The new season of Game of Thrones (GoT) has finally arrived and thrust fans back into the fantastical world of Westeros.
Strategy, tactics, and powerful alliances are all at play in the battle for the Iron Throne – a rich source of inspiration for GoT-loving solopreneurs planning their ascension from best kept secret to sought-after industry expert.
Here are 5 valuable PR lessons solopreneurs can learn from the hit series:
1. Play the long game
Cultivating meaningful relationships to elevate your standing takes time. No GoT character knows this better than Varys, the King’s spymaster. In Season 3, he explains to Tyrion Lannister how he made it from the slums of Myr to the small council chamber. “Influence grows like a weed. I tended mine patiently…”
When you’re starting out in business, comparing yourself to people further along the entrepreneurial journey can leave you feeling frustrated and deflated. But the truth is, even the most high profile experts started right where you are now. Building an expert brand, connecting with influencers, and positioning yourself as a leader in your field is a long game. Be patient and focus on consistently adding value to your clients, partners and media contacts.
Influence grows like a weed. I tended mine patiently…”
– Varys, Game of Thrones
2. Refine your messaging
“Winter is coming” is undoubtedly the most well-known and frequently quoted GoT reference. They are the words of House Stark – concise, easy to understand, and recited by almost every major character throughout the hit HBO series, making them impossible to forget.
One of the biggest PR challenges you face as a fledgling solopreneur is distilling your communication down to memorable messages that resonate with your ideal clients. The ability to deliver your expertise in bite-sized, snappy soundbites will make you an instant favourite with the media and breathe life and originality into your brand. Analogies, metaphors and powerful statements that contradict the status quo are a great place to start.
3. Know your point of difference
It’s hard to keep track of all the GoT characters vying for the Iron Throne and ultimate control over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. But one – Daenerys Targaryen – stands out because she has something the others don’t: dragons.
While you don’t need to breathe fire on your competition, you do need to communicate what makes you as a solopreneur different. Ask yourself, “What’s my ‘dragon’?” It could be a unique offering, your own personal, one-of-a-kind style, a fascinating backstory or an unusual perspective. Whatever it is, it needs to distinguish you from all the other experts in your field.
4. Build a loyal following
When Hand of the King, Ned Stark, was imprisoned for treason in Season 1, his eldest son, Rob, gave the order to “call the banners”. Men from the North rallied to his side to storm King’s Landing and avenge his father – fierce loyalty the Stark family had taken many years to build.
Whether you’re in the midst of a PR crisis, launching a new service, or simply in need of a sounding board for your ideas, the support of your “bannermen” is invaluable. Find ways to help your media and industry connections, offer support to fellow solopreneurs, and use social media to interact with your clients and followers. The secret to building loyalty is to give, give, give… before you ask.
5. Never lose sight of the big picture
While speculation rages over the fate of popular GoT character, Jon Snow, there’s no question he had all the makings of a great leader. At the end of Season 5, Snow, the newly elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, made the unpopular decision to broker peace with the wildlings and offer them safe passage south of the wall. He knew that winter was coming and they needed numbers to defeat the Army of the Dead coming with it.
In business, tough decisions inevitably need to be made to stay true to your vision. It could mean turning down a collaboration or media opportunity, killing off a popular offering, continuing to pitch and build relationships with bloggers and podcasters in the face of rejection, or consistently creating high quality free content when the temptation is to procrastinate or simply give up. By keeping your big picture in focus, every decision you make will bring it closer to reality.