As a business owner, your website is your ‘hub’. It’s where you show off your goods, products and more importantly – yourself. The more people see your website, the more they know about your awesomeness!

Are you thirsty for web traffic? Let’s explore the concept of SEO juice, especially with 2016 just around the corner!

The first way to get more SEO juice is to squeeze more juice out of your current content.  That means you should always be linking back to the content you’ve written or shared before. It’s called internal linking and should be done deliberately and often.  KissMetrics wrote the Seven Commandments of Internal Linking.  According to the author, “It’s not overwhelming, complicated or difficult.”

So, what are you waiting for? Start learning the rules of internal linking and may the traffic begin!

Besides linking to previous content, there are several other tactics to rev up your SEO juice. Here’s an article by Hello Spark’s, 4 Important SEO Tips for Your Website. It’s easy to read, to the point and actionable.  Their tips are really call to actions and everyone who owns a site can benefit from these suggestions.

And, marketing veteran Carrie Morgan shares 3 Ways to Transform Your Blog Into a SEO Machine.  She talks about installing a great SEO plug-in like WordPress SEO by Yoast and using keywords efficiently. By choosing one keyword and including it in your post permalink, title and first sentence, you’re sure to get more juice. There’s more of course and you can read it here.

Lastly, what happens when you move or overhaul a site? SEO juice can and will spill all over, without a plan.  James Archer writes about the importance of the ‘301 redirect’ in this article on Forty.co. Read, bookmark and apply when needed!

Squeeze the SEO juice so traffic flows to you!

Talking with small business owners and entrepreneurs as often as I do, I’m interested in their plans to promote and market themselves.

There may be a vision for a year at a time – or what they’d like to accomplish in 2016, but it often grows to a stage of overwhelm. It’s easy to do – especially when you are in charge and want to “do it all.”

News flash. You can’t do it all and certainly not all at once.

My recommendation is that you map out a general strategy for 2016, where you want to go, where you want to be seen, heard and noticed, and where you see your business coming from. Then in 90 day increments, plan it out.

Sure, highlight important conferences, meetings, deadlines, speaking engagements on an annual calendar – but work on chunks at a time. Even if that means focusing on 10 items a day to get your work done to meet your short term goals. Short term goals don’t create as much overwhelm as long term goals and worrying how you’ll get there.

We choose to worry. We choose to dream. We choose to focus on the next step.

Your next step is Firing Up your 90 Day Marketing and PR Plan. I can help with that.

It’s the beginning of December. Where will you be on March 1? I’ll be speaking at Constant Contact headquarters with Jeannine O’Neil and Christina Inge.

Is your PR plan for 2016 all wings and bones or a comprehensive program built on certain key elements and well prepared strategies?

In Developing a PR Plan, Rachel Meranus of Entrepreneur.com explains the importance of assessing and planning a Public Relations plan – reaching out six months, but realistically looking at three with room for plenty of tweaking. She also recommends examining the tools and tactics you’ll be using — including editorial calendars, speaking opportunities, bylined articles, blogs and social media.  Are you following these same guidelines?   Compare yourself here.

John Jantsch, who writes a terrific blog at Duct Tape Marketing shares a 5 Step Small Business PR Plan for Today.  Why is this valuable?  Because it’s simple and makes sense. Listen. Network. Pitch Curves. Release and Amplify. Follow these guidelines for your 2016 public relations plans and tie it into targeted marketing for great success.  I’m all into roadmaps.

How about When Your PR Goes Really Right (Or Dead Wrong)? Contributor Cheryl Conner writes about innovative PR ideas – and in this Forbes.com article talks about creating Irish Stew Tacos and attracting traffic to a local animal shelter, with a not so friendly dog. What story can you position to get attention and use the media to promote your cause?

Finally, let’s look at Become a Press Magnet by Following this 5-Step Blueprint by Jonathan Long.  Again, solid advice to maximizie your media exposure. One of his points?  Be sure to answer HARO or other media requests often. This, and being active on social media, puts you in front of journalists.

