In today’s market, many MSPs appear to be just like each other. Clients don’t know the difference between them. If you do not have a compelling Unique Selling Proposition, then you need to at least have additional branding and credibility. Fortunately, this is not as hard as it might sound.
A few years ago, I was introduced to a service called HARO, which stood for Help a Reporter Out. This service is for reporters who are requesting information for articles they have been tasked to write. Since they do not have the technical knowledge on the topic they’re writing about, they look for people — like you and I, in many cases — to interview.
As a result of submitting answers to the reporters’ questions within HARO, I have been featured on numerous websites, including Dell.com, BankofAmerica.com, Wired.com, Deseret News (specifically regarding the Target breach), and was featured in 30 individual eHow.com videos, discussing technology and IT concerns. I was also asked to be on Sirius XM radio for Kim Power Stilson. We talked about fighting cybercrime, in terms of what people need to know and how to avoid the dangers. The show generated an overwhelmingly positive response and they asked me to be a guest a second time. This allowed me to meet a producer who created the Really Cool Humans Network and InSecurITy TV, an on-demand TV show. We did three seasons of the show, educating individuals on how to protect themselves from cybercriminals.
You can use positive publicity to not only market yourself, but also to help educate your clients. For example, we send our radio interview to potential clients to increase their awareness on topics we have expertise on and to establish our credibility.
While you’re using the HARO service, set up Google Alerts for your name and your company name. Some reporters will notify you when they are publishing an article by sending you links or tagging your profile when they post the article on social media, while others do not. The Google Alert allows you to see when your article was posted and when it’s available for you to use it in your social media and marketing. Further, sharing these articles can help you establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry.
Reporters notify you when they are publishing an article by sending you links or tagging your profile when they post the article on #SocialMedia. Sharing these articles can help you establish yourself as a #ThoughtLeader in the industry
The biggest advantage, perhaps, is that these articles link back to your website, so it is very good for strengthening your SEO and building credibility. When you have sites like WSJ, Wired, Dell, and Bank of America pointing back to your IT company’s domain name, Google gives you a higher ranking because those sites are considered credible.
Another thing you might want to consider is setting up your your social media profiles across all platforms to be congruent. Your profile pictures and banners on your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts should all be the same. This allows people to easily find and recognize you on different platforms.
Build your following
It’s also highly recommended that you write your own blog posts and articles. These can be as simple as something you witnessed happen to a client or prospect. For instance, we had multiple clients that received an email regarding iTunes gift cards. They purchased anywhere between hundreds to thousands of dollars’ worth of iTunes gift cards and texted the scammers the codes to the cards, thinking that they were texting it to their boss. The moral of the story is, educate your clients, their staff, and even your staff. Writing a blog post about these type of scams is very informative and it builds your credibility.
There are numerous things that you can write articles and blogs about, and you want to post these on your social media and your website to maximize the value they deliver to both you and to your clients. You can get creative with topics you post on — use your blog as a platform to discuss standard policies and procedures with you clients, or even to promote your offering of on-demand staff training.
When you have sites like Wall Street Journal, Wired, Dell, and Bank of America pointing back to your #IT company’s domain name, Google gives you a higher ranking because those sites are considered credible.
Another easy opportunity to take advantage of is if you meet an author or hear a speaker at an IT conference. If you get the opportunity to have your photo taken with them, you can simply share that photo and an article about some things you learned from that person while you heard them speak. The picture alone builds credibility, but then if you post an article and you mention them in a social media post, you can often get an instant response from that individual. I once posted a selfie with Shark Tanks’ Robert Herjavec along with an article naming the five things I learned from hearing him at the IT event. He personally shared the article on his social media and “Dancing with the Stars,” another popular TV show that Robert starred on, also shared it. That post had over 926 likes, 94 comments, and was retweeted 146 times, which helped generate more traffic to the article and website.
Speak up and get involved
If you’re going to be presenting at a seminar, have someone take pictures of you during the presentation. This shows you as a presenter and thought leader in your industry. It builds your credibility when you are seen speaking in front of a crowd. Follow your local news media on social platforms and be sure to interact with them whenever they mention an event that you are involved with. I’ve been on local TV numerous times and I always use the videos in my marketing.
Another way to build credibility is to join groups. Look for companies who offer such things as CPE credits. I partnered with a firm that does CPE (Continuing Professional Education) credits for CPAs and I have been paid to speak numerous times at their events. Furthermore, they have asked me to write articles, as well as do on-demand training sessions for their guests to purchase. This allowed me to be the influential speaker in front of countless CPAs earning their CPE credits. Look within your city to see what organizations you can become a member of.
For example, attorneys, medical professionals, and bar associations all have groups that typically get together in each city. Find out how you can participate and give back to your community, give them content, write articles for their magazines, and present at seminars on cybercrimes and their dangers in front of these groups. Each of these build your credibility and allows you to be in front of prospects, without having to target your marketing towards them. If you’re uncomfortable with public speaking, my recommendation is to host webinars or “lunch and learns” for your clients.
There are so many things that we can teach our clients if we could just get in front of them. Getting involved in groups and hosting events are great platforms for showing your audience what a spoofed email looks like, how to spot a malicious email, and why they should not freely click on links. This helps build your confidence in becoming more comfortable as a public speaker and stepping up on stage in front of larger crowds.
To summarize what I hope this article was able to convey to you, I’ll borrow my favorite quote from Tony Robbins: “Knowledge is not power. Knowing a concept is only potential value. The execution of knowledge is where your power lies.”
Photo: Olivier Le Moal / Shutterstock