Finding markets for your workshop or seminar

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In my last post, I talked about whether I should give a workshop, seminar or webinar. Today, I’ll talk about how to find markets for these types of services.

There are three general markets you can use to give seminars, presentations, and workshops:

  • Self-promotion
  • Talks promoted by others
  • In-house talks

Use the following methods to build an audience through self-promotion:

  • Post a free calendar announcement in your local newspaper, online classified, etc.
  • Send letters or flyers to local businesses.
  • Take out ads in larger newspapers, business journals, etc.
  • Combine your efforts with other experts to gain access to their clients (e.g., lawyers can partner with accountants, writers can partner with designers, financial planners can partner with bookkeepers).
  • Invite your clients to participate in your seminars by providing testimonials, case studies, etc.

You can give a presentation or seminar where other groups are already meeting:

  • Use online and published directories to find groups, organizations, networking associations, etc. that are already meeting, as they are always looking for experts to give talks.
  • Find ways to get sponsors to offer your seminars and classes.
  • Participate in college and university extension programs.
  • Partner with national seminar providers that put together programs for speakers.

Getting in as a speaker for a large corporation can be challenging, as they usually hire people who are well known or experts in their particular field. You can also approach companies as a professional trainer with a list of seminar or workshop topics that would appeal to that particular industry or company. This also requires some networking and sales skills to convince companies to hire you to give a presentation. However, the payoff can be quite lucrative.

What methods do you use to find opportunities to conduct seminars, workshops and presentations? Let me know –

David Gargaro


Should I create a workshop, seminar or webinar?

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I’ve always wanted to develop a workshop, seminar or webinar as part of my strategy to build my brand and grow my business. I also think that it’s incredibly cool, and great for your ego, to be a good public speaker. I’ve attended enough of these events over the years to understand that they are very effective in accomplishing these goals, as well as building your speaking and presentation skills and expanding your network. Webinars are also becoming a big part of growing one’s business, as you can reach a lot of people at the same time with very little effort (beyond creating the webinar).

Much like my issue with writing a newsletter, I’ve wondered about what I would present at a workshop, seminar or webinar that would encourage people to attend. There are many great workshops, seminars and webinars (and many average and bad ones), so I would want to put some thought into creating one (or several) that achieve my goals while entertaining and educating my audience. The goal is to give the people what they want so that they think of you again in the future.

So, what would I give a presentation, workshop or seminar on? Some ideas include:

  • How to write effective emails
  • Writing and editing your business correspondence
  • Becoming a more powerful writer
  • How to write interesting corporate newsletters
  • Writing more effective web copy
  • How to edit your own writing
  • How to publish information products

What do you think? Let me know at if you like any of these ideas or if you have any of your own suggestions for a workshop, seminar or webinar. I am very interested in pursuing this option, and hope to create one on a topic of interest at some time in the near future. Skillshare approached me about putting together a course, but I had to put it off as I did not have the bandwidth for putting it together.

PS. Check out my talk on better communication via email, given at the Editors Toronto meeting.

David Gargaro

Ten tips on publishing your own newsletter

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When I worked at a small publishing company, I wrote a weekly newsletter called Cram This! I used the newsletter to promote the company to our customers, discuss new and existing titles, provide useful information found in our titles, entice people with special offers, and more. It was quite popular and effective during its time.

I’ve written, edited and subscribed to enough newsletters over the years to understand how useful they are in building a brand and a business. Newsletters are great for educating and informing your current clients, and attracting new clients by establishing yourself as an expert in your field. I’ve thought about writing a newsletter to do the same with my current business. However, I current write LinkedIn posts and tweet, and am not sure how a newsletter would significantly differ. It would also require more time away from my business and other activities. Still, I am seriously considering developing a newsletter to help grow and promote my business – but it has to be useful, interesting, entertaining, and different.

