Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Death of Public Relations?

Lately there has been a flurry of queries from reporters that use both PR Newswire and Help a Reporter (HARO) regarding information on the future of the Public Relations industry.

Businesses are not only cutting training budgets but slashing advertising and all but emliminating PR and communications departments. These reporters are seeking DIY (Do it yourself) Public Relations strategy information for a wide range of articles. I have also learned of a couple of websites that seek to place displaced PR people willing to freelance, with firms that have dumped their agencies over budget cuts.

The trend seems to be towards helping firms do their own press work. This on top of this companies are seeking out low and no cost marketing ideas to offset the loss of advertising budgets.

To really "stir the puddin", the press is in a panic because the loss of these PR firms and agents means a severe reduction in their sources and fresh story pitches and quotes.

While a dilemma for both the media and public relations agencies this situation provides some incredible opportunities for entrepreneurs, business owners and sales professionals to get some very serious exposure.

The media needs new sources now more than ever and the most prolific contributer, the Public Relations industry is shrinking. Never before have DIY publicity practioners had so much opportunity to exploit the media's appetite for information and gain priceless exposure.

So get those phones and emails buzzing. To learn more about generating your own Publicity go to http://www.michaelhartspeaks.com/ and make sure to check out our marketing web channel at http://www.brighttalk.com/channels/538/view

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wacky Publicity Stunts

Recently I started a search for some wacky ways PR pros are grabbing the attention of the press. I received literally hundreds of responses. I do this every once in a while to hopefully get your creative juices flowing. The point is to be wacky, creative and COURAGEOUS!
Here are some of the best.

I’m a book publicist fighting to get my clients noticed in an over populated, over stimulated world of books. With around 100,000 books published last year, it can be VERY difficult to make a splash and even harder to make a sale with our dwindling economy. One of the things I’ve taken to doing is raffling off interesting items at our book events. The item needs to be eye-catching, desirable, and relevant. My last two have been very successful in their respective markets. One being a casket bookcase from http://www.casketfurniture.com/ that you can use now to hold your books and later to hold your body (no, really you could actually be buried in it), this for When the Sun Goes Down, a book on planning your own funeral in a fun and creative way. The casket, needless to say, get a LOT of attention everywhere we take it. Bookstores, libraries, trade shows, no one can resist coming to see what all the hub-bub is about around this looming, but impeccably crafted, beautifully creepy bookcase. The second, less shocking, item is a Keurig coffee machine that accompanies a children’s book called Escapade Johnson and The Coffee Shop of the Living Dead. The Keurig is so easy a child can use it and that’s exactly what we allow to happen. Kids who come to the events are given pods of hot cocoa and allowed to make themselves a steaming cup while they listen to the history of their drink as told by the author in the story. The parents get in on the fun too and enjoy tea and coffee while the kids listen. One lucky entrant wins a machine each month thanks to the fine folks at Keurig and our author is known as the guy with the coffee machine, getting bookings all over the region.

Submitted by Carol Corbett Director of Marketing & Publicity
Publishing Works
60 Winter Street
Exeter, NH 03833
P: 603-772-7200
F: 603-772-1980
http://www.publishingworks.com/

======

I just did a story on a Great Clips franchise in Safety Harbor Florida that is offering $3.00 Ray Hawk Haircuts in support of the Tampa Bay Rays in the Baseball World Series
Great ClipsShoppes at Harbour Point100 Main Street Safety Harbor, FL 34695
(727) 712-3900
Sandra McKennaMickChick Productions
(727) 243-3299sandramckenna@verizon.net

======

Well the CEO of Canpages shaved his head on YouTube after losing a bet with his SEO over his ability to increase Canpages Unique Visitors from 30,000 to 3 million. Canpages currently receives approximately 50% of the total traffic that yellowpages.ca gets, according to Compete.com, Alexa.com and other online traffic meter tools. People love the idea of a CEO humiliating himself so publicly... see for yourself plan.”(Watch the original video of CEO getting head shaved http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlV8Bpnm5AU

Anne Howard
514) 523-3771 Canada (310)-295-9578 Los Angeles

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stop the bitching and moaning

The following snipets were sent to me by Vern Harvell of New Hampshire

While not my usual media fare, all the bitching and moaning you hear about this country from the braintrust of the likes of Madonna, Bill Maher, Alec Baldwin, et al have just exhausted me. So I dedicate the following to them and the millions of others that really are clueless

You could have heard a pin drop when in England, at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush. He answered by saying, 'Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.'
YOU COULD HAVE HEARD A PIN DROP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?'
A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: 'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'
YOU COULD HAVE HEARD A PIN DROP!!!!!!!!!!!

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.' He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?' Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied 'Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.'
YOU COULD HAVE HEARD A PIN DROP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AND THIS STORY FITS RIGHT IN WITH THE ABOVE...
Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on. 'You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically. Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.' The American said, ''The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it. 'Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!' The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, ''Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to.'

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Power of The Virus!

Vir-al
"of the nature of, or caused by, a virus," 1948
Viral marketing is the oldest, most powerful yet misunderstood form of marketing a product even known.

Ask most “marketing experts” to define Viral Marketing and you’ll get a response that goes something like: “Marketing that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message through distribution to pre-existing and definable social networks” – huh?
Viral marketing can be better defined as: Getting your message heard by as many people as possible, with the least amount of money, and without looking like a commercial, in other words getting people talking about you instead of you advertising to them.

There is a huge misconception that viral marketing was first use by internet marketers, Hotmail.com often being cited as the first to employ this strategy. While the internet certainly expanded the influence and popularity of viral marketing, it was hardly the first medium to exploit this phenomenon.

A viral marketing campaign is nothing more than a predesigned and managed “word of mouth” advertising strategy. That is getting people talking about you, your products and services. The entire point of going viral (Which means a message spreads like a virus) is to create buzz among the people most likely to do business with you. People buy from people they like and that are like them. Moreover it’s been a long accepted fact that if a person likes a product or service they will typically tell three others. When a prospect hears someone talking about a new product or service, or is referred by family or friends, the person doing the referring is actually endorsing the product or service and there is simply no better form of advertising.

