September always seems to bring a new energy to work, and if you’re like me, the pace has really picked up!

The Partner Promotions event team has been promoting the Xfinity brand at 125 events over the last three weeks, we’re gearing up for the IBM sponsored Women’s Tool Box Conference on 9/15,  Mara Glazer’s BizCon14 event in Silver Springs, MD 9/18 – 21, and my workshop and booth at the Small Business Expo in Boston on October 2. Sometimes, it’s fast and furious – and we run with it.

That said, what are you doing with your business over the next month?

Are you thinking about how to get press coverage for your business, product or service – and ways to  pitch the media and other JV partners?

Here are 5 Important Tips on How To Pitch so you won’t give up or go crazy thinking it’s too hard: 

  1. When pitching, make sure you have the right person you want to approach.  Do your homework and research.  Look at the magazine, newspaper or blog where you’d like to be featured and notice their style. How would ‘you’ fit in?
  2. You’ve heard it a million times, and I’ll tell you again. Make your pitch short.  One PR mentor told me to make my pitch 50 words.  Yikes – that’s hard, but putting information through the funnel gives your messaging clarity.
  3. Editors, journalists and reporters WANT to be pitched and are looking for a solution to a problem. Your pitch should include a way you can help their viewers/readers.  They’re looking for the HOW. That’s where you share – your story, best tips, ways to overcome, fix, increase, and help their AUDIENCE with their problem – on air, in an interview, on camera and so on.
  4. Don’t forget to tell your media contact who you are, why you’re the best candidate for the job, and a link to your website, plus contact information.  No attachments please!
  5. But, make sure above all, that you always KISS – Keep It Simple and Sensational!

Ditch the old pitch, and energize with the new!

YOUR TURN

Have you noticed a pattern with certain reporters in the way that they like to be pitched?

What’s your favorite success story from a pitch?

Have you pitched via Twitter or Facebook with great results?  Do tell!

RSI Crazy ClientsI wish I could tell you that business was always a breeze and a field of roses scented my office day after day.  Though I do love roses, and even more appreciate them as a gift (hint hint) the flourishing fields of commerce (and e-commerce) sometimes brings a client or two that don’t fit into even the most flexible of plans and makes you wonder why you agreed to work with them in the first place.

Here are 3 Important Lessons Crazy Clients Teach You

  1. Make sure you have a signed document which outlines your work. This could be a contract, agreement or Statement of Work which clearly identifies your role and responsibilities, deadlines and payment terms. In marketing and PR, best efforts should always be made and clearly stated, but there are of course no guarantees. Coaching typically involves participation from the other party, and if there’s no participation, it’s not your fault if the campaign or project goes bust.
  2. Establish Boundaries from the GetGo. In an effort to win clients, in the beginning especially, we may cross boundaries we shouldn’t. That may look like getting sucked into someone’s story, over-delivering, not valuing your own time or profit model, or accepting calls or demands at night, and service within 24 hours. Yes, we are available as PR and Marketing specialists, experts and communicators for the media – I like to say 23/7, but not for crazy clients who can easily leave a message and receive a call back at 8am the next day. Texting tyrants are annoying, as are repeated hang ups on your cell phone when you’re sleeping. We’re not in high school here.
  3. Learn How to Fire a Client. If we’re forecasting and expecting to meet certain revenue projections, we sometimes take clients that we know may be – a little off. I’ve witnessed some hairy scenes from out of balance/scary clients at events and a couple of my own – who not only shocked me (hard to do) but also took their aggression out on me, because a nerve was struck on an emotional wound. Remember to be your best, we sometimes look to the past to see why we’re not sharing our best. That said, I should have listened to my gut and ended the client/consultant/coach relationship. Big lesson learned there.

On a positive note, crazy clients also afford you the opportunity to see how to grow personally and professionally, to see what you missed and how to be a better communicator and implementer.

My clients are from all walks of life.  They each have gifts to share and interesting and varied backgrounds. The common denominator is that they want to be noticed and give back.

Truthfully, we found each other. My mission is to help them get to the next level, and they to mine.

