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We Live in a World of Instant Gratification – But We Can’t Expect That in Our Business

Most of us are pretty happy to have everything we want right at our fingertips – our coffee is made by a Keurig so we don’t have to wait for our coffeemaker to prepare it, our food can be prepared faster in an air fryer than in an oven, and we have GPS on our phones so we don’t have to take the time to look at a map. Similarly, our informational needs are answered by Siri or Google so we don’t even need to do any research for answers to our questions. It’s easy to see why we also expect immediate gratification from our marketing and publicity campaigns – but that’s where things differ.

I’ve been working with clients behind the scenes on their branding and publicity campaigns for over 30 years now and I’m always amazed at how people, new to this process, expect immediate results from a small amount of work without sustaining an ongoing campaign.

I am often asked, “How long will it take for the book I am writing to become a “best seller?” Or how much marketing do I have to do to sell more of my products or services, and once I achieve a level of growth, can I stop doing the marketing and publicity?

When I get asked these questions, I like to refer to people in the music industry who are well known and accomplished like, for instance, guitarist Eric Clapton, who got his first guitar at age 13 and joined his first band, “The Roosters” at age 17. After working as a day laborer with his grandfather, a bricklayer, he was recruited to “The Yardbirds” where he achieved local success but without much financial success. Two years later, Bluesman John Mayall asked Clapton to join his band “John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers,” where Clapton established his reputation as a guitarist. In 1966, after a somewhat turbulent time in his career, he joined the three-man band “Cream” which led to U.S. tours and rock stardom – however, that did not last very long. In 1968, Cream disbanded and once again, Clapton had to reinvent himself.

Clapton then formed the band “Blind Faith” which was known as a “Supergroup” however that band didn’t work out and after just one album and one U.S. tour, he was performing with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. This gig provided more songwriting experience and in 1970, he formed another band called “Derek and the Dominos” which produced the seminal rock album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.” However, there were more hardships ahead – drug use and the failure of that band would send him into depression for three years, rarely leaving his estate in England.

But Clapton wasn’t ready to give up yet. In 1974, he reemerged again with a new album and over the next 30+ years, he continued to record, tour, record, tour, write, record, etc. — resulting in where he is today. The multi Grammy Award – winning singer/songwriter (18 Grammys) and guitarist never gave up when the chips were down and despite losing a child to a tragic accident, he turned that heart-wrenching loss into a beautiful song “Tears in Heaven.”

He also used his celebrity presence to raise money for the good of many different organizations – much like Bruce Springsteen, one of my songwriting and performing heroes has done, his whole career. Clapton built a treatment center on the island of Antigua called The Crossroads Centre and has funded it with benefit concerts through the years so that people in need who don’t have the funds can get treatment.

So using the example of Eric Clapton, you can look at the guitarist/song writer and recording artist and see him as a legend and an immediate success or you can see someone who has gone through tremendous setbacks in his career and yet, he has persisted — just like those of us in business must do every day. Marketing is a process; so is public relations and publicity. We build it from creating conversations about our business, our industry, and the work that we do. Building it is a process that continues through the life of the business. We don’t stop talking or writing or doing outreach to our customers when we have success and especially when we are in a low point – we keep going.

I hope you find some meaning in this comparison. We all have our personal demons and insecurities but like Clapton, who was born to a 16-year old unwed mother and raised by his grandparents, we play the cards we are dealt and we do the best we can. Don’t ever stop talking about your business, writing about it, and doing something productive to draw attention (positive) to what you do, and I promise you, you will see results.

What Makes You Different or Better Than Your Competition?

This morning I attended an interesting presentation by Eloqui, which is a consultancy that helps business people improve their speaking presentations. As part of a group of 30 or so business people, I was asked to recall from my background anything that could have contributed to my success in my career as a writer for businesses.

I thought about it and recalled that, as early as 8 years old, I loved to read. Not only did I love to read, but I also loved to write. Reading expanded my vocabulary and writing helped me put into action the words I was learning from the many authors I read. Consequently, I learned to love stories about people, their lives, their experiences, and their difficulties and challenges. Mostly, I loved reading about how people had overcome their challenges and learned to use them in ways that were truly inspiring.

