Would you dare fact-check a journalist’s article in red pencil and post it online?

In the old days, if a journalist wrote a news article or opinion column that you believed was inaccurate or unfair, you had only three options:

  1. Write a letter to the editor or column responding to it, and hope they print it.
  2. Ask for a face-to-face meeting with an editor and the writer.
  3. Cancel your subscription, an option that does nothing to help your cause. 

Back then, only newspapers, magazines, TV and radio were the media. Today, you are the media too. Your platform might not be as big as theirs, but you have tools to fight back. 

That’s what Walmart demonstrated after Timothy Egan, a columnist for the New York Times, wrote a June 19 opinion column spanking the retailer for low wages, part-time contracts and other sins that have resulted in “public disdain for the company.”

That same day, Walmart responded by fact-checking the entire column in red and posting it on their blog. Here’s part of it:

walmart rebuttal  

Whether you not you agree with the Times column, this is an excellent example of one way to fight back if you feel the media has treated you unfairly. Walmart’s rebuttal had much more reach than the Times column. It was covered by Forbes, Fox News,  Business Insider and a variety of conservative media outlets. 

You Will be Fact-Checked Too

Walmart’s rebuttal was clever and effective. But here’s the danger in a public fact-check. Someone, somewhere, will probably fact-check you, too.  

Mark Gongloff, a columnist for The Huffington Post, responded by Fact-Checking Walmart’s Fact-Check of The New York Times.

And the debate probably won’t stop there.

This is Why You Should be Blogging

If a journalist or blogger treats you unfairly, one of the best places to respond is at your own blog where you have full control of the message. You can then pitch other media outlets and point them to your blog post.

The Walmart-New York Times battle is one more example of why most companies should be blogging. If you want to respond but you don’t have a blog, you’re forced to rely on an expensive press release distribution service.

You can respond on social media sites like YouTube and Facebook, but the message will be lost on those noisy platforms.        

What Would You Do?

Would you publicly fact-check a journalist’s or blogger’s article about you? If not, why not? I’d especially love to hear from PR pros and business owners. 

11 things authors must know about book publicity to create a best-seller

 Publishing at Sea cruise logo


Two days ago, I shared 11 book publishing tips I learned from book shepherd Judith Briles, book distribution expert Amy Collins and social media expert Georgia McCabe, who presented with me on the recent Publishing at Sea cruise to the western Caribbean.

Today, I’m sharing 11 things I taught during my own presentations. Here they are, in no particular order:


1. Create a profile and participate on book review and book recommendation sites such as Goodreads.

Millions of readers are on these sites, searching for books to read and looking for their friends’ recommendations. You no longer have to rely only on book reviews from traditional media. Many book review sections in major newspapers and magazines are shrinking, or they have disappeared.

The Goodreads Author Program offers several tools and tips for promoting yourself and your book.  


2. Research journalists and bloggers before you pitch.

This will help you find juicy details about each person you’re pitching, and you can work those details into your pitch. You must send the message, “I know who you are, I know what you need and I’m here to help you.”

In yesterday’s ezine, The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week, I wrote a sample book review pitch. See Item #1, “How to Fix a Lousy Pitch.”

3.  If you want publicity, think beyond traditional media.

Don’t just pitch reporters, editors, freelancers, photographers and broadcasters. Pitch podcasters, ezine editors, bloggers, and experts who host Google Hangouts.


4. Use Google Search, the best replacement for expensive media directories.

Looking for the top mommy bloggers? Search Google for “top 20 mommy bloggers.” Or look for niche blogger directories. (See Item #1).

I also taught authors how to find the name of a blogger’s dog, cat or kid in 60 seconds. 


5. Check out PressPass.me, a live directory of journalists organized by beat, outlet and region.

This site lets you ask them if you can connected. You can also follow them, share a tip, pitch, and send a tweet!


6. Save time blogging by writing about frequently-asked-questions you see in your email.  

When you find yourself answering someone’s question, do a quick cut and paste and use the answer as the basis for a blog post.

You don’t always need to start from scratch. Be aware of all the opportunities to repurpose your content. 


