Why consider guest blogging to market your small business?

Guest blogging is an awesome way to gain visibility and show your authority as an expert. It’s taking the information that you already know — and perhaps already write or talk about, and using it to market your brand, showcase your talent and get more business!

Where do you find guest blogging opportunities?

Easy. My favorite place to start is Google.  Say you want to find the top 25 blogs in your industry.  Type in 25 top blogs in XYZ industry. That information should populate quickly.  You can create an excel spreadsheet with this information or a word document. It doesn’t matter, as long as you keep all the data and contact info organized and your notes up-to-date. This is a top way to create your own small business marketing goldmine – for every arm of your PR plan!

Next, read those same blogs to see if there’s a fit for you and your brand. If that’s a yes, you have the green light to go ahead and see if they’ve covered your key topics recently. Remember, you can always tweak your titles.  Also, you don’t want to pitch a topic that’s just been featured.  It will look like you haven’t done your homework or don’t care.  And, believe me, you want to care. Links to published material and lots of views count as earned media.

Now you’re ready to pitch.

Remember to use the editor’s or main blogger’s name to avoid a “Dear Editor” approach.  And, always customize the pitch.  Many guest submissions will be online, so make your note short, sweet and to the point.  Also, offer a few topics or past articles you’ve written to show you’re credible. Include links, never attachments.

Keep this advice in mind.  Guest blogging is about what’s good for a publication’s readers. It’s WIFT. What’s in it for them. What information do you know as an expert that will be of value to viewers? How can you help them be better, do better?  Be considerate of an editor’s time and make sure that your material is spot on.  That’s how you keep getting invited back and win awards and badges for your contributions.

Guest blogging is a great way to get your name out there, especially if you’re in a targeted niche industry.  You’ll get more readers, prospects and customers and it will help build your marketing and sales pipeline too.

As a small business marketing and PR mentor, I definitely suggest adding guest blogging to your marketing mix. You can repurpose older material that is still valuable and get extra mileage from it. Build even more like, know and trust from guest blogging and increase your expert status with your ideas, thoughts and what you’ve got to say as an influencer.

Want to hear from industry experts about guest blogging?  Check these articles out:

Guest Blogging Strategy:  11 Ways to Generate Massive Traffic and Credibility via BloggingWizard.com

5 Ways to Not Write a Guest Post Blog – A Guide About What Not to Do via Entrepreneur.com

A List of 180+ Websites/Blogs that Accept Guest Posts via Solvid.co.uk. An interesting read for sure!

As with all lists, please be sure to check website and contact information carefully as changes happen quickly and corrections aren’t always up-to-date.

My advice from one blogger to another? The first step to success – is starting!

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!

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!

One of the questions I’m frequently asked is, “How do I market my blog?” There are hundreds of ways to promote a blog via PR and publicity, but I decided to ask Google the same question.  In less than 30 seconds, I found this article, How to Work with a Virtual Assistant to Market Your Blog. Hint: You don’t need a VA to do the work.  You can do it yourself or share the task. Heck, you can even ask your savvy teenager to help out!

In the post, Chris Ducker shares a list of almost 200 blog directories that you can submit your blog to. The list is a few years old, so I wanted to share a more recent resource by Harsh Agrawal who promises an epic collection of 131 verified blog directories. I’ll be curious to see what works and what doesn’t.  Information changes in a moment’s notice, so sometimes good enough is good enough. It’s the action that creates marketing momentum.

Lastly, I’d like to share HubSpot’s Guide to 50 Online Local Business Directories. You may find something new here to increase your visibility, brand awareness and exposure.

Oh, and sales.

Creating a blog is not only one of best examples of your owned media, it’s also a wonderful tool to showcase your expertise, get visibility, publicity and PR.  Bottom line, blogs help you get noticed, but you have to write and post on a consistent basis.

Robin’s Rainmakers has been a platform that has helped me increase online and offline credibility, reputation, speaking opportunities and form valuable partnerships, like the one I have with Constant Contact. I’ve also revved up my personal and professional brand. Blog all you like, but pull in traffic!

Here are 5 Ways to Pull Traffic to Your Blog

  • Use images. Take your own photos or create graphics on Canva.com. You can also use one of the hundreds of free online photo resources. Google free images and read sites like Entrepreneur.com for suggestions.  I like Gratisography.com because it’s fun. Pixabay.com is also a resource we use. See what’s here too at com/FreeBlogPhotos.
  • einstien-robinsamoraMake your images fun. Have you used Photofunia.com? You can put yourself and others in the picture. Here’s an example of a fun graphic I use in presentations. It gives me credibility and aligns me with experts.  Right?
  • Don’t forget Infographics. HubSpot has an amazing example of templates to create infographics.  Take your tips and create a visual that will be shared over and over again.  What’s to gain? Higher visibility and brand recognition.  It’s all about sharing and pinning. The Art of Engagement. Can you use any of these ideas from HubSpot? tinyurl.com/HubSpotTemplates
  • Make the most of your headlines with a title generator. Here’s a cool tool you can use to get ideas for headlines and articles. Some may be way out there – but use what looks good and think of this as an inspiration tank.  Co-Schedule also has a free headline analyzer, but start with this one first to get the swing of it. tinyurl.com/CoolTitleGenerator
  • Take advantage of YouTube. You know YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.  And, you probably know that you can create a welcome video and mention your blog, as well as link to blog posts from video descriptions.  Did you also know that you have 5000 characters to work with in the video description area? This isn’t the place to stuff keywords, but rather be strategic in your marketing and SEO efforts.