This is viral marketing at its roots. Once you understand the basic concept you can exploit it in greater and newer ways. Internet marketers use viral marketing in a pyramid fashion. That is, create a message and distribute it across the internet through social contacts. One person sends the message to two people, who in turn send in to four and so on. Hotmail accomplished this by offering free email accounts, then embedding the free email offer in all outgoing messages. This way every email sent became an advertisement and by default a recommendation from the sender of the email. This is done in a variety of ways including:

*Video ads such as on Google Video or You Tube. These ads can be anything from straight up commercials to tutorials on how to best use your product, the funnier or more provocative the better.
*Flash games
*Blogs
*Social networking sites like: My Space, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin
*eBooks (Instructional booklets for service vendors are wildly popular)
*Brandable Software (Once know as Shareware)
*Images and graphics
*Text Messages
The point is to create something with your message in it that will be circulated. We’ve all seen those internet cartoons and funny stories, inspiring pictures, etc that seem to circulate over and again. This is an example of viral marketing.

With internet campaigns, giving something of value for free is essential – even if just information. Two great and recent examples are Larry Winget’s postcard service. If you go to Larry’s website you can send a brash postcard to a colleague with Larry screaming any one of a number of rude motivational platitudes. A second great example is from Colbie Caillat. Her song “Bubbly” skyrocketed her to international stardom, bypassing American Idol, by being circulated on MySpace.

But the net is not the only place viral marketing exists. Brick and mortar operations can join in the fun by:

*Offering incentives to existing customers to tell their friends
*Provide complimentary seminars open to the public on their products and services
*Establish themselves as a credible and reliable source for the media. Regardless what you do the media is starved for information and is always on the lookout for resources for quotes and information.
*Offer to write for industry trade publications. These specific periodicals are always in need of fresh new content and are a great and free way to put your name in front of thousands of potential news customers.
*Let mainstream publications know about your expertise as well.
I was recently quoted by Entrepreneur magazine on a concept called Horizontal Marketing. They published the story online. Within days the story had been picked up and reposted on 114 different websites including MSNBC and The Washington Post and it cost me nothing – That’s the power of Viral Marketing. And despite what the internet Gurus preach about social networking to spread your message, there is no faster, more effective or credible way to take you message across the globe then by getting media exposure
*Host Charity Events
*Sponsor a reading initiative in your hometown
*Donate books to a local Library

There are literally hundreds of ways to get tons of free exposure for your product, service, company or cause. All it takes is a little creativity and initiative.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Establishing Yourself as an Industry Expert

Join me today at 6pm CENTRAL STANDARD TIME when I present

"Establish Yourself as an Industry Expert"

The webinar is free of charge and will be broadcast on my web channel
BMN- Business Marketing Network. BMN is hosted by Brightalk and in addition to my
programs Brightalk hosts hundreds of others to help you grow your business.

Being a member is free so make sure to sign up today

You can find BMN at http://www.brighttalk.com/channels/538/view

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sarah Palin Results

I recently sent a query to media and marketing experts on why it seems we're seeing soooooo many advertisments featuring women that bear a resemblance to Sarah Palin. And whether I was insane for thinking its a conspiracy

Here are some of the better responses on this marketing phenomenon:
From Deb Robison:
This is an observation two different friends made:"More women seem to be wearing glasses because of her." They both really bought into that idea. Anway, wanted to share that.
Deb Robison http://www.icantkeepup.blogspot.com/

From Teajai Kimsey
Michael -No, you're not insane. I had my reading glasses on and took a look in the mirror and I even resemble Sara Palin... and I really thought my new hairstyle was trendsetting and different! And friends at college even have similar "palinesque" qualities.Have a great day!
Teajai 'T J' Kimsey--
Internet Marketing Consultant &Web Strategist http://www.ideasthatwork.net/

From Bonnie Russell
Dear Michael,
It's very easy to look like Sarah because she is good looking in a non-descript sort of way.
She has a good complexion and no real standout features.

However, the ease of looking like Palin was brought home by the View's Sherri Shepherd, a rather heavy set black woman who appeared in glasses and an upswept 'do'.

Son of a gun, (no pun) there was a resemblance.
Unfortunately, Sherri made the mistake of saying she put on the glasses to look smarter and Joy had a field day with that comment.

However, it's easy to look like Sarah in another way. I noticed her hair was a little stringy, a little dirty during her spot with Katie Couric yesterday and what woman hasn't had that happen?

Meow.
Most sincerely,
Bonnie Russell http://www.1st-pick.com/
We only work with the best. It's simpler that way.

From Matt Scherer
Michael,
It's not the infatuation with Sarah Palin, but the fact that everyone loves Tina Fey. Don't you know they were twin sisters of different mothers who were separated at birth?--
Matt Scherer, President, Scherer Communications
Email: mattscherer@gmail.com
Blog: http://mattscherer.blogspot.com/

Keep em coming gang - I find this fascinating
MH

Friday, September 12, 2008

Google Alerts Not Enough!

Those of us that regularly submit articles, story ideas, pitches, and quotes to the media know the value of Google Alerts for finding those stories online once published. But Google Alerts only goes so far and reports only a fraction of what is actually posted. If you want to fully capitalize on the publicity you do receive you’ve got to do some leg work of your own. For example: two weeks ago I was quoted by Entrepreneur.com. My Google Alerts notified me the story was posted before the reporter did. However knowing that stories online often get “circulated” I did a Google search and found the story had been published 114 more times and by some big outlets such as MSNBC and The Washington Post.

Not only did several major news outlets post the story, but several smaller corporate newsletters did as well. Many of the smaller publications were related to the Real Estate, Insurance, and Investment industries – That’s MY audience! I market primarily to these groups!

