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14 of the Best Budget-Friendly Tools to Help You Master PR, Content and Social Media

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With the new year well underway, many small business owners and freelancers may be looking for ways to streamline projects and squeeze more productivity out of the workday.

As a public relations consultant and freelance writer who sometimes dons a reporter’s hat, I’m always interested in trying out tools that allow me to get more done — but as a solopreneur, I’m also cost-conscious.  I’m often asked what my favorite free or low-cost solutions are to accomplish communications-related tasks.

Here, I share 14 of my top picks. Continue reading 14 of the Best Budget-Friendly Tools to Help You Master PR, Content and Social Media

Freelancing in 2020? Here Are 11 Valuable Tips from the Pros

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The freelance businessperson faces many challenges. As a long-time self-employed consultant – or freelancer, as it’s sometimes called – I know what it’s like to struggle with the questions that come up when one is trying to run one’s own business. So, I started #FreelanceChat in Sept. 2018 to help bring together freelancers interested in supporting each other as we address some of these challenges.

Over a year later, the Twitter chat is going strong. In 2019, we had a number of guests join us to chat about topics ranging from how to find clients to how to market yourself to how to get paid on time.

I asked some of these experts what advice they’d share with freelancers as we head into a new year. Here’s what they said:

Continue reading Freelancing in 2020? Here Are 11 Valuable Tips from the Pros

How Social Media Lurkers Can Boost Your Business

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Tracking the effectiveness of social media has caused many a marketer to shake his or her head in frustration. How can we PROVE it’s effective so that clients will see the value?

While much has been written about tracking its value, I’m going to make another argument – maybe the most significant benefit of social media comes from the views we CAN’T track. I refer to these as “lurker” views. Lurkers – you know, the people who see and read your content – they just don’t like it, comment on it or share it.

While that can be frustrating, its benefit still needs to be taken into account. Why? Because the lurkers may be the ones hiring you or buying your products or services.

Why should we care about social media lurkers?

Continue reading How Social Media Lurkers Can Boost Your Business

You May Not NEED a Press Release – But Here’s Why You May Want to Write One Anyway

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Here’s a question I see A LOT in the public relations industry. “Are press releases still necessary?”

Now, if you follow me, you’ll know I’m a fan of press releases. My first guest post ever was for PR Daily on this very subject (Enough with the death of the press release already). So, when I hear talk of their demise, I always feel as if it’s coming from someone who’s just tired of writing press releases.

While I DO believe in the value of press releases and reports of its death are greatly exaggerated, the truth is, you don’t always need to write one whenever you have news to announce, as my recent piece for Muck Rack discusses.

But, even if you don’t really need one, it can be valuable to write one anyway. What do I mean? Let me give you an example. Continue reading You May Not NEED a Press Release – But Here’s Why You May Want to Write One Anyway

8 great ways to show reporters some love

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Ah, yes, it’s February and you know what that means? Valentine’s Day. Time to show some love to those around you.

If you work with reporters–a key piece of an effective PR effort–why not take advantage of the opportunity by showing them some love? After all, they often express their displeasure at receiving media pitches that aren’t a fit, are filled with jargon and aren’t accompanied by data or images that help tell the story.

So, what can we do to improve our relationships with journalists?

Here are some ways you can make journalists feel special this month and EVERY month

Continue reading 8 great ways to show reporters some love

How to Time Your PR Efforts Over the Holidays

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The holidays are indeed upon us.

While timing is always important in PR, trying to get media coverage at this time of year can be especially challenging.

In talking with clients about their imminent PR plans, the holidays have to be taken into consideration. Not only might our audience be tuned out to our news, but many reporters are also out of the office enjoying holiday time with their loved ones. And, adding yet another hurdle, one reporter I just spoke with mentioned that the holiday changes his newspaper’s production schedule.

Considering your schedule, the reporter or publication’s schedule and your target audience’s schedules, PR timing over the holidays can definitely present a conundrum.

So, if you have news you must pitch over the holidays, what’s a PR pro suggest you do? Continue reading How to Time Your PR Efforts Over the Holidays

Yes, You Need A Website For Your Small Business

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I was doing some research recently when I came across an article that said nearly half of small businesses don’t have a website. You read that right, nearly HALF. 45 percent is the number quoted in the article, which by the way was titled, “You’ll be shocked to learn how many small businesses still don’t have a website.” And yes, I was shocked.

I’ve seen research like this before, and on one hand, it isn’t hard to believe. Small business owners are strapped for time and funds–I get it. They’re overwhelmed by the demands placed on them, including not only sales but marketing, operations, business development, HR and the list goes on.

On the other hand, how can a small business NOT have a site? It is simply a must for any business today. Even if you’re not selling anything online, a site is the hub of all digital marketing activity—social media, content marketing, PR, advertising and SEO. Where is the first place many will go when they look for a product or service? Online. If you’re not there, they may not bother to seek you out–and go elsewhere.

Continue reading Yes, You Need A Website For Your Small Business

Why you should create a crisis communications plan BEFORE you need one

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Summer is nearly here. How did we get here already? Everyone’s calendar is filling with plans for graduations, Memorial Day and other celebrations.

But, not everyone is celebrating.

The past couple of months has been anything but a party for several well-known brands. Pepsi. Delta. Adidas. And of course, United. All these brands have had major missteps that became headline news.

While we may cringe when we hear these tales of corporate missteps, there may be a silver lining. These mistakes present an opportunity to talk about how PR, specifically crisis communications planning, can help in times of trouble. Continue reading Why you should create a crisis communications plan BEFORE you need one

Turns Out Knowing How to Apologize Matters in a PR Crisis

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Well, this week offered no shortage of things for communicators to talk about. Crisis after crisis struck, as United, Pepsi—and even the White House—made major missteps that created PR headaches for each.

On the upside, crises like these make it easier for PR pros to explain just what it is we do!

But, on a more serious note, as we examine these incidents, what can be learned? In the wake of making a mistake, what’s the best way to handle the situation before it blows up into a bigger disaster? Continue reading Turns Out Knowing How to Apologize Matters in a PR Crisis