You already know that in corporate world, you only get one chance to make a first impression. But what you may not know, is that the “you” who is reading this may not in fact get that opportunity – your LinkedIn profile might beat you to it!

Indeed, more frequently than ever before, everyone from prospective clients and customers to potential business partners and associates are “checking you out” on LinkedIn, which is by far the world’s largest professional networking site with over 200 million members who visit more than 50 million times a week. What’s more, these people are forming opinions, making judgments, and coming to conclusions about you long before you have the chance (if ever!) to say hello over the phone or email, or go in for a hearty handshake or friendly fist pump in person.

Clearly, it’s in your best interest to have an outstanding LinkedIn profile — one that makes the fantastic first (and second…and tenth) impression that YOU want to convey. But how do you create this kind of elite profile? It’s simpler than you think – just focus on these 6 keys:

1. Create a Killer Headline

If your headline suffers from dreaded SOSO (“same old, same old”) syndrome, then to paraphrase Sun Tzu: you’ve lost the battle before it has even begun. Avoid this cruel fate by having a catchy, unique and bold headline that sets you apart, and positions you as someone that people want to connect with. It can also help to put your email address in your headline, so that you send the message that you’re accessible and responsive.

2. Add Relevant Keywords

Be sure to use relevant keywords in your headlines, and throughout your profile (which we’ll get to in a moment). Keywords aren’t just SEO friendly, but they help you stand out in a search.  They also send the signal that you’re digitally savvy, which is certainly a characteristic that you want associated with your personal brand.

3. Write a Focused – and Fantastic – Profile

You know that blurb that might be on your resume – the one that describes your skills in pretty straightforward, ordinary terms? Keep it far, far away from your LinkedIn profile. Yes, people want to know what you’ve done and what you’re good at. But they aren’t leafing through resumes. They want to be impressed and engaged by something unique, authentic and written by a real person (a.k.a. YOU!). There’s so much possibility with LinkedIn to put personality in your profile. You can add photos, videos, special recognition, and so much more. And don’t be afraid to toot your own horn, either. If you don’t believe in your abilities and strengths, how can anyone else?

4. Get a Professional Headshot

I can’t emphasize this enough: if your photo is from the year 2008, or depicts you on a picnic, on a cruise, at the beach, or anywhere else that doesn’t convey the words “professional, poised and confident” then it’s time for a new headshot. As you already know, a professional image counts! Invest in a headshot or professional picture that does your personal brand justice.  You’ll turn heads, and what’s more, people will come up to you at conferences and meetings and say with warmth and familiarity that “they recognize you from your LinkedIn photo!”

5. Ask Others for a Pat on the Back

One of the best features of a LinkedIn profile is the “Recommendations” section. Build credibility with endorsements by asking for recommendations from colleagues, clients and partners. Every positive comment helps build your brand. And of course, remember to recommend others, too – “paying it forward” it always a good policy. Plus, believe it or not, but some people will want to see how you recommend others – so keep that in mind!

6. Keep it Current 

Things move ultra-fast in the corporate world, and it’s easy to let your LinkedIn profile gather dust and grow out of date. It’s essential that you stay on top of this, and ensure that your profile is updated at least weekly. Plus, be sure to join groups, contribute, post and share information that members within and beyond your network will find interesting. As a bonus, the more value you add, the more you’ll show up on news feeds – which will increase your name recognition and exposure in the marketplace. Don’t be the best kept secret in your industry!

The Bottom Line 

A rockin’ LinkedIn profile is just one of the many ways to brand yourself as an expert in your field. Make sure your brand is consistent and noticed on all relevant social media and online platforms. You’ll attract more opportunities and increase your professional reputation by building communities who recognize you as a thought leader in your industry.  Use LinkedIn as part of your online strategy to stand out – and stay ahead!

A recent client asked for a promotional strategy to promote her event and though it varies by industry, target audience and personal preference, I found certain similarities and tasks that needed to be completed.  I thought I would share some of them with you as an overview of what you’ll want to think about. Keep in mind that this is a sampling for a local event, not an entire plan of social media, onsite event strategy and presentation preparation.

Sample PR Checklist for Your Upcoming Event  

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Now, the bigger the event the more promotion you’ll need to fill the room. There’ll be website promotion, Twitter mention and strategy as well as being part of a social media support group who will co-promote on your behalf.  There are also Facebook posting opportunities on your personal and business page and the possibility to boost content where it counts the most.

