news-644855_1280Whether you are a local brick and mortar business or an international corporation or an entirely online business, publicity is an important part of your marketing arsenal.  Publicity differs from marketing in the sense that it is more about creating relationships and drawing attention to your business/event/project, introducing your business to your ideal customer.

There are many ways to do this and many media to participate in, in order to accomplish the goal of getting your business in front of th right eyeballs and then engaging them in something that they feel is important to them.   Remember, as you do this that this is not about you or your business or what YOU want.  It is completely about your customer and their needs, desires and interests.  If everything you do in your business revolves around your vision and goals for your business, you will miss the boat and never really understand why.

Secondly, this isn’t about waiting for the right opportunity to promote your business comes along.  It is about creating opportunities to delight and surprise your ideal customer/client/recruit/reader.

So what can you do?  Get out of your business at least once a week and put on your community service hat.  What important cause or event in your community can you get involved in?  How can you make a difference and go out of your way to promote someone else?

One of the big things you can do is to become a resource for the people you would most like to have promote you.  Local reporters are always looking for good stories.  When you get involved in a community event, offer to help them promote it and then go to your local radio, tv and newspaper editors and tell them about the event.  Go prepared with some background information and maybe some photos (in digital format) to give them a leg up.  When you do these meaningful things for the folks who do the promoting in your community, they will pay attention when you put out a press release about your business and you are more likely to get a great article, interview or blatant free promotion of your business.

This goes for columnists as well.  If you know of a newspaper or magazine columnist who writes on your topic, develop a relationship with them by making positive and interesting letters to the editor.  Oftentimes not only are these published, but it also creates a positive relationship with the columnist who may now be open to writing a column post featuring you.

How about becoming a columnist yourself?  If you are an expert on a topic, you might want to offer to write a column for your local paper on that topic.  I know several of my clients who have done this and used it to become a celebrity in their niche.

If you aren’t a local business, especially if most of your business comes from online, you can still develop relationships with reporters.  One of the coolest ways to do this is HARO (Help A Reporter Out), a brilliant resource site run by the brilliant Peter Shankman.  The purpose of the site is to allow reporters access to expert volunteers who act as resources for articles on specific subjects. You can register as a resource for free.  Once you register under your topic, you will begin to receive notifications in your email of specific needs of specific reporters.  When you answer their queries, you help them with resources, stories from your own or others experience and anything you have to say on the topic.

They may or may not use it, but over time you will develop a relationship with certain reporters, bloggers and broadcasters for having accurate and engaging information about their topic.  More often than not you may find them attributing you in their articles and even asking to write a story specifically about your business or you (which is pretty much the same thing) or mentioning you or your business in the course of their article.

The result could find you as a guest in a television, vlog or radio/podcast or featured in magazine and newspaper articles or blog articles.  Trust me…this is a good thing for you and for your business and could easily take you to the next level, creating you as a celebrity in your niche.

 

newspaper-154444_1280Our theme for this week has been tools.   Each new tool we have featured has been something that will be a basic and necessary part of your arsenal as you shoot for laser targeted visitors for your website and create a fan base of loyal and enthusiastic followers for your brand, your product, your service and most importantly, YOU.

Today we will talk about the benefits of press releases.  In the beginning of the press, thousands of years ago, it was the town crier or a public official who would read announcements in the village square or the bard who would sing or relate stories, legends and news at public events.   The marketers of the time knew that the best place to set up their market stall was as close to the bard as possible because the bard drew an audience.

Then along came the printing press.  The first printed news was called a broadsheet.  On it was news and (TA DA) advertisements of local businesses.   Benjamin Franklin was well known as a publisher of a small newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette and within it were many of the famous inspirational quotes and maxims he is known for still today.  Of public interest were new businesses in the community and reviews of plays, community events and (indeed) local gossip.

Fast forward to our current day.  How many different ways do we get our news?  Radio, television, newspapers, magazines, blogs, news sites, video sharing sites such as YouTube, mobile phone alerts, etc.  Getting your content listed by or on a news site can be very beneficial, just as when our ancestors tried to position their booth close to where public announcements and the storytellers were.

Press releases are a way to get your content seen by the people who create the items of interest on these different types of media at no cost.  It is important to recognize that there is a format for a press release.  Here is a great tutorial about how to create an effective press release. 

The benefits of press releases:

  • You may be contacted by a newspaper, radio, television or web reporter to interview you and put your business in front of thousands or even millions of people who have a direct interest in what you are doing.
  • Press release distributors send your link out to hundreds or even thousands of internet news outlets, most of whom will post a link to your website on their page.   These websites are the 500 lbs gorillas most of us would never stand a chance at ever getting in front of.
  • The search engines love news.  It is considered very high quality and valuable content, so the links to your website are given high priority in the search engines.
  • The search engine algorithms give high points for high quality backlinks to your website and thus boost your ranking in the search engine, giving your website a better chance at that first page ranking every website hopes for.

There are two press release distribution websites I recommend.

Both of these outlets provide a quality service.  PR.com has a no cost option.  PR Web does not.  However, if you are going to pay to promote your site, buying a press release is probably one of the best investments you can make.  I recommend you do a press release at least quarterly.  If you can afford it, once a month is even better.

So what should you write about in your press release?  Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Stop The Presses”.

 

stock-exchange-680583_1280Want your blog to get noticed?  This week it’s all about the tools.  Do you have a tool folder in your internet bookmarks?  If you don’t, I would like to suggest that you start one.  I use my tools folder a lot every week.  I have lots of different kinds of tools for networking, social media, promotion, traffic, etc.  Today, you might want to add a trending sub-folder to your tools folder in your browser’s bookmarks.

