Earlier this week the wonderful Holly Cardamone from Blue51 Communications, my favourite Word Nerd, presented a fantastic masterclass to the members of my Shine community. Aptly titled “What’s your Story?”, she shared tips and tricks (of which she had a tonne) for sharing your story with your audience and growing your brand.
I won’t share all of Holly’s insights with you (although you can get a fantastic overview thanks to this graphic recording by Debbie Wood) but if I could pass on just one takeaway it would be this:
“When you’re trying to build a business you can’t be secret.”⠀
When Holly uttered this sentence my heart literally jumped for joy, because this is at the heart of my purpose, helping people in business – people like YOU – show up, stand out, and become more visible.
These days it’s not enough to be brilliant at what you do. It’s not enough to offer a great experience. It’s not enough to have a 5 star website (although obviously all of those things help).⠀At the end of the day if you’re not showing up and giving people a chance to discover you, get to know you, connect with you and learn about what you do, how do you expect them to find you?⠀
In my opinion there are three things that, when we master them, makes it super simple to stand out online. When you nail them, it’s SO easy to show up consistently and confidently. Here they are:
1 – An On-Brand Image Library
Well, what did you expect? As a branding photographer it would be remiss of me not to have this at the top of my list. But putting my bias aside, visuals are still always at the top of my list when it comes to helping people show up online and become known. Not only do we humans love to look at beautiful images (hello Instagram and endless scrolling!), but the brain also LOVES visuals. More than any other medium, images have the ability to create an emotional connection with the viewer in an instant, and we also find them easier to remember.
I commonly get feedback from clients following shoots that having their own unique library of on-brand images makes it so much easier to promote themselves – when you have images ready to go at your fingertips, it’s hard to come up with an excuse not to.
2 – Words to Win Over Your Audience
Okay so yes, visuals are important, but you also need winning words to back them up! I like to say that your images are what makes people stop and notice you, but your written content retains them.
Once you’ve got your audience’s attention, you need to connect with them on a more personal level and offer value – educate them through your expertise, inspire them with stories, share your personality and your values, and don’t forget to promote your services so they have an opportunity to buy from you!
3 – A Solid Content Strategy
I honestly believe that NOT having a content strategy is a major block for a lot of small business owners showing up. Because even if you have amazing images and the ability to write, without a plan it can feel a lot like driving around in a car without knowing where you’re going … stressful! In the end, you’re likely to just pull over to the side of the road and turn off the engine. You end up going nowhere.
When you have a strategy, it’s so much easier to create content because you have goals to work towards – and your content can be designed to help you achieve them! Whether you’re launching a new product, promoting a webinar, or just wanting to build your list, your content can be crafted with the right message and call to action to help reach your targets.
Now if you’re reading this and feeling a little guilty that you don’t have one or all of the above nailed yet then don’t stress. Firstly, you’re not alone – most small business owners I talk to don’t. Second, it’s something that can be easily fixed. Yes, it can take some time but all you have to do is decide that it’s a priority and start taking steps to make it happen. Not long ago I would’ve said I didn’t have all these things covered, but as I’ve become more laser-focused in my goals, these elements of my business and brand have become more important and I’ve made time and money to invest in each one.
And it can take a long time to reach that place in business. Business owners are often overwhelmed, we suffer from a lack of time and energy to work ON our business, and we can also struggle when it comes to deciding what to invest in (hello bright shiny objects!). As a result, we easily get distracted from what’s really important and end up working in a reactive manner from day to day.
But … I know that if you can prioritise these three important things – your visuals, your written content and a strategy behind both – it will make it so much easier for you to show up confidently and consistently. Not only that but you’ll be creating a powerful brand that will attract your ideal audience. More people will come to know you and I guarantee you won’t ever be able to call yourself a well-kept secret again!
If you’d love help to work on these things, if you are keen to grow your brand and business, this is exactly what we focus on in my monthly membership, SHINE. Get in touch if you are interested and want to find out more about how it works and what’s included. I’d love to help you grow your brand and business!
Would you love some amazing imagery to help you stand out online? Get in touch and let’s chat about what we could create for you.
If you’d love to build a powerful brand, be more visible and show up more consistently online, check out my monthly membership where I’m helping driven women in business do just that.