It’s 83 degrees where I am now in Rincon, Puerto Rico, mecca to surfers from near and far. I’m probably one of the worst surfers I know, but I enjoy the camaraderie of friends, working beach side, watermelon mojitos and fresh tuna pinchos. Life is as good as you allow it!

Traveling the world is something that’s important to me, as is growing my business and staying connected to my team, sales force and clients. Traveling the world also gives me an opportunity to meet new and interesting people who may one day be clients.

Case in point:

There’s a multi-million dollar piece of property that’s breathtaking here with a small raised look out built particularly to showcase the view. Smart Marketing 501.  My friend and I stopped to admire it, took down the contact information and talked with the owner’s son. He invited us to drinks, sunsets and a chorizo and churrasco steak BBQ on the deck that only added to the experience of ‘living the dream at the property’. Smart Marketing 601.

At one of the gatherings I met a rep from a Sun Tan Lotion company who happened to also sponsor a major Surf competition recently.  We talked about his set up on the beach, sampling, brand ambassadors and Partner Promotions — how we’ve been showcasing products and services for the past 15 years.

Got his number.
Got his Text.
Got his email.
Got a Prospect.

Next time you’re on vacation (or not) follow your dream and see where it takes you.

You might be surprised.

Writing from the road in sunny Puerto Rico,

Dear New Year, Bring it On!

I’m always excited about possibility and my senses are keenly aware of the expansion that’s forthcoming in 2015.  Not just for me and my business, but for my friends and family, and fellowpreneurs I don’t even know yet.

Every year I like to look at highlights of my life in a visual timetable. I’ve borrowed this concept from one of my speech coaches because I’m nervous of forgetting important topics on stage.  We’re not presenting (except to ourselves) so I love this exercise to identify life events and business accomplishments.

Here’s a portion of my timeline for 2014 – want to draw one for yourself?

(Click to View Larger)

(Click to View Larger)

January – Lived in a ski house, seaside furnished apartment and Puerto Rico.

February – Worked from the slopes. Triple time on weekends.

March – Moved in to my farmhouse – I love it! A bittersweet time in my life.

April – Traveled to Prague and Budapest. Got pampered. Really fell in love.

May – Grateful for 3 new clients and writing projects.

June – Wonderful recruiting project.

July – Finished my first children’s book. Family time. Working at the island and Rye Beach.

August – Super busy with client work.

September – Woo Hoo!  The team is cranking! Speaking gigs, articles and panels.

October – Expo talk, trips to NY, birthday love, VIP days.

November – Hiring to fill positions – VIP days.

December – Big expansion plans  Great referrals Family time  Holiday surprises.

Late December – Booking new work, webinars and FUN for 2015!

Remember, you can add whatever events or accomplishments you like to your own timetable.  They can be words or images. Simple or complicated. Pictures or photos. If you create a digital version, it can have links or music or…

In reality, this is a visual map you’ve created for yourself, much like a PR or Promotions Business Building Map we create with clients (with your goals in mind)!

It’s no surprise that I love to schedule my life around my business and am blessed with a talented team to help me get there. I’ve never been a 9 to 5 er, but I can work like the dickens!

When you buy your new calendar, fill in your vacations first, even if it’s just an idea. Then plan your work around it. Writing your dreams on paper is the first step toward making it happen. Then, keep writing.  

Wishing You Happiness, Health and Prosperity in 2015.

PS –Thoughts really can turn into reality. And, it’s all possible. Share your big hopes for 2015 below.

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.

It was my birthday yesterday, and what a beautiful day it was!  I was whisked away on a mystery trip, the weather was unseasonably warm and there was a day of surprises planned — including dinner on Federal Hill. Delightful all the way around!

When I travel and am in relaxation mode, I can’t help but notice – and perhaps you do too – marketing messages that are simple, clever and well placed… and sometimes surprising. (Can you tell I like surprises?)

Kudos to the Marriot Courtyard in downtown Providence for setting an outstanding example. I’ve traveled all over the country (and many parts of the world) and haven’t seen an elevator pitch like this (yet).  Unexpected marketing and PR that made me smile. A full door ad for ‘Game On’ which featured the hotel’s football events at the bar – not to be seen till the door closed. Now that’s an elevator pitch!

There’s a learning lessons here. Wasted space is a matter of opinion and any marketer can take advantage of this opportunity. One printing company I was particularly fond of had advertising on the roofs of their delivery vehicles, so clients in tall buildings could be reminded of their brand. Heinz Ketchup uses space on their labels for cause related marketing and to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. Pockets of space in the right place can have promotional value, but we have to be willing to go beyond what we first see as possibilities.

There are hundreds of examples of clever and functional promotional space opportunities that go unnoticed every day. Up next, branded tissues with ads for cough drops? Something to sneeze at?

