In the previous articles in this series I wrote about the beginnings of my company ‘Next For Me.’ From inspiration, collaborators, the law, broadcasting, money, conversion-ing and the company as a movement. Then a family emergency caught me off guard. We got introduced to just the right venture capitalists. I moved to a tiny office and acknowledged the lonely days of startup-land. We’ve started talking to and analyzing our audience needs and worked on our brand architecture. With some guidance we launched our decision to go forward to raise an angel round and how we updated our pitch deck. Then, we simply had to wait and see what would happen with an investor.
Next For Me publishes a weekly newsletter for 50+ audiences. We host events across the country to discuss work, our communities, and what’s next.
I’m telling you this cat Steve is on fire. He’s pulling together the biggest deals for a big San Francisco tech company. We meet by phone every two weeks and yet have never met in person. He’s all business and I appreciate that in the exchange. But he is intense.
He’s also full of young me-ness, so I know where he’s coming from. Having been a young star myself, the world doesn’t always welcome you and your big sense of self.
So it was no surprise that he has a nemesis. This guy takes credit for his work, tries to undermine him and makes it generally unpleasant to work there. Those kind of downer people can really take the wind out of your sails. And you can’t always turn those situations around. If you can, your heart may be out of it by then. So, we’re agreed that he’s moving on.
He’s interviewing at all the usual mega-unicorns and they quickly see a talent they could use. He’s got this covered. Steve is confident, has the numbers to prove his value and I imagine presents well. You should see his polished LinkedIn profile picture.
And still a Google search on him shows little about his expertise. What will his next advocate find out about him beyond a good interview? Why is he exceptional? He has to change that by writing about what he does.
He’s working on a case study on his big win at the company. My challenge for him was to write another story with more about the process. Why are you the best at this? Break it out into a series of stories and publish something soon. It takes years for some of these things to find their way onto a search engine.
He’s agreed that if he wants to position himself as an expert in his field that he needs to always be publishing. We’re working through some articles together. My guidance is to get something up and then scramble to make it great. But get something out there.
Always Be Publishing
This theory is behind how we get the word out for Next For Me. Some of this may be obvious but it is worth repeating as a blueprint to keeping the awareness moving.
First of all, we are a publisher. We have our own platform via our website. Those stories are assembled with summaries into our weekly newsletter with links back to the full stories. Yes, that makes sense and is what you would expect us to do. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Each story is then summarized with a link back to our Facebook page. This is a separate audience that has ‘liked’ our page and may not necessarily be subscribers to our newsletter. Each ‘like’ and share propels the story to their networks and so on. Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm
We also create a video and podcast for each newsletter which also gets published to the Facebook page as well as to podcast networks and our YouTube channel. The video is not a highly polished video, but is representative of what we’re talking about each week.
Our co-founder Drew Domkus has been publishing podcasts and videos since the early 2000s. In fact he’s even in the ‘Podcast Hall of Fame.’ This is all second nature to him. I’m starting to see the benefits of these succinct audio and videos through expanded interest from other the channels. Essentially he reads (in a smooth broadcast voice) brief summaries from our newsletter for the podcasts, then takes that audio and adds some simple video for YouTube and Facebook. Facebook readers love video.
Every story and every newsletter is automatically published to our Medium profile too using a WordPress plugin. Medium has an entirely different audience, probably better suited to our fundraising and entrepreneurial networks. While we have a small audience on Medium, I have a larger audience so my interactions with our stories are exposed to my network and then it begins to spread again.
On Twitter we have a small but growing number of followers. We push out quotes and snippets from our stories with links back to our stories. Twitter is also a great tool to post articles that fit with our brand and are related to news of our mission. We also follow and retweet from important leaders in the movement. You’ve got to give love to get love.
LinkedIn is upping their game as a publishing platform since they were acquired by Microsoft. Again, our LinkedIn page is just beginning to have an audience. We publish to it (manually) and share it on our own feeds. I’ve had a LinkedIn profile since the 90s and have a network of 2,400 connections. When I share our posts we get broad exposure and good pickup. I will often republish our stories there as separate articles on LinkedIn.
It’s also worth noting that my LinkedIn profile has been honed to be very specific to what I’m doing. The photos I use and language are very succinct extensions of me as the Next For Me brand. I use LinkedIn extensively to connect with partners or people who could help us along. When they come to my profile or see the small snippet referenced in a ‘like’ or post, there is no question about what I’m up to.
On Forbes, yeah here, we get the SEO juice of a credible, high volume website. Partnerships have happened because of what I write here or at least reinforced what we’re doing in those conversations. I’ve taken the approach to document everything we’re doing and why we’re doing it. If a prospective investor wants to really understand who we are and how we operate they have to look no further. The added benefit is that it forces me to articulate our plans and consider what we’ve done. Writing it down illuminates it in a way that just barreling through doesn’t.
Evergreen and Atomized
Finally, we’ve been writing and writing and writing. Within every paragraph is an atomic piece of ‘content’ that can be used to get someone’s attention in a post on one of the platforms above. We don’t have to always be publishing new things, just repurposing what we’ve already created. Same goes for our articles. They can be published again too.
I’m of the belief that you can’t post enough. People miss your posts, subscribers miss your newsletters. We are at the will of constantly changing algorithms. While it might seem that you are flooding your audiences, the chances are slim they will see much of what you put out there. All of this gives us a much larger footprint online. The perception of the size and breadth of our company is made larger.
Just as I guided young Steve to invest in what people find when they search for him online, there is no question about who we are if someone searches for us, because we are everywhere.
Previous articles in the series: Starting Next For Me