Let’s face it. We all want attention. Some more than others.

But, if you’re a small business owner or executive on the rise, you want to be sure to get attention — to boost your image, gain credibility and be noticed for the expert you really are.  Here’s how:

7 Easy Ways to Get Attention without Selling Your Soul

  1. Make your email signature count. Whether you send 10 or 200 emails a day, your email signature tells a story – of who you are and how you think of yourself. Do you include multiple forms of contact, Skype information and time zone?  Are you offering your latest free report or a chapter in your newest book? How about logos of top associations you’re affiliated with? Put together your signature and personalize it to your brand and story. Stand out!
  2. Have a favorite reporter or editor in your industry? Why not set up a Google Alert to see what top reporters are up to? Once you get the ‘heads up’, you can decide the next course of action. Send a personal note? Small gift? Or, a Congratulations email?  Better yet – “I just saw this article (add link) and wanted to let you know I think it’s so on point“ (or however you feel). You’ll make an impression!
  3. One size doesn’t fit all. When writing to reporters, make sure your pitch is unique – at least the first paragraph. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but take time to research who you’re pitching and the types of stories they write. Customize each email as best as possible so they don’t look like they’re canned. Even if reporters don’t use your story, a well thought out and targeted pitch often goes in a file to be saved, not the trash.
  4. Spread good news. Been featured in the media? Awesome! Now share the love and use your own social media platforms to tell your audience. Use the same articles or excerpts in newsletters, presentations, notes to prospects, online media kits …and the list goes on. Market yourself as an expert and be a good promoter too!
  5. Be a Guest Blogger. If you like to write, consider being a Guest Blogger for other websites where your opinion counts. Say you’re an image consultant. Your expertise can be valued on a banking or real estate website as well as your own.  And, once is contact is made there are opportunities to connect even deeper. Don’t forget as an author that you’ll need a 50 word byline and bio – and hey, what about adding a link to your free report?
  6. Keep your website up to date. It’s been said we’re 9 months ahead of our website, and some of us lightyears! If you have a word press site, it’s easier to update more often – and by ourselves – with recent awards, testimonials and photos. Make sure your ABOUT page sings your praises. Note to self, include a monthly maintenance check too for those annoying broken links.
  7. Give attention without expecting it in return. I’m amazed at my community of giving professionals, small business owners and entrepreneurs and all their friendship. Giving comes in kind words, referrals, opportunities and forwarded emails, and everything in between. Givers get noticed, and chances are – that one time gift isn’t a random act.

I hope these tips help you as you build your business and get recognized for who you are.

There are hundreds more I talk about and teach to small business owners just like you!

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!

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.

Every month we’re featuring a guest blogger who writes on a topic I think you’d be interested in as a small business owner, entrepreneur or professional who wants to increase their company’s recognition, awareness level or leadership position – and maximize their marketing and PR dollars for promotional ROI.

Today’s blog article is from my client, Robert Rebholz, Co-founder of www.WeSellVisibility.com and industry insider who sells promotional products with ‘zing’ for not that much ‘ca-ching’.

Robert uses his talent for writing and takes advantage of that in his branding to keep in touch with customers, tell a story and make it entertaining.  You definitely want to check out his ‘Pick of the Week’, especially if you buy promo products and hate the SOSO (same old same old) — or any mistakes!

The ABC’s of Buying Promotional Products – by Robert Rebholz  

Promotional products, (also called swag, giveaways, tchotchkes, bling, premiums,) can be a very effective and cost efficient way to advertise and promote your business. And here’s why:

  • 80% of consumers own between 1 and 10 promotional products
  • 60% keep them for up to 2 years
  • 53% use a promotional product at least once a week or more often
  • 88% of people who have received a promo item recalled the advertiser for up to 12 months after receiving the item
  • 62% of these people recalled the advertiser’s message

Studies show only 71% of people can recall an ad they saw in a newspaper or magazine from the week before!

Here’s the point I want you to take away:  this stuff works, people hang onto it, and they use it.

A promotional item does not have to be expensive to be effective. It does need to be useful. Useful items are retained, and that’s what you want as an advertiser.

But, what’s useful? Well, that depends on where you want to be remembered.

