3 Ways Personal Brand Consulting Can Help Your Career

    3 Ways Personal Brand Consulting Can Help Your Career

    Use Personal Branding to Get That Job

    Personal Branding Consultants Can Help You Get Hired

    Last month a high-powered marketing manager called me and told me she was in need of personal brand consulting to brush up on her personal brand and prepare for a job interview she had coming up in New York.

    In reviewing her resume, I saw that her history was stellar and her credentials were crazy good. Not to mention she looked like a well-put-together professional who could make anything happen. I wondered why she wanted to spend her time (and money) with me.

    “I just want to make sure I’m presenting my personal brand as powerfully as I can so I’m as competitive as possible,” was her simple response. As it turns out, even those at the top of their professional game know that an up-to-date, well-polished personal brand is a distinct advantage when it comes to job interviewing and career management.

    As employers gain almost unlimited access via the Internet to our personal histories, they also develop a greater demand for details about who we are beyond our business acumen. A professional personal brand consulting session can offer valuable insight (and implementation) in crafting your reputation.

    Here are three specific ways you can use personal brand consulting to help you create a personal brand that will show your stuff in the best light possible and land you that perfect job — from secretary to CEO.

    Give Your Bio a Bold Makeover.Most bios I see are a too general and rambling to pack any punch. The key is to create a fully fleshed-out bio that highlights the accomplishments from your entire career, not just your present position. Beyond the usual information about your education and employment, here are a few things to consider including when crafting your bio:

    • Significant or high-profile books, articles or blogs you have written
    • Presentations or speeches you have given and for whom
    • Interviews you have given on TV, radio or print media
    • Relevant degrees, awards, certificates or honors you possess
    • Name-recognition companies you have worked with
    • Projects you have worked on that make you a thought leader in your field

    I had one client whose bio was solely focused on his current work as an executive coach and totally ignored his past as a high-profile attorney, in which he had been interviewed by The New York Times, Rolling Stone and the Washington Post. I gave his bio a makeover that more accurately reflected the depth of his background and increased his credibility and personal brand.

    Polish Up Your LinkedIn Profile. With your bio ready to roll, next up is updating your LinkedIn profile. Having a fully fleshed-out summary, a professional headshot and at least 10 recommendations and listing major positions held is essential. According to one Lab42 survey, leading activities on LinkedIn are

    Industry networking (61%)

    Keeping in touch (61%)

    Co-worker networking (55%)

    LinkedIn’s own Global Recruiting Trends report for 2016 shows social professional networks have become a major source (73%) of quality hires. One of my clients was the president of a 40-person financial firm and had no profile picture and only a one-paragraph summary on his profile. I did a LinkedIn profile optimization with him, and within a week he was being contacted with offers to speak at industry events — a good place to be seen by potential future employers.

    Create Credibility With Content. There is no doubt that content marketing is a great way to build your personal brand. Being out there as an expert in your field can give you a leg up on the competition. Make a list of relevant top industry or business publications and blogs, and brainstorm article topics you might write about. Not a great writer, but still have something to say? No worries. You can hire someone to ghostwrite the article or post for you.

    One of my clients is a brilliant speaker but can’t translate that knowledge into text. I simply interview him, write up a draft, let him review and make changes and presto — a blog post is born. Even a single, short blog post placed in the right media outlet can greatly increase your personal brand and get you seen by potential employers.

    If at this point you’re feeling overwhelmed and wondering where you are going to get the time to do all this personal brand building, not to worry: The nice thing about wearing so many hats is that you have the ability to hire a personal branding consultant to organize them for you.

    This article is copyrighted by Karen Leland and cannot be reprinted in any form, electronic or otherwise, without the express written permission of Karen Leland.

    Karen Leland is President of Sterling Marketing Group, a branding and marketing strategy and implementation firm. She works with individuals, businesses and teams to enhance their business and personal brands. Her clients include LinkedIn, American Express, Apple, Marriott Hotels and others. Her ninth book, The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand, is due out from Entrepreneur Press in May of 2016.