YOUR TURN

What have you seen as clever places for advertising?

Are you using non-traditional branding opportunities that work for your niche service or product?

Do you feel invaded by ‘spot promotional advertising’ or enjoy the clever approach?

Love that we can express ourselves through creativity.  In my world there’s no such thing as crazy. Sometimes a variation of that works!

Wishing you the best, and thanks for all the Birthday love,

Robin

I’m blessed to work with clients who want to increase their visibility and take their message to the next level.  They understand that public speaking – or speaking from the stage – allows them an opportunity to reach a bigger audience, have more impact and connect on a deeper and more personal level. 
 
That said, many speakers who haven’t had the privilege to work with Toastmasters, or practice with a private coach or mentor, may feel anxious in front of a room and stop themselves by not sharing their message because of fear of going blank, looking stupid or freezing on stage. I’ve had all those fears and  still take a deep breath and ground myself (as best as possible) before every presentation.  
 
Yes, it does get easier after every speech – and with practice – but it’s always helpful to learn speaker success secrets along the way.  Here are a few I’d like to share:
 
5 Speaker Tips to Take You to the Top

  1. Divide the room into three, and pick one person in each section to look at. This will allow you to connect eye to eye with at least 3 people in the audience, but also give you an opportunity to scan the room.  Think of each of these three people as your friends. They like you.  They want you to succeed. Let them feel that.
  2. Put some energy into your smile. Showcase your personality. Even if you feel like you’re ‘putting it on’,  overdeliver.  Audiences typically have chosen to hear you and want to see that you’re not only an expert, but also enjoy your topic, are informative and in some cases, entertaining. You can be a boring speaker, or an upbeat one. Ask me, I’ll tell you that upbeat trumps boring, any day of the week.
  3. Have a kick to your step. When you walk on stage, come in from the side of the room (so people aren’t looking at your backside, lovely as that may be). Let the audience know you’re enthusiastic about speaking to them. Movement, except jiggling change in pockets, helps a speaker relax and look more experienced as they address the audience from different angles of the room.
  4. Go with the flow.  I once spoke in front of 200 people and the wrong presentation came up on screen. At first I was horrified, then laughed and acknowledged my shock to the audience.  I’m grateful that they laughed too, seeing my vulnerability. The moment of truth came, I showed up fully and got 3 new clients.  Phew!
  5. Give to the audience. Offer to share your presentation. Promote a special offer to connect with them on social media.  Ask for their support  — you’ve got the stage!  This may be the first time you personally engage with them, but it doesn’t have to be the last. Remember that members  of your audience could one day be prospects or clients – and refer you to other revenue generating activities.

Above all, be grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to be in front of a willing audience who is there to hear your message. Practice does make perfect, but you’ll never  know your full potential and power  if you don’t put yourself out there.  

YOUR TURN:

Do you practice a ‘lucky’ routine before every speaking engagement? Care to share?
Who is your favorite at home audience? Your iPhone, kids, or BFF?  
How do you pamper yourself before and after a speech?  

Speak your truth, share your voice, and show up 100%.

Whenever I’m working with a new client, I love to ask a simple question:

Tell me 10 things I don’t know about you.

When I ask, there’s always a pause.  Clients want to know why I want to know. The answer is always the same. Because, it makes you different, it makes you, you — and no one else, that’s why.

Now, there’s typically some resistance, but I want it to be a creative experience for them. And, to be honest, I love reading about what people don’t put ‘out there’ for the public to see. There’s also another reason — it makes for interesting bio and signature material (and so much more).

If I had to tell you  five things you (probably) don’t know about me, they might be:

  • I stayed up all night long as a little girl trying to earn the most Girl Scout badges because the deadline was the next day
  • I got lost in a white out in the Italian Alps with my mother and a group of her friends and luckily found a mountainside tavern – for a shot of grappa
  • I owned a metallic green Checker Cab with opera windows, which I loved beyond words
  • I was stranded in a snow storm for days and had to be picked up by a doctor with Emergency clearance
  • I had a restaurant lobby stand in Boston’s Chinatown and called it Robbie’s Lobby. I remember it well and not just for the line down Kneeland Street for the fish chowder on Friday’s!

All of this might not mean a hill of beans to you — except that it might make you think about your own life and what you may have forgotten or what may be interesting to other people — to sprinkle in stories, bios, speeches, profiles and conversations when you are engaging others.

What we do in our lives makes us human! And fun! And not so boring, in case you think you lead a boring life.  Moi? Not a chance.

Your Turn

What are a few things that I don’t know about you?

Are your accomplishments ho hum really, or are you just shy? Toot your own horn here!

If you don’t own your greatness, then for goodness sakes, who will!?

