Free Publicity and Marketing Resources

Hints, tips and ideas on how to market your business on a shoestring budget.

Why writing a blog is not enough to build your profile

Blogging is a great way to share your thoughts, ideas, knowledge and expertise with your target audience … especially in your voice. It is an informal way to connect your genius with those looking to tap into it. BUT … it is not enough to write a blog, upload it on your website and cross your fingers waiting for the hordes of readers to find you. SEO will certainly help. If you want to be the go-to person in your niche, you must share the love farther afield. Back in the old days – like three years ago – five to six touches were enough to close a sale, generate a lead, build trust and connection.  Now … it takes a lot more to build that trust. We are all so much more cynical about the intent behind people’s content, just waiting for them to pounce on us to sell something. How dare they be in business to sell something! (that is whole other blog). These days it is more like 20 touches.  People want to build a relationship with you.  If they do not know you exist, writing and posting your blog on your website won’t cut it. You have to get good at promotion (I call it PR … building powerful relationships). There are many apps and programs you can use to push your content out to more people – Buzzfeed, Outbrain, Coschedule.  Now more than ever, people want to connect with those they do business with (that’s the future of marketing – relationships). Pushing your content out using paid tools may seem less authentic in the...

{BUSINESS LESSONS} How The Worst Things Can Be The Best Thing

Being called into the COO’s office to be told your job is gone was one of the worst days in my professional life. I have never lost a job EVER.  Has that ever happened to you? After being headhunted for my ‘dream job’ to be let go 12 months later was crushing. I thought it was the end of my world. That was three years ago. Life is now completely different. I am so grateful to my previous employer for taking my safety net away. It pushed me into this life. How’s that for a silver lining? As a lifelong employee, my head was filled with uncertainty – how would I survive without a regular income? My security was gone. My purpose seemed pointless. I spiralled into depression because so much of my being was tied up in what I did. It’s your stage As I slowly emerged from my self-imposed exile – locked in my home, living off my redundancy package, sulking and feeling sorry for myself – it dawned on me the worst thing can be the best thing. I seriously went from redundancy to rock star – on a stage of my making. Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing. It’s easy to look back with rose coloured glasses and see what you want; to forget the despondency and the loss of identity. To brush aside the negative and focus on the positive (after all, life is meant to be sunshine and rainbows; you only need to look at Facebook to see how perfect everyone’s life is). But life is not sanitised and we need the...

{EXAMPLE} Creating a hero story

This is an example of a hero story.  It has all the elements to build a compelling and engaging story to capture the attention of the media, which it did. This story can also be turned in to a blog (see below). Media release Forest Lake resident and disability support worker Lisa Constantine has had some tough choices to make in her life … especially how she was going to live life after surviving an horrific car accident 20 years ago. Like all victors after adversity, Lisa chose to take the path of optimism, taking good from the bad. She is now focused on sharing the lessons she learnt through her recovery with others through her book A Simple Drive Home. “I wanted my story to not be one of ‘poor me’ or negativity. I really wanted to make sure what I had been through was more than something awful.” Lisa said. “My story is terrible. To leave home to go about my day and to be then be cut out of my car after a P plater crashed into me was not how I saw my life going. “I was newly married, we had built our new home and were talking about how many children we would have.” That all changed in an instant, snowballing into years of of rehab, physio and the breakdown of her marriage. Lisa said she knew is she wanted to move out of feeling sorry for herself, she had to change the way she looked at the accident. “I need to turn it into something positive,” she said. “So I started to write my story....

