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  • 21 Oct 2013 9:36 AM | Anonymous

    Hundreds of authors, speakers, consultants and experts who target niches are teaming up with major corporate and nonprofit sponsors to deliver a message that resonates with a much bigger audience.

    This year, I met Dona Storey when I spoke at the Virginia chapter of the National Speakers Association. She's a consultant who works with publicly traded global corporations that want to do business with the U.S. government. Dona called this week to let me know she was in Milwaukee to speak on behalf of the American Express OPEN Small Business program.

    That sponsorship gig helps her get additional media coverage when journalists want an expert who can offer commentary on topics such as the recent government shutdown. She told me her phone has been ringing all week from top-tier media outlets that want her comments on the mess in Washington, D.C.

    Brendon Burchard, an author and speaker, has partnered with established organizations like Sony, the YMCA, Wachovia, Walmart, Kiwanis, Coca-Cola, Toyota, US Bank and Junior Achievement. When your name is linked with theirs, he says, you have borrowed credibility.

    Brendon taps into their huge marketing budgets, giant email lists, consumer research, marketing staffs and their easily recognizable names. It took him two years to figure out how to crack the protective shell of some of those organizations and reach the right people who could help him. If you can find the right partner, he insists, they can pay for YOUR public relations program.

    As a result of his corporate sponsors, he has gotten onto ABC World News, Oprah & Friends, National Public Radio and 63 major radio stations. Many of his corporate partners pay their PR firms or use internal PR staff to get him media exposure.

    Want to know how he does it?

    Brendon will be a guest on Steve Harrison's free teleseminar on "How to Get Major Companies and Nonprofits to Sponsor the Promotion of Your Book, Product or Service" at 2 and 7 p.m. Eastern Time this Thursday, Oct. 24. Register for the free call.

    I'm a compensated affiliate for Steve's program but that's not the only reason I'm promoting this. A corporate sponsorship can bring you so much more success than you could possible find on your own.

  • 21 Oct 2013 9:34 AM | Anonymous

    Not so long ago, self-published authors were treated like the black sheep in the family.

    You were shamed into thinking you weren't worthy if the big New York publishing houses ignored your book.

    Those days, finally, are over. Self-published authors are almost on equal footing with authors who have big publishers behind their titles. And that means opportunities galore to sell more books.

    Book distributor Amy Collins says she's seeing a success rate of as high as 90 percent when she tries to get self-published titles into bookstores.

    Why?

    Because many self-published authors have dedicated themselves to learning as much as they can about how to write and publish quality books. They also know how to take advantage of the many online opportunities to spread the word about their titles, such as "chunking" excerpts into interesting tidbits that beg to be shared on Facebook and Twitter.

    Ebooks make it easier than ever to publish quality books without spending thousands of dollars. If you do it right, the book can become a best-seller, get picked up by a major publishing house and even make it onto the big screen. Example: 50 Shades of Grey started as a self-published ebook in Australia. It got a seven-figure deal from Vintage and vaulted to the top of the New York Times print bestseller list without ever being in print in the U.S.

    Opportunities galore for self-published authors and indie publishers are one of 12 book publishing trends you'll learn about when you join me for a free webinar from 8 to 9:15 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

    Register for the webinar, How to Use 12 Book Publishing Trends to Sell More Books.
    In addition to the trends I'll identify in book publicity, several other book experts will explain trends they're seeing or predicting in book marketing, distribution and printing.

    This is the fourth free webinar in a series to whet your appetite for the cruise we're hosting Jan. 18-23 in the Caribbean for newbie and veteran authors. Midnight Sunday night, Oct. 20, is the deadline for registering and being eligible to win a free cruise.

  • 21 Oct 2013 9:28 AM | Anonymous

    Never rely solely on press releases to generate publicity.

    Everyone writes press releases, and you shouldn't do what everyone else is doing. Stand out from the crowd with a customized pitch or by sharing valuable information through your own media outlets like your YouTube channel, a podcast, or a blog.

    But you can't ignore press releases.

    They're a helpful tool for journalists and bloggers who rely on them to find out what's happening within the areas they cover. If a journalist loves your pitch and wants to interview you, one of the first things you should do is offer your press release. It will save a lot of time during the interview because it will include the key facts.

    This week, Hubspot offered a basic press release template in exchange for your name and email address.

    There's nothing spectacular about it. What you'll find most valuable, however, is the accompanying fill-in-the-blanks template that helps you with your entire promotional plan. It, too, is free, and all the information is available in one document when you opt in.

    Hubspot gave no guidance on how to use links within your release.

    Links are vitally important because with just one click, you can take readers to a sales page, a blog post or article, a helpful video, or a powerful call to action.

    The webinar I hosted Thursday on "Google's New Rules for Press Release Links" explains important updates to the way you use press releases, and how to use links to help readers while staying out of trouble with the world's biggest search engine.

    I'll send the links to the video replay and all the bonuses later today or tomorrow. If you missed it, you can still register here.

  • 18 Oct 2013 4:31 PM | Anonymous

    Schools throughout the U.S. are sending letters home with students, letting parents know about their kids' Body Mass Index.

