Public Relations

How U.K. Entrepreneurs Can Learn to Ditch the British 'Stiff Upper Lip' to Successfully Publicize Their Businesses

It can be tough to overcome the tendency to play down achievements and avoid bragging.
How U.K. Entrepreneurs Can Learn to Ditch the British 'Stiff Upper Lip' to Successfully Publicize Their Businesses
Image credit: Shutterstock
Guest Writer
PR Coach at Dina Behrman Communications
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Us Brits are known for having the so-called "stiff upper lip." It's not in our nature to brag or boast, and talking about ourselves too much just really isn't the done thing.

Which can make things difficult as entrepreneurs when it comes to marketing and publizising our businesses. No one wants to feel like they're being salesy or pushy. But, when it comes to promoting your business, if you're not going to do it, who is?

Related: Why We Need to Rethink Influencer Marketing in Europe

As a publicity coach and former journalist, I know the immense value that PR can have for small-business owners. But, I also know that the idea of shouting about our success is something that feels really awkward for many of us, particularly in the U.K. where bigging yourself up isn't encouraged as much as it is among our American counterparts.

Brits are also known for their self-deprecating nature, which often translates into playing down achievements, rather than celebrating them.

Fortunately self-promotion is a skill you can learn. And when you get comfortable with the idea of it, publicizing your business, doing your own PR and getting featured in the press can become easy and even enjoyable.

Here's how to do it:

1. Make a mindset shift.

The first step is to shift your mindset and understand that when you share your story or your expertise in the press, it's not just about you, it's about the people you're impacting. There are people out there waiting to hear from you who will feel inspired, motivated and reassured by reading your story. Or who will feel enlightened, empowered and educated by hearing your expert knowledge. Focus on the impact you can have on those people, and any awkwardness around getting featured in the press will fade.

Related: The Most Common Words U.K. Companies Use for Their Business Names (Infographic)

2. Write of list of why you're awesome.

Aside from not wanting to brag, a lot of people hold off from trying to get featured in the press, because they don't think they're good enough/qualified enough/well-known enough. Impostor Syndrome is rife among entrepreneurs. If you're having doubts that are holding you back from publicizing your business, remind yourself of all of your achievements. Make a list of all the things you've achieved in your business, as well as things outside of your business that you're proud of. Seeing your achievements written down should give you a boost and make you feel more confident about approaching the press. And from a practical point of view, it's helpful to be clear on what you've achieved and what makes you great at what you do, so that you can convey this to journalists when you contact them.

3. Focus on the value you bring. 

The mistake a lot of business owners make when they try to get media coverage, and the thing that will make you feel uncomfortable, is making it all about you. If you contact a journalist with a sales pitch, not only are you going to feel like a sleazy salesman, but you're not going to score any points with the journalist either. Focus on the value you can bring. Offer the journalist content that their readers will love, rather than trying to "sell" yourself or your business to them. When you take this approach you'll have a lot more success when it comes to getting featured, because you're giving the readers something they'll love, and you're making the journalist's job easier.

Related: Starting a U.K. Business on a Shoestring Budget? Here's How Not to Blow It.

4. Come from a place of service. 

When you approach journalists, instead of focusing on what the journalists can do for you and how they can help you by featuring your business, focus on what you can do for them. How can you make their job easier? Give them a great interview, provide additional information for them, have accompanying photos easily available, be quick to answer any additional questions, meet their deadlines. Serving instead of selling will eradicate any feelings of awkwardness and will get you in the journalists' good books, which means they're more likely to come back to you again in the future.

5. Get comfortable with calling yourself an expert.

Getting featured in the press is one of the most effective ways to position yourself as an expert, but you need to overcome any awkwardness you have around calling yourself an expert. Firstly, get super clear on what your areas of expertise are. What are the subjects that you feel confident and passionate about? What are the topics that you'd be happy to be interviewed about or write articles about?

Secondly, you need to get comfortable with calling yourself an expert. Don't be scared to refer to yourself as an expert, even if there are other people out there doing what you do with more experience than you or with larger followings. As Russell Brunson, author of Expert Secrets, says: "You just have to be one chapter ahead of your audience." Recognize the things that make you an expert -- your experience, your training, etc. -- and claim that expert status so that you can happily pitch yourself to a journalist as an expert in your niche.

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