26 Ways To Find Good Stories In Your Business

The ability to tell  stories is a valuable skill. However, not everyone has been gifted with this skill. Do not despair. If you can learn the elements of a good story, coupled with great story ideas and follow the formula to write a media release (that you can turn into a blog – just take out the quotes), then you too can master storytelling for PR purposes. The elements of a good story are the same whether you are writing a fiction book or content for your website. These are the five elements to a good story The Hero – The key player of your story. Rising Action – These are the small events that happen along the way leading to the climax. Climax – This is the big, finale event. The hero makes a decision in response to an action. Falling Action – This is the action after the climax. A Great Ending – Every story needs a conclusion. It includes the reflection of the hero about what he/she has learned from the events in the story. Get the edge on story angles Once you realise what makes a great story, you will be able to start identifying opportunities within your business, pretty soon you will not be able to stop creating content! To help you along, here are 26 different ‘angles’ (that’s what a journalist calls your story idea). Once you have come up with an angle, you then have to ‘pitch’ it to the media … we’ll cover that in Chapter 17. Seasonal story – leverage off a holiday or seasonal event (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s...

{AWARDS} 5 Ways To Brag About An Award Win

It is business awards season. The perfect tool to use to get the ultimate in publicity. If used the right way, a business award win can provide ongoing promotion opportunities that won’t cost you a stack of money or time. The most obvious is media attention. Getting your story in the media certainly adds to your street cred – there is nothing more powerful than being featured by a journalist. Add to that a story about your winning (even being nominated) for an award – you have a double banger of third party credibility. But this is not the only way to tell people about your achievement. There is this wonderful tool called ‘leverage’. It is a powerful verb – to use (a quality or advantage) to obtain a desired effect or result: to exert power or influence on. To use the power of one point to influence people. The reasons leverage is so powerful is this: promoting and publishing your business is it’s not a one-off job. You have to keep doing stuff over and over, on an ongoing basis. • If you want to build a relationship with the media, you can’t stop at one media release. • If you want to connect with your target audience, you have to provide useful and helpful info on a regular basis. • If you want to establish your expertise and showcase your knowledge, you have to blog EVERY week about different topics. Bottom line is marketing and promoting your business is not as simple as we’d like it to be. Leverage means you can take one piece of content...

{ANTI-CHAT FEST} Your Job Is To Work On Your Business

GET SHIT DONE RETREAT AUGUST 3 TO 5   BRISBANE Stop putting of stuff like blogging, social media content, media releases, updating web content, planning for business growth next few months. You can get a lot done in a two and a bit days … and I’d love to help you. There is not schedule. There is no structure except the one set by you.  I will be there to help you with ANY PR or marketing job you want to nail. So the rest of the year unfolds with more clients and more money in your bank account. I can help you with marketing strategy, social media content, ideas for blogs and stories, entering awards, writing grants, content that engages … anything to do with marketing and PR. I want to get stuff done too … that is why the price is stupid low. $600 for the two and a bit days (a place to lay your head, all your food – we’ll all dig in a cook together and help from a multi-international award winning journalist and PR chick). The retreat starts on Thursday afternoon where we will set our goal/s for the weekend, creating an action plan so we can leave knowing we have ticked those boxes. We will work til 9pm to make the most of our days together. Then we get to work on whatever it is you need to get done. Price is $600 – that includes accomodation, food (but we will all dig in to cook) and my guidance/help.  Not bad for three days of PR love. Retreat finishes up 11am on Saturday 5...

{PLANNING} Three Ms for Mapping Your Small Business Path To Get Publicity

I work with a lot of small businesses. Some know exactly who they are and where they are going but the vast majority, while having the best products and service, are stuck in practitioner mode and hesitant to step out and grab publicity. Focused on the day-to-day, with no plan or strategies in place, marketing not a priority and often left wondering where the next customer or client will come from. They are brilliant at what they do but trying to do it all alone and without a plan. One of the things I love is training small business peeps to do is be their own publicity genie. After I get through explaining PR is and why it should be a tool to be used to build their profile and business, I ask ‘who has a plan – a marketing plan or a business plan?’, you can hear the crickets. Maybe, two people in a room of 20 people say yes. It does make it more challenging to get where you want to be without a plan. It is like getting in a car to go to Melbourne, without looking at a map and keeping your fingers crossed hoping you are heading in the right direction just be relying on your best guess. Business success, starts and ends, with having a plan. A map that lays out your direction, the tools you need to get there and the people you need to help you achieve your goals. Relying on your natural talents is not enough. But … before you even get started creating a PR/marketing plan, it is good...