 

As the weather is finally warming up in New England, so are our activity levels – of not only doing the work we love as we’re called to share our greatest gifts, but also finding time to enjoy nature’s wonderland, attend family parties and graduations, and think about a summer vacation – where we’d like to go to expand our minds, satisfy our souls and take a break from every day routine.

I’ve never been a big proponent of routine, and have been a master juggler of sorts throughout my life – because in all truth, l believe ‘variety is the spice of life’ and I like to be spicy!

That said, even the best of jugglers can drop the ball now and then, and it’s no fun (repeat no fun) when anyone drops the ball on a project, misses an important deadline and spaces out because there are too many balls in the air.

Here are 3 ways to Juggle, Stay Balanced and Still Have a Ball:

  1. My dear mentor taught me early on to write things down in one place and focus on one project on a time. This little piece of advice helped me communicate more clearly with one person at a time, and allowed me to be fully present and all-in.  In fact, I found that it’s one of the greatest gifts to another human being to be able to listen completely and connect with who you’re talking to, without any interruption or monkey chatter. It doesn’t serve me, any of my clients or even strangers for that matter to multi-task and half listen when you’re with someone. And, if you’re reading texts or checking email while you’re having a conversation? I’d tell you and anyone else, ‘let’s talk when you have time.’
  2. Calendar your time in blocks, not by the hour.  Many years ago, I calendared my time excessively. Now, as a recovering perfectionist and a more seasoned professional, I find that working in blocks of time suits my personality and desire for freedom and flexibility in far better ways. I’m able to do my marketing and PR writing say from 1 – 2a (not a typo); garden from 7 – 9a, consult with clients from 2 – 6pm and make sales calls when my prospects have indicated an interest, when they want to be called.  And, I have haven’t even blocked in any time for media work, open office hours, writing my book, fun, treats, vacations, or exercising.  Think of scheduling as a block party – and you can invite whomever and whatever you want in your life!
  3. Learn to Love saying No.  It may sound selfish at first, but if you’re a pleaser and always ready to jump in and save the day, I ask you to consider saving your own day.  Want to support a friend at their 5th fundraiser of the year and live miles away?  Send a check. Always asked to organize your company’s annual event (and not be paid)? Say with the utmost kindness, ‘I’d love to but my plate is full – try me next year. But, I’m happy to bring dessert!’

If you want to run yourself ragged, and be a Busy Beaver, that’s up to you.

Been there, done that.  Make time for what’s important, yes and do it with aplomb.

But life as a juggling act? Personally, I’d rather have a ball.

Your Turn

If variety is the ‘spice of life’, how are you going to spice things up?

Who can you give one of your balls to – to juggle for themselves?

What balls are really that important to you – and if they weren’t in motion, what would that mean? To you?  To others you’re satisfying, perhaps even out of obligation?

 

I have this imaginary client whose name is Jane, and she’s an expert. I love working with her because she plays full out and though she’s scared of jumping out of her comfort zone, she does – letting me know how she feels along the way, alternating silent screams and more verbal phrases, many of which you already know.

I’m writing about Jane, because I’m working with 10 Jane’s and about 5 Bob’s right now – who are actively taking the steps necessary to ‘own their greatness.’ Here’s what they’re learning:

5 Ways to Own Your Greatness

  1. Acknowledge that your greatness is a gift and everyone is gifted in some way. Some gifts are talents, some are lessons that have been earned or learned. I believe that every gift has a message inside. You either open the gift or don’t. My suggestion is to open the gift because what you see can amaze you.
  2. Pony up to the fact that you are great, despite what your family, friends or colleagues may tell you. Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” When you were born, chances are your Mom and a whole lot of other people thought you were great – perhaps even more. Remind yourself daily of your greatness and soon you’ll believe it again.
  3. Give yourself permission to be different from everyone else. That’s part of your Promotional DNA which developed gives you your Unique Competitive Advantage (UCA). Find words, feelings and images to describe your UCA and think it, feel it, write it, and speak it. It will be your branding on the inside and on the outside, for the world to see.
  4. Share your message boldly, one step at a time – then by quantum leaps. Make an impression not only at in-person meetings but on social media, events, industry presentations, speaking engagements, and with prospects and clients. One of my favorite sayings is “Freedom Lies in Bold Actions.” Experience has taught me it’s true. You may want to see that for yourself.
  5. Remember you’re great but also who gave you your greatness. Chances are that you were sent here with a mission to accomplish something bigger than you – and if you’ve figured that out the hard way or it was delivered to you gently, on a silver platter, it doesn’t matter. When you acknowledge what you’re here to do and take action, there’s a certain peace involved, and with that peace and acceptance, the flood gates open.

