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.

 

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.

Publicity is good. Free publicity is even better. And it’s also easier to get than you think, provided that you know where to start, have an action plan, and grasp the “rules of the road.”

Where to Start

This part is simple. Start at HARO (Help a Reporter Out) at www.helpareporter.com. Three times a day, HARO sends its subscribers no-cost media opportunities in selected fields, such as healthcare, business and finance, education, entertainment and media.  It’s an essential PR resource every entrepreneur, business owner, expert and author should know about.

HARO is one of my favorite sources — and not because I’ll be featured on their website in an upcoming success story. It’s because HARO provides a media-rich collection of publicity opportunities for experts across the world, as well as a fast-paced forum for journalists looking for source experts (a.k.a. you).

Without question, for an entrepreneur, author or guru of any kind, being “picked up by HARO” is a huge win. It could easily lead to being quoted in an article or report, or featured in a story, blog or book. It could also lead to radio and TV interviews – which means more credibility, mind share, competitive advantage, a rush of traffic to your website, your phone ringing off the hook, your email bursting with inquiries, and most importantly: sales, sales and more sales.

Your Action Plan

There are five pieces of a successful HARO action plan:

  1. Start your media response strong. List your name, position, website address and company description in the first paragraph.
  2. Keep your pitch short and sweet, and answer questions directly. If a journalist or producer is interested in your story, he/she will email you back.
  3. Provide a link to important material in your email – don’t include attachments (more on this below).
  4. Create a standard Press Response template that you can use for every media inquiry. Use the same intro and conclusion/call to action for most responses, and customize the main message for each query.
  5. In the subject line, use the word HARO and include the query title (e.g. HARO: Why HARO users have a PR Advantage).

“Rules of the Road”

Knowing the “rules of the road” will make or break your HARO efforts. There’s a fairly strict code of media etiquette, and playing by the rules is important.  Here’s a snapshot of what to do – and what not to do.

Do’s:

  • Do communicate in a polite, respectful and focused manner. Reporters will respond in-kind.
  • Do provide great content. Reporters get hundreds of pitches daily. Make it easy for them to say “yes.”
  • Do ensure that the body of your copy is clear, concise and concentrated.
  • Do move quickly if a reporter wants your help. Time is of the essence.
  • Do stay on-message. As with any marketing, this is the only way to go to reach your audience.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t include an attachment, because of malware and virus threats.
  • Don’t beat around the bush. State your opinion (more on this below).
  • Don’t bother with a “catchy” headline. Save that for your media releases.
  • Don’t try and negotiate deadlines – they’re firm at HARO and there’s no wiggle room.

Standing Out in the HARO Crowd

Once you get the hang of HARO and follow the “rules of the road,” interest from reporters should follow. But then you’re faced with another challenge: how do you stand out in the HARO crowd, and become a sought-after source? Here are some bonus tips that can truly put you over the top:

  • Without going off-message, over-deliver in your interview. You’re being consulted for your expertise and experiences. This is the time to share what you know.
  • Reporters need and want sound bites and opinion. So while it’s fine to be reflective and fair, you aren’t being asked to describe an issue or a trend. Reporters can figure that part out themselves. They want your opinion. So have one, and be prepared to share it.
  • Build a database of reporters by being friendly, helpful and to the point.

And most importantly…

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

 

Whether it’s Two Guys and A Wedding, or the Lincoln movie, know what your brand resonates with and hop on the publicity train. Take advantage of local events in your area to tie into, comment on entertainment or local news, or be a contrarian to what’s happening in and around where you live, or where your business is located. Take a stand or support what’s important to you. You have a voice, use it or lose it. Carpe Diem!

This past week, I had the pleasure of visiting my youngest daughter who just moved to Texas. While I was there, she told me of a Craigslist ad for two brothers looking for wedding dates, and how the listing went viral in a matter of days.

