Tag Archives: Inverness

Awards: how to reap more than you sow

Are you thinking of entering the 2015 Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards? The deadline is Friday 8th May.

The deadline for 2015 applications is 8th May.

The deadline for 2015 applications is 8th May.

Understandably, applying for an award like this takes time, and consideration. However, what you may not realise is that it also offers tremendous opportunities — some of which you probably hadn’t considered.

Accountants Johnston Carmichael are a sponsor of the awards, and this week hosted an information session for #HIFDA2015. In addition to some practical information about the nomination process from host Jillian Sharp, a previous winner was on hand to speak about the impact it has had on her business. What she said was surprising.

FAO27 won the 2014 Food and Drink Business Growth Award. Anne Moseley, from FAO27, described how her company “got far more than expected”. What was unique about Anne was the degree to which she involved her team in the nomination. She prepared the application with a great deal of input from her team. “There was a lot of consultation,” she said. And the impact of that? “The team boost was phenomenal.”

After the nomination was completed, and FAO27 won, there was another surprise: the response from customers. “It was a tremendous win for us, and we got a tremendous reception from our customers.” Winning an award like this gives an organisation a great deal of external validation, well beyond the publicity it generates.

She advised companies thinking of applying to identify where you excel, and to think precisely of how you excel, and why? “You must work from the general, to narrow it down to what makes you different from your competitors,” she advised. “Modesty goes out the window!” she said.

Find your unique selling point, she said. She noted that it has helped FAO27 as a business, in that the HIFDA application process generates what is in essence, a “mini business plan”. “It’s handy when you go to the bank, and elsewhere,” she concluded.

The work you do preparing a solid nomination will stand your business in good stead quite apart from the awards process. The written materials can be used as a case study, as a mini business plan, and also on your website, in advertising, and across your marketing materials.

If you win an award, the publicity will directly benefit your company. However, even if you don’t win, you have done some quality thinking about your business and gotten it down on paper. Further, you have involved your team in the nomination process. It’s a win-win, whatever way you cut it.

If preparing your nomination is about as appealing as preparing your tax return, don’t despair. Bruce PR can take you through the steps, and together we can craft a nomination that you will be proud of. Click here to contact us.

For full details of the Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards, please visit the Awards website: www.hifoodanddrinkawards.com. Remember, the closing date is Friday, 8th May 2015. @hifooddrink #HIFDA2015

Are you ‘driving around aimlessly’? 3 tips to focus your social media

taget practise“Public relations without research is like shooting an arrow, then requisitioning a target to install in the field.” — Anthony J. Fulginiti, APR — communication briefings

Last week I made a presentation to the Highland Business Women’s Club. I was invited to talk about my business, but I decided instead to focus on the importance of having clear objectives for your company, before you head off on a PR or social media initiative.

It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But it’s the hardest part of the process. So many companies I speak to want to start doing social media, or a blog, or making announcements, but they have not spent time thinking about where it is they want to go as an organisation.

I used a metaphor in my talk, and listening to the guests afterwards, I think it made an impression. “Social media,” I said, “is like the car. Public relations is the map. But your goals — that is the destination.” And I suggested that nobody in the audience should waste their time driving around aimlessly. They needed PR for the map it provides, but without a destination, they could spend hours on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and end up no nearer achieving their objectives.

Sound familiar?

Here are my three tips to ensure you don’t waste time in your social media activities.

  1. Spend time thinking about your business objectives. Get together with your key people. Don’t be afraid to include juniors in the discussion. They often have fresh ideas and a different perspective.
  2. Visualise the outcome you desire. Then write it down. What does it look like, in that place that means “success” for your company. Is it a second office? More staff? More lucrative clients? Be precise, so you will know when you get there. And think big.
  3. Assign the work. Choose someone talented to develop a plan to achieve these goals. If your company is too small to have a staff member devoted to communications, then out-source it to an experienced contractor. Not only will you get just what you need, if you choose well, you will also access a great reservoir of business experience.

If you think you could use some assistance developing your company’s goals, and then crafting a plan to make them happen, get in touch with us. We love this kind of work. We specialise in ideas, and PR is just one way we make things happen for our clients.

PR in good times and in bad: 5 things you must do in a crisis and why crisis communications is vital for your business

Crisis-CommunicationRecent events we’ve been involved in have been a fresh reminder that PR is not just for announcing good news — it’s crucial when things go wrong. There’s a lot more than just your reputation on the line when things go wrong. The survival of your business may hang in the balance.

