This past weekend, I traveled to Washington DC to speak at the Code(Her) Conference. It was exciting to present at the Washington Post about one of my favorite topics – How to Promote Your Business Without Breaking the Bank. My message and mission holds true anywhere in the world. You don’t have to be a millionaire to market you brand, you just have to know how to do it. And, do it!

It’s always rewarding to teach budding professionals and socially conscious entrepreneurs how to share their message in an authentic way. Clarity is important as it provides a foundation, but from years of experience it helps to have a sounding board. You can start a business on your own, but you can’t build a brand by yourself. So, get some help and make it a team effort. Then, everyone can be part of the success.

  1. Be clear on who you are and where you want to go. Don’t sell yourself short. We often think we can’t go as far as we’d like. That’s just a story we tell ourselves to be safe. It’s BS. Go for it. Learn. And keep going.
  2. Create a roadmap for your particular goals. If you’re looking for quality leads, take a look at where your best customers are coming from, or research what successful competitors are doing. Consider every option to get the biggest bang for your buck, then choose wisely.
  3. There are 100’s of ways to promote your brand for free, but a savvy marketer will start small, see what works and then build out. Mistakes are part of the process. Get over it and move on!
  4. Use PR and Marketing tools to attract a base of raving fans. If women are your target market, try Pinterest.  If that’s  working, add Instagram.  Then create a series of videos to launch a YouTube channel. If you’re a visual brand, be visual.
  5. Consider speaking. Even if you’re not getting paid, speaking builds credibility as an expert. It also fuels sales, presuming you’re in front of a room of your target audience. If you’re not presenting to ideal prospects, look at hidden opportunities.  Work the room, so the work comes in.

Above all, whether you’re speaking, networking, online or offline – just be you. Align your work with your personal and professional core values. Write down what you want to do with your business and life, because they work together. And of course, make time for fun. You know life isn’t a dress rehearsal.

Many of my clients want to up their speaking game and get paid to speak. I’m all in favor of that to increase your brand and business – but it takes time, effort and planning to do it right.  The first step is to create a roadmap to get there.

Want to get Paid to Speak?  Here’s How.

  1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Speaking for Free. Every speaker I know has spoken for free, at least in the beginning. You need practice in front of a room, and in front of your target audience to see what works and what doesn’t. Start with a small group, gain your confidence, then set your goals higher. You’re in the driver’s seat. It’s up to you how fast you want to grow.
  2. You’re Not Just a Speaker, You’re the Show. Event organizers have to be sure that when they hire you, you’re not only a serious speaker, but an amazing one! To be a great speaker you have to master your topic, connect with your audience and be in command. That takes a lot of practice, feedback, and there may be setbacks too. Consider a speaking coach if you want to be top notch.
  3. You Deliver Results. As you build your speaking career and go from free to fee, you’ve got to add value. Have you identified your target audience? Do they have a particular problem or pain?  Do you have the answer with a branded program, system or training? If you’re solving a problem and have credibility with supporting results, you’ve built value.
  4. Your Video Reel Rocks. If you want to be paid to speak, invest in a professional sizzle reel (video), speaker sheet, headshot and marketing collateral. Before you send out your first pitch, make sure that all of your materials are professional, well branded and showcase you at your best – speaking! You have one shot to make a good impression. Be smart, strategic and have your act together.
  5. Visibility Counts. Speaking frequently makes you a better speaker and also widens the opportunity for others in the audience to hire you too. You are your brand wherever you go, so make marketing a way of life. Remember, you’re in the speaking business.  Use social media platforms where you’ll get attention. And, include lots of video.  Launch a YouTube Channel, feature testimonials and promote your upcoming events as a way to say you’re in demand. Earned media like PR counts too!
  6. Get Out There. To gain experience, some speakers align with a company that’s in their industry where they can be hired as a brand ambassador. This might be an option if you want more stage time and a chance to promote your own services. Look around and see what’s happening in your field. You just might find the perfect gig and get paid!
  7. Sell Products from the Back of the Room. I’ve known more than a few savvy speakers who’ll speak for free to a room full of their target audience. That’s where they sell high-margin programs, products or books – even if they have to pay a percentage to the house. When you’re negotiating, remember it’s not just about hard finances. Payment can also include email marketing to a designated list, speaking at a future event, webinars, VIP workshops or sponsor mention. Be creative in how you want to be compensated.
  8. Speaking is a Business. It Takes Time. Like any business, getting paid as a speaker takes time to ramp up and be profitable. Your job isn’t just to build a brand, but an amazing brand that’s recognized in your industry. To master the speaking game for a big fee, you have to be committed to excellence. Get on stage. Put in your time. And, reap the rewards.