What does this have to do with PR, marketing, sales and communicating? Everything. Your greatness is your message and your magic.

It’s time. The world is ready for you.

YOUR TURN

Where do you hold your greatness?

Are you the world’s best kept secret?

What’s keeping you from being ‘great’ and who is that serving? Better yet, why?

Please share your answers below.

RSI RainsApril showers bring May flowers — in your yard and sometimes in your business. Showers come unexpectedly and rain dampens the best intentions of a well thought out plan. What’s a small business owner, expert or marketer to do when it rains, or worse downpours on all your hard work?

Plan(t)!

PPrepare for the worst and expect the best. I once had a boss who insisted we bring 40 bricks to an event in case the wind was blowing and we needed to secure sponsor table skirts. It seemed over the top at the time, but the lesson was learned and we saved them for a ‘rainy day’. I know they’ll come in handy for that yellow brick road…

L Listen to your intuition. More than a handful of times, I’ve been swayed to make a decision to ‘save the day’, but the decision was based on someone else’s vision of what the outcome should be. If you’re ‘saving your day’, make your decision based on your inner guidance. Czech in (I’m in Prague, couldn’t resist), be open and surrender to what reveals itself next.

AAsk a mentor. Many of us have been blessed with a mentor, or a group of colleagues that we trust. If you’re in a pickle, and it’s not so sweet, be brave, be vulnerable and ask for help. There’s a certain calm that comes with asking and temporarily stopping the swirl. The answer may not be what you want to hear, but it may be what you need to know.

NNever forget that today too shall pass. When the bottom is falling out, keep the pieces together by staying in focus, working off a list and remembering that in less than 18 hours, you can go to bed and tomorrow will be a new day. A new day and a new dawn, coupled with some sleep, recharge even the weariest souls.

TThink about your role in this snafu. Do you believe that in some way we’re creatures of our own cause and effect? There’s a great lesson to be learned when we reflect upon our own behavior and how it impacts our personal and business bottom line. We typically attract what happens to us and in some of the most bizarre ways, it serves us and mirrors our beliefs.

Rainy days are inevitable, as are storms – in life and in business. It’s your strategy for weathering the storm that makes the difference, and whether you bring your boots on the journey.

YOUR TURN

If it rains on your business for what seems like 10 days, how do you not get soaked?

Are you a believer in ‘if it rains it pours?’ If so, what have you learned from the downpour?

What shift is necessary to turn a downpour into a flood of opportunity?

Please share your answers below.

3 POINTERS (1)What would March Madness be without 3 Pointers? Not an opportunity to play full court press!

To play our best, we need to present our best and there’s no better way to do that than by speaking in front of an audience.

Here are my 3 Pointers for Landing a Speaking Gig: 