7. Before you pitch anyone, look for clues about them on their social media streams.

Do they tweet? If so, scan their tweets for clues about topics they think are important. Do they welcome pitches on their Facebook page? Many don’t, but some do.  

Do they blog? If so, you’ve struck gold! Leave a comment or two at their blog a few days before you pitch. Here’s an excellent example of how personal details in your pitch is your ticket to publicity.    


8. Submit your book to be reviewed in the Library Journal.

The Library Journal publishes about 8,000 reviews a year of books, ebooks, audiobooks, and videos/DVDs. No textbooks, kids’ books or technical books.

Send your book three to four months before the publication date. See how to submit titles to the LJ Book Review.

Because of the economy and other reasons, libraries are seeing a surge in patrons. Finding your book in a library might be how a reader learns about you.


9. Pitch freelancers who review books.

Freelancers are excellent contacts for you because they write for multiple publications and websites. I love the Society of Professional Journalists Freelancer Directory. It lets you search by city, state or specialty and includes contact information for most of the freelancers.  

A freelancer who reviews your book might use you as a source for the next article an editor buys. 


10.  Guest blog for other high-traffic blogs that reach your target market.

This is a fabulous way to let people outside your circle of fans learn about you. 

Here are 10 famous blogs for guest posting. Pitch these only if your topic is a good fit. You can also offer yourself as a guest blogger, or find guest bloggers, via BloggerLinkup, a free service.


11. It’s OK to be overwhelmed, but don’t let it paralyze you.

Authors on our six-day cruise said we overwhelmed them with fabulous content. We weren’t surprised to hear that because we’re overwhelmed, too, when we attend these kinds of training sessions as audience members.

My advice when you’re overwhelmed: Choose only three things and put them on your to-do list.

Mark them off one by one as you complete them, and choose three more. That’s what I’m doing. The to-do list I brought home with me has more than 50 items on it, most of them things I learned from the other three presenters!

OK, authors and publishers, it’s your turn. Let’s hear about your best book publicity or promotion tip in the Comments section. And don’t forget to share this post with your friends, followers and fans.

Dog Tweets of the Week–How to Convert a Hangout on Air to a Podcast

twitter birdHere are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

How to Convert a Hangout on Air to a Podcast
It is surprising to discover just how easy it is to convert Google Hangouts into an iTunes podcast. It’s so easy and the cost is so low that there is hardly any reason not to attempt it. Here are the steps to take to repurpose those YouTube video Hangouts into an iTunes podcast.

Get rid of social media guilt in the new year
It seems like nearly every day the tech sites and blogs are reviewing and talking about a new social network.That’s their job. Just remember that it’s not your job to jump into every single one. Just because you read that afew business are using a new platform successfully doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for your brand.

How to use Pinterest in your media kit
Pinterest can be a wonderful way to supplement your media kit and tell brands that you are worth working with. Create boards as an online resume in pictorial format. Here are ideas for boards you can share with brands who want to work with you.

Is Ebook Writing Different than for Printed Books?
The key to writing an expert ebook lies in what some of us were taught in journalism school: Connect with your readers.

Who to follow in social media for 2014. Are you on the list?
Susan Gilbert decided to create and share my list of the top social media mavens and Klout users who rock influence! (People who love their social media and who dedicate – a lot of – time to talk about it!)

Give your Twitter marketing for business a boost with 4 tools
Need some resources to help you improve your Twitter marketing for business. Here’s four links with tips and tricks to kick start your Monday.

Three Keys to Meaningful Marketing for Service-based Solopreneurs
Many service-based solopreneurs struggle with marketing because they think they have to recreate the wheel every time they need marketing ideas. A simple approach to finding marketing ideas is to look what other service-based solopreneurs are doing and have done in the past.

6 Tips for Writing Effective Pin Descriptions on Pinterest
The description part of a pin on Pinterest is one of the most important parts. Many people don’t spend much time writing Pinterest pin descriptions. People make this mistake because they don’t know that a good description can help pins get more exposure.