Do you want to be remembered in the office? Then think about items like notebooks, sticky pads, pens, desk accessories, wall calendars.

Do you want to be remembered in the home? Then you would consider things like kitchen utensils, magnetic memo boards for the fridge, tote bags, coasters, BBQ tools.

Interested in items that can work anywhere? Think about cell phone chargers, USB drives, water bottles, umbrellas, caps and T-shirts. (Note) Notebooks and sticky notes work everywhere.

Think about who you are going to give this stuff to and what they would find useful.

Alright, you’ve thought about all of the above. You’ve decided you can use promotional products to advertise your business. Here’s what you need to know about buying these items:

  • All items will have a minimum purchase quantity. On less expensive items that minimum might be 100 to 250 pieces. Sometimes you can buy less than the minimum but you’ll be surcharged.
  • All items will have a maximum imprint area. That’s the largest available area for imprinting your logo. The point is — don’t try to print everything about your company on the side of a pen. It won’t work.

It’s also good to know about industry terms and what they mean:

Artwork (that’s what the industry calls your logo or whatever design you’re going to put on your promo item), needs to be in the proper format. The universal format for promo items is what’s called “vector art.” It’s too complicated to go into it here but vector art is a high resolution file that won’t distort and will print clearly. Jpeg, tiff and giff files won’t work. If your logo isn’t in “vector art,” spend the money to get it created in this format.

Colors There are “spot” colors (think of one or two distinct colors on a T-shirt design), and there is “full color process” (think of a refrigerator magnet that looks like a full color photo). When you see the catalog price for an item it includes the first color. Every color you add is going to cost extra.

Set up is the charge to prepare your artwork for whatever process is being used to imprint your item.

Time One of the problems with technology is that we’ve all become accustomed to instant everything.

The problem is that this is a manufacturing process and it takes time. Most products will take somewhere between 7 to 10 business days to produce. Add to that the shipping time. Many of the industry suppliers are located in California and that’s 5 days by ground to the East coast or less, depending on where your business is located. Allow yourself a good 2 to 3 weeks to have your order produced and shipped.

Proof  A proof is a virtual representation of what your design is going to look like on your product. Always insist on a proof and always go over it with a fine toothed comb. The last thing you want is for your 1,000 pens to arrive with a typo!

What can go wrong?  Everything!

The two areas where a project can go wrong are artwork and time. Have your logo (in several  versions) in the proper format before you start your order. Give yourself enough time to deal with any glitches that might come up.

And now, a quick word or two about pricing.

You can get pretty much any promotional product through an on-line distributor. Their prices are often lower than what a local distributor might be able to show you. They work on huge volumes and small margins. If you know exactly what you want and don’t need any help, this might be the way to go. If you need advice and guidance you should go with a local distributor. As someone famous once said, “you get what you pay for.”

You now know:

  • Promotional products work as a way to advertise and brand your company.
  • Pick something that’ s useful to your target audience
  • Have your logo (in several acceptable to you versions) prepared in the proper format well before you begin the ordering.
  • Give yourself enough time

If you stick to these guidelines you will have a successful promotional product campaign.

Thanks to Robert for sharing this mini course on premiums and promotional products. With over 30 years’ experience as a marketer and helping businesses ‘getting noticed’, you’ll always get solid advice and be in good hands! 

RSI RainsApril showers bring May flowers — in your yard and sometimes in your business. Showers come unexpectedly and rain dampens the best intentions of a well thought out plan. What’s a small business owner, expert or marketer to do when it rains, or worse downpours on all your hard work?

Plan(t)!

PPrepare for the worst and expect the best. I once had a boss who insisted we bring 40 bricks to an event in case the wind was blowing and we needed to secure sponsor table skirts. It seemed over the top at the time, but the lesson was learned and we saved them for a ‘rainy day’. I know they’ll come in handy for that yellow brick road…

L Listen to your intuition. More than a handful of times, I’ve been swayed to make a decision to ‘save the day’, but the decision was based on someone else’s vision of what the outcome should be. If you’re ‘saving your day’, make your decision based on your inner guidance. Czech in (I’m in Prague, couldn’t resist), be open and surrender to what reveals itself next.

