Marketing From A Woman's Point of View


The Top 9 Truths About Adding Twitter Followers

Without a doubt, one of the questions I am asked the most is,  “How did you get so many Twitter followers?”.  It’s almost like they think there was some magical trick I used to instantly add 23,000 followers.  So, the last time someone asked me this I got off the phone and really gave it some thought.

So, how did I do it?  I will definitely say that Twitter became my social media passion. One big truth many don’t share is that it takes time and effort.  I put every minute I had available into building my Twitter following and reputation.  And, I’m talking a LOT of minutes.

Here’s the top 9 truths I would offer you to help grow your community (I will leave tip number 10 to you, the Reader, to share in the comments section):

1. Your Bio Is Your Favorite Picture - Think of your bio as the one picture of yourself that you really like.  The one that makes you do a double take to make sure it’s you…and yep, it is!  Your bio should describe what you do, who you are and what you offer. Be specific where you can but also add your personality to your bio.  If you’re dull and sound like a textbook you will attract dull and textbook.  You want people that are active and talkative…you know…SOCIAL. (I have re-written my bio at least 20 times and probably about time I spruced it up again)

2. Keywords Are Your Seeds - You plant the “keyword seeds” in your bio and tweets by using industry related words and search terms that will bring your market to you.  Tweets are indexed by both Google and Twitter’s trending engine. As in any SEO, you want to use the keywords naturally in a sentence.

3. Boring Backgrounds Are Bad – Get a custom background for your profile or at least a picture up as soon as possible.  I won’t usually even follow someone that still has the Twitter bird as their profile image.  You can find free Twitter backgrounds with a simple Google search…you don’t have to get fancy.  But, if you’ve got the extra couple bucks or know how to create your own background, it’s a great way to create a recognizable brand.

4. Follow, Follow, Follow - I’ve found that not everyone will tell you this, but it is important to follow as many people as Twitter limits allow… especially in the beginning stages of building your following.   Follow wisely, though.  Do your research to find those that are both in your network niche, but also think about those outside your network that may benefit from your products or your expertise. Use Twitter directories, Twitter advanced search, and industry hashtags of events to promote yourself, find your market and gain followers.

5. Follow Industry Leaders and Get Them To Follow You – Follow people in your niche who have universally recommended expertise. Look for industry leaders who you can engage with and encourage them to follow you. Please don’t be annoying as hell and start spamming them with DM requests.   Be engaging to be engaged with.  When someone with a lot of followers follows you, the aggregate traffic can be huge.

6. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) - Make it obviously easy to find and follow you.  If you have a blog or other site, be sure to let your visitors know how to find and follow you on Twitter.  Make it easy for them by having Twitter “add me” buttons in strategic places on your site.  Don’t be afraid to ask people to follow you in your content.  If you talk about Twitter in an article, include a little “I love Twitter too! Follow me @MarketLikeAChik for more tips & some fun!” It’s simple and fast,  and most people who like your site will follow you on Twitter if you make it easy for them.

7. I’m Here Too!- Wherever you have a social profile set up…Facebook, FriendFeed, LinkedIn… you should connect and cross promote your other profiles.  Most are set up to easily link your Twitter profile.   It not only saves you time, but boosts your overall member rate on both sites.

8. She’s Got Big Balls – I’m borrowing from AC/DC’s song, but the term just fits.  Do not be a wall flower.  Be the person that is first to give an opinion, break industry news, or take sides in a controversial conversation.   Watch for what’s trending and ride the wave by tweeting articles or commenting about the subject.  Put your own spin on it, don’t be a monkey.   Be entertaining and informative, engage with people, ask for opinions on trending topics.  If you don’t know what to talk about check this article out for some Twitter conversation starters.

9. Provide Useful, Relevant and Digestible Information – All of the other 8 tips listed above will only get you so far.  People are busy.  When you provide something that saves time or solves a problem you become valuable to them.  They want to know what other tips you can give to help them in other areas.  Have you ever done a search on how to do or fix something  only to find page after page of confusing and contradicting answers?  People are looking for quick answers and easy to follow instruction.  Give that to your community on a consistent basis and talk to your followers…you will not only increase your following but you will build a loyal community of your own.

Ask me questions.  I know there is more that you want to know and a lot I didn’t cover here, so go ahead and post your question in the comments below.  Or, share a tip of your own that’s helped you grow your Twitter base.

To Your Success,

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Live Social Media Marketing Events: Are You Attending or Intending?

Social media marketing events are happening all around us and with every one there are new opportunities waiting to be had.  However, without setting your intentions before attending, your mind doesn’t know what to be on the look out for and you will miss golden opportunities right in front of you.

When I say “intention”, I mean much more than just a casual “when I get there I’m hoping to meet so-and-so”.  Intentions are when your thoughts, desires, and focus are all in harmony.  Be clear (focus) on your business objectives (dreams)  and  your thoughts will line up to start noticing opportunities.  They will be attracted to you.  (Be sure to check out  Hardwiring Your Brain for Marketing Success!)

