Dog Tweets–How to Get Read: 8 Ways to Take your Blog From Existence to Greatness

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 Get Read: 8 Ways to Take your Blog From Existence to Greatness
There are lots of things that separate a great blog and great posts from the rest. What’s in your must have factors for a great blogpost?

How To Use Slideshare To Market Your Book

SlideShare is a great and often overlooked social media site that has great potential for marketing your books. Creating a SlideShare presentation takes time, but especially since you can use the presentation multiple places such as on your blog, it’s well worth the effort!

Don’t ditch my pitch: 5 ways to get a yes from an editor

While pitching stories can be frustrating, these tips will make the process easier and make it much more likely that you’ll receive a positive response.

Instagram beats Twitter with 300 million active users

Instagram has officially passed Twitter with active users, making the photo- and video-sharing app the second largest social media platform.

How to Find Good Topics for Infographics [VIDEO]

So you want to create an infographic, but you do not have a topic? You don’t even know where to begin. Here are a few things to keep in mind that can help you get on the right path to finding a great topic that can not only tell a story, but educate your audience.

The Benefits of Blogging for Your Business

As common as blogs are, it’s not so common to find a truly successful blog. So, in order to break through the hoards of them online, here are five ways to better host your company blog and the benefits that come as a result of following these pro tips.

Interview: Joan Stewart, Publicity Expert

2014’s final InterviewFX feature is one you definitely won’t want to miss! Today we’re sitting down with Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound, a publicity expert who has coached thousands of business owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs on the topic of making their PR efforts more successful.

6 Ways to Jump on Holiday Sales

While it’s late in the season to be thinking of your holiday strategy, there are some great things you can still do to nudge sales in your favor.

5 Brilliant Ways to Get More Blog Social Shares
We all want more traffic and social shares for the content we create on our sites. So how can we get them? Easy… create content that provides value and is something that people actually want to share!

The subject line was irresistible

How a content strategist caught my eye with a perfect pitch.


Banner ad for book review product


How a content strategist caught my eye with a perfect pitch

Nicole Kohler's email pitch

The subject line was irresistible:

Hi Joan, a suggestion for you

I clicked. My eye went immediately to the photo, and I knew she was friendly.

She addressed me by name and said she’d get right to the point. She knew exactly what I covered in my blog because she linked to a previous post about a list of ways to contact Google.

Then she offered me a link to her “more up-to-date list, sorted by service, with multiple options for each service.” (Value, value, value.)

She thanked me and signed off with “Best,”


I Was Sold

Google Plus for Small Business badgeI liked her updated list so much that I replied and suggested she add to it the very helpful Google+ for Small Business Community where I throw out many of my owns questions to the group and receive answers almost immediately.  She did, and she thanked me.

Meet Nicole Kohler, Web Content Strategist for WebpageFX, a full-service Internet marketing company and the 11th best place to work in Pennsylvania.  

I was so impressed with her pitch that I visited her blog and discovered a very helpful post about how to drive sales with effective product photography.

It was perfect for my ezine, and I let my readers know about her tips and linked to them in the Nov. 11 issue.


The Relationship Grows

Free Publicity Tip 43--Share your content with bloggersCurious about how she found me, I asked.

Nicole said she used Ahrefs, a tool that helped her look specifically for sites that were linking to the other “how to contact Google” post. She thought that anyone who liked the other list might also appreciate the updated one she compiled. Then she started investigating and read my blog.

One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, she invited me to be the subject of her company’s Q&A interview called InterviewFX . Of course I said yes.

She sent me seven questions and let me choose five. I answered them all. She chose the five she wanted to feature and she’s publishing them later this morning and you can read them here. I liked her idea of sharing with you the answers to the other two questions she didn’t use.

More about that in a minute.

I want you to use Nicole’s pitch to me as a template on how to pitch a blogger. It was very brief, friendly, to the point and helpful.

Often, we’re churning out so much content for our blogs and social media that it’s difficult to find the time to really drill down and figure out exactly who’d want to know.  The extra time she took resulted in traffic to her blog from my ezine, an interview at her company’s blog for me, and more exposure here for Nicole and WebpageFX.    

Here are the two other questions she asked me about my business and getting publicity.

