Have you heard that you are your brand wherever you go? 

It’s a fact, especially if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur looking to market your business, increase visibility and make more money!

Your brand story tells it all.  So, be sure you know it inside and out. What makes you different? How did you get to where you are now? Why should someone want to do business with you?

Create a compelling brand story and share it wherever you go online and offline.

  • Make your story compelling.  Moving. And, include your why to make it personal and meaningful.
  • Be sure it’s clear, consistent and that you’re constantly improving your story.  As you share more often, watch that your brand personality and values are always aligned.
  • Practice sharing your story with feeling – and whether you pretend to or not, tell it with meaning.  A phony can be spotted a mile away!
  • Use your brand story as part of a daily PR and marketing practice to grow your small business, build a base of raving fans so you can sell more products and services. You’re in business to make money, right?

The core of your brand story will always be the same, because it’s who you are.

Include your brand story as an important part of your elevator pitch, in person at networking events, in an author resource box at the bottom of articles, on Amazon Author Central when you upload your blog. And always, when you write copy for your website, sales page, speaker page or any material where you want to let people know who you are and why you rock.

If you’re a small business marketer learning the best practices of PR — or even if you’re a marketing expert, be sure of this:

Make your brand story right on, brand on – and always on 24/7. Be sure that it’s compelling and in your voice.  Remember, you are your brand wherever you go, so make it the best brand you possibly can!

Want to hear from other experts on building a brand story?  Check out these articles:

The Secret of Story Telling from Entrepreneur.com

Richard Branson on Storytelling that Sparks Ideas and Builds Brands via Forbes.com

Set an intention to market your small business – even without a PR budget. Learn the tricks, tools and promotional know-how to tell your story.

There’s a certain ring to the ka-ching.

Take a look at Boston University’s #BUGiving Day and their social toolkit. I’m not sharing this just because it’s my alma mater. I like how it’s put together.  It’s a content-rich example on how to develop your own communication tool to share news, special events and promotions.

I signed up to help support their event and received an email follow up asking me to be a social brand ambassador for the cause.  “Sure,” I thought.  “Why not.”

First, here’s the email that I received:

Hi Robin:

Thanks so much for signing up to receive email reminders about BU Giving Day 2017.  The big day is now just two days away, and we couldn’t be more excited!

I’m reaching out today to remind you to save the date for Wednesday, and to spread the word to your fellow Terriers that #BUGivingDay is coming.  We’ve put together this social toolkit to help get you started.

We’d also love it if you joined us as a social ambassador.  When you sign up, you can link your favorite social accounts and receive emails with easy one-click sharing when we have new content.  You also have the chance to win some great prizes just by signing up.

Thank you for your support of Giving Day – you help us make a huge difference in the lives of BU students today, and for years to come!

Thanks,
Phil

When I saw their social toolkit, I was intrigued. When I opened it up, I loved how it was organized with easy to read headlines and sections.  Giving Day Basics. Examples of Facebook posts and Tweets. Facebook Cover Photos. Instagram Pictures.

Great job BU.  Not just cause I’m from COM. It’s good work.

If you think that email marketing is dead, you’re dead wrong.

Email marketing is alive and well and growing every year.  As a marketer, you can use email 24/7 for distributing a variety of content – offers, photos, coupons, links to where you have been published and so much more.  In fact, you can share personal stories, testimonials from clients, blogs, articles, surveys, press releases and almost anything you think of that will be of interest to your subscribers.

But, to build a viable email list, and turn prospects and customers into raving fans, you must get their permission before you hit send. You definitely don’t want to be known as a spammer! Whether you use Constant Contact, where I’m a brand ambassador or another email provider, you’ll want to learn best practices on how to grow an audience who like, know and trust you.  Why?  So your target market will eventually buy from you.  You have to attract, convert, close and then delight your customers.

Marketing is a process, not a race. Prospects consider buying your products and services, they don’t have to.  They first have to gain your trust. Creating and distributing valuable educational content via email marketing is a fantastic way for people to see what you’re all about. Email marketing attracts strangers through content, keywords and social sharing.

What can you do with email marketing to grow your business?  Check out my YouTube video to find out.

Engage your target market, create a lasting bond, get feedback, inform, entertain, share news and accomplishments. Let them see you as a human, after all humans do business with humans.  Again, just be sure you have your reader’s permission and offer an opportunity to opt-out or unsubscribe at any time. No questions asked!