Intentions are important in any area of your marketing success, but especially when attending live events because things are constantly moving and changing.  Your chance to talk or network face to face with a top influencer can be a fleeting moment that you may never see again.

Below are 8 intentions to get you started, but take the time to put some thought into them and make them your own.  Really dig in and you’ll be amazed at how opportunities just appear because your thoughts are focused on finding them.

1. Make a list of questions

Before you go to the event sit down and think about your business goals.  You should already know what you intend to accomplish and have a plan on how to get there.  If you’re really working towards your goals and you’re growing, chances are you will have hit a few forks in the road or may need a little advice from someone more experienced.

Write those questions down that you’ve been holding in the back of your head that’ve been keeping you from taking your business to the next level.  Sometimes you don’t even know what it is that’s holding you back….thinking about it will bring to the surface what the real reason is.  Once you know what it is, think about questions you might ask and who might be the most qualified to answer.  Seek out those experts while you’re there.

2. Plan A Mini-Interview With Your Top Picks

These questions are different than the ones you prepared in step one. Those questions focused on you and your specific business ideas or roadblocks you’re experiencing.  These are about the Speaker and their business success.  You might even consider video taping and posting to your blog as a mini-interview.

Write down who you want to meet while you’re at the event and make a list of all the questions you want to ask them.  If you know someone you admire or respect in your industry is going to be there write their name and some specific questions about their success like, “What are the thee most crucial things you did that got you to where you are today?” Or, “If you were starting all over again what advice would you give yourself?”

3. Research The Event Speakers

Many times you may attend an event that has well known Keynote Speakers, but you may not be familiar with some of the workshop Speakers or Presenters.  Before you go to the event do your homework and find out everything you can about the Speakers: what their latest project is, what’s their specific niche in the industry, who do they associate with, what are some of the latest conversations they’ve been having?

The best place to start is their blog’s “About Me” page to get some background information, then browse the rest of their blog to see what kind of content they are putting out.  Check their Twitter conversations and blog commenting.  You can check Disqus or Backtype to see what comments they have left on other blogs.  Get a feel for what they are all about and where their attention is right now so you have something pertinent to talk about.

Once you get to know each of the Speakers better you may find that, while it’s great to meet the big dogs, one of the other Presenters may be someone more in line with your business desires.   Be prepared when you go….have set intentions.

4. Buddy Up

Find a live event buddy and hold each other accountable.  You may not be able to attend all the workshops at the live event but if you have a buddy you can split up and agree to share notes after the event.  How many times have you taken tons of notes and then gone home to set them on a shelf to never look at them again?  Use the buddy strategy to hold each other accountable to actually do something with your notes.

When the event is over meet with your buddy before you part ways to debrief and set your intentions on what you’re each going to implement,  Write down the action steps for when you get home.  Set an appointment to meet with your event buddy no more than 3 days after the event.  Don’t let the inspiration fade.  Then agree to have accountability chats once a week to see if you you’re completing your action steps.

This may morph into a partnership or a joint venture.  So make sure you find a good buddy!

5. Craft your brand

When you go to a live event you need to brand yourself just like you would online.  Have your 3 minute elevator speech memorized so when you meet someone you can quickly share.  Your intentions should shine through and your brand should be easily understood.  Boil it down to three things:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Why you are here

For example, if I was going to a live blogging event I may say something like, “My name is Coree Silvera from Market Like A Chick.   I share principles behind marketing with social media and event community management.  I’m here to stay on top of the latest trends in social media and to meet other people in the industry.”

I tell those I meet enough about me so that they can ask some specific questions, like what is event community management, or how did you get started.  Then you can have a meaningful conversation instead of, “Where are you from?” Or, “Man, it’s hot/cold!”

6. Have Business Cards

Give yourself a few weeks ahead of time to order just in case.  Make sure you have your contact information on the front and your brand’s tag line on the back.  Or, if you’re an affiliate marketer, you can put the URL to your top three affiliate links. You might also print a special discount on product/services on the back of the card to encourage them to look further.

Be sure to include your social networking user names so it’s easy to find you.  One of the most annoying things is to go to a social media marketing event and get a business card without the person’s social media info.  At least include your Twitter name.

Remember the goal is not how many cards you give out but how many you get so YOU can follow up with them. If they don’t have a card write down their info so you can follow up with them.  Or, if you are really smart, one of the best ways to exchange social media information instantly is with a Poken!  They are neat little gadgets that just take a click of a button to sync each others info onto a USB stick and save to your computer.

7. Stay Organized

As you get those questions you wrote down answered, cross them off your list and make a note of where to find the answer in your notes.  Many times the Speaker may answer your question in their presentation so cross it off & make a new question that is more in depth.   Whatever questions are left over you can then seek out the proper people to answer them.

Find a system that works for you while taking your notes.  Maybe you want to bring a divided notebook for each topic or each workshop.  At the very least remember to write the date, name of event, name of workshop, Speaker and the Speaker’s Twitter handle.  It only takes a second or two and will save you time later when you’re looking for that tip you heard while you were at the event.

