How to Build Your Business in 60 Seconds: Sage Marketing Advice from Mel Pircheski

Here’s how to build your business – and advance your career – in 60 seconds: create an effective “elevator pitch”. You may already know what an elevator pitch is. It’s the short answer you give when you meet someone for the first time and they ask, “What do you do?”

Most of us underestimate the importance of a great elevator pitch. We think it’s just for salesmen. But it’s much more than that. You may have patented the most amazing invention since the electric light bulb, but if no one knows about it and sees its significance, your business will fail.

Just like every business has an online profile whether they create one themselves or not, every business has an elevator pitch. It’s called the value proposition. Stating it clearly, and in way that makes the listener want to learn more, is essential to success. In big organizations, this responsibility traditionally lies with the marketing department. But in the age of social media, articulation of the value prop can be carried out by every person in the organization – and by the media, customers, “fans” and “followers” – certainly not just the marketing department.

Today it’s all the more important to have a killer elevator pitch to capture the spirit and value of what your business offers. Perfect it, and it will practically spread by itself.

The successful elevator pitch is as close as you can get to a silver bullet for business success. It’s particularly useful for understanding what makes a good pay-per-click (e.g. Google AdWords) ad. These are the short ads that appear as “Sponsored links” next to search results on Google, Yahoo! and other search pages. A good AdWords ad grabs your attention without using hype. It offers to relieve an itch or a pain or a desire. It makes you want to learn more. It does so by speaking your language. It’s not necessarily the language of the company making the offer.

Invariably, this language includes keywords. Words that you type into a search engine to do a search. When you are looking for a product on the Internet, you don’t sit there and think, hmm, I wonder what words the manufacturer uses to talk about his products. You just type the first thing that comes to mind. That’s a keyword.

Keywords are often the hardest part of the search marketing process, in search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising like Google AdWords. To be successful, keywords have to capture the thinking of the site visitor or person doing a search. They are the essence of whatever it is that makes them want to learn more, to click. And they are the essence of whatever it is that makes that person want to share an idea – or product or brand – with friends and family.

The next stranger you meet might be in a position to change the course of your business or your career. They might be looking for an opportunity, or they might be ready to put you in touch with someone who will be your greatest investor or partner or boss. Why not be ready? As the saying goes, “Luck is the time when preparation and opportunity meet.”

Mel Pircheski is the master of the elevator pitch. Take a minute to read this short post that gives you the essence of a successful elevator pitch. Put his words into practice, and I guarantee you’ll see positive results.

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Free Social Media Marketing Tool: Press Release Grader

Free tools for social media marketing are popping up everywhere. For a huge list of free and paid social media monitoring tools, there is the Wiki of Social Media Monitoring Solutions. The Press Release Grader from Hubspot is a tool of a different sort, in fact, in addition to checking for basics like contact information, it’s more about search optimization than anything else.

Free Social Media Marketing Tool: Press Release Grader

Unlike monitoring tools, Press Release Grader is not about gathering information and figuring out what to do with it. It’s an instructive tool that runs your press release through a checklist, giving you feedback about things like the readability level (high school, college, graduate school), overused words and words used most often.

One of my favorite features is a link checker that inspects the number and quality of links you include in the body of the release. Since many press releases will wind up on the Web, links are especially important. You need to be sure to include good links: think about the pages you are linking to and whether you have included keywords in the links.

Press Release Grader is an instructive tool in another sense: it teaches the user how to optimize content. Many of the same principles apply to all Web-based publishing. It’s also likely that this tool will improve as Hubspot gets feedback from users. There are search engine optimization tools that do the same thing, Hubspot and Optify are two notable providers.

Press releases are not dead. They are still a valuable way to get the word out and build inbound links. So, as long as you are going to use them, you should take a few minutes to check them over with a tool like Press Release Grader.

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