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!

What’s the difference between being spontaneous and impromptu? Both are valuable skills when you’re at a conference – and especially shooting video.

Impromptu: Done without being planned, organized or rehearsed

Spontaneous: Having an open, natural and uninhibited manner

Sylvia Clare, Author of Trusting Your Intuition: Rediscover Your True Self to Achieve a Richer, More Rewarding Life says: “Being spontaneous is being able to respond with confidence; calmly trusting that, whatever the outcome, you will have a positive if challenging experience that will lead to greater self-awareness and success.”

I say, yup. I’m on board with that, especially if you’re trying to capture real time content at a conference and have an amazing videographer like Ellen Lacey from NewTV for only two hours!

It must have been my lucky day, because the booth in front of ours was empty. We didn’t have the nerve to take it over for the entire day, but we did manage to make it HQ for Robin’s Rainmakers videotaping.

The question to all attendees on the hot seat: What’s your biggest marketing challenge?

  • How can I get more engagement with my cause on a local level?
  • What do I have to do to grow my expert status as a scientist?
  • How do I become the go-to person at work?  (Hint: Candy works, but getting the job done rates higher)
  • What do I have to do to get my boss to notice me so I can get a raise?

The questions and answers were on the spot. Live on camera. I’ve never interviewed in this style before, but I liked that is was natural and almost the same as mentoring a client on the phone or in person. Ideas flow whether you catch them on paper in the middle of the night, in a conversation, get an intuitive hit or remember a fact or figure from years of study or experience. Being open to answers and trying new approaches is vital in video – being impromptu and spontaneous just like real engagement, live.

When you really think about it, what’s the big deal? You wave your hand in front of the camera when you make a mistake. You go with the flow. You have fun and stop being so serious.

Remember, we’re human and people are comfortable with like-minded souls who aren’t afraid of getting out there and learning from experts willing to share. Plus, when it comes down to it, we’re all really experts in training.

My hot seat advice as I write this? Let’s all learn from each other and have a good time doing it.

I haven’t met a smarty pants in years.

Today, I’m giving a talk on Digital Trends for 2017. As part of my preparation, I always like to research what other experts are forecasting and predicting. Their information usually validates my thoughts and offers more data on the why’s behind the findings.

What’s Trending:

  1. Millennials are moving away from public social networks to private ones. Think Facebook Messenger, What’s App, GroupMe. Micro-sharing information and links.
  2. Live video isn’t a maybe strategy. It’s a must have to boost engagement. Plus, there’s limited competition.
  3. Digital Assistants are here to stay. Have a question? Ask Siri, Alexa, OK Google or Cortana.
  4. Customers are using multiple devices to make up their minds to try products and services.
  5. Keywords are more conversational as voice dominates.
  6. Google’s new algorithms are putting more emphasis on local search.
  7. Native advertising is on the rise. More content-like but still sneaky.
  8. SEO and Paid Media spending will grow up to 24% of a marketing budget by 2022.
  9. Brands are creating an “immersive experience” to increase engagement.
  10. Becoming more instant is definitely the way to go.

These are top picks, but there’s always more.

And why are these trends important?

Dense marketing is yesterday’s news. Spend time and money where your target market is. Improve your video marketing and use it to grab attention. Repurpose content in ways it will be seen and shared. And finally, engage with your prospects and customers live. At workshops, events, on video.

Show the real you.

 

Special thanks to contributors Blair Nicole Nastasi, Corey Austin, Lindsay Hutter, Dave Chaffey and Jayson DeMers for their collective insights.