Here are five things to keep in mind if you are dealing with a crisis.

1. Communicate with your key audiences

If your company is caught up in a crisis, it’s vital that you stay in touch with your stakeholders. Depending on your business, this may be your funders, your biggest customers, or the people who work for you. It may be all  of the above. But keeping them up to date on developments when a crisis hits shows them that they are important to you, and that you will make the effort to share news with them first — even if the only news you have is that there is no news, yet.

2. Communicate with the media

The media can be a very demanding group when there is a crisis. Often, a company’s desire to respond to a media query can lead managers to comment too broadly on events. If you are not in a position to say anything definitive,  it’s often better to say so, and leave it at that. Keep track of who was in touch, and save that list for later.

3. Meet with your key people, face-to-face

Take time to meet with your management team and get the complete picture of what has happened, and what you can do about it. Face to face meetings are best at this time.

4. Call in specialist PR help

In addition to your management team, you will want to speak to your trusted communications advisors. If you don’t have anyone to help you with communications in a crisis, you may miss out on some simple strategies that will make things much easier. Ask around and get a recommendation if you can. You will  probably want to call in a specialist with experience in crisis communications.

5. When you have something to say, get the word out

It’s also crucial, when you do have something to say, to get the word out. Follow up with the media who were in touch, and let them know your position on events. It’s important to keep the  lines of communication open, but be sure to do it only when you have carefully assessed the situation.

A crisis can make or break a business. Make sure you do everything that is required. When the crisis is over, your company may paradoxically have been strengthened by the storm you have weathered — but only if you have managed it well.

If you need help in a crisis, Bruce Public Relations in Inverness can help — -quickly and effectively. We’ve helped clients in a range of industries to manage crises, and we can help you. Get in touch.

Did you know it was Women’s Entrepreneurship Day?

Untitled design (1)I didn’t. I am a woman, and an entrepreneur, but I had no idea about this celebration of women’s enterprise. That is, until my pal Nicky Marr posted on Facebook about being included in a compendium of women entrepreneurs published on the Women’s Enterprise Scotland website here.

According to their website:

WES plays a vital role in the promotion of women’s enterprise, through the media, and across the wider community. We provide spokeswomen, role models and contributors for the broadcast media and the press, for events, conferences, seminars and presentations.

We champion women-led business from every sector across the entire country. We challenge existing perceptions to gain recognition of the economic importance of all women’s enterprise, whether micro business, SME or stock market listed multinational.

We encourage courage, confidence and self-belief that women-led business is a positive, rewarding and achievable option for women everywhere, no matter the scale of their enterprise ambition. And we cheer on those agencies already providing gender specific business development, and cite best practice wherever we find it.

We’re active digitally, and use social media and online platforms to promote women’s enterprise, to share information and learn from each other.

#WESchampions

They sound like a great organisation, but I hadn’t heard about them, either!

And then it struck me: the problem with entrepreneurship — besides the difficulty I have spelling it correctly — is that as an entrepreneur, running a (thankfully!) busy business, I am not on their radar. (I did get in touch with them subsequently, to do just that.)

So, not only did I not know about WES, I also wasn’t aware of the global celebration that is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Apparently, it’s a very big deal. Complete with a huge global sponsor (and former client), pwc. Here’s a link to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day website: http://www.womenseday.org and a hashtag: #WomensEDay.

This whole thing of not being aware of something that is specifically targeted at you brings home the awareness that, when you are busy running your own business *and* haven’t sought public funding to start or perpetuate that business, you simply aren’t going to be on the mailing lists for a lot of things that people in the public sector may be aware of. That is to say, the very people trying to target you, are not aware of you.

I am delighted that Nicky Marr is part of my network. Here's the two of us with her gold medal at a recent networking event in Inverness

I am delighted that Nicky Marr is part of my network. Here’s the two of us with her gold medal at a recent networking event in Inverness

Which brings me to my point: the importance of networking. I never would have heard about Women’s Enterprise Scotland today if I hadn’t been a part of Nicky’s network. Hopefully, having now contacted them, and tweeted about Women’s Enterprise Day, they will know about me. Moreover, my network of Twitter followers and followers of our Bruce PR Facebook page will also become aware of this organisation. Because ultimately, it’s up to every one of us to help our fellow entrepreneurs get a hand up. So after this post is published, I will also put it on LinkedIn, where — ideally —  another group of fellow entrepreneurs will also see it.

Happy Women’s Entrepreneurs Day everyone! And thanks Nicky!