Trending tools allow you to find out what’s new and hot under discussion on the internet.  Pretty much every thing that is sold or discussed online is tracked in one way or another.  Using trending topics as part of your posts in social media, on your website and in your blog can put a spotlight on you at exactly the right time.

I expect I will end up doing a class on this, but this post may tide you over for now and will be a helpful addition to your “writer’s unblocking kit”  you will hear more about in class number 4.  Knowing what is going on out there in cyberspace and what people are looking for is very helpful and may give you that elusive, mythical beast – the viral post or video.

Including exact wording lifted from a viral post or video in the title or in a bullet point in a post will attract eyeballs you may have never gotten a chance at.  When using the ideas and wording you get from trending posts, you might want to consider the following:

  • Stay on topic: The search engines have algorithms that recognize a title that has nothing to do with the topic of your post and you don’t make friends of new readers that way.  If they come there thinking the post is about Harry Potter and it is about How to Compost, you aren’t making any friends and they won’t come back.
  • Tie it in.  Somewhat similar to the last post, make sure the content in your post has an actual correlation to the title you used to beckon them in.
  • Do trending searches within your topic.  It will save you wasted motion sifting through celebrity posts and sports when your topic is How to Train Your Dog.
  • Remember that list of keywords?  Put them into the search parameters to see what shakes out.
  • Always keep your ideal client/customer/recruit in mind as you do these searches.  What are they looking for?  Get into their headspace.

So where can you look to find out what is trending in your industry?  Lucky for you I made a handy dandy little list to make it easier for you.

So now that we know how important the right tool for the job is important, it is time to introduce you to your very first marketing tool.

You will be spending a lot of time with this free tool.  If you are wise, you will make time at least once a week to play with it and take notes.  This tool is exploratory in nature.  It is going to help you find your tribe, that ideal customer we discussed in our last class.  It will help you think like your customer and give you insight as to exactly what they are searching for.

Some people use this tool for SEO.  Some people use it for inspiration in creating their next product.  Some will use it to design their internet marketing strategy.  Some will use it to spark their muse, to write blogs that are more to the point.  Some will use it to design brochures, presentations and website that push every hot button their customers might have.

Do I have your attention yet?  This tool is as important to your business as a hammer is to a carpenter or a wrench set is to a mechanic.  And the cool thing about it is that is is free to use.  I don’t see how it can get any better than this.

Over time we will introduce you to many amazing tools that will help you to work smarter while you are working harder.  Here is the recording to Class 3.

 

Here is the slide with your homework for class 3. Each week we give you action steps that, if you make time to follow them will lead you closer to your goals of creating a marketing empire for your business or project. As we said in Class 1, a true entrepreneur does what they need to in order to succeed, including learning new skills and making time for the important things that pertain to their business.

Regardless of how amazing your product or service is, regardless of how profitable your marketing opportunity may be, without marketing, nothing is sold and no profit happens. Just knowing how to market your business online will avail you nothing, if you do not put what you are learning into motion. So, do your homework.

class 3 homework

hand-287041_1280You can drive a nail with a rock or a hammer, but which tool works the best?  The hammer is designed from a physics point of view.  The handle on the hammer allows you to apply more force directed to a single point than a rock.  A rock is dependent on your physical strength and refined motor skills in order to be effective.

The difference in the hammer and the rock can be the difference between a nail driven in straight with only a few strokes or a nail pounded in that may be bent or crooked, at a wrong angle or just way to difficult to do at all.  (This is where expletives may come into play due to a pounded thumb or the frustration of being unable to put the nail in straight).

Having the proper tools to do the job at hand is crucial.  Taking the hammer analogy one step further, over the years hammers have been improved.  The forked tail of the hammer is included to allow you to remove a nail, for instance.  Some hammer have been magnetized to attract the nail to the hammer head.  And then along comes technology.  Few professional carpenters use a hand driven hammer any more.  With advances in the industry, along came nail guns.  And with the advance in the tool, came the advancement of the nail.   A carpenter with a nail gun can cut the time of hammering boards together for any project by a fourth or less.

In manufacturing facilities came the advancement of robotics which allow pieces of furniture or prefabricated components for a house with little if any human intervention.

So it is with the tools we use in internet marketing.  Originally, when I put up my first websites back in 1996, there were few tools for creating a website beyond HTML coding.  So I learned to create a website in notepad from a book and magazines that taught that skill.   Then along came the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) html editors.  These were very clunky and often frustrating to use because, unless you understood code and the program allowed you to make code corrections from within the program, the programs often wouldn’t let you do what you wanted, so you ended up having to code anyway.  I often found it faster an easier to just program the thing in notepad.

Over time the WYSIWYG programs got more sophisticated and a lot easier to use because they allowed you to alter the templates using code so you got the results you were looking for.  This is how things evolved.

Early marketing tools went through the same process.  Over time they became more sophisticated, but they were often expensive to use unless you had a strong stream of income or had more money to invest in your web presence than most considered necessary.  Most of these were tools that automated processes just as the WYSIWYG editors did for coding sites.

Like many things on the internet there were people who scrambled for new and eager would be website owners.  This led to predatory and scammy practices by slick marketers.   People (including myself until I learned better) spent thousands of dollars on tools that didn’t work as advertised with no recourse to get back their investment.

Our next class will introduce you to a free tool for marketing that I consider foundational.  There are lots of tools out there like it, but it is one I prefer to use.  We will teach you some of the basic uses of this tool which we will feature again from time to time in future classes, because you will be using it a lot.  The title of Class 3 is “Your First Tool”.

Hopefully you have done your homework from classes 1 and 2 which will prepared you to appreciate this tool and its uses.  See you there.