AAsk a mentor. Many of us have been blessed with a mentor, or a group of colleagues that we trust. If you’re in a pickle, and it’s not so sweet, be brave, be vulnerable and ask for help. There’s a certain calm that comes with asking and temporarily stopping the swirl. The answer may not be what you want to hear, but it may be what you need to know.

NNever forget that today too shall pass. When the bottom is falling out, keep the pieces together by staying in focus, working off a list and remembering that in less than 18 hours, you can go to bed and tomorrow will be a new day. A new day and a new dawn, coupled with some sleep, recharge even the weariest souls.

TThink about your role in this snafu. Do you believe that in some way we’re creatures of our own cause and effect? There’s a great lesson to be learned when we reflect upon our own behavior and how it impacts our personal and business bottom line. We typically attract what happens to us and in some of the most bizarre ways, it serves us and mirrors our beliefs.

Rainy days are inevitable, as are storms – in life and in business. It’s your strategy for weathering the storm that makes the difference, and whether you bring your boots on the journey.

YOUR TURN

If it rains on your business for what seems like 10 days, how do you not get soaked?

Are you a believer in ‘if it rains it pours?’ If so, what have you learned from the downpour?

What shift is necessary to turn a downpour into a flood of opportunity?

Please share your answers below.

Do you remember your first visit to NYC? Were you in awe? Overwhelmed? Excited by the buzz?

Last week, I took my 14 year old niece to NYC for some holiday magic and together time. It was our first trip alone — outside of going to our lake house in NH. She had her first massage, her first ride on NYC’s subway system, attended her first Broadway play (Matilda) and we shopped till we dropped. Think of the world’s largest H & M store in Times Square + having Auntie Robin at your side!

Here’s a picture of us as we headed toward the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center. On all floors, what a view of the city! Even my cousin, who is an up and coming casting director, had never seen the view from the 70th floor!

Shopping and the Arts aside – both of which I enjoy – the focus I’m writing about is not just about ‘good times’, but first impressions. They’re important to think about as part of your personal and business brand, marketing and PR plan and voice as a professional, small business owner or entrepreneur.

When you meet someone for the first time, do you leave a good impression? When someone visits your website or talks with you after a presentation, what are their first impressions? Are you aware of what you do, or don’t do that attracts them or makes them pass you by?

Here are 5 Thoughts on Making a Good Impression:

  1. Be your charming self, and no one else.
  2. Stay focused on who you’re talking with.
  3. Make people feel comfortable.
  4. Engage your audience with stories and connect on their level.
  5. Keep it simple and warm and real.

YOUR TURN

What do you think is important in making a good impression?

How do you know if your first impression is successful?

If you’ve messed up, do you fess up? Or just move on?

Let me know what works for you — we can all learn from each other.

I’ve never been a techy kind of gal, but appreciate technology and the bells and whistles of innovative products and services, especially ones that make my life (and business) easier!

This week, I’d like to share two websites and platforms that piqued my interest:

The first is www.paper.li. It’s a forum where you can create an online newspaper in minutes, and automatically find and publish articles as well as photos and videos from the web. I’m in the process of test driving it now, and what I love is the collection of information based on what my preferences are. This customized ‘stream’ could be used to reach out to my audience and deliver insightful news, data and stories about PR, visibility, branding, speaking, getting your message out there, and so on. I’m thrilled to have heard about this from Janet Powers at the Women’s Tool Box, of which I’m a supporter.

Next on my list to try, is the free app builder at www.AppsBar.com. Although I haven’t had the time yet to create my own app (perhaps over the Thanksgiving holiday I will), my contact Rebecca told me they have 500,000 users already. They’ve also been awarded the People’s Choice Stevie Award in 2013 for the new tech company of the year. I love that there’s a step by step process for non-geeks like me. I laugh knowing – for real – that my teenage nieces could out-app me in record time!

Everyday there’s something to learn. If I can implement a new strategy or share it with someone who can benefit from my findings, I’m happy to share. Isn’t that the point of a collaborative environment.

Fess up! What techy treats are you hiding on your smart phone or other savvy device that will help the small business owner or entrepreneur?