Do you want to put out your own newsletter? Then consider the following tips for making it more effective for your business:

  1. Always provide contact information so that readers can contact you for more details about you and your business. Provide links to your website, email address, social media pages, phone numbers and so on.
  2. Write in a personal style so that they feel like you are speaking just to them. Or find a style that works best for you.
  3. Make sure that the headline is clear and powerful. The headline pulls the reader in – the content keeps them there.
  4. Keep individual stories to less than half a page. Provide links for additional content.
  5. Ensure that your newsletter contains useful information, not strictly advertising or promotional material for your business.
  6. Remember that the goal for your newsletter is to attract new business while also building your image. Everything in your newsletter should build upon that.
  7. Create a plan for your newsletter, where you know what you will be writing for the next few issues. Publish an editorial calendar if possible so that your readers know what to expect in coming issues.
  8. Publish regularly – whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly, keep it regular so that your readers know when they will get the next issue.
  9. It can be difficult to come up with new and interesting ideas for each issue of your newsletter. Consider the following sources:
    – Press releases related to your industry
    – Clippings of your work in other publications
    – Free and pay clipping services
    – Academic publications
    – Library
    – Filler services with prewritten material
    – Government publications (mostly free, reusable content!)
    – Trade magazines
    – Online resources (via search engines and meta-engines)
    – Customers and employees
    – Experts
  10. What should you include as regular features in your newsletter? Consider the following suggestions:
    – Case studies related to how your clients used your services to improve their business
    – Contributions from readers and clients
    – Articles on new products and services related to your industry
    – Quizzes and self-analysis sheets
    – Interviews with experts
    – Short tips and top ten lists
    – Summaries of materials from other sources
    – Quotes, jokes, trivia, etc.

Need help with writing or editing your newsletter? Let me know –

David Gargaro

Eight ways to be better on the phone

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I believe that the telephone/smartphone is essential for every marketing program, as we interact with people on the phone every day. I think that we can all get better at contacting people by phone, and making better use of the phone in promoting our business. This includes writers and editors, as we still need to reach potential clients.

So, here are my top 8 tips on making more effective use of the telephone in marketing your services-oriented business:

  1. Start with people you know, such as past and current clients. People like hearing your voice, particularly when they know you, and it is a good way to remind them that you are available and present.
  2. Call with an obvious purpose – to get together, catch up, discuss a project, ask for advice, do research, etc. (do not call “just to chat” or “to see how they are doing”). Other ideas include:
    – You are new in town or you have a new business or product/service.
    – You are doing research on an important topic.
    – You want to invite the person to join your newsletter or receive information.
  3. Create a benefit-oriented message if you get their voice mail so that they have a reason to call you back.
  4. Aim for “warm” calls ahead of “cold” calls. Send a letter or email ahead of your phone call, or ask someone who knows the person you want to call to provide a connection or introduction before you make the call.
  5. Don’t give up – the average sale requires five calls, and many people give up after two.
  6. Be prepared when you make the call; you can use a script, but you should at least write down your goals or key questions.
  7. One tactic when making a phone call is to offer a package of your services. For example, for $400, the client can purchase a 4-hour training session, where I will teach their employees to write better emails, business letters, sales and marketing materials, etc. Or they can purchase a 5-hour block of editing, where they can use five hours of my editing services over a period of one month, one week, several different days, etc. This allows them to try the service without spending a lot of money, and it could turn into a long-term relationship.
  8. Hire an assistant (or professional telephone salesperson) to make phone calls on your behalf. In most cases, their hourly rate will be less than your hourly rate. Your time is best spent doing work that pays more than what you are paying them to get appointments, client leads, etc. You can test it by spending $500 for a specific number of phone calls or hours, and then measuring the results. If it turns out to be cost effective, continue employing that person to make phone calls on your behalf so that you can do what you do best.

What tips do you have on being better at using the telephone to market your business? Let me know –

David Gargaro

What is your brand archetype?

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I took a quiz on Discover Your Brand Archetype, which determines what type of brand you are. The results of the quiz are below. I was matched with the sage, the hero and the regular guy/girl. Pretty interesting stuff, as I definitely identify with the “sage” archetype, and I see a lot of my qualities in the other two archetypes. So, the quiz was pretty accurate. Of course, descriptions are very general, but I think that I learned something about myself, and how I do business.

