If you’re looking to beat the competition, common sense will tell you to stay ahead of the game.  Study new strategies, implement to your ability (or hire out) and see what works. If you’re a perfectionist and want everything just right, get over it.  Join the ever-growing club of marketing professionals who try, test and tweak. Learn what works and make promoting without a PR budget fun.

Want to Learn about Beating the Competition?  Read These Articles:

11 Facebook Marketing Tips That Will Leave Competitors in the Dust by SproutSocial.com

How Storytelling Can Elevate You Above the Competition by Inc.com

5 Steps to Kickstart Your Marketing Plan by Shade Wilson

Every business owner and brand would love to get more PR and media attention, and earned media happens to be my favorite. Typically, you need to have all four types of media in your PR and marketing plan, so they all work together in different ways.  Here’s a snapshot of earned, paid, owned and shared media.

  • Earned media is when someone mentions or writes about you in a positive way which gives you credibility. This is third party endorsement not your website saying how great you are.
  • Paid media is just that – advertising that you pay for in traditional or digital space. This can be an ad, digital banner, radio spot, sponsorship – or even an advertorial.
  • Your own media is your website (you own your URL), webinars, blogs, white papers, books, etc.
  • And shared media is social media with the hopes of going viral, like this one of Potsquatch and the BBC correspondent whose kids crashed his on-air interview. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and other social platforms work off the charts too.

To Get More Media Attention You’ll Need to Do This:

  • Be timely and prepared to act now. Make connections with reporters and influencers in your chosen field. Build a list of journalists and read or listen to their material before you pitch. Look and act smart.
  • Write interesting educational content and share it with your target audience online and offline. That means blogging often, sharing whitepapers, creating webinars and promoting tip sheets. Be the expert in your field.
  • Keep track of trending topics on Facebook and Twitter. Reach out to journalists and reporters by direct message but KISS. Learn to write a mini pitch in a sentence or two. Don’t be a stalker.
  • Repurpose content from an article and share it in different ways; as a fact, quote or statistic. Take that info and create an infographic. Make sure it’s branded and linked back to you.
  • Take time to research hashtags so you can be easily found by reporters. It’s a fast way to sift through social media madness.
  • Subscribe to HelpAReporter.com and learn how to pitch the right way and get tons of earned publicity. Be short and sweet with your responses and always on target.
  • Consider newsjacking, be a contrarian, look at National Days and Months to stay ahead of events and newsworthy topics. Brainstorm 10 ways you can be a media darling.
  • Speak at an event, write a media release about it, or share on your own YouTube channel. The media will research you before they call or write — and they want to know you’re for real.
  • Showcase other publications or media where you’ve been featured on your press page. This gives you credibility and makes it less risky for journalists to contact you.
  • Be pitch perfect. Learn how to modify your pitch for email, phone, letter, package, social media and especially in person. You never know who you’ll run into.

And, please have a professional headshot and a bio that sings — expert. Give a great interview and with little effort, you can become a resource.

Now we’re talking.

65+ Websites with Free Photos to Use  

Sometimes you don’t have time to take your own photos, or have the right image to use when you need to publish a blog or social media post.  That’s where sites like Pixabay, Unsplash, Gratisography, Viintage and SkitterPhoto come in. There are always stock photos too – but this is just another option to extend your marketing and PR budget. Check it out. You may just love the pictures.

It’s no surprise that digital marketing is on the rise, beating out print and other static platforms. That’s why traditional media is working overtime to influence their target audiences online and start a healthy conversation. The beginner all the way through to the expert knows that you have to engage before you start the buying process. LKT (like, know, trust) will always rule.

For small business owners, digital marketing doesn’t have to be rocket science, but you should at least have a strategy. Just like going to the moon, you hopefully wouldn’t launch without a plan. Trial and error works at NASA and when you’re building your online brand.

