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.

One of my clients, Lidia Kenig Scher is a transformational artist who heals through vibrational painting. Last month, a student and major collector of her art, offered to host a holiday party and silent auction in her honor to help Delibreen, an 18-month old boy who was badly burned in Iraq and flown to Shriner’s Hospital.

Lidia’s intention all along was to give a portion of the proceeds to help the little boy – but we added another layer. We decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to raise money, feature the cause and offer Lidia’s artwork as incentive for donors to give.

I’ve never created a GoFundMe campaign before, but I announced it at a presentation last week. Within minutes, Phill Naylor, a videographer from XtraLargeMedia offered to shoot the 2-minute introduction and Diane Debs from Arbonne made a pledge to donate healing baby products. I was touched and not surprised, at the same time.

What will this accomplish for Lidia, Shriners Hospital for Children, Baby Delibreen and all of the benefactors supporting the cause? Lots.

Lidia will paint from the heart and give away her artwork in return for donations to help Baby Delibreen. Shriners Hospital will benefit from the goodwill and publicity. Baby Delibreen and his family will receive funds, kindness and the generosity from others. Phill will have produced a meaningful video, Diane will have given healing products to a boy in need, and Lidia’s art collector and devoted student will know that her efforts to help were valued in contributions — far greater than her own circle, from strangers around the world.  Who knew this baby and why was he here in Boston?

You see, things happen and when faced with what we don’t know – the right people show up to help us.

There is a path to gratitude and goodness. Teach your children and the young that this is the way to heal the world.

I wanted to share an article I wrote about sponsoring events, as it’s often a great way to get eyeballs and you know what in seats. I published it a while back, but the content is just as valid today as it was then. Hope you enjoy!

As you may already know, sponsorship opportunities can be a cost-effective way to build equity in your company’s brand, which in turn helps drive increased market share, mind share, sales, revenues and profits.

However, while sponsorships can be very rewarding – whether by lending your company name to an event, participating as a joint venture partner/underwriter, or through any other vehicle – it’s wise to “look before you leap” and ask yourself these 7 questions to help ensure that the effort is a win for everyone involved:

  1. “Is this a good fit for us?” Evaluate the fit between the sponsorship opportunity and your company’s mission and goals. There should be clear alignment.
  1. “Will we reach the right people?” As with any marketing idea or project, you want to ensure that this sponsorship opportunity will let you engage the right target audience for where your company is right now in its strategic marketing plan.
  1. “Can we make this happen?” Despite you and your team’s best intentions and efforts, you need to take into consideration a number of logistical, financial and administrative factors, including: timing, expense, logistics, workload, and staff. Think with you head AND your heart!
  1. “What kind of support is available?” Do some research on the event organizers to see what kind of support is available. Will they co-produce marketing material to offset your costs? Can they give you access to discounted media rates? It’s also a good idea to ask for testimonials from other satisfied sponsors.
  1. “Who will we be up against?” Find out which other brands are involved in the event, and if there are any speakers (e.g. workshops, lectures, etc.). Pay particular attention on whether any of these people might enhance or, in some cases, may detract or damage your brand.
  1. “How many people will we connect with?” Find out how many people have registered, and whether there’s a guarantee on the number who will attend. Also look into how the event is being promoted, and whether your company will be featured as part of that effort.
  1. “What’s the ROI?” While there are many different ways to measure ROI (much to the bane of some CFOs out there), the important thing to confirm is that there is, in fact, an ROI that makes sense per your strategic marketing plan. For example, if your goal is to increase top-of-funnel leads by 15% next quarter, then see how the potential sponsorship opportunity supports that. Or, if your priority is to increase brand recognition by 20% among your key demographic, then evaluate the opportunity through that lens. Whatever your goal, the point here is that you want to think about ROI before you commit to sponsoring – not after.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, all 7 questions above point to one clear piece of advice: do your homework! That doesn’t mean you should spend weeks or months analyzing every potential sponsorship opportunity. However, it does mean that it’s clearly in your best interest to position your brand for maximum success – and that includes measuring results and conducting a “lessons learned” after each event, so that you’re constantly getting better at the sponsorship game, year after year.

If you’ve ever walked into a room and sensed a tense energy, I’m sure you’ve also seen this body language; arms crossed, polite but stiff interaction and most probably, limited eye to eye communication. Most people look at others but not into their eyes.

Is it because our eyes are the window to the soul?

We can all improve our body language and the way we communicate, which eventually could change or influence certain outcomes.  It could also improve our sales and marketing!

Michael Michalowicz, author and business mentor who writes for American Express Open Forum, outlines best body language practices for selling in 7 Body Language Tips to Help You Sell. He says that body language can kill a deal, and 90% of our communication is non-verbal.  You knew that, right? Tips to show our more confident selves? Slow down, practice the 3 C’s (be cool, calm and collected) and for heaven’s sakes, don’t touch your face, scratch your ears or rub your eyes. It could be a sign that you’re lying.

In this PositivityBlog article by Henrick Edberg, 18 Ways to Improve Your Body Language the author gives, you guessed it, 18 ways to change up the way you present yourself to show more confidence and appear more agreeable, even if you don’t agree! Some suggestions? If you’re in a conversation, mirror each other’s actions but not to the point of being weird, sit with a wider stance to look more comfortable in your own skin, and lower your drink holding it below your heart to look less guarded!