22 Ways to Make Your Pinterest Pins Go Viral
Here is a great cheat sheet from Pinterest to get you more exposure.

How to use celebrities to promote like Duck Dynasty
Duck Dynasty has broken numerous rating records on cable, often out-pulling powerhouses like American Idol with multiple millions of viewers. And the merchandising machine is in full steam. You can barely go anywhere without seeing one of these bearded wonders peering at you from some sort of product.

How much is an email address from Facebook really worth?

Facebook Like button on cash


Here’s a startling statistic that will force you to really think about how much money you’re probably leaving on the table on Facebook.

Studies show that the average Facebook “Like” is worth about $10 a year. Some of those people will buy from you when they see you promoting things, but most won’t.

If that same person who “Likes” you, however, also gives you their name and email address, that fan is worth a whopping $120 a year!

In other words, convince them to opt in on Facebook and they are now worth 11 times more than if they had simply “Liked” you.


Why a Facebook Opt-in Is Worth That Much


Once they opt in, you can email them valuable content like tips and advice on how to solve a business problem and really promote your expertise.

If they’ve been with you for awhile and love your content, chances are far greater that they’ll buy from you if you send them an email promotion instead of asking for the order on Facebook where most people hate blatant promotions.

That’s why selling on Facebook is usually ineffective. You need to get your fans onto an email list. Right now!


Learn How to Gather Email Addresses, Step by Step


Internet marketer Don CrowtherMy friend Don Crowther will give you step-by-step directions on how to do that, for free, when he’s my guest on a webinar from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12. He’ll also teach you how to use Pinterest and your own blog to build a valuable email list of people who will let you market to them over and over again.

Register for the free webinar “Turn Your Social Media Into a List-building Machine.” 

You can access the free step-by-step directions after the webinar.


Do the Math. How Much Money are You Leaving on the Table? 


If an email address you’ve harvested from Facebook is worth $120, multiply that by the number of fans you have. Now do you see why you’re leaving money on the table?

Register for my webinar with Don right now.

Dog Tweets of the Week–101 Tips for Using Instagram for Business

twitter birdHere are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

101 Tips for Using Instagram for Business
Instagram is a relatively new mobile app. The company created a website and appears to be growing. Businesses are finding success building followings on Instagram and the bigger your audience the more customers you have.

7 simple steps to a stronger, more impressive Google+ hovercard
Your digital business card, just like your printed business card, is your only chance to make a great first impression. If you slapped yours together quickly like I did when I joined Google+ and created my profile, the 10 minutes it will take to turn that hovercard into an impressive branding tool will be well worth it.

How to add Google Authorship to your press release
Anyone who works in digital marketing knows things move at a pace that’s simultaneously stimulating and frustrating. One day a best practice delivers the best possible results. The next you’re penalized for it and lose a large hold of your site authority. One way to ensure credibility, as well as float along with a concrete best practice, is to use Google+ Authorship.

5 hot, new ways to promote your event on Twitter
This article is not for the Twitter newbie! If you are unfamiliar with some of the “bread & butter” tactics for effective Twitter usage, then you might want to take a look at Mashable’s Beginner’s Guide to Twitter.

Video Basics: 5 Tips for Recording Outstanding Video Blogs
As a blogger, one of the easiest way to connect with your audience is with video. A study by eyeviewdigital.com shows that using video on landing pages and blogs can increase conversion by 80%.

How Many High End Clients Do You Want Next Year?

Ready to make your goals a reality in 2014?  Then it is time to take action now.

What you can learn from the Best Twitter Bios
There are approximately 1 billion users on Twitter sending nearly 6000 tweets per second. So, who is going to notice you? You need to make people take notice.You need to get their attention.You need to stand out. So how do you do that? The easiest way is to take note of the best Twitter bios out there. Then, make yours one of them.

13 smart reasons to use captions on your YouTube videos.
I started using captions on my YouTube videos about a year ago when someone reminded me that it’s just one more place where Google can find keywords. That’s Reason Number 1 and it’s reason enough for me.