What a difference a year makes: My Toastmasters year in review

Members of Toastmasters clubs from across the north and east of Scotland at Inverness Toastmasters 5 October.

Members of Toastmasters clubs from across the north and east of Scotland at Inverness Toastmasters 5 October.

I just checked and I can hardly believe it: it was one year ago, today, that I posted about my first experience at the public speaking group Toastmasters. I had attended my first meeting, and decided to blog about it.

My experience at that first meeting was very positive. It was — and continues to be — a warm and welcoming group. (With a name like “Inverness Toastmonsters”, it would be hard not to like them.) I joined the group in January and have attended religiously. Well, regularly.

One of the things that keeps me going back is a regular feature of the meetings: “Table Topics”. For the uninitiated, Table Topics is an absolute adrenaline thrill-ride of an activity: you volunteer to speak to the audience on a topic that you aren’t yet aware of. You are given your topic . . . as you walk to the front of the room!

It’s marvellous! Some people hate it. I think you either love Table Topics, or you hate it. I love it. I recently described it to my Toastmasters friends as “the crack cocaine of public speaking”. Not that I know a lot about crack, but I have gathered it’s highly addictive. And that is how I feel about Table Topics.

Which is why it is so particularly gratifying to have won — less than a year after joining — the Area 43 Table Topics Competition. Next stop: Perth for the Scotland-wide finals! I can’t wait. I am a bit nervous, but mostly I am just really looking forward to it.

Inverness Toastmonsters President Stuart Byfield presenting my prize last Sunday.

Inverness Toastmonsters President Stuart Byfield presenting my prize last Sunday.

Which brings me back to the point of that original blog, one year ago tomorrow. Sometimes, stretching yourself means doing things that you *aren’t * afraid of, even if you’ve never done them before. So if public speaking is something that you think you might just have a flair for, or, if you don’t feel completely terrified by it, come along to your local Toastmasters meeting. You never know, you may just find yourself at the national finals.

Why it pays to help charities with their PR

Scottish Charity Awards deadline March 26

The deadline for applications is 26 March!

There are only six days until the deadline for applications for the Scottish Charity Awards 2014. If your organisation would like to get involved, click on the link and get your nomination in pronto!

Having worked in PR for two decades, we have worked with literally dozens of charities. It may come as a surprise, but charities can be some of the most creative clients you can have the pleasure to work with. Why? Frequently having with little in the way of financial resources to devote to marketing and PR, charities are often far more willing to take a chance and push the boundaries in their promotion efforts. The results can often be quite outstanding communications initiatives, from inspired outreach activities to attract new supporters, to creating compelling content on social media.

One of the reasons why I believe charities have the capacity for great work is often because they attract talented people who aren’t motivated primarily by financial rewards. The ability to do work that you believe may help to improve the lot of people less well off than yourself — that is a pretty good feeling. And to do it day-in, day-out, rather than as a one-off charity fundraising gig, well, that can be downright inspiring.

So while charities may not be the most lucrative of clients, agencies can often gain as much as they give when agreeing to work with non-profits. Bruce PR is happy to give an hour or two of consulting time to a charity looking for a fresh perspective on their communications. We like working with non-profits, and we particularly like the feeling we get giving something back.

And while  you may not feel ready to apply for a “Cracking Campaign” award for best charity-led campaign, working with a talented PR agency in the weeks and months ahead might just inspire you both to be award-ready in 2015!

If your Highlands and Islands-based charity would like help with its communications, please get in touch by completing our contact form here.

PR for Professional Services: why it’s different marketing the services of solicitors, accountants, architects and engineers

I would never have discovered this Argentinian Tango-Reggae band, if they hadn't been performing on the streets of Buenos Aires

No doubt they would have preferred to stay at home, but then I would never have discovered this Argentinian Tango-Reggae band, Jamaicadeiros, performing on the streets of Buenos Aires — and bought both their CDs!

On Wednesday I attended a networking event organised by the Inverness Chamber of Commerce. This was the second networking lunch I have attended, and I must say, I really enjoy these functions.

The format is simple — a hotel meeting room with several round tables set for lunch. Choose your table and then, after a welcome and introduction by the host — in this instance, Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Stuart Nicol — the formal networking begins. Each person at the table takes a few minutes to introduce themselves and to say a bit about their business. During this time, the first course is served, and then, after the introductions, people chat informally.

