When it comes to branding and lead generation, while new strategies and tactics emerge on what seems like a weekly (if not daily) basis, there’s one “old favorite” that continues to withstand the test of time, and re-establish itself as both a cost effective and results-based way to create valuable mind share and visibility – which, ultimately, boosts sales and profits. Of course, I’m referring to promotional products.

From upscale laptop and tablet bags to functional flash drives and everything in between, promotional products are trusted by business of all sizes – particularly solo, small and mid-size operations — to get and stay ahead of the competition. Indeed, a giveaway that’s of some value to a potential customer creates an opportunity for engagement – which is the gateway for the lead generation process. This is especially true when the service or product is more complicated to explain, or has a higher perceived value.

Of course, not all promotional products are created equal, and it’s important to choose the right item(s) that will make the strongest and longest impression. Here are five key things to keep in mind to help achieve this important goal:

  1. Use Your Promotional Product to Create Differentiation

    If you want to stand out from the crowd as a leader, then you need a promotional product that your audience will like, talk about, and appreciate.  Even if they choose not to keep the giveaway, chances are they will pass it on to someone who they care about – provided, of course, that they find it valuable.

  2. Choose a Promotional Product that’s Functional

    Align your promotional product to the season and/or event where they’ll be used more than once.  For example, my company has given away extremely well-received insulated cooler bags during the summer months, and branded wine openers at Wine Expos. When audiences perceive that a product is functional, they’re less likely to discard it (think of how many lanyards end up in the garbage can at the end of an event).

  3. Don’t Over-Spend on Promotional Products – but Don’t Cut Corners, Either

    Many companies are now giving less expensive promotional products to their audiences in a high traffic location in order to make an impact, while keeping costs under control. When done properly, this can be a successful strategy. Just ensure that you don’t give out ‘junk’ – it’s better not to give out anything at all, than to be associated with something that will diminish or damage your brand.

  4. Match your Promotional Product to your Audience

    Audiences with large buying power and who represent high potential value (as customers) will be expecting a promotional product that aligns with their position. Also keep in mind that big ticket audiences expect more — even if it’s free — especially if they’ve been loyal to the brand.

  5. Remember to Fully Brand your Promotional Products

    Promotional products can have a lifespan that lasts for years – often decades. We’ve all seen everything from memory sticks to stress balls pads that feature a company that we may never heard about or, at least, are not currently doing business with. As such, it’s essential that everything is fully branded with your name, logo, tagline and contact information. You never know who will see it, and how it may influence them to choose you vs. the competition.

Ultimately, and above all else, keep in mind that today’s customers have more marketing savvy than ever before – regardless of whether they’re buying farm tractors or the latest ultra thin smart phones – and, like all customers, they want to be appreciated. If you choose the right promotional products and distribute them in the right way, you’ll fulfill that expectation, and set your business apart.

 

 

Secret #1: Thoughts from the Dressing Room

Become  “media  ready”  by  looking,  feeling,  thinking  and  acting  like  a desirable multi-million dollar brand — even on a shoestring budget

Action Items:   You are your brand, wherever you go. Do you give off an energy of certainty and impression of increase so people will want to know you? Make someone’s life better in some small way, every day. Live life fully. Step into your greatness and your brand.

Secret #2:  Get Your Brand On

Cultivate and position a winning brand image that includes bio, photos, signatures, media kits and more.

Look professional, branded, together and ready for business. The press will feel more confident that you’re a player. You are your brand, so act like one that’s in a successful business.

Action Items: Look at your photo – does it look like you now or your high school picture? Can a prospect recognize you in a crowded room? Do you have a signature on your email? Does it give a description of who you are and what you do? Do you have a bio that includes some fun facts, or a cause you really believe in?  Look at your website with fresh eyes. Is there a headline on your home page with a call to action? Are all the links working?

Secret #3 –  Learn the Lessons Momma never taught you about being social

Are there misspellings? What does your branding say about you as an expert? What does it say to the media?

Leverage the power of social media to reach and impress media partners.

The thought of social media can be daunting if you don’t understand it. You don’t have to be everywhere, and do everything. Which social media tools do you like? Whether it’s Facebook , Twitter or LinkedIn (or others), pick what you’ll use and start engaging your audience. Stop worrying about being perfect. Make an effort every day to promote your business. You can make an impact with 15 minutes twice a day.

Action Item: Every day in some small way take an active role in being an expert, or noted in your field. Need content? Set up a Google alert on your ‘topic’ or ‘expertise’ and collect articles to share. Comment on what’s going on in the news. It’s OK to be a contrarian and have a voice.

