Today, I’ll be the keynote speaker at Fresno State in California to kick off #GoBrandYourself week. I’m excited to teach personal branding tips and strategies to a college audience who are eager to jump in, get experience and find a job in the communications industry.

With unemployment in Fresno hovering near 9%, my goal is to help these students stand out from a crowd, define their personal brand, use social media platforms powerfully and expand their networks. So they can ROCK IT!

At some point after the keynote, I’ll share my talk. But, before that happens, I wanted to give you a few personal branding tips you can implement right now.

Before you do anything else, I encourage you to create a personal brand statement. This article by Jörgen Sundberg explains that first, you need to know the answers to these three questions:

• What value you provide (what problem do you solve)
• How you do it uniquely (your USPs – unique selling points)
• Whom you do it for (your target audience)

In our second article, Jim Joseph states for Entrepreneur magazine that “each of our personal brands began at birth. When Mom and Dad gave us a name, they unknowingly launched a new brand, the first of a lifetime of personal decisions that makes us each uniquely our own being — or brand. From that day forward, we spend our lives living up to our given name.” I’ve really never thought of it this way – but it is so true!

Jim says (and I couldn’t agree more): “A personal brand, like any good brand, needs to be consciously managed and controlled throughout our lives.

Once you know what it means to have and create a personal brand, and you know what you stand for, take a look at our third article from Inc Magazine that walks you through 7 steps to build an awesome personal brand. By looking at each of these steps, you can take the appropriate action to #GoBrandYourself.

I hope you will #GoBrandYourself by being who you really are, not who you think you should be.

Believe me, it’s a work in progress! Tweak, Tweet and Retweet!

As my clients have expanded into greater speaking roles, so have I, and it’s an exciting process to learn and share tips and processes to make a more dynamic presentation.

It’s a given that you have a message to deliver that’s powerful and targeted to your audience. But I’d like to make a few key suggestions to help you go from good to great – so you can deliver a talk that has impact.

These marketing tips can be used for a keynote speech, like the one I’m delivering for #GoBrandYourself week at Fresno State, but also in talks that aren’t designated to kick off an event or end a conference.

Speaking to a group can influence an audience to take action, up-level your branding and create a PR trail that you can’t get engaging one on one.

3 Keys to a Better Keynote (or speech):

  • Do you have a list of questions to ask the organizer or the person that’s hiring you? Get clear on  who your audience really is, what their challenges are and how you’ll share solutions. Questions can be as simple as, “who’s the greatest success story in the room,” or (yikes) “will someone try to undermine me (ie, is there a trouble maker in the room that I need to be aware of)?” There are about 30 questions on my pre-event questionnaire and knowing the answers to most of these in advance of your stage debut will help you – beyond words.  Trust me. Take the time to do your homework.
  • Have you asked if you’ll have your own dedicated A/V technician or are you running solo? From experience, don’t go solo if you have a choice! Ask who your A/V technician will be and an hour before your presentation meet him/her. Bring your presentation on your laptop or other device, plus have it on a flash drive as a safety factor. Also, consider tipping your A/V person $10 before you begin. Tipping doesn’t always work to ensure better service, but in my world it does.  I like to have someone in my corner who has my back (and mic) before I go on stage.  You?
  • If you’re mic’d/miked , be aware that your microphone is always on, until you shut it off. I’ve heard horror stories of toilets flushing and conversations which should have been private while someone was miked.  To ask — will you be using a hand held microphone which is a little more difficult if it’s a long speech, or a lavalier? Ladies, FYI, if you’re using a lavalier, make sure you’re comfortable with your under layers (or jacket off) while you’re getting ‘hooked up’.  No wink intended.

There are multiple platforms for you to share your message.  Speaking is just one avenue, compounded by social media and other targeted marketing.

What’s most important is that you share your brilliance, in any way you can.

Find your target audience, speak from your heart and rock it!

Here’s to your success,

Branding today doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  In fact, one of my greatest pleasures is teaching clients how to promote themselves using low-cost and often free tips, tricks and tools for high impact publicity and social media exposure.

One critically important element of branding is your avatar or photo – the consistent image you’ll use on all of your social media platforms. Your avatar is a representation of who you are on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, You Tube and anywhere online where you post comments or questions.

A few comments on Avatars:

  • An avatar is a very small photo or representation of you. Not sure how to create one? Check out  www.Gravatar.com.
  • Unless you’re a big company (think Coca-Cola, Zappos) don’t use a logo. Use a photo of yourself that doesn’t include a plant sticking out of your head, someone’s arm cut off around your shoulder, or with your favorite can of brew.
  • Remember that you are your brand wherever you go. Please make your image professional, consistent with your reputation and where you’re going in your career.
  • Photos last a lifetime on the internet and they’re dragged up often unexpectedly and to your surprise.
  • You may think it’s funny (today) to post a ‘joke of a photo or picture’ as your avatar, but unless you think you’re a joke, think twice. Not only are you your brand wherever you go, that’s how you’ll be remembered on line – like it or not.
  • Avatars help people be recognized. More than a handful of times I’ve been noticed in a crowd based on the photo (avatar) someone recognized online and offline promoting my brand.