Why I Left Newspapers

Q. What motivated you to leave journalism and the publishing industry to start your own business?

Two things:

First, the pathetic job that the news industry has done over the years teaching people how to use their product. Journalists bitch about receiving poorly written press releases and bad pitches. But few of them do anything about it because they’re up against constant deadlines and don’t have time.

When I worked as an editor, I welcomed invitations from local service clubs and community groups to speak to them. It gave me a chance to explain things like the editorial calendar and how to know about editorial deadlines before they occurred.

I showed them examples of stories we loved, and described story ideas that fell flat. I told them how to work with us long before their important event occurs, and how to ask for meetings with the editorial board to gain our support for a cause or issue. Another editor in my department created a brochure that explained how to get your news into the paper. People loved it and we reprinted it many times.

If you want proof that newspapers, magazines and other media do an abysmal job teaching people how to use the product, just go to any newspaper or magazine website and try to find the editorial calendar or the “how to pitch us” instructions.

When I was still working as an editor, I can remember thinking, “Someday, if I ever leave this crazy business, I’m going to help people figure out how to do this the right way….”

Second, I saw the handwriting on the wall, long ago, that newspapers were dying. As early as the 1970s, paid circulating was falling. By the 1990s, just before I left, many newspaper editors had morphed from news gatherers to budget cutters. At one job, I was forced to lay off more than 20 people from the news department in only six months.

Newspapers have also been horrible at handling circulation and customer service problems, many of which were forwarded to the newsroom on weekends. For the most part, newspapers have been slow to change and even slower to figure out how to serve niche audiences.

 An Overlooked PR Strategy

Q. What’s one way to gain publicity that you think businesses often overlook?

Targeting a very narrow market. Here’s why:

–It’s so much more powerful than targeting a broad, noisy market because there aren’t as many competitors vying for the audience’s attention. It’s much easier for an expert to become a big fish in a small pond.

–You can customize your message specifically for that audience and provide a lot of value by going deep into a topic with helpful tips that people in that niche can’t find elsewhere. Take a look at the iTunes Podcast Directory, for instance. It’s a fabulous place to find ready-made audiences for your topic as well as podcasters in narrow niches who are looking for guests to interview. Podcasts include:

• The History of Aviation
• Beekeeping
• Pet Fish
• The Missouri Botanical Gardens Plants in Bloom
• The Polymer Clay podcast
• The Bethel Church Sermon of the Week

How successful do you think experts in any of those areas would be if they pitched USA Today?

Dog Tweets–12 ways to create a mailing list that will sell books!

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

12 ways to create a mailing list that will sell books
The key to a good newsletter list is simple really and the biggest piece of this is you’ve got to have something useful to say. While your friends and family might enjoy hearing about your latest book signing, people who happened onto your site and subscribed to your ezine might become bored with this information and unsubscribe.

What PR pros should know about the Supreme Court’s Facebook case
This is a milestone in social media litigation, and whether it’s for personal or brand use, PR pros should monitor the case closely to share findings (and suggestions) to keep company employees of all levels out of trouble on social media.

How to use this helpful social media cheat sheet when planning your next event
Sample Social Media Plan for Events was created by the folks at Marketo, a digital marketing agency. You can see an easier-to-read version of this in The Definitive Guide to Event Marketing, a free 120-page event marketing workbook that you can get in exchange for your email address.

The Art of Social Media for Writers
Writing a great book is just part of the equation, your social media platform is where readers will get to know you, find out about what you’re writing, and could determine the success of your book sales.

Goodbye, SEO: PR is the new king
Remember to find what’s truly interesting about your piece and ask yourself if it’s it really news, or just puff. If you don’t, you’ll find out soon enough when your press release spreads or flops.

Is it Time to Burn Feedburner? Yes! There are Alternatives
The essence of our research: there’s not one solution for all. It all depends on what your needs are. Feedburner is not working anymore, and it’s time to do the switch. Feedblitz (inexpensive) and Feedpress (slightly more expensive, but more features) are the way to go.

7 Ways to Think Like a CEO on Social Media
Tying social media to business outcomes is less likely to become a monthly or yearly nightmare to endure. It all comes down to your mind-set.

The worst media disaster of November 2014
September was quite a month for media blunders, but this one from a former pro athlete was the most bombastic of the bunch.