With years of hard work to create a strong brand, marketing and visibility, why would you ever create a PR plan on wings and bones?

I love the phrase, “I’m an expert in training!” I heard it before I went on stage at Blogcamp Boston last weekend and asked to use it. Aren’t we all collaborators in the learning process?

Getting more online visibility and PR  is no different. We teach each other.

Here’s a short list to get more online visibility and a bigger bang for your buck!

  1. Be authentic in who you are and in your brand. Be consistent in your look, feel and marketing messaging. You are your brand wherever you go.
  2. Write a blog, share your expertise and do it often. I write a Robin’s Rainmaker once a week, but also write for PayItForwardRetreats.com, which is very important to me. Getting your name and brand out there for what you know and believe in will help raise your visibility.
  3. Share your content on all social media platforms. Don’t know the latest on Periscope? Don’t have a nervous breakdown about it. Use the tools you know and what works for your target audience. Are you in B2B? Then LinkedIn is a good choice and offers more than you can ever imagine. Does your crowd hang on Facebook? That’s the place to be.  Go where your market is.
  4. Create graphics and get them for free – or for a buck ($1.00) at www.Canva.com.  It doesn’t cost a fortune to be creative and compelling. It’s a must for marketing and PR, and honestly, Canva is easy to use.  Every business can benefit from this cool tool. Sit yourself down and try it.
  5. Reach out to influencers and align with their brands. Did your mother ever tell you, “Birds of a feather flock together?” Same thing here. Get noticed by influencers you admire by connecting with them and commenting on their work. Build relationships online, but in person too. It’s amazing who you can meet on twitter and how you can stay in touch.  A compliment goes a long way.
  6. Be a resource to reporters. OK. Don’t overthink this. If you’re writing about your expertise and reaching out to influencers, and doing it often enough, do you think you’ll go unnoticed? Only if you don’t do this! Use this super cool resource to find reporters in your target industry. If you pass this by, you’ve wasted an enormous tip!
  7. And lastly, Podcast Heaven. Use this cool tool to find podcasts in your industry and pitch yourself as a guest on one, several or tons. Get the recording, ask if you can transcribe it, and create multiple blogs. Don’t forget to use all of your keywords for SEO Juice! Check it out!

Start using these tips and you’re on your way to getting more visibility. Which will you implement today?

I get a ton of emails every day and they build to nearly a thousand a week.  There are newsletters, blogs, podcasts, free books and more. It’s no secret that I love to read and learn new things, especially about marketing and public relations. But, I don’t open every email – unless the subject line interests me – or persuades me to take the chance.

Yesterday, I opened an email and it was about the Art of Persuasion.  It got me thinking about how important persuasion is in business, PR and marketing, and of course, in life.

Do you know how to persuade to succeed?

In 9 Habits of Persuasive Business Leaders, Jacqueline Whitmore tells us that the ‘Art of Persuasion’ really starts with life skills.  Curiosity, honesty and confidence lay the corner stones for leadership and persuasiveness. But, it takes more than just being curious or honest to be an effective persuader. Read here for ways you can be more persuasive.

Naturally, communication is critical for any leader, so it’s no surprise that persuasive business communication is highly valued in the workplace.  Demand Media published this article about effective persuasion which talks about building and trusting business relationships through constant nurturing and a willingness to get feedback. Are you a leader who listens to other’s concerns or are you thinking of your next move (or what to have for lunch)? Be honest….

Lastly, if you’ve already applied persuasion tactics, but haven’t been so successful, check out this article from the Harvard Business Review. With a bold title, Change the Way You Persuade, you may think differently about how to persuade someone. The takeaway?  Determine a business leader’s decision making style and approach them in a way they understand. It’s a must read.

Are you a Charismatic, Thinker, Skeptic, Follower or Controller?

Let me know @RobinSamora. I’m a Charismatic. Always excited about new ideas and concepts!

I admit it. I was seduced by this promotion. One of my favorite restaurants in Cambridge, Bergamot, partnered with Ford Motor Company for #EdgeNightOut.

