About Joan Stewart

Publicity expert Joan Stewart, a PR mentor aka The Publicity Hound, works with small business owners who need free publicity to promote their expertise. She shows you how to establish your credibility, enhance your reputation, position yourself as an expert, and sell more products and services. To receive her free DIY publicity tips twice a week, subscribe here. See all the ways you can work with Joan. Or contact her and ask a burning question about PR, self-promotion or social media.

7 things your 2015 Publicity Plan must include –free training Oct. 15

7 Things Your 2015 Publicity Plan Must Include Free Training Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014If someone has a problem and they’re searching online for a way to solve it, but they don’t know you, have you made it easy for them to find you?

Too often, people who want publicity spend the majority of their time on outreach—hunting for journalists, bloggers and others who they can pitch. They seldom spend enough time making it easy for the same people they’re pursuing to find THEM.

Making it easy for people to find you, and contact you, is one of the seven most important things your 2015 Publicity Plan must include if you want major publicity. It isn’t enough anymore to look for and pitch others.

I’ll review the other six critical elements of a killer Publicity Plan when I host the free webinar “7 Things Your 2015 Publicity Plan Must Include.” It’s from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Oct. 15.

This free training is perfect for publicity newbies as well as for do-it-yourself Publicity Hounds who have been promoting themselves for awhile. Publicists, even though you think you know all the tricks, you’ll pick up something new from this training. Register here.   

Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll learn:

The Truth About Press Releases

Press releases shouldn’t be the bedrock of your publicity plan. They’re important so you can get your information on the record, to be found by people who are searching. But they usually won’t get you the major publicity you’re seeking.

Journalists who know that you’re spoon-feeding them all the same news won’t be enthusiastic about sharing it with their audiences. But if you send a customized pitch that ties into something their audience cares about, you’re increasing your chances for coverage.      

Stop Looking for the Magic Bullet

Too many people refuse to accept the fact that self-promotion must be ongoing and consistent.

They want that one big appearance on The Oprah Network. Or they want to be featured by a top blogger. Or they want a big story in The New York Times. I know people who have appeared on Oprah and received other top-tier media covered, but little resulted from it.

Publishing a Book Can Waste Time and Money

Everyone can be a publisher these days. It’s easy, with the wide variety of tools and templates at your fingertips. The problem is that too many people who want exposure are wasting time and money on books without first understanding the confusing world of publishing.

They write books before identifying their target market. They know nothing about book distribution. They don’t realize that even if they can attract the attention of a major publisher who offers them a contract, the publisher will only be responsible for a portion of the publicity.   

I’ve seen authors spend three years writing a book, and $20,000 or more on vendors who prey on authors and turn out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing.     

Win Free Consulting with Me

At the end of the call, I’ll choose one attendee at random who will receive a half hour of free consulting with me. If you’re the lucky one, you can use the time to brainstorm story ideas with me, or help me identify your best targeted media, or give you instructions on how to pitch.

Seats are limited. Register here

6 ways cause marketing can rocket your publicity to new heights

Young businessmanan flying in sky on drawn rocket

By Linda Rastelli

If you’re a small to mid-sized business or nonprofit with very limited resources, how can you get better publicity and the approval of your customers or donors?

Build a relationship that has mutual value.

Today cause marketing isn’t just sponsorship. It can truly be a partnership.

Beyond Expectations, a Trenton, N.J.-based nonprofit, struggles with a small budget and is not well known. Yet it has had some big wins collaborating with larger partners including AMC Theatres, The College of New Jersey, Comcast and NBC Universal.

“We aren’t a widely recognized brand,” says Executive Director Leontyne Anglin.

Beyond Expectations serves New Jersey teens, particularly those in foster care. For one program, students produce video resumes, conduct online research to prepare for job interviews, and learn to communicate succinctly.

”Let’s face it,” she says. “No one wants to listen to people lecture. Video production is just the carrot that we dangle to get young people in the door. We could be teaching underwater basket weaving. The most important thing is to get them here and engage them immediately.”

Since it began in 1999, Beyond Expectation’s challenge has been getting noticed. “We’re not one of the big three [youth charities],” adds Anglin, a former corporate executive. “But since we’ve forged several strategic collaborations, many organizations and even entrepreneurs reach out to us for advice.

6 Tips and Possible Pitfalls

Here are a half dozen tips on how your company or nonprofit can build successful relationships for cause marketing.

