The United Kingdom is a place that gave the world Shakespeare, Dickens and JK Rowling. And as you might expect, people who live there love nothing more than a gripping story. Ideas and imagination are what this country runs on.
It’s the same in the business world. Yes, your product/service might have sold millions and secured high-profile clients. But these impressive stats will mean nothing to this island of fiercely independent consumers and customers unless you can craft a story that makes them dream, laugh, be surprised or enchanted plus one or two that are more b2b concepts? To truly win their trust, showcasing your story in your business or digital profile is a good place to start.
What is your story? Start by figuring what makes you or your brand stand out among your competitors. This could be a unique feature of your product or the origin myth of your brand journey. However, to the country that invented the tabloid press, it’s no surprise that personal stories stand out the best. Entrepreneurs often want to focus on how brilliant their product/service is, but the media is more interested in the human side: you! Consider your own personal story: if your founder is a Parisian-trained marshmallow chef, let people know!
Letting people know about your story is the difficult part. While a specialist PR firm such as Rochester PR Group can help spread the word about you to British journalists and craft content for your social media feeds, you may also decide to undertake some social media activity yourself.
However, firing off endless tweets and Instagram posts won’t get you anywhere. Instead, start with one of the easier places: LinkedIn. With 500 million members, based in over 200 countries, it’s quite simply the biggest networking website for professionals. Best of all, it’s free! It’s popular in the UK too, so make sure you connect with key UK journalists, influencers and podcast hosts in your sector and start engaging with them by commenting on their posts (in a nice way, obviously). Of course, if your consumers are on TikTok or Twitter, head there instead.
So, how to build an effective profile for your business on LinkedIn or elsewhere? Firstly, think of it as your shop window: it’s where your future consumers/customers will first encounter and assess you. Frequently updating your profile with quality content such as LinkedIn blog posts (it also has a newsletter feature and podcast network too) is a great way to mark yourself out as an industry expert. If these are authoritative and tell an engaging story, they can help build trust with your target audience.
Blogs, ‘thought leadership’ pieces, op-eds (short for ‘opposite the editorial page’, it’s essentially an outlet for expressing the opinion of its author) whatever you like to call them, there’s one fact: writing them is a daunting experience. You might be tempted to reel off your latest sales statistics or client wins. Don’t. Instead, consider what this leading UK newspaper editor told us.
“Everybody’s doing thought leadership right now,” he says. “But many leaders make the mistake of writing what is happening within their business – which is only interesting for people working in that industry! If you want to make your blog or op-ed interesting to people in the UK, then make it reflect wider trends or answer wider problems. Try hooking it to something topical, such as a recent news story.”
To write them, he suggests the following structure (don’t forget to weave in your story here too!):
Intro: The topical idea or recent event
Middle: This is why it is a problem
Final paragraphs: Here’s what my company is doing to fix it
There are other things to be aware of. Get some professional photos taken of yourself and your product or service. Make sure you get both portrait and landscape headshot – if print or online media use it, then the latter dominates an article.
Another good tip is to study your competitors’ profiles. Take note of the ones that make a real impact, and ask yourself how they achieve that. Shorter profiles, that cut to the point, and use less jargon, are often more effective. A strong mission statement; testimonials; and up-to-date company information will also serve you well. Don’t forget to include contact numbers and addresses and proof-read your copy first.
But if you’re one of the many who does not have the time to work at your LinkedIn posting (let’s be frank, that’s probably most of us) or an international business person who wants to engage with the UK and look like you have your finger on the pulse, then, yes, my advice would be to get your PR to help you. After all they are creating your content and will understand when to post for maximum impact and which stories will work best for you on LinkedIn.
Above all, keep in mind the importance of storytelling. If your content is interesting enough to share, your customers will spread the word, with journalists eventually interviewing you as an expert. Hopefully, somewhere along the way, all this interest will be converted into sales. It will take time and effort, but ultimately a strong business profile always pays off.