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 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

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

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
Visit Lisa's Blog at

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


BLOG NOSH Magazine