Running a Business Online? You Need To Get Back To Basics
For millions of men and women, the Internet has been an unbelievably great way to build a business and generate massive revenues. Additionally, more now than ever before, you can voice your unique perspective and point of view in order to have a greater impact doing your life’s work.

Get Rid of Your Lousy ‘About’ Page Once and for All
The key to a great “About” page isn’t an elusive secret; it’s all about the approach. Remember that you’re creating this page as a way to connect with your visitors and address their curiosities and concerns.

Dog Tweets of the Week–How To Cultivate a Relationship on Google Plus

twitter birdHere are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

5 ways to use PhotoFunia
The free, fun little tool for inserting a photo of your face, or a short text message, into photos at PhotoFunia.com has a variety of uses for Publicity Hounds. Use these in place of boring stock photos in your blog posts.

How to Prepare for Author Interviews 
You’ve published your book, created publicity buzz, sent out your press release…now what? Are you prepared for what you’ll say when the phone rings and a reporter or editor asks for an interview? As an author, the reality is that whether you contact the media or not, if you’re spending time marketing your work, there’s a good chance someone from the media will call you at some point.

Control the Interview? Dream on!
There are many PR agencies, consultants and media trainers that still advertise that they can teach spokespeople to control an interview. When someone says that to me, I have three words: Have a seat. I’ll be the journalist. You be the spokesperson. At the end of four or five minutes, you tell me how in control you actually felt.

How to Make Your Blog Images Awesome – Even If You Aren’t Picasso
Adding amazing images to your blog is not as difficult as it seems. Even if you are not artistic, you can pimp your blog images with these simple steps.

How To Cultivate a Relationship on Google Plus
Google Plus is a platform above all others. It’s micro-blogging aspects makes the social update stand out to your follower when done in the right way.

Running a Business Online? You Need To Get Back To Basics
For millions of men and women, the Internet has been an unbelievably great way to build a business and generate massive revenues. Additionally, more now than ever before, you can voice your unique perspective and point of view in order to have a greater impact doing your life’s work.

7 Things Your 2014 Publicity Plan Should NOT Include
I’ve identified 7 important things you must do to create a strategy that lets you be seen, heard, found, followed, recommended, studied and hired by people who need what you have.

Oh No They Didn’t! LinkedIn Profile Pictures Gone Wrong
LinkedIn is a professional networking site used for business purposes, right? And unlike Facebook or Google+, you only get ONE picture to sum you up to the outside world, so that one photo becomes a very important part of your professional brand. So what does YOUR profile picture say about you?

5 Lessons We Learned from Bad Mayors
Recently three mayors of large cities, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, have made grave mistakes leading them to extreme public ridicule. The mistakes were not just women, drugs and racist remarks, but their handling of these issues in the press.

Make a video of your Twitter profile and tweets. Fast, fun, free tool
If you’re on Twitter and you want to give people one more reason to follow you, increase your online visibility and make your online profile look really hip, create a short video of your Twitter feed using Vizify.com. It’s a free service that collects your tweets, photos, Vine videos and other content you’ve shared on Twitter and creates a video of less than a minute, accompanied by music.

How to Pitch the Top 50 ‘New Product Review’ Bloggers

four out of five stars review

Whether you’re launching a book or introducing a new app,  plan to spend time researching and pitching bloggers who do product reviews.

Cision has published its list of the Top 50 New Product Review Bloggers, a great starting point. Authors and publishers, add to this list three more bloggers who review books::

But don’t just click on the name of a blog and start pitching. Take the time to research the blogger.

Free Publicity Tip 33--Pitch New product review bloggersHere are 7 important tips.

1. Study the blog.

Read several posts to determine if the blog is a good fit with your product.  You should be able to determine the blogger’s target market fairly quickly. Look for an “About” or “How to Pitch Me” or “Contact” page.

If you can’t find this, do a Google search. For example, I  Googled “how to pitch the mommyhood chronicles which is Number 2 on Cision’s list. I found a very detailed page that explains her Product & Review Policy and her policy for offering giveaways. Skipping this step can cost you a review.