Someone in legal services asked me about PR, and said he had just started advertising on radio. I was intrigued to learn that he is using advertising, because many professional services firms prefer not to. Traditionally, firms of solicitors, engineers, architects and accountants have shied away from promoting themselves directly. It has been seen to be a bit brash, and frankly, not their kind of thing. But as competition heats up, and your client base diminishes through attrition, promoting your professional services firm may become a more pressing issue.

While advertising is the obvious choice when people think about getting their company name out there, it’s not the only way to achieve this objective. There are many ways to help raise your company’s profile without taking out an ad in the local paper, or committing to a month of 30-second spots on the radio. One of the most simple and straightforward ways to raise awareness of your business, is to go out and meet people at local business events. You may say, “But I’m an engineer, it’s not my job to network!” and of course, you would be wrong. If it’s not your job, then whose is it?

No one cares more about the survival of your business than you do. Unless you have a monopoly on the service you provide, you should probably consider doing at least one or two things to raise your company’s profile.

Three simple — and crucially, low-key —  things you can do are:

  1. Stay in touch with former clients, using a corporate newsletter to share information about developments in your field — changes in legislation, for example. While you’re at it, you can also use your in-house publication to tell clients past and present about new recruits to your firm, new services you provide, recent contracts you have won, and seasonal information such as filing deadlines or an FAQ about stamp duty. A newsletter can be a very cost-effective way to stay in touch. If you don’t have the expertise in-house, a public relations firm can easily produce this for you. Like media releases, corporate newsletters are our stock-in-trade.
  2. If your industry has an awards scheme, consider how you can take advantage of this. Whilst it takes time to put together a nomination, winning an industry award is a great way to promote your business, and give you an excuse to get in touch with your local media. I can’t recommend it enough.
  3. Attend local business events, and make an effort to speak to people you don’t know. I am a big fan of networking, and you can read my previous blog posts about it here. As a self-admitted “people-person”, I have no fears of speaking to strangers at these events. However, I am in the minority it seems. To get over your reluctance to speak to people you don’t know, try to keep in mind this wonderful saying from Canada: “There are no strangers, only friends we haven’t met yet.”

As you can see, none of the suggestions above requires you to be “too forward”. However each of the tactics I listed will help you to raise your company’s profile with key audiences.

As usual, if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line using our contact form here, or via Twitter @Bruce_PR.

 

Stretching yourself: 3 ways to grow personally and professionally

Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International

I attended my first Toastmasters meeting last night, here in Inverness. I was warmly welcomed, and despite being asked to speak extemporaneously for one minute, I have to say, it was a very pleasant experience. Given the trepidation most people feel about speaking in public, I was surprised to find I wasn’t nervous at all.

In fact, I was so not nervous, that when they were looking for volunteers at the start of the meeting, I volunteered for one of the roles! In total, I got up to speak in front of the group three times last night. The first occasion was to introduce myself. The second was to give my “Table Topic” speech — an impromptu speech on a topic provided to you as you stand up (!), and finally, to present my Grammarian’s report.

And you know what? It went swimmingly. I was completely comfortable, despite the newness of the surroundings, and the fact I had never been to a Toastmasters meeting in my life.

And that made me wonder: is this group is a good fit for me? If you have no trouble getting up in front of a roomful of strangers and saying a few words — or worse, delivering an entire speech — should you belong to a group whose express purpose is to improve your confidence and public speaking?

I believe the answer is “yes”. Why? First, because even if you are comfortable with something, it doesn’t mean that you can’t improve. We all have areas that we are experienced at — let’s say, writing — but that we know we can continue to develop with practise.

Secondly, being comfortable with something probably means you have the skills and expertise to help to develop another’s ability.

And that’s what these groups are often about. If everyone was a pro, then no one would need the group. But because everyone’s skills are at a different level, it means that expertise can be shared within the group, so that even experienced speakers can continue to progress.

And that’s the thing — even though I was comfortable at the Toastmasters meeting, I know I can still learn a great deal from these people. Toastmasters isn’t just about public speaking — it’s a leadership development programme. And who can’t benefit from that?

And how did I come to that? By stepping inside my comfort zone. Paradoxical, but true: there is a lot to be gained from trying something that doesn’t terrify you.