An article printed in a major business publication quoting me is being circulated by the very publications read by the people I market to most often. Now when I contact planners and executives in these fields I can reference my appearance in their newsletters. Yes I could have offered to write for their publications (And I often do) but the credibility would not be the same. The reprints clearly state they came from Entrepreneur, instant credibility!

Second Entrepreneur covered more “geography” with a keystroke than I could have in 5 years. Now when I contact these same publications and offer to write feature articles, my reputation and expertise is already firmly established. I also found the merits of the article being discussed in chat rooms and on bulletin boards visited by representatives of these same industries. And actually posted responses and started new discussions related to “my” article. More than one head popped up once they realized who I was, and that I had “graced them with my presence”
To fully exploit this strategy the publication needs to be larger and widely excepted. Blogs and ezine reprints won’t get the coverage. So go after the larger publications.

Once published, wait a week or so then do a Google search USING THE EXACT TITLE of the article.
You’ll be amazed at the opportunities that stream across your computer screen.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

New Webinar Channel

This Monday I will debut the new webinar channel

BMN - Business Marketing Network
Each week I will deliver timely, powerful, and effective marketing strategies via the web. This weeks program -
Maximizing Publicity - Minimizing Cost
will air at 6pm
The program is presented free of charge
Check it out here
http://beta.brighttalk.com/webcasts/775/attend

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wacky ways to get yourself known

I've always been fascinated by strange, creative and off the wall publicity strategies. From time to time I like to post ideas from the field - especially publicity stunts that go beyond what many people believe to be "traditional media"

The following story was submitted by Shana Mahaffey
Publicist – San Francisco

When Kemble Scott's debut novel SoMa was released, he figured he probably wouldn't be getting on Oprah. As a new author, the chances of getting any publicity were slim to none. He thought it would be especially tough for his book. Set in the underground of San Francisco, he knew that newspaper editors (especially book review editors) tend to ignore work they think is too edgy.
So Scott decided to take the pitch for his book directly to readers.

What could be more democratic than YouTube?

He created a series of companion videos that told the true stories that inspired the novel. Even though SoMa is a work of fiction, the places featured in the book are real. The videos revealed a side of the city few in mainstream society knew existed. Collectively, the videos have been viewed about 60,000 times. That was enough to create buzz for the book.

Scott went from being a relatively unknown writer to hitting the San Francisco Chronicle's bestsellers list the first week the book was for sale. That was before Scott had done a single public appearance, and without any coverage from mainstream media.Eventually SoMa would hit #4 on the bestsellers list. And the story of the YouTube videos became a marketing vehicle itself.

Scott was the first to use YouTube to promote a work of fiction this way, and that led to mentions in newspapers and on the notorious gawker.com blog ValleyWag. An estimated 300,000 different books are published each year in the United States, so it's a monumental task to get one to stand out from the crowd. It's also widely believed that books don't benefit very much from traditional advertising. That's why you don't use TV commercials for books. Instead, books tend to succeed by word of mouth, like one neighbor telling another over the backyard fence. Now, in the grassroots age of the Internet, YouTube can be just like a little neighborhood.

For more information on this Wacky Idea visit: www.youtube.com/kemblescott

*******************************
Thanks Shana

Friday, August 15, 2008

MEET THE PRESS

This article was written by me and originally published in Association Meetings Magazine last April. You can find Association Meetings Magazine online at www.Meetingsnet.com

On any given day, up to 70 percent of all the stories in newspapers across the United States were either released or pitched by public relations firms, publicists, and corporate communications firms. In the case of business news — often released by business owners or their industry associations — this number approaches 100 percent.

Publicity is such a powerful complement to traditional marketing that most major corporations staff entire departments with people whose only job is to get their company in the news.
Associations too can employ this marketing strategy. And when they do, they see their membership rosters swell, their political and civic agendas gather momentum, and their meetings and trade events grow.

Unfortunately, many organizations fail to get the coverage they desire. This failure comes from a misunderstanding as to how mainstream news agencies work. If you hope to exploit the media's insatiable appetite for information, you must first understand a few simple truths.

First, the media needs you

Most newsrooms are short-staffed and their reporters have little time and need a constant stream of new ideas. You should never allow your organization to implement a new service or product, promote a cause, adopt a new social position, or change leadership without notifying the media.

When your association has a meeting or trade event, alert the local media. If you have a speaker of national prominence on the agenda, alert the media. Will your speaker grant interviews to the press? What awards will be given, to whom, and why? Is the event open to the public? If so, how may someone attend? What industry trends or changes will be discussed? Have you hired a new director? Can you guess? That's right, alert the media.

Before a meeting, you might consider encouraging your members to send press releases announcing their plans to attend to the newspapers in their hometowns. This alone would get your organization coverage in newspapers across the country. And your members will learn a valuable marketing strategy they can use in their business lives over and over again.

Second, reporters are relationship-oriented.

If you want to get expanded coverage for your events, it's not enough to blast-fax a release or send it out on a news wire. While appropriate for simple announcements, such as awards, pitching a feature story idea requires personal contact. Fax or e-mail your release directly to the reporter, then follow up with a phone call. Introduce yourself and confirm the reporter received your release. Then — and this is critical — ask if you can continue. Never begin pitching a story idea without first getting permission to do so.

The media needs you. But they owe you nothing. Help them by providing them a steady stream of new ideas. Respect their time. Treat them as cherished partners. Understand when they decline a story. Become a valuable, trusted, and dependable resource and they will reward you with priceless exposure for years to come.

Michael Hart is a speaker and trainer on publicity. For more information on his programs, reach him at (205) 678-9661 or http://www.michaelhartspeaks.com/. To learn more about this subject, send a blank e-mail to report@MichaelHartSpeaks.com to receive Hart's report, MEDIA BLITZ, free of charge.