And finally, in CareerOverview.com, we have a comprehensive list of 50 Body Language Secrets. I’ll list some of the don’ts to see if you’re at fault.

Avoid these Negative Body Language Actions

Don’t:

  • Scrunch your forehead
  • Walk away while you’re talking
  • Tap your feet
  • Yawn or cough (it shows you’re bored)
  • Or, clench your fist

I’ve been in more than a few sales calls, meetings and workshops where I’ve witnessed a collection of these actions, all during the sales process. No one’s perfect, but be mindful of your body. Love it and learn what its’ language means.

After all, the right body language not only influences people, but can help you attract the man/woman of your dreams.

PS – Lots of speaking gigs coming up for me this Spring and I’m excited to be presenting more. This week, I got a Direct Message on Twitter asking me to apply as a Speaker for a big social media convention in April. Social Media works but you have to be in it to win it!

  1. Do you know your audience? It’s important to know who you’re pitching and what they want. Don’t sell ice to an Eskimo living in Hawaii unless they own an ice making business! What’s your big vision and does it fit with who’s buying?  Think it through on paper and make sure it works!
  2. Are you passionate about your idea? Passion makes a big difference in presenting a concept and often, enthusiasm is lost if there’s a publicist or hired gun doing the talking. If you’re the presenter, make sure you have positive energy and communicate with a high vibration. It shows not only in the voice, but also in the body. Twinkling eyes are a bonus!
  3. How professional are you? Professionalism is critical not just in writing, but in delivering. For Good Morning America, Tory needs to know without a doubt that the company presenting is totally operational and can deliver great customer service – even if the company is tiny! Talk the talk and believe it yourself!
  4. Are you prepared? Many entrepreneurs want ‘it’ to happen, but aren’t ready and launch discussions prematurely. If you’re overly excited and not ready with all the facts and figures, there’s a chance you may lose an opportunity and be passed over by someone who’s got their ducks in a row. When you speak up – be ready!
  5. Will you leave a positive or negative impression? Often negative impressions are longer lasting than positive ones. Make it a point to practice your pitch not only in front of a mirror, but test it with people who’ll give you honest feedback. If the feedback is similar from all parties – it doesn’t mean you’re bad, it just means that you need to tweak your pitch!
  6. Are you crystal clear? When it’s your moment to shine, be crystal clear about who you are and what you’re offering. A confused mind never buys and certainly won’t put you on Good Morning America. Again, clarity comes from practice.  At our last SBANE meeting (Smaller Business Association of New England), we talked about this article from Forbes on public speaking lessons from the world’s greatest Ted Talks. It’s worth reading.
  7. How about your confidence? Competence and confidence go hand in hand. Sometimes, we get nervous when there’s a big opportunity and ask for what we want. Frankly, it’s silly because we KNOW OUR STUFF. You might get lucky and who you pitch may be gentle and work it out of you, but that’s not always the case. Go for it. Be confident or you may lose the opportunity if you’re weak in your presentation.
  8. Are you concise and to the point? Tory told the audience she has three minutes on-air to sell five products. So, a thirty minute lunch for her with a prospective entrepreneur is out of the question. She suggests networking and practicing your elevator pitch for brevity – so others can repeat it in a sentence.

You might not know it, but you pitch on a daily basis. Keep it simple. Practice passionately. And, deliver from your heart.

Twinkling is a bonus, especially this time of year.

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

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,

Happy Tuesday!

This is one of those weeks of the year where you’re half in, mostly out – and hopefully spending time with those you care about, and those who care about you. I know I am! And, I feel blessed to have friends, family and a community who have a special place in my heart.

This will be the last Robin’s Rainmakers for 2014! Can you believe this year is almost over? I can’t help but feel that we all probably have one leg in the old, one leg in the New Year. This Robin’s Rainmakers will reflect that feeling with one article that looks ahead to 2015, one article to hopefully inspire you to work on your website as it did for me and one article to help you prepare for things when they’re not so great (aka, a crisis of some sort perhaps an opportunity in disguise).

First up, the article 7 Public Relations Trends To Watch in 2015 by Brian Greene for PRNews, highlights seven trends to watch. You and I both know ‘predicting’ anything is just that – predicting – yet it might help you focus in the first few months of 2015. I especially like the ‘real-time marketing’ and ‘more visual content’ (keep a look out for my videos)!

If you’re going to do anything work related this winter break (if you’re so lucky to get one), read this article 6 ‘About Us’ Pages That Are Probably Better Than Yours by Sonja Jacob for HubSpot and evaluate your own ‘About Me’ page. This might be a great time to get a fresh new page up on your site to start 2015 of with a bang. I love the ideas in this piece and love to be inspired!

Last but not least, Fight or Flight: Responding to a PR Crisis by Stacey Hood for SpinSucks discusses how to respond (because you can’t – or shouldn’t ignore an online crisis) in a negative PR situation. Use the lessons here to build a social policy and as my Dad always told me, “Robin, make lemonade out of those lemons”.

I hope you’ll be enjoying your holidays with family and friends. I wish you magical days, rest and relaxation, and of course a Happy New Year!