Brand Archetype: Sage

  • Quote: “The sage wears clothes of coarse cloth but carries jewels in his bosom; He knows himself but does not display himself; He loves himself but does not hold himself in high esteem.” ~ Lao Tzu
  • Motto: The truth will set you free.
  • Driving desire: To find truth
  • Goal: To use intelligence and analysis to understand the world
  • Biggest fear: Being duped, misled—or ignorance.
  • Strategy: Seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes
  • Weakness: Can study details forever and never act
  • Talent: Wisdom, intelligence
  • Also known as: Expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative, guru
  • Archetype examples: BBC, CNN, Gallup, PBS

Brand Archetype: Hero

  • Quote: “A hero has faced it all; he need not be undefeated, but he must be undaunted.” ~ Andrew Bernstein
  • Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
  • Driving desire: To prove one’s worth through courageous acts
  • Goal: Expert mastery in a way that improves the world
  • Greatest fear: Weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
  • Strategy: To be as strong and competent as possible
  • Weakness: Arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
  • Talent: Competence and courage
  • Also known as: Warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, savior, soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player
  • Archetype examples: Nike, Superman

Brand Archetype: Regular Guy/Girl

  • Quote: “I understand the common man because I understand me in that regard, at least.” ~ Vince McMahon
  • Motto: All men and women are created equal.
  • Driving desire: Connecting with others
  • Goal: To belong
  • Greatest fear: To be left out or to stand out from the crowd
  • Strategy: Develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch
  • Weakness: Losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships
  • Talent: Realism, empathy, lack of pretense
  • Also known as: Good old boy, everyman, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbor, the silent majority
  • Archetype examples: Home Depot, Wendy’s

David Gargaro

Fifteen ways to get better at networking

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I used to network quite regularly, often visiting different groups and networking events as part of regular efforts to build my business. I even joined a couple of groups, and attempted to make the most of the opportunities to build my network and expand my business prospects. However, I am somewhat introverted, and I did not take full advantage of those networking opportunities. These days, I have fewer opportunities to network as I spend a lot of my free (and work) time with my family, taking my daughter to school, etc.

However, networking is one of the best ways to expand my circle of professional and social contacts, as well as effectively and efficiently build my business. Here are 15 great ways to be better at networking.

  1. Keep track of who you know: I use my Mac address book to track my contacts, but this is very basic. There are many great contact management software programs, both free and paid, that will do the job more effectively. I do a pretty good job with my address book, as I write notes on the different contacts and make an effort to email them every few months. However, a CRM program can help me to stay in touch and market to them more effectively.
  2. Remember names better: I am terrible at remembering names, although I am very good at remembering faces (which is odd). I will have to work on this, and make sure that I repeat a person’s name several times when I meet them.
  3. Pay attention: Paying attention while networking is similar to juggling, as it can be difficult to follow various conversations, remember names and personal details, and actively participate in the art of networking to develop relationships and build business. If I can find a common point of interest between us, paying attention will become much easier.
  4. Project sincerity: I’ve met people who are only interested in doing business with people that they believe can further their business interests, and I don’t want to be like them. My goal is to always ask about the other person and their business, as well as determine how I can be helpful. I believe that I am an honest person and people will discover that when speaking with me. Getting me to talk is the real challenge.
  5. Improve your self-introduction: The introduction or elevator speech is very important in networking, and I have at times struggled with it, as I find it difficult to explain what I do in a short and interesting way. I’ve heard many great elevator speeches, and have on occasion given a few that were memorable. Here are five ways to improve my self-introduction:
    – Be more enthusiastic about what I do.
    – Show a sense of humour by interjecting something amusing related to what I do.
    – Reveal something personal about myself, such as being shy or having a young daughter.
    – Use trivia or facts related to writing and editing.
    – Build an implied testimonial into my introduction.
  6. Listen more than you talk: This is relatively easy for me, as I am not a big talker at networking events. Sometimes I ask people what would be a good referral for them.
  7. Ask for referrals: Ask people I meet at a networking event if they know any companies that produce content on a regular basis, which is my ideal client. I can be more specific by asking for referrals to design firms, advertising agencies, publishers, etc.
  8. Read the Monday business calendars: I already subscribe to an ezine called BizNetworkNews that provides a list of networking groups and events.
  9. Regularly visit groups and join the best: I used to visit a lot of networking groups, and joined a few. Participating and volunteering for a group is a good way to get known
  10. Make notes on business cards: I’ve often ended up throwing away cards because I did not write anything on the card, and forgot all about the person I spoke with.
  11. Do research: Ask people at the networking event a question for research on a particular business topic. It’s a great way to find out what would or wouldn’t work in promoting my business, writing a book, marketing, etc.
  12. Do it online: Business networking sites like LinkedIn make it viable to pursue online networking. It’s more comfortable, and you can do research and “warm calling” via online contacts.
  13. Follow up: This is often overlooked, and a great way to build a relationship. When I meet someone at a networking event, follow up within a couple of days to refresh their memories, build the relationship, provide useful information, etc.
  14. Become a “star”: Being a star means being at the centre of a group of contacts where you are the common denominator (they don’t know each other). The goal is to help everyone else around you.
  15. Give a lot: I subscribe to the philosophy of trying to help others without expecting something in return. When you do something for someone out of good intentions, it provides the added reward of raising your social value. At the same time, you should avoid continually helping people who only want to take, as they can suck a lot of time and energy out of you.