  1. Be creative.
    In these tough times, says attorney Michael West of the New York Council Of Nonprofits, nonprofits are considering everything from entrepreneurial ventures, to shared services to corporate affiliations and restructurings. Collaboration can range from sharing information and resources to actually sharing a structure. With increased trust comes closer affiliations.
  2. Get social.
    Social media opens new avenues for collaboration. One person at the forefront is Gabriel Reynoso, the founding director of SocialMedia4Good in New York City, which helps nonprofits, foundations and philanthropies succeed on the Internet through capacity building and digital literacy.

    “Social media is a loudspeaker will amplify your message,” he says. “Collaborations will occur naturally because like-minded individuals will hear about it and say, ‘This is in our area, let’s talk to them.’ Most important is that your organization has its own online real estate, your own domain that you can control. You build an email list, with not just social media, but by creating your sales funnel and getting people to become your ambassadors.The point is to produce results. I’m a social media strategist on paper but I’m also on the phone with developers.”

  3. Build the relationship slowly.
    With the cable giant Comcast, Anglin says,“It took two years to identify the right fit. It took follow up, persistence, keeping contacts in the loop and finally getting to decision makers.” BE participated in 2014 Comcast Cares Day, the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort. Here’s a video that explains more about the event.

    2014 Comcast Cares Day from Beyond Expectations on Vimeo.

  4. Do your homework.
    If you just call, says Anglin, “You’re one of 1,000. Think it through strategically.” She knew she wanted to focus on life skills for teens aging out of foster care. “I narrowed it down by asking, ‘Which skills do they need most, and which companies support youth leadership that can get to us? We came up with a specific ask—not just ‘hire our kids.’ We asked AMC Theatres to please come talk about why they like working there, share opportunities, and provide interviewing tips. Later we took it to the next level to ask if they’d consider interviewing any of our kids,” which they agreed to do. “Even if they don’t get hired, their self-confidence has given them an edge.
  5. Set realistic expectations.
    Be very clear about what you can and can’t do. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. You don’t “partner just for the sake of partnering,” Anglin stresses, or you risk going off mission. “We’ve walked away because others didn’t seem to have the right motivation or take it seriously enough. They don’t really do film or understand what it is. We learned to say no.”
  6. Speak the other’s language.
    For-profits can misstep by talking the hard-nosed language of business, which can be a turnoff to nonprofits. Anglin has experienced an “unintentionally condescending attitude of ‘You don’t understand business. We’ve got money and you’re lucky to work with us.’ But on the other hand, I’ve seen nonprofits come to the table unprepared and make the costly mistake of not following up at all.” The common ground should be both the audience you’re targeting and a shared commitment to community.

Benefits and Rewards

Other than the great public relations aspect of helping a cause or gaining awareness, it makes financial sense to collaborate, says attorney West. It leads to greater economies of scale, increased capacity and long-term sustainability when financial pressures are removed.

It starts with a simple phone call or quick meeting.

A Beyond Expectations client was overjoyed to be invited on journalist Katie Couric’s show to tell his story about growing up in the foster care system. He had completed the nonprofit’s TV production class, with training in body language, dress, eye contact and resume-writing.

 “He handled himself like the true young professional that we first saw inside,” says Anglin. “Organizations simply have more impact when we take the time to identify the right opportunities and collaborate.”

*     *     *

Linda RastelliNew Jersey-based Linda G. Rastelli is an award-winning journalist, video scriptwriter, publicist, ghostwriter, editor and co-author of Marketing: Essential techniques and strategies geared toward results (John Wiley & Sons, 2007). Connect with her on Google + and LinkedIn.

How to use Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors…Sale ends Tuesday

Cover for Quick & Easy Media Kit Templates for Indie AuthorsIf you’re at all confused about what goes inside your Author Media Kit, stop worrying.

You can take advantage of one hour of training right now by watching the video replay (below) of a webinar I hosted for several hundred authors and publishers on Thursday with book publishing expert Joel Friedlander.

It’s “The Indie Authors’s Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit.” By the end, you’ll know exactly what goes into the kit. You’ll also understand how to use it to help journalists, bloggers, retail book buyers and readers promote your book.

Joel and I have spared you from a lot of aggravation and stress you’d feel if you had to build the kit yourself. Our package of 15 easy-to-use, preformatted templates includes everything you need to create a wow media kit that will impress whoever uses it.

We’ve also included samples to accompany each template so you know if you’re on the right track. The samples were suggested by our beta testers.

