First, check out this awesome tool that analyzes and scores the headlines you’ve written.  It’s a free headline analyzer from Co-Schedule.com. If you’ve never used it before, definitely give it a try. The goal is to come up with a score as close to 100% as possible.  Mine rated a 72%.  What I should do (note to self) is write a page of headlines and in my free time, analyze them.  Better yet, I’ll invite a few friends to come over and we’ll come up with titles over a bottle of wine. I bet they’ll rock.

There’s also another tool that analyzes the emotional marketing value analysis of a title. This fascinates me (as many things do) and I’ve included the link here.  It’s another perspective on how your headline is viewed and it’s available online at the Advanced Marketing Institute.

Next up is an article on how to tweak your headline using specific words and punchy phrases.  Author, Tamsin Henderson gives her advice in this article which was featured yesterday in HARO (you gotta love HARO). Read How to Tweak Your Headlines for Success and see what changes you can make in your copy. And yes, we do recognize that character counts do count.

HubSpot always has great information and articles on a variety of marketing and public relations topics. Here are more guidelines on How to Write Catchy Headlines & Blog Titles Your Readers Can’t Resist from Corey Wainwright. Be clear, accurate, brainstorm with others – and don’t forget to be a little bit sexy.

Lastly, let’s look at Megan Marrs’ article 19 Headline Writing Tips for More Clickable, Shareable Blog Posts from Wordstream.com. She asks her readers to think about adding numbers, digits and lists, educating your audience, breaking convention – and also suggests writing about breeding distrust, indicating we’re a pretty cynical society!

There you have it.  A variety of sources on ‘How to Write a Kick Ass Headline to Market Your Brand’.

I’d add to this with the following advice.

Practice makes perfect. Go to a supermarket and look at the headlines on tabloids and magazine.  Think about eliciting a response from your reader. And, try to use key words that align with your brand. Vary it up though. You don’t want to build on boring.  Remember, you can’t always use the headline alone to drive traffic. It’s just part of the mix. Write great content, be relevant and use free SEO tools, tactics and plug ins to help as well.

We’re not trying to be perfect here – we’re all learning as we go.  We’re also building our brands in ways that express who we are and how we can help others.

 

PS – I’ll be speaking about ‘How to Get Free Publicity for Your Brand and Grow Your Business’ in Cambridge, MA on Saturday, March 26th at Sleek Marketing University.  The theme of the event is Digital Marketing For SkyRocketing Growth – What’s in Your Arsenal?  Join me and fellow speakers Christina Inge, Kai Chung, Jamie Bradley, Chuck Goldstone and Craig Carpenter as we dig deep into online marketing and how you can ramp up your business in a big way. Use the code SOCMED for 40% off.

1. It’s OK not to know everything. There’s a learning curve to trying something new.  Scuba diving for the first time. Making the perfect crepe. Creating killer graphics with cool tools. Inspiring hundreds to take action when you speak. Some say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. But, when you embrace that we’re all really experts in training, you’ll find it easier to receive and share information. Viva the 80/20 rule.

2. Sometimes you don’t know what will happen. At the bottom of the ocean, you don’t know what you’ll see or what you might have to do. So, you have to be trained. Your mask might fill up with water. You push the wrong button and go flying to the top (don’t try that). When we’re in execution mode, the best PR and marketing plans might have to be tweaked at the last minute or even scrubbed. Being trained and knowing the options can be a dream come true.

3. Follow best practices. PR specialists and marketers in every stage of their growth learn from a variety of sources. The internet, coaches, books, You Tube, fellow colleagues and the list goes on. To save time and to be more effective, learn from the experience of others and follow established guidelines, hopefully not repeating their mistakes. Best practices in marketing can increase revenue, expert status and visibility, and showcase the star you really are.

4. Paying attention matters. There have been a number of instances where paying attention has been critical to my survival. Scuba diving is one example, hot air ballooning and surfing others.  I could say jumping out of a plane, but I haven’t done that yet. As influencers and marketers, we need to pay attention to what’s going on around us, and what’s really important to our brand, not just what would be nice. Paying attention can put you ahead of the crowd or keep you at rock bottom. It’s always your choice.

5. Listening = Watching. 
There isn’t one of us who couldn’t learn to listen better. When you’re underwater, listening means watching the signs – of your instructor and fellow divers. In business, learning to read the signs could include understanding body language or noticing office discord, without hearing a word. Watching for positive and negative signs of your team and key players could save you time, effort and a big HR mess. Keep your eyes and ears open. Your gut reaction is usually right.