     

     

     

    Are You Sick and Tired Of Counting Characters?

    Are You Sick and Tired Of Counting Characters?

    Lately I’ve been realizing that small and insignificant, but necessary, items eat up a significant portion of my worktime. For example – counting the amount of characters or words I’m using when composing something. Character limits are all the rage these days.  For example:

    Pinterest gives you 500 characters for a description

    • Twitter 140 for a tweet

    • Title tags have no limit but only display 70 characters

    • Meta descriptions have no limit but only first 155 characters are displayed in Google search results

    • Description tags on LinkedIn longer than 225 characters will be truncated (oouch)

    • Facebook only displays the first 300 characters of a description

    • Online contact information is often limited to a certain amount of characters or words

    While I recognize the necessity of limiting would be Leo Tolstoy’s from trying to turn their Pinterest profile into War and Peace, it can be very annoying to craft the perfect tweet only to discover it’s 6 characters over the limit.  

     

    wordcount
     

    So if you’re tired of cutting and pasting or checking your word/character count every ten seconds to insure that you stay within the prescribed limit, check out one of the these many free services on the web. Just type in your text, click and there you have it, your total word or character count.  Here are a few to check out:

    www.lettercount.com/ A bonus with this site is they provide a whole how to on writing with fewer letter including a recommended reading list of great authors who wrote short.

    www.mylettercounter.com/

    www.charcounter.com/ This site lets you count with or without white spaces.

    Whichever of these sites you use, to tighten your text do the following:

     • Substitute longer words with something shorter. For example instead of saying using beneficial say useful – a savings of  4 characters.

     • Remember to take into account any hashtags or URL’s you plan on including, so you don’t use up all your characters on the message itself.

     • Shorten your sentences, but make them complete. That’s the challenge, to sound smart and snappy all at the same time. 

     • Remain keyword rich. A limit on words or characters is no excuse to just throw keywords to the wind. Pick at least one and place it in your text.

    Believe it or not, just using a simple tool such as a character counter can shave minutes off of the time it takes to compose a tweet or write a Pinterest description.

    And in a world where 140 characters can make or break a news story, every minute counts.  

    For more time management tips check out my book Time Management In An Instant.

    For more tips on using Pinterest  check out my new book  Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Business

    Karen Leland is the best-selling author of eight business books and president of Sterling Marketing Group , where she works with executives, high-end entrepreneurs, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies to build their personal, team and business brands.

    Build Brand Awareness With A Survey

    Build Brand Awareness With A Survey

    In today’s crowded media landscape, businesses are continually on the lookout for ways to stand apart from their competitors. Enter surveys, a cost-effective method to promote brand awareness. A survey worthy of media attention is more than just a few questions randomly asked. Instead, it’s a carefully crafted instrument that, when done right, can make the media sit up and take notice. Here are a few suggestions for making your survey something a busy editor will want to pick up publish.

    Use a combination of questions: “A common belief among people who use PR for coverage is that they have to ask quirky and zany questions,” says Nathan Richter, a senior PR pollster at Wakefield. While a few creative questions that grab an editor’s initial attention are fine, they need to be balanced with credible ones, which compel an editor to cover a story. For example: when online discount travel service Travelzoo.com sponsored a survey, they asked people more creative questions, such as, “Would you be willing to stand on a cross-country flight in order to save 50% off the cost of the airline ticket?” But they also asked more traditional market research questions, such as, “Do you expect to be traveling more or less than last year for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday?”

    Avoid obvious commercial messaging: Many PR executives and business owners assume that it’s OK to make their pitch a commercial message, so long as they put survey data behind it. “Not so,” says Richter. “If company X wants to be branded as the ‘hip’ company, they don’t write a press release with a headline that reads, ‘Survey shows company X is the hippest.’”