{PUBLICITY} Is Your Private Facebook Post Just Clickbait For The Media?

Are Facebook posts story fodder for journalists lurking in groups? Especially private or closed groups? As a member of these groups, do you have an expectation that what you say in the group stays in the group? Given Facebook (and other platforms) are SOCIAL media, is there really such a thing as private? Who has a right to share your Facebook posts? Members of one group on Facebook found out recently that what they share in the group was great content for a journalist, who approached the group founder to reprint what members were saying about a topic. From all accounts … shit hit the fan! Not happy Jan was the consensus because many of these members shared their stories thinking they were doing so in a safe space. What is the protocol here? Let’s look at the nature of Facebook and journalism … is any publicity, good publicity? More and more journalists look to social media for ideas and story ideas. Every day there is a story somewhere in the media collating tweets, turning them into news (especially when it comes to celebs talking about the death of another celeb or feedback about a reality TV show). As more journalists rely on social media to find stuff to write about, we must ask what is acceptable when it comes to using comments and posts that were not written or shared for use as a media story. So … are your posts fair game for journalists? And do they have to tell each person they are quoting their posts is juicy clickbait? It is a grey area.  After scouring the...

{TIPS} How To Promote Your Event For Free (Or For A Little Bit Of Cash}

Event planning is job unto itself. Organising venues, guest lists, seating food, and the most important task – taking the time to promote your event. This should be your primary focus – getting bottoms on seats.  Because what is the point in holding the event if you do not tell anyone it is on? If you are on a limited budget, marketing an event may be challenging EXCEPT if you know how to get publicity and promote your event for free or a small cost. So … how to go about it? Here are three ways to do it. Flick the media release What? Did I just say that? Me … a PR genie?  If you are new to the promoting game and have never written a media release, you may do what so many do and write it as a sales/marketing piece.Journalists are not in the business of marketing or promoting your business – that is just an added extra  Chances are you will get a response letting you know your release has been sent to the advertising department. Or … you may write too much, turning it into war and peace … a great way to get your release deleted. Or … you waffle and take too long to get to the point. I suggest using my media release hack … otherwise known as an email. Here is an example to copy and use: Hi Journalist On May 4, I am hosting an event featuring Darth Vadar and Luke Skywalker at May The Fourth Be With You luncheon. I think your readers will be interested in hearing...

{GETTING YOUR STORY OUT THERE} How to find stories journalists want

Stop … Yes, you! I see you and what you are doing. I see the amazing business you have. The people you help. The problems you solve. I bet if I asked you if you have a story to tell you would say ‘no’. I also bet if we spent 30 minutes together, I could find over 10 stories in your business you could share with the media because I know you have them (you just need a prod to help start the story digging process). Once you know what a journalist is looking for, then you will have stories on tap. I use a really cool tool called Content Creation Matrix to help pull out story ideas. Sharing your stories Either your personal stories or our business stories is the most incredible way to connect with your target audience.  To engage them. To inspire them. To give hope. To provide useful information. Stories can be shared using a blog, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, article websites or … the most powerful platform for sharing a story – the media. The key to getting media coverage is knowing what a journalist wants.  You can get all fancy schmansy and complicated with your story but really, a journalist is looking for a good story that will engage THEIR audience. So the key here is KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE – match that with the right media outlet and you are onto a winner. Do we have a problem? But the age old problem with people sharing stories is most have no idea what makes a good story or that they even have one....