The power of marketing is greater than you probably ever thought. Here are some stats from HubSpot where I’ve recently been accredited as an Inbound Specialist.

  • 3 billion+ email accounts send 196 billion emails every day
  • 91% of consumers check their email every day
  • You own your email channel; (I call it your ‘owned’ media)
  • 77% of consumers prefer email for marketing communications
  • Email has a marketing ROI of 4,300% — Wowza!

Want more info? Check out these links on email marketing:

A Quick Guide (and Infographic) on Email Etiquette from Entrepreneur.com

The One Word You’ll Want to End Your Emails with to Ensure They’re Read from Inc.com

How to Add 128 New Subscribers to Your List Every Day from Neil Patel.com

Promethus, best known in Greek mythology as the Creator of Mankind said this:

“Big things have small beginnings.”

Thousands of years later, a Greek marketer from Boston concurred. “Start small, think big,” she said.

We’re both right.

 

Facebook is the rage – and why not?  You can target niche audiences, spend as little or as much money as you want for advertising and create look alike audiences with your email lists. Another option is to download your LinkedIn contacts onto an Excel file and import the data. I wrote about a few of these ideas in a recent Facebook marketing article.

But how can you use Facebook events to grow your business?

Think about creating and promoting events like these to connect with your target audience:

  • Trade Shows
  • Demonstrations
  • Pop up Events
  • Webinars
  • New Classes
  • Speaking Gigs
  • Book signings
  • Ticket Sales
  • Grand Openings
  • Unboxing your product

Sure, you can offer discount offers to your community, invite people to your sporting events, job fairs and auctions too. Think of what’s coming up on your calendar and create a Facebook event to share the news!

If you’re looking to promote your business and keep pitching, content and social media organized and on topic, consider using editorial calendars.

Editorial calendars can be used in several ways.  One way to use them as part of your PR and marketing plan is when you’re looking to pitch a publication a story.  You’ll want to see what topics the media covers over the course of a year, and that’s usually outlined month by month.

Let’s say you were pitching an article about brides, you typically wouldn’t pitch a story in June at the height of the season, you’d approach editors up to six months in advance when they were featuring brides. Editorial calendars can also be used to make sure your pitch topic is in synch with the publication’s calendar and hasn’t been covered recently.

Another way editorial calendars work is when you create them for your own PR and marketing planning.  You can keep track of your own content, blogs, articles and social media and know when everything is running and have the option to move content around.

As a small business marketing expert and PR Mentor, I like editorial calendars because you can create your own, use a digital form or any variation of the two. You can also create them with an excel spreadsheet or use popular templates, a few of which are below.

Want to know more about editorial calendars?  Take a look at the articles below:   

Here’s a Sample of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Calendar for 2017

And, one for InStyle Magazine Editorial Calendar 

Lastly, Forbes Media 2017 Editorial Calendar

Want to see a few editorial templates?  Check these out for ideas:

Editorial Templates for Blogs, Social Media and Content by HubSpot

105 Types of Content to Fill Up Your Editorial Calendar by Convince and Covert

Editorial Tips, Tools and Templates by the Content Marketing Institute

By using editorial calendars to get press and organize your content, you can be more organized, see what’s popular on social media platforms – and keep your audience engaged!

Do you write papers, blogs or articles on a niche topic? Are you a speaker, subject expert or have books in the making? Do you give or share advice, create crib notes or executive summaries? You could be holding on to a treasure chest of information. Why not use your content for context marketing?

Here are 5 Ways to Sell Your Expertise:

  1. Repurpose Power Point Presentations with a Voice Over. Use platforms like Screenflow, Camtasia, CamStudio or ScreenCast. I’m testing Zoom now to see how it works. Be sure to read the guidelines on how to record, edit, save and share. Sell your recorded presentations as webinars or create online training. With a few under your belt, experiment making mini videos for YouTube.
  2. Create a Special Report. If you’re solving a particular problem for an audience that’s hungry for the answer, offer an information rich special report to save them time, sweat and tears. How long should it be? Length varies, but 5 – 10 pages single spaced is probably on point. Remember, you’re not writing the great American novel, but a detailed how-to. If your viewers like one report, chances are they’ll buy another. Take what you know and make some dough.
  3. Take Your Best Blogs and Turn Them into a Book. Whether you decide to publish a book digitally or self-publish, be sure to sell it on Amazon. Score a tremendous marketing and PR opportunity too when you create an Author Central Profile. You can import your blog to build a base of raving fans and attract the interest from readers from all over the world. Have questions? Hit the call button and Amazon will ring you back. For real!
  4. Use Published Content to Attract Paid Speaking Opportunities and Webinars. Contact event organizers, conference leaders and associations and write a winning pitch highlighting recent press. Include links to articles, blogs and feature stories which help build your expert status and highlight your value as a presenter. Make money from what you know, wherever you go!
  5. What Processes, Worksheets and Ideas Have You Perfected? Giveaway content all you want, but be sure to sell your knowledge at the back of the room, offline at events or online at your store. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Sell cheat sheets, calendars, templates and more. You may think they’re worthless because you’ve seen them a million times, but they’re not. Don’t undervalue years of research, training and commitment.