If you go directly to the order page, you can watch a short video in which Joel demonstrates how he created his own author bios in just a few minutes using the templates. You can also see other videos from happy authors who used the package of templates to get publicity and speaking engagements. 

We sell the templates for $97. But during this special offer, you pay only $67. The discount goes away at midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 30. So act now or kick yourself later.

Watch the replay below. And if we’ve convinced you, go grab the templates. We’ve added a few new ones since we first launched this product in May.

You can also read this list of frequently asked questions which helps you understand exactly how to present the media kit at your website.

Author Media Kit free training today at capacity, but you can still attend

All seats have been claimed for today’s free webinar on “The Indie Author’s Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit” from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

If you want to attend the free training but haven’t registered, I can pretty much still guarantee a seat for you. But only if you follow these instructions:

Register right now here.

At least least 10 minutes before the call starts, click on the link in the email you received when you registered. You’ll be one of the first ones “in the waiting room” and guaranteed a seat because it’s first come, first served, regardless of when you registered.

—Show up for the call 10 minutes late and you might be closed out.

—We’ll open the line and greet you 5 to 10 minutes before the top of the hour. So if you get a seat but don’t hear us immediately, sit tight.

—Prepare to take lots of notes.

At the end of the call, we’ll choose three lucky people at random who will receive a half hour of free consulting with me. I can review your Author Media Kit and make suggestions. Or we can brainstorm story ideas you can pitch during your book publicity campaign. Or I’ll show you how to pitch.

Only those who are on the call are eligible for the free consulting. See you on the call (but only if you arrive early!). Register right now here.

This training is also perfect for you if you already have a publisher. I will be discussing marketing materials in your Author Media Kit that your publisher will NOT create for you. Register right now here.

Why your author media kit needs four bios–free training Sept. 25

Why Your Author Media Kit Needs 4 BiosYou send an email pitch to a freelance writer who writes about the same topic as your new book. He tells you he’s interested and asks you to send the PDF version along with your digital Media Kit.

You’re elated and can hardly wait to read the article.

But he’s working from home, where his two toddlers are out of control and chasing the dog around the living room. He needs a very short bio of you, looks inside your Media Kit and sees one bio that’s 400 words. He starts cutting and pasting phrases into his Word document but stops when one of the kids knocks a vase off the coffee table.

On deadline with the article, he abandons the idea of including your bio and files the story with his editor. He mentions your book but offers no additional information about you or your area of expertise.

You’ve just blown an opportunity to let thousands of readers know that you’re not only an author, but a speaker and consultant. 

Don’t Let This Happen to You

Make it easy for journalists, bloggers and others to promote your book—even on deadline. Include four bios of different sizes inside your Author Media Kit:

  • 2-line bio (140 characters)
    This short bio can be used at the end of articles. It concentrates on your expertise.
  • Short Bio (50 words)
    This is ideal for longer author resource boxes. Explain your expertise, your major accomplishment and your publishing background. Include the title of your book, your website address and an optional email address.
  • Medium Bio (100 words)
    Include everything in the short bio plus some personal details about you—such as family, hobbies, pets, travel—to help people connect with you emotionally. This bio can also include your target market and explain in more detail your accomplishments and major projects that are under way. Include awards, your website address and an optional email address.
  • Long Bio (400 to 600 words)
    This should give people a good overview of your life, both personal and professional. Include everything in the medium bio. Explain how you work with clients. List media coverage you have received. If you’re a speaker, what are the most significant organizations that have hired you to speak? List awards you have received that are related to your publishing and your career. You can also use this long bio to tell a story, starting with your childhood, listing major life events, and ending with the one thing you still want to accomplish in this life. You can weave in humor, quotes and anything that will help people learn more about you as a person, not just an author. You can even mention your favorite guilty pleasure, whether it’s reading the National Enquirer, or making ice cream sundaes with all the toppings at 2 a.m.    

Free Training Thursday, Sept. 25

The bio section of your Author Media Kit should include two more elements that will make it very easy for others to promote you and your book. I’ll be explaining both of them in detail when I host a free webinar from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time tomorrow—Thursday, Sept. 25-–with book publishing expert Joel Friedlander. It’s called The Indie Author’s Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit, and we expect all 1,000 seats on the line to be filled by tomorrow morning.

Register here now, before you’re closed out.    

As a former journalist who has been blogging for almost nine years, I know exactly what your Author Media Kit needs to attract the attention of editors, reporters. reviewers and even meeting planners who might want to hire you to speak. I’ll be teaching what goes inside the media kit, how to use it, and how to shave days off the tedious chore of creating each element in the Media Kit.