Use social media to share your expert opinion so the press, as well as your prospects and clients, can notice you. Share content. Compliment others. Be a part of a caring community. Consistency and frequency count.

Secret #4 – Get on the Inside Track

Be a Publicity Insider — Take advantage of free publicity opportunities from HARO – Help a Reporter Out  www.HelpAReporterOut.com. Help A Reporter out offers quality leads for people in all kinds of industries to get noticed in the media – radio, TV , blogs and articles. It’s published 3 times a day, and it’s easy and free to sign up and get emails in your inbox. Journalists, editors, reporters and producers will post their queries on HARO and you can respond to them and get recognized as an expert.

Take the initiative and put yourself out there.

Action Item: Sign up for a free HelpAReporter account and take the time to respond to their emails. Create a one page template to answer press requests. Don’t be annoyed by the press inquiries, think of them as your assistant sending you opportunities to build your business and your brand.

Secret #5 – Be a media magnet, first. Darling next.

Tell your story often and clearly to gain media attention. Practice makes perfect.

Create and launch media releases that tell a powerful, memorable story that demands attention and generates results. Look at what you’re doing in your business. What’s press worthy? Are you speaking? Have a new product or service? Create a media release and send to industry publications, local media, and established contacts. It’s the who, what, when and why of what you’re doing – and can be as simple as a new office location, workshop, product or service, or being featured as a guest expert. Be clear and brief in all interviews and press opportunities and offer ‘soundbite’ quotes. Reporters have limited time – so make sure you grab their attention.

Make it easy for the press to find you and keep your PR engine going. When journalists and bloggers begin to see you showing up in the news, they’ll be more apt to follow you.

Action Items: Make a list of 5 things that you or your company could write a media release about. Have video footage? Even better! You don’t have to win the Nobel Peace prize to be recognized.

Secret # 6 –  Pitch Don’t Bitch

Stop complaining about the lack of press and do something about it. Pitch your story idea to newspapers, radio and TV stations, industry magazines, niche newsletters and blogs. They’re always in need of material. It can be an idea you have tied to a holiday or special event, tips on how a new product or service is helping customers, a community service project you’re involved with or a local event.

When pitching the media, be brief, concise and to the point. Make your headline interesting. You never know who’ll pick up your story and where it may go. Even if it’s controversial, it’s still news! And news fades fast, so keep the momentum going. Be mindfully persistent, not a pest.

Action Items: Create a bucket of ideas to pitch. Make them short and sweet. Are you a newly published author? (Hint, an e-book counts). Are you a guest panelist at a prestigious event? Do you have a new way of doing XYZ that will make a difference to more than just you? Learn to pitch with perfection.

Secret #7 –  The Press are friends you haven’ t  met  yet

Relationships that matter take time. Identify key press contacts and build mutually rewarding relationships that last.

Make it a point to do your homework and keep your eyes and ears open to top reporters in your region or area of expertise. Press contacts move around a bit, so try to stay connected via social media and keep email addresses current. A savvy admin can help with this task, but ultimately, you’ll be the one to decide who you’d like to watch and follow.

Action Items: A stranger is a stranger till the first hello. Make friends with reporters you find interesting. Follow them on Twitter, and learn the fine art of retweeting. Introduce yourself at industry functions. Send a note that you liked their article and you’re a fan, even if you disagreed with their view point. Send a lead their way. Start the process of ‘getting yourself known’.

Getting noticed by the press is a journey not a destination, and every step and mention gets your name out there. You’ll get recognized as an expert if you promote your brand often enough, everywhere you’ll go. It all starts with a decision to confidently stand out from the crowd.

 

Boston-based communications and PR Firm Robin Samora Inc.’s new RSI MediaReady Program is an interactive, one-on-one program that helps clients become “media-ready” within hours, and to create a turn-key audio product to feature on their website or send to prospects. Clients who sign-up for the program via the Robin Samora Inc. website by May 31, 2013 will also receive private coaching on how to successfully respond to H.A.R.O. (“Help a Reporter Out”) and Profnet Reporter requests – a $199 value.

 

Entrepreneurs, experts, authors, coaches and other success-minded business professionals who wish they could be “media-ready” within hours, and who want to easily create a turn-key audio product to feature on their website or send to prospects, can now sign up for PR and communications firm Robin Samora Inc.’s innovative new program, RSI MediaReady.

