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”.

 

hero_evernoteOne of my absolute favorite cross-platform apps is Evernote.  This handy dandy notebook app is so incredibly versatile and I promise you, you will find it not only useful, but once you start using it, you will find more and more amazing ways to use it to become more productive.

Step one is to install it on all of your devices, your computer, your phone and any tablets you may own.  Once you have done this, you have now linked all of your devices in a way that will seem like magic.

Did you ever get an idea for your business while having a conversation, watching a presentation or just sitting on a plane or any situation where you are away from your computer?  Enter Evernote.  Whether you have wifi in that area or not, Evernote is there on your phone or tablet waiting for you to take notes.  But WAIT…THERE’S MORE!!!!  You can record your voice on this lovely little app or a conversation to replay later.  You can take a photo via Evernote using your phone’s cam and add notes to it.  This is great while shopping.  If I see something that interests me in a store, but I am not there for that purchase at the moment, I use Evernote to take a photo and add a note as to which store, the price and even what aisle I found it in.  I can even email my notes to someone else in real time.

Now here’s the cool part.  When I do all of this on my phone or my tablet, the next time I get on my computer, all of the notes, photos or recordings are right there on my computer.  I didn’t have to download it or sync it or any of those things.  Evernote automagically updates all changes you have made in documents and you have instant access to anything you have created in it on any device you have it installed on.

Here are some of the things I do with Evernote:

  • Write down business ideas as they occur to me when I am away from home
  • Create blog posts
  • Notes for talks and presentations
  • To do lists
  • Notes from client conferences when I am on the road
  • Take a photo of a business card while networking and add notes about what we discussed
  • Brainstorm

I would love to hear from you about how you use Evernote.  Feel free to comment below.

To get your free Evernote account, Go HERE.  To add it to your mobile devices, you can get it free from the App Store.

 

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.