  • Find speaking opportunities that fit your expertise, but be open to who the audience may be.   If you’ve designated Google as your electronic best friend, you can run a search with key words on industry conferences, websites, magazines or trade associations that co-align with your specialty.  You’ll find more information that you can imagine if you poke around and follow a trail. Remember you don’t have to fish in the same pond as everyone else! Consider speaking at association meetings where you’re an expert among others who want to learn from you. You don’t have to give a keynote. In fact, you’ll stand out from the crowd in a breakout session!
  • Look for Conferences in your area (and industry) that are 2 – 3 weeks away. Know of a conference or expo that is around the corner – and you either missed an opportunity to submit a proposal, or it snuck up on you? (I hate when that happens). Call the organizers and let them know that you would be available as a speaker if there was a cancellation. You might actually save the day filling up a speaking spot, and get a chance to capitalize on the PR wagon – yours and theirs!
  • Ask and you will receive.  Think of 5 people who you trust in your industry or community and pick up the phone. What are the 3 most valuable events they know of?  Where would they go that’s priceless?  You can also go to LinkedIn groups and ask the same. If you’ve got overlap, you’ll know those are the winners.  Also, whenever you speak, ask other speakers where they’ve been.  Typically, meeting planners and organizers don’t use the same speakers year after year, so it’s in everyone’s best to share; (it also great for bonding).  Lastly, you can check in with your local convention bureau. They usually have a listing of events and can recommend suggestions of where you might speak, or at least – who you may want to connect with!

Set yourself up for a number of 3 pointers and string them together for success.  Just remember to focus, shoot and then run like heck to the next opportunity!

Your Turn

What are your best suggestions for landing a speaking gig?

Are you more successful finding conferences and/or speaking gigs with on line event listings (like www.AllConferences.com) or by recommendation of those who are like-minded in your industry?

What’s your best strategy for turning audience members into raving fans and customers?

 

3 WAYS TO LOVE YOURAs you may know, Brand Ambassadors are coveted and rare professionals who effectively communicate the essence of their company’s unique story, and personify its core values in what they do, what they say, how they act, and even how they think.

What’s more, Brand Ambassadors are extremely valuable “assets” who measurably increase the bottom line, and deliver an ROI that often out-performs advertising, sponsorships and other initiatives. Plus, they help their company retain its top performers, and attract new talent.

Ultimately, Brand Ambassadors are an invaluable part of any company success story, because they’re the “real deal” who get up close and personal with vendors, partners, customers, colleagues – heck, even strangers sitting next to them on a flight or seated next to them at a conference.  They can be outsourced to join an existing team, or developed through in-house training to build even better relationships and connections with the outside world.

What you may not know is how to thank Brand Ambassadors – even love them – for all that they do.

Here’s a list of 3 Ways to Love Your Brand Ambassadors:

1)      Acknowledge that a Brand Ambassador has an important role, just as important as a sales or marketing team member.  A trained Brand Ambassador will not only wear your brand, but give a face to your company and hopefully convey heart and soul as well.  Show them the respect that they deserve as they interact with your prospects, clients and colleagues.  There’s an incredible upside to being valued as part of a team.

2)      Appreciate Brand Ambassadors as front line reps and show them love, even if it’s in small ways; invite them to company meetings, trainings, and give them VIP access and parking if available when they’re working a high profile event. If tickets are plentiful at a certain venue, consider offering them as a thank you. Often, complimentary tickets get discarded, and it’s heartbreaking for some to see the waste. As in life, the gesture of sharing goes a long way and generosity is seldom forgotten.

3)      Allow Brand Ambassadors to deliver your message, in their voice.  Every Brand Ambassador, like every person, has their own unique style, tone and timing – and the ways that people listen can be as varied. Be open to different communication styles to reach a wide and multi-cultural marketplace and honor their freedom to express themselves within the guidelines of their job.  With the high-tech world that we live in, there’s never been a better time to reach out and touch someone.

YOUR TURN

What are the three most noticeable traits of a great Brand Ambassador?

If you were to outsource Brand Ambassadors for your company, what would you look for?

From body language alone, could you tell an employee from a Brand Ambassador in a mixed setting, on location? What would be the tell-tale signs (if any)?

RSI promote eventDeciding to host an event and share your expertise is a bold decision, and one that takes guts – so BRAVO if you’ve got an event slated for 2014!

Creating an event is one of the quickest ways to showcase your expertise to a group who may want to learn more about you, invest in your products or services now or down the road, or have an interest in ‘what you’re up to’, for their own professional growth. Well done, an event provides an opportunity to tell your story, up-level your brand and – let’s be honest, capitalize on your knowledge.