Free PR Newswire Seminar

This link will take you to a recent Webinar I delivered for PR Newswire called -
"Maximizing Publicity, Minimizing Cost"

In this program I reveal some of the more important trends taking place in the media and how to get tons of free exposure for your company, association, meeting, organization or event

http://www.iian.ibeam.com/events/prmv001/26747/

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Live Interview with Zig Ziglar

On my main site www.MichaelHartSpeaks.com I'm building a directory of many of the better interviews from my radio program The Success Radio Network www.SuccessRadioNetwork.net

This week I posted a great one with legendary business expert and speaker Zig Ziglar. You're invited to listen to it here: http://www.michaelhartspeaks.com/Celebrity_Interviews.html

Make sure to visit the site often as I continue to post some of the greatest business interviews from some of the greatest business minds

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pitching Orphan Media

A recent article on media trends claims that 67% of all people now claim to get their news reports from the web instead of print papers. If this number is accurate the opportunities for publicity seekers are now officially boundless. Unlike print papers the web presents some fascinating advantages, one being the “inventoried article”.

For year’s sister publications, (Newspapers owned or published by the same group) have shared articles among themselves. I’ve written articles for a Business Journal publication in one city that was reprinted in Business Journal’s in different cities without me doing a thing.

However on the web the dynamic of these inventoried articles changes. Articles are no longer restricted to sister publications. Any site can reprint an article provided proper credit is given and often do so.

Three weeks ago I was mentioned in an article published by Forbes Magazine. Forbes posted the article to their site and within days the article was reposted by MSNBC. Then the Sydney Herald (Yes Australia) picked it up.
Read it here - http://www.forbes.com/wineandfood/2008/06/30/breakfast-spots-business-forbeslife-cx_ls_0630food.html There’s no telling where this one article will go.

But here’s where the opportunity explodes. Many publicity seekers shun pitching smaller web based publications and blogs (I refer to these smaller - independent news providers as "Orphan Media") because they feel the smaller audiences won’t pay off. As I’ve been preaching for years (My upcoming webinar sponsored by PR News Wire is on this exact topic) media outlets are starved for information. So starved they’re willing to publish competing news media’s stories. Smaller outlets are easier to reach, easier to sell, easier to work with and with a little luck your story could travel around the globe.

Don’t fall victim to the belief the articles only trickle down from the big guys. It’s the big guys doing “most of the heavy lifting”. So when it’s time to pitch that next great story idea don’t be foolish. Tell it and “sell” it to anyone that will buy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Complimentary Publicity Webinar

For August 6th when I host
"Maximize Publicity - Minimize Cost"
Sponsored by PR Newswire
Register here

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Paper or Plastic

By Michael Hart

You cannot pass through the checkout line at your local grocer without being asked the question; would you like paper or plastic? Of course they’re referring to grocery bags. But in today’s media climate the same question is being asked and much to the concern of print newspapers - plastic is winning.

With growing frequency news consumers are dumping newspapers for the more expedient, and graphically eye-pleasing news found in their plastic laptops. Web based news outlets are growing in popularity at an alarming rate and companies that print news are scrambling for answers. Not only has readership fallen off, so has advertising and can it be, news submissions. Even people looking to get some news coverage are going the way of the web.

On a recent trip to Florida with my family I was passing through Montgomery Alabama when I bought a paper from a roadside vendor. (The local paper, The Montgomery Advertiser, actually puts newspaper sales people on the corners of busy streets on Sunday’s. And they do a very brisk business. This is a great idea and will be a topic for another day.)

In several sections of the paper was a 2x4 ad (Quite large) with the headline:
“Get Published” The news was advertising for … er … NEWS! And it wasn’t just asking for wedding announcements, lost dogs, and anniversaries, they ad was asking for news, photos and events. And the Advertiser is hardly the only paper employing this strategy – it’s happening across the US.

Now before you write me off by saying – “Okay Michael that’s fine but you just said print newspapers are dying”. We’ll they are but they ain’t dead yet and BESIDES all regional papers do what with the news they print?

Right-on! They post it to their web sites too! So whether you have news of a local flavor or need national exposure for books, consulting or seminars, contacting your local newspaper works. You get both the local print story from your hometown, plus you get the much sought after link to your company site or blog.

And search engines give links from media sites higher rankings. (Link rankings are based in part on the number of people that visit the site the link originated from. It’s called a page rank)

Lastly, many papers are owned by “clusters”. (Companies that own numerous papers, TV stations, etc.) When they post to one paper’s website, all of their sister publications have access to it. (This is yet another topic for yet another day) The Birmingham News owns AL.com. Any news item posted here is also seen in Huntsville and Mobile Alabama. So if you want tons of free exposure for your business, want powerful links to your site, and want to build your list of media contacts, start in your own backyard.)

Note: This article was also featured this week in Michael's weekly newsletter "Monday Morning Marketing Minute" Whereas this Weblog focuses primarily on marketing by harnessing the power of the media, Monday Morning Marketing reveals a variety of powerful, proven free marketing techniques. This great small business resource is free. Sign up today at http://www.michaelhartspeaks.com/

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Joining the Facebook Frenzy

Among the social networking sites, Facebook is probably the best known of all of them. Facebook (originally called thefacebook) was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February of 2004 at Harvard and was originally designed as a hobby project. Within a few months, the idea spread across the college and shortly thereafter Facebook sign-ups extended to Stanford and Yale. Since that time it's grown in numbers no one could have anticipated; in fact, there has been such a change in traffic and demographic that the average age on Facebook has changed to a median 35 -64.

Keep in mind that while these tips are directed to "facebookers" they can often be applied to a variety of online social networking sites. While the set-up is unique to all of them, the interaction, tips for growth, and marketing strategies tend to be the same across the board.

