Clients

I’ve been too busy to blog. But that’s not a good excuse. So, here you go!

One of the pieces of advice I always give to clients is that if they start a blog, they regularly need to attend to it, keeping content fresh.  There are a few reasons for that. For starters, it keeps people coming back to hear what you have to say next. It also provides greater SEO value — the Google spiders like to see new content!  If your page gets stale, the Google believes it is less relevant for your key words.

So, it is with great remorse that I find myself violating one of my own rules!  There are, however, good reasons for my lapse!  Chief amongst them: clients.

In the past month I’ve landed as clients a leading Congressional candidate (Steve Heacock), a leading Christian publisher (Zondervan), a new furniture company to be launched (announcement coming soon!) and, very likely, a leading health policy non-profit in West Michigan (also to be announced, if it happens!).  I’ve still been writing about The Rapid for RapidGrowthMedia.com, and writing profiles for Grand Rapids Magazine. There are a couple other proposals out there that look promising, too!

At the same time, I know that with each of my clients there are end goals in sight, even if they are a few months off, so I cannot stop reaching out to potential new clients.  As President of the West Michigan chapter of PRSA, I have a number of built-in networking opportunities per month.  I also have been quite active in going to events sponsored by organizations like the Econ Club of GR, aimWest, RapidGrowthMedia, and more.  It is my sincerest hope that anybody looking for quality representation by an independent PR practitioner will consider me. If they’re not considering me because they don’t know about me, I need to network even harder!

So, because of all that, I’ve been a little lax on the blogging front.  But, here I am.  I promise to do better!  Meanwhile, are you looking for PR help?  If not me, call me anyway because I also know lots of other great pros who can help you out!

Spring in the Air

Recap of the last two weeks

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve last posted here. I’ve been very active, you see! Lots of networking, going to events like the Addy Awards and the aimWest Tech Trends event and WMPRSA’s “Meet the Media” event and so much more.  Plus I’ve had lots of meetings with people.  Some were people I worked with a long time ago but with whom I had lost touch. Some were people who have offered to help me in various ways.  Some were students I’ve offered to help.  And a few were even potential clients.

After a long cold winter, this week has seen a thaw in West Michigan. Snow is melting away in the balmy 40+ temperatures. Spirits are lightened as Michiganders head outdoors in their t-shirts. :-)  People around here rejoice as America took home the top haul of Olympic medals. I took special pride in Canada’s top haul of 14 golds and, in particular, the men’s hockey gold. After losing to the U.S. in an earlier round, I just knew the Canada squad wouldn’t let themselves lose another game.

And my prospects for new work are also very good. Today I accepted one assignment that will likely keep me busy through November.  Two other projects I bid on seem very possible and, if I get that work, I will be very busy through the summer.  I have agreed to join the Festival of the Arts communications team as a volunteer, which also will be very fun. And, of course, I’m still writing for Grand Rapids Magazine and for RapidGrowthMedia.com

When you add in serving as president of West Michigan PRSA, serving as secretary of the deaconate for my church, and writing assignments for the New 2 You Shoppe (my wife serves on their board), there’s not a lot of free time!

So, that’s my excuse for not blogging the last few weeks.  Next week begins the “Nine Days of Celebration” in the Luymes household. First it’s my birthday on the 9th, then my wife’s birthday on the 14th, and then our wedding anniversary on the 18th (21 years). So, maybe I’ll be too busy partying down to blog. Or too busy working (which is just one more reason to celebrate)!

Share stories, earn support

People share their personal stories and become respected and supported. Those who just sell meet resistance.

Like many others, I’m a social being. I like people and I like their stories. For instance, last week I sat down with a 99-year-old gentleman for a story I wrote for Grand Rapids Magazine.  If I had just been doing my job, the interview could have lasted a couple hours at most. Instead, I spent four hours with Bill wandering through the past century from his perspective. He told me about growing up in southeastern Ohio, about launching a career in the middle of the Great Depression (of great interest to me, given that I’m starting a business in the middle of a great recession), about achieving business success by dealing with basic human nature.

You’ll have to read the magazine to get Bill’s story, although I have to say that I could have shared so much more than what space allowed.  Perhaps, after the story is published, I will share more about Bill.  By the way, Bill also had a program he was promoting, something he hopes others support.  But it’s an outgrowth of who he is. Sharing 99 years’ worth of experience earns you the right to share a position.

Social media allows people to share their stories — bit by bit or in larger chunks, depending on the person and their ability — or desire — to share.  By its very nature, social media allows ideas to spread from person-to-person and, in many cases, from one to many, which is why everyone with something to sell is looking to tap into social media. It’s also why social media is so important to public relations — it has so much potential to get your message out to your key audience. 

What often bothers me, however, are the blatant attempts to force a sales message into a conversation where it does not naturally belong.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  The conversation is about XYZ, and suddenly Joe Shmoe who you barely know is trying to sell you something totally unrelated.

Nothing wrong with Joe trying to sell his stuff, by the way.  He just needs to do it in conversations geared to that or start his own conversation and invite others to find out more.  It would also help if Joe earned the right to pitch his wares by first being an active and engaged member of a community.  When Joe is a respected member of that community, he might be surprised when others ask him what it is he has to sell.  Because they like and respect him, they want to support him. He was inviting without having to overtly and frequently state his invitation.

I am a consumer and have invited people who have excellent products to sell me into my home to show me. Typically it’s someone I already know and respect. I want to support them!  But I really don’t like it when someone I don’t know as well sticks his foot in the door and then attempts to shoulder his way through when I’ve clearly stated that I’m not interested. In some cases, I could be interested in what they have to sell, but they have to give me a little time to get to know them.

So, to those who are applying shoulder pressure through people’s social media experiences, please stop!  It wrecks the experience for everyone and it’s just not that effective.  Start with being social and friendly and inviting. Then you sill earn the right to eventually show me what you got to sell!