    The kids call them "fat letters" and despise them.

    Parents hate them, too, because they're worried about what the letters will do to their children's self-esteem.

    But obesity is the new pandemic.

    Who's right?

    This topic is ripe for newsjacking, the term coined by David Meerman Scott for injecting your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business. We've been doing that for years. But David gave it a catchy name.

    Newsjacking also happens to be Tip #28 on my Pinterest board "50 Tips for Free Publicity." Would your friends, followers and fans like the board? If so, share it.

    My board still enjoys the #1 spot on Google for "free publicity."  If you want to create one just like it for SEO and to drive traffic to your blog, I explain how, step by step, in the paid webinar "How to Create How-to Tips for Non-visual Topics on Pinterest."  

  • 18 Oct 2013 4:26 PM | Anonymous

    Just wanted to give you a heads up that there's a fresh new post on HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Blog, eager to be read. Check it out!

    Click here for download 50 Call-to-Action Templates to Help You Convert Leads in Style [Free Download]

  • 05 Sep 2013 10:16 AM | Anonymous

    HubSpot makes marketing software people love.

    9 Do's and Don'ts for Creating Outstanding Facebook Cover Photos [+Free Templates]

    by Ginny Soskey

    Date

    September 4, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    Facebook_Cover_Photo_Best_PracticesWhen people come to your Facebook Page, where do you think they first look? I'll give you a few hints. It's a visual piece of content that sits at the top of your Company Page. It takes up almost a quarter the screen on most desktop browsers. You probably guessed it by now ... it's your Facebook Cover Photo!

    And since it's so noticeable, you want to make sure you're following the best practices for creating and optimizing your Facebook Cover Photo. Whether you're using Facebook to generate leads, close your next sale, or create a customer community, knowing how to make an effective Cover Photo is crucial. To help make sure your Facebook Cover Photo is in tip-top shape, check out the nine best practices below. 

    (Bonus: If you need help creating cover photos for all your social networks, we've created free templates you can use for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+. Download the templates here for free!)

    9 Best Practices for Effective Facebook Cover Photos

    1) Do abide by Facebook Guidelines. 

    It seems like a no-brainer, but obeying Facebook Guidelines is crucial to your Facebook Page existing in the first place. If you get caught violating them, Facebook could take action against your Page. And while Facebook doesn't explicitly say what will happen if you violate the Cover Photo guidelines, it's probably not smart to get your Facebook Page get taken down over a small Cover Photo infraction. Seriously ... just read and follow the guidelines.

    2) Do make sure Cover Photos are the right size.

    You don't want to spend all this time designing a Cover Photo ... only to have it look weird when you upload it to Facebook. Make sure your Cover Photo will look fabulous from the get-go by making sure it's the right dimensions (which are 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall, in case you were wondering). If you want a no-hassle way to make sure your Cover Photos are the right size, download our template for Facebook Cover Photos here.

    3) Don't hide content behind your profile picture.

    Even though you have a full 851 pixels by 315 pixels to design a Cover Photo doesn't mean that you have all of that to work with. Because of the way that Profile Pictures are featured on Facebook Pages, there's a section of your Cover Photo that won't appear unless you click on it.

    See in the example below the section that's highlighted with a dotted line? That's the part of the Cover Photo that isn't immediately viewable to your Facebook Fans:

    cover_photo_profile_picture_example-1

    Of course, if you're getting creative with Cover Photos and want to run a contest with them, you might consider hiding an easter egg behind the Profile Picture. But, keeping that space clear is a general best practice.

    4) Do center- or right-align the objects in your Cover Photo.

    Since your profile picture is on left, you want to add some balance to your Facebook Cover Photo design by having the focus of the image be in the center or the right. Take a look at these Cover Photos -- which one looks more aesthetically pleasing? 

    Right-aligned focus:

    right-aligned_facebook_cover_photo

    Left-aligned focus:

    left_aligned_facebook_cover_photo

    Doesn't the right-aligned cover photo look better? The biggest design elements (the profile picture, the first UFC fighter, and the second UFC fighter) are evenly spaced. In the Samsung cover photo, your attention goes immediately to the left side of the page -- completely missing the name of the product on the upper right side. 

    Still not convinced? Not only is adding balance a crucial element of design, but it also allows cover photos to be effective on mobile. On mobile, a much larger portion of your Cover Photo is blocked out. Here's what it looks like:

    mobile_cover_photo_example

    So from both a design and optimization standpoint, it's in your best interests to center- or right-align your visual elements.

    5) Do integrate the Cover Photo design with other parts of your Facebook Page.

    If you really want to get creative with your Cover Photo, try integrating its design with other parts of your Facebook Page. Make your Profile Picture and Cover Photo one big canvas, or just use your Cover Photo to point out special apps you have enabled. Here's what these Cover Photo integrations can look like.

    Profile Picture and Cover Photo Combo:

    creative_cover_photo_example

    Cover Photo and App Combo:

    integrated_fb_cover_photo_example_1

    6) Don't abide by the 20% text rule -- but try to stay visual.