RSI Crazy ClientsI wish I could tell you that business was always a breeze and a field of roses scented my office day after day.  Though I do love roses, and even more appreciate them as a gift (hint hint) the flourishing fields of commerce (and e-commerce) sometimes brings a client or two that don’t fit into even the most flexible of plans and makes you wonder why you agreed to work with them in the first place.

Here are 3 Important Lessons Crazy Clients Teach You

  1. Make sure you have a signed document which outlines your work. This could be a contract, agreement or Statement of Work which clearly identifies your role and responsibilities, deadlines and payment terms. In marketing and PR, best efforts should always be made and clearly stated, but there are of course no guarantees. Coaching typically involves participation from the other party, and if there’s no participation, it’s not your fault if the campaign or project goes bust.
  2. Establish Boundaries from the GetGo. In an effort to win clients, in the beginning especially, we may cross boundaries we shouldn’t. That may look like getting sucked into someone’s story, over-delivering, not valuing your own time or profit model, or accepting calls or demands at night, and service within 24 hours. Yes, we are available as PR and Marketing specialists, experts and communicators for the media – I like to say 23/7, but not for crazy clients who can easily leave a message and receive a call back at 8am the next day. Texting tyrants are annoying, as are repeated hang ups on your cell phone when you’re sleeping. We’re not in high school here.
  3. Learn How to Fire a Client. If we’re forecasting and expecting to meet certain revenue projections, we sometimes take clients that we know may be – a little off. I’ve witnessed some hairy scenes from out of balance/scary clients at events and a couple of my own – who not only shocked me (hard to do) but also took their aggression out on me, because a nerve was struck on an emotional wound. Remember to be your best, we sometimes look to the past to see why we’re not sharing our best. That said, I should have listened to my gut and ended the client/consultant/coach relationship. Big lesson learned there.

On a positive note, crazy clients also afford you the opportunity to see how to grow personally and professionally, to see what you missed and how to be a better communicator and implementer.

My clients are from all walks of life.  They each have gifts to share and interesting and varied backgrounds. The common denominator is that they want to be noticed and give back.

Truthfully, we found each other. My mission is to help them get to the next level, and they to mine.

 

I’ve come to realize that people are afraid to be themselves for fear of rejection, ridicule, shame, loss, and not being liked. I’ve been there, done that as a teenager and as a young adult. I’m sure that if you looked back at your own life, you may have had the same fears.

Fast forward to now.

The reason I love helping entrepreneurs, experts and professionals be true to themselves in marketing and PR — to gain more visibility and business — is because taking the time to listen to who you are is quite beautiful, and in fact, sexy.

  1. You are the real deal, the big kahuna.  Those that should be attracted to you (in business and in life) will be, for the right reason. Clients, prospects, partners and friends. They’ll like you, love you and sometimes leave you. Hint: it’s always about them, not you.
  2. It’s exhausting to be someone you’re not and try to remember who you’re supposed to be. If you’re an actor, you’ll find this easy to do. If you’ve chosen other work as an entrepreneur, business owner, expert or professional, it may be more difficult. You don’t have to read a script to know who you are.
  3. You’re living life according to your true core values. You are who you are and without a manufactured ‘front’ you’re quite appealing aka sexy. If you know anything about energy, there’s a sparkle to those that are true to themselves.  Some call it certainty, knowingness or being grounded. Certainty is confidence in my book, and that’s sexy. Passion is a plus!
  4. We’re taught to be perfect in everything we do, and in doing so, we often pretend.  When we truly relax in our head and bodies, our fight or flight responses shut down. When we’re able to stop pretending, and just be, it’s very inviting and welcoming. Yes, it’s being vulnerable, but that’s sexy too.
  5. Learn the art of not caring what others think. It takes some practice, but it’s actually quite invigorating and often a huge burden off your shoulders. Do the best you can, and call it a day. We’re humans. We make mistakes, say stupid things and do brilliant work, not all at the same time. There’s a certain charisma when you’re comfortable with yourself. Almost automatically, confidence and charisma knock at the door.

Being sexy is a mindset. Authenticity is a choice. Blend both together and you’ve got some big time attraction going on.

 

RSI PR waveSummer in New England is the most fantastic of times, especially when you’re a guest at a magnificent beach house near Weekapaug, Rhode Island. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be relaxing for a few days with friends and enjoying fresh oysters from the pond, lobsters that were harvested hours earlier and a new mussel recipe, that I’m happy to share!

Vacationing doesn’t mean that you have to stop all PR efforts while you’re riding actual waves – it just means knowing how to capitalize on current PR and extending it to maximize exposure, especially if you’ve got some good press going on.  And, what’s great is that you can ride the PR Wave whether the sea is flat, or it’s a surfer’s dream.