Here’s the skinny on the promotion:

The offer was sent to Bergamot’s list and you (or all of your friends) had to act fast.  The ask was to take a spin around the block in the Ford Edge. The reward was a complimentary three course meal and beverage for you and a guest at Foodie Favorite, Bergamot.

You didn’t have to protect yourself with promotional armor. The Brand Ambassadors wore handsome jackets, shirt and ties and were GQish. This was a classic example of local event marketing gone right with the hopes of reaching an upscale crowd.

Ford targeted Bergamot, a chic urban restaurant near Inman Square and gave it a Hollywood feel. Stanchions for guests waiting in line. Spotlights to attract attention. A logo’d backdrop like at the Grammy’s®.  Plus, you were treated like royalty.

Ford bought Bergamot for the night and made their patrons very happy.

Drinks and dinner were – ummm,  yummamazing.

What great inspiration for a promotional partnership! It showed how responsive and loyal a list can be when presented with a coveted and limited availability opportunity, and for Ford, a steady stream of willing drivers to check out a pretty cool SUV, possibly unenchanted with the brand of the past.

So there you have it. Food, Ford and Fun.

What are you cookin’ up for your next promotion?

One of my colleagues has some food trucks that are awesome…

 

The thought of creating a website to sell your products and services is exciting! From start to finish there may be a hundred steps, but the first is finding a domain name that you like — one that resonates with your brand. Picking the right name influences your overall PR, marketing and social media strategy – so it’s important to choose one that works!

3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Domain Name:

  1. If you are the brand, consider buying YourName.com.  Already taken?  Look at YourName.org  or YourNameWhatYouDo.com, with a few variations.  Are you John Smith? Not so great for differentiating yourself on the web. But, if you add your middle initial or city that could help you stand out.

    Now, if you’re “John Smith the Elephant Handler”, I’d do a happy dance and buy JohnSmithElephantHandler.com. I’m certain John would have little competition in the jungle and still get noticed.  Note: I’d also suggest John buy ElephantHandler.com which, by the way, was available at the time I wrote this. John, here’s another tip, link both domains to each other!

  2. Is your domain name hard to spell or a play on words? I like to give everyone a free pass here. Some of us can spell and were spelling bee queens and others were math geniuses. Make your domain name easy to remember and spell. Buy misspelled versions of your domain name that point to your website(s) so you don’t miss any traffic. You might think it’s a waste of time or effort, but it’s an investment that pays off –especially if your name is a bit confusing!
  3. Does someone else have a domain name almost identical to yours? I’ve been asked if it’s worthwhile to buy a domain name similar to yours a hundred times. And my answer is always the same.  Yes, if it’s affordable and in your budget.  But no, if it’s just parked and you have other options. Well positioned PR and social media promotion can create oodles of visibility for your brand and traffic to your website.  All of your marketing tactics combined will make a difference to help meet your goals and objectives.  A consistent message, constant communication and inspired daily action are key!

Another tip about buying domain names?  Buy strategic keywords and string them together as a URL which lead to YOU. Research what works best for your industry before you buy.

All these tips are great, but creating a PR and visibility plan is the most important to get the biggest bang for your buck.

If you want to set up a 15 minute discovery session to see how to cut through the clutter, to sell more products and services – or build your brand, click hereI have a few more PR Summer Session Openings at a discounted price for the rest of August. 

After the longest winter I can remember, I’m thrilled to say summer is here! And, school is (almost) out.  Many business owners and entrepreneurs take time to relax and slow down a bit in June, July and August, but there are other smart and savvy pros who do the same, plus step up their game and create their own summer school to beef up on news, update their skills or take a class.

If you’d like to expand your horizon, here are several ideas to get you started – but as you know, the sky’s the limit!

1. Learn how to write

Yes, really!