RSI MediaReady is an interactive, one-on-one coaching program that features:

• Interview preparation and training for clarity, focus, practice and ‘ready-to-go’ promotion
• Q + A review of 15 initial questions, with feedback and comments for review
• Review of answers for sound bite quality and content-specific goals
• Etiquette and media training for on-air and pre-recorded shows and programs
• A recorded mp3 file of the interview questions for future editing
• A recorded mp3 file of the 45-minute interview (“pod cast”), which can be posted, edited or referred to for messaging

Clients who sign-up for RSI MediaReady will also receive a number of special bonuses, including:

• A sample Pitch Letter to a Radio Producer
• A sample Media Release announcing their guest appearance to the press
• A customized list of up to 10 radio shows/hosts who they can contact immediately
• 3 selections of intro and outro music on a separate mp3
• A Special Report: “10 Ways to use Audio to Boost your Brand”

“Across the country, media professionals and potential clients are very interested in booking coaches, entrepreneurs, experts, authors and other professionals for speaking engagements, article and broadcast interviews, or hiring them as consultants,” commented Robin Samora Inc.’s founder Robin Samora, a widely recognized PR and media relations expert who leads each session. “But if these talented professionals are stuck being the `best kept secret’ in their industry, how can they be found? They won’t. And that’s where RSI MediaReady comes to the rescue. It rapidly helps professionals clarify their message and communicate their brand through the media, so that they reach new and better clients – and ultimately, boost sales and profits.”

Added Samora: “In addition to numerous other business benefits that clients will reap, which include improved SEO/SEM, and the ability to rapidly create a media kit and re-purpose content for their other marketing collateral, there’s also a very important personal element to the program, too. RSI MediaReady will turn just about anyone from an anxious media-newbie into a self-assured media superstar, and unleash a level of self-confidence that will elevate every aspect of their life.”

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or Robin(at)RobinSamoraInc(dot)com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR, branding and promotions firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

I’ve come to think that we’re a visually obsessed society, focusing on how things look.

In business, it’s much the same, and I’m as guilty as the next. How we present our image is a critical part of our branding.

Our websites, logos, business cards, blogs and other marketing tools and collateral incorporate visual elements as well as the written word to tell a story.

To tell your story.

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, and words describe pictures – but what words or images are created by our voice, the clarity of our message, our ‘recorded word’?

Can others visualize our brand by the enthusiasm of our voice, our willingness to share, by the valuable advice and expertise we offer — when we speak, are interviewed or someone hears us on a podcast?

What does your brand sound like?

I gave this some thought yesterday, preparing for a radio interview with Les Wolff, of www.SmartMarketingMoves.com. We recorded two shows last night, one on the Power of PR, and the other on a new program I’m developing to help Experts and Authors ‘Get Media Ready’ , clarify their message, Q + A, and audio branding.

I believe we’ve been trained to put our voices on paper. Why not use our ‘recorded word’ to share a message, serve others and make an impact — not just to build our businesses and brands, but also to make a difference?

You know how emails can be judged, as harsh, blunt or cold?

With the ‘recorded word’, your voice is in HD.

Transparent. Bold. Uniquely you.

Light someone up with your voice today.

Boston-based PR Firm Robin Samora Inc’s Hispanic Brand Ambassadors will be engaging consumers and communities across Boston and New Hampshire this summer on behalf of its long-time client, Comcast

 

On behalf of its long-term client Comcast, Robin Samora Inc., a Boston-based communication, branding and PR firm, will be sending its trained team of Hispanic Brand Ambassadors out to engage consumers at several Boston and New Hampshire-area ethnic festivals this summer.

Robin Samora Inc.’s Hispanic Brand Ambassadors are multi-lingual and specially trained to appreciate the unique cultural expectations, preferences and nuances that characterize the dynamic and vibrant Hispanic community.

“In my industry, we use all kinds of fancy jargon to explain what we mean by communication in a strategic public relations context, but at its core and in its simplest terms, it’s essentially about creating a favorable connection,” commented Samora, who works with some of the nation’s top brands and blogs frequently about the do’s and don’ts of public relations. “And the only way to make that connection happen through genuine engagement. That’s why our Hispanic Brand Ambassadors are so valuable to the clients we serve, such as Comcast. Our team isn’t just made up of product and public relations experts. They have their finger on the cultural pulse of the Hispanic community, and can establish a level of trusted engagement that truly makes communication happen.”