3 Ways to Ride the PR Wave

  1. Quoted? Make sure you’re noted!  If you’ve had the good fortune of being quoted in the media – whether it’s in a newspaper, blog or article, make sure to share that mention as part of your own PR plan.  Quoted content is better than any advertising – it comes from an outside source.  Share notable links on LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook or other social media channels you’ve designated as part of your PR and marketing campaign. Be sure to vary it up, and don’t post the same material on all media, at the same time.  It takes a few extra minutes, but it’s worth it!
  2. Add Expert Content to Your Press Room. If you have a website and are proud of your accomplishments, you may want to build or add to your press room, or a media room as it’s sometimes called.  When you’re ‘in the news’ you can showcase your story and why you’re an expert – from the media’s viewpoint. Ask permission to use logos from selected media to jazz up visuals, and don’t be afraid to feature video, radio, podcasts, articles, sections of white papers you’ve created or presentations. It’s not bragging, it’s sharing!
  3. Keep Your Clients and Prospects up to date. We’re all so busy with projects and planning for the future that we often don’t stay in touch with our client base as much as we should.  That’s a lost business opportunity in some ways because out of sight may mean out of mind. Create a postcard (and send via snail mail) of a recent press success with a special offer, and target those you want to be ‘in the know’. Monthly communication via direct mail, email campaigns, phone calls, lunch appointments, birthday cards, and networking meetings are but a few of the fantastic ways to share your good news, build business and share opportunities to help others.

PR is all about putting your best foot forward, and positioning your product or service in a way that helps you stand out from the crowd.  It’s creating messaging why you or your product may be a better choice to help solve a client’s problem.

This summer, heck this year, ride the PR wave with confidence.

YOUR TURN

Where have you been noted recently and how have you shared that content to make a splash?

Besides social media, what other innovative ways have you used to broadcast media mention?

How many of you have a press room, and what are you most proud of?

5 WAY TO GO FROMThere must be a time clock in my body that screams ‘be invisible’ around the 4th of July. It lasts about two weeks and happens when I go to my island house on Lake Winnipesauke. My kids and their friends come to visit, I connect (multiple times) with my favorite internet techs for service, and generally enjoy time off without guilt, remorse or worry.

That of course doesn’t mean I’m not conducting business, or having important calls helping clients with their Grammy® nominations, developing signature speech campaigns for authors, or reviewing social media strategy and training for bloggers. It just means business and life take on a different feel in the summer — while rain storms rock the boat, chipmunks sneak a rub by my feet on the porch, and a sea of colorful beach towels dry on a line.

Scheduled time out is important for rejuvenating PR, Marketing and Visibility. It’s as important to disconnect, as it is to connect. That said, I wanted to share some insight.

Here are 5 Ways to Go from Invisible to Visible and Still Enjoy the Summer:

  1. Plan PR and marketing campaigns and tasks in advance with your team. This sounds like a no brainer, but if we don’t communicate, how will we everyone know what’s going on? Put marketing and social media on auto-pilot as best as possible, schedule conference calls or video skype appointments early or later in the day, and get-er-done while getting tan.
  2. Challenge yourself to read email only twice a day. If you’re a recovering perfectionist or work hound, it may be difficult to do. But try it. You’d be surprised at how many people are working less, but still in touch at the office. In fact, announce your policy in advance of a vacation, and to those who are resistant, repeat often.
  3. Be accessible by cell phone and text more often. Being flexible in how the media, your clients, prospects and colleagues contact you gives them comfort in knowing you’re there, and you won’t let them down. As much as I love to talk on the phone, sometimes island reception isn’t all that wonderful, but a text always gets through.
  4. Review your swipe files and brainstorm/write new concepts at least partially. You’ll be surprised at the good ideas you have while on vacation, or driving a boat or talking to someone who seems interesting. It’s summertime here in New England and CEO’s as well as well-heeled prospects all dress down. Remember, we meet people for all different reasons, and they just could be the conduit for your next promotion or biggest sale of the year.
  5. Don’t forget about pitching to the media. It doesn’t matter if it’s 85 degrees or not. There’s always an opening for a good story, a comment on what’s happening in the news, a contrary opinion to what’s going on in your industry or an opportunity to connect with a reporter who has an open spot in his/her editorial calendar now, or 3 – 4 months out. Say hello. Send a postcard. Be seen, heard and known.

YOUR TURN

Is being MIA a guilty pleasure for you? Why?

How do your prolong your summer schedule, without losing momentum in your business?

What are your secrets for balancing home, family and business — especially when it’s vacation time?

Please share your answers below.

I’ve been living on an island for over 30 years, and despite the challenges, I love summers here.

I just wish my cell phone got frequent flier miles. I’d use them to go surfing in Puerto Rico next year.