If you’re in an authors group on LinkedIn. Facebook or Google+, share the link to this post, and feel free to use the graphic I created at the top of this post.

Hope to see you tomorrow. You’ll thank me. I promise.

How to build a raving fan base that buys lots of stuff. Free training Sept. 10

How to Build a Raving Fan Base Online That Buys Lots of Stuff, Free Training Wed Sept. 10Setting up a business online is the easy part.

Attracting thousand of fans and giving them time to  know, like and trust you takes patience and perseverance.

I know. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years.

And there’s always a temptation to sell, sell, sell right out of the gate. That’s why I watch people like Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing.

Danny has build a very successful business online in only a few years, and he’s done it by laser-focusing on his target audience, and giving away high-value content—lots of it—at his website and in the dozens of killer guest posts he has written for popular, high-traffic blogs.

Tomorrow, he’s going to share more of it during a training session on how to build a raving fan base that buys more than $250,000 of your stuff…per year. It’s called “Passionate, Purposeful and Prosperous” and it’s at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (10 a.m. Pacific) tomorrow, on Wednesday, Sept. 10.

Register for the free online workshop here.

Danny says you can realistically replace a full-time income with your Internet business (even if you want to quit your day job).

And he’s going to explain how to do it.

After you register, check your email. Danny will send you a bunch of cool stuff, including a follow-along workbook  you can use during the workshop to get the most out of the training. It’s an audience building technology list and map so you know exactly what tools to use.

 What You Will Learn

In tomorrow’s session, you will learn:

  • The step-by-step blueprint that Danny used to grow his income from $237,000 in 2012 to $680,000 in 2013. You can apply this to your business.
  • Why it’s often more profitable to do the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing, especially in the world of online marketing.
  • The biggest risk that you must avoid because it’s just too dangerous.
  • How you can realistically replace a full-time income with an online business but only if you are ready to seize the opportunity. It’s scary, I know.

Danny has presented several free training sessions for my Publicity Hounds, and after every one of them, I have received emails from happy Hounds who say they love him.

You will too.

Join us tomorrow. Claim your seat here.

How to find the perfect target market for your book–Free training tonight

Find a book target marektOne of the big mistakes authors make dooms their books to failure even before they’re finished writing.

They have no clear picture of the target market.

They spend months writing, more time editing, rewriting and proofing, and they call me when they’re ready to launch their a publicity campaign.

The first question I ask is, “Who’s the target market for your book?”

Often, I hear silence.

If you don’t know who you are writing for, you can’t possibly know where to find those readers online and offline.

Why You Book Isn’t for “Everybody”

Sometimes, authors tell me their book is written for “everybody.” Those authors are delusional.

If it’s written for everyone, that means it’s written for blue collar, white collar and unemployed workers. You’re trying to attract men and women, gay and straight, young and old, Democrat and Republican, church-goers and atheists, single and married.  

It’s impossible to create a marketing message that tells all those people, “This book is perfect for you.”

Tricks and Tools for Finding Your Target Market

If you don’t have a good idea of your target market, take advantage of free training tonight. Georgia McCabe, a book marketing expert, will be the guest presenter on a webinar we’re hosting on “Ninja Tricks for Finding Your Perfect Target Market for  Your Book.” It’s from 6 to 7:30 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 20. Register here.

If you attend, you can ask questions. If the time is inconvenient, we’re recording it. I’ll post the video here.

This is the fourth of four free webinars for authors to give you a taste of what we will be teaching on our Publishing at Sea cruise to the eastern Caribbean Jan. 18-15. Book shepherd Judith Briles and book distributor Amy Collins will join Georgia and me to teach authors about the business of publishing a book. We’ll cover everything from how to raise money to pay for your book to what to do if sales stall six months after you’ve launched it. 

More Free Training for You

You can watch replays of the other three webinars on my Publishing at Sea 2015 playlist on YouTube. The titles are:

How to Create Story Ideas for Book Publicity

Book Publishing Costs and Timelines for Authors

How to Get Book Blurbs, Endorsements & Reviews


Book Launch Tip: Gather Blurbs, endorsements long before launch — Free call July 30


Book Blurbs, Endorsements & Reviews Free Training  July 30In marketing-speak, it’s called social proof. Translated, it means, “Buy this product. Right now. Or you’ll be sorry.”

For authors, social proof includes book blurbs, endorsements and testimonials, three important types of marketing copy.