Of course there are other ways to pull traffic to your blog.  Guest blogging, podcasting, speaking gigs, book signings, Amazon Author Central, Good Reads, by-lined articles, networking, interviews and more.

“If you just keep moving forward, you’ll amaze yourself” – Anonymous

Hopefully, wherever you are, it’s spring and a perfect time to clean out (or as my stylist says) edit your closet. Take advantage of this newfound energy and direct it to your online assets.

Online assets are properties you’ve created on social media platforms you’re using (or not).  My recommendation is that you’re always consistent with your branding, message and voice. That may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised at what we still have “out there” but may have forgotten!

 5 Tips to Refresh Your Online Presence

1)  Keep Your Website Current As You Grow Your Brand. Many entrepreneurs are ahead of their website by at least nine (9) months because change is a constant. Some have had websites from 2008 without even a refresh. Consider moving to a Word press format for updating copy, blogs, photos and simple SEO. Keep your look and feel current with where you are now. Change happens. You either go with it, or it goes without you.

2) Get a List of All Your Digital Assets and Passwords. Yes, you have a website, but what about your owned media (blog) and other social media channels? LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Should I continue? Keep this list updated and handy and every once in a while, consider refreshing passwords. If you do, please tell your team!

3) Make Sure to Have Consistent Profile Information. When you look on LinkedIn or Google+ do you cringe when you read your old profile? It happens. Getting into the zone of writing about yourself takes time and effort. And your photo? Lose or gain 20 pounds? Sporting a shaved head or gone red? Now’s the time for a new headshot. And make it, high res, please. The media will love you and so will I.

4) Look at All Your Landing Pages and Autoresponders. If you work by yourself or on a small team, it’s almost impossible to keep track of everything you do. Look back at your marketing and PR calendars to see the projects you’ve worked on. Where do you have links? Are they all working or are some broken? Do your autoresponders need a rewrite? Now’s the time for spring cleaning!

5) Give Your Email Signature Permission to Work 24/7. I was just featured in Fit Small Business for contributing top ideas for email signatures. Since you’re always updating your image and work, your email signature should keep pace as well.  Are you a new author? Share a chapter. Have a freebie? Provide a link. Work globally? Include your time zone. Won an award? Tell the world. It’s easy peasy and free!

Refresh. Renew. Revitalize. And maybe even – Reinvent yourself.

I’m all for it!

PS. I’ll share some great news next week about a new partnership I have that can help with your marketing and provide even more tips, tricks and tools to engage your audience. Stay tuned for the announcement and keep promoting yourself and your brand!

Want More tips for Spring Cleaning Your Personal Brand?  Email me here! 

It’s not magic.  It’s resourceful PR strategy.

Last week, on the night before a big speaking gig, I created a checklist to giveaway as a brand reminder and resource for my audience.  Since my topic was ‘How to Use Free Publicity to Grow Your Business’, it seemed like the perfect fit.

How to Turn a 900 Word Article into 36 PR Opportunities

>>You can download this free PR resource here

I stayed up late racking my brain for marketing ideas and clever ways to repurpose copy.  My thoughts are always the same. You should be getting the biggest bang for your buck, especially when it comes to PR and promotion!

Yesterday, one of my favorite clients picked five ways she’ll promote her brand. She already has articles on LinkedIn, pitches, a few interviews and blogs galore. She’s knows exactly what to do to get more PR!

Why reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to?

Take Advantage of this Free PR Resource Now!

Then, write, tweet @RobinSamora or send a smoke signal on what you’ll use to reach new audiences and share great content. I’d love to hear from you!

PS – If you’re in the Greater Boston area, I’d like to invite you as my guest to an upcoming Boston Women Connect, Building Business Connections Networking Event. In fact, I’m speaking there on Tuesday, April 26 at the Marriott Courtyard in Woburn. My topic?  How to Market Your Business and Brand. For details and registration click here, and use the promotional code power for your complimentary ticket.

As a business owner, your website is your ‘hub’. It’s where you show off your goods, products and more importantly – yourself. The more people see your website, the more they know about your awesomeness!

Are you thirsty for web traffic? Let’s explore the concept of SEO juice, especially with 2016 just around the corner!

The first way to get more SEO juice is to squeeze more juice out of your current content.  That means you should always be linking back to the content you’ve written or shared before. It’s called internal linking and should be done deliberately and often.  KissMetrics wrote the Seven Commandments of Internal Linking.  According to the author, “It’s not overwhelming, complicated or difficult.”

So, what are you waiting for? Start learning the rules of internal linking and may the traffic begin!

Besides linking to previous content, there are several other tactics to rev up your SEO juice. Here’s an article by Hello Spark’s, 4 Important SEO Tips for Your Website. It’s easy to read, to the point and actionable.  Their tips are really call to actions and everyone who owns a site can benefit from these suggestions.

And, marketing veteran Carrie Morgan shares 3 Ways to Transform Your Blog Into a SEO Machine.  She talks about installing a great SEO plug-in like WordPress SEO by Yoast and using keywords efficiently. By choosing one keyword and including it in your post permalink, title and first sentence, you’re sure to get more juice. There’s more of course and you can read it here.

Lastly, what happens when you move or overhaul a site? SEO juice can and will spill all over, without a plan.  James Archer writes about the importance of the ‘301 redirect’ in this article on Forty.co. Read, bookmark and apply when needed!

Squeeze the SEO juice so traffic flows to you!