As part of pushing past my comfort zone and experimenting with YouTube, I’m creating a series of videos on How to Market Your Small Business on a Dime.

They’re intended to be short and provide insight on a particular PR or Marketing strategy that’s either free or cost effective.

Here’s a YouTube video about the importance of blogging for anyone who wants to be a small business marketing expert. Blogging allows you to be the media and speak in your own voice. It’s a PR and marketing tool to gain credibility, build your reputation and increase leadership position so you can sell more products and services.

As a small business marketing expert and PR mentor, here’s how I recommend you start blogging:

  • Think of topics, questions and problems your target audience wants to know about.
  • What keeps them up at 3am? What do they need to know? How can you help them solve their problems?
  • Start a swipe file where you can collect your ideas, other’s emails, blogs, articles, quotes or graphics for inspiration. Some people call this a folder. It can be both physical and digital.
  • The more you write the better you’ll be. Not sure how your blog post sounds? Read it out loud to check that’s it has a conversational tone. Think about writing to your best friend or best customer.
  • Own your URL or website name. You can post your blog there, plus you can buy another URL specific to the blog’s topic. You can also buy several keyword phrases and direct all traffic to one site.

If you want to learn more about blogging or are just starting out, check out WordPress.com
and the free blogging and website platforms there. They’re user-friendly, mobile ready and customizable.

Looking to see if a URL is available?  For fast results, I like GoDaddy. You may be eligible for a 99-cent deal too if you enter via Google.

Want the insider scoop on social media marketing? Read the blogs and articles from SocialExaminer. They also have a podcast for information on the go.

Another great site to get all kinds of tips and tools for bloggers who want useful customizable templates is CoSchedule.  You’ll find tons of free information about marketing online there.

Lastly, Neil Patel is an online wiz and a world renown marketing expert. Learn from this master at NeilPatel.

Blog to get authority and increase your visibility. And, try to write at least once a week if you can. Every inspired action you take to build your brand, also builds your like, know and trust factor. You need that to make sales.

For other videos about small business marketing and PR, check out my YouTube channel. I’ll be posting as frequently as I can!

A few months ago, I met Kim Lundgren at the Unmask the Greatness in You Conference, sponsored by the Center for Women and Enterprise. I was a featured mentor and she booked time with me for a half-day marketing intensive.

What does Kim do? Her company, Kim Lundgren Associates creates sustainability dashboards for local governments.  She’s on a fire. In a good way. Busy booking business and growing her brand on multiple platforms.

Kim and her team met with me last week. What did the day look like?  Here’s a glimpse. 

Four (4) hours of high intensity training on how to foster deeper relationships with clients, increase visibility, secure speaking gigs, gain PR, generate leads, build out your brand, promote your podcast, get free press, maximize upcoming events and then not go crazy.

Here’s what Kim had to say:  

“Robin opened my eyes to the vast opportunities and resources available to not only promote my brand but to actually grow my business. In just 4 hours, I have a renewed sense of excitement and a clear set of priorities to focus on.”

If you’re looking to get clarity, where to focus and spend your time and PR and marketing resources effectively, consider a VIP Day. Don’t get blinded by your blind spots.

Find Out How a VIP Day Can Grow Your Business

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Phill Naylor who produced my YouTube channel.  In addition to being a YouTube expert, he also owns a digital marketing agency, Xtralarge Media.  What’s his insight about Facebook Marketing? In short, explore the possibilities creating look alike audiences to expand your reach.

10 Ways to Attract New Business with Facebook Marketing (and Creating Look Alike Audiences) 

  1. Set up a Facebook Business page to connect with your audience. It allows you to gain the like, know trust factor, build a community and show a behind the scenes look at what you’re doing on a day to day basis.
  2. Use Facebook groups as a way to showcase multiple products and services — if your brand has different branches and audiences. With one business page, you can speak to all of your customers and fans without them scrolling through every post.
  3. Learn Business Manager/Power Editor. You can download the application for free if you have a Facebook Account. This allows you to explore far more marketing options than inside the traditional Ads Manager.
  4. Upload your email list to Facebook and create an ad targeted to just them. This allows you to market to people who are already receiving your information.
  5. Create a look alike audience of your email list to market to. This expands your own email list powerfully.
  6. Install a Facebook pixel on your website. With this pixel or line of code, Facebook will track everyone who visits your website and you can extend your reach.
  7. Create a look alike audience of people who visit your website. Keep testing to monitor results.
  8. Ask Facebook to track anybody who visits or likes your Fan Page and advertise to them.
  9. Create a look alike audience of your Facebook Fan page traffic. See what that delivers.
  10. Lastly, ask Facebook to create an audience of anyone that has viewed your videos (and then create a look alike video audience). You can track multiple analytics, like how long they’re watching, where they stop and so on.

