If nobody knows about you or what you can do for them, how will you ever get to where you want to be? Seems an obvious, even stupid, question, doesn’t it? But time and again when delivering training, speeches and presentations, I meet people who are in danger of remaining anonymous – and unsuccessful - despite having masses of talent. My field of public relations is becoming more popular as companies – especially small to medium size – are recognizing that it doesn’t cost much and it works. Here are some ways of really kick-starting promotion, for your career or as a business. By choosing a few of these and taking action now, you will be starting to get your message across to the people who can make you successful. Why wouldn’t you do that? 1. Refine your targets: Make lists and revise old lists. The more you identify the target the easier it becomes to get your message across. Then try to accumulate information on what is important to them. You might have to segment these lists according to their interests or your priorities. 2. Get out and about: Sitting behind the desk just won’t do it. You’ve got to get out and about and there are two great ways to make yourself do this. One, join a group or club that meets regularly and make sure you attend everything. Two, phone friends and people on your list and drop by to see them, meet at coffee shop or invite them to a function. 3. Write articles: Too many professionals keep wonderful information locked away in their brains. Get it down on the computer, and see who might publish. Even if you don’t get published, sending the article to key contacts as something that might interest them is value added communication at work. 4. Issue media releases: The media is looking for stories. But two words of warning; try to be newsy (focus on what’s the big deal at the moment and try to use that as a hook) and expect rejection. Just try again. 5. Make a speech: People who make speeches have credibility, they’re “experts”, so it’s worth all the sweat and nerves. Start small and easy. What about offering to discuss a current issue at your local Rotary or other club, and keep offering from there. Who knows where it might lead. To seriously push public speaking, get somebody to work with you on the material and your presentation to make it a real winner. 6. Get on radio: It costs a lot to advertise, but it costs nothing to talk to radio. Try to become a commentator, keep offering yourself, or make phone calls to talk shows in your field. Do not use your opportunity to speak on radio as an advertisement or free plug – be genuinely interesting and pass on helpful tips. 7. Get into online forums: In your field there are many online chat rooms, newsgroups or forums where you can get your message across. You can often even include an email contact or link your website, so it’s a good contact point. 8. Use alliances: There are many others out there who are trying to get to your target audience, and not all of these are competitors. Start talking to potential allies, see if you are comfortable enough to offer to promote them if they promote you. Or combine your strengths for a marketing push or seminar program. 9. Write a letter: Don’t forget in this age of technology that a personal letter is powerful. Writing letters to your targets once a quarter is a good way to sustain your presence. Sending letters to editor can gain media exposure. Remember with letter writing to stick with it, while being clear in the letter what you are writing about and why. 10. Volunteer your skills: Others in the community might benefit from your free time, perhaps on a board or committee. Search out local groups needing help, or even identify business groups that could do with some new blood. This form of networking pays off in the long term. These approaches will become so much more powerful for you if you have a clear idea who you are and why you are different – that is, if you have a clear brand. Brand applies to people as much as organizations, because it is about personality and position. Too many people don’t have a clear idea of why they are special, so to these people I simply say: Stand for something! If you don’t stand for something, why are you in business or why are you offering yourself as a professional? In this competitive world, you can sit around wishing things would happen or you can get out there and enjoy the communication journey. Remember the saying about it all starting “with a single step”?