    Instead, make your release about the bigger picture of the survey and the story behind it. The idea is that by being the sponsor of a great story — not the star — you will achieve media coverage and visibility with your target market.

    Emphasize the scientific: As more businesspeople include surveys as part of their PR strategy, they are turning to do-it-yourself tools to accommodate their needs. But whether you conduct the survey yourself or hire a professional firm to conduct it on your behalf, to be credible, it needs to be conducted in a scientific manner. To emphasize to the media that the survey your company conducted is based in proper research protocols, Richter suggests it include:  

    • Name of the research vendor 
    • Margin of error
    • Dates the study was conducted
    • Sample size used
    • Methods used in conducting the survey

    Remember, the press and media are constantly on the lookout for relevant and timely surveys that they can “hook” a story around. Provide them with a well crafted, properly researched and interestingly reported study or survey and your company could find itself swimming in ink.

    Using QR Codes For Small Business Marketing

    Using QR Codes For Small Business Marketing

    While on vacation seven years ago, entrepreneur Rico Elmore couldn’t find a pair of sunglasses that would fit on his not-so-small noggin. Elmore’s hefty-head experience spawned an ah-ha moment, and today he is the proud proprietor of Fatheadz Eyewear, a company that makes oversized sunglasses and extra wide eyewear for folks with large heads.

    Always looking for ways to innovate, Elmore has recently been using mobile marketing, and QR codes in particular, as part of his plan to engage customers.

    QR codes (Quick Response Codes) are commonly aimed at mobile phone users. If you have a camera-equipped smartphone with a QR code reader, your phone can scan the image of a QR code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network or open a web page in your phone’s browser.

    “In early 2011, I was flipping through an outdoor retailer trade publication when I saw a QR code in the magazine,” says Elmore. “I thought it was very cool and decided to look into how we might start using them in our marketing.”

    Within 60 days, Fatheadz had integrated the use of QR codes into their campaign involving the ongoing sponsorship of race car drivers.

    “For all of our sponsored drivers, we give them a ‘Hero’ card they can autograph and give out to their fans,” says Elmore. “We put a QR code on the back, and when the fan scans it on their mobile device, up pops our web page.”

    Once on the website, fans can see information about their favorite race car driver, including which sunglasses they wear — and buy them. Elmore says the QR code campaign has increased web traffic by a whopping 10 percent.

    What’s next? Elmore says he plans on expanding the use of QR codes to prospective retailers by printing them on business cards and other marketing collateral and then linking them to product videos on his site.

    Dan Hollings, an expert on mobile marketing, says that video is one of the most effective uses of QR codes.

    “The key is to create a short video (under three minutes) about your product or service or some useful information relating to your product or service,” says Hollings. “Then post the video on your website, YouTube and Facebook and link a QR code to it that brings the visitor to the video. It’s as simple as that.”

    Even though QR codes are relatively simple to set up and use, many small businesses don’t know where to begin. To start, check out Qr.net and createandtrack.com, just two of the hundreds of sites that offer QR code creation.

    Once you’ve created a code, Hollings says you can then easily link it to a video, your website or a podcast. Once you know where you want to send your potential clients, the next step is to promote it. Publish your QR code on your business cards, flyers, DVDs, brochures, mailers, signage or any other material you give to potential clients. Hollings says he’s even seen them placed on complementary coffee mugs at conferences.

    Still feeling a bit shy about bringing QR codes into your marketing mix? Get your feet wet by using one yourself. Now that you know what to look for, you’ll see them everywhere. So download a QR reader on your smartphone and scan away. Who knows, you might just end up with a pair of your favorite racecar driver’s sunglasses.

    Has your small business been doing anything with QR Codes or other forms of mobile marketing? We would love to hear your comments.