Although I understand Facebook as an important marketing and PR tool, I wasn’t aware of all the look alike marketing possibilities and the power of email marketing, taken to a whole new level. And, we haven’t even discussed retargeting!

Phill has a new Facebook group, Local Ads Academy where he’s hosting free classes. If you want to learn more, email him at Phill@Xtralargemedia.com and ask to join.

About Phill:

Phill Naylor is Founder of XtraLarge Media | 10 Ways to Attract New Business with Facebook Marketing Phill Naylor is Founder of XtraLarge Media, a digital marketing firm that focuses on helping clients get the biggest bang for their buck with video and social media advertising. He is an expert in Facebook marketing and works with small business owners to power up their brand, rank high on YouTube and influence prospects to buy. He believes video and Facebook will reach more customers than any other platform combined.

Have the Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media changed about sharing your political views? I guess it depends on how you heated up you are personally (or not) over the current state of affairs—and if you want to share that publicly as a business or brand.

Brands have a core message and stand tall for what they believe in. They can also influence, motivate, alienate or outrage prospects, customers and audiences. We see that in a big way today with swings to the left and to the right in Washington, and all over the country.

As a PR Mentor, I suggest to my clients that they keep their brand or company comments on target to their core message and core values. If your brand is a political one, that’s a completely different story.

In the past, there were 5 Subjects we never talked about on Social Media:

  1. Sex
  2. Politics
  3. Money
  4. Sports
  5. Religion

Today, each of us is the media.

We can share our opinions openly and for free. I honor that and am grateful for that right. But, how will your message affect your brand if you are the spokesperson – or you are the brand?

  • Do comments about sex, partying and boozing it up online affect a job search?
  • In a divided society with emotions high, do political comments help or hinder your ability to be a leader, get a promotion or win a prize client?
  • Does talking about having lots of money alienate you in a world where many are struggling?
  • Are you infuriating fans of one sports team (and possible customers) when you are obnoxious about a recent win of your rival?
  • In a world of many religions, faiths and beliefs are we helping or hurting our brand with off the cuff or insensitive comments?

Ultimately, it’s up to you how to position your brand, and what to say or not say on social media.

Before you post ask yourself two questions. What’s my intention? What’s my end goal?

Whatever message you share, be sensitive to how it will be perceived.

It does matter.

This morning there was zero time to prepare for a Facebook Live interview, but isn’t that the point? Ana, my client from the Spanish Immersion School in Rincon, texted me that she was coming over in 10 minutes because she told her class she was going live in 30 minutes.

She not only told her class, she also posted it on one of the biggest Facebook groups in Rincon, PR. And live we went, despite landscaper noise, a dose of unstable internet and accompanying pixels, and the time crunch of having to produce!

The interview on Facebook Live accomplished 5 things:

1) It showcased Ana’s brand in the moment, savvy, on-the-go, with interesting content

2) She translated the interview in Spanish, or at least parts of it to make it relevant to her audience

3) Ana featured me, and the four (4) events I will be having at her school in February, in great detail

4) Viewers I hadn’t met yet got to see the video, like it, comment and, most importantly, share

5) Whether I liked it or not, it featured me up close and personal for my new community to meet; plus, it started the LKT (like, know, trust) process

No surprise that this wasn’t a video where you prepped, and staged for makeup and wardrobe — at least where I am. The sun wasn’t out much yesterday, so I had a cool shower and didn’t wash my hair. But it really didn’t matter. Taking advantage of the moment did.

I was impressed with Ana’s knowledge of Facebook Live – but more importantly what she wants to do with it, and what we are envisioning together. I wish you could see her smiling ear to ear.

Here’s the Facebook Live video we posted.

Carpe Diem.

PR and marketing power doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, but it does cost you some time and effort. There are no magic wands to wave over your head or chants to the PR and Media gods. Just focus, clarity, intention and strategy – and understanding the ins and outs of what you’re doing and being able to change on a dime. You know of course, that you can’t quit three feet from gold, but you don’t want to waste your time where your target market isn’t hanging out either, or quite possibly, never intends to go.

Here’s a graphic I love to use as an example of marketing and the four types of media to get PR Power on a budget, compliments of Gini Dietrich of Spinsucks.com.

Copyright Spinsucks.com

Personally, I tend to focus on earned, owned and shared media.  Writing, free publicity, speaking and a host of other tactics fall into these categories.  But, I recommend without hesitation, paid media, including social media advertising (particularly Facebook for niche audiences) as well as super targeted industry publications which have worked out tremendously well for some of my clients. Sometimes you have to pay to play, but it’s not always 100% spot on, and there is some trial and error you’ll have to endure. That’s where knowing your target audience and the many places they hang out is important.

