Ep 135 – Leanne Shelton: Powerful ways to step up your marketing efforts in your local community

Jul 18, 2022

Being present in your local community – everywhere

In today’s solo episode of ‘Marketing and Me’ – yes, you get me this time – I’m taking you through a fun session about finding your voice, uncovering your story, and then sharing it with your local community to build your personal brand, build your ‘know, like, and trust’ factor, and ultimately attract more clients.

I presented the following information at a workshop earlier in the year on behalf of SWR FM – and then again at an online session. And received great feedback, so I thought I’d now share it with you.

Personally, I’ve built up a strong awareness and following in the Hills District after showing up time and time again for a few years now.

I’m consistent in my online presence on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

I attend and run several local networking events to connect with fellow business owners every month.

And I continue to show up via media channels like podcasts, local radio, newspapers, and magazines.

As a result of my efforts, I’m often told that it seems like I’m ‘everywhere’.

As a copywriter and content marketing trainer who aims to produce this sense of omnipresence for my clients – this is great feedback! It shows I also walk the talk!

Let’s dive into the episode – where I’ll go into more detail!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a solo episode…was meant to do one monthly – but somehow it completely dropped off the radar!

Well, I have had a few things on:

The business has been growing steadily over the past few months – and I’m excited to announce I’ve been selected as a Finalist for the Australian Small Business Champion Awards under the copywriting category. I’m also an Ausmumpreneur nominee – and I’ve applied for a couple of other awards this year.

So let’s see what happens!
Okay, so in today’s episode, I’m going to take you through three spaces where you can share your story and make your marketing work for you in your local area.


Face to Face


But first of all – what do we mean by “finding your voice’?

I’m not going to make this complicated. For me, ‘finding my voice’ is simply about speaking as my true authentic self.

I actually write – or type – exactly how I speak. So this ensures consistency when people meet me in real life.

They are getting the same person.

So my first tip of the evening leads us into the Online topic.

1. Write how you speak

Don’t write your social media posts and blogs like you’re reciting something from an instruction manual. Unless that’s how you actually speak in real life!

Whenever you’re writing something, make sure you’re always reading it out aloud to yourself before you hit that ‘Publish’ or ‘Send’ button.

If you use terms like ‘meh’ or ‘woo hoo’, even if they’re not technically real words, add them in. If you usually crack jokes or make Dad jokes, add them in.

But maybe don’t add any potentially offensive jokes….unless you know your audience really well!

2. Show that you’re human

A lot of my clients get caught up in what they should be saying in the online space. And how much they need to talk about themselves vs their products and services.

I don’t know about you – but the posts about my kids or random reflections seem to completely outperform my promotional posts!

People want to connect with the humans behind the brand. So don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and show your true self. It makes you relatable.

Yes, don’t talk about yourself too much. But somewhat personal stuff – without sharing too much can be extremely powerful. Then add a question at the end to encourage engagement.

Social media is meant to be…social, right?

3. Share videos of yourself

This is the one that freaks a lot of people out. But social media algorithms love videos – and YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.

You can use video to offer advice and quick tips. Or use it to give updates about you and your business.

Videos help bring your actual voice to life. And your personality. While written posts in your voice are great – there’s nothing like hearing someone speak.

It helps build connection. And highlights the human behind the brand!

4. Use voice messaging

As a follow on from my last point, I’m a big fan of using voice messaging tools in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Whatsapp.

Not many people do it – but I use these tools all the time.

From one side of things, I sometimes find it easier to say things than type them out and over analyse the spelling and grammar. I’m a professional copywriter after all!

But there’s also no risk of someone misinterpreting something as a joke or insult, and it removes the uncertainty over whether someone is upset or unaffected.

Ultimately, it provides the human side. It reminds people they’re not dealing with an emotionless bot. They’re dealing with me.

5. Share how others see you

I know we’re mostly talking about your voice in the online space – but I highly recommend using the voice of others to help promote your products and services. So I’m throwing this one in!

I highly recommend sharing testimonials and Google reviews across your socials, website, well, everywhere.

For socials, you can head to Canva and turn them into a pretty graphic. Then add a blurb about how that feedback made you feel.

You probably check out reviews before booking accommodation or making a reservation for the first time.

Having a third party speak about your awesome work is extremely powerful in the online space.

Before we jump into the Face to Face section, I want to briefly mention old school phone calls and Zoom meetings. They’re channels that kinda meet in the middle between online and face to face.

My first full time job out of university was a telesales job. And I wasn’t such a fan.

HOWEVER, that job helped me get over my fear of talking on the phone! Does anyone else get freaked out by the phone – and making calls to people who aren’t family members or friends?

That was me too. But building up my phone skills has been so very helpful in my career.