    Ready? Sit down, grab a pen and brainstorm the ways you could make money – not just from providing a service, but by taking what’s in your head and putting it on paper.

Inspired action always wins.

If you’re looking to gain visibility, leadership position as an influencer and build a niche target audience, think about podcasting.  It’s a PR and marketing tool that clearly shows you have authority in your industry and helps you to gain credibility. It also builds your reputation as a thought leader and allows you to connect with your audience and fans who want to know more about you.

What’s unique in today’s world is that you don’t just create the media – you are the media!

Podcasting is your content, your show and your brand. Clearly, you have an unbridled advantage to inform, educate and entertain – as you like. And, it’s an affordable platform to share your message and build a base of raving fans.

Remember, you can start a podcast on your own or you can opt to be a guest on a podcast too. Both work to build your social media platform. You just need to do it!

Here are a few easy ways to start podcasting:

First, find influencers and experts in your field who inspire you, or who you learn from. Check them out online and see if they’ve started podcast. Search the iTunes Directory for podcasts by categories and see what you find.

Pick out a few podcasts that seem interesting, then start listening. Make notes. Is there a subject       that’s not being covered? Do you have a new twist on a topic and want to attract an audience –   that’s not being served?

As a small business marketing mentor, I want all of my clients to stand out in a crowded marketplace and get the publicity and attention they deserve. Podcasting is just one of the 100’s of ways you can market your brand, gain free PR, improve your Google rankings and show the world you’re an expert.

Plus, you can use free tools like Audacity to record and edit your podcast. This keeps costs low while you experiment and get more comfortable with the platform.

Remember, you’ll need to promote your podcast too. It’s important to get listed on the iTunes Directory but there are other PR and publicity tips to maximize your visibility:

  • Include the podcast link in your Google profile which is great for SEO
  • Put a link on your social media profiles
  • Create a behind the scenes video for YouTube or upload photos to Instagram
  • If you’re an author and have an Amazon Central account, include your podcast link there
  • Interview other experts who want publicity and ask them to co-promote to their lists too

PR and Marketing doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun and grow your business at the same time!

Whether you’re working full-time, part-time or own your own business, chances are you’ll be involved at some point with helping a non-profit.  If you are, getting exposure can make or break an event or fundraising activities. Getting free or almost free PR and marketing isn’t impossible, no matter what nay sayers might tell you.

Here’s a List of 10 Ways to Extend Your Non-Profit’s PR and Marketing Dollars

  1. Find Agencies Who Do Pro Bono Work. Find out who knows who in your organization and ask if there’s anyone with advertising or PR ties.  You may have an opportunity to get some free work – even if it’s with a smart intern who’s being supervised.
  2. See Who’s Advertising on Digital Billboards. There’s always a chance that digital advertisers have extra ad space that they’re willing to donate. If your cause is compelling enough or dear to their hearts, your message could be seen on high traffic billboards. Never ask, never know.
  3. Check out Google Grants. I’m not an expert on Google Grants, but what I’ve read sounds interesting, especially if your charity qualifies for a $10,000 in-kind AdWords campaign every month. Read the fine print to know the rules and what you’re committing to.
  4. Consider Crowd Funding. Crowdfunding may be an option for your charity, but you never know until you take a closer look. It’s another way to fundraise from outside your regular community in a more global way. Pulling on heart strings still applies.
  5. Write Press Releases Once a Month. Keep the media up to date with news about your charity. Press releases can be sent to journalists, a PR distribution service — paid or free, as well as to sponsors and partners. Use the link to promote your cause on emails and for supporting information when you’re creating a pitch.
  6. Build a Media Contact List. Research reporters who are covering your topic or local area to see if they’re interested in a feature story. Building a media list can be as simple as creating an excel spread sheet and including all pertinent contact information. Be sure to update the list on a regular basis to stay current.
  7. Approach bloggers who may be interested in your story.  Use Google to research top bloggers to share your story, and/or think about guest blogging for other sites. Practice your story telling and pitch in advance to make sure it’s short, sweet and to the point.  Ask yourself, why readers will care about your cause. That’s what an editor wants to know.
  8. Contact Marketing and PR Departments at Local Universities. Would a non-profit campaign like yours be a project a University may be interested in? Make a few calls or send an email or two. You may gain an intern and a few tweethearts.
  9. Organize Local Events Not Just Fundraisers. Hosting local events where you’re not asking for money will give you an opportunity to share your message, share the love and hopefully, share some of the work! Find people who are committed, like-minded and are influencers in their own right. Hate to recruit? Reframe your thinking. It’s multi-level marketing with a heart!
  10. Speak and Talk Up Your Charity. If you are your brand wherever you go, you’re also a brand ambassador for your cause. Tell the world to change the world. Speak on behalf of your charity whenever you get a chance and build a network who cares.