If the blog isn’t a good fit, move on.

2. As you’re reading the blog post, look for personal tidbits about the blogger.

Does she talk about her kids? Does she tell you the name of her dog? Does she mention where she went on vacation? Those are all valuable nuggets that you might be able to work into your pitch.  

See my step-by-step instructions on How to find the name of a blogger’s dog, cat or kid in 60 seconds

3. Write a short, succinct pitch that’s no longer than one screen of type.

Explain the product and the problem it solves. Don’t give all the details, only enough to see if the blogger is interested.

See an example and how Personal details in your pitch is your ticket to publicity.

4. If they’re interested, ship the product.

Don’t send ANYTHING unless you know they want it or you’ll be wasting time and money.

Email them to let them know when you have shipped the sample and ask them to let you know when they receive it.

Keep a detailed list of which bloggers you have pitched, and which ones you’ve shipped to.  

5. If you don’t hear anything, follow up to see if they received the sample.

Things fall through the cracks on this end. That’s why I appreciate it when people follow up. But don’t follow up more than once.

6. Create a Google Alert for the name of your product.

Some bloggers who write reviews won’t necessarily take the time to send you the link. A Google alert will let you know who’s writing about you.

7. Thank the reviewer and share the link.

After the review is  published, send a handwritten thank you note to the reviewer, even if it wasn’t a five-start review.

Also share the link to the review on the social media sites.

What tips can you add to this list? Has your product received decent reviews? If so, share the link here. 

Like this tip? Share this tip with your followers. 

Dog Tweets of the Week–How to make a blog banner–free, fast and easy

twitter birdHere are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

Using hashtags: 7 ways to avoid looking like a dweeb
It’s one of the most powerful tools in search. It’s the hashtag, #, above the numeral 3 on your keyboard, an easy way to help people find your valuable content.

How to make a blog banner—free, fast and easy—without an expensive designer.
Want a free and easy way to make your Blogger blog look more original and professional?  Follow this very easy tutorial for using a free program we can all use. Picasa.

How tips lists can get you major stories in top-tier media
It’s one of the most basic tools in your publicity toolbox, and Publicity Hounds have been using it for decades to get mountains of publicity in national print and broadcast media.

USA Today now most widely circulated newspaper in the U.S.
USA Today is now the country’s most widely circulated daily newspaper, according to the latest report from the Alliance for Audited Media. Weekday circulation jumped from 1.71 million a year ago to 2.88 million for six months ending September 30. The jump reflects the Alliance for Audited Media’s recent decision to include data about mobile and tablet apps.

Blue Line: The new social network for law enforcement
There’s a new social networking platform on the scene, and it’s aimed specifically at law enforcement officials. Bill Bratton, former New York City and Boston police commissioner and Los Angeles police chief, gave Fast Company a tour of BlueLine.

Need publicity? Subscribe to HARO and get media leads daily. It’s free
From The New York Times, to ABC News, to HuffingtonPost.com and everyone in between, nearly 30,000 members of the media have quoted HARO sources in their stories. Everyone’s an expert at something. Sharing your expertise may land you that big media opportunity you’ve been looking for.

Is your kid in college? Give ‘em 5 great reasons to start a blog
Starting a blog is super idea for anybody but it’s a particularly good plan for college students looking to further their employment prospects.

7 places to stay off the sauce if reporters are present
Here are seven situations when you must stay away from reporters if you’re drinking, or stay away from alcohol if you’re talking to anyone in the media.

Using Google+ to appear in the top search results—every time
Many marketers are wondering about the effects of Google+ on search results, and for anyone with a Google+ profile, a few personalized searches make those effects quite apparent. Marshall Lee the vampire king (don’t be afraid, it’s just Rand) explains how having the right circlers on Google+ can lead to top-ranked results for even the broadest of queries in their SERPs.

How nonprofits should handle REALLY bad publicity
All institutions are vulnerable to many kinds of management issues, but the degree of transparency they reveal in investigating and being open about any problems they may have is really critical. Trust begins to be rebuilt more quickly in that way.

