With just fewer than 1 million people, Austin is the perfect “little big city.” A place like L.A. or New York makes it impossible to become widely known outside of a select group of colleagues and clients. While Austin is plenty populous enough to provide professionals with a generous client base, it isn’t so large that a woman of talent and prestige couldn’t become well-known and trusted professional here. Austin is the perfect balance of big city opportunity and small town everybody-knows-your-name.
Austin is something of a transitional city, sitting smack between the cultures of the Deep South and the Desert Southwest. Parts of Austin are decidedly TexMex, while other parts come straight from the pages of Steel Magnolias. Women here excel when they find the right balance between hardcore professionalism and a combination of southern manners and an unforgettable personality. It’s a hard balance to strike unless you’re a Southern girl. Then, it’s as natural as vanilla wafers in banana pudding.
So, how can you — the professional woman — become known and respected in Austin? Here’s the best professional woman’s guide to becoming known in Austin.
Invest in Professional Headshots
Networking is merely one element of the overall practice of marketing oneself. Part of this process is “branding.” Branding yourself involves instilling your brand’s identity in the minds (and hearts!) of your colleagues, customers, and the public. Your brand isn’t your products or services — it’s you, including your face, your personality, and your professional skills. Branding means becoming readily recognizable in your community.
You’ll want a consistent visual image to go with your business cards, social media accounts, print ads, branding ads, and any other marketing materials you produce. This starts with getting professional photographs that show off your absolute best characteristics. Get some pictures you’ll be proud to distribute with ads, banners, and marketing merchandise.
Attend Trade Shows & Fairs
Once your picture is “out there,” people need a personality to go with that gorgeous face. The best way to get face-to-face with your colleagues and potential clients is to regularly attend Austin’s trade shows and professional fairs. Even if you don’t need employees at the moment, attending Austin’s job fairs gives you the chance to get out there and become better known. A few examples of excellent opportunities include:
- The Austin National College Fair
- Health & Fitness Expo
- International Gem & Jewelry Show
- Austin Food & Wine Festival
- Various career and job fairs
Even having a booth (or just a banner) at Austin Convention Center helps spread the word about you and your services. Plan to attend boat shows, expos, conferences, and other shows and fairs at Palmer Events Center, Convention Center, and other Austin venues. Set up a booth at these events and deliver something inviting to lure visitors over to your booth to check out what you’re doing. It helps to find a tie-in between your business and the expo. For example, if you’re a dentist at a jewelry show, promote how beautiful, white teeth are the very best accessory! Get creative.
Join the Chamber of Commerce
The Austin Chamber of Commerce is the ideal networking opportunity for professional women. Not only will you be able to hobnob with the city’s “movers and shakers,” you’ll also get the chance to become actively involved in bringing prosperous new businesses to the area. The Chamber is responsible for community improvement projects that make for wonderful PR opportunities for the aspiring professional woman in Austin.
Did you know Texas also has a Women’s Chamber of Commerce? This is a prime outlet for meeting and connecting with other successful and rising business women and provides you with ample affordable advertising and promotional opportunities.
Volunteer Your Products and Services to Good Causes
It’s a good idea to take advantage of readily available promotional opportunities in the area, like sponsoring local high school teams and bands. Additionally, you can hand out marketing merchandise to use as prizes when local schools and clubs need bling to use as door prizes or for raffle drawings. Stay stocked up on marketing merchandise printed with your name, company name, contact info, and that super sleek professional headshot.
Consider upping the ante a bit — instead of handing out the same old boring pens and pencils and key chains that everyone else does, go for the marketing bling gold by handing out totes, cell phone cases, or tumblers and thermal mugs.
Get your name and personal brand out there with these ideas:
- Sponsoring cleanup days at schools, parks, and lakes
- Sponsoring walks and runs to benefit people with medical needs
- Sponsoring care packages for nursing homes, children’s hospitals, and similar places where community needs are the greatest (this is perfect around holidays like Valentine’s, Easter, 4th of July, and Christmas)
- Any chance to do good within your community that you can attach your name to!
Get Involved with the Local Media
Successful women learn to forge positive, lasting relationships with Austin’s media. Truth be told, there are lots of times when journalists need to fill a few column inches in the local paper or a few seconds between the weather report and commercial break. Learn to master the art of the press release, and you can score free publicity by getting your “news” in those extra spots. Just make sure your press releases are actually newsworthy, and that the pieces are well-written. Don’t get a reputation for spamming the media, though, or all your press releases will earn instant promotion to the “round file.”
Don’t Network to “Sell” Anything
A final word to the wise Austin professional woman: quit trying to sell stuff. Start being yourself. If you’re only in it to win sales, Texans spot a fake quicker than a steer spots a rattlesnake. This is particularly true of southern women, who are never anybody’s fool. Enter the Austin professional scene for what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. A good name and professional reputation are natural byproducts of that.
Ready to get started with great, professional photos to use in all your promotional endeavors? Contact us today!