And oh, did I mention, your avatar should  look like you? Not 20 years ago, or 50 pounds ago. An avatar represents you, in real life.

Your best self.

Love your best self,it’s the only one you’ve got!

From my avatar to yours, all the best!

If you’re like me and don’t care for the same old same old on Valentine’s Day, you might appreciate a few new ways your sweetheart could say ‘I Love You’.

Is that a yes, or at least a maybe? Then take a look at PhotoFunia.com where you can create a personalized message and ‘name drop’ for fun, marketing or just because.

Want to see your photo in a cup of frothy cappuccino? Your headshot in a museum gallery? Or your logo in the spotlight of Times Square? Ask and you will receive!

Take a few minutes to explore the hundreds of almost instant graphics to choose from and customize your ‘I Love You’ this weekend or message any day in a fun, playful way.

For my kids, sweetheart and readers, Happy Valentine’s Day!

ILoveYou

And, to the New England Patriots and Football Fans everywhere,

Love-Football

Wishing you love in ‘every zone’ — with no timeouts.

I admit it. I’m a little behind the times not using Uber, until today when I used my first free ride to get to Logan airport. At the tap of an app, my driver showed up and off I went. No driving. No hassles. And without spending a dime!

I love this promotion because you can try Uber for free and then share it with your friends. Plus, it’s brilliant marketing with a built in reward system.

If you’re new to the service and would like to test it out, please use Uber as my guest and enjoy the ride. You can use it for business or pleasure, or as I plan to, for both.

Wishing you happy travels, wherever you go.

Happy New Year!

If you’re like me, you’re back at work thinking bigger and bolder, looking ahead to a New Year filled with opportunity and promise. And, staying on top of everything, right? Who doesn’t want to be on top of their game?  Truth is, it’s never easy with so much information out there!  I’d like to help with that and share three articles about changes (and updates) happening as of January 1, 2015 about marketing and how it might affect your outreach.

The first platform we’ll look at is Facebook. In a nutshell, Facebook has always been about sharing the best content at the most optimum time to the most targeted audience. None of that has changed. But, Facebook has updated some of their Terms of Service.  Here’s an article that spells it out best from Andrea Vahl for Social Media Examiner; “New Facebook Terms: What Marketers Need to Know.” It’s the best article I’ve read so far explaining how to understand the terms and why it’s important.

Next up, Pinterest. If you’re an active Pinterest marketer, take note. Pinterest released a new feature in December allowing you to move groups of pins from one board to another. This feature works for web only, and isn’t available on mobile. Moving large number of pins comes in handy as your boards get overcrowded or if you’ve decided to dedicate a new board to a previous subcategory. Online marketers have welcomed this feature with open arms to clean up their boards.  You can read about it here ‘A new way to edit pins on the web’ via the Pinterest blog.

The last platform we’ll talk about is Twitter. Back in November, Twitter announced their 2015 plans and changes. Here’s a glimpse of their updates:

“We’re experimenting with better ways to give you what you come to Twitter for, a snapshot of what’s happening. We can use information like who you follow and what you engage with to surface highlights of what you missed and show those to you as soon as you log back in or come back to the app.”

Twitter is also working on ideas such as an instant, personalized timeline for new users who don’t have the time to cultivate one on their own, and updates to make a public conversation private.

A good marketer stays informed about changes to the platforms they’re using.

A great marketer implements them.
Cheers to 2015!

The holiday season is upon us, really upon us, and if you own a business, you’ve been strategizing and planning your marketing since, say August, right?
If that just shocked you, have no fear. There are plenty of (last minute) marketing techniques and tactics you can apply to have a rockin’ holiday season. It’s never too late!

I’ve rounded up several articles about holiday marketing and all of the articles include easy-to-implement ideas and tactics you can use to move your business forward this season, all the way into the New Year!

Check out Mandy Edwards article ‘Blending social media marketing with your traditional marketing this holiday season’.  She touches on four important points, one stating you should reserve some of your best content and information (and pricing) for your exclusive social community. Pretty smart!

Rapid Advance came out with a great infographic I’d like you to see called ‘Wrapping Up Your Holiday Marketing Plans’ It gives a great timeline overview for you to double check to make sure you’ve got everything covered! See it by clicking here.

Next up is an excellent piece by Constant Contact. They give us 30 creative holiday email marketing examples! What’s not to love about that since we all know email marketing is a vey effective tool in your marketing toolbox. Click here to get the 30 new ideas and to get excited about your holiday email marketing!

Last but not least, and I truly believe this — the holidays are a great time to have F-U-N! What’s more fun than a contest? How about a photo contest?! Here’s a piece from Facebook that gives us 20 holiday photo contest ideas anyone can run!