Robin Samora Inc.’s Hispanic Brand Ambassadors are scheduled to attend the following events this summer on behalf of Comcast:

• Semana Hispana in Lawrence, MA: June 23, 2013
• Colombian Festival in East Boston, MA: July 14,2013
• Puerto Rican Festival in Boston, MA: July 28, 2013
• Dominican Festival in Boston, MA: August 2013
• Xfinity Latino Family Festival in Boston, MA: August 2013
• El Planeta Health & Fitness in Boston MA: September 2013

In addition, the team will be attending Caliente in Boston, MA. and Latinos Unidos, in Manchester, NH, on dates to be determined shortly.

Added Samora: “Ethnic marketing at festivals and other culturally important events is vital for companies that want to reach out and impress communities and consumers. Our Hispanic Brand Ambassadors are the bridge that makes the connection between our clients and their marketplace possible.”

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or Robin(at)RobinSamoraInc(dot)com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston-based PR, branding and promotions firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

I remember the incident clearly. I was in Chicago attending a meeting to build relationships with a major corporation and the Latino community. I left in a hurry, the taxi was speeding off, and my colleague asked, “did you bring your business cards”? I was horrified, realized I had changed bags, and asked my driver to turn around. Lucky I was only minutes away.

It’s easy to forget, but important to remember. Have a stash of business cards in your wallet, in your car, in two briefcases, your mobile and home office. And, bring them with you. You never, never know who you’ll meet and want to call, impress, set an appointment with. Napkins work too, but I’m all for branding. Just sayin’…

Robin Samora Inc.’s marketing and branding division Let’s Make You Shine is funding a scholarship to enable three women to attend the “Mom Gets a Business Conference,” which will take place on April 26 in New York City.

Boston-based branding, promotions and PR company Robin Samora Inc. announced today that it is funding a scholarship in partnership with the upcoming “Mom Gets a Business Conference,” which will take place on April 26 in New York City.

Robin Samora Inc.’s scholarship will be awarded via the company’s marketing and branding divison “Let’s Make You Shine,” and will enable three women to attend the conference who, due to financial reasons, would otherwise be unable to go.

“As an entrepreneur and a mother who has successfully built an established branding, promotions and PR company with a national reach – and raised two amazing kids along the way — I know all about the challenges of balancing career aims, personal goals, and the countless responsibilities of being a mom,” commented Robin Samora Inc.’s principal Robin Samora. “It’s an honor to help three deserving women attend the Mom Gets a Business Conference, and enable them to access advice, insight and knowledge that will turn their woman-owned business dreams into a reality – one that aligns with their role as a great mom, rather than competes with it.”

“We’re proud to showcase Robin Samora Inc. as an organization that supports women as they endeavor to improve their life and create freedom and financial stability, while honoring their goals as individuals and mothers,” commented Patty Lennon, founder of the Mom Gets a Business Conference, which will be held on April 26 at the 3 West Club, on 3 West 51st Street in New York City.

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or
Robin(at)RobinSamoraInc(dot)com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based branding, promotions and PR company blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades
of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

Have you ever had a favorite pet that was your BFF and constant traveling companion?

I can say yes, and let you know that such was the case with Lucy, my sweet Sheltie who passed yesterday after a long spirited life.

 lucy in woods

In honor of Lucy, I’d like to pay tribute to some of the lessons she taught me about life, business and the pursuit of happiness:

  • Celebrate Life. Lucy made no bones about it; she was all-in and ready to travel. Much like her Mom, she was a midnight rider, a good listener and could nap anywhere.
  • Travel with Style. It really didn’t matter whether Lucy traveled in a convertible, in the back of a boat, or front seat of a pick-up truck. Lucy had wanderlust — and a leash was optional.
  • Be Pampered. Lucy lived a life filled with kindness, kisses, sweet talk and TLC. She loved attention — and was a pro — at giving it, and getting it.
  • Be Loved. Lucy showed me time and time again, what unconditional love looked like. It was a daily lesson and a reminder that love is the most important thing on Earth.
  • Take the High Road. If Lucy didn’t get her way, she took the high road. Tomorrow there’d be another chance to get that cookie, go for a walk on the beach or smell other dogs. She looked forward to those simple pleasures.
  • Know When it’s Time to Rest. Sleeping was one of Lucy’s favorite pastimes, though I’m not sure if she just closed her eyes during all those phone calls, or the snoring was meant to fool me.
  • Remember to keep a secret. Let’s just say, I’m sure she heard more than a few short and long tales. What a confidante!

Though my heart may break with sadness, my heart is also filled with joy for the love we shared.

If you had a favorite pet, you know what I mean.

Here’s to you Lucy, and the giant parade with Milkbones that welcomed you.