Setting up a Page on Facebook

Unlike Squidoo which tends to be a tad more involved, the Facebook sign up is pretty easy. There are four basic steps to follow:

1) From the Facebook homepage you'll see a screen that asks you to login or sign up for a free account. Click on "Sign Up," which takes you to a Web form.

2) The form will ask you for your name, email, password, and birthday. You'll also have to go through a security procedure which will involve typing a series of letters and numbers. Once you do that (and agree to their terms and conditions) click the "Sign up now!" button when you have completed the form.

3) A confirmation email will pop into your inbox. Simply click the link when you get the email to confirm that you did register and off you go! You're logged into Facebook and can start uploading content.

4) You can start building your network by looking for friends, colleagues, and groups that are appropriate to what you're doing. Join any groups that seem to fit your message, and start networking.

5) Facebook works really well when your page is personalized so add some applications that will further enhance this page. You'll want to add photos, a library where you can select books you're reading or ones you recommend. You can upload video, even the RSS feed from your blog. Making the page as robust as you can is your goal!
Facebook Facts:

More than 60 million active users

An average of 250,000 new registrations per day since Jan. 2007

Active users double every 6 months

More than half of Facebook users are outside of college

The fastest growing demographic is those 25 years old and older

Sixth-most trafficked site in the United States (comScore)

More than 65 billion page views per month

More than 14 million photos uploaded daily
Facebook Tips

Fill out your profile: Seriously, don't leave pieces of your profile undone. Make sure it's uploaded completely. This doesn't mean giving out your home address or year of birth if you don't want people to know your age, it just means filling out the fun stuff like hobbies, books you enjoy reading and so on.

It's not just about you, it's about the community: Remember the golden rules of social media: help first, promote second.

Step outside of your social circle: try getting away from your inner circle and migrate out to other people who might be good networking opportunities. While it's fun to stay connected to all your college buddies, that's not the main focus of your Facebook page.

Slow and steady wins the social media race: The best Facebook pages (and this is true for any social networking site) are built over time. Slow growth is best when it comes to social networking sites so don't force a sudden surge of growth. This will also keep you from getting booted off if you add friends too quickly. Facebook watches for people who are adding hundreds of friends at a time and will lock your page if they think you're over-promoting yourself.

Don't be shy: The purpose of Facebook is to connect and interact with other members, so don't be shy! Interact with people on your friend list by commenting on their pictures, wishing them a happy birthday, "poking" them (unique to Facebook), writing on their wall or throwing something at them (again, this is unique to Facebook). Doing all these things will help others to get to know who you actually are instead of just knowing your name.

Content, content, content: Remember that it's important to add content. You can do this by uploading a video, adding the RSS feed from your blog and a variety of other things. You can also add Facebook applications and there are a bunch to chose from. Spice up your profile using these applications.

Marketing on Facebook: Marketing on this site is done via interaction with members as I've stated before. Interacting with others on the site is a great way to market yourself.
Keep updating your profile: Don't let your profile get stale. Update your status, add photos, answer wall messages and emails.

Create events: Yes, you can create events on Facebook and it's pretty easy to do. Once you have your network momentum going and are adding friends, why not plan an event too?
Add your Facebook page to your blog: Make sure and add your Facebook page to your blog. You can have your web person take care of this for you, it's a simple widget that gets added to let people know you have a Facebook profile.

Keep in mind that there are a few different things you can do on Facebook. There are Facebook Profiles, Pages, and Groups. A Facebook Profile is the standard way to get yourself onto Facebook and if you're just starting out, but if aggressive promotion is what you seek then a Page or Group might be better suited to your needs.

Penny C. Sansevieri
Author Marketing Experts, Inc.Turning Authors into SuccessStories
http://www.authormarketingexperts.com/

Note from Michael:
Penny mentions Content, content content. This is Very, very very important - for any site. News servers such as Google Alerts constantly spider for new content on the web. Remember blog directories categorized blog content differently then web browsers do. So add content frequently to all your sites and yes this includes your web pages too.

Thanks Penny





Friday, July 11, 2008

Speak More Often, Make More Money!

By Lisa Braithwaite M.A.

Public speaking is a free and easy way to get the word out about your business. It’s not as flashy as advertising, but infinitely more personal and customizable to your audience.

If you’ve considered promoting your business through public speaking but don’t know where to begin, here are three painless tips to get you started. If you’re already speaking for your business but want to make a greater impact, read on!

Determine your objective

Speakers frequently create presentations based on facts, figures and features, but with no particular objective or purpose. Without an objective, how do you know what you’re trying to accomplish? Without a purpose, how do you remain focused?

First, figure out who’s going to be in the audience. The more you know about them, the easier it is to determine your objective. You might want to know their age, gender, income, experience level and interest in your topic, for example.

Ask yourself what you want the audience to do as a result of your presentation. Do you want to educate them? Do you want them to hire you? Do you want them to go out and tell others about your company? Those are all valid objectives. Now how do you get there?

Open with a bang

Grab your audience right from the beginning with a question, quiz, quote, story or statistic. You want the audience to be emotionally involved right up front, and a lengthy introduction about you, your company’s history, and your satisfied customers is not going to achieve that.

Is there a quote that will make them laugh before you transition to your main topic? Is there a story you can tell that will have them on the edge of their seats? Is there a statistic that will leave them with their mouths hanging open? This is the first step toward engaging your audience and keeping their attention.

Talk benefits, not features

The audience only cares about themselves. They only care about what they’re going to get from your presentation, and how they can use the information later. Ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?”

When talking about our businesses, we frequently talk about features: services, products, how fast our response times are, our great customer service, our many awards.

These are all vague concepts to your audience. They don’t say anything about what the audience gets from using the service or product. Will they look younger? Live longer? Make more money? Save time? There you go! That’s what they want to know. Those are the benefits of using your service or product, and that’s what you need to promote.

The key here is to offer value, practical information that they can apply to their own lives the minute they walk out the door. If you are not providing something of value to them, something relevant and useful, then you are wasting their time.