    ‘Ruby Sparks’ Reminded Me That Persuasion Marketing Sucks

    ‘Ruby Sparks’ Reminded Me That Persuasion Marketing Sucks

    “Ruby Sparks” Reminded Me That Persuasion Marketing Sucks

    “Yup, instead of changing himself, he’s going to try and change her.” That’s what my friend Randy turned to me and said during a pivotal plot point in the new film “Ruby Sparks”.

    Now I don’t want to be a spoiler and give the big reveal away, so I’ll stay away from the details, but suffice it to say that the scene that followed was painfully hard to watch.

    Why? Because, as Randy so pithily put it, what we all do when faced with a person or circumstance we don’t like is try to change it or them.  As fruitless as this exercise often is, we are sometimes so fixed on our point of view, being right or getting what we want, that we continue to waste vast amounts of time, emotional energy and even psychic efforts trying to force the situation. 

    Although “Ruby Sparks” deals with this dynamic in a one-on-one romantic relationship, I see this played out daily in my work as a branding and marketing consultant and leadership coach.

    I observe high-powered entrepreneurs, C-suite executives and marketing managers attempting to get others to tow the line and do what they want them to do. I’d be less than honest not to suck it up and say I’m just as guilty of this fruitless exercise in trying to force the outcome I want from time to time as well. 

    But I’m not as bad as I used to be. Over the past year, I’ve actually made a conscious effort to learn to stop persuading and start inspiring, to stop trying to make things happen and leave more room for allowing, to say what I want and need authentically and vulnerably, but then let the chips fall where they may. I’m far from perfect at this, but I am evolving.

    I think this evolution is also at play in the larger world of branding and marketing.  Old-school marketing was about persuading clients, pushing them as to why they should hire you or buy your product. New-style marketing is about inspiring potential customers to come out and play, pulling them toward you — of their own free will.

    As luck would have it, besides seeing the movie, I happen to be reading a fantastic book called “Igniting Inspiration: A Persuasion Manual for Visionaries” by John Marshall Roberts.

    “I view persuasion as a fading 20th Century art for those who don’t yet know how to grasp and apply the basic laws of human inspiration,” says Roberts.  “Does this mean persuasion is somehow ‘bad’?  No, but it’s just not as much fun as inspiring, and not nearly as effective.  In the end it all boils down to this: persuaded people do things because they are seeking some extrinsic reward. Inspired folks do those same exact things because they intrinsically want to.”

    Marshall’s book clearly delineates a three-dimensional view of human nature:

    The material dimension of human beings. This includes the body and all material things in the universe. These things are brought to the mind via the five senses.

    The mental dimension of human beings. This consists of thoughts, feelings and ideas.  These thoughts — especially the re-occurring ones — tend to occur within a specific context (usually not conscious), based on certain hidden assumptions.

    The spiritual dimension of human beings. This is the pure potential we all have. It’s the source of intelligence and life energy and underlies the material and mental realms.

    Roberts’ very on-point point is that if we view our customers, clients, co-workers and others from the material plane, we see them as objects to manipulate and will engage in actions to pursue or, even worse, force the outcome we desire.

    However, if we think about these same people from a spiritual dimension, we realize that speaking to bigger truths, larger purposes and deeper insights results in inspiration.

    Just think of the last time you were forced to do something.

    How about persuaded?

    Now how about inspired to take an action?  

    I’ll bet the price of a movie ticket that the qualitative difference between how you felt about doing whatever it was you did changed substantially based on which of the three areas your answer falls into.

    So how do we inspire? Pretty much in the same way that “Ruby Sparks” protagonist and novelist Calvin Weir-Fields (played by actor Paul Dano) discovers in the film. We allow other people to be who they are, and address our actions to that higher part of them.  That’s easier than it sounds, especially when we live in a business world chock-full of the persuasion-as-power model.

    One side note: Calvin’s brother (played by the always-captivating — and sexy — Chris Messina) has a scene where he encourages Calvin to turn toward the dark side and try and make Calvin’s love interest, Ruby, do what he wants. The point being that it’s important to surround ourselves with people who recognize the value of building our branding and marketing on inspiration, rather than persuasion, if we are to have any hope of succeeding. 