Whether you spill the beans or not, send me a note when you build an app or start an online newspaper geared to your audience. I’ll probably be impressed.

People and ideas generally amaze me. I love that about life.

I hope you are all safe and sound from the storm, with the comforts of home and office at your disposal.

Each week, I respond to a handful or two of press inquiries, and was featured recently in CEO Blog Nation, a community hub featuring niche blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Although as I write this I don’t know what portion of my response was selected, I contributed a few  ideas on Essential skills for the Entrepreneur.

Granted, there are more than three skills every Entrepreneur needs, but, I did share a few which resonated to me (not including the quintessential sense of humor, which I hope is a given).

Here’s my take on three essential skills every entrepreneur should have:

  1. Flexibility—a willingness to be wrong and course correct. The ability to adapt, improvise and overcome problems – and be ok with change.
  2. To clearly communicate – with yourself and others. To put your ideas through a funnel and crystalize what your message is, and ideas on how to get there.  When you are clear you save time, energy and are more efficient.  A foggy mind creates confusion. A confused mind never buys an idea, a proposal, or enthusiasm in a new project.
  3. To be resourceful – to get different results, you have to try something new. Being resourceful is about being open to ideas, even if they haven’t worked in the past. People, situations and timing change – so looking at a problem with a fresh perspective and attitude can yield new results.

These skills may seem simple, yet a collection of them make up the back bone and character of every entrepreneur, small business owner and working professional who wants to succeed.

Notice that I didn’t write about the desires of entrepreneurs.  Maybe I should send a query about that – including a healthy lunch delivered daily with extra vegetables, a new wardrobe every quarter, and acting coach to help with video presentation, and delivery on camera!

As an important side note, I’d like to thank those who wished me a Happy FrakenBirthday the night of the storm. #1 skill of the entrepreneur is flexibility, so I’ve been celebrating in bits and pieces all week. Thank you again to my family, special friends and Facebook acquaintances for wishing me well.

And, another essential skill? Keep promoting yourself and expanding your brand.

Believe me, it all adds up, even when you stink at math!

Happy November (already)?

I have a handful of clients that I search press opportunities for, and it’s always so much fun to see where their quotes and stories end up.

One of my clients is Lois Barth, a New York based lifestyle coach.  She’s been featured in Elle, Glamour, Fitness and more magazines than you can imagine.  She’s also a keynote speaker, taking her message to major corporations nationwide.

An entrepreneur, speaker, small business owner, heck — even experts, need to get out there in the marketplace, and be seen. It gives them credibility, content for their websites, and makes them, well,  feel good. It’s validation that the work they’re doing is on target, and pressworthy.

Here’s a recent mention that I helped Lois with – from Sotheby’s International. It starts on page 3 and she talks about how buying a piece of real estate is a catalyst for change and reinvention.   http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/077680e9#/077680e9/1

If you have an extra minute, make sure to look at Sotheby’s properties. Some may be just right for your vision board!

Get noticed in the press as an expert. Get recognized for who you are.  Get out there in a big way.

Live your dream!

I started Let’s Make You Shine helping folks as a life coach, and believe without a doubt that how you live your life is how you lead your business. In fact, You Are Your Business. You personify the image of your company, and ultimately the direction it will take.

My own business transformed into PR and visibility strategy because my natural inclination is to help people be the best they can be in life and in their work – whether a budding entrepreneur, small business owner, or expert  in the marketplace.

Each of us has a gift to share that lights us up when we’re engaged and ultimately serves a greater purpose – though we don’t often see it immediately.  But when we do, kazam! All the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit together.

Getting press is fun for me, and I love helping others do the same.  There are so many hungry reporters looking for people like you and me to share their stories, insight and wisdom about every subject imaginable. I am reminded of the definition of an expert from one of my mentors;

An expert is someone who knows more than ten (10) people on the street.

Here’s a story I contributed to for Women & Co at Citibank.com. It’s about How to Hire a Life Coach: it directly relates to You Are Your Business!

‘Getting out there’ means expanding your horizons and making new connections.

Make the quantum leap from behind your computer into the spotlight. I’m happy to hold space for you.