8. Go Early, Stay Late

Some of the best time to network is before and after the event.  I know several people that don’t even go to the workshops, but pay to be there just for the networking and hang out in the exhibitor area the whole time.  Personally, I want to go to the workshops and learn something new to share with my readers or to enhance my service.  So, I don’t have time to network in between workshops.

You’ve probably traveled far and paid a lot of money to come to the event so make the most out of it. Get to the event early and stay late if you can. By doing this you will have a better chance of catching a moment to chat with some of the Speakers. Your time there is valuable there so make the most of it!

Being clear about what your business intentions are and why you are going to the event will make it much more meaningful and you’ll come away with fresh ideas, contacts, and action steps.  This is the difference between merely “attending” an event or “intending” to seize every opportunity at an event.  Your time and money are valuable, go with purpose!

What’s your best tip to get the most out of a live social media event?  Have you ever gone to an event without any clear purpose of what you wanted to get out of it?  How can you line up your intentions with the next event you’re planning on attending?  Share any stories of how you used an event to create a new joint venture, move past a roadblock, or how you may have missed an opportunity because you weren’t prepared.

To Your Success,

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Social Bookmarking For Backlinks

A common misconception of newcomers to social bookmarking is that all posts you bookmark receive a backlink to the original source.  While the link used on a bookmarking site may provide traffic it does not necessarily mean that the link is a “DoFollow” link providing any SEO benefit to the source.

To receive the SEO benefit along with the traffic you must use social bookmarking sites that have a DoFollow policy.

If you’re not familiar with how social bookmarking works, check out the series I posted on Social Bookmarking 101: What Is It and How Does It Work.  The basic idea behind social bookmarking is the ability to store, index and search all of your favorite articles you’ve found while searching the web.

Like any new skill you’re learning when marketing with social media, once you get the basics down you can begin learning learning new ways to use them to benefit yourself.  If you are a blog owner one of your biggest tasks is building quality backlinks to your blog to improve your search engine ranking.

Most social bookmarking networks will require you to register, then once you have, you are able to submit links to those networks. If you are selective about using DoFollow bookmarking networks then those links will be DoFollow links back to your site.

Spend some time creating profiles on DoFollow social bookmarking sites.  What I would suggest is creating a short template to save time.  Since some of the networks will allow backlinks from your profile description, use your keywords as your anchor text.  For instance, if you are aiming to have your site ranked for content marketing, in your profile description word it so you are hotlinking your keyword phrase “content marketing” and not just your blog title.  I chose several of my most popular articles to link back to when writing my descriptions.

You might want to even create two templates…one html ready with your links and one without.  Not all networks will allow links from your profile and some will require you to use your own html tags. (“a href”).  So, be prepared and make it easier for yourself.

Once you have your profiles created remember to now use those sites to begin submitting your articles and reap the benefits of your work.  Do keep in mind that some networks do not take kindly when you link ONLY to your own site, so be kind and remember to bookmark other interesting articles from other sites.

The best list of DoFollow social bookmarking sites I have found was put together on DoFollow.Info where you can also find some other great resources on DoFollow techniques.  This list give descriptions of the networks and where you will find the DoFollow linking.  I suggest bookmarking this page because you may not make it through all of the sites in one sitting.

Good luck in your social bookmarking for backlinks strategy.  If you have any other tips, comments or questions please share them below.  All your feedback is appreciated and we learn from one another.

To Your Success,

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Conquering Twitterbutt – How To Lose Your Twitter Love Handles

Oh my, how we love Twitter.  We love Twitter so much that we sit on our soft behinds in front of the computer for hours on end tweeting the latest articles, talking with our Twitter friends, and building our online relationships.  In return we are rewarded with new business, new friends, and new junk in our trunk.

I’m not sayin this is you… but many of us are suffering with what I call Twitterbutt.

If you’re a Twitter addict like most of us social media people are, chances are that you can log in to Twitter at 8am to start your day and the next time you notice what time it is it’s past 1pm when you can no longer stand the grumbling in your stomach.  You just sat there in one spot with your butt glued to the chair (or couch) for 5 hours.

So, what do we do?  Well, we get up and feed our hungry bellies, right?  While we’re snacking we sit back down in front of the computer to “just check in” on Twitter.  We engage and talk and become engrossed in our Twittering until we suddenly realize we can’t see the keyboard anymore because it’s 7pm and it’s completely dark in the room.

Okay…this explains WHY we are rocking our new Twitterbutt handle, but how do we get rid of the extra poundage and still stay engaged?

I became fed up a few months ago and decided to change my sedentary lifestyle before I became a permanent fixture in front of my computer.  Since I’ve begun practicing these few changes I’ve lost a little over 15 lbs.  Not a huge amount, but I can’t tell you how much better I feel when I am going up the stairs and being able to play with my kids without crumbling to the ground in a massive lump of sweaty, hyperventilating, sad sight.

How to Conquer Your Twitterbutt

1.  Set a schedule

Social media marketing doesn’t take all day in front of the computer.  It really doesn’t.  Start your morning by going through your RSS Reader for the best posts to Tweet and throw out a few links.  Save a few and use Hootsuite or another program to schedule others at later times during the day. (Noon to 3pm is busiest). Spend 30 minutes engaging on Twitter, thanking your followers for retweets, asking questions, and paying it forward.

