Is your PR plan for 2016 all wings and bones or a comprehensive program built on certain key elements and well prepared strategies?

In Developing a PR Plan, Rachel Meranus of Entrepreneur.com explains the importance of assessing and planning a Public Relations plan – reaching out six months, but realistically looking at three with room for plenty of tweaking. She also recommends examining the tools and tactics you’ll be using — including editorial calendars, speaking opportunities, bylined articles, blogs and social media.  Are you following these same guidelines?   Compare yourself here.

John Jantsch, who writes a terrific blog at Duct Tape Marketing shares a 5 Step Small Business PR Plan for Today.  Why is this valuable?  Because it’s simple and makes sense. Listen. Network. Pitch Curves. Release and Amplify. Follow these guidelines for your 2016 public relations plans and tie it into targeted marketing for great success.  I’m all into roadmaps.

How about When Your PR Goes Really Right (Or Dead Wrong)? Contributor Cheryl Conner writes about innovative PR ideas – and in this Forbes.com article talks about creating Irish Stew Tacos and attracting traffic to a local animal shelter, with a not so friendly dog. What story can you position to get attention and use the media to promote your cause?

Finally, let’s look at Become a Press Magnet by Following this 5-Step Blueprint by Jonathan Long.  Again, solid advice to maximizie your media exposure. One of his points?  Be sure to answer HARO or other media requests often. This, and being active on social media, puts you in front of journalists.

With years of hard work to create a strong brand, marketing and visibility, why would you ever create a PR plan on wings and bones?

I don’t know if there’s a business person out there that doesn’t perk up when the word ‘free’ comes up. And, include me there!  I love to hear about new no-cost tools and tips that will like my life and business more productive – and help me stretch my marketing and PR budget.

So in the spirit of sharing and promoting your small business and brand, I’ll list 9 below:

9 Cool Free Publicity Tools and Tactics

  1. What about a Nighttime Silhouette? Find a large empty wall on a busy road near your business and project your logo on it at night. Think of it as a cool billboard without the cost. Though I’ve never done it, I imagine you need a timer too!
  2. Volunteer your boss or CEO! If you’re out and about, online and otherwise, you’re running into journalists and industry leaders who are looking for guests on podcasts, for interviews and possibly as speakers or panelists. See if they might like to feature your CEO as an expert. Your CEO will see you as a star and advocate for the company and rewards, my friend, come in many ways. Note: This also works for you!
  3. How about the risers on stairs? Last summer, I vacationed in Maine and noticed how shops on the second floor of buildings used advertising copy to influence customers to climb the stairs and see their store. I loved this idea. Would something like this work for you? What space do you have underutilized?
  4. Don’t underestimate the value of your email signature. Email Shmemail. It doesn’t have to be boring, you know. Add links or icons to your social media feeds or landing pages where you’re featuring new products or offers. Authors can give away chapters of their books. Experts, white papers. You get it. This is free promotional space that can change up as freely as you like and costs zippo.
  5. Use Twitter as a Focus Group. Want to test out a new idea, vote on a design or get some feedback? Look no further than Twitter. Use the audience you’ve built as a sounding board to ask questions, engage in conversation and increase your visibility and PR status at the same time. It’s free and targeted. Change up your tweets and test them out.  Ask and you will receive!
  6. Be an Expert columnist. I hope most of you are blogging. And if you are, it should be easy to tweak, copy and paste. The key word here is repurpose. You’ll get lots of eyeballs as an expert in your field when you have a column. This works for online and offline publications (or other blogs). If the publisher wants compensation for the promotional real estate, fine. Be open to Q + A from readers, consider speaking at an upcoming event or offer to be an online or offline joint venture partner.
  7. Hire an Artist for Sidewalk Graffiti. You don’t have to live near an art school to find an artist who’d like to draw on your sidewalk or side of the building! If you’re going big and using the side of an abandoned building, get fellow business owners to chip in. Perhaps this artist would be thrilled with a feature story or needs that just one, je ne sais quoi piece to go to the next level? You could be the answer to his/her prayers, and he/she to yours. Open space can be used in a number of ways. Be creative in your thinking!
  8. Create a video for your LinkedIn summary. I can hear you say, I didn’t know you could do that? Well, you can! It doesn’t have to be super fancy or long, but you can include a short video in that section if you want to stand out in a crowd. Don’t forget too to beef up your LinkedIn profile with rich key word marketing and PR copy – and use all the characters.
  9. Hire an Intern to who loves Pinterest. Many of you probably know what a goldmine Pinterest is, especially to attract a female audience. You also may know that including your URL on images can link back to your website, blog or special offer landing page. Have a strategy in mind to follow and pin – and of course, be colorful and relevant to your brand!