LinkedIn promotion may also be considered if appropriate on your own page as well as in groups you belong to. You can also ask for plugs from clients and event organizers, and distribute flyers at networking groups and speaking gigs.  Heck, even friends of friends in your inner circle will say a good word if you ask them to help out.

No matter what promotional tactics you use, never underestimate the power of picking up the phone. Many would rather die than call. I’d rather call than die.  Make 50 calls a day and you can get used to anything.

I’ve got 10 pages of ideas that I could share with you, but it would get too detailed and I want you to feel inspired, not bogged down with a giant PR and marketing plan and to-do list. There’s a wheel house of strategies that can be used over and over again. Some will work, others will fail miserably. But, you have to try.

Holding an event is an investment in showcasing your expertise and building your business. Be sure you have enough help to promote your event online and offline, before the event, during the event and post event. And even though the event ends, you’ll still be promoting the content in one way or another, your next workshop, upcoming speaking gig, new products and services – and the list goes on.

Be it free or paid, creating and hosting an event takes courage and promoting it to the right audience, who likes, knows and trusts you – as well as finds value in what you teach, makes all the difference in the world.

The first step in planning an event is making the decision to have an event. The step isn’t really a step though. It’s a quantum leap in promoting who you are and the courage to speak your truth.

Teach to reach!

LinkedIn has so many opportunities to showcase your skills, expertise and talent. And, one of the most underutilized PR and marketing opportunities is publishing on LinkedIn Pulse. It’s a platform to write about your expert topic, repurpose your blogs and presentations and engage an eager audience who want to learn more. Posting on LinkedIn Pulse increases your credibility, reputation and ability for others to like, know and trust you, as well as share and comment on your work.

Publishing Articles on LinkedIn is Easy – Here’s How You Do It

  1. First, you need to have a LinkedIn account which can be as simple or complex as you want, but please make it key word rich and complete in all categories – highlighting your experience. Thumbs up to everyone who takes more than 30 minutes to create a compelling profile and posts a professional headshot. (A high resolution photo is always preferred for when you’re picked up by the media.)
  2. There are two ways to publish on LinkedIn Pulse, but the easiest is to post an article from your home page where you see “Publish A Post”. You’ll have an opportunity to write about your signature topic in depth, create a catchy headline, upload a recent image (or create your own graphic on Canva) and then post your The format is user-friendly and whether you know anything about WordPress or not, it should be a breeze. (this is the end)
  3. Consider writing at least two times a month, but weekly is even better. A longer article with about 500 – 750 words is preferred to provide valuable information and insight on your expert topic, and aim to pen at least five paragraphs. Remember, this isn’t a sales pitch. Publishing on LinkedIn is all about showcasing your knowledge.
  4. If you’re short on time, it’s possible to repurpose older blogs and change up the titles, intros and outros, but only if they’re not already posted on Pulse. You probably have a wealth of digital assets and information in your head, so plan to get it all on paper/online and create an editorial calendar to stay on target and for tracking success. Be sure to vary up the times and platforms posting your articles so there’s consistency but not duplication.
  5. Need Inspiration? Even the best writers get stuck for ideas. Feel free to check out topics that are trending on LinkedIn and Twitter, research BuzzSumo, refer to questions clients and prospects are asking, dive into Quora to see what others are inquiring about – and always be listening to what’s going on in your industry and what your target audience should know to stay ahead of the game.

One of my clients is having great success with LinkedIn Pulse. She blogs regularly and writes a weekly article about her expert topic. I love how she’s built her credibility and reputation from writing and engaging with her readers, as well as networking to the max. She’s taken what’s in her head, put it on paper and tweaked it multiple ways to reach a wide and growing target audience.  Always improving her analytics to match leads and sales, she pays attention to the various groups she’s a part of, listening then writing.

Now, if you’re wondering what days are best to post, recent research has shown that it’s typically Thursday and Sunday, but you should check with your own industry trends. Again, don’t send your blog and post your article the same day.  Mix it up to get the max.

Be strategic in your thinking, writing, and sharing.

You’ve worked hard to write outstanding content. Now promote it via LinkedIn Pulse and other social media platforms to reach your target audience, and turn prospects and customers into raving fans.

And the good thing is, it’s all free!

I’m a big believer in using events to grow your business. Events provide a forum for you to showcase your expertise, grow your database, make new contacts and attract new clients.  And, if you’re in the front of the room as the expert and love engaging with the audience, it’s also fun!