Know your objective and focus on the audience’s needs and wants, and your talks will be more engaging, you’ll better represent your business and yourself, and your audiences will come back for more.

For more information contact:
Lisa Braithwaite
http://www.coachlisab.com/
Visit Lisa's Blog at http://www.coachlisab.blogspot.com/

NOTE From Michael:
Whenever you speak you should notify the media. Even small mentions in local papers can go a long way towards establishing yourself as an expert. Send a short paragraph to all the media in your town prior to the event. Make sure you do so again after the presentation. You might want to invite your local business reporter(s) editors to hear your program. And definately remember to bring a camera. Newspapers love action pics. Send the picture with the post event release. Send it to the business section editor as a stand alone piece. Post it to your web site. Send it to the group that invited you to speak and suggest they post it to their website. There are tons of different ways to leverage seemingly small events like these into great exposure.

Thanks Lisa

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where's Michael Today

As I have preached for decades aggressively pursuing the media is a wonderful way to get priceless exposure for and product, service, company or cause.

I not only preach this strategy, I practice it. Here a few places where my ideas have been featured in the last 24 hours alone. (One is actually a quote I authored for an old ezine I published years ago - I Googled this 10 year old quote and not only did it appear in the publication but I found it used 16 other times so far)

FORBES Magazine
http://www.forbes.com/wineandfood/2008/06/30/breakfast-spots-business-forbeslife-cx_ls_0630food.html

ASSOCIATIONS CONVENTIONS And FACILITIES Magazine
http://acf.themeetingmagazines.com/acf/20080506Features/GrowingPains/tabid/109/Default.aspx

BLOG NOSH Magazine
http://www.blognosh.com/2008/07/50-timeless-blo.html

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Marketing for Small Businesses

More than 1.7 million new small businesses are started in the U.S. every year. Although the details vary, based on the chosen market and business type, one thing remains the same.The need to Market. Every successful company uses some sort of promotion.
The following are cost-effective, easy-to-execute ideas.

The key is to find the methods that are appropriate for your business, marketplace, and professional style.

Contests As one example, a cookware store decided to sponsor cooking contests.After sending out a press release announcing a competition for the best cookie or chocolate cake, a mailing went out to the store's customers soliciting entries. Food editors, professional chefs, and cooking teachers were invited to be judges. Both the winners and the winning recipes were publicized. Essay and design contests are also possibilities, such as a furniture store establishing a prize for student furniture design. Pie eating, pancake flipping, oyster shucking, and grapestomping contests make sense for restaurants. Dentists can hold smile contests, while video rental stores can stage movie trivia quizzes.

Newsletters Another good way to promote, particularly for brokers, banks, and businessconsultants, is through newsletters. They demonstrate how much you knowabout your field and do it in a low-key, informative way. They help keep your company high in the consciousness of your prospects.

Demonstrations Demonstrations are an option to attract people to your place of business, show them how to best use your product, and establish your credibility. A retail-wholesale fish outlet holds cooking demonstrations twice a week, featuring a different restaurant chef each time and attracting substantial crowds. Recipe cards are even given out. Wallpaper demonstrations, fashion shows, gift-wrapping, refinishing, and computer demonstrations have all worked well for retailers selling products associated with them.

Seminars Often more appropriate for business-to-business marketing, seminars are the commercial side of demonstrations. If you hold a seminar, follow these rules for success:
* Schedule the event at a time convenient to most attendees
* Be specific in the invitation about beginning and end, who will be there, and agenda
* Follow up the invitations with personal phone calls
* Charge for the seminar to give it a higher perceived value
* Follow up after the event to get people's reactions

Speeches Depending on your topic and market, you might want to speak before Chambers of Commerce, trade associations, parent groups, senior citizens, or other local organizations.

Donations Donating your product or service to a charitable cause often results inpositive exposure to community leaders, charity board members, PTAs, and civic groups. While consumer products are desired most, many organizations also look for donations of professional service time. If you have a restaurant or a large meeting facility, consider hosting an event for a charitable organization. This works best if volunteers forthat charity are potential customers.

The above tips were compiled from SBA information by Howard Keating, Chief Executive Officer, ZANA Network, LLC www.zananetwork.com - an online Marketplace for small businesses.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Why and How to Get Known as an Expert in Your Field

With all the dire economic news lately, many business people and professional service providers wonder if the sky is falling and what that means for their ability to grow their businesses in such challenging times.

Those who are known as experts in their fields stand to weather the bad times better than those without this reputation. They may even be able to charge more for their specialized services because those who need their help can ill afford to make the wrong choices when the problems they need to solve are so urgent.

Some of the most tangible benefits you can enjoy as a result of being known as an expert in your field are enhanced reputation, increased traffic to your website or blog, better search engine rankings, sold out seminars, more frequent phone calls from the right prospects, and new engagements.

It is not easy to launch, grow, and sustain a winning business – especially when times are tough. It takes passion, hard work, commitment, and so much more. To be seen, heard, and celebrated in your local media for the expertise you’ve earned and the contributions you make is absolutely priceless beyond the tangible benefits that count for a lot.

Here are the top 15 ways to earn a reputation as an expert in your field.

1.First and foremost, do great work for your clients so they are happy to go to the mountaintops with their bugles to sing your praises. If you are truly doing a great job for your clients, you have earned the right to ask for testimonials and use them to celebrate your expertise.

2.Be clear about your commitment to serve others first so your own success can grow. When you share general tips and information that eases aches and pains others are experiencing in their businesses, you will invite others to engage you for a fee for the specifics to solve those problems.

3.Craft a fabulous bio that proves and declares your expertise in a winning, memorable way. Leave the blah, blah, blah boring bio behind and lead with a story that is memorable, likable, and worthy of respect. You and your expertise will be well served.

4.Write regularly for the local, trade, or national business media.

5.Use those articles to ask for and earn an ongoing column in a local business journal.