That’s it for today, for cool PR and marketing ideas. Shake it up. Be Bold. And, Rent my Brain if you need help creating a buzz for your business!

I love the phrase, “I’m an expert in training!” I heard it before I went on stage at Blogcamp Boston last weekend and asked to use it. Aren’t we all collaborators in the learning process?

Getting more online visibility and PR  is no different. We teach each other.

Here’s a short list to get more online visibility and a bigger bang for your buck!

  1. Be authentic in who you are and in your brand. Be consistent in your look, feel and marketing messaging. You are your brand wherever you go.
  2. Write a blog, share your expertise and do it often. I write a Robin’s Rainmaker once a week, but also write for PayItForwardRetreats.com, which is very important to me. Getting your name and brand out there for what you know and believe in will help raise your visibility.
  3. Share your content on all social media platforms. Don’t know the latest on Periscope? Don’t have a nervous breakdown about it. Use the tools you know and what works for your target audience. Are you in B2B? Then LinkedIn is a good choice and offers more than you can ever imagine. Does your crowd hang on Facebook? That’s the place to be.  Go where your market is.
  4. Create graphics and get them for free – or for a buck ($1.00) at www.Canva.com.  It doesn’t cost a fortune to be creative and compelling. It’s a must for marketing and PR, and honestly, Canva is easy to use.  Every business can benefit from this cool tool. Sit yourself down and try it.
  5. Reach out to influencers and align with their brands. Did your mother ever tell you, “Birds of a feather flock together?” Same thing here. Get noticed by influencers you admire by connecting with them and commenting on their work. Build relationships online, but in person too. It’s amazing who you can meet on twitter and how you can stay in touch.  A compliment goes a long way.
  6. Be a resource to reporters. OK. Don’t overthink this. If you’re writing about your expertise and reaching out to influencers, and doing it often enough, do you think you’ll go unnoticed? Only if you don’t do this! Use this super cool resource to find reporters in your target industry. If you pass this by, you’ve wasted an enormous tip!
  7. And lastly, Podcast Heaven. Use this cool tool to find podcasts in your industry and pitch yourself as a guest on one, several or tons. Get the recording, ask if you can transcribe it, and create multiple blogs. Don’t forget to use all of your keywords for SEO Juice! Check it out!

Start using these tips and you’re on your way to getting more visibility. Which will you implement today?

The thought of creating a website to sell your products and services is exciting! From start to finish there may be a hundred steps, but the first is finding a domain name that you like — one that resonates with your brand. Picking the right name influences your overall PR, marketing and social media strategy – so it’s important to choose one that works!

3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Domain Name:

  1. If you are the brand, consider buying YourName.com.  Already taken?  Look at YourName.org  or YourNameWhatYouDo.com, with a few variations.  Are you John Smith? Not so great for differentiating yourself on the web. But, if you add your middle initial or city that could help you stand out.

    Now, if you’re “John Smith the Elephant Handler”, I’d do a happy dance and buy JohnSmithElephantHandler.com. I’m certain John would have little competition in the jungle and still get noticed.  Note: I’d also suggest John buy ElephantHandler.com which, by the way, was available at the time I wrote this. John, here’s another tip, link both domains to each other!