In The Art of the Handwritten Note we’re reminded of how important a personal written note is in business. You might have grown up writing ‘thank you’ notes, but there’s a whole generation of younger people who feel challenged with this kind of writing. There’s no better time than now to get (re)started! What’s stopping you? If your handwriting is terrible, take a calligraphy class or better yet – slow down and write ‘like you mean it’. Your message will be heard loud and clear!

2. Learn video marketing/editing

You don’t have to become an expert and I’m certainly not suggesting that you have to edit your own videos. But, understanding the process of editing and learning about video marketing will help you plan better shoots and b-roll to create the best possible content to share with  your audience. It’s fun too, if the first subjects of your video class are your own family members!

Check out workshops in your local area to see if there’s a summer program you can attend or take classes or workshops online.

3. Learn how get the most out of your Smartphone

You think you know it all? You may be pretty app-savvy, but there’s so much more in the Smartphone world to learn!  I’ve read that most people use only 5% of their phone’s ability and just 10% of our brain! Ask a teenager in your life or neighbor to sit with you and show you the tricks they’ve learned on their phone. You can also take a class in most stores (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T) depending on what carrier you have. And of course, online learning about Smartphone is great, too.

Whatever new skill you decide to learn this summer, have fun!

You know what happens when news becomes NEWS. People talk about it. Then they share. “Watch this” they quickly post and soon, everyone has an opinion. It’s pretty powerful when news goes viral or when a news story gets picked up – almost as if it takes a life of its own. Web traffic spikes and someone, somewhere is getting their 15 minutes of fame.

Big and little brands would do just about anything for the opportunity to be in front of so many viewers/eyeballs/prospects. Who wouldn’t want traffic like that to their website? Not to inform of course, but to promote their products or services (aka sell).

So, what’s a business — small or large — to do?

Why, Newsjack!

I’m sure you’ve seen it and bet you have your own thoughts.  You either hate it or love it. Opinions are divided, and often it’s about the subject material.

Here’s a recent article on newsjacking that’s more positive than negative, which is a nice change from what I’ve been reading lately.

In How To Boost Your Content Creation Strategy With Newsjacking, author Amanda Webb of Agora Pulse describes one major benefit of newsjacking:

“Newsjacking is a gift to content marketers. Events and news can give us the trigger we need to create good interesting, on topic content.”

She goes on to list 10 examples of recent newsjacking that you’ll definitely want to check out.

Next up is ‘Newsjacking Gone Wrong’ by SpinSucks. It’s a ‘caution up ahead’ article by Gina Dietrich and provides links to newsjacking which in fact, has gone wrong. Gina quotes the ‘daddy of newsjacking’, Meerman Scott by going over his four rules.

Meerman Scott’s four simple rules (of newsjacking):

  1. Be dignified and statesmanlike.
  2. Be upbeat and positive, never mean or vindictive.
  3. Write articulate text in full sentences, without chatty slang, industry jargon, corporate gobbledgook or social media shorthand.
  4. Don’t get too cute or clever—especially where human suffering is involved.

Last but not least, here’s one more direct link to an article with three additional (not so well thought out) examples. 3 Newsjacking Fails That’ll Make You Facepalm

Use these to understand what went wrong and why audiences became so upset. Use this to set your own standard and ‘rules’ for newsjacking if you decide to use this technique for content creation.

Just remember to be ‘tasteful, on time, different and relevant’.

Over Memorial Day, I had a tremendous opportunity to go to Charleston and Savannah. They’re both beautiful cities, each with a style their own.  If I had to choose where to live, it would be a tough decision – but I think Savannah would probably win!

Walking through Savannah, you can’t help but feel the historical energy of the city – and more than a kick of new and funky style.

Businesses are booming here and a steady flow of street traffic and out of town visitors allows marketers to get ‘city-specific’ to attract their target audience.

What better way than car wrapping!

I love this photo because it’s mobile advertising at its best, taking the concept of the tour company’s service one step further by adding an extra detail, a passenger!

SpookyVan

If you think mobile marketing is just having a smart phone compatible website, think again.

It’s scary what you can do when you get creative!

Here’s to this ghostess with the mostess, promoting her brand.