{SMALL BUSINESS} Using Social Media To Help Each Other Out

I’ve been watching a lot of Facebook and social media posts flying around asking people to support those in small business. Instead of spending your money with the big multinationals, redirect some of your spend to the little guys. A glorious sentiment. Helping someone build their dream. Helping someone grow their business to the point where they are earning a profit and can employ others. Why do we struggle with that? We have no problem walking into Woolworths to spend $200 on stuff in boxes but when our friend asks us to buy their skin care or other useful product, we are reluctant to part with our hard-earned cash. You see it all the time for those in network marketing – they offer similar if not better products than the big well-known chains. Yet their friends run for cover when asked to buy from them. I am sure there is a scientific reason for this (but when I Googled this phenomena, I could not find anything). I find the same mindset on Facebook. For those in small business, the holy grail on Facebook is to get likes and people engaging with our posts. Achieving organic reach is the ultimate but many of us find this hard without spending a few bucks on advertising. Even then, there is no guarantee of post cut through. You see pages with thousands of people as likers; there is lots of ‘to’ going on but not a lot of ‘for’. No comments being made and hardly any likes. There’s a few reasons for that: The content sucks – boring and uninspiring The content misses...

{PUBLICITY TIPS} Five PR Tools That Will Not Cost The Earth

PR is everything you say … everything you do and everything people say about you. Getting publicity for your business is the ultimate in third party credibility. But for most small businesses, they are stumped about how to actually use PR to get the attention they desire and need to grow their businesses.  And then there is the perennial challenge in business – having the budget to get someone to help you. What if I gave you some tips on how you can do your own PR and get publicity without it costing a mint? Some simple tools and ideas you can use to help stand out and be noticed? A Lot With Less I picked up many of these tools working in the not for profit world. You learn how to do a lot with less when you are reliant on funding and have a limited (if non-existent budget). It is important to realise PR and publicity is so much more than seeing your name in the paper or your face on the tellie. Mainstream media is just ONE PR tool you can use. Never put your eggs in one basket. That is where picking the right one comes down to knowing (really knowing) your target audience – what they read, watch and listen to – is crucial.  To get the max impact laser focused on your avatar’s pain points. I know we live in an age where we want instant results and want to be overnight successes, but good quality PR and publicity, and relationships build on trust and integrity take time. Some of these tips are...

How To Survive Four Years In Business … Making Heaps Of Mistakes

  Whew … four years in business. I made it.  Apparently, I am a high achiever; in the top 5 percent of businesses who make it past the first two years. When I look back over the first two years, I am amazed I made it. I came into business with no business nous AT ALL.  None. Zip. Nada. Yes, I had worked in corporate but I had a team backing me up.  I did not have to know everything. I delegated, redirected or outsourced.  When you have a big budget, you can do this. Entrepreneurship is different. Way, way, way different. You go into business with a great idea; a solution to a problem that you have the skills to solve.  That is the easy bit.  It is all the other things you must make work in business that ensures your growth and profitability. Such as administrative skills, systems and processes, customer service, finance, bookkeeping, web development, social media, marketing … You might tick some of the boxes but chances are not all. The thing is even if you do tick all the boxes, who really can do all of the things you need to do in business well all THE TIME? Quite often, when you start a small business, you begin with little capital (like me) so being able to engage a team to help with all the business management side is not possible. So begins the frenzy of business growth. The long hours trying to get everything done. Family and friends looking at you like you are crazy because you should just go get a job...

PUBLICITY AND CONTENT WORKSHOP – BRISBANE AND GOLD COAST

Content is king.  Most of us feel like jesters when it comes to creating it – we’re either unsure of what to do, how to come up with interesting ideas that do not feel like they have been done to death or even if we have something of value to say. The best way to connect with your audience is to give them info, ideas, topics and useful content they can use to make their lives better and easier. Do you know what that means for you? You have created a valuable relationship – because people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Give them content that doest that. ONE DAY WORKSHOP TO SHOW YOU – how to use it to connect with potential clients and convert into sales. How to use those awesome stories you know you have (deep down) to connect with journalists, who will share your story to MORE people? Do you freeze up when it comes to writing stuff for your Facebook page, your website blog or to share with the media about something awesome you have done? You are seriously not alone. I specialise in helping people find great stories to share across all these platforms.  I have 32 different ways to help you come up with things to write about. Great content helps you build powerful relationships. Great content – sharing information that informs, inspires and  educates is a tools you can use to get leads, make more sales, get publicity through the media and cement you as the authority in your space. Every single one of us in business has stories to share....