In this article  5 Ways to Grow Your Business with Events by Eventgenioso, you’ll find events other than tradeshows to increase your ROI. Some examples? Experiential events for brand activation or product launches which pique the media’s attention. Training or seminars with high profile speakers in your industry, that even the fussiest client can’t refuse. And, incentive travel for new prospects and to jazz up your sales team. Fuel prices are low, everyone loves to travel and you can mix and match programs to target your goals. Have the courage to make it a mystery trip? 

As an INBOUND Guest Blogger (blogging is a great way to get media mention BTW), Joel Comm talks about using live events to drive business. In his post Live Events: The Fastest Way to Grow Your Business, he discusses the importance of meeting new people and building rapport with your audience. First, there’s getting to the like, know and trust stage. Then comes the opportunity to do business. Yes, live events can be fun and should be – but don’t forget the value of finding out what’s new (and trending) from vendors and starting conversations with strangers, who may one day be your client! 

Lastly, Constant Contact’s UK blog lists 7 Events to Grow Your Business with content definitely worth mentioning. You may be thinking networking or throwing a party right off the bat, but what about an Open House? I’ve suggested this to hospitals to Meet the Doc. There are also events to Get a Taste of “your subject”, expert/customer panels where advice and testimonials can be shared openly (great PR) and of course, Breakfast n’ Learn, to start the day off right. Make your own waffles, anyone?

Events work to build business, expert status, reputation and credibility.

PASSION 

Passion ignites the fire of your brand. Without it, you’re just like everyone else. The press wants to highlight intriguing and passionate people, products and services that their readers will be interested in.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s your passion and why?
  • Do you include your passion in your “story” so others can get to know you, your products and services, and what you stand for?
  • Are you willing to be transparent and let the world know who you really are?

Remember: A passion for your work + life enhance your
brand and celebrate your uniqueness.

POSITIONING 

Positioning is a mindset for success. Combine it with a road map for where you want to go, be seen and heard. Determine where you want to go not just in your imagination, but on paper and as part of a PR/promotions plan.

Ask yourself:

  • What does your road map look like for media and audience attention?
  • Are you following the same highway as others in your industry, or are you willing to be bolder and combine traditional with non-traditional tactics?
  • Who will set the course for the journey, and who’ll read the map?

Remember: Welcome those who fortify, strengthen and evolve your positioning, and be willing to help others do the same.

PREPARATION 

Be prepared for success and consider yourself an expert, even if you don’t think you are. The road will come to meet you if you’re doing the work and course correction is part of the journey. You’ll find it easier to leverage publicity with every new press mention.

Ask yourself:

  • What is your competition advertising or promoting on and off line?
  • How is your competition utilizing PR in the media and in what formats? (e.g. feature stories, articles, interviews, quotes, podcasts, book jacket reviews, etc).
  • Who will support you to ensure success?

Remember: You can create a PR swipe file of what you like, resonate with,
and aspire to. Imagine yourself in the story, on TV, as a featured panelist. What makes you different? 

PERSONALITY 

Make yourself unique interesting to the press. Start with a BIO that’s full of personality and passion, and ensure that it tells your story in a way that holds the reader’s attention and makes a positive and memorable impression.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have both a long and a short version of your BIO for different purposes? (e.g. media interviews, teleseminars, articles, email signatures, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, etc.)
  • Are you reviewing your BIO 3 months to keep up with your professional growth?
  • Is your BIO transparent and human, yet highlights your credentials and expert status?

Remember: Include at least 5 things others don’t know about you. They can be accomplishments, hobbies or interests that others may find fascinating. 

PRESENTATION

A professional presentation, photos and website get you past the gatekeeper for a longer look. Ensure that all of your on line and off line branding, photos, collateral and correspondence have a professional look and feel, and that you represent yourself as an expert – with all the bells and whistles expected of someone of your caliber. Look like a million dollar brand.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you maintaining a congruent look and presentation design with your website, newsletters, blogs, Facebook and Twitter pages?
  • Are you investing in professional headshots and lifestyle photos that portray you and your brand in your best light?
  • Are your promotional materials well written in a style and tone suitable for your industry?

Remember: Presentation is equally important for in-person meetings and media interactions. You are your brand wherever you go so dress the part at events, interviews, conferences, speaking engagements – even community gatherings. Be stylish and honor your brand!

PITCHABILITY 

Pitching an idea to the media takes some practice and perfecting, but once you understand how each media works, and how to get pitch ideas, the easier it becomes. Start by reading a reporter’s writing for insight on “how to pitch” them.