How to Write a Blog Post in Just 30 Minutes
Here are some ideas about how to keep the actual writing part short and sweet and make the whole process a good use of your time, whether you are at a growing startup or make up a one-man-band.

Free Graphics for this Holiday Season
Websites where you can grab free holiday graphics and use them on your websites and in your marketing.


Banner ad for book review product


Dog Tweets of the Week– #AmazonCart – Add items to your Cart without leaving Twitter

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

#AmazonCart – Add items to your Cart without leaving Twitter.
#AmazonCart is easy to use – when you discover a tweet with an product link, simply reply to that tweet with “#AmazonCart”, and the product will be added to your Shopping Cart.

How ‘offline’ PR has changed
It’s not enough to only concentrate on the task at hand anymore. Try to always look ahead and see how you can combine offline and online PR to always stay relevant in your community’s mind.

Tips for Making Sure Editors Don’t Skip Over Your Email Pitch
Take some time to research the writer you are emailing. Find out what type of writing style they prefer, and tailor your subject to their interests. At the same time, avoid being too friendly. If an editor is offended, annoyed, or otherwise bothered by your emails, he or she will blacklist you. Getting sent straight to spam is a very bad thing if that person is the gatekeeper to a major digital publisher.

5 Things Visitors Don’t Want From Your Author Blog
Don’t waste your time doing things on your author blog that turn your readers away. This post gives you five things your readers don’t want from your author blog.

Surviving Dangerous Personalities
What does modern PR stand for? Brian Solis says its People and Relationships.

5 Ways to Grow Your Blog Without Relying on Google Traffic
One thing often overlooked: getting that traffic is only a part of the game – you still need to know what to do with it. Remember that you’ll need to focus on maintaining that traffic – so focus on creating an ongoing conversation and way to continue the dialogue. Landing pages are key here, providing you a quick way to get information from and to your reader.

Weathering the Storm
Healthy Niche Newspapers and how they’re staying in business.

5 outdated PR tactics and their modern equivalents
From circulation numbers to embedded URLs, event attendance to social presence, and direct mail to text messages, PR is evolving.

Your Business Blog Sweet Spot: How-to get it and keep it
Good content builds momentum and always has an objective. Therefore your content needs to trigger an action. That’s the way you engage readers to respond.

5 Things You Can’t Blog Successfully Without
Blog successfully and you can smile all the way to the bank. Your website traffic will grow, your company will flourish, and your reputation could swell to the point where business finds you.


Make your pet a celebrity to help promote your small business

Happy Birthday Whoopi

Just as Joan Stewart is The Publicity Hound, I’m tied to my famous cat, Simon Teakettle.

Dubbed “the cat who owns the company” in an article in Business Week and on, his persona has gone through three actual feline incarnations, but the company name, Simon Teakettle Ink, and the website remain constant.

Naming your company and website after a pet can be helpful if you want to avoid the common trap of selecting a name that turns out to be popular with others. Names containing the words dream, communications, writer or any variations of these turn up a vast number of companies and websites in search engines.

Using your own name can be tricky, too. If you Google Barbara Graham, you’ll discover the infamous killer, and only if you use my full name, Barbara Florio Graham, will the sites connected to me show up. But I decided not to use my name for my company or my website for several reasons.

Smart Reasons to Use a Pet’s Name

First, Florio is too easily misspelled. Even when I provide my name to an organization in advance, my badge often turns up with either Floria or Florida.

That brings me to this tip.

Bobbi badgeWhen you’re representing someone else, as the publicity point person, create a badge with your name in large, sans serif type, and the company name below and take it with you everywhere you go. You can often use a company business card that includes their name and logo in a larger badge holder, and place a card behind that with your name, so it shows above the company card.

The second reason why I didn’t want to use my own name for my company was the possibility that I might marry. My partner would want to be considered an equal, not part of Barbara Florio Graham and Associates.

Having a company name also lends credibility, especially to a sole proprietor who may be seen as a lightweight. You want to be taken seriously by the audiences you address, whether in person at an event where you’re handling publicity or serving as the spokesperson. That goes for emails, press releases and other communications too.

Don’t Dilute Your Brand

We’ve all heard about the importance of branding. I see too many entrepreneurs who have adopted different names and websites for different products, books and enterprises, diluting their impact. It’s important to be consistent across your entire platform.