So here are my 3 tips to continue your professional development:

  1. Try something you aren’t terrified of. Just because you are comfortable with something, doesn’t mean you can’t improve. Toastmasters provides a venue where people with a range of skills in public speaking can develop at their own pace, in a safe environment, with a proven format. That’s a goldmine waiting to be tapped.
  2. Remember that learning can happen even when you aren’t aware of it. Every time you do something, you get better at it. Incremental changes aren’t obvious, but think about it: I bet you are a much better typist now than you were even five years ago. That’s the power of repetition.
  3. Remember that there’s often more to it than meets the eye. Talented listeners at Toastmasters (like Gilda at last night’s meeting) are able to identify — and critique — the structure of a speech, something most of us wouldn’t have the first clue about!

Chairing a meeting may involve speaking in front of a group, but it is also an opportunity to become a more confident leader. People at a meeting you are chairing are like guests in your home: it’s your job to ensure they are comfortable, feel safe to speak up, and ultimately, benefit from having accepted your invitation. Toastmasters and groups like it provide an ideal opportunity to develop that expertise.

And so, to the Inverness “ToastMonsters” group, I say “thank you!” Thank you for the warm welcome, and thank you for providing me with an opportunity to develop a skill that is partly formed, but my no means at expert level. And for opening my eyes to an opportunity to develop a host of other skills I hadn’t considered. I will be seeing you folks again next time!

For those wanting to learn more, I have pasted some information below about Toastmasters: 

The Toastmasters Mission: A statement of shared values

Every Toastmasters club shares the same mission, clearly defined in the following mission statement:

We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater selfconfidence and personal growth.

Through this mission, each Toastmaster gains a clear understanding of the club’s purpose, and the organization as a whole benefits from a shared set of values and goals.

Click here (and see below) for more information: Toastmasters Britain and Ireland – Inverness Chapter

Inverness Toastmasters is one of the newest members of the Toastmasters International family.

We meet on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at the Glen Mhor Hotel, on Ness Bank in the centre of Inverness. It’s just by the River Ness, more or less opposite the cathedral and close to Inverness Castle.

Our meetings are inclusive, educational and fun. They allow you to practice your communication and leadership skills in a friendly and supportive environment.

Come along and find out more!

Networking, anniversaries and people: thoughts on the Highland Spotlight Exhibition

Our company marked its 7th anniversary yesterday, and a busy day it was. We exhibited at Highland Spotlight, a trade show organised by Inverness Chamber of Commerce. It was a bustling day at the Drumossie Hotel, filled with more than 60 local companies.

I was reminded of the value of personal connections as I chatted with dozens of visitors and with the other exhibitors as the day progressed. You never can tell with whom you are going to connect.

Bruce PR stand at Highland Spotllight

Our stand at Highland Spotlight was unattended from 11:45am, but this didn’t stop us from making some valuable connections during lunch

I had the good fortune, during my scheduled early lunch in the atrium outside the exhibition space, to be asked by Mairi Macauly of New Start Highland, if she and her colleague could join me at my table.

Mairi and Isobel were able to tell me a lot about New Start Highland. I had already been acquainted with the charity, as a donor and as a customer of their furniture shop on Church Street in Inverness city centre.

Having worked with a number of social enterprises in Northern Ireland as well as in Canada, I find theirs a compelling sector, with innumerable opportunities for touching people’s lives in a profound way. We had an interesting and lively discussion, and in retrospect, it turned out to be a very productive business meeting, in addition to a very pleasant lunch.

And that’s the miracle of connecting with people. You never know who it is you are going to make a connection with, or ultimately, where that connection may lead. But you can be sure of one thing: if you don’t speak to people, the odds are good that you’ll not make those connections.

If there is one bit of advice I could impart, it would be to convince the chronically shy people in this world to do anything they can to get over that shyness. I was a very shy child, and somewhere along the way, my shyness started to fade. Perhaps it was working as a waitress during the summers in university, where my American guests were just so damn friendly and out-going, how could you not respond to them?

Whatever it was, I am grateful for it. Not being handicapped by shyness has done my career the world of good. I encourage anyone who is troubled by their fears of speaking to new people to look into skills to help them to cope more effectively. It will change your career, as well as your personal life, profoundly for the better.

6 things you need to know to create compelling content

David Sim from Open Brolly speaking about "Digital Story-telling"

David Sim from Open Brolly speaking about “Digital Story-telling”

In this brave new world of social media, content is king. Create content that is appreciated and shared, and you will be delighted with the results.

A few years back, a good friend married a talented and sociable lawyer (he’s in the States). I wasn’t surprised when she told me he had a weekly radio programme. He had a good personality for that. It was a call-in show, where people would ring in with their legal questions. He could answer pretty much anything that came up. The radio show was good publicity for his legal practise. It got his name out there, and helped bring business through the door.

