How to Promote Your Business Effectively, Both Online and Off

business directory infoWhether you think you know public relations and marketing or not, getting your business or product noticed is difficult. Even some of the best PR pros I know have a hard time marketing themselves. It just seems a bit precocious to put yourself out there. But one thing I know for sure: If you don’t market yourself, no one else will.

Identify your audience

It may seem like a no-brainer, but many businesses fail to identify just who to talk to. Once you know “who” then you can go about “how” to reach them.

Reaching out to local media

One of your audiences will invariably be the media. You can’t pitch all media outlets the same way. TV has different needs from print and radio and vice versa. But before you pitch ask yourself:

• Is your product or service the first, best or brand new?
• Is it award-winning or trendsetting?
• Does it solve a problem?
• Does it provide a unique service?
• Is it visual (TV and online mostly, but even print is getting into video)

If you don’t have anything that fits into the above categories, then you probably don’t have a news story. But you can still provide meaningful commentary by being an expert in your field.

Social media

Let’s be honest, there are a ton of different social media channels out there. My guidance is pick one or two that you think make sense for your business and master those first. You can spend hours venturing down the social media rabbit hole, but here are some general rules of thumb:

• The goal is to engage customers – be a part of the discussion in your industry and it will help you gain an audience or followers.
• Don’t be afraid to “friend” or “follow” reporters. Your ideas may spark stories for them.
• Ask for feedback from your followers. Again, engagement is the key you want them to “like” and “share” or “retweet” what you post.

Business directory listings

Be sure to claim your business in online directories such as Google Business, Yelp and Yahoo. If you are interested mainly in how to promote your business on the web, business directories are the perfect starting point.

There are also a ton of others, the Yellow Pages offers both free and paid listings. Claiming your business lets you know and respond when people have something nice or something bad to say. It will also allow you to dispute any negative comments. One of the most highly sought after business listing services is provided by DirectoryBug.com.

Your website

I’m assuming you already have one if you are reading this. But you need to make sure you are making the most of it. With the constant changes in search algorithms, you want to make sure your content is fresh. One of the best ways to do this is to have a blog. I see a lot of websites that were built a year or two ago and haven’t been touched since.

Become an expert

Let’s face it, if you are running your own your company, you are an expert in whatever that is. The same things that make your company newsworthy are the things that make you an expert. Start a blog and talk about what you know, what you are learning along the way – challenges and successes. You can also re-post articles from other people (make sure to give proper credit) or comment on them.

Get involved in your community

Look for groups and associations that align with your priorities and beliefs. Volunteerism is a great way to network as well.

Consistently brand your business

Chances are your company already has a logo and a name. It should be on everything – correctly formatted. Your name and logo are the image that says who you are and what you do. Make sure it properly reflects your business.

LIA’s $1.2 Billion Lawsuit Against Goldman Sachs Enters High Court in London

Subsequent to the recent report of the case taken by the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) against Goldman Sachs, the LIA has issued the following statement detailing its case against the bank:

The full extent of the LIA’s case against Goldman Sachs was detailed recently, with the serving of the legal claim and its particulars on Goldman Sachs.  This follows the submission by the LIA to the High Court in London last week. The claim rests on disputed equity derivatives trades, amounting to in excess of $1 billion. These trades expired as worthless in 2011 despite delivering immediate and disproportionate profits to Goldman Sachs. These profits are estimated to be in the range of $350 million.

The central charge is that Goldman Sachs deliberately exploited the relationship of trust and confidence it had established with the Libyan Investment Authority in order to cause the LIA to enter into each of the disputed trades.

The legal papers submitted by the LIA note the huge imbalance between Goldman Sachs’s sophisticated financial expertise and the LIA’s extremely limited in-house financial and legal experience; the LIA being a newly formed sovereign wealth fund that became operational during the last years of Gaddafi-era Libya.

From late 2007 until well after the disputed trades took place, Goldman Sachs employees were extensively involved in self-described training and development of the team at LIA, had unfettered access to its offices, systems, and information, and also provided extensive corporate hospitality for LIA employees.

The legal papers also note that the exploitative trades were inadequately documented by Goldman Sachs, with the details of the actual trades undertaken being provided to the LIA weeks (and in some cases, months) after the trades were executed. When the LIA received these trade details and begun to understand the true nature of the disputed trades, it became clear the trust and confidence placed in Goldman Sachs had been abused.

Mr. AbdulMagid Breish, Chairman of the LIA since June 2013 said, “The unique circumstances allowed Goldman Sachs to take advantage of the LIA’s extremely limited financial and legal experience, to deliberately exploit its position of influence, and to take advantage in a way that generated colossal losses for the LIA, but substantial profits for Goldman Sachs. While Goldman Sachs was orchestrating these unjustly exploitative transactions, it repeatedly told the LIA that it sought a long-term relationship with the LIA as a strategic partner. This was untrue. Today, the LIA, as the sovereign wealth fund of Libya, is seeking the recovery of these substantial funds as it seeks to invest and generate wealth for the people of Libya as the country continues its development following the revolution of 2011.”