I’ve been speaking more than usual lately, and I love it.  Mostly, because I was scared to death of speaking for years and never thought I would never have the nerve to get up and talk about what I know best: PR, branding, small business marketing and being able to combine the core values of your business and personal brand to help you achieve your best version of success.

For some it could mean improving your expert status, credibility, reputation or visibility. For others, more speaking gigs, opportunities for joint ventures or sponsorships. And that all leads to sales of one kind of another. No sales, no business.

Confidence in sales is a must have.

Here are 7 Confidence Building Exercises to Increase Sales (and your Mojo)

  1. Begin with a pep talk every day. Make one up according to where you need to go, who you need to see, how you need to feel. Practice conversations in your head and in front of the mirror. Change it up frequently. Ask your partner, spouse, friend or dog to tell you how great you are.  Say thank you.
  2. Smile and say hello to at least 5 strangers and tell them what you do. Change up your approach and see which intro gets the best response. I’ve been at the copy desk at Staples and met prospects who turned into clients. Put yourself out there – then follow up!
  3. Learn how to tell at least 3 jokes, and get good at it. You’ll never know when you need one to break the ice! Make sure they’re appropriate for the crowd.  Remember, you’re representing your brand, even after hours and that second cocktail.
  4. Challenge yourself in some new way. Go to a new MeetUp or networking group and talk about your services. Join Toastmasters®. That’s where I started. Start small if you’re nervous about the big stage. Serve as a chair person of a volunteer group.  Acknowledge, accept and put yourself out there as someone everyone should know.  You are the expert in  _____(fill in the blank), right?
  5. Give yourself lots of chances. Throw a party! There are so many adjacent possibilities to trying something new. Just like marketing and PR, you don’t put one media pitch out there, you have a MIX. It’s the same way in building confidence. Revving up your energy creates new energy.
  6. Be a better receiver. Accept compliments, ask for testimonials, build a referral program.  Sometimes, we forget how good we are or don’t ask for the business.  Make a decision to reach out to happy clients. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations. Send surveys to get feedback. Use all of the good, and learn from the not so perfect. Isn’t that how we grow?
  7. Review your progress. How are you feeling on a day by day basis? What are you accomplishing in your career or in other parts of your life? Make note of your successes, sales and growing pains and take a look at the week’s end. See how small changes in your attitude, change you!

Confidence is a game changer even if you have to act as if, for just today.

PS – This is an updated version of a blog from 2014.  I made it more relevant to the Sales and PR process. I’m a bigger believer now more than ever. Confidence is a game changer!

I gave a talk yesterday at a Leadership CEO Forum and was excited to present PR and Social Media ideas to a room of executive women, who ran successful businesses – and invested in their growth.  (I love that).

After the meeting and comments from the group, I was thinking of ways that entrepreneurs and experts could get noticed, without all kinds of fuss, muss and time restraints.

  • Walk into a room with power. What I’m talking about here is exuding confidence.  Knowing you’re the expert when you walk in to a room full of strangers. You’re well dressed, ready for action and prepared to share your knowledge.
  • Spend time getting to know your group. Before any speaking gig or meeting, it’s always good to know the players. Ask for a list beforehand if it’s available and do some research on your own. That way, you have some background information and can ask intelligent questions and give thoughtful responses.
  • Give without expectation. I often speak without getting paid because it opens the door to new circles and there’s so much possibility for potential business.  Some might say, “Nah, you’re wasting your time.”  If you’re doing something that you believe is getting you towards your goal, then go for it.
  • Make time for Q + A privately, in person if possible. After a presentation, don’t schedule yourself so tightly that you don’t have room to breathe and have a chance to talk with attendees.  I’m all for clustering a day of activities in the area I’m visiting, but there are hidden opportunities in NOT rushing. It took me a while to figure that out.
  • See an opportunity? Act on it.  I was on a tour yesterday of NewTV for an upcoming TV series and saw beautiful artwork on the wall.  I commented on it and asked if they showcased artist’s work on a monthly basis.  The answer was yes and it was a perfect opportunity for my client, Lidia Kenig-Scher to feature her paintings.  Had I not popped my head in the Director of Marketing’s office and said hi, that never might have happened.

