Yesterday was one for the books. I, along with three other business leaders in the Lansing area, spoke at the Branding and Marketing Bootcamp facilitated by RING (Lansing's Innovation Network) and powered by LEAP (Lansing Economic Area Partnership.) Speakers included Laurie Lonsdorf  with the Lansing SBDC, Melissa Meshke with Michigan Creative and Amber Shinn with the MSU Innovation Center. 

34 local business entrepreneurs and professionals came together to learn about the basics of branding, strategic ways to use social media and video, public relations 101 and the power of content marketing. The bootcamp was in an ideal location at the 300 Room which is next to The Hatch Incubators and the Technology Innovation Center.  With comfy chairs, state of the art technology, Bloom coffee and delicious pastries, we were spoiled! Ah, what a day! 

My goal was to teach attendees how to go beyond selling when they create content. They learned how content marketing is different than traditional marketing and advertising, how quality content can help their business, and finally, the process of creating engaging and authentic messages. I shared with them the different benefits of blogging, writing newsletters, creating videos, etc. Attendees were reminded to communicate on the platforms and in the style their customers best engage with.  I stressed that it is imperative to have a specific business objective for every message and to focus on solving their customer's problems.

The key take-away for the audience was that their content is not about them. Business owner's need to take their focus and shift it from their products and services onto the needs and desires of their customers. It is so easy to write with our own problems, ideas and objectives in mind, but that will not strengthen our relationships, build trust or grow our businesses. When we do make the shift, we can more effectively and powerfully engage our clients in an authentic way. 

All in all, it was a very profitable day. While I may have had more than a few butterflies before speaking, I am so thankful for the opportunity! Thanks to everyone who participated and to LEAP and RING for inviting me to speak. 

What do you think? Would you like to attend something like this bootcamp? Check out to stay in the loop about upcoming events!

Photos credit to LEAP/RING/Rough Draft Solutions

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