My interest in reading and writing led me to Emerson College where I graduated with a degree in Mass Communications. I then used my education to land a job as a radio news reporter – and later as a print news journalist – to tell people stories. That’s essentially what news journalists do: they tell stories about what they see, hear, or experience. Of course, there’s a formula that we have to use in distilling that information to the public, but broken down in its simplest terms, I learned how to tell stories about my subjects, both as a writer and a speaker.

Today, I use my love for story telling in writing about my clients: their accomplishments, their challenges, how they solve problems for their clients, and how they use their experience in unique ways to differentiate themselves (and their companies) from their competition.

Today’s exercise was a valuable one: it reminded me why, as Writer For Hire, I am unique and different from other writers in my field. I know that if you are reading this, you also can use your experience, challenges, and love for what you do in your business.

Writer For Hire Pat Kramer is a business writer, ghostwriter, and social media pro with 30 years’ experience in the news media and as a business writer and marketing/PR strategist. For more information, please visit: www.writerpatkramer.com.

5 Tips to Get More Traction on LinkedIn

I’m frequently asked by those who have service and product-oriented businesses to provide some tips on how to make LinkedIn more effective as a marketing and promotional tool. As someone who’s reaped the rewards of LinkedIn on multiple occasions, I’m often seen as somewhat of a LinkedIn ‘expert.’ It takes time to really get to know how to use LinkedIn’s many free tools (and even more time if you are a Premium member). So to save readers having to spend their precious time learning what I already know, I’m sharing 5 helpful tips today to give you ‘a leg up’ as you use the world’s leading social media site for business.

But first, I want to tell you my story: When I first got on LinkedIn back in the early 2000’s, I set up my profile and began making connections, and then… I waited for something to happen. After about six months went by and nothing really changed, I began wondering why LinkedIn wasn’t working. Given that I didn’t know much about using LinkedIn, I then decided to research it further by taking live and online classes on social media marketing. With that knowledge, I then started applying what I had learned to my own business as a content, marketing and public relations writer and author.

Those lessons paid off because it got me to invest time in setting up my own professional profile and then creating a strategy for connecting with others and initiating my own PR and marketing efforts using LinkedIn. Here’s what I learned – maybe it can help you too.

  1. A professional LinkedIn profile is of utmost importance. If your profile is incomplete, not written to engage or impress the reader or doesn’t highlight your experience, hire someone to write it for you. This is the very beginning of your journey into LinkedIn and every eye is going to be focused on your profile.
  2. Connect with anyone who you know from business, past and present.  This should include any organizations that you have been affiliated with, any charities that you serve, and people who you meet at networking events.
  3.  Communicate with others:  Those who you accept as connections are now part of your Circle of Influence. Think of them that way and value the connections that they may have for generating business in both directions. Start by looking at who they are connected with and seeing if you have any common connections. After you connect, write them a short response thanking them for connecting and asking them to stay in touch if you can help them in any way.
  4. Post weekly:  On LinkedIn, you can post ‘updates’ or ‘posts.” Posts are the same thing as blogs – LinkedIn offers you a free blog site to write and share your content. Once you post your blog, wait a few days then post it again as an update. The update section is great for sharing news about your business or your industry. You can also share stories that others in your company have written to strengthen your overall company marketing campaign.
  5. Be a part of the virtual community.  There are those people who sit on the sidelines and those who are out ‘front and center.’ Be one of those people who are front and center. By engaging with others, even to share short items of interest, you will be getting your name and your company ‘out there’ for others to see and remember.  Keep in mind that repetition is the main component in any marketing campaign. Be present for your LinkedIn connections and serve them as a resource – even if it’s as a ‘free resource’ right now. In time, that may change.

 

For help with setting up a professional LinkedIn profile, writing content for your company blogs, or generating press releases to showcase your accomplishments, please visit: www.writerpatkramer.com or email: pat@writerpatkramer.com.

There’s No Time Like the Present to Create a Marketing Plan

marketing wheelIn business, it’s always important to have a marketing plan. What is a marketing plan for, you ask? A marketing plan starts with honestly examining what you are currently doing to affirm and promote your business, and just as importantly, what you not doing or what is not working.