This whole process should take no longer than one hour.  Do this twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.  In between those times, turn off your Twitter platform so you are not tempted.

2.  Get Your Butt Up and Move

Don’t just say you’re going to do it.  Do it.  Schedule it in. Just get up and do it.

I started a MeetUp group to help me stay committed because I know I am a flake when it comes to exercise.  If I tell myself I’m going to exercise my mind and body fight it all day. Rather, I tell myself it’s time to go on my walk with my new friends.  We made this a regular habit at regular spots in our local parks and trails.  We started at 1 mile and have worked up to a faster pace and walking 3 miles.

I also schedule other fun stuff like volleyball, Zumba, Badminton or just throwing the football or frisbee around for 30 min.  Again, I schedule it.  It may not be easy to break your Twitter habit, but it does get easier.

3.  Take Breaks

Go ahead, do it….set the mouse down.  Walk away.  I know you can do it.

Go outside and enjoy the sunshine.  Feel your energy start to return as you get your mind off the computer screen.  These breaks will remind you that you love to be active outside of your Twitter world too.  You need these little boosts not only for encouraging more activity but they are also great to find inspiration for new blog posts or those witty Tweets you are so famous for.

4.  Track What You Eat

Are you a snacker? Or are you like me and just don’t eat at all until 8pm rolls around and then you splurge?  Either way, start tracking what your eating habits are and the nutrition your giving your body.

There are several social networks such as SparkPeople or MyFitnessPal that will help you track meals, nutrition and exercise.  I recently signed up for SparkPeople and have been using their online tools to enter my meals and track my goals.  Some of my goals are to eat 30-40 grams of fiber and around 1400 calories per day.  Yours may be different, but you can set those up and the sites are great at providing nutritional pointers.

5.  Exercise At Your Desk

Right now are you sitting straight up with your belly muscles pulled in?  Are you breathing deeply to expand your lungs or are you taking short breaths?  Just become aware of these things and begin to notice when you are slouching.

Just contracting your stomach muscles, releasing and contracting again while sitting at your desk is a modified crunch.  There are other exercises you can do while at your desk as well.  This blurb was taken from WebMD.com and has some great ideas to get more exercise in when you work at your desk all day:

“We are made to move, not sit at a desk 12 hours a day,” says Joan Price, author of The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book. “As ergonomic as your desk or chair may be, sitting produces back pains, headaches, and listlessness. You become less productive.”

Twitter rocks but with summer nearly here,  don’t you want your glutumus maximus to rock even more??  Get rid of the Twitterbutt and get your groove on with all of us!

What tips do you have for getting rid of Twitterbutt?  How have you fit exercise into your social media filled day?  Share them in the comments below for all to learn.

To Your Success,

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Add This Publicity Tip To Your PR Toolbox For Instant Results

This is part three in a 3 part series on the “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture from Guest Blogger, RuthAnn Bowen, PR extraordinaire and Founder of PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations. The first step was “Embracing Your Difference”; the second step was “Tell Your Story”.

This blog post explores the third:

3.  Be Nice

If you were anticipating a big insider PR secret for the third necessity to publicity success, this is it.  Be nice.

It’s not flashy. It’s simple, common sense.  But you’d be amazed at how often nice is missing from the world of media.

It’s a simple rule of thumb that has served me well in my publicity career. It doesn’t matter if I’m working with an intern reporter or the producer of a national TV show or these days, a blogger. They are all people and deserve respect.

I’ve seen my share of publicists with pompous and entitlement attitudes. And quite frankly, I don’t want to be around them, so why would someone in the media?  In a follow up call I made to a newspaper reporter several years ago, this was the response I got: “These calls from you people make my job so difficult.

So how do you handle a response like that?  Be nice. Be polite. Do your job without the attitude.

Out of the three requirements to publicity success this one would seem the easiest to brush off.  Don’t.

Nice is powerful.  And it’s a must-have for long-term publicity success.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list so please leave your thoughts or additions in the comments below!  What tips have you used to get your foot through the door with publicists or journalists?

This is the third installment of “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” by RuthAnn Bowen of The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Ms. Bowen is a thirteen-year veteran of publicity having worked in the entertainment industry in Nashville, TN and owning her PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Contact her with your PR question at ruthann@thebowenagencypr.com
or follow her on Twitter @thebowenagency

Picture credit: Pictr 30D

http://www.flickr.com/photos/s9500/
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Are You Telling Your Story? Your Publicity Depends On It

Everyone has a story. And when it comes right down to it publicity is all about telling your business story.  It’s also about keeping your fairytale from becoming a nightmare.  This is part two in a 3 part series on the “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture from Guest Blogger, RuthAnn Bowen, PR extraordinaire and Founder of PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Come back tomorrow for part three!