    Wondering if your brand needs an inspirational brush-up? I’m holding a contest for a free 30 minute Lightning Strike Strategy Session to the five people who email me with a compelling case for why they need to crank up the inspirational language and message of their brand. To apply, fill out the contact form on my site and let me know your business, your brand, what your inspiration goal is and why you think your brand needs some inspirational polish.

    Karen Leland is a best-selling author, marketing and branding consultant and president of Sterling Marketing Group where she helps businesses implement modern marketing, hone their business and personal brands, and create winning content. Apply to win a free 30 minute Lightning Strike Strategy Session by filling out the contact form here and letting Karen know why you think your brand needs some inspirational polish. For questions or comments, please contact her at karen@sterlingmarketinggroup.com.

    Email Headlines With Emotional Value

    Email Headlines With Emotional Value

    Anyone who has ever sweated over the phrasing of an email subject line has probably longed for a magical marketing solution that would tell them which combination of words would shoot their open rate through the roof.  Well the wait is over.

    The Advanced Marketing Institute offers a no-cost Headline Analyzer that calculates the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) of a headline. The program uses special algorithms to quickly compare the words of an email headline with the words from the EMV Impact list. According to the company, the list measures words in three specific categories:

    Intellectual Words effective at offering products and services that require reasoning or careful evaluation,

    Empathetic Words, which bring out strong positive emotional reactions in people,

    Spiritual Words, which have the strongest potential to influence people at a deep emotional level.  

    “As you know, reaching your customers in a deep and emotional way is a key to successful copywriting, and your headline is unquestionably the most important piece of copy you use to reach prospects,” say the fine folks at AMI.  

    Using the Headline Analyzer is straightforward and simple. Just enter up to a 20-word headline onto the form on their site; select a category from the dropdown menu, such as Arts & Entertainment, Business & Professional Services, Food & Dining and more; and then click “submit” for analysis.  

    Zip, bang, boom — you are instantly rewarded with a score from 0-100 that tells you how emotionally impactful your headline is. According to the company, professional headlines contain 30 and 40 percent EMV Words, and the best of class headlines have 50 to 75 percent EMV words.  One hint: If you can keep your headline to five words or fewer, your chance of scoring higher is increased.
     
    If you come out below the magical number, you can then try again with other words until you get the score you’re looking for. For specifics on how to improve your EMV rating, the company offers a sign-up for a newsletter with tips and techniques.  

    No plug-and-play analyzer is foolproof, nor is it the be-all, end-all of the topic, but the EMV tool is a good place to start, and worth the few moments it takes to see if your headline has at least a touch of the marketing magic you’re looking for.

    Want more information like the one in this post? Sign up for my free monthly newsletter and get a copy of my new e-Book: 4 Principles and 21 Practices Of The New Marketing Mindset To Grow Your Brand And Business

    Karen Leland is a best-selling author, marketing and branding consultant and president of Sterling Marketing Group where she helps businesses implement modern marketing, hone their business and personal brands, and create winning content. For questions or comments, please contact her at karen@sterlingmarketinggroup.com.

    How to Promote Your Small Business Blog

    How to Promote Your Small Business Blog

    “If you write it, they will come.” Well at least that’s what all those small businesses that start a blog in the hope of driving hoards of potential customers to their site anticipate will happen.

    While writing a regular blog is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry and help potential customers get the information they need about your company, the next hurdle is actually getting people to read it.

    That’s where social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon come in. Used properly, they have the power to bring eyeballs to your well-written prose.

    One important distinction to make is that unlike social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn — where the content is secondary — people participate within social bookmarking sites for the purpose of finding specific web content. So researching each site and knowing what types of content do the best for that audience will help increase your success.