6.Contribute commentary, tips, and resources to social networks, online forums, blogs, radio shows, and other media.

7.Speak at professional events and serve on panels through which your expertise can add value.

8.Launch and sustain a useful electronic newsletter, and invite new subscribers to benefit from what you offer by offering valuable resources, special reports, and other tools to support their success.

9.Launch and maintain a useful blog.

10.Maintain a quality website that celebrates your expertise.

11.Host teleseminars, webinars, and workshops to share your expertise with others and expand your sphere of influence. Tell. Don’t sell.

12.Merchandise your contributions and perspectives to the media via your online pressroom to make it easy for editors and writers to connect with you 24/7.
13.Write special reports, e-books, or other tools to support others’ success through the power of your expertise.

14.Win awards that celebrate your winning ways and reflect favorably upon your reputation.

15.Explore video as an avenue to share your expertise with the world. Now that YouTube is such a powerful force, along with dozens of other online video sites, the opportunities to share your expertise and message in a way that will engage others are limitless.
There is no “Easy” button to earning the reputation as the expert. However, if you choose the five tactics that appeal most to your strengths and talents and get into action to deploy them today, over time you will earn that coveted reputation and the rewards that go with it.

Nancy S. Juetten is a work-in-the-trenches publicist, Publici-Tea™ trainer, speaker, and the author of the Media-Savvy-to-Go Publicity Toolkit. Get in touch at 425-641-5214 or by email at nancy@nsjmktg.com. Visit the www.mainstreetmediasavvy.com blog or www.publici-tea.com to learn more.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Market Yourself With Google Alerts

Most people know search engines find Web sites thru keywords and meta tags. Did you know news readers such as Google Alerts locate blog articles the same way? So use words that your prospects are likely to use in their searches. For example, if you speak primarily to financial services groups make sure you use terminology specific to their industry. Google News searches will not only return industry news to your prospects but your blog posts too. If you’re having trouble breaking into a particular firm, write a glowing post on their business practices, or — if you’re brave — challenging them. (Make sure you mention the firm in the copy; even better in the title). Any active news feed alerts this firm has on itself will then return your article post based on the keyword search of their own company.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Complimentary Publicity Webinar

Would you like to learn:

How the media really works
How to write articles for national magazines
How to get nationwide publicity
How to get publicity for your books and products
How to interviewed on radio and television
How to recycle publicity
How to turn your publicity into profit
Harnessing the power of social media
How to get reporter and producers excited about you
How to write a press release that gets noticed
How to create powerful press release titles
What reporters look for in a story
How to syndicate your articles around the world

Then click the link below to register for

"Marketing Minus Money"
12:00 p.m. Central on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 (1:00 p.m. Eastern)
Sponsored by...
SpeakerMatch.com and Speak Easy

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Power of Editorials

Newspaper readers give the same amount of credibility to letters to the editor as they give to news articles and opinion pieces! That's the finding of Robert Smith, the most inventive PR guy I know. And he should know. He wrote a letter to the editor of USA TODAY, which was published, and read by a prospect who became a client with a $3,000 fee! And it took just 2-3 phone calls and letters to cement the deal! Why was it so easy?

Because Robert had incredible credibility from the letter printed in USA TODAY! "The prospect kept referring to my 'article' in USA TODAY," says Robert. I interviewed Robert recently on how to write letters to the editor to get free publicity in your local newspapers (no, you don't have to be a national celebrity to get quoted), as well as authors who have gotten letters published in national publications like Forbes! A few of his tips:

Be controversial. Feel free to disagree with trends.
Be fast. Nothing is more boring than old news.
Read everything so you know what is topical.

Reprinted from
Dan Janal Your Fearless PR Leader PR LEADS Expert Resource Network 952-380-1554 dan@prleads.com http://www.prleads.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Google Alert Alert!

An interesting thing happened today when I was checking my Google Alerts Account under the "Michael Hart" search keyword. The alert notified me of a couple of new web posts bearing my name. The posts were actually the text of some new copy I placed on my web site. Google Alerts actually posted my site uploads as news on their news server. I had always been told it was wise to add content to your web site as search optimization software, spiders, crawlers etc will pick up on it and re-categorize your site.

I did not know however the new text (not just typed onto a page but uploaded to your site from an outside file) could actually appear in a news feed. The moral? Change your site copy often. Even if you just recycle content over and over, new copy will get your site and your name noticed!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Impress Your Clients

A great way to keep in touch with clients and prospects and win the "top of mind" awareness war is to find timely and informative news articles that would interest your clients and email them. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal Interactive and many other top newspaper web sites will allow you to email news articles without charge up to a week after publication date.

At NYTimes.com you can email any article to a single client, or up to 20 separate email addresses at a time. After a prompt you insert your email address so your client and/or prospect knows who is sending the story. You can even included a personal message. This is an easy and free way to stay in touch and to let your customers know just how important they are to you.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

56 Reasons to Contact the Media

The media, particularly newspapers, are in constant need for new inforamtion. Many people think the media only need in depth news stories. Here are 56 reasons to get in touch with the press. Brainstorm and you will discover even more!

Accomplishments
Alliance with another organization
Anniversary
Annual Report
Appearances at major events
Board or Committee Appointments
Articles written about or by you
Awards you’re receiving
Books you have authored
Book/Newsletter/Magazine mentions
Classes your firm is sponsoring
Company anniversary
Contests you’re sponsoring
Charitable contributions
Local angle on national stories or controversial topics
Death of corporate figure
Debates
Employee trips
Expanded facilities
Expanded or reduce hours
Free Demonstrations
Free Offers
Free samples
Fundraisers
Grants you’re giving or receiving
Guest speaker you’re hosting
Holiday events
Hostile Takeover
Incorporations
Industry groups you are joining
Industry programs in which you are participating
Major industry changes
Job Change/promotions
Land purchases
Lawsuits field or settled
Mergers/Acquisitions
New markets
Name change
New employees
New major client
New product rollouts
Newsletters you are starting
New Address
Open House
Patents
TV/Radio Interviews
Predictions
Product recalls
Public Service Announcements
Stock Offering
Publication launch
Real Estate Transaction
Relocations
Research
Sales Promotions
Surveys/Polls

Monday, February 4, 2008

Turning Publicity Into Cash

When you here the words “free publicity” do you automatically think radio, TV, or newspaper? If so that’s common.