The first installment of this blog post discussed the requirement of “Embracing Your Difference”. Here’s the second requirement:

2.  Tell Your Story

Believe it or not, we all learned back in junior high the elements for telling a story:  Who, what, where, when, why, and how.  Here’s how to use these same guidelines for business storytelling and publicity success:

1. Who

Ultimately, you are the one who can tell your story best.  If you aren’t the best storyteller find a publicist who understands brand storytelling.  Make sure whomever you hire understands your story and can partner with you to tell your business story effectively.  They should also have the same passion for telling it.

2. What

Figure out your brand message.  What do you want consumers/clients/customers to know about your product or service?  This ties into what makes you unique.  Figure it out, put it in writing and begin telling your audience.

3. Where

There are a lot of media outlets out there to promote your brand story.  Let’s split where to use your business storytelling between traditional and new or social media:

Traditional media:

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines, etc.

Social media:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Your website
  • Blog
  • YouTube, etc.

Do your research.  What publications, websites, blogs, does your audience frequent?  Which reporters/journalists/bloggers cover your topic? What are people saying about your industry? Target the ones who cover your specific product or service. Join the on-line conversation.

(One caveat:  Please, don’t send out mass e-mails!  This is a huge publicity pet peeve of the media’s–and mine. Don’t send your cat food press release to the automotive reporter.  It’s not going to get covered. Period).

4. When

Timing is a key factor when working with the media.  From the time of day you call to the time of year your story runs, timing is to PR what location is to real estate.

5. How

There are specific PR tools to get your brand story out.  Coree’s article on 6 PR Tips to Writing Publicity Friendly Content provides a good go-to list to check out.  For help on putting your business story together, Engage365 has a tremendous article from Ian McGonnigal on Storytelling in Social Media and Events.

Everyone loves to hear a good story.  So tell them yours! Earning the media’s attention in the right way could be the beginning to your publicity happily ever after.

Our next post explores a surprising requirement.  Don’t miss it!

How have you used storytelling to promote your business?  Do you have your own story prepared and ready to share?  Have you ever used a third party story in your publicity campaign?  How and how well did it work for you?  Please leave us a comment below and share!

This is the second installment of “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” by RuthAnn Bowen of The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Ms. Bowen is a thirteen-year veteran of publicity having worked in the entertainment industry in Nashville, TN and owning her PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Contact her with your PR question at ruthann@thebowenagencypr.com

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3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture

This is the first in a 3 part series on the “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” from Guest Blogger, RuthAnn Bowen, PR extraordinaire and Founder of PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Come back tomorrow for part two!

Throughout my career as a publicist I’ve learned a few things.  Here are two:

  • 1. Publicity is often misunderstood
  • 2. Publicity success is often misunderstood

If you want to see a publicist get on their soapbox just use the words “publicity” and “advertising” interchangeably.  Publicity is not advertising.

Advertising is time and space you purchase.  Publicity is time and space you don’t purchase.  I know that’s a pretty simple explanation, but it really is that straightforward.

Publicity success, however, is entirely different.  Publicity success is not necessarily being on Oprah. Publicity success is not something that happens overnight.  The definition of publicity success for one business is not the same for another.

I have found there are three characteristics that can help shape and define publicity success no matter what your venture.  There are others but I believe these three are the most important. (And please contact me at ruthann@thebowenagencypr.com with any you’d like to add to the list!) In this blog post we’ll explore the first one.

1.  Embrace Being Different

When it comes to publicity, conformity doesn’t work. The media continually scan the horizon for captivating stories which means run-of-the-mill isn’t going to cut it.  So what makes your story unique?

Do you:

  • Have a distinctive product or service?
  • Have an unusual story?

Let’s start with a distinctive product or service.  This automatically gives your story a natural separation from all the others in your industry.  That’s good.  Utilize it.  Capitalize on it. Make sure everyone you know and talk to understands what the difference is and that you’re communicating the difference effectively.

You can own the next best wheel invention with state-of-the-art, improved technology and performance. But if you’re not communicating these differences in a way that people or the media can understand them, you might as well have the original wheel.

If you don’t have a unique product or service, don’t despair.  You can still gain quite a bit of media coverage.  And I’d say 95% of publicity comes from this aspect. Simply look for a unique angle or pitch that might gain media’s attention.

Here are some ideas to consider:

1. Timing

Is there a certain time of year that demand for your product or service increases that the media might not be aware of?

For example, we all know that accounting and the April 15 tax season go together, but perhaps you have a unique product or idea helping businesses remember to pay their quarterly taxes.  Pitch this idea to a reporter at the end of any quarter during the year. (And if you actually offered to pay the tax? Well, let’s just say that would be a very unique twist!)

2. Holiday

Can your product or service be tied into a certain off-peak holiday during the year? Think Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, International Day of Peace (September 21 for those of you who weren’t sure), Grandparents Day?  You get the picture.

3. Personal story

Did your business or product idea grow from an unusual situation?  Did you take over the family company and change its direction with success, increase revenue, upgrade all the equipment?  Did you start your career on one path and end up on another that became more successful?  Did your hobby turn into a business?

4. Location

Where is your business located?

  • Are you a start-up but struck the real-estate lottery and are located     in a posh section of town?
  • Did you choose your location for green reasons?
  • Or did you find the best place ever but had to renovate it all by yourself because of budget constraints?