    Here then are just a few best practices for using social bookmarking to promote your small businesses blog:

    Bookmark your best, but not every post

    More than likely, your current blogging platform makes it easy to share your blog posts with social bookmarking sites to which you already belong. By loading the login information for each social bookmarking site onto your blogging software, you can quickly and easily share your selected posts. For example, after writing a particularly powerful blog post that you feel fits with the content needs of a site, you can tag it to your business Facebook page, to Digg, to StumbleUpon and to any other social bookmarking sites you choose.
    Have social bookmarking icons available at the end of each post

    To really maximize the effectiveness of social bookmarking, place icons such as ShareThis at the end of every blog post on your website. This makes it easy for visitors who belong to sites to share the posts they find useful as well. Here are a few of the most popular sites and where their share button codes can be found:

    Facebook
    Twitter
    LinkedIn
    Delicious
    ShareThis

    Pay attention to both the big players and the up and coming. Robert Farrington says that creating backlinks to your blog via social bookmarking is a key strategy for increasing traffic to your site. Farrington makes the point, however, that while the big players (Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit) tend to dominate, newer sites such as Y Combinator are worth a try. Best known as the venture capital muscle behind many of today’s social media players, this site’s readers are looking for hot new content that is targeted toward the Internet and finance. Similar to Reddit, users submit posts, which are then voted up or down.

    Research your keywords.
    As with most things Internet marketing, keywords are critical. Lea Richards, owner of mail-order barbeque company Pigofthemonth, says that before submitting to social media sites, she takes some time to optimize the tags for whom she is targeting. “I do a quick Google search for my post and see what else is out there to get a better idea of what keywords I should be hitting on,” says Richards.

    Add images whenever possible. Posts that have video, photos or infographics are always more likely to go viral in today’s visually oriented world.

    How have you been using social bookmarking to drive traffic to your blog? We would love to hear your comments.

    This post was originally published at Karen Leland’s Featured Small Business column on The Huffington Post.

    Use SlideShare To Tell Your Small Business Story

    Use SlideShare To Tell Your Small Business Story

    I recently gave a talk to a group of new authors on how to promote and market their books. Instead of taking the time and expense of providing handouts (not to mention all the trees saved), I decided to create a SlideShare presentation and offer it, post-conference, to the participants.

    If you’re not familiar with the tool, Wikipedia likens SlideShare to “YouTube, but for slideshows.” Bottom line, it’s a free online slide hosting service that allows you to upload PDF, PowerPoint and OpenOffice presentations for public viewing. SlideShare also allows voice sync, so visitors can hear a narration of, as well as see, your presentation.

    My initial dabble in SlideShare got my marketing and branding brain humming about other ways the tool could be used to tell a small business story. Just a few of the ways I’ve found to do this include using SlideShare presentations for SEO optimization and conference presentations and as a value-add on LinkedIn. I checked in with a few other small business folks to get their take on integrating SlideShare into the overall business yarn, and here’s what they had to say:

    “I use SlideShare for my presentations at conferences,” says Robert Pease of Gist Inc. “I put the slide deck together and make it available both before and after the conference via a link.” Pease says he finds a short, ten-page, visually oriented (not text heavy) deck in SlideShare an easy way to demonstrate his expertise and knowledge.

    Steve Drake says he’s been using SlideShare for two years and views it as part of his overall content management strategy for his business. “I’ve posted thirty-one presentations, which have been viewed an average of 1,407 times. One presentation was viewed 14,663 times,” says Drake. Drake says he actively promotes his SlideShare posts via links to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

    Josh Mendelsohn, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Constant Contact, says that SlideShare is a great platform for sharing small business expertise. To get the most social media juice from SlideShare, Mendelsohn suggests tagging your presentations with relevant keywords so users can easily find your content easily when researching a specific topic.

    Bill Elward of Castle Ink considers SlideShare to be part of his search engine optimization efforts. “Google loves to index SlideShare content,” says Elward. “So build a small presentation about your business that includes a live link to your site. Chances are excellent that Google will crawl and index your SlideShare presentation.”