Here’s a Preview of 5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2018 [Hint, they’re here already)

  • Take a look at the way Google explains Micro Moments, where a customer expects brands to cater to their needs via their mobile phones.
  • Plain and simple, customers have a love affair with video. A combination of high quality video content as well as interfacing with more informal Facebook Live. Video captures attention and attracts eyeballs/buyers. Get on the wagon if you’re not already.
  • Native ads are beating out interruptive ads. There’s a growing frustration over pop-up ads. But, for some reason, customers don’t seem to mind content that just happens to show up, be it advertorials, sponsor ads or recommendations placed right in front of them.
  • Bring on more dynamic content and websites, and please make it personalized! Invest in content developers who are skilled and savvy to satisfy existing customers and attract prospects by word of mouth.
  • Nurture a team of influencers who will be your brand advocates. One happy customer tells another and TADA! you’ve started a snowball effect. To quicken the effort, and if budget allows, hire a celebrity, YouTube star or industry blogger to speak on your behalf. Money talks and people listen, if they’re aligned.

If you’re an expert in your field, you know how important it is to stay up to date with what’s going on.  But, it’s not always easy because there’s so much information out there. As a recovering perfectionist, I limit myself to a few hours a week reading, browsing online and skimming headlines.

This Week’s Info About Audio Tools to Record, Transcribe and Save Time:

  1. Don’t want to pay for transcription services? Check out this cool Dictation tool that allows you to record from your computer microphone, save and copy text.  Google Docs Voice Typing may also be a favorite as it records your voice in up to 43 languages. Available in Chrome browsers.
  2. Afraid to miss something? Meet Cogi. Use this voice recording app to records conversations, important meetings and ah-ha moments to share and get feedback from team members. Plus, keep all the information in one place.  Available as a freemium version and paid version.
  3. Are you the next Voice star? The Parrot app lets you record, play and share your voice, even songs for your next big audition. You can use it as a dictation device, record phone conversations with the Pro version, and it’s all in HD. Check out TheParrotApp for details.
  4. Like to record your next Skype call? You can, with these tools. Amolto, Callnote Premium, and Ecamm call recorder. Prices vary from free, to 30-day test trials and purchase with lifetime updates.  Worth a look if you want to record audio and/or video on Skype.
  5. Need professional audio editing? You can pay zippo or look at a couple of affordable audio solutions with a sampling of these easy to use productivity tools. Audacity, WavePad and Adobe Audition, which you can try out with a free trial.  My advice is always the same.  Try before you buy.

One of the reasons I love helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and experts is because of what you say when you’re true to yourself. When nobody’s looking and there’s no judgement, you peel away layers of should haves and perceived mistakes. In the trust zone, there’s nothing to hide and everything to gain.

Part of my work (and joy) is asking the right questions to find out what’s at your core.  What you really want to do and why. That’s where you discover your inner beauty and authentic sexiness.  The essence of you.

In marketing and PR, that’s your sweet spot. The you we want to capture, position and promote. That’s the brand we want to nurture, develop and showcase. It’s also the brand that’s aligned with who you are – and where you’ll always have integrity. That’s where you find the money flow.

Many of us have repeated real-life and imagined sad sack stories of past failures. They’re probably not true, they’re certainly not now, so why waste valuable time thinking about it?

Truth is, you are the real deal, the big kahuna.  Those that should be attracted to you (in business and in life) will be, for the right reason. Clients, prospects, partners and friends. They’ll like you, love you and sometimes leave you. Hint: it’s always about them, not you.

  1. It’s exhausting to be someone you’re not and try to remember who you’re supposed to be. If you’re an actor, you’ll find this easy to do. If you’ve chosen other work as an entrepreneur, business owner, expert or professional, it may be more difficult. You don’t have to read a script to know who you are.
  2. You’re living life according to your true core values. You are who you are, and without a manufactured front you’re quite appealing, aka sexy. If you know anything about energy, there’s a sparkle to those that are true to themselves.  Some call it certainty, knowingness or being grounded. Certainty is confidence in my book, and that’s sexy. Passion is always a plus.
  3. We’re taught to be perfect in everything we do, and in doing so, we often pretend. When we truly relax in our head and bodies, our fight or flight responses shut down. When we’re able to stop pretending and just be, it’s very inviting and welcoming. Yes, it’s being vulnerable, but that’s sexy too.
  4. Give up caring what others think. It takes some practice, but it’s actually quite invigorating and often a huge burden off your shoulders. Do the best you can, and call it a day. We’re humans. We make mistakes, say stupid things and do brilliant work, not all at the same time. There’s a certain charisma when you’re comfortable with yourself. Almost automatically, confidence and charisma knock at the door.