Granted, this type of coverage may not get your product covered necessarily, but it will get your business name some ink.

5. Unique consumer trend

Nobody knows your consumers the way you do and it’s up to you (or your publicist) to notify the media.

If you notice all of a sudden there’s an uptick in grandmothers buying your high-end fashion purses originally designed for teenagers, alert the media.  If there’s any unique demographic you weren’t anticipating interested in your product/service, alert the media.  Who knows, yours could be the start of a worldwide phenomenon in that particular demographic.

Any publicist worth their salt will tell you that if you don’t have a unique angle or twist to what you do, your story falls flat.  So go ahead and celebrate your differences!  It’s your first step towards publicity success.

Next post, “Tell Your Story”.  Because it does no good to have a compelling story and then keep it to yourself.

This is the first installment of “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” by RuthAnn Bowen of The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Ms. Bowen is a thirteen-year veteran of publicity having worked in the entertainment industry in Nashville, TN and owning her PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Contact her with your PR question at ruthann@thebowenagencypr.com
or follow her on Twitter @thebowenagency

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CommentLuv vs Disqus – Which Blog Commenting System Is Better?

I am considering switching my commenting system back to CommentLuv and am weighing the features and benefits to decide if it’s a better choice than Disqus.   I’ve done a quick review of both the CommentLuv and Disqus commenting platforms to help make a qualified decision on which should be used on my blog and I would appreciate any feedback from you on your experiences or opinions on either.

First of all I guess we have to ask ourselves what is so important about blog commenting in the first place.

Why Comment?

There are quite a few reasons to comment on blogs, such as deeper interaction with other bloggers, promoting yourself as an authority on a topic, and SEO benefits by building incoming links to your own blog.  All bloggers want more comments on their blogs.  It’s a sign of appreciation and like shaking an outstretched hand, which is what I said on Jeff Machado’s article discussing why commenting on blogs will always dominate being active on Twitter.

Jeff said it perfectly here:

Commenting on blogs, on the other hand, allow for streamlined dialogue on a focused topic. You don’t have to worry about anyone telling you you’re Tweeting too much and clogging up their Twitter stream. You can go back and forth and genuinely have a conversation with the blogger whose post you found compelling enough to comment on. Every blog post is an invitation to delve deeper into the topic while a Retweet is just a recognition that the topic exists.

So, you can see commenting is the lifeblood of a blog and therefore the commenting system is pretty important.  But, which one is best?

Pros of CommentLuv and Disqus

Both systems have their loyal followers and obvious benefits.  I began my blog with CommentLuv but switched to Disqus after having some technical difficulties.  Now that I’ve had Disqus a while I’ve also had a few gliches, so go figure.  Here’s my take on the two:

CommentLuv Plugin

  • CommentLuv isits the site of the comment author while they type their comment and retrieve a selection of their last blog post and includes it at the bottom of their comment when they click submit.  This is great publicity for your blog, showing not just your blog title, but what you’re writing about.
  • It has a great community that is very supportive.  Many of the CommentLuv users will band together to comment on each other’s blogs. There is even a list of 132 CommenLuv Blogs by niche that was put together to promote comments.  I don’t see that so much with Disqus.
  • Because many of the CommentLuv users also have a “do follow” policy on their comment links the comment author may receive a little link love for their blog.  I also have a “do follow” policy here, but I use the WordPress plugin NoFollow Free which gives the “do follow” link only after leaving 3 comments.  This eliminates link juice going to spammers.
  • In addition to the CommentLuv plugin they also have the option of adding KeywordLuv to your commenting.  This allows the comment author to use their keywords as anchor text with their name when commenting. Even more SEO benefit.

Disqus Comment Management

  • Disqus allows you to track peoples comments across the blogosphere. You can see what the commenters here are saying on other blogs and which blogs they are most active on.
  • You can “rate” other commenters which will move their comments move to the top of the discussion. This is great if you comment a lot and people like your input because it makes you more of an authority voice.
  • You can log into your own Disqus profile to track where you’ve been commenting.  Ever commented on a blog then wanted to go back and check it again but forgot where it was?  Maybe it’s just me, but I am all over the place and sometimes I forget to bookmark or realize later that I want to quote the article.  I used this today to find Jeff’s article.
  • Automatically threads your comments for you.  I am not sure if CommentLuv does that or not.  From what I remember, I had to add a threaded comments plugin when I had CommentLuv installed.  I like a clean and flowing conversation.
  • Allows you to share your comment on Twitter or Facebook.  I do a lot of marketing with social media and love the benefits of word of mouth.  Disqus automatically adds the share feature to easily click and tweet your comment.

Downside of CommentLuv or Disqus

There are only a couple things that I’d consider a downside of either commenting system, but off the top of my head here’s what I’ve got:

  • CommentLuv is a little more difficult to install and get running.  For instance, if I wanted to add the feature that shows the Twitter username for a commenter I would have to tweak some coding inside my theme to have it work.  Yuk…me no likey coding.
  • Disqus has more hoops to jump through for a first time commenter to leave a comment.  You have to register, create a profile, and/or add your blog URL in order for your name or blog to be linked to.  If you just register but don’t add the rest of your information, when someone clicks on your name they are taken to your Disqus profile where all they see are the other comments you have left.  If you want to attract more blog comments you want it to be simple.