Everyone in my family is back to work on Thursday. One of my daughters is prepping for a 3 week trip to Australia, another is head high in client work and training for a trek to Patagonia.  I’m excited about new business opportunities this month and upcoming speaking gigs at Constant Contact and Sleek Marketing University.

This New Year will bring us new adventures.

What ‘bout you?

Ah, the year in review! I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Top 10 of a few categories in 2015.

The top 10 business lessons compiled by Fastcompany, top 10 leadership stories by Entrepreneur.com and for visual learners in the public relations and marketing world – a look at the top 10 infographics by Marketingprofs.

In this article from Fastcompany staff, top business lessons from 2015 are shared from a variety of leaders and entrepreneurs. What were they? Calling yourself a freelancer might not be such a good idea, world travel can teach you how to expand your comfort zone and stepping back from the CEO position may actually prove to be the best leadership move.  Other lessons? Alone time works, crisis can help your company and more.

Could you have improved your leadership this year? Entrepreneur.com’s Laura Entis shares top 10 leadership stories worthy of mention and each has a valuable lesson. What’s important to note is that successful entrepreneurship starts with successful leadership and we can all learn to be better communicators and more effective leaders.  Worth reading — 50 Rules to Be a Better Leader, 7 Toxic People to Avoid When Starting a Business, 10 Examples of Companies with Fantastic Cultures. All here.

And where would we be without visual stimulation? Marketing Prof’s Editor, Veronica Maria Jarski gives us insights of her company’s top 10 infographics of 2015. Take a look at 12 Secrets of Human Behavior to Use in Your Marketing, The Only 10 Slides You Need in a Pitch and Best Days and Times to Post Content  — and how could we forget the Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Social Media.  These are great infographics to post on the wall (if you like doing that sort of thing).

A year in review by observers, seasoned marketers and entrepreneurs.

All good for your business. All good to keep in mind for the New Year!

We’re a society that’s definitely on the move. There’s no denying that!

But, what do you do when you’re busy and on the go? I hope that you hire people to help and outsource as many tasks as you can.

There are times though, that you’ll need to address business in the now — and the only available resource might be your Smartphone.

When you normally have access to your computer and a desktop full of programs, and you only have a phone – where do you turn?

To mobile apps for sure!

The world of apps can be confusing, but here’s a tip that might change your perspective and save you hours of time…

Ask a fellow entrepreneur (or fellowpreneur as I call them) what apps they have on their phone and more importantly, ask them which apps they use every week!

Filling up a ‘toolbox’ is a great way to be more productive on the go! Unfortunately, not every app or program will be for free. I suggest you try out the free version of an app first (usually there is one) and if you like it and use it, pay an extra few dollars for the upgraded version.

Now, here are my three must-have apps for the Business Owner on-the-go!

For photo enhancements, check out the app Over. I like Over because with just a few clicks, I can add a logo and/or text to my images before I post the picture to social media. The spinning wheel is easy to use and once you’ve edited your image the way you like it, you can save it to your photo gallery.

What do you do when someone hands you their business card? I used to put the card in my purse and I know many men who put them in their wallet or suit jacket, where they’ll remain until they are forgotten – or washed till there are no remains! You can download one of many business card scanners and upload the business cards directly (and immediately) to your phone where you can store the info and start the process of connecting!  (You know it’s a process, right?)

Another great tool I love is having a voice recorder app. This article by The Social Media Hat aka Mike Allton talks about using your driving time wisely to record blog ideas. Consider taking this app to the next level and record to-do lists, marketing copy or comments from your last sales meeting – while ideas are flowing.

Here’s to making life easier, more productive and applying these tools to save you time!

Have a burning small business marketing, PR or promotions question?  Email me at Robin@RobinSamoraInc.com or take 15 minutes out of your busy day and call me at 617-921-3448.

As a busy entrepreneur and bon vivant, I know about scheduling and prioritizing in all aspects of my life and business. I’ve learned how to shave valuable time through trial and error so I can concentrate on what’s important to me.

Marketing is no different. There are definite ways to save time – valuable time, while marketing.

Plan – Create a business plan and a marketing plan! Your marketing plan should be based on your marketing budget and include traditional marketing as well as online marketing line items.  Without a plan, you plan to fail. Without a plan, you can’t outsource (see below). Use these 5 steps to create a marketing plan.