    Back in July, Facebook removed any reference to the 20% rule on text in Cover Photos ... but that doesn't mean you should go wild with using text in your Cover Photo. The previous rule said that only 20% of your Cover Photo could be text -- and personally, I thought that was way too restrictive for marketers -- but the sentiment behind the rule was a good one. If you're going to use text in your Cover Photo, keep it concise; your Photo will be much more informative and engaging.

    7) Do include a call-to-action.

    In the same Page Guideline update in July, Facebook allowed people to use calls-to-action (CTAs) in their Cover Photos. We were pumped -- this is a great, visual way to promote webinars, ebooks, or any free downloads you have up your sleeve. Here's our take on a Facebook Cover Photo CTA:

    hubspot_cover_photo

    Want help designing a call-to-action your fans can't help but click? Download our free PowerPoint template to create irresistible CTAs.

    8) Do include clickable links in the description.

    This is the other crucial aspect of generating leads through Facebook Cover Photos -- in the description of your Cover Photo, include a URL to a landing page where people can convert to become a lead. This way, any time people view your Cover Photo, on your Page or in their News Feeds, they can access the download link.

    Pro tip: To really optimize your links, shorten them so you can track clicks on them. Shortening and tracking features are available in tools like HubSpot and bitly

    9) Do include hashtags in captions, if applicable.

    And, if you want to add an extra dose of discoverability, use hashtags in your Cover Photo captions ... but only when it's relevant to the cover photo. We'd recommend using one or two at most -- maybe to promote an event or Twitter/Facebook chat. Don't just squish a bunch of hashtags into your Cover Photo description to "get more eyeballs on your content" because chances are, people browsing those hashtags won't find your content relevant. 

    How do you make Facebook Cover Photos work for your marketing?

  • 05 Sep 2013 10:13 AM | Anonymous

    Why so many stories about the cost and importance of a college education, and so few stories about job training programs for kids who can't afford college, or for anyone who needs a job?

    Mike Rowe, star of the hit TV show "Dirty Jobs," offers one of the best quotes on the job problem in the U.S.:

    "We are lending money we don't have to kids who can't pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That's nuts."

    Here, then, are stories I'd like to see. If these tie into something you do, start pitching!

    --Employment experts, offer your best advice on how kids, or the unemployed, can develop job skills fairly quickly. Which jobs are most in demand, and what's the best way to acquire skills for those jobs?

    --Most trade schools do a pitiful job promoting their offerings. Don't they have PR people?

    --If your company offers free training that moves qualified people into jobs, start promoting it.

    --Does your nonprofit train volunteers who can then take those skills into the corporate world?

    --Do you teach technology skills that others will need when applying for certain types of jobs? Look at your own blog, ezine, YouTube channel, podcasts or other content. Consider pitching it as "skills training" for the unemployed or underemployed.

    --Authors, speakers and experts: Offer tips on the dozens of "soft skills" people need to not only get a job, but advance in it. Check out the slidedeck "26 Soft Skills Training for Job Readiness."

    Find something worth pitching?

    See "A Simple 5-Part Formula for Delivering the Perfect Media Pitch and Hitting It Out of the Park."

  • 28 Aug 2013 8:13 AM | Anonymous

    Facebook users are rejoicing now that they can finally share some of their Facebook posts on their websites and blogs.

    The new feature allows you to share all public status updates, photos, videos and hashtags and--here's the best part--let people interact with it.

    They can like the post, share it, like your page or follow you, without leaving the page it is embedded on.

    This is a huge marketing advantage. Hubspot offers step-by-step instructions on how to embed your posts on Facebook and gives you five examples of how to use it to market.

    http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FgLIU&m=3ZjLpk7C5NooYrK&b=JWtwZxGYNzLbKVtmPPhSnA

  • 22 Aug 2013 1:11 PM | Anonymous

    Social media expert Heidi Cohen has some little gems within her list of "25 Tactics to Promote Your Blog via Facebook and Twitter."

    But I disagree with her tip to publicly thank people for sharing your content.

    That simply adds to the noise. Instead of "Thanks for the RT," a much more effective way to thank them is to retweet or share THEIR content with your friends and followers.

  • 22 Aug 2013 1:08 PM | Anonymous

    Patch.com, the uber-local news site in 22 states plus the District of Columbia, is laying off 500 people, about 40 percent of its staff.

    Publicity Hounds love Patch because it competes with local newspapers. But AOL, which owns it, can't make all the sites profitable. It's consolidating or closing about 150 of the 900 sites. Washington state's sites already have been closed.

    Does this mean local news doesn't sell?

    Absolutely not. Even though most daily newspapers are struggling, many weeklies are doing well because local news is their bread and butter.

    One of the big advantages of Patch was the ability to get daily emails from your favorite site, tipping you off to stories covered that day.

    Keep pitching Patch as long as it's still alive. But don't forget about local bloggers, local newsletters, local radio and TV talk shows, Yelp, and perhaps the biggest site of all for spreading local news: Facebook.

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