Because so many people use email, messages, and SMS, when you DO make a phone call – you stand out from the crowd. Clients are often pleasantly surprised when I call them versus email – and it’s a brilliant way to build rapport.

There have been numerous occasions where I’ve been chosen over a competitor because I took the time to connect with the potential client.

Zoom works the same way. And it adds body language. Which adds a whole other element to your conversation. You can see if someone is onboard with your conversation or has uncertainty.

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words only. So while a phone call is better than an email, a Zoom meeting is wayy better than a phone call. Meeting face to face is obviously at the top of the list!

Using Zoom is a daily occurrence for me – and it’s been a fantastic way to build relationships with my clients or potential clients.

A free 15 min Zoom session with someone new can instantly give you a feel of whether there’s potential to proceed.

Can you think of an example where a phone call or Zoom solved an issue and avoided an issue if you kept going on emails?

Face to Face

Okay, when someone asks you that burning question ‘So what do you do?’ – what do you usually say? Do you tell them your job title and brief description?

What if you could do it differently – and in a way that truly engaged the person you’re talking to?

Because in many cases, your job title and description means something to you. But for someone outside of your industry, they actually have NO idea what you’re on about!

I’m like that when I chat to accountants and solicitors…Sorry guys. My eyes glaze over and I feel like I can’t relate. And I’ve had many people ask me legal questions after saying I’m a ‘copywriter’…

We’re going to do a little activity now to help people connect with you and gain a better understanding of what you do and how you help people.

So next time someone asks you ‘So what do you do?’ you can answer a bit differently!

(Set the context) “Have you ever…?”

(Problem you solve) “Well, you know how/did you know?”

(Role and solution you deliver) “Well, as a _______…I/we”

(Outcome you achieve and purpose) “So, our (target market) clients can…”

As an example, mine could be:

Have you ever found yourself staring at a blank computer screen and unable to find the right words to write your website copy, blogs, and social media posts?

Well, did you know there are people out there who actually love writing and can take this pressure off your hands?

At Write Time Marketing, I have a team of mid to senior level SEO copywriters who can write it all for you. Or you can learn how to DIY via online or face to face workshops.

So our clients can either focus on all the stuff they’re good at – and know that all the content marketing stuff is moving along smoothly in the background – OR they can say goodbye to the overwhelm and know what actions they need to take.

How’d that sound? Much better than – I run a copywriting agency that writes blogs and website copy.

Now it’s your turn. I’ll give you a few minutes to write down what your new elevator pitch could be.

There is another way that you could respond to the question ‘So what do you do?’ And you can choose to share a case study instead.

We recently…” (Client Story)

Client’s Problem Before

During (What you did to help them)

Client’s outcome after

This example paints a picture of exactly what you do and how you help people in a relatable way.

I’ll give you a few minutes to write down a potential case study you could share.

How’s everyone feeling about the question ‘So what do you do?’ Think you’re ready to answer it in a relatable way? Great!

Now that you’ve got that part sorted, you need to ensure you’re actually showing up to networking events to give yourself plenty of practise time!

While so much marketing happens in the digital space – I have found that going out, meeting new people, and sharing my story has resulted in consistent work.

Because by showing up on a regular basis means I become more familiar to people. And I build that know, like, trust factor every time we chat.

Please note: your conversations shouldn’t just be business-related! In fact, I encourage you to avoid it as much as possible – and focus on the person behind the business.

What’s their story? What are they passionate about? What do they get up to on the weekend?

Be curious when you walk into a networking event. Don’t focus on sales targets and walking away with all these great leads.

Because I’ve learnt that you mightn’t have customers in the room – but they might be connected with people who ARE the perfect customer. However, they’re not going to recommend you if they don’t know you first.

Does that make sense?


We’re now going to talk about finding your voice – and sharing your story via the media – with a focus on local radio, podcasting, and media releases.

Okay, I have a question to ask you – do you have a great story to tell – whether it’s business or personal – or you have a brain full of knowledge that others could benefit from?

You should be nodding along right now!

Because you all have stories and information to share that your local community would love to hear.

From my personal experience, approaching my local radio station to be featured in a segment has been relatively easy. Remember, the radio hosts have guest spots to fill every week – so you’re often doing them a favour by putting your hand up!

It’s simply about finding the right segment and topic. I’ve been on local radio a bunch of times to talk about blogging and content marketing. More recently, I talked about my participation in the Stars of Western Sydney fundraising event for Cancer Council NSW – with the performance this Saturday night!

It’s been a really fun experience for me every time – so I highly recommend considering it. If the local radio station records the episode for a podcast, you then have a valuable resource to share on your website, in your newsletter, and across your socials!

When it comes to podcasting, becoming a podcast guest is fairly easy as well. You just have to ask!