And, I guess my biggest hesitation to revert back to CommentLuv is that I’m not sure what will happen with all the comments I have on my blog right now.  I definitely don’t want to lose them.  Comments are content to your blog, so relevant comments can add more keywords for Google to crawl and understand what your blog is about.

Wait…I take my earlier statement back.

The BIGGEST hesitation for me to revert back to CommentLuv is that it calls for me to do some coding.  If someone can convince me that it will be super easy it may be all it takes for me to switch.  Maybe not.

Will you help me?  Please leave your comments and opinions on your experience with either commenting system.  Which do you prefer and why?

To Your Success,

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7 Cross Promotion Ideas To Boost Traffic and Sales

Promoting your online business almost always depends on others. When just starting out, family and friends get the ball rolling and once you have a few customers you depend on their word of mouth. Cross promotion uses word of mouth and partner visibility to boost your sales, credibility and brand.

In a nutshell, cross promotional marketing is working with other businesses both large and small to draw attention to your products or services.

Cross promotion is different from affiliate marketing in that it is an agreement that is mutually beneficial to both people in the same way. With affiliate marketing, the affiliate gets a percentage of the pie based on an agreed upon amount. With cross promotion, both partners are looking to receive the same amount of compensation.

Why Cross Promote?

The easy answer here is that you want to increase traffic to your website or blog, establish yourself as an authority, and to increase sales. That is the goal of business, after all.

Another reason is to increase your visibility among your business peers. When you partner with a bigger more well known business or blogger (Mike Stelzner calls them Firestarters), you increase your credibility. Keep in mind what you have to offer.  The top marketers, influencers and large businesses won’t waste much time with someone who doesn’t bring something valuable to the table.

Types of Cross Promotion

So what does cross promotion look like? The agreement between similar businesses to help one another in their advertising and promo forms a network with new business people and also a way to increase profits for both of you.

Here are a few ideas for cross promotion to get the ball rolling:

1.  Advertisement: Banner or Link Exchange

You can post advertisement links or banners on each other’s sites. Look for people or businesses that share similarities with yours or are at least interesting to each other’s site visitors. For instance, if you sell party supplies, partnering with a party planner makes good business sense. Your goal is to be relevant.

If you don’t have a banner, you can get one pretty cheap at $20 Banners.  Depending on what design you choose, they really do start at just$20.  This gives customers a chance to check you out in a glance so be creative.

Don’t use those free or cheap link exchange services!  You want to build relationships with other site owners and you should be careful about the credibility of those other sites.  Don’t hook yourself up into a “bad neighborhood”

2. Guest Blogging

Write website content and blog for each other. This is something that does take a little bit of your time but the rewards are great.  By contributing to a blog in your same niche you’re establishing yourself as an expert in that field as well as building links back to your site.

Most website owners allow 1 or 2 “do follow” links within the text and a bio with links  so the visitors can click on it for more information.

Share each other’s audiences and tap into one another’s insight.  It’s a win for everyone if done well.

3.  Link It Up

When you are active in the blogging community you are consistently reading other articles and are aware of the topics.  Keep those in mind when you are writing your own articles and link back to them.

Rather than leaving a long comment on a blog post, create an article around it and link back to their post.  You’ll add content to your own blog and you’ll be offering a little link love at the same time.

4.  Comment Club

Another smart idea is to form a group of bloggers in your niche that will agree to leave comments on each other’s articles.  Honestly, I think this should be something we are all reciprocating without forming a club, but it may give us the motivation to kick it up a notch.

It’s like having an exercise partner.  You both want to get fit, but sometimes without that accountability of knowing someone is waiting on you it’s way to easy to put it off.  Having a group of commenters will keep you accountable and actively involved.

5.  Blog or Product Reviews

You see the big guys promoting one another all the time.  You always know when there is a new marketing or affilate product launch coming up when you see the same information coming from a group of people.  They have their own clubs they have created, so you know it works to create a mass viral effect.

You see John Chow, Jeremy Schoemaker, Yaro Starak & Zac Johnson cross promote.  Or, Michael Stelzner, Mari Smith, Denise Wakeman and Chris Garret together.  Recently we’ve seen Brian Clark, Chris Brogan and Sonia Simone form their alliances.  They all understand this concept.

6.  Blog Rolls

Blog Rolls provide your readers and Google a way of figuring out what you’re all about by who you read and look up to.

Much like link exchanges, but blog rolls have a more prominent place than an advertising text link and show your visitors that you recommend this other person rather than took money from them to gain that spot.

7.  Bookmarking Buddies

Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon are great ways to get traffic to your site…IF they are being bookmarked.  Without an active base of friends or subscribers it’s nearly impossible to make it to the front page of a bookmarking site.  There are certain guidelines you must follow in bookmarking etiquette to keep from looking spammy, so don’t go overboard.

