You can look at search engine optimization (SEO) as an easy task, or a daunting one. If you have time and money to spend, feel free to hire an expert, especially if you’re in a super competitive industry. But, if you’re on a budget, you can still apply the basics with DIY weekly tasks to drive traffic and increase visibility to rank higher in Google.

Master these 9 SEO Tips to Get Higher Google Rankings and More Business

  • Know that SEO is a process, not an overnight magic trick. And, that’s true whether you hire out or DIY. Look at your Google Analytics and set a goal for what you’d like to accomplish. Test and track to see what’s working. Then tweak accordingly.
  • Use keywords on your title tags and get them right. What words would your prospects and customers use to search for you?  Title tags are keyword rich and usually have between 50 – 60 characters. Be sure they’re also in the headers, body and image alt-tags too.
  • Create and verify your Google My Business Page (GMB). You’ll want to ask for reviews from your customers here and post consistently. This will help drive traffic, especially if you aren’t writing a blog or other content as part of a deeper campaign. Bad reviews? Answer promptly and politely.
  • Consider using Word Press plugins like Yoast SEO. Once you focus on keywords and start writing, Yoast will grade you – from red, yellow to green when you’re hitting the mark. The more you write the better you’ll get.
  • Post videos and transcripts on your website. Videos keep visitors on your page longer (and Google likes that). As an added bonus, provide a transcript of the video with medium and long tail keywords to build SEO and drive traffic.
  • Go to a local college and find an online wiz or intern. Teach him/her 10 steps to easy SEO, including how to blog, build an audience, post to a Facebook page, distribute to social media and social bookmarking sites including Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or a host of others.
  • Keep track of your online listings and make sure they’re accurate. If you’re practicing organic SEO, be consistent in your efforts to get the biggest bang for your buck.  Again, look at Google+, Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and listings where you have online presence.
  • Don’t overlook Google Maps when you’re planning SEO. If you have a store front location or work from the road, you can benefit from having all roads point to you. You don’t have to be there all the time, this SEO tactic drives traffic to your site and potentially to your store!
  • Lastly, answer HARO ads as a way to build SEO and backlinks. Sign up at HelpAReporter.com and show journalists that you’re an expert. When you’re published, there’s almost always a backlink, back to, you guessed it, you.

If you’d like more information on SEO read this:  Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO

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!

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.

Speakers always want more gigs and good speakers, who want to play a bigger game, will do whatever it takes to get an event planner’s attention.

At the same time, event planners are on the lookout for speakers who may be a perfect fit for their clients. Because it’s such an important decision, their eyes are always open for new subject experts, motivational, team building, and adventure types that will wow a crowd.

Here Are 3 Ways to Get an Event Planner’s Attention [And Build Your Speaking Business]

Publish Content. Writing books or articles, not just your blog, will help you get more speaking gigs.  When you’re published on a consistent basis, you’re recognized as a subject expert, especially when you send a copy of your latest book along with your speaker’s package. If you up your fee and negotiate a book for everyone in the audience, it accomplishes two more things: bigger ka-ching and a bona-fide endorsement, that what they’ll hear, will be valuable.

Present More Often. By speaking on a more consistent basis, you not only hone your skills, you stay current with industry news and insight. As a featured presenter, you also have an opportunity to hear first-hand, your target market’s questions, challenges and top concerns. Bottom line, that’s content in raw form for future articles, blogs – maybe even your next book.

Email Loyal Fans to Keep Them in the Know. Sure, social media is important, but it’s not everything. It’s a tool to enhance your PR and marketing efforts on many platforms. To complement the media mix, create a direct path to your sales funnel and build an email list of raving fans. Write copy that’s compelling and relevant to your target audience. Build the like, know and trust factor naturally and just be you.

There’s no one sure way to increase visibility or secure your next speaking engagement. Create a steady stream of traditional, online and offline PR and marketing activities with one common goal – to build your brand as an expert who can solve problems and inspire an audience to think, take action or just believe. Do that, and you’ve done your job.

Bonus Tip: I often talk about using HARO (HelpAReporterOut.com) to get press and it’s a still a keeper. Remember, every media nudge along the way may prompt an “I’m not sure” into a “Yeah, baby – let’s give him/her a call!”

Want to Build an Audience of Raving Fans?

If you’re still on the fence about email marketing, think of every business card or contact you have bundled up or sitting in your desk drawer.

What’s the average price of your product or service?  $500?  $1,000?  $5000? Now, multiple that by the number of cards or email addresses you have.  $1000 x 500 contacts = $50,000 in untapped revenue.

Get your prospects and customers to say yes more, by just being in touch. You can check out Constant Contact here for 60 days, without spending a dime. I’m a Local Authorized Expert and know it works!

Potsquatch caught Meteorologist Jennifer Pagliei of WWLP Springfield, MA off guard when he video bombed her live blizzard report about 10 days ago.  Here’s the video in case you missed it. It was a publicity stunt that went viral.

So far, it looks like the video has been viewed 2,244,874 times and counting. The clip made Mashable, and I hear the Jimmy Kimmel Show, as well as countless other blogs.

Who is Potsquatch?

The pot-looking monster is actually a mascot from the Springfield, MA gardening store, Potco which is well on its way to becoming a store for all things cannabis.