Now, you might wonder: was his radio show marketing, or PR? Good question.

But the answer doesn’t matter. What matters is that Nick was generating content. It was old-fashioned content, broadcast on the radio. Today, he probably has a podcast. But the principles are the same: create interesting content and, if you are good at getting the word out, people will view it and share it.

Last night I was a guest speaker at Highland Social in Inverness. Started by Michelle Russell from Snow Marketing, Highland Social is a networking forum for social media professionals and those wanting to learn more. Each event has a few guest speakers sharing their experiences with social media and related topics like branding. [My topic was “PR in the age of Social Media”.] Two of last night’s speakers talked about how they had created content that had driven traffic to their sites, raised awareness of their brands, and ultimately, had a clear and positive impact on the bottom line.

Jen Tomatin

Jennifer Nicol from Tomatin Distillery speaking about the launch of Cu Bocan whiskey using social media

One was Jennifer Nicol from Tomatin Distillery. Jennifer recently launched a new whiskey on a shoestring budget using old-fashioned creativity and the wonder of social media. I’m not surprised her launch was a success. Her technique and content was brilliant.

Nick from Highland Bottle Shop told us about how he had grown his newly-opened beer and liquor store using social media. One successful example was a photo of a six-pack of beer, posted on Twitter and Facebook the day before Father’s Day, noting that if anyone else had forgotten Father’s Day, Highland Bottle Shop could help. Nick sold quite a few six-packs that day, and no doubt, make more than a few fathers happy.

But what about the rest of us? We’re don’t all sell sexy Highland whiskeys or charming microbrews from around the world. What should we be talking about?

David Sim from Open Brolly addressed this. His topic was “Digital Story-telling”. [That’s David in the photo at the top of this page.] David said that in the world of social media, there is so much out there you need to be creative to stand out. He gave some excellent examples to illustrate that we bond with people if the content of their stories connects with us on an emotional level. David had some statistics to show that some words are better triggers than others: “coffee” and “perfume” make a stronger connection, he noted, than “table” or “chair”. He said that these connections light up a particular part of our brain. It made me think that we must be “hard-wired” for story-telling.

As David explained, telling a compelling story is a wonderful way to connect with people — be  it in person at an event, or on your blog. He suggested that if we are interested in creating compelling content, we should look for episodes in our lives that have an emotional element to them.

And this morning, when I looked up the YouTube videos David had planned to share (network speed prevented this), as exemplars of “digital story-telling” I saw that these were indeed, great examples of how companies had pushed the boundaries and created compelling content for social media to promote their brands.

Coke’s “Happiness Machine” youtube video shows the surprising results of how a modified, personalised vending machine delivered “happiness” (and a pizza!) at a college campus in the States. And the Dollar Shave Club video uses direct-address and a moving camera to convince men that paying a premium to remove hair from their face is a silly idea and that they should try an alternative.

And that’s when I had an epiphany: we all have our own television network. Thanks to YouTube, iTunes, and a host of other channels, every one of us has the capacity to become a broadcaster — whether it’s analogous to radio, television or a newspaper, there is nothing to stop us from getting our messages out on our own channel. However, most of us — myself included — have barely scratched the surface of that potential.

So to that end, I would like to share 6 suggestions to help get you started on creating compelling content:

  1. Tell a story. Do you have something to say that has a surprising or poignant element? This will engage your readers. If you would be more comfortable with something less intimate, share insights or episodes from your business career. Was there someone who made a big impression on you? What about your first day at your first job? Tell that story.
  2. Use photos to help bring that story to life. The most popular tweets and Facebook posts are those with photos.
  3. If you haven’t got anything nice to say, complain articulately. There’s little I enjoy reading more than a well-crafted complaint. Surely I am not alone?
  4. Think about how video can be used to help tell a story. “Direct-address” to your hand-held is the new Cinéma vériténon?
  5. Once your content is complete, get it out there. If you don’t have a personal site, create a blog from one of the free sites like Google’s Blogger or the more user-friendly WordPress. Create a YouTube or Vimeo channel if your content is visual.
  6. Finally, go all-out to share it across your networks. Post about it on your Facebook, and share a link on Twitter. Whichever social network suits you, use this get it around.

Then sit back and wait. Measure your results using a link hosting service like bit.ly and see how you did! You may even want to conduct your own experiment, changing the key words in your blog title, and seeing if you get different or better results.

I can’t think of a better way to learn about the potential of social networking than by creating your own content, getting it out there and seeing what happens. Can you?