Dog Tweets–Audio PR: Tips and tricks to hit the airways

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

twitter birdAudio #PR: Tips and tricks to hit the airways.

Inmate Gets 37.5 Years in Solitary Confinement for 38 Facebook Posts

3 Ways To Profit From Coca Cola’s #ContentStrategy

Here are 10 ways to increase your chances of going viral and hitting blogger gold from @problogger #bloggingtips

#authors : Free training for fast, easy blogging.

PR is Dead? That’s News to Us – Not according to @m2arice of Somerville PR.

Social media’s role in reporting the Copenhagen shootings

How to rock at startup PR | @PRwithBrains #startups #PR

Share Amazon Bestsellers and more Blog Carnival tips #amwriting

Looking for answers regarding #contenttheft? Stop and read… from @JFbookman


Authors: Free training for fast, easy blogging

7 