Maybe you got into business because you were good at something you wanted to get paid for your skills and knowledge. Maybe you are out to change the world, or maybe you just want enough cash in your account for a beach house or a jet ski. Whatever your motivation, there is likely some part of you that wants – no, needs – to make that work matter. To impact your market and influence your industry.
Here are two pieces of bad news: that applies to everybody, and true success is a marathon, not a sprint. But that doesn’t mean you have to run slow. The best marathon runners can easily outpace an average sprinter. It’s all about perspective, market reality and your choices in the face of those challenges. And it’s also about finding a way to make your work matter. Here are a few ideas to hang your hat on:
Solve a problem. There are issues and problems and difficulties everywhere. Can you find a way to solve that problem in a marketable and profitable way? If so, your business plan is halfway to success. Get the right money and the right people and your odds of success skyrocket.
Focus on what you are doing. One of the biggest temptations all young entrepreneurs face is the sheer expanse of potential and possibility we see when we are young. There’s so much possible out there to attack. So … much … distraction. But if you can focus on an issue you can solve and SOLVE THAT ISSUE you can move on to something else. Just ask Elon Musk and Richard Branson.
Turn personal challenges into marketable options. Chances are,if you’re facing a legitimate problem, so are other people. If there are enough people who have a problem and you can create a solution that has value to them and offers a profit to you – whatever it is – you can be successful. Remember when maps were good enough? Well, did that stop Garmin from succeeding? Not at all … and, guess what, AAA is still out there making maps too.
While no single method can guarantee you will make an indelible mark, these triggers will get you much farther and much closer to the mark than by trying to shift the world on its axis without a lever.
Press Releases Then and Now
Here’s a headline from October 1929 from a Brooklyn Daily Eagle NY newspaper: “Wall Street In Panic As Stocks Crash.” In the 1940s, headlines reflected current events and political figures.
Press releases after the 1960s tended to rely on catch phrases and acronyms. The content of press releases changed from a regimented style utilizing the typical, “Who, What, When, Where and Why” to today’s freer style of press releases focused mainly on the subject followed by added information.
This example of press releases at present is from the New York Post’s February 2015 Business section report on the Doral Bank in Puerto Rico: The first sentence contains information about the FDIC shut down of the bank before it goes into details about the location or the amount of deposits and assets.
Public relations changed to adapt to the public’s desire to get to the heart of a news or press release quickly. Public interest in press releases demands a format that meets with the public’s scanning style of reading and selecting keywords quickly.
Social Media Changes Press Releases
Depending on the venue used to announce press releases, there’s a need to format public relations and press releases to conform to demands of search engines and social media like Twitter. A press release in 2015 is formatted to include keywords users access via search engines quickly. Keyword use in press releases is the mechanism that creates faster online visibility. Use of unique keywords in headlines and content increases traffic to a website. Press release content needs to contain sufficient quantities of keywords without appearing “stuffed” and/or difficult to read. For Twitter, for example, the amount of content is limited by the number of words allowed in a “tweet.” In this example, hash tags often are an identifying link to the content of the press release. The hash tag becomes a preview of the content.
Capturing Public Attention
The other part of a case study of the state of the press release in 2015 is that the ability to capture public attention. It’s more difficult than in the past due to greater competition for media visibility. With an increased number of media outlets, online and social media venues, press releases must offer instant news with lightening speed.
One of the primary dictums of any profession that deals with large numbers of people is to know your audience. It is common for groups in charge of essential social structures to change suddenly and drastically. Although there are important surface differences that may occur in any “changing of the guard,” the structural similarities often overwhelm the disparities. By careful attention to what changes and the nature of what stays the same, it is possible to direct a message to an important audience with great specificity.
The recent turnover in the United States Congress is a wonderful example. There is no need to dissect the specific ideological differences between this Congress and the last one, although they are very significant. It is more important, from a public relations perspective, to note that this has occurred before and will again. For reasons that are poorly understood, the party of practically every two-term President has lost control of the Congress in the second midterms. The only exception known occurred in 1946, under Harry Truman. This fact is so well known in American and other two-party political systems that it is almost axiomatic.
This demonstrates that in the case of Congress, change is the only constant. Therefore, one of the first tasks for any public relations strategist is to eschew excessive identification with any one faction. Although they may sometimes ascend, it is virtually certain that they will fall out of favor. As pilots say, “Takeoff is optional, landing is mandatory.” Therefore, any excessive allegiance to one temporal faction has the possibility to severely damage all efforts in the future. This is as equally true in politics as it is in the business world.
It is also wise to address public relations attempts to the structure of the job, instead of the particular inhabitants of a particular position. Democrats, Republicans and Independent politicians all have very different worldviews and ways of processing information. However, it is almost universally true that they are ambitious, organized people with an interest in understanding the world around them and a job that puts them in contact with the public on a regular basis. This means that, no matter what the political persuasion of the specific person in question, they will want practical information, hard facts and polls that show what percentages of people hold a particular opinion. They will want to hear about things that have direct application to the problems before them. Within that framework it is possible to convey a great deal of public relations information.
Interest groups may benefit from studying the language of the incoming group. It is often helpful to note key terms and phrases and try to work them into presentations. There are always ongoing dialogues within any given social group, and people who speak to the specific concerns of that group in language they find comfortable and familiar will almost always find a more receptive audience. However, people find it easy to detect when someone tries to use unfamiliar jargon in order to fit in. It behooves anyone with interest in lobbying or delivering public relations information to discuss the concerns of their audience, but in their own terms and with their own authentic voice.