Plus, check out their Twitter, Facebook and website pages for insights on their writing style and preferences. You can also use pitch query services like HARO to reach reporters looking for your expertise, and check editorial calendars of magazines in which you’d like to be featured.

Ask yourself:

  • What story can I tell that highlights a new way of doing something, a product that will make life easier, an opinion that’s contrary to popular thinking, or a tie in to a movie or celebrity event?
  • What are some major trends right now, and what are the best ways to tie your pitch to them?
  • What are some national events that can be localized?

Remember: Don’t pitch stories already covered.
You can also try turning your pitch into a “top 10 tips” list. 

Take these 6 P’s and apply them to your business today!

I’m a believer of press releases to get the biggest bang for the buck when there’s a major announcement, release of a book or breaking news.  But, you don’t always have to spend an arm and a leg for its distribution. There are cases when I advise clients to go national and get the widest exposure possible for all the media hits, and other times, the press release can simply be a PR tool for the media via a link on the client’s press page. Both work.

There are varying views on the press release and that’s always refreshing. Mike Butler, journalist and technology commentator shares his thoughts on The Press Release is Dead – Use this Instead. In this article, Butler spells out key information to send a reporter, not just an “OK, here it is” press release. His questions are spot on, his humor puts a smile on my face and I like his style. Read this and you’ll understand what the media is looking for, what they’re not looking for (ie, pdf’s, attachments) and how to pitch via Twitter, which by the way works.

Steve Cody’s article, published in Inc.com gives us 5 Reasons the Press Release Isn’t Dead Yet. I agree with his findings, and you might too. Press releases aren’t just an antiquated business tool, even if you think they are.  They offer legitimacy, a steady stream of news and they break through the clutter.  How is that?  Read more here.

And lastly, Julie Crabill posts a great piece at Mashable.com, 4 Alternatives to Your Next Press Release. First, are you telling a story or just sharing news? Consider producing a short video for Facebook, coming up with a customized #hashtag or designing visuals to share on relevant social media platforms. Then, there’s always going deep. Take a look at what she means.

You can think what you like, but keep in mind that there’s not always just one way to share news. I’ve always liked a mix of marketing, PR, promotion and media to tell a story, with more than a dash of visual, be it infographics, video, slide share, GIFS or graphics.

You can market yourself silly, but remember in PR, variety is the spice of life.

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.

First, check out this awesome tool that analyzes and scores the headlines you’ve written.  It’s a free headline analyzer from Co-Schedule.com. If you’ve never used it before, definitely give it a try. The goal is to come up with a score as close to 100% as possible.  Mine rated a 72%.  What I should do (note to self) is write a page of headlines and in my free time, analyze them.  Better yet, I’ll invite a few friends to come over and we’ll come up with titles over a bottle of wine. I bet they’ll rock.

There’s also another tool that analyzes the emotional marketing value analysis of a title. This fascinates me (as many things do) and I’ve included the link here.  It’s another perspective on how your headline is viewed and it’s available online at the Advanced Marketing Institute.

Next up is an article on how to tweak your headline using specific words and punchy phrases.  Author, Tamsin Henderson gives her advice in this article which was featured yesterday in HARO (you gotta love HARO). Read How to Tweak Your Headlines for Success and see what changes you can make in your copy. And yes, we do recognize that character counts do count.

HubSpot always has great information and articles on a variety of marketing and public relations topics. Here are more guidelines on How to Write Catchy Headlines & Blog Titles Your Readers Can’t Resist from Corey Wainwright. Be clear, accurate, brainstorm with others – and don’t forget to be a little bit sexy.

Lastly, let’s look at Megan Marrs’ article 19 Headline Writing Tips for More Clickable, Shareable Blog Posts from Wordstream.com. She asks her readers to think about adding numbers, digits and lists, educating your audience, breaking convention – and also suggests writing about breeding distrust, indicating we’re a pretty cynical society!

There you have it.  A variety of sources on ‘How to Write a Kick Ass Headline to Market Your Brand’.

I’d add to this with the following advice.

Practice makes perfect. Go to a supermarket and look at the headlines on tabloids and magazine.  Think about eliciting a response from your reader. And, try to use key words that align with your brand. Vary it up though. You don’t want to build on boring.  Remember, you can’t always use the headline alone to drive traffic. It’s just part of the mix. Write great content, be relevant and use free SEO tools, tactics and plug ins to help as well.