  2. Is your domain name hard to spell or a play on words? I like to give everyone a free pass here. Some of us can spell and were spelling bee queens and others were math geniuses. Make your domain name easy to remember and spell. Buy misspelled versions of your domain name that point to your website(s) so you don’t miss any traffic. You might think it’s a waste of time or effort, but it’s an investment that pays off –especially if your name is a bit confusing!
  3. Does someone else have a domain name almost identical to yours? I’ve been asked if it’s worthwhile to buy a domain name similar to yours a hundred times. And my answer is always the same.  Yes, if it’s affordable and in your budget.  But no, if it’s just parked and you have other options. Well positioned PR and social media promotion can create oodles of visibility for your brand and traffic to your website.  All of your marketing tactics combined will make a difference to help meet your goals and objectives.  A consistent message, constant communication and inspired daily action are key!

Another tip about buying domain names?  Buy strategic keywords and string them together as a URL which lead to YOU. Research what works best for your industry before you buy.

All these tips are great, but creating a PR and visibility plan is the most important to get the biggest bang for your buck.

If you want to set up a 15 minute discovery session to see how to cut through the clutter, to sell more products and services – or build your brand, click hereI have a few more PR Summer Session Openings at a discounted price for the rest of August. 

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%.

The Web’s Best PR, Marketing & Social Media Wisdom

If you’re tight on time, but want to stay up to speed on our industry’s latest news, stories and ideas, I hope you’ll like the articles we picked this week to feature on Robin’s Rainmakers – The Web’s Best PR, Marketing & Social Media Wisdom.

Our goal, as always, is to provide you with a variety of content on PR, Marketing & Social Media to gain more visibility, revenue opportunities and expert status.

Here are this week’s picks for Robin’s Rainmakers:

PR Is The New SEO by Uwe Schmidt for PR Insider

There was a time where you could ‘game’ the system by only buying SEO services. That’s now over. Long live unique, user-oriented content and be sure to eliminate this…

Brands Under Fire by Rosanne Mottola for PRSAY®

Take a look at five brands that have come under fire for ill-advised ideas or mistakes. Read who they are (you may be surprised), see what they did (or didn’t do) to make this list and learn from their mistakes, like Malaysia Airlines…

7 Types of Content Reporters Want in a Press Release by Serena Ehrlich for PR Insider

The Business Wire 2014 media survey asked reporters what types of news they want to see in a press release. Besides the obvious — breaking news — here are six more. Keep this on your desk when you’re writing and make sure to include…

Hope you enjoy these articles, and feel free to share with a friend!

If you’re tight on time, but want to stay up to speed on our industry’s latest news, stories and ideas, I hope you’ll like the articles we picked this week to feature on Robin’s Rainmakers – The Web’s Best PR, Marketing & Social Media Wisdom.

Our goal, as always, is to provide you with a variety of content on PR, Marketing & Social Media to gain more visibility, revenue opportunities and expert status.

Here are this week’s picks for Robin’s Rainmakers:

PR Is The New SEO by Uwe Schmidt for PR Insider

There was a time where you could ‘game’ the system by only buying SEO services. That’s now over. Long live unique, user-oriented content and be sure to eliminate this…

Brands Under Fire by Rosanne Mottola for PRSAY®

Take a look at five brands that have come under fire for ill-advised ideas or mistakes. Read who they are (you may be surprised), see what they did (or didn’t do) to make this list and learn from their mistakes, like Malaysia Airlines…

7 Types of Content Reporters Want in a Press Release by Serena Ehrlich for PR Insider

The Business Wire 2014 media survey asked reporters what types of news they want to see in a press release. Besides the obvious — breaking news — here are six more. Keep this on your desk when you’re writing and make sure to include…

Hope you enjoy these articles, and feel free to share with a friend!

Last week, I was a guest at the New England Speaker’s Association meeting and auction, and got reacquainted with Belinda Rosenblum – a Wealth Expert, CPA and Founder of OwnYourMoney.com. Belinda and I sat next to each other and talked about business, blogs and babies. She has a one-year old, and mine are traveling the world!

Because her expertise is so vital to entrepreneurs and growing yourself and your brand, I asked her to write a guest blog about money and how it relates to spending hard earned cash on your business and self-promotion. See if you agree with her findings!

Money, Self-Worth &
Promoting Yourself

by Belinda Rosenblum

Spending – and earning – money for entrepreneurs is a tricky subject. Every dollar earned is essentially one you had to ask for – directly or indirectly – so we attach more weight to the spending of it.