That said, you’ll want not just a boatload of people at your event, (whether it’s live or online) but a boatload of your target audience. They’ll resonate with your message and brand more than anyone else, and you’ll have multiple opportunities to make an impression and suggest that they become raving fans!

Here are7 Ways to Promote an Event in 2014  

1. Get Talking

Step away from the keyboard, and call friends and other people in your network who may be interested in attending your event. Even if your invitation is politely refused (i.e. due to a prior engagement or something to that effect), this is a prime opportunity to make a personal connection that could pay dividends down the road. It’s also ideal for reaching people who you don’t know, since you’re offering them something. Make it an easy, no-stress phone call with no end game in mind.

2. Get Visual

Create flyers and graphics for your event, and post them in an area frequented by your target audience. You can also send these in the mail (yes, the old fashioned way with stamps) to your targeted audience with a personalized post-it note.  Make sure that your graphics have a consistent look, and that the artwork can be re-purposed for invitations, banner ads, and social media.  This saves time, money, and gives your branding efforts maximum exposure.

3. Get Newsworthy

Submit media releases about your event to local news stations, magazines, newspapers and industry publications, as well as on-line blogs and distribution channels.  Be sure to be crisp and clear in your delivery, and include contact information for the press. If you have video, use it here as well. Above all, be media ready to capitalize on the publicity and opportunity for maximum exposure.

4. Get Dialed In

Find local radio stations and targeted blog radio networks that may be interested in an interview. Make your story compelling and be a fun and entertaining guest.  By following these simple guidelines, you’ll build a loyal following, get recognized for your expertise and be able to use the recorded interview in your own promotional strategy. And you’ll probably be invited back!

5. Get Social

Use the power of social media to your advantage.  Post targeted messages to your database and audience on a frequent (though not too-frequent) basis, using various platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube. You can also make a list of groups who might benefit from the event, and target them on-line. Keep in mind that it typically takes multiple impressions (a.k.a. touchpoints) before people notice a message and take action. As the best sales professionals advise: be persistent, but never pushy.

6. Get Wordy

Blog about your event, and ask others to do the same.  If you’ve been a guest blogger, ask your colleagues to give you a mention and share it with their list, and do the same with your social media contacts. This not only extends the life of your promotion, but it allows you to reach beyond your traditional target audience.

7. Get Hooked-Up

If you have a room that needs to be filled, consider asking fellow colleagues who are in a complementary — but not competing – business to publicize your event to their list.  Before presenting this type of opportunity, be sure that you have all the details outlined. Make it easy for your partners to promote you by providing pre-launch copy and emails, and copy for social media postings. Always strive to be a good partner, because your reputation will follow-you long after the event is over.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, if you apply some or all of the strategies above, you’ll:

  • Ensure that your event isn’t a “best kept secret”
  • Provide some valuable help by sharing your wisdom
  • Potentially fill the room with great new customers and clients
  • Have fun doing what you love!

YOUR TURN

What is the most challenging part of promoting a live event?

How do the promotional tactics differ from promoting a live event vs an on-line event?   

Do you typically have a team of people to help with the event? What are their primary roles?  

Let us know your thoughts — and KUDOS to those who dare to dream big, hosting their own event (live or online)!

Best of luck this year, and always!

In a world with over 7 billion people and an internet that never sleeps, I’m guessing there must be at least a million experts who can comment with some authority on ways to increase visibility and offer positioning advice for success.

There is no one formula that works, and every entrepreneur, professional or business owner has to create their own promotional mix that they can commit to, to get the results they are looking for.

The bottom line in both cases is:

If you don’t create a visibility or promotions plan, and ‘work it’ to get your brand, products or services out there, chances are that you won’t build the recognition, leadership position,  or ‘buzz’ that you’re looking for to increase your rates, expert status, or income.  