The most important principle that can be conveyed is the importance of research. Knowledge and familiarity will unfailingly open communications between disparate sets of people. The better that a lobbyist knows the people that they need to talk to, the better they will be able to talk to them. Knowledge will allow them to prepare information more fully, to anticipate specific concerns and to have intelligent answers ready for pertinent questions. Their message will be amplified by their ability to speak more clearly.
Everyone wants to know the “secret” of business success. Guess what, no matter how many self-help books you see and how many “how to” articles you read, there really is no “secret.” However, there are some behaviors that can help you become more productive, more respected and more successful. Yes, “behaviors.” These are things YOU must do. Frequently and with excellence. Your results will depend almost entirely on how well and how consistently you perform these behaviors. So, if you aren’t willing to “do” in order to “become” just stop reading now. Go do what you always do and wake up exactly the same tomorrow. Or not…it’s entirely up to you.
First, no matter what the issue is, before coming to anyone with the problem, consider it yourself and develop a working solution. If you are working with a team, don’t fall into the role of “support” staff, unless that’s where you want to stay. You need to be seen and understood to be a problem solver if you ever want to be given more responsibility than what you are currently entrusted. And, if you are already a leader, it can pay to listen to your subordinates, but never depend on them entirely to turn problems into successes. They are looking to you for leadership, and that includes having a direction in mind before you start moving.
Next, own it. Whatever “it” is at the time. A problem that needs to be solved, a success that needs to be shared or a process that needs some guidance. If you are involved, you need to BE INVOLVED. Be obvious, be present and be impactful. If you are not contributing you are either part of the problem or, at best, getting in the way of a solution. Stop simply recycling oxygen and get in the game!
Finally, be time conscious. People have things to do, so if you are interacting in a business scenario, you need to be brief and be impactful. Then get on out of there. Say or do what you need to say or do, and be sure to do so in a way that makes a definitive positive impact on whoever. Then leave them be. You should have stuff to do too, right? And even if you do not value your own time, make sure “they” realize you value theirs.
Again, this is an incremental process that should be accompanied by specific, short and long term goals. This is not some random or ephemeral “idea” of success. This is a plan, and one that will require both commitment and follow through.
In February 2013, cloud-storage guru and founder of the now defunct MegaUpload Kim Dotcom began dropping hints that his new venture, Mega, was destined to be much more than a successor to MegaUpload. He said that in the coming years, the new company would expand to include, among other things, video, chat and calling services.
After Megaupload was shutdown as a result of the United States reporting Dotcom’s alleged copyright infringement to other countries, he decided to strategically locate his new venture in New Zealand. The relocation, Dotcom believes, is an affirmation of the company’s commitment to privacy. He felt that user data would be better protected in New Zealand which was important because, as Dotcom hinted, future Mega applications would require encryption. In fact, he criticized the popular video chat Skype for not having sufficient encryption to protect their users’ privacy. Mega received funding from BitCoin, a nearly untraceable payment platform that fit well with Mega’s theme of privacy and protection from the government.
Dotcom is currently battling to avoid extradition. His New Zealand mansion was raided in 2012, and he was subsequently arrested after being charged with criminal United States copyright violations. Dotcom countered by saying that the warrants used in the search were not legal and was able to get them invalidated in a June 2012 hearing. This bought him some time, however, the ruling was overturned, and he is now facing the possibility of extradition.
In late December 2014 ,nearly two years after that he had plans to go head-to-head with Skype by launching a fully encrypted video call service, Dotcom announced that he had done just that. MegaChat is a fully encrypted, in-browser video chat service in which registered users can enjoy end-to-end video and audio communication for free.
According to Dotcom, over half a million Mega users made encrypted video calls using MegaChat in the first hour following its launch on January 21, 2015. Dotcom also said he will roll out MegaChat beta one feature at a time. He stated via Twitter that text and video conferencing are on the way. MegaChat is expected to have over 100 million users by the end of 2015.
Since the Snowden debacle in which in was suggested that NSA has had access to users’ Skype chats since 2011, the future of the platform has been on shaky ground. With the proliferation of other web-based video and voice chat mediums such as Firefox Hello, a Firefox plug-in that allows ad-hoc anonymous, Skype-style chats and now the heavily encrypted MegaChat, Skype will have to reevaluate its models if it wants to say on top. Currently, they are working on a Web RTC-based plug-in for in-browser chat.
Pundits believe that since MegaChat’s end-to-end encryption gives it a clear advantage over Skype, it could very well turn out to be the “Skypekiller” that it claims to be. So far, its usability has proved fine, but only the coming months will tell whether or not MegaChat will live up to its lofty security claims. If it does, users might just find themselves hanging up on Skype forever and opting to use MegaChat instead.
Who is Ronn Torossian:Ronn Torossian 5WPR CEO, Founder of the Ronn Torossian Foundation, Author of best selling PR book 'For Immediate Release' and a frequent contribituor to Fox News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Insights Wired, Everything PR and more!
Ronn Torossian at the NY Observer
Ronn Torossian at Everything PR
Ronn Torossian at Wired Innovation Insights