However there are vast publicity avenues that will gain you just as much mileage, and even more money. It’s called “Niche’ Publicity” Let me give you an example. Some years ago in addition to my speaking/consulting business, I owned a company called LifeSaver of Alabama. We built and installed protection fences to keep toddlers from drowning. Not the traditional wood privacy fence but a removable, mesh, deterrent fence. At that time I sent 2000 direct mail pieces to homeowners in and around my home in Birmingham AL. Knowing that most direct mail generates a return of 1 or 2%, how high do you think the return was? It was 67%!!!

That’s right SIXTY-SEVEN PERCENT!

How did we do it? We sent our mail piece to $150,000 plus homes, with a swimming pool, with an income in excess of $80,000 with a KNOWN toddler inresidence. And since we are the only game in town, voila’! (You can learn how to create such a target niche’ at one of my seminars)

Let's take another look at niche publicity. Let's say you sell securities (stocks and bonds), probably 95% of the readers of your local newspaper would/could never be a prospect. Doesn’t it make more sense to reach a readership where 100% of those that read about you are potential buyers? Well would it or not?

Did you know there are newsletters with subscriber bases that exceed 200,000 people such as:
*Mutual Fund Investor
*Today’s Investor
*High Net Investor
*Real Estate Marketing Report
*And THOUSANDS more!

Not only in the financial services sector but Manufacturing, Automobile, Insurance, Communications, Medical, Restaurant, Internet, Public Relations, even waiters and waitresses can get in on the fun. (Yep even service professionals have a publication - it’s called “Tables”)

And again, thousands more! Additionally there are radio programs with formats ranging from Christian issues, to Finances, to Golf. Moreover there are countless associations, organizations, and groups who have their own newsletter. These groups are begging for professionals such as you to write articles for their publication(s). And they are jam packed with like minded professional people who are dedicated, loyal clients. So if you wish to truly maximize your exposure think of publicity in terms of prospect tight compartments. Penetrate these specialty groups, call them, offer to write an article relevant to their readers. Ask their publisher what topics are most important to them.

Go to the library, find these niche’ publications, contact them, and offer your services. Call the local radio stations, find out what program formats they offer. Talk to the show’s producer. Ask how you can help them. If you wish to see your income double or triple, you must get all the PR/Publicity you can. But focus on groups who can buy and save courting the “feel good” exposure (What I like to call "Ego Publicity") until you have exhausted the smaller outlets.

Think about this. One article, in a newsletter or specialty magazine, with a readership of 50,000. That’s 50,000 potential clients, reading an article written by someone they now perceive as an expert (that’s you). The article will take about 2 hours to write and edit. (Don’t worry if you cannot write, most editors are forgiving and will help). The byline has your contact information. You will reach more people with 2 hours of work then you could in 5 years. AND you have the added benefit of them calling you.

Geez ya'll just do it!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Are you bleeding?

Like all businesses – and news reporting is a business – media outlets have a product to sell. Na├»ve media marketers labor under the misunderstanding the media is only concerned with reporting news, not so.

Journalism is an entertainment industry. The more provocative and compelling the stories, the more readers, viewers and listeners they attract and the more advertising dollars they generate. With this is mind, it’s easy to see why news programs lead with the most provocative “teasers” and newspapers print the most tantalizing headlines they can conceive. In the media world, the adage “if it bleeds, it leads” is more than a catch phrase, it’s a goal.

This fixation with the provocative stems from the intense competition in the industry, which has quadrupled in recent years. Today business related stories, if they get any coverage at all, are relegated to low readership specialty sections, trade publications, business journals and early morning broadcasts.

Although any exposure is better than none, the larger audiences of mainstream newspapers and prime time news programs are vastly preferable. And with a little creativity and imagination you too can exploit the media’s desire to titillate, regardless of your product or service.

However, your story must be “packaged” in such a way reporters and producers can see the potential for attracting an audience.

All news has a story, yet all stories are not news. What’s story is your product or service keeping hidden but waiting to tell? How does it improve the lives of others or change the way people think or feel? Discover the story behind what your product or service’s does and the media will beat a path to your door to help you tell it!

Friday, January 11, 2008

"Get Ink"

The media is the most powerful, practical marketing entity ever conceived. A story on you or your firm provides something no amount of print, radio or television advertising can buy, at any price - The Implied Endorsement. One well-placed newspaper article or television or radio interview can build instant credibility, name recognition and attention for your product, service or business. Learn how to write and distribute compelling press releases and you're well on you way to a publicity windfall.

People that produce news programs and newspapers rely heavily on outside sources for story ideas and most of these ideas come in the form of press releases. Large corporations have people whose only job is to release news to the thousands of available media outlets.

It's that important.

Some release ideas include sharing trends developing in your industry. Update reporters on new innovations and advances. Send a release announcing promotions in your firm, product rollouts company awards, staff additions, banquets, conventions, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination and may prompt a larger story. Working with the media is an absolute must for any size business.

An even more powerful publicity strategy is to write! Write articles that highlight problem your product or service will cure. In addition to submitting articles to local publications, professionals in any consultative selling field such as financial planners, insurance, real estate, construction, mortgages, banking and others, should write for industry specific magazines. There is a magazine for virtually every industry imaginable. (Actually they're are over 22,000 such publications and many accept article submissions) These publications are always on the lookout for new dynamic ideas from "experts" in the field.