You’ve heard and seen influencers, like Kim Kardashian, and know they’re paid oodles to send Instagram posts or tweet about brands. That’s because, at last look, Kim had about 105 million followers on Instagram and about 57.4 million followers on Twitter. That’s a lot of people to influence.

But what about micro influencers? Think of micro-influencers like your BFF telling you to buy a product. You like, know and trust them – and because of that, you’re probably going to buy what they recommend. Micro-influencers have a close relationship with their audience and respect them. And, the feeling is mutual.

You can find micro-influencers on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter – even Google.  They have a steady following, are active on social media and have a voice in their niche. For this reason, micro-influencers may be an affordable option to promote your brand.  But before you jump in and buy, make sure you know what your marketing objectives are, how you’ll measure success and how you’ll promote this partnership to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Interested in knowing more? Read these articles about Micro-Influencers:

How Your Business Can Benefit from Micro-Influencer Marketing from Entrepreneur.com

The Rise of Micro-Influencers: How to Run a Micro-Influencer Campaign from the Buffer Blog

Speaking Sponsorship and Micro-Influencers from SpeakerSponsor.com

You don’t have to be a micro-influencer to influence people. It’s been done for thousands of years before you, just in a different wa.y

Who’s a micro-influencer in your niche? Heck, you might be one!

Every business owner and brand would love to get more PR and media attention, and earned media happens to be my favorite. Typically, you need to have all four types of media in your PR and marketing plan, so they all work together in different ways.  Here’s a snapshot of earned, paid, owned and shared media.

  • Earned media is when someone mentions or writes about you in a positive way which gives you credibility. This is third party endorsement not your website saying how great you are.
  • Paid media is just that – advertising that you pay for in traditional or digital space. This can be an ad, digital banner, radio spot, sponsorship – or even an advertorial.
  • Your own media is your website (you own your URL), webinars, blogs, white papers, books, etc.
  • And shared media is social media with the hopes of going viral, like this one of Potsquatch and the BBC correspondent whose kids crashed his on-air interview. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and other social platforms work off the charts too.

To Get More Media Attention You’ll Need to Do This:

  • Be timely and prepared to act now. Make connections with reporters and influencers in your chosen field. Build a list of journalists and read or listen to their material before you pitch. Look and act smart.
  • Write interesting educational content and share it with your target audience online and offline. That means blogging often, sharing whitepapers, creating webinars and promoting tip sheets. Be the expert in your field.
  • Keep track of trending topics on Facebook and Twitter. Reach out to journalists and reporters by direct message but KISS. Learn to write a mini pitch in a sentence or two. Don’t be a stalker.
  • Repurpose content from an article and share it in different ways; as a fact, quote or statistic. Take that info and create an infographic. Make sure it’s branded and linked back to you.
  • Take time to research hashtags so you can be easily found by reporters. It’s a fast way to sift through social media madness.
  • Subscribe to HelpAReporter.com and learn how to pitch the right way and get tons of earned publicity. Be short and sweet with your responses and always on target.
  • Consider newsjacking, be a contrarian, look at National Days and Months to stay ahead of events and newsworthy topics. Brainstorm 10 ways you can be a media darling.
  • Speak at an event, write a media release about it, or share on your own YouTube channel. The media will research you before they call or write — and they want to know you’re for real.
  • Showcase other publications or media where you’ve been featured on your press page. This gives you credibility and makes it less risky for journalists to contact you.
  • Be pitch perfect. Learn how to modify your pitch for email, phone, letter, package, social media and especially in person. You never know who you’ll run into.

And, please have a professional headshot and a bio that sings — expert. Give a great interview and with little effort, you can become a resource.

Now we’re talking.

65+ Websites with Free Photos to Use  

Sometimes you don’t have time to take your own photos, or have the right image to use when you need to publish a blog or social media post.  That’s where sites like Pixabay, Unsplash, Gratisography, Viintage and SkitterPhoto come in. There are always stock photos too – but this is just another option to extend your marketing and PR budget. Check it out. You may just love the pictures.

If you’ve been in business for even a few years, you can agree that there are lessons you’ve learned that you probably don’t want to repeat.  Some were gentle, others not so much. Teaching moments are just that, opportunities to look at a problem a different way.