In her latest article, PR, branding and prootions expert Robin Samora shares proven and practical tips that can help entrepreneurs and other professionals get free publicity on HARO — which can in turn boost their credibility, generate leads and create sales.

Entrepreneurs, business owners, experts, gurus and authors who want to benefit from the best kind of good publicity there is – i.e. the kind that doesn’t cost a cent – can now read Boston-based PR expert Robin Samora’s latest article, and discover proven and practical tips for getting free publicity on HARO (Help a Reporter Out).

“Being picked up by HARO is a huge win that could lead to increased credibility, mind share, competitive advantage, website traffic, quality leads and, of course, sales, sales and more sales,” commented Samora, who is Principal of Robin Samora Inc., a Boston PR, branding and promotions firm that works with corporations, authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide.

Samora, who is featured in a success story on Blogging PRWeb‘s website, advises entrepreneurs and others who want to reap the rewards of free publicity to have an action plan that consists of five pieces:

1. Start with a strong media response that lists name, position, website address and company description in the first paragraph. Don’t bury this down below.

2. Keep the pitch short and to the point, and answer questions directly. Reporters, journalists and producers are looking for substance – not fluff.

3. Provide a link to important material and don’t include attachments. Due to malware and virus threats, they won’t be opened and the pitch won’t be read.

4. Use a standard press response template for every media inquiry — but be sure to customize the main message for each query.

5. Use the word HARO in the subject line and include the query title.

Samora also lays out her ‘rules of the road,’ which consists of essential Do’s and Don’ts regarding media etiquette. Some of these include:
* Communicate politely and professionally at all times
* Offer great content
* Be clear and concise
* Move quickly – time is of the essence.
* Stay on message
* Offer a strong, authoritative opinion

Samora further advises that over-delivering in an interview is a wise strategy, and that building a database of reporters is a must. She also emphasizes that respecting the relationship with reporters, journalists, producers and the other professionals who are on the other side of HARO is vital.

“No matter what,” concludes Samora, “respect the connection and the relationship as you would with a trusted colleague or your very best customer.”

Samora’s full article, which features a deeper look at her free publicity action plan and HARO `rules of the road,’ is available her firm’s website at: http://www.robinsamorainc.com/2013/03/proven-tips-for-getting-free-publicity-on-haro-help-a-reporter-out/

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or Robin (at) RobinSamoraInc (dot) com.

About Robin Samora Inc.
Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR, branding and promotions firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

Complimentary 30-minute PR assessment sessions from Boston-based marketing, PR and communications company Robin Samora Inc. provides professionals with clarifying insights into where their brand is now and where it’s headed tomorrow.  The sessions are offered for a limited time and available on a “first come, first served” basis.

Robin Samora Inc., a Boston-based marketing, PR and communications company that has partnered with Fortune 500 corporations, entrepreneurs, business owners, experts and authors for over 20 years, is now offering complimentary PR assessment sessions for a limited time.

The 30-minute telephone assessment sessions, which are offered on a “first come, first served” basis, are personally led by Robin Samora, who is a recognized authority on creating fresh and engaging marketing and PR campaigns that connect brands, consumers and the media. It’s all part of a campaign to mark the recent incorporation of Samora’s two companies, Partner Promotions and Let’s Make You Shine, respectively, as divisions within the Robin Samora Inc. brand.

“Through our Partner Promotions Inc. and Let’s Make You Shine divisions, we can now offer our clients – whether they’re Fortune 500 enterprises, success-minded business owners or expert authors — the best of both worlds,” commented Robin Samora. “With Partner Promotions, we help them achieve a deeper engagement with their audience, and with Let’s Make You Shine, we make their brands more visible. It’s complete, comprehensive support and leadership that helps our clients boost their credibility, mind share, competitive advantage, volume of quality leads and, of course, revenues, sales and profits.”

Professionals who take advantage of the PR assessment sessions will be provided with “straight talk” that helps them identify where they are now, where they want to go, and why they want to get there.

“The assessment sessions are a bit like a hot seat call, and so professionals should be prepared to be frank and take plenty of notes,” added Samora. “At the same time, it’s interactive, progressive and fun. I see my role as a PR light bulb that flicks on for 30 minutes, and illuminates the landscape so that they can see new PR opportunities – and potential threats – with renewed clarity.”

Professionals can request their complimentary 30-minute PR assessment session by sending an inquiry via the Robin Samora Inc. website at: http://www.robinsamorainc.com/pr-assessment/

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or Robin(at)RobinSamoraInc(dot)com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR, branding and promotions firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.