{PUBLICITY CASE STUDY} Getting A Story Published

The Courier Mail ran a story about a lady with a rare hearing condition. So far, it has over 400 comments, 70 shares and my client’s email and phone has been running hot. TV programs and other print media have also jumped on this story with it being replicated in Women’s Weekly and Daily News. A great result. What you do not see is the work that went into this story. Oh … and every business has something media worthy to share – it is just working out what. Once you know how, it is like turning on a tap. 1. Find a great angle – my client has developed a new treatment for a range of conditions that taps into neuroscience and brain plasticity. It is the first of its kind and is a real game changer. But this was not enough for a good story … we needed proof it worked. So we added the human element to it (news values – emotion) to make it a stronger story. 2. Wrote the media release – making sure the most important elements – who, what, where, when. how and why. 3. Pitch – we pitched it to a range of media we thought this would be a great story for and followed up. 4. Patience – so we get NOTHING back. My client was frustrated. I said this was normal and let’s just keep chasing. Follow UP! 5. A win – finally one of the journalists we sent the release to got back to us and started the interview process. 6. Patience … again – the journalist told...

Award Winner? Me? My Lessons From Entering Business Awards

I have never thought of myself as a winner … of anything. The most exciting thing I remember winning was when I was seven. I won the Top Dog Award For Achievement. This award still means a lot to me – I still have it (and seven was a loooonnnngggg time ago). After losing my job three years ago, I decided to take all I know about the being a journalist and writer, promoting events and causes, and telling stories and start my own public relations business. A big part of doing PR (promoting and sharing what you do) is get third party credibility. That is why word of mouth and referrals is still so powerful … despite all the new ways we have to market our businesses. EQUALS PUBLICITY AND CREDIBILITY In PR, third party credibility comes from appearing in the media- TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, being interviewed on podcasts, and having other people talk about you. And … entering and winning awards. Nothing screams ‘this-business-is-freaking-awesome’ than being named a finalist or winner in a prestigious award. Over the past few years, I have entered many (and won) awards for my clients … and the resulting media coverage, respect from peers and compliments from clients has been beneficial and profitable. NOT GOOD ENOUGH But … I never thought to enter one for myself. As a PR person, my job is to be in the background; making my clients look good. I also did not think I was good enough to enter an award. I mean … who do I think I am? I am not good enough....

How To Know If Your PR Is Working

Have you heard the saying ‘what gets measured improves’? Well … it applies to all aspects of life including our businesses. In my workshops and blogs, I often bang on about having a plan. If you do not have a plan, how do you know where you are going … and how do you know when you get to where you want to be? I work with many people who have a go at using PR as a marketing tool, only to throw in the towel after a few months – “It doesn’t work,” they say. Ah … yes it does.  You gave up too soon. Building a profile and a business, getting noticed, standing out takes time. PR is about building relationships and trust.  Using storytelling to connect and convert. Building a solid profile can take up to THREE years – talk about delayed gratification. I beg you … do not give up.  Even when it seems like nothing is happening, it is. To really get a handle on how your PR is going, it is good idea to test and measure to see what works and what does not.  If you know that, you can adapt your plan to accommodate and hone the tools your are using for better results and use of your time. Be Clear About Getting Publicity It’s important to be clear about what you’re looking for when you measure your PR. Before you start, review your PR objectives and consider: • The target customer segments you have identified • The business characteristics you identified in your PR goals and objectives • The set...