5 Business Mistakes That Can Save You Thousands  

  • Don’t ask a disgruntled co-worker for a favor on their last day. They may disappoint you or make a severe mistake. Such is the case many years ago when I worked in corporate.  I asked a colleague to send an email intended to Mr. Buckhead and it went out to Mr. F*head.
  • Match your dress code to your client. Before I started my business, I was working Full Time and took side gigs. I remember going to a lawyer firm with a red leopard jacket. I thought I looked great. The navy blue buttoned up client apparently not. This is a $25k lesson you can profit from.
  • Refrain from calling clients or partners at night. Eager to deliver great news, I called a new JV partner after hours. Little did I know he was a drinker and went really off the handle. This gave me insight to much bigger potential problem, he was a misogynist. I think I still own his URL.
  • Listen to your body to avoid exhaustion. Early in my career as a life coach, I took appointments till 10pm. Not a great idea. I caught myself dozing near the end of my call. “Robin, Robin are you there?” You’re not sharp 24/7 so be mindful of resting. Not sure if I snored, but I dropped out.
  • You’re Not a Mind Reader but Pay Attention. The best intentions sometimes go askew because you may be unaware of a colleague’s dire personal or financial pressure. Create boundaries that are in alignment with who you are. Keep promises. Support, but don’t be a punching bag.

It’s no surprise that digital marketing is on the rise, beating out print and other static platforms. That’s why traditional media is working overtime to influence their target audiences online and start a healthy conversation. The beginner all the way through to the expert knows that you have to engage before you start the buying process. LKT (like, know, trust) will always rule.

For small business owners, digital marketing doesn’t have to be rocket science, but you should at least have a strategy. Just like going to the moon, you hopefully wouldn’t launch without a plan. Trial and error works at NASA and when you’re building your online brand.

Here’s a Preview of 5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2018 [Hint, they’re here already)

  • Take a look at the way Google explains Micro Moments, where a customer expects brands to cater to their needs via their mobile phones.
  • Plain and simple, customers have a love affair with video. A combination of high quality video content as well as interfacing with more informal Facebook Live. Video captures attention and attracts eyeballs/buyers. Get on the wagon if you’re not already.
  • Native ads are beating out interruptive ads. There’s a growing frustration over pop-up ads. But, for some reason, customers don’t seem to mind content that just happens to show up, be it advertorials, sponsor ads or recommendations placed right in front of them.
  • Bring on more dynamic content and websites, and please make it personalized! Invest in content developers who are skilled and savvy to satisfy existing customers and attract prospects by word of mouth.
  • Nurture a team of influencers who will be your brand advocates. One happy customer tells another and TADA! you’ve started a snowball effect. To quicken the effort, and if budget allows, hire a celebrity, YouTube star or industry blogger to speak on your behalf. Money talks and people listen, if they’re aligned.

If you’re an expert in your field, you know how important it is to stay up to date with what’s going on.  But, it’s not always easy because there’s so much information out there. As a recovering perfectionist, I limit myself to a few hours a week reading, browsing online and skimming headlines.

This Week’s Info About Audio Tools to Record, Transcribe and Save Time:

  1. Don’t want to pay for transcription services? Check out this cool Dictation tool that allows you to record from your computer microphone, save and copy text.  Google Docs Voice Typing may also be a favorite as it records your voice in up to 43 languages. Available in Chrome browsers.
  2. Afraid to miss something? Meet Cogi. Use this voice recording app to records conversations, important meetings and ah-ha moments to share and get feedback from team members. Plus, keep all the information in one place.  Available as a freemium version and paid version.
  3. Are you the next Voice star? The Parrot app lets you record, play and share your voice, even songs for your next big audition. You can use it as a dictation device, record phone conversations with the Pro version, and it’s all in HD. Check out TheParrotApp for details.
  4. Like to record your next Skype call? You can, with these tools. Amolto, Callnote Premium, and Ecamm call recorder. Prices vary from free, to 30-day test trials and purchase with lifetime updates.  Worth a look if you want to record audio and/or video on Skype.
  5. Need professional audio editing? You can pay zippo or look at a couple of affordable audio solutions with a sampling of these easy to use productivity tools. Audacity, WavePad and Adobe Audition, which you can try out with a free trial.  My advice is always the same.  Try before you buy.

One of the reasons I love helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and experts is because of what you say when you’re true to yourself. When nobody’s looking and there’s no judgement, you peel away layers of should haves and perceived mistakes. In the trust zone, there’s nothing to hide and everything to gain.

Part of my work (and joy) is asking the right questions to find out what’s at your core.  What you really want to do and why. That’s where you discover your inner beauty and authentic sexiness.  The essence of you.

In marketing and PR, that’s your sweet spot. The you we want to capture, position and promote. That’s the brand we want to nurture, develop and showcase. It’s also the brand that’s aligned with who you are – and where you’ll always have integrity. That’s where you find the money flow.

Many of us have repeated real-life and imagined sad sack stories of past failures. They’re probably not true, they’re certainly not now, so why waste valuable time thinking about it?

Truth is, you are the real deal, the big kahuna.  Those that should be attracted to you (in business and in life) will be, for the right reason. Clients, prospects, partners and friends. They’ll like you, love you and sometimes leave you. Hint: it’s always about them, not you.