Being sexy is a mindset. Authenticity is a choice. Blend both together and you’ve got some big-time attraction going on.

Listen to your sexy self to grow your business. It works.

We all know that using an email signature is a sure-fire way to promote your brand for free. You have the freedom and flexibility to promote whatever you like — an upcoming event, a new chapter in a book or your social media channels.

But, are you taking advantage of the signature space when you send emails from your mobile phone? The one that might read like this:  Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

To make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck, customize your email signature in settings and align it with your brand so people can be reminded of who you are and what you do.

Happy to share a resource from Constant Contact about  125 Links to Make You a Better Marketer. It’s all about email marketing best practices and worth a look.

Every week, I’m setting up new clients with marketing campaigns and helping them with their design, because email marketing works – and design does make an impact – if you use it right! And, staying in touch with customers brings in business.

If you’d like me to look at any of your email campaigns or take a test drive with a free trial of Constant Contact for 60 days, please reach out. I’m happy to schedule a complimentary session to see what your goals are.

In full transparency, I also get a small commission depending on the size of your list, but you can also use a free service which won’t have all the bells and whistles – and so much more.

All in all, email marketing works.

Tiny Business Habits to Help You Make More Money

Do you slow down in the summer working on your business? To some extent, we all do, but there are some tiny business habits that will make your small business more money.

Read KC Agu’s article in Entrepreneur.com and pick which habit you’ll commit to this week. The list has 5 items and it’s not daunting. In fact, it makes perfect sense!

I’m going for #2: Track just one major business metric daily.

It’s already given me clarity in forecasting for next quarter.  I could tell you to up your PR and marketing efforts and answer HARO 3 times a week, but you already knew that.

Every savvy business owner knows that a combination of offline and online marketing strategies work to increase visibility, customer loyalty and sales. But, many don’t think about guerilla marketing.  In simple terms, it’s getting in front of your target audience, up close and personal.

Guerilla Marketing is About Being Creative

  • Think about promotional tactics as a way to build brand awareness. Find your target market at events, big Meetups and create a buzz on the street or at an industry event. Engage!
  • Develop a well thought plan for creative and execution. What are your goals? Best location(s)? Right offer? And, have you hired the right staff to carry out the mission from start to finish?
  • Think about Graffiti art on buildings, sidewalks or empty storefront windows. Interesting or funny build outs. Unusual creative in likely spots. Be bold, but ask for permission first.
  • Consider Geo-Fencing, which uses your smart phone’s GPS to offer deals in targeted locations. Snapchat has Geofilters which features location specific marketing and Instagram launched Story Search for hashtags and locations.
  • Create a program that works hand in hand with your current marketing campaign. Think pop-up stores, free samples, branded promo items. I once held Make Money Mondays at Starbucks in the Greater Boston area where I was the PR Pop Up!
  • And finally, be a happy marketer, not an annoying one. In your face is so much different than up close and personal! It’s all about building relationships that last.

 

MIT Sloan grads are among the smartest in the world, and I’m fortunate to be friends with one who’s promoting an app for a European company. He describes it as a fascinating project, but he’s also encountered challenges with a super niche audience. Does that help or hinder his efforts? Although I could recommend at least 50 ways to get free publicity and online mention, there are also best practices recommended from the app world.

App Happy?  Get insight from these articles:

Simple Tips to Get Your App Indexed, Ranked and Installed by SearchEngineLand.com

25 Creative Ways to Promote Your App for Free by Entrepreneur.com

How to Market Your Mobile App by Kissmetrics.com