Pitching yourself to others involves framing, being present and listening to others and then using story to make a great impression. The final piece is deciding what impression you wish to leave them with. That impression, also called a niche or expertise, is imperative to your future relationship with them. I have written elsewhere about finding your secret sauce so I will not repeat myself here.
Finding your niche is both the first thing you should look at and an ongoing element of the pitch. Australian Entrepreneur and business leader Dale Beaumont talks about carving out a niche in which you can become a micro-celebrity (the world expert in something). Jenna Marbles took her average career as a sports writer stellar with the 2010 YouTube video, channel (#7 in the world) and Instagram (#49 most popular). Like Jenna, discovering your niche is a journey and you learn as you go along. That’s why I put this piece last.
This niche or area of expertise slowly emerges as a brand. Brands are built by the company and the individuals in the company through emails, correspondence, advertising, letters, web site and everything that goes into communicating with the world. Jay Oatway encourages us to realise that companies and their brands are becoming inseparable. He uses the term “brandividual” to describe the way in which you are in fact your brand. Consider how we ever learned the name Kardishan. It was a personal video that spawned notoriety, which became a brand that became a TV show.
You and your company are becoming inseparable. According to one corporate researcher looking at company reputation, “50% of corporate reputation is determined by the CEO’s reputation” (Armstrong, 2013). No longer can we drive home from work and pick up our homely disguise. This is largely because of the influence of social media. For more information on how to use social media more effectively see 26 tips for content marketing.
The individual or audience you are speaking to may well have looked you up on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin before you arrived. According to a recent Jobvite survey 73% of prospective employers will check out your profiles – including looking at your spelling and grammar (Schawbel, 2012). They will then be looking to see if who you are is the same as what they read online. It is now almost impossible to separate your private views from your public profile and your weekend behaviour from your CV. So it is imperative that you think both about your physical presence and your online presence.
Consider whether the persona you present in person will back up or contradict the one they read about online. I write for Carol Roth, an American radio host, television personality, bestselling author and investor. Look Carol up. Take a look at her picture, her facebook, her writing, her web site, her book, her investment advice. They all represent a kind of cheeky, off beat, take me seriously business head. Carol is a great example of making sure her brand closely matched herself, and we should each do the same.
Armstrong, D.“How to Build a Great Reputation,” Company Director (2013)
Schawbel, D. “Hiring Decisions Now,” Time Business (2012)