Naming my company Simon Teakettle Ink was the result of my cat being featured on CBC radio so frequently, and on so many network programs that I worried that someone would steal his unique name. Registering it as a company name offered protection, but also allowed me to remain anonymous and let the cat communicate without revealing the name of The Lady Who Shares His Office.

I learned quickly that the radio audience remembered Simon Teakettle more than anyone else who contributed to the programs. One host I hadn’t contacted before even remarked how pleased she was to finally receive a letter from Simon Teakettle.

Human fans are often ignored, but pets are a different story.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My…

Any pet can help you widen the reach of your communications. It could be a cat, dog, parrot, ferret or horse. There’s an obvious advantage to using a pet you own now, or a previous pet if you have a large variety of photos. Pet pics can be used in social media posts, but also in other ways you may not have considered.

Simon Teakettle, for example, sends greeting cards to the media. Media personalities can be turned off by cards sent by humans, but when it’s a pet that’s the spokesperson for a company, it’s not only acceptable but memorable.

That’s one way Simon became so well known. We knew we were reaching our target when Simon  received a signed photo from Whoopi Goldberg after sending her the homemade birthday card you see above.

I’ve taken promotion related to Simon Teakettle even further. He has a blog and a fan club, both of which have allowed me to provide links to colleagues, as well as to organizations I support, such as the Great Canadian Theatre Company, where  he even has a seat in the theater, and NEXUS percussion.

Simon Teakettle Ink has his name on the theater wall listing patrons, and sends a new poster each month to the box office to post on their bulletin board. That means theater patrons as well as staff are exposed to Simon’s name and image.

He became so popular with subscribers that the theater company asked him to pose for their 2013 Christmas card. The back of the card credited me with the photo, and gave the website address. It was sent to all of the theater’s contacts, including its board of directors, program advertisers, subscribers and local politicians.

We’re also a patron of the Orpheus Musical Society, where the company name appears in all the programs.  

Tips for Promoting  Your Pet

marketing materialsIf you want to do this, set up link exchanges with those who can cross-promote, and find a common topic you share which will allow you to comment on their Facebook posts or blogs.

Your pet can have its own Facebook page. A Pinterest account is a great way to post photos, each captioned with something you want to promote.

Simon Teakettle has had a calendar since 2011. These are sold, but can also be used as promotional tools. We have laminated bookmarks for Mewsings/Musings, which list the website. Many people will keep a sturdy  bookmark featuring a pet but might discard a flimsy one promoting some other type of book.  

I continue to extend his reach beyond North America.

A friend who writes for several German magazines asked me for an article about Simon’s MEWSical Society and Fan Club to translate and send to a German pet magazine. I was also able to place my award-winning article, Training Your Cat Like a Dog, with the largest pet magazine in India,

His virtual MEWSical Society has members from nine countries, and the exploding fan club has photos of more than 200 cats, 100 dogs, and 18 other species, from 21 countries on five continents. All this drives traffic to the website because we provide reciprocal links.

Promoting other pet sites, including breeders, rescue groups, veterinarians and authors of pet titles, is a win/win.

The Pet’s Point of View…

PowerPoint Slid showing Free Publicity Tip 40--Make  your pet a celebrity that you feature prominently in  your marketing and publicityBut it’s important to make sure the pet has a consistent point of view. From the beginning, Simon Teakettle has promoted responsible pet ownership, including spaying and neutering. We were also careful not to tell harsh anti-dog jokes, or anecdotes describing bad behavior.

The pet can be a bit naughty, but never mean or nasty. You aren’t creating a comedy routine, but rather a personality people can relate to and trust.

Terzo, aka Simon Teakettle III, writes about birds as sources of delight that he watches from inside, instead of pursuing and tormenting them. Mice, however, are fair game!

If you feature a dog in your blog, don’t let it talk about chasing cats or running after cars! Never sacrifice integrity to humor.

That trust factor is key.

It has allowed me to build a compelling and popular website, only a small portion of which is cat-related. Whatever I’m currently promoting is on the home page, along with links to Simon’s blog and fan club.

What about you? Do you incorporate  your pet into your business? How? Feel free to share links.