Here are 5 Ways to Increase Your Visibility in 2014

1.       Choose 3 – 5 Vehicles as the Keys to your Promotion Strategy

Whether you choose Google +, your blog, LinkedIn, video marketing, Twitter, Pinterest, industry-specific websites, or any other vehicles, pick 3-5 and make them the centerpieces of your promotion strategy over the next year. Remember to populate them with engaging and original content that is first and foremost relevant to your target audience. Give them a reason to like, trust, respect, and ultimately, partner with and/or refer you.

2.       Deliver Workshops and Lectures

Don’t worry about not being paid – you’ll be paid a hundred times over with new business opportunities that may come immediately afterwards, or weeks, months or even years after. Just be sure that whatever your share is congruent with your brand, adds value, solves a problem and offers solutions. And if you’re one of the millions of people who dread public speaking, this is the perfect opportunity to face that fear and finally conquer it!

3.       Showcase Your Brand

Make it a point to put your name and website url not just on your business card, but on all collateral material – as well as when you post comments on other people’s blogs, if you’re answering an Op-Ed or publishing a white paper. Be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to promote your business in personal and business settings. The more often you share your brand and what you do, the greater your chances are of success.

4.       Volunteer at Community and Industry Events

Volunteering isn’t just good for the world, it’s also good for you.  And, being of service in your own backyard helps your community as well as presents an opportunity to network one- on- one with fellow business owners and C-level executives. Choose community or industry events that resonate with you and volunteer with an open heart.  You’ll feel rewarded and be of service to a cause that’s important to you as well as make a difference.

5.       Be a News Source

There are free press opportunities every day that can increase your company’s visibility if you know where to find them. One of my favorites is HARO (HelpAReporterOut.com). Sign up for their complimentary service and you’ll receive emails on a daily basis from reporters, researchers and talent scouts who are looking for experts like you – to share their opinions on various platforms. Being published or on the air is an instant way to build credibility and leadership position within your industry, and add content to your all-important press kit.

The Bottom Line

Lastly, I urge you to do yourself what could be the biggest favor of your professional life and ditch attitude of waiting until your marketing is “flawless” before you get out there and start making waves. Yes, you want to make a great impression and build strong relationships, but if you keep holding back until the stars perfectly align, then you’ll be waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Don’t be an obstacle to your potential: take the plunge. It will be worth it.

YOUR TURN:

What will you do differently this year to liven up your PR/promotion plan?

What’s on your list to try – to be more visible in your industry?

Do you have any tips you’d like to share, so others can benefit from your success?

How can you be more charismatic in your presentation?

Questions for thought…as we increase visibility in the New Year.

 

It’s been a whirlwind of a few months — moving from my lake house to a new home and stepping up to the plate to speak on stage at various events across the country.

In the moving process, I kept a suitcase of clothes in my trunk, which I wore often. My wardrobe was simple. Everything mixed and matched, and besides having a bathing suit and a LBD on hand, I felt like a stewardess. The only thing was, I wasn’t sure of my final destination.

Not having a home base (or knowing where you’ll live) is unsettling, but powerful if you’re able to channel the lessons it teaches you:

  • You control your thoughts, so if you want to go down the crazy path, it’s your choice.
  • You can run a business with your phone, laptop, wireless internet connection and a supportive team. In fact, you can have your best month ever.
  • You can find out quickly who your friends are, and who’ll give you what you need, when you need it, and, do it with love. They will cook for you, care for you, listen to you and be there – even iron your outfit to get you through the tough times.
  • You will realize that although this seems like hell, there are far worse times, and we are fortunate to have so many blessings.
  • You can muster up all your courage, get on a plane, meet a room full of strangers and tell them how important it is to celebrate your gifts, because during these tough times they only get stronger.

The reason I tell you this is because if you’ve been having hard times, there are always better times. And they begin with shifting your paradigm — to living from your vision, not to your vision.

Creating yourself, not finding yourself.

It’s not always easy, but who said the journey didn’t have bumps in the road.

Blazing the trail, and settled – finally.

PS – I will be sponsoring Christine Gallagher’s She’s Got Clients event in Mt Laurel, NJ next week, November 11 – 13. If you’d like complimentary tickets, please email me here. It will be an information packed 3 day event on how to target clients on-line and maximize your income.