cost for the materials you need to provide to your consumers and audience. Whether you provide a service or a product (music, art, materials) you need to have things readily available to be pushed.

Set out an additional budget for promotion. Whether you are looking to create a team to fill in the areas that you lack, i.e. marketing, advertising, publicity and promotion, you need to understand that both money and time go into making this happen and it is easier for the professional help you seek out to develop an ideal plan tailored specifically to you based on your current budget. NO BUDGET = NO WORK!

Choose your contracts carefully

Don’t be afraid to ask for revisions. There are very few contracts for clients that come with a “one size fits all” approach. If something doesn’t feel right, say something! Contracts are a commitment, so you should be completely comfortable in what you are getting yourself into. Take the time to read it through and in between the lines. Some places will sneak in additional charges or fees that you may think were to be inclusive in the overall deal. Think of your options in relation to your budget. Are you more comfortable paying hourly to start? Or would you rather be assured a certain amount of hours committed to your project by establishing a retainer. Contracts should offer a level of assurance and security for both the service provider and the client alike, and they come in all different shapes and sizes. Do not be afraid to take the time to think things through before signing on the dotted line.

Tell them what you want, not what to do.

When seeking out professional assistance you are doing just that, asking a PROFESSIONAL for their ASSISTANCE. Chances are that you sought out this professional because of their history and track record with properly performing their job. Therefore, you’re not really there to tell them what to do. Although they are there to serve their client, and rest assured the client’s needs should always come first, they don’t need you there telling them how to do their job. If you feel those types of conversations are necessary, it is probably not the best fit professional relationship for you and your business. Let them know what your needs and wants are and have faith that they will execute a plan best fit for you, the client. Business is business and these relationships are a two way street.

Be OPEN, in all aspects

Outsourcing professional help may require you to think differently and try new approaches. Don’t be rigid and put yourself in a box. Like stated before, you are most likely working with this individual/set of individuals because of the work that they do. So trust them to guide you in the right direction, even if it takes you a little outside of your comfort zone. In fact, if they aren’t pushing you out of your comfort zone and into broader arenas then they again may not be the right fit for you. Be open to challenges and opportunities to expand your name and your brand. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Be fully willing to take directions. Nobody wants to take on a client that won’t take their suggestions into consideration. What are they there for then? Never walk into a business agreement with an “I can do it all by myself” attitude. Seeking professional assistance should be a growing experience for you.

Fuel your following

Give them something to pay attention to! From personal experience, I have had artists come to me seeking promotion and increase on exposure to their music that was released over a year ago. That’s somewhat doable and all but in the long run people want to react to newer materials. We live in a consumer culture, where people find value in the materials they invest in. The newer the material, the higher the value, the higher the likelihood of a returning customer or audience. You aren’t going to be able to give your publicist or manager much to push and pitch for you if you aren’t coming up with ways to engage your consumers on a consistent basis. In a world fueled by “trending topics” you need to constantly have something to put up front for your customers to see.

BeYOU, not Beyonce

Beyonce has done it all and she’s done it right. She started young, followed her passion, built a team, worked her a** off, went solo, married a music mogul, and now has the world waiting on the edge of their seats for what Bey might just do next. Although the surprise –album-drop-trend has taken off since her late night surprise release of ‘Beyonce’, then followed by other artists including Drake and Kendrick Lamar, this is not a technique that just anyone can pull off. As previously stated, Beyonce [the brand] has the world waiting on the edge of their seats for what she might do next. Your <1.2K followers on Twitter and Instagram are probably not sitting around waiting for you to drop some fresh stuff, because they are too busy keeping up with the big names of the world. Your midnight “drop” may go completely unnoticed without the proper strategic planning and techniques to gain attention and anticipation from your audience. You and your brand are unique and need to strategically market to your specific consumers and followers. Increase the confidence in your brand promise, continue to deliver it, and you will see followers lining up and waiting for what is to come next.

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