Outsource – As a small business owner, it’s not always feasible to hire a full-time marketing manager. Often, we rely on our own ‘wits’ to do what seems like endless tasks — from social media to blogging to graphic design to web management. But, if these tasks take too much time, it’s time to reevaluate. How do you know it’s time? Read this article from Forbes; ‘7 signs it’s time to outsource your marketing’. You’ll find your options to outsource marketing are plentiful.

You can outsource:

  • Marketing tasks to a virtual assistant (who may save your life too  — xo )
  • Management of social media distribution
  • Graphic and web design
  • Additional training for your staff
  • Research and platform building to an intern

Tools – There are plenty of tools that will help you streamline your marketing. If you aren’t sure what I mean with ‘tools’, read this article ‘Top 5 Small Business Marketing Tools’. I’m sure several on the list you may be familiar with.  If you don’t have the time or want to learn about them, hire someone who’s an expert.  The point is, save yourself time!

Are you are ready to save time and get direction on what you should be doing with your small business marketing and PR? Let me show you the way!

Brand Ambassadors, whether paid or unpaid, have a critical role that’s often overlooked and sometimes regarded as a line item first to cut, budget time.

The truth is, the best Brand Ambassadors mirror your voice and attitude in the marketplace. They take a company’s concept, stats and goals and create, then deliver, a message that feels authentic. Their job is to connect with your target audience and influence them in a positive way.

Busy managers and executives with aggressive goals sometimes forget that the Brand Ambassadors who carry your flag are people too.  Unconsciously, they can change their marketing tone if you forget to treat them as part of your team, barely pay attention or put inexperienced managers — who don’t understand group dynamics or the value of outsourced staff — as first command.

Brand Ambassadors who showcase your products and services are valued allies in your PR and marketing efforts.  Maximize their output and high energy when you work together.

Here are 3 Ways to Motivate Your Brand Ambassadors   

  1. Acknowledge that a Brand Ambassador has an important role, just as important as a sales or marketing team member.  They’ll wear your brand, give a face to your company and hopefully convey heart and soul as well.  Show them the respect that they deserve as they interact with your prospects, clients and colleagues.  There’s an incredible upside to being valued as part of a team.
  2. Appreciate Brand Ambassadors as front line reps and show them love, even if it’s in small ways; invite them to company meetings, trainings and give them VIP access and parking if available when they’re working a high profile event. If tickets are plentiful at a certain venue, consider offering them as a thank you. Often, complimentary tickets get discarded, and it’s heartbreaking for some to see the waste. As in life, the gesture of sharing goes a long way and generosity is seldom forgotten.
  3. Allow Brand Ambassadors the flexibility to deliver your message, in their voice.  Every Brand Ambassador, like every person, has their own unique style, tone and timing  —  and the ways that people listen can be as varied. Be open to different communication styles to reach a wide and multi-cultural marketplace and honor their freedom to express themselves within the guidelines of the brand. With the high-tech world that we live in, there’s never been a better time to reach out and touch someone.

Brand Ambassadors touch one person at a time in ways that social media can’t.

Make every touch point count, from the top down.

Like this article?

Check out others I’ve written about promotions —  3 Key Traits of an Elite Brand Ambassador; The Power of PRiorities, PRofit and PRomotion3 Promotion Secrets of the Rich and Famous

Ostersund, Sweden -August 3, 2014:  Linkedin website under a magI’m sure every small business owner, consultant and market savvy professional wants to get noticed as an expert or leader in their field.

It doesn’t just happen overnight, as we all know. It’s more like a “drip process.” Day by day, week by week.  You post, tweet, network and do your best to show up at the right place at the right time to connect with your target audience – or a qualified lead.

That’s all fine and good, and everything listed above does work.  But, I’d like to take a quantum leap with you to help promote your business and build your expert status.

Want to leap with me on LinkedIn?

9 Tried and True Ways to Build Your Expert Status on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is for the most part, tremendously underutilized for small business marketing. Rules are determined by the platform, but there’s so much wiggle room to promote your brand and stand out as an expert if you understand the ins and outs of the site and practice simple strategies.