As always, I’d love to know how I can help and support you or your campaigns this holiday season. If you need a boost in promoting your special or another set of eyes in strategizing for the New Year, just give me a call!

Let’s talk shop! With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s time to buckle down the hatches and be ready for increased web traffic, increased sales and a positive start to 2015. And all of that starts with your online presence!

The first article I’d like to share is More Than Keywords: 7 Concepts of Advanced On-Page SEO by Cyrus Shepard for the Moz.com blog.

“As marketers, helping search engines answer that basic question is one of our most important tasks. Search engines can’t read pages like humans can, so we incorporate structure and clues as to what our content means. This helps provide the relevance element of search engine optimization that matches queries to useful results…”

Next up, A Google Analytics Setup Checklist is a great read to better metrics and insights about your web traffic. Brian Massey writes a solid column on the behavioral database that we call “Analytics” that’s generally only used by clients for basic reporting: sessions, visitors, revenue and conversions. Yet, there are so many other insights to be gleaned…”

To work on your social sites, I’d recommend you implement  The 15 Minute Social Media Audit Everyone Can Do by Kevan Lee for the Buffer App blog. It’s so easy to update your image, keywords and marketing message. Giving it all a fresh look right around the holidays and the New Year is a great way to make a great impression! Remember we want to Be Seen in 2015!

Whether you do the work behind the scenes yourself, or you have a team of assistants helping you, it’s important to have the technical aspects of your website in place so you can monitor your promotional efforts and tweak for peak results.

Hope you enjoy these articles, and please feel free to share using the buttons below.

Facebook login pageIf you are keeping up a bit with all things Facebook, you might have heard grumblings and rumblings about how Facebook is not yielding the results it used to give and that in order to be ‘seen’ we need to start paying for advertising. Well I am here to tell you; don’t believe everything you read. I am not saying that Facebook advertising isn’t necessary, you can, however, still be effective on Facebook if you have the right strategy and knowledge — and maybe add Facebook advertising to enhance all your other efforts!

This week for Robin’s Rainmakers, I’d like to highlight a few brilliant posts about the changes in the Facebook algorithm and how we shouldn’t be discounting this big giant. It might be time to update your strategies instead.

First up is These 5 Facebook Strategies Will Prepare Your Business for the Holidays by Jim Belosic for Maximize Social Business. And yes, I read it and realize the 5th strategy talks about Facebook advertising, but it’s just one of many new strategies to implement.

Next, I recommend you read one of both of these Facebook articles by Dorien Morin-van Dam of More In Media. They are both positive towards using Facebook and being creative in using the current Facebook tools and functions available.

6 Surprisingly Fast Ways To Curate Content from Facebook takes the new algorithm  and explains how you can use it to your advantage and post just the content that Facebook is looking for you to post — in a way, giving it a boost. Then check out 5 Awesome Ways Facebook Tagging Produces Positive Results for some creative ways to use pictures and the @tagging function.

If these ideas are not enough to get your creative Facebook juices flowing, read about the 13 Ways to Beat the Facebook Algorithm strategies and tactics. This article by Larry King for Wordstream should leave you with the feeling of ‘Yes, I can do that’!

Enjoy reading, and if you like share and comment below!

It was an exciting week presenting my new workshop, 5 Ways Social Media Can Get You More Sales, Customers and Profits, at the Small Business Expo in Boston. Thank you to all who attended and followed up personally. It’s an exciting time for Social PR and it’s critical to a company’s branding and success – whether you’re a solo business owner, or the biggest fish in any pond!

I love sharing great articles by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs and giving credit where credit is due. The article How to Create an Elevator Pitch That Will Get You Funded by Steve Blank gives detailed information and some great tips on how to perfect your elevator pitch (or speech). Whether you’re looking to get funding or need to promote your consulting services, perfecting your elevator pitch is one of the most important things you’ll want to accomplish this week. Get a few great ‘how to’ tips here from Entrepreneur.com.

You may be familiar with HARO, but do you know about their parent company, Vocus? They’ve got an active and well-read blog that hits the in boxes of industry insiders, experts and small business owners around the globe. I liked this article 9 Things You Should Consider in Your PR Plan by Jim Dougherty because it lays out a PR Plan, clearly step by step. Work on one, three or all nine to improve your current PR plan. (And, if you don’t have a plan, we have to talk!)

Lastly, we’re featuring The Power of Testimonials (and How We Get Great Ones) written by Alex Turnbull.  This is a MUST read for anyone in business. Here’s one little snippet we’ve highlighted, but take a minute to click on the link to learn more.

“Good testimonials aren’t fluffy; they communicate very specifically the type of person the testimonial writer is and the type of problem they’ve been able to overcome. This helps readers put themselves in the storyteller’s shoes.”

And that’s a wrap for this week’s edition of Robin’s Rainmakers! If you ever have a suggestion for a great article to feature, please send me an email. I’d love to include it here.