    In my experience, SlideShare is still a bit of a stepchild when it comes to Internet marketing. It’s not the first social media tool that comes to most small business minds, but it is an effective one. If you haven’t already, pick a topic, put together a ten-slide PowerPoint, post it on SlideShare, promote it and see what happens. It might just make the story of your small business a bit better in the telling.

    Have any tips on using SlideShare or a presentation you would like to share? We welcome your comments.

    This post was originally published at Karen Leland’s Featured Small Business column on The Huffington Post.

    How to Craft a Small Business Sound Bite

    How to Craft a Small Business Sound Bite

    If you think sound bites are just for movie stars, politicians and the pundits on TV, think again. In today’s get-to-the-point-centric world, your small business spin has power.

    I was reminded of the importance of this during a coaching session I had last week with a group of women entrepreneurs.

    As each business owner was going around the table telling us what their companies did, I noticed that some of the stories just went “clunk” — in a good way. I got an instant idea of the business these people were in and how it might help me or someone else. Others, however, were more vague and rambling in their descriptions — or just plain boring and run of the mill.

    Being able to distill who you are and what your business offers down to a single scintillating sentence (or two) — in other words, a sound bite — has practical applications, not just at a cocktail party but in the online universe.

    For more enlightenment on this topic, I interviewed sound bite expert and media coach Susan Harrow. “The problem that most small businesses have isn’t that they don’t have enough to say about what they do,” says Harrow. “It’s that they have too much to say.”

    Harrow says that well-crafted small business sound bites are nothing like normal conversation and are in fact a whole different kind of speaking process. She likens them to the way language is used in novels and film.

    “What makes great dialogue in movies and books is that it’s a highly condensed version of conversation that resonates. In just a few words, the language has more meaning than simply what is being said. There are layers beneath that show a bigger story,” says Harrow.

    Harrow suggests creating small business sound bites that connect with your ideal audience by crafting a variety that cover the following areas:

    Story: Kristen Scheurlein left a multi-million-dollar business as a graphic designer to become what she calls The Blanket Lady.

    “I didn’t want to become an entrepreneur, but it’s in my blood. My grandfather was a shoemaker. In the Depression, he saw that many people couldn’t afford shoes. He traded chickens for shoes to make sure that none of the children in the village went shoeless. I didn’t realize that I was following in his footsteps when I began my business, which will become a complete non-profit in five years, but I am. We give away blankets to churches, charities, homeless. In essence, I’m trading chickens for shoes.”

    Statistic: In 1999, the Institute of Medicine estimated that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical errors.

    Fact: “I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes; I had one thousand and sixty.” Imelda Marcos

    Vignette: Laura Bell Bundy, who is starring in the musical “Legally Blonde,” said in an interview, “There’s some really hilarious things that happen on stage with the cast. I lost my shoe once in the middle of a number. It flew out into the audience, and I kicked the other one off and ended the show in bare feet. I love when things like that happen. I love when things go wrong.”

    Anecdote: “When a man says ‘no,’ it is the end of a conversation. When a woman says ‘no,’ it is the beginning of a negotiation.” Gavin De Becker

    Analogy: Speaking in sound bite is like taking the novel “War and Peace” and turning it into haiku poetry.

    Aphorism: “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” Warren Buffett

    Acronym: F.A.S.T. equals Fix American Schools Today

    The trick is to pepper these into the conversations you have with potential clients, media or anyone else you want to have a powerful experience of your business. This can happen at meetings, conferences, interviews, lunches, online and just about anywhere you talk about what you do.

    “I have one client who was standing in line waiting to buy an iPad 2 when she spoke about her small business in sound bites to the person in front of her in line,” says Harrow. “As a result, she sold over 200 books and closed a speaking engagement.”

    What is your small business sound bite? We would love to hear your comments.

    This post was originally published at Karen Leland’s Featured Small Business column on The Huffington Post.