Getting noticed in all four media clovers, scheduled and ongoing, builds your reputation and credibility, which eventually leads to sales.

I keep forgetting how easy it is to get free publicity.  If you know where to look and how to respond, it’s straightforward. But, you have to have discipline.

My favorite site for free PR is HelpAReporter.com, commonly known as HARO.

Last month, on December 20th I was featured in an article on kids, parents and gratitude  on CNBC.com, 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids the Art of Giving This Holiday Season.

A couple of weeks earlier, FS Local wrote a story, Picking the Brain of a PR Pro! Behind the Business with Brand Expert Robin Samora.

Do You Want Free Press? Follow these 7 Steps to Get Picked Up by HARO Reporters

  1. First, sign up for HARO and get daily emails from reporters and journalists.
  2. When you see a query that interests you, make sure there’s a fit.
  3. Make your pitch short, concise and be sure there are no misspellings or mistakes.
  4. Don’t deviate from the questions, stay on topic. Be light, bright and polite.
  5. In the subject line when you respond write: HARO: and copy the title of the query.
  6. Include your contact information, website, email and phone number. Be available 23/7.
  7. Don’t stalk the reporter or follow up, unless they ask. Do your best and become a resource.

The more practice you have pitching a story, the better you’ll be. And, once you start getting published, the more you’ll want to respond.

This is earned media and you’re showcasing your expertise.

Sure, responding to HARO and other sites takes time, but the rewards far outweigh the work.

Sign up this week, and get the visibility you deserve!

Sounds like an easy task – to write what you want. Most people start with a list of questions to answer which provides valuable insight, but I also like to add a visual component.

What does a wheel have to do with PR and marketing? This wheel, and the one you’ll draw, is a PR Vision Tool where you decide where you’d like to be seen. You can add spokes, identify opportunities and weight them according to your goals and desires. And, every few months you can reinvent the wheel based on your results and efforts.

Here’s a sketch of my Marketing & PR outline for 2017.

Remember, it’s a work in progress so you can tweak and recreate as you like. Think of it as a recipe for success. Take a look.

Simple? Maybe you think so, but the start of everything great begins by writing it on paper. This isn’t just about manifesting.  It’s about planning and thinking where you may get the biggest bang for your buck. [Free].

Giving comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to come from your heart, and because you want to – not because you have to.

  • Some give to their favorite charity that holds a special meaning
  • Others spend time with the elderly or friends that aren’t feeling well
  • Many donate to a local cause like Globe Santa or Toys for Tots
  • Friends meet up and give back anonymously and in fun ways, like paying off layaway charges at Walmart®
  • Some prefer to support Heifer International to end poverty and promote entrepreneurism around the world
  • Turkeys are bought, soup is served and presents are wrapped to warm the heart. Because we can.

Whatever your cause is, celebrate it.

After all, it gives Reason to the Season.

Last week I talked about Digital Marketing Trends for 2017. Becoming more instant, conversational in key words, voice activated, uber local and focused on niche target audiences. Hashtags. Data driven.

Not sure how to take advantage of these digital trends? Check out these 5 ways to build your brand:

  1. Turn your smartphone into your own media channel. Capture an event on Facebook Live, or better yet, “You Go Live.” Be transparent in the moment and let your audience, friends and followers see where you are and what you’re up to. Building a fan base is not about hiding. It’s about engaging. 80% sharing, 20% promoting. Don’t forget about a (CTA) call to action.
  2. #Hashtags. Hashtags connect like-minded audiences. They’re brilliantly used by big brands and little brands to inform, inspire, motivate and sell. Not convinced? Look at Instagram. It’s a wildly popular personal and business platform that’s hashtag crazy and instant. Same with Twitter. Share your photos, thoughts, quotes, videos and story behind the scenes – and in front of the camera.
  3. Get really local. For all that you may hate about Facebook, there’s a lot to love. Consider Facebook advertising to get leads, grow your list, create a funnel. Want to reach 25-40 year-old women who speak French and live thirty miles from Belmont, MA? Oh, and that have a combined household income of $100,000+? Invest 20 minutes and start a campaign. Spend as much or as little as you like. You will be amazed.
  4. Create keywords (and Adwords) as you would a conversation, especially with voice activated systems in place. Honda Dealership near here. Thai food in Boston. Christmas Tree Lighting this Saturday. Test to see what works and monitor often. Don’t be afraid to change things up. Tweak as you like, but make note of all your tweaks!
  5. It’s no surprise that digital marketing budgets are growing leaps and bounds. In fact, in the next few years corporate America may spend up to 25% of their marketing budget on digital marketing.  But, only if it’s working. How do you find out? Split tests. Consistency. Data. ROI. Numbers. Run yours and see what’s working, or not.