Do you have any good networking tips? Send them along –

David Gargaro

Six ways to get free publicity

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If you run a services-oriented business, such as providing writing and editing services, solutions and support, there are many ways to get free publicity with the goal of attracting new clients. Here are six ideas I’ve used or considered.

Write an article or column

One way that I currently receive free publicity is through Rental Housing Business magazine, which is a magazine directed toward Canada’s rental housing industry. In addition to writing the features in the magazine, and serving as editor, I also write one or two articles per issue that have my name on it. I’ve received several positive comments from the articles. Getting published in a national magazine is a great way to get free publicity. I could pursue other publications as well to expand my free publicity – I also write for Advisors Magazine, which puts my name out there.

Write a letter to the editor

Writing a letter to the editor is a good way to get free publicity. I can write a letter on a topic of interest or in response to an article. I can contact my local paper (The Liberal), a trade magazine (perhaps published by a client or something I read, like Profit magazine), a newsletter (the Association of Independent Consultants newsletter) or an online forum (such as Quora). For me, it’s a matter of finding the right topic to write about.

Publish an informative booklet

I can create and publish an informative booklet or newsletter that covers a top ten list of writing and editing topics. I could provide tips on being a better business writer, writing better emails, what to look for when hiring an editor or writer, writing better web copy, etc. This will require some thought, as I want to produce something useful and interesting.

I did write a book (How to Run Your Company… Into the Ground), which is more than a booklet. However, it is informative and useful for small business owners, so it does the job quite well… and it shows off my writing ability.

Give a talk

I’ve thought about doing public speaking at association events, networking groups, etc. I did an impromptu talk on networking for a group of editors taking a course on getting more business (watch it here). Of course, I am somewhat introverted, so getting up in front of a group of people can be a challenge. Perhaps producing a free webinar would be a good way to go!

Conduct and publish research

I really like the idea of doing research and then publishing the results for others. Basically, I would send a questionnaire to a number of companies and/or clients with questions on a particular topic, and then I would publish my findings as a free report. This would inform my readers and position me as an expert on that topic. I’ve worked on a number of questionnaires and research projects, so I understand how they work and how I could set up a good questionnaire. It’s just a matter of choosing a topic that will interest people enough to participate. This can be done electronically, as there are some good online services available for this sort of thing.

Write a press release

I have experience with writing and editing my clients’ press releases, so I know exactly how to put one together. Again, it’s a matter of finding the right topic to publicize with a press release. I could write a press release about:

  • Newly published research study
  • New use for my existing service
  • Information on a seminar, webinar or speaking engagement I’m giving
  • Success story based on work with client
  • New publication
  • Projections or forecasts of trends from the expert’s point of view

What methods have you used to garner publicity? Or do you need help with writing your press release and marketing materials? Let me know –

David Gargaro