This list could go on with other PR and marketing opportunities to increase your brand awareness and visibility – with referral programs, highlighting influencers, news jacking, podcasting and more.

But we’re looking at easy tactics here, that don’t require hours of thought. They’re free publicity tactics that are worth their weight in gold.

Although you may think that makeup is for those who just want to look better on TV, it’s really a must have for anyone who’s being photographed, filmed or on stage.  For most women, it’s also a normal part of their beauty routine.

Applying makeup for television requires different techniques so that you stand out, but don’t fade out.

The goal is to create a soft, polished look that will photograph well under the unforgiving television lights and today’s high definition cameras.

10 Makeup Tips for Stage, Style and TV

  1. Prep skin with an oil free primer.  It will not only make the skin appear to be smoother, it will help your makeup last longer.
  2. Choose a foundation that is a perfect color match.  You want to create even coverage and a natural look by blending.   Apply only what you need, not too much.  Be sure you bring foundation down on your neck to avoid a line.
  3. Go easy on the concealer, especially under the eyes, the right amount will cover any dark circles and even out your skin tone.   Be sure the color is not too light.
  4. A colorless powder will set your foundation.  (Never use a silica based powder under the bright lights on television, they may make white splotches appear on your skin.)  Powder your T-zone to control shine.
  5.   Neutral shades of eyeshadow are the best.  Go over all the edges multiple times with your brush.  If you’re using two shades, run your brush over both of them to meld the colors together.
  6. Highlight under your brow to give the eye a lift.  Add a touch to the inside corners of your eyes to brighten.
  7. Perfect your brows.  Trim any stray hairs and use a power, pencil or balm to define.  If you use a pencil, draw short lines that mimic tiny hairs and use a spoolie brush to blend.
  8. Line your eyes with a neutral brown, grey or black liner.  Apply mascara from root to tip of lashes.  A natural looking false lash will add a nice touch and make your eyes more defined.
  9. Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks.  Blend, blend, blend for a natural look.
  10. Avoid dark matte lip colors, choose a soft color.  Line the lips with a pencil and fill the entire lip in with the pencil.  Finish off with a sheer gloss over the pencil.  It will make your lips appear moist on camera.

This is from me:

Charlotte headshotI hope you enjoyed these great tips from Charlotte for when you want to go on camera!

She’s sending one of her top makeup artists to my house when my daughter gets married in a couple of weeks.   A little about Charlotte?  She works for TV networks, Broadway and is on call when celebrities and world leaders come to Boston.  Her traveling beauty team is amazing and she’s won awards from The Knot and Wedding Wire six years in a row! Check out her website.

Are you getting married, going on stage of shooting a video series?

Picture perfect is the only way to go!

Last week I was invited to the MIT Sloan Graduation. It was my first time attending and I looked forward to not only seeing our graduate walk, but hearing the guest speaker, Matt Damon.
The reason I’m writing about this is important.
Wherever you go and have an audience of at least one, you’ve got a PR opportunity. Matt Damon, a kid from the hood turned movie star crafted an engaging story and weaved humor, smarts, his experience and desire to make an impact on this world at MIT graduation.

The stage was his personal PR platform to deliver a message and call to action, as well as educate the audience about his own project, Water.org. Funny, engaging and not jokingly poking fun at the banking system, Matt was authentically Matt.  His take and mine: You don’t need to be a movie star to be who you are and make an impact.  

A few takeaways from Matt Damon’s commencement address at MIT:
  • “Go out and do really interesting things, real or imagined because this world has some problems and you need to drop everything and go solve them.
  • Turn toward the problems you see and don’t just turn toward them.  Engage with them.  Walk right up to them, then look yourself in the eye and decide what you’re going to do about them.
  • There’s a lot of trouble out there, but there’s a lot of beauty too. I hope you see both.
  • You’re going to fail sometimes and that’s a good thing. The world wants to hear your ideas, good and bad, but you need to keep listening.
  • And, there’s not always a high-tech solution (or an app) for everything.”
If you’d like to watch the commencement, click here.

Ready to take action? Use your platform wherever it may be to share your message. If it matters to you, chances are it matters to someone else.

One by one, we all can make a difference.

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!