  1. It’s exhausting to be someone you’re not and try to remember who you’re supposed to be. If you’re an actor, you’ll find this easy to do. If you’ve chosen other work as an entrepreneur, business owner, expert or professional, it may be more difficult. You don’t have to read a script to know who you are.
  2. You’re living life according to your true core values. You are who you are, and without a manufactured front you’re quite appealing, aka sexy. If you know anything about energy, there’s a sparkle to those that are true to themselves.  Some call it certainty, knowingness or being grounded. Certainty is confidence in my book, and that’s sexy. Passion is always a plus.
  3. We’re taught to be perfect in everything we do, and in doing so, we often pretend. When we truly relax in our head and bodies, our fight or flight responses shut down. When we’re able to stop pretending and just be, it’s very inviting and welcoming. Yes, it’s being vulnerable, but that’s sexy too.
  4. Give up caring what others think. It takes some practice, but it’s actually quite invigorating and often a huge burden off your shoulders. Do the best you can, and call it a day. We’re humans. We make mistakes, say stupid things and do brilliant work, not all at the same time. There’s a certain charisma when you’re comfortable with yourself. Almost automatically, confidence and charisma knock at the door.

Being sexy is a mindset. Authenticity is a choice. Blend both together and you’ve got some big-time attraction going on.

Listen to your sexy self to grow your business. It works.

This past weekend, I traveled to Washington DC to speak at the Code(Her) Conference. It was exciting to present at the Washington Post about one of my favorite topics – How to Promote Your Business Without Breaking the Bank. My message and mission holds true anywhere in the world. You don’t have to be a millionaire to market you brand, you just have to know how to do it. And, do it!

It’s always rewarding to teach budding professionals and socially conscious entrepreneurs how to share their message in an authentic way. Clarity is important as it provides a foundation, but from years of experience it helps to have a sounding board. You can start a business on your own, but you can’t build a brand by yourself. So, get some help and make it a team effort. Then, everyone can be part of the success.

  1. Be clear on who you are and where you want to go. Don’t sell yourself short. We often think we can’t go as far as we’d like. That’s just a story we tell ourselves to be safe. It’s BS. Go for it. Learn. And keep going.
  2. Create a roadmap for your particular goals. If you’re looking for quality leads, take a look at where your best customers are coming from, or research what successful competitors are doing. Consider every option to get the biggest bang for your buck, then choose wisely.
  3. There are 100’s of ways to promote your brand for free, but a savvy marketer will start small, see what works and then build out. Mistakes are part of the process. Get over it and move on!
  4. Use PR and Marketing tools to attract a base of raving fans. If women are your target market, try Pinterest.  If that’s  working, add Instagram.  Then create a series of videos to launch a YouTube channel. If you’re a visual brand, be visual.
  5. Consider speaking. Even if you’re not getting paid, speaking builds credibility as an expert. It also fuels sales, presuming you’re in front of a room of your target audience. If you’re not presenting to ideal prospects, look at hidden opportunities.  Work the room, so the work comes in.

Above all, whether you’re speaking, networking, online or offline – just be you. Align your work with your personal and professional core values. Write down what you want to do with your business and life, because they work together. And of course, make time for fun. You know life isn’t a dress rehearsal.

We all know that using an email signature is a sure-fire way to promote your brand for free. You have the freedom and flexibility to promote whatever you like — an upcoming event, a new chapter in a book or your social media channels.

But, are you taking advantage of the signature space when you send emails from your mobile phone? The one that might read like this:  Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

To make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck, customize your email signature in settings and align it with your brand so people can be reminded of who you are and what you do.

Happy to share a resource from Constant Contact about  125 Links to Make You a Better Marketer. It’s all about email marketing best practices and worth a look.

Every week, I’m setting up new clients with marketing campaigns and helping them with their design, because email marketing works – and design does make an impact – if you use it right! And, staying in touch with customers brings in business.

If you’d like me to look at any of your email campaigns or take a test drive with a free trial of Constant Contact for 60 days, please reach out. I’m happy to schedule a complimentary session to see what your goals are.

In full transparency, I also get a small commission depending on the size of your list, but you can also use a free service which won’t have all the bells and whistles – and so much more.

All in all, email marketing works.

Tiny Business Habits to Help You Make More Money

Do you slow down in the summer working on your business? To some extent, we all do, but there are some tiny business habits that will make your small business more money.

Read KC Agu’s article in Entrepreneur.com and pick which habit you’ll commit to this week. The list has 5 items and it’s not daunting. In fact, it makes perfect sense!

I’m going for #2: Track just one major business metric daily.

It’s already given me clarity in forecasting for next quarter.  I could tell you to up your PR and marketing efforts and answer HARO 3 times a week, but you already knew that.