You find them on the inside flap of a book you’re thinking of buying at a bookstore. You also find them on various pieces of marketing copy, and on Amazon.com.

But which is which? 

How long before launch do you have to start hunting for them? How do you find them without sounding needy or pestering people?  

Can you use a nice compliment about your book that someone includes in an email without asking their permission? 

Book distributor Amy Collins will answer those questions, and more, during a free webinar at 6 p.m. Eastern Time today. Register for  Register to listen to the replay of  “Book Blurbs, Endorsements & Reviews: How to Collect Them and When to Use Them.” 

 It’s the first of four weekly training programs to whet your appetite for the Publishing at Sea cruise that Amy and I will be hosting Jan. 18-25 along with book shepherd Judith Briles and social media expert Georgia McCabe. We’re setting sail from Fort Lauderdale aboard Royal Caribbean’s “Allure of the Seas.”

The four of us, aka The Chicks at Sea, will be teaching on the days when we’re at sea. On the days when we visit the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, you’re free to have fun on your own. 

But more about that tonight.

Not sure you want to join us in January? Register anyway for “Book Blurbs, Endorsements & Reviews: How to Collect Them and When to Use Them.” You’re going to be swamped in the weeks leading up your launch. Attending our free webinar tonight will help you start gathering social proof long before you launch.

And, unlike many other authors, you won’t leave this important task for the last minute.

See you tonight!

Snappy Sassy Salty: A treat for the writer or author in your life

Wise Words for Writers (3)


Every time I’ve spoken at one of book shepherd Judith Briles’ events for authors, I return home with one of her pithy phrases ringing in my ears.

On our Publishing at Sea cruise to the Caribbean last year, she said this about authors who want to do their own editing and design their own covers:


Judith Briles Photo 1--Don't do well


In May, when I spoke at her Author U Extravaganza in Denver, we were discussing authors who aim for too wide an audience and write for the masses. When she hears authors say they think their books should be read “by everybody,” she says:




At another one of her events, we were discussing how difficult publishing becomes as authors get closer to launching their books. She said:




Those are just three pieces of advice she has given to her clients over the years. She has compiled all her sayings—her Judithisms—into Sassy Snappy Salty—Wise Words for Authors and Writers (Mile-High Press, Ltd., $22.95). It’s a fun, upbeat and inspirational read for anyone who writes—or wants to. The sayings are divided into six categories:

  • Author and Writer Juice
  • Inspiration…Joy…and Your Muse
  • Success is a 7-Letter Word
  • Writing Savvy
  • Failure is Not an Obstacle
  • Marketing Moxie

She’s launching the book this week and extending a special offer for readers through this weekend.  Lots of great bonuses specifically for writers. The package includes my special report on “42 Publicity Tips for Authors & Small Publishers.”

Snappy Sassy Salty would make an ideal gift for the author or writer in your life. Grab it! And no, it isn’t too early to think about Christmas.

Sail with Us in January

Judith and I, along with book distributor Amy Collins and social media expert Georgia McCabe, will be setting sale again this January for our second annual Publishing at Sea cruise Jan. 18-25 in the Eastern Caribbean. The four of us—aka The Chicks at Sea–will be teaching authors every aspect of book publishing. Most of the teaching will be when we’re at sea so we have free time when we’re in port in St. Thomas, St. Martin and the Bahamas.

We’re kicking it off next week with the first of four free webinars for authors at 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 30. Amy will present “Book Blurbs, Testimonials & Reviews: How to Collect Them and When to Use Them.”  We hope you’ll join us!

What to expect from a literary agent — free call tomorrow

Beth Vesel literary agentAuthors who are thinking they might need a literary agent can hear many of their questions answered during a free call tomorrow, July 24, 2014.

Edward Vilga, author of the best-selling novel Downward Dog, will interview his literary agent, Beth Vesl, senior vice president at the Irene Goodman Agency, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. The Q&A call is on “5 Things You’ve Always Wanted to Ask a Literary Agent.” Register here.

You will learn:

  • Whether authors need an agent.
  • The best way to find one and what you can expect once a contract is signed.
  • How self-publishing differs from the vanity press.
  • The importance of having a platform on social media.
  • How publishing has changed and how that affects authors who are just starting to write.
  • The worst mistake aspiring authors make over and over again.

Full Disclosure: Edward is one of my customers, and I featured a sample chapter from Downward Dog in Quick & Easy Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors, as an example of how to present a sample chapter in a media kit.