Here are 9 Marketing Tips you can use today:

  1. Write your profile with heavy keywords so LinkedIn’s advanced search can pick you up, pronto.
  2. Vary status updates with articles, infographics, quotes, video, podcasts and your own comments by showing you’re an expert who shares valuable content. Use the 80/20 rule – and be respected as someone who is not always self-promoting.
  3. Link relevant articles you’ve written to targeted landing pages where potential customers can sign up for your freebies, get on your email list and hear what you’re up to, so they can buy.
  4. Use the publications area of your profile to promote your newsletter, blog or tips and (again) give readers a link to sign up on your landing page – where you’ll tell them exactly why they should sign up.
  5. Publish a longer article you’ve written at least twice a month and repost others mindfully. Use pictures and graphics to get attention and at the bottom of those articles, include links to other content you’ve written in similar categories.
  6. Reply to people who are checking YOU out on LinkedIn with a well-crafted note leading them to your landing page (again) to sign up. Use a macro key for easy copying.
  7. Include a similar message to people who want to be connected with you. Follow the same procedure.
  8. Join up to 40 groups on LinkedIn where you’ll find your ideal clients or professional colleagues.  Be active in at least 5 groups. Comment as an expert would and be helpful. Don’t sell. The advantage with groups is that most often, you can send emails within the group and cut the red tape. Mine for gold.
  9. OK, Here’s one. And Shhhhhhh. Snoop anonymously by changing your privacy setting to — anonymous — and see what groups your competitors, customers and clients are in.  Take your time and browse around.  Just remember to change your setting back to public, Dick Tracy, when you’re done.

It goes without saying that having a professional and up to date photo is key to your personal and professional brand.  Please don’t upload a photo of yourself with a cut off arm around your shoulder or a plant sticking out of your head.

Being an expert is an earned right.

Use these marketing and PR strategies to gain credibility, increase your leadership position and get noticed as an expert in your field.

And, build your email list, for free.

I’ll be the first to agree that event planning is a tough job.

Social media and online marketing can really push your event in front of your target audience, but there’s an enormous marketing opportunity that’s missing.

The number one mistake is that event organizers and speakers stop talking as soon as the event is over!

How’s that a mistake you ask?

It’s all in the follow up.

Thinking back about several recent events, I know it’s overwhelming to stay focused on what you did ‘last week’. Whether you’re a speaker like I am, or an attendee, following up and continuing the conversation is important to building relationships and opening doors of opportunity.

Let’s talk about the ‘why’ first.

[ctt title=”The Importance of a Follow Up Meeting after Events’ you’ll find three key reasons to follow up if you’re event organizer. They’re to collect feedback from attendees, evaluate your budget as well as the overall event strategy. ” tweet=”The Importance of a Follow Up Meeting after Events’ you’ll find three key reasons to follow up if you’re event organizer. They’re to collect feedback from attendees, evaluate your budget as well as the overall event strategy.” coverup=”Zvoub”]

But you’ll learn more…

Steve Randazzo, on Spin Sucks, talks about different ways to keep the conversation going – after the event, if you’re the event organizer. You can read that here; ‘The Most Important Post-Event Engagement Tool’.

He says it’s easy to get so caught up in the pre-event social component that most of us forget about riding the social media train into the future.

[ctt title=”A little more than half of marketers use social media to connect with attendees after events versus three quarters using social media before events. ” tweet=”A little more than half of marketers use social media to connect with attendees after events versus three quarters using social media before events. ” coverup=”d72Jj”]

He suggests a best practice of continuing to use social media long after the event to increase engagement with customers and maximize ROI.

Here’s one more resource I’d like to share with you, ‘The Most Critical 50% of Event Marketing: 4 Tips to Maximize Event Impact’.

[ctt title=”Besides a detailed outline of all your marketing activities, pre-show promotion and your on-site presence should make up only about 50% of your event strategy. The other 50%, which is often overlooked and most critical, should be in the post-show follow up.” tweet=”Besides a detailed outline of all your marketing activities, pre-show promotion and your on-site presence should make up only about 50% of your event strategy. The other 50%, which is often overlooked and most critical, should be in the post-show follow up.” coverup=”eD7kh”]

If you’ve neglected this post event follow up, now’s your chance to plan for your next event.

Make sure you add all of these suggestions to your to-do list and I’m sure you’ll see a huge return on investment on time spend strategizing beforehand.

 

Want to know more about events?  Check out these other articles I’ve written; How to Work a Room without Being There8 Great Way to Promote an Event and Grow Your Business and 5 Ways Businesses Can Use Promotional Products to Boost Profits

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’.