Hate writing headlines? Steal one. Lots of copywriters do

Headlines cut from a newspaper and piled atop one another

When you have to write a headline for an article or blog post, and your mind goes blank, don’t always start from scratch.

Do what I and thousands of other writers do. Steal someone else’s headline, remove a word here, add a word there, and make it your own.

One of the best places to find great headlines is on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. You don’t even have to buy the magazine. Just scan all these images of Cosmo covers. If the headlines are too risque for your topic, choose your favorite consumer magazine. 

Example of  a Cosmo headline:

Weird Things Guys Do When You’re Not Around

An expert in home security might steal that headline and change it to:

Sneaky Things Housekeepers Do When You’re Not Around

A consumer advocate might write:

Scary Things Your Supermarket Does When You’re Not Around

You get the idea.

That Cosmo headline is one of several hundred “formula headlines” that many editors and copywriters use. The pros even steal headlines from each other’s publications. You can too, as long as you change a word or two in the one you found and you’re not violating copyright. If in doubt about copyright law, don’t steal it. 

That little trick is one of many I’ll be sharing when I host the webinar “Headline Tips, Tricks, Tools and Templates That Make Readers Click” at noon Eastern Time on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. If the time is bad for you, register anyway because I’m recording it and you’ll get the video replay and all the bonuses.

Register here.

I’ve discovered  some amazing tools that will make your job so easy, they’ll practically write the headlines for you. Wait! One tool I discovered does, indeed, write your headline for you. Not only one headline, but several so you can choose from the best one. This is a lifesaver when you’re up against a deadline or you need to send an email promotion and you need a compelling subject line that will make people open your message .

See you Saturday. And remember, the best blog post, article or email is useless if no one reads it. What makes them read it? The headline.

Dog Tweets of the Week–Google Reveals Major Update to Search Algorithm

twitter bird

Here are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

Klout Score Dropping? Try These Fast Fixes
Here are 4 reasons your Klout score might be dropping, and how you can bring it back up. I’ve put them in the order of how easy they are to fix.

Understanding why people quit Facebook.
Researchers surveyed 310 people who opted out of Facebook by participating in the (online!) QuitFacebookDay.com campaign begun by users angry over the company’s privacy policies. The changes included a service that allowed people to sign their friends up to groups without their permission.

Why paying for Twitter followers is almost as icky as paying for sex
With new “consultants” popping up all over the place guaranteeing you “2,000 new followers in 30 days” in exchange for your credit card number, I believe it’s time to revisit the subject.

5 questions to ask before making a big announcement on a big news day
Here are five questions to ask yourself to help make the call.

20+ ways to promote the heck of your blog post.
Promoting your blog post is something you will still need to do constantly, even if you already have a consequent traffic.

5 YouTube SEO Myths That Need to be Exposed
Here are a few YouTube SEO myths that are proliferating the internet, and since they might be holding you back, let put them to rest right here and now.

Hangouts On Air Are Great But YouTube Live Is Better…
When Google Hangouts On Air (HOA) appeared on the scene I started gravitating toward using them.There were three things that I really liked about HOA.  First, they give you the ability to be on camera which allows you to make a better, more personal connection with your audience.

Facebook’s New Promotion Policy: 6 Ways Brands Can Take Advantage
Facebook recently announced that it’s now allowing brands to hold contests and sweepstakes within Timeline instead of requiring brands to host all promotions through apps.

Your Story Is Ready: Medium Experiments With the Homepage of the Future
The web is vast and full of text. What should you read?  The Internet’s history resides in this question, a little. Google News trusts in what its algorithms turn up. Twitter endorses the social swarm; Facebook employs an ever-changing alchemy of factors, including number of likes and type of post. Sullivan, Drudge, Reddit, and Digg all have answers to this question, and, last week, we learned that the read-it-later service Instapaper does, too.

Google Reveals Major Update to Search Algorithm
Google on Thursday announced a handful of new updates to the company’s search offering, including a major update to Google’s search algorithm that the company calls “Hummingbird.” The new algorithm affects 90% of all searches, and has been in place for about a month