We’re not trying to be perfect here – we’re all learning as we go.  We’re also building our brands in ways that express who we are and how we can help others.

 

PS – I’ll be speaking about ‘How to Get Free Publicity for Your Brand and Grow Your Business’ in Cambridge, MA on Saturday, March 26th at Sleek Marketing University.  The theme of the event is Digital Marketing For SkyRocketing Growth – What’s in Your Arsenal?  Join me and fellow speakers Christina Inge, Kai Chung, Jamie Bradley, Chuck Goldstone and Craig Carpenter as we dig deep into online marketing and how you can ramp up your business in a big way. Use the code SOCMED for 40% off.

Having a solid intention lights a fire of purpose and power.  And, in PR and marketing, it’s no different. How you do anything is how you do everything, so why not start strong at the get-go with PR that will help you build your brand and business, make a real difference in the way you’re presenting yourself and bring in results!

I love this article by Cheryl Conner, The 7 Keys for Purposeful Public Relations in 2016. She refers to her friend and colleague Val Hale, who’s written a book, “Living a Life that Matters” and uses his same principles as it applies to public relations. Here are a few that make total sense and are rules to live a life by: Be a doer not a spectator, make a difference in other’s lives and be a lifelong learner. The others are here. (worth a read)

Marijane Funess, gives us her recommendations for a masterful LinkedIn strategy in Top 10 PR Best Practices for LinkedIn. Even if you think you’re a superstar, you may want to skim the article. Are you telling journalists who you are? Are you asking questions and answering them for others? Are you seeking recommendations from others? According to the author, recommendations beget more recommendations.  Check out her other tips to get out there purposefully.

And finally, are you using your own team and employees to maximize your brand? How often do we all forget that communication leads to consistency – and ultimately more business! Read Maurizio Tiberi’s article for Online Branding Best Practices and check out your Brand Smarts.

PR on Purposes starts with making a decision to get involved.

It doesn’t have to be a chore, make it fun!

PS – Are you interested in learning in a group setting?  I’m thinking of starting a PR mastermind of six (6) entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to take their business and brand to the next level. Let me know if you’re interested or know of someone who is. Write me at Robin@RobinSamora.com or call (617) 921 – 3448. More details to come.

This is a story about an amazing 15-year old girl who wanted to go to private school. Almost everyone told her she couldn’t do it. She’d never get it in and it was way too much money. Impossible and unrealistic they told her. “What was she thinking?”

It was late July. Summer vacation was in full swing. She had no transcripts, notes from her teachers or experience in applying to a coveted school.

One thing she did have though – was a dream.

Two or three times a week, my niece took her boat to town and walked up a long hill to say hello to the Admissions department. Piece by piece she hand delivered her application and asked what she needed to do next. Day by day we talked about what she wanted to accomplish, not worrying about obstacles.  They were clear – lack of financing, tight deadlines and fear of the unknown. “Don’t worry about the how,” I’d tell her. “Anything is possible.”

Our next door neighbor had children attending the same school and offered to talk with Admissions on her behalf. My niece didn’t know this. She went on her merry way visiting, collecting letters from teachers and pursued her dream.  I went to visit the school, to say hello as an unofficial ambassador for the cause and it was clear, they were impressed with her initiative, determination and cheery can do attitude.

You know the “Little Engine that Could”?

It wasn’t a total surprise that “The Teenager Who Could” was funded last minute by an incredibly generous scholarship that made attending possible. Bright and bold, this 15-year old who had never slept away from home got accepted.  She knew she wanted something big for her life – and wasn’t afraid to go for it.

In her first semester as a sophomore, my niece made MVP in JV soccer. In the second, she was asked to join the Varsity Ski team.  She’s a part of a vibrant community and loving it.

PR and Marketing lessons from a 15-year old.

If there’s something you want, give it your best shot. Meet people in person. Get to know them. Just be you. Surround yourself with believers who will go to bat for you, because they want to, not because they have to. Freedom lies in bold actions. You never know what’s going to happen. The power of intention can be magical. Make your follow through rock.

On Spring break she’s going to meet Donald Trump in Florida.

Who are you going to meet?

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Save the Date: Tuesday, March 1 – Join me and #branding experts, Christina Inge, Jeannette O’Neil and Heather Jackson at a Mastermind Workshop on How to Develop and Manage Your Online Brand at #ConstantContact Headquarters, Waltham MA.  Here’s the link to register. It’s from 10a – 2p. Attend one session or all 4.  Let me know if you’re coming! PS – it’s also free.