But there’s more to Potsquatch than meets the eye. “He’s a super hero,” says David Mech owner of Potco. “With all the bad things happening in the world, Potsquatch brings some comic relief and is a symbol of absurdity when everyone is massively stressed out.”

What’s his mission?

Potsquatch wants to get people and especially veterans off dangerous opiates and help the terminally ill find natural alternative remedies. He was created to make people laugh and get their mind off problems.

As we all know, pot isn’t a shh shh subject any more. In fact, Business Insider reports that 1 in 5 Americans live in a state where it’s legal to smoke weed without a doctor’s letter.

Where will #Potsquatch show up next?  Your guess is as good as mine. Could he be our next pop-up or T-shirt star?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Phill Naylor who produced my YouTube channel.  In addition to being a YouTube expert, he also owns a digital marketing agency, Xtralarge Media.  What’s his insight about Facebook Marketing? In short, explore the possibilities creating look alike audiences to expand your reach.

10 Ways to Attract New Business with Facebook Marketing (and Creating Look Alike Audiences) 

  1. Set up a Facebook Business page to connect with your audience. It allows you to gain the like, know trust factor, build a community and show a behind the scenes look at what you’re doing on a day to day basis.
  2. Use Facebook groups as a way to showcase multiple products and services — if your brand has different branches and audiences. With one business page, you can speak to all of your customers and fans without them scrolling through every post.
  3. Learn Business Manager/Power Editor. You can download the application for free if you have a Facebook Account. This allows you to explore far more marketing options than inside the traditional Ads Manager.
  4. Upload your email list to Facebook and create an ad targeted to just them. This allows you to market to people who are already receiving your information.
  5. Create a look alike audience of your email list to market to. This expands your own email list powerfully.
  6. Install a Facebook pixel on your website. With this pixel or line of code, Facebook will track everyone who visits your website and you can extend your reach.
  7. Create a look alike audience of people who visit your website. Keep testing to monitor results.
  8. Ask Facebook to track anybody who visits or likes your Fan Page and advertise to them.
  9. Create a look alike audience of your Facebook Fan page traffic. See what that delivers.
  10. Lastly, ask Facebook to create an audience of anyone that has viewed your videos (and then create a look alike video audience). You can track multiple analytics, like how long they’re watching, where they stop and so on.

Although I understand Facebook as an important marketing and PR tool, I wasn’t aware of all the look alike marketing possibilities and the power of email marketing, taken to a whole new level. And, we haven’t even discussed retargeting!

Phill has a new Facebook group, Local Ads Academy where he’s hosting free classes. If you want to learn more, email him at Phill@Xtralargemedia.com and ask to join.

About Phill:

Phill Naylor is Founder of XtraLarge Media | 10 Ways to Attract New Business with Facebook Marketing Phill Naylor is Founder of XtraLarge Media, a digital marketing firm that focuses on helping clients get the biggest bang for their buck with video and social media advertising. He is an expert in Facebook marketing and works with small business owners to power up their brand, rank high on YouTube and influence prospects to buy. He believes video and Facebook will reach more customers than any other platform combined.

I keep forgetting how easy it is to get free publicity.  If you know where to look and how to respond, it’s straightforward. But, you have to have discipline.

My favorite site for free PR is HelpAReporter.com, commonly known as HARO.

Last month, on December 20th I was featured in an article on kids, parents and gratitude  on CNBC.com, 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids the Art of Giving This Holiday Season.

A couple of weeks earlier, FS Local wrote a story, Picking the Brain of a PR Pro! Behind the Business with Brand Expert Robin Samora.

Do You Want Free Press? Follow these 7 Steps to Get Picked Up by HARO Reporters

  1. First, sign up for HARO and get daily emails from reporters and journalists.
  2. When you see a query that interests you, make sure there’s a fit.
  3. Make your pitch short, concise and be sure there are no misspellings or mistakes.
  4. Don’t deviate from the questions, stay on topic. Be light, bright and polite.
  5. In the subject line when you respond write: HARO: and copy the title of the query.
  6. Include your contact information, website, email and phone number. Be available 23/7.
  7. Don’t stalk the reporter or follow up, unless they ask. Do your best and become a resource.

The more practice you have pitching a story, the better you’ll be. And, once you start getting published, the more you’ll want to respond.

This is earned media and you’re showcasing your expertise.

Sure, responding to HARO and other sites takes time, but the rewards far outweigh the work.

Sign up this week, and get the visibility you deserve!

Sounds like an easy task – to write what you want. Most people start with a list of questions to answer which provides valuable insight, but I also like to add a visual component.

What does a wheel have to do with PR and marketing? This wheel, and the one you’ll draw, is a PR Vision Tool where you decide where you’d like to be seen. You can add spokes, identify opportunities and weight them according to your goals and desires. And, every few months you can reinvent the wheel based on your results and efforts.

Here’s a sketch of my Marketing & PR outline for 2017.

Remember, it’s a work in progress so you can tweak and recreate as you like. Think of it as a recipe for success. Take a look.

Simple? Maybe you think so, but the start of everything great begins by writing it on paper. This isn’t just about manifesting.  It’s about planning and thinking where you may get the biggest bang for your buck. [Free].