StumbleUpon and Digg both offer “do follow” links to your post, I believe.  Delicious doesn’t have “do follow”, but they still provide traffic.  I use Delicious to bookmark those sites I want to have on hand as a reference because it’s simple.

For a better understanding of how it all works, I have an earlier series of articles I’d recommend called Bookmarking 101.

I’m sure there are plenty of other creative ways to cross promote that I may have missed. What have you found to work well?  What new ways can you think of to share here?  Leave your comments below to get some feedback.

To Your Success,

P.S. ~~> I am always on the lookout for ways to cross promote and help one another.  If you’d like to band together with me and others in my niche, drop me a line with your idea and we can discuss the opportunities!  You can use my Contact form or direct email: coree[at]marketlikeachick[dot] com.

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36 Twitter Resources: Advanced Twitter Search for Business

Whether you decide to engage in social networking as a marketing strategy or not, Twitter has become a powerful tool to search and monitor your brand, your competitors, and for lead generation.  Beyond the basic search on the Twitter home page you can use advanced search techniques to produce targeted information not easily found in a normal Google search.

Want to know who’s talking about buying a new TV in Seattle?  How about people discussing the terrible customer service they received from one of your competitors?  Are you a journalist that needs case studies to report on?  Whatever you’re looking for, chances are you can find the answer in real time and target that information for whatever area  you like.

Below I’ve put together some of the best resources on using Twitter as a powerful tool to build and monitor your business:

Twitter Tools To Have On Hand

  • 1. Mozilla Firefox Plugin for Twitter
  • 2. Greasemonkey Script for Twitter Search in Sidebar
  • 3. Twitter Search Operators

Articles for Improving Twitter Search Skills

  • 4. 7 “Secret” Ways to Use Twitter Search – Twitip
  • 5. HOW TO: Use Twitter’s Advanced Search Features – Mashable
  • 6. Using Twitter Search for Business – Chris Brogan
  • 7. 15 Fascinating Ways to Track Twitter Trends – Mashable
  • 8. Generating Quality Marketing Leads With Google Alerts and Twitter – Adam Green, “Mr. Google Alerts”
  • 9. How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business – Copyblogger
  • 10. Using Twitter Search to Boost Local Business – Mediafunnel
  • 11. Twitter Tips: How to Search Twitter Smarter – CIO.com
  • 12. Take Advantage of Twitter Search Operators – Web Worker Daily
  • 13. It’s Time to Start Thinking of Twitter as a Search Engine – TechCrunch
  • 14. How To Use Twitter for Customer Service - Sitepoint

Twitter Research and Monitoring Tools

  • 15. TwitterGradr – Hubspot’s tool for finding “elite” Tweeters based on location and influence.
  • 16. Monitter – Lets you “monitter” the Twitter world for a set of keywords and watch what people are saying in a grid layout.
  • 17. TweetStats – Graphs out Twitter habits based on how often, what time of day, and @ replies for you or any user.
  • 18. TweetBeep – Great for online reputation management, catching all your @replies and @mentions, finding job/networking opportunities.
  • 19. Twitscoop – Full feature Twitter web client with search, trends, and real time buzz.
  • 2. What The Hashtag -The user-editable encyclopedia for hashtags found on Twitter, allows print outs of hashtag transcriptions, Greasemonkey script adds, and Firefox add on.  Track popular and trending hashtags.
  • 21. Hashtag.org – Tracks the frequency that a hashtag is used on Twitter and provides details about the hashtag

Twitter Directories

  • 22. WeFollow
  • 23. Twellow
  • 24. TwitterCounter
  • 25. TwitterHolic
  • 26. Twibs – Directory of businesses on Twitter
  • 27. Just Tweet It
  • 28. Tracking Twitter – A real-time listing of the top media, entertainment, and consumer product feeds on Twitter.

Geolocation Twitter Tools

  • 29. GeoFollow – Large location based Twitter Directory, find and follow by city, state, zip or tags.
  • 30. Trendsmap – Real-time mapping of Twitter trends across the world.
  • 31. LocaFollow – Search by location & follow (allows bulk follow) LocaFollowis powered by Google so  results are shown in the same order that Google shows it. Those Twitter pages that are better SEO optimized will appear on the top.
  • 32. TPS – the Tweet Positioning System, is a geo-location filter for conversations and mentions on Twitter.
  • 33. GeoTwitTrends – Shows real-time trending topics happening in specific places.
  • 34. GeoChirp – Set the location and then search for tweets based on keywords.  All results from that location would be displayed.
  • 35. Twittori – Allows you to follow places in a similar way than you are used to following users on Twitter as well as attach your tweets to a specific location.
  • 36. TweetMondo - Shows Twitter users that have either registered in Tweetmondo.com or were crawled by their crawler and filtered by location.

Twitter’s advanced search is a business owner’s best friend if you just take the time to use it.  Be sure to bookmark this post for future reference to come back to!

What did I miss?  Do you have a Twitter search tip or resource to add to the list?  Share below in the comments.

To Your Success,

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