At this point you may feel your stomach muscles tightening as you say the question on every business owner’s mind: “So how much is it going to cost me?”

The answer is “surprisingly, less than you thought.” Yes, the cost for a marketing plan will be an almost insignificant expense but the value of it will be that you will have an immediate sense of understanding about what it is that you can do to immediately begin seeing results.

Last year, I revamped my own Writer For Hire website and optimized it for mobile devices. Feel free to take a look at www.writerpatkramer.com or visit my Writer For Hire Facebook page. Remember, being active on the social media will lead to more referrals. If you would like a one hour tutorial on using LinkedIn (a $225.00 value, but $195.00 for a limited time), please contact me.

As I celebrate my 26th year as Writer For Hire®, I’m committed more than ever to helping my business clients become more successful by creating content for marketing and publicity. I’m here to help you with any writing efforts or challenges you may have.

Writer For Hire® Pat Kramer, pat@writerpatkramer.com, (818) 353-5699 PST

A January Day in Ventura

I had an early morning planned – I had to meet three others in Ventura that morning at 7:30 which required a brutally early wake u12552564_10208379091104706_7858708128725881016_np call for the 65 mile drive. Knowing that I had to get up before the crack of dawn, I slept fitfully. I was awake and up at the time I needed to leave to avoid the throng of rush hour commuters between the east San Fernando Valley and Ventura.

As the sun rose in the east behind me, I glanced up at my rear view mirror and admired the perfection of the new day. Driving along, I serenely watched the scenery change from the clusters of houses in suburbia to the wide open green, agricultural landscape.

Ventura is the essence of a writer’s dream: There’s the sound of the waves crashing, the soft cushiony steps of sneakers in the sand, and the greenery of flowers, citrus and other plants fed12439500_10208379090704696_3101421248981961290_n by the constant moisture in the air. This magical setting with its restful beauty in all directions inspires me to write. There’s more natural light here, it smells good, it’s free from a lot of the noise in the city, and time seems to tick by slower here. Well known as a dog-friendly county and a surfer’s paradise, Ventura also provides a laid-back business climate, and that’s what I was here to pursue.

Moving through each of my meetings that day, I stopped to appreciate the circumstances that brought me here. Somehow, it’s easier to be more open and optimistic when you feel good – and Ventura County, with its beaches, mountains, and quaint settings always revitalizes my spirit.12512318_10208379089584668_8418675197377193760_n

After my work was done, I joined a friend at her beachside abode and we took a stroll down several narrow alleyways where hidden gardens greeted us with magical bursts of color and scent. Along the beach, the blazing yellow winter sun was getting ready to set into the ocean as I watched a parasailer soar overhead. Looking down, I spotted a perfectly-formed, heart-shaped rock , which to me was saying, “Life is for those who choose to live.”  I bent down and put it in my pocket to help me remember what it CAN be like when I need a break from the hum-drum rhythms of life.

 

 

Inspiring the Generation of Tomorrow

Pat teachingOn December 14, 2015, I was invited to speak to a class of high schoolers at the Alliance Susan & Eric Smidt Tech High School in Los Angeles on what it took for me to build my career as a writer. The students numbered about 20 and each had questions about my work, my clients, my pay scale and the different jobs I had to take before I “made it” as a professional business writer and ghostwriter. It was interesting to listen to their questions and to watch their reactions as I talked about “paying my dues” over the course of my 30+ year career.

The presentation I gave was set up by a non profit called the Youth Business Alliance, which organizes guest speakers for high schools in low income areas of Los Angeles. The students are all high achievers who are interested in pursuing careers with or without a college degree. From meeting them, I was able to see that these kids were intelligent and motivated but may be financially challenged.

I shared with them my journey from my first job as a 3rd shift radio news announcer/news writer at a small radio station in Newport, Rhode Island to writing for top business publications like  Variety and the Los Angeles Business Journal, and being hired by a travel company to take an all expense paid trip to Italy for 12 days in 2007.

What I hope I imparted to these students is that hard work really does pay off and to go for their dreams, even if others challenge them or try to talk them out of succeeding.

To volunteer to be a speaker for high school students in L.A., please go to: www.youthbizalliance.com. I think you’ll find it a great way to give back.