Lastly, you’ll always want to make a list of PWLY and PWBIY. People who love you and people who believe in you. Be sure that you have their full contact information to stay in touch and thank them often. These key supporters are your raving fans.

Show them the love and they’ll return it.

As part of pushing past my comfort zone and experimenting with YouTube, I’m creating a series of videos on How to Market Your Small Business on a Dime.

They’re intended to be short and provide insight on a particular PR or Marketing strategy that’s either free or cost effective.

Here’s a YouTube video about the importance of blogging for anyone who wants to be a small business marketing expert. Blogging allows you to be the media and speak in your own voice. It’s a PR and marketing tool to gain credibility, build your reputation and increase leadership position so you can sell more products and services.

As a small business marketing expert and PR mentor, here’s how I recommend you start blogging:

  • Think of topics, questions and problems your target audience wants to know about.
  • What keeps them up at 3am? What do they need to know? How can you help them solve their problems?
  • Start a swipe file where you can collect your ideas, other’s emails, blogs, articles, quotes or graphics for inspiration. Some people call this a folder. It can be both physical and digital.
  • The more you write the better you’ll be. Not sure how your blog post sounds? Read it out loud to check that’s it has a conversational tone. Think about writing to your best friend or best customer.
  • Own your URL or website name. You can post your blog there, plus you can buy another URL specific to the blog’s topic. You can also buy several keyword phrases and direct all traffic to one site.

If you want to learn more about blogging or are just starting out, check out WordPress.com
and the free blogging and website platforms there. They’re user-friendly, mobile ready and customizable.

Looking to see if a URL is available?  For fast results, I like GoDaddy. You may be eligible for a 99-cent deal too if you enter via Google.

Want the insider scoop on social media marketing? Read the blogs and articles from SocialExaminer. They also have a podcast for information on the go.

Another great site to get all kinds of tips and tools for bloggers who want useful customizable templates is CoSchedule.  You’ll find tons of free information about marketing online there.

Lastly, Neil Patel is an online wiz and a world renown marketing expert. Learn from this master at NeilPatel.

Blog to get authority and increase your visibility. And, try to write at least once a week if you can. Every inspired action you take to build your brand, also builds your like, know and trust factor. You need that to make sales.

For other videos about small business marketing and PR, check out my YouTube channel. I’ll be posting as frequently as I can!

A few months ago, I met Kim Lundgren at the Unmask the Greatness in You Conference, sponsored by the Center for Women and Enterprise. I was a featured mentor and she booked time with me for a half-day marketing intensive.

What does Kim do? Her company, Kim Lundgren Associates creates sustainability dashboards for local governments.  She’s on a fire. In a good way. Busy booking business and growing her brand on multiple platforms.

Kim and her team met with me last week. What did the day look like?  Here’s a glimpse. 

Four (4) hours of high intensity training on how to foster deeper relationships with clients, increase visibility, secure speaking gigs, gain PR, generate leads, build out your brand, promote your podcast, get free press, maximize upcoming events and then not go crazy.

Here’s what Kim had to say:  

“Robin opened my eyes to the vast opportunities and resources available to not only promote my brand but to actually grow my business. In just 4 hours, I have a renewed sense of excitement and a clear set of priorities to focus on.”

If you’re looking to get clarity, where to focus and spend your time and PR and marketing resources effectively, consider a VIP Day. Don’t get blinded by your blind spots.

Find Out How a VIP Day Can Grow Your Business