In particular, spending money on promoting ourselves feels counter-productive since it causes money to go out with an initial unclear return.

However, when we hold on too tight, we literally stop the flow of money – both out of and into our business. Since this clearly thwarts our larger goal of business growth, we as entrepreneurs need to become more unemotional and powerful when it comes to making decisions with our money.

As a start, watch out for these 5 culprits that hold people back from spending the money necessary to grow their business (including promoting themselves):

1) Fear of being seen (or being a fraud) If you really go big, then people will see you for who you really are. And if that happens, then will you suffer a case of the emperor’s new clothes. Of course not! You are brilliant – and doing the world a disservice by not letting them in on the inadvertent best kept secret.

2) Afraid you won’t be able to handle the volume. I call this a “high class problem.” If you have a lot of people interested in your work, then be willing to call in the staff and the advisors to support your growth. It does not mean you’ll have to work 80 hours a week, but it does mean you’ll have to ask for help. (It’s ok, you are actually more powerful not less powerful when you do this. This has been a tough but crucial lesson I’ve learned along the way.)

3) Afraid of laying out the money with an uncertain return. As business owners, we take way more risks than the average employed person. AND, for sustainable success, it is imperative that you learn how to take risks and recover quickly from whatever feedback the risk shows you. It is all helpful feedback. The key here is leveraging the opportunities you create for yourself – and then building momentum and excitement around your business with the visibility.

4) No depth to your offerings. The concern here is that if you got the exposure, you wouldn’t have anything to sell to all the people who come to your site. So what are you waiting for? Create a free awesome juicy gift to collect their names. Start with an easy $97-$197 product that people can try you out – allow them to “date” you before you want them to “marry” you with a higher-end offering.

And the kicker…

5) Lack of belief in your own worthiness. Are you really worth spending money on and allowing people to get to know you and your services more? Absolutely – but it all starts with you believing in you.

Get out there in a bigger way – the world needs exactly what only you can offer!

I hope you enjoyed this article, and as always, please feel free to post your comments on the social media platforms below!

Belinda Rosenblum, Wealth Expert and CPA, just got you started with today’s guest blog post. If you’re ready to really make more, save more, and stress less about your money, start with her complimentary “Money Makeover Kit” available here: www.OwnYourMoney.com/gift.

Starting today, and most every Monday for at least the rest of the year, I’d like to share three (3) articles about PR, Marketing, Social Media or other topics that relate to promoting a brand, encouraging entrepreneurship and the quest for more visibility, profitability and revenue opportunities.

Think of it like me searching the internet, to see what you (and I) might like to read, learn, forward or talk about at our next team/client meeting.

That said, here are my three picks for this week, that I’d like to share:

The Difference Between Marketing and PR? It’s All in the Inflections by Steve Goldstein

In this article, “PR News asked its community how it would define the difference between marketing and PR. Most of the responses fell along the lines of “marketing is all about the product and PR is all about the relationships.” We suspect that many marketers and PR pros (and those officially straddling the two) would object to this kind of blanket statement, but the variations on the same theme is telling.” Read to find out the difference as told in short social media posts. Fascinating!

Why Do-It-Yourself Public Relations Is An Urban Legend by Shelley Pringle

“Do-it-yourself PR may sound enticing to you . . . a good way to save a few dollars. However, as someone who has spent 20+ years working in the PR trenches, I’m here to strongly discourage you from taking the bait. The notion that anybody can do their own PR is an urban legend promulgated by folks who think they know what they’re talking about (they don’t). In many cases, they’re actually in the business of selling media lists and related PR products.

At best, DIY PR will lead you to waste a portion of your communications budget. At worst, it’s a recipe for corporate disaster.”

6 Fun Perspectives on PR, by PR Practitioners by Brian Greene

“We queried our audience on Twitter and Facebook, asking for some fun facts about PR that most people don’t know. Here are some of our favorite answers…”

What fun fact about PR would you be able to share?

I hope you find these articles interesting and informative. If you’d like to forward them to a friend or colleague or share with your own community, please click on the icons below. Let them know your thoughts!

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.