It’s very easy to research suitable podcasts and reach out to the podcast host via email or socials and see if they’re happy to bring you onboard as a guest. IF they have guests, of course. Some prefer to just do the solo thing!

If the podcast host doesn’t know you, sending over a professional bio – made pretty in Canva – can be very helpful. The document can include your background, possible topics, and links to all those times you’ve been featured on local radio. 😉

The beauty of both local radio and podcasting is that you have the opportunity to have your voice heard by a broader audience outside of your network. You just never know who is listening and what will come from it. Just make sure you provide ways for people to connect with you!

Okay, before I finish up today, I wanted to take you through some tips on the written side of PR – and that includes writing a media release.

Like radio and podcast hosts, journalists are always looking for content. But they’re under a lot of pressure to feature only the highest quality stuff!

So a media release is a great way to highlight the story you have to share and why they need to listen to you.

1. Grab attention with a clever headline

One of the most important skills a copywriter has to possess is the ability to hook their audience in.

Headlines are often the first thing people read, and if they don’t captivate the reader, then there is no point in reading any further. It’s important for copywriters to be able to generate headlines at will, so they can come up with something that captures people’s attention and sparks their interest.

2. Highlight the journalistic angles of your story

A good story will engage the audience and pull them in from the get go.

The following are some tips for writing a media release that will capture your audience’s attention:

– Start with a persuasive headline to grab attention.

– Write a punchy lead paragraph that summarises the story.

– Provide details about who, what, when, where and why of the story.

– Include quotes from experts in your field for credibility as well as quotes from those impacted by the event to add a human element to your story.

3. Include the most critical information upfront

If working with a publication, you never know how much space the journalist has to work with.

So make sure the vital information is mentioned first – then work your way down to interesting details that wouldn’t affect the story if they got the chop.

4. Keep it short and sweet

No more than 1.5 pages long. One page is actually best.

Add a heading ‘For more information’ at the bottom of the media release and insert your contact details. If you’ve piqued their interest from your one-pager and made the journalist excited to find out more, they will reach out to you!

5. Write in an active voice

Ooh this can be a tricky one to get right.

I did a little Google search to help me explain this properly.

In a sentence written in the active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. In a sentence written in the passive voice the subject receives the action.

For example,

Active: The dog bit the man.

Passive: The man was bitten by the dog.

I still occasionally fall down the passive hole, but I am much better than I was in the past. It can take a bit of practice to get right. You can also use tools like Grammarly and Outwrite to double-check what you’ve written.

Or, of course, you can ask a copywriter!

6. Keep it relevant to journalists’ interests

When you’re too close to a subject, it’s easy to fall into the trap of promoting something that’s important to you – but, maybe not the rest of the world!

Think about the journalist – who’s thinking about their audience. Why is this topic important and interesting right now? Why should they explore the story? Will their audience be keen to hear about it? Will it make a difference to their lives?

7. Send along a photo to be featured or say photo opportunities are available

Remember – it’s about making their lives as easy as possible. If you attach a high-res image suitable for printing along with the story – the hard work is done!

If you’re promoting an event that has yet to take place – or if you don’t yet have suitable photos – mentioning the fact that photo opportunities are available makes the journalist aware you’re open to arranging a shoot.

8. Distribute your release across the right channels

Before you flick your media release off to a list of 100 publications, it’s best to do your research first.

Which publications are likely to show an interest in your story? Will their audience be interested in what you have to say?

If you can find out and follow the relevant journalists on Twitter or LinkedIn – in a non-stalkerish way – and build rapport before flicking over the release, you’ll go a lot further.

Remember, they get a LOT of media releases every day. So you need to find ways to make them pay attention. If they feel like they know and trust you, they’re more likely to run your story.

9. Turn your media release into a one-page marketing kit

Whether the media picks up the story or not – and there are never promises that they will – you can still feature the media release on your website or in your business proposals.

It’s likely to represent a key milestone or achievement – which potential, interested customers, might be eager to hear about.

10. Use social media to extend the reach of your story

Just like the last point, don’t wait for journalists to run with it. You might be waiting a long time…

Upload it to your website and share the link across your socials – along with a cool Canva graphic. You can still announce your story to your immediate world!
There you have it – 10 tips to help you with your media release journey.

Well, that brings me to the end of the episode. I hope it’s been helpful to you all and you’re all now pumped to get out there, find your voice, and share your story with the world!

I hope I’ve inspired you to step up and make a larger impact in your local community with your marketing!


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writetimemarketing
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leanneshelton247/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leanneshelton/

Similar podcasts:

Ep 5 – Is your content marketing strategy missing something?

Ep 4 – Sarah Walton: The Psychology of a Sales Page

Ep 1 – Introducing The Leanne Shelton Podcast