Curious George that I am, I read the ad and it inspired me to write about being bold, standing out from the crowd, and using humor, real life family pressure and a sense of adventure to accomplish a goal.

As a marketer (and not the bride’s mother), I’d give these two an A+ for using non-traditional strategy to get attention, make a statement, and most importantly –build their little black book.

I’d call that brilliant lead generation, whether or not the actual dates ever happen.

Marketing is like dating — crafting a message and sharing it with your target audience, in a way that resonates with your brand to get what you want.

Marketing to get dating — using media channels that you and your target audience are familiar with to create interest, sizzle and build common ground.

Marketing that’s memorable — creating a publicity campaign and a process itself that gets noticed, goes viral and makes people smile.

I am 99% certain that the women who applied for the Wedding Date are vibrant, fun-loving and smart enough to present their best self in a safe and playful way. I believe them to be authentic, clever and know how to position themselves for success. They have a sense of spirit and adventure, and aren’t afraid of putting themselves out there.

These are our daughters of today, non-conventional leaders of tomorrow.

They believe that Life is to Live. Two guys with a wedding, is just one of the ways.

Good luck ladies – Spring is in the air!

I’m finishing this email about an hour before I’m up up and away on a hot air balloon with my two daughters, brother and little nieces. This has been a surprise for quite some time, and the excitement is downright contagious.  I’ve never been on a hot air balloon, so I’m a little nervous myself. It reminds me of the thrill of my first ride on Space Mountain!

This summer, I’ve been writing frequently and working with clients to help them get noticed, and recognized for their expert status. This of course helps expand their brand and increase revenue opportunities. Once you set your course, it’s funny how people show up to help you along the way!

Contributing to blogs and guest posting is also another way to get attention in a crowded marketplace. Here’s a post that was just released on Carol Roth’s website and @Business Unplugged on “Tips to Land Speaking Engagements.”  Speaking is one of the top,  free ways to get recognized for your expertise.  If you’re feeling wobbly, check out your local Toastmaster’s group, to learn tricks of the trade.

Check out my contribution on Landing Speaking Engagements here, and see what other experts are recommending:  http://www.carolroth.com/blog/speaking-tips-to-land-speaking-engagements

Enjoy this beautiful summer, and see my note below about open office hours. I’d love to talk with you!

-Robin

PS – Want to learn how to pitch to HARO, Reporter Connection and Profnet to get more publicity – or have other questions? Call me during my open office hours, Thursday, August 16th from 3p – 5pm ET.  I’m happy to talk with you about what’s on your mind.  Best way to reach me is by phone at  617-921-3448 or by  email  Robin@LetsMakeYouShine.com . The best to you and yours!

You think you have it bad when you’re interviewed, and don’t have the words?

Listen to actor, Will Smith who’s on a publicity tour in Spain for his new movie, ‘Men in Black 3’.  Although Will does speak some Spanish, it’s barely enough to keep him engaged in his 20 minute segment, but he does a bang up job in front of an audience of cheering fans, keeping up with the antics of his TV talk show host, even bringing props to the set!

Watch Will Smith’s TV Show Interview for ‘Men in Black3’ here: http://ht.ly/bhvAv

It just goes to show you that when you have the will (no pun intended), you have the way, and with a rockin’ good attitude, great eye contact and focus, plus a winning smile and media preparation, almost anything is possible.

Some of us squirm at the thought of being on You Tube, but for a moment, put yourself in Smith’s shoes. A foreign country, a message through your earpiece, and every distraction to not stay on track.

No easy feat, but a fete and lesson learned that we can promote what we love. It’s a choice when    we’re pros.

http://ht.ly/bhvAv

Don’t mind the commercial.  Sit back and enjoy!

Have a great weekend,

I submitted this story to a blog. It was published at http://blog.ziprecruiter.com/2012/05/11/mothers-day-mom-influenced-career  and I thought I would share it with you.

My Mom, passed almost three years ago, but she began her entrepreneurial career at the age of 22, and inspired me to live a freedom based life and to take advantage of opportunities, as they came up.

Before public kindergarten existed, she opened a private nursery and kindergarten north of Boston.  She was a recent college graduate (the only one of 7 siblings) and came from a first generation Greek Family, who resisted higher education, especially for women.

Sleeping three to a bed, and insisting on a better life, my Mom became a teacher.  With a year under her belt, in 1953, she opened up “Musical Nursery and Kindergarten” and catered to parents from better neighborhoods who could afford $15 dollars a week for a full time program. Loving the piano, she had a musical curriculum, made everyone play an instrument, and offered door to door pick up service for students.  I remember mapping out the route in our station wagon, Fridays as prize days, and the swings in the back yard of the school.

My Mom had her business for twenty years, and we enjoyed summers off, skiing vacations and trips to Filene’s Basement. She had no problem taking us out of school for an unexpected opportunity or travel, and from time to time, let us eat ice cream for dinner, because it was OK.

Perhaps an entrepreneur by default, with inspiration from my Dad, we knew no other life. Up, down, and everything in between; it’s the life of an entrepreneur.

It’s no surprise that I’ve followed in her footstep, and my Dad’s. And, I was inspired to raise my two daughters the same way with a love for freedom and the flexibility it affords.

I’m honoring my Mom, Aphrodite (who was indeed a Goddess of Love), with this story.

You would have loved her.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Robin

PS – Attention: Entrepreneurs who want to be noticed! Take advantage of a new service I’m offering as part of my Press without Stress program. Tell me what topics you’re interested in, and I’ll find press opportunities that are available from reporters worldwide. I’ll answer HARO Ads, and reporter’s requests, on your behalf, in your voice. Getting publicity is good for business.  It gets your name out there, boosts your income and helps you Stand Out In a Crowd!  Email me at Robin@LetsMakeYouShine or call (617) 921 – 3448 to find out the details of this affordable program. It’s working for me, so I’m offering it to you!

Thank you to Sarah Shaw for including the below post in her wonderful piece on What Do You Outsource First?

Be sure to read everyone’s suggestions at http://theentreprenettegazette.com/2011/07/27/what-do-you-outsource-first/

Here’s my response to Sarah’s question:

One night, many moons ago, I realized as I was paying bills at 4:00am,that I hated accounting. I was also honest enough to admit I didn’t know enough about “behind the scenes” technology or on line graphics. I drove myself crazy with the “I’ve got to learn this ALL”! So,I gave it up. I hired a virtual bookkeeper, a wonderful VA, and a graphic artist to help so I could concentrate on my strengths. You can start a business by yourself, but you can’t grow it alone. Get the help you need to share your very best.

One night, quite late, I visited my local Border’s bookstore.  I was looking for reference material on Confidence and Charisma for an upcoming tele-class.  Most of my lesson was thought through, but being a book junkie,  I wanted more scientific data. After all, is it true that confidence and charisma can be part of your DNA?  My listeners would want to know!

Lucky for me, I had the help of a wonderful Store Manager, Dan, who spent the last 15 minutes of his shift concentrating on my project – in fact, right up to the 10:00PM closing hour. For a slow Monday night, I probably raised his store’s GNP. I purchased four books, all business related, and promised to read every one of them in the next coming month.

While I was checking out, I introduced myself to Dan and told him who I was, what I was doing, and asked if there were ever opportunities for speaking engagements at Borders.

I followed up, about six weeks later in person, and again by phone. Then, by a proposal, bio, and photo – an electronic press kit of sorts.

Next month, on May 17th I have a speaking gig at Borders.  And, it will be customized to Border’s request, but also based on my expertise.

I’ll have six weeks of free publicity and promotion from Borders, and my team will be supporting me — preparing press releases, Facebook postings, and Tweeting about my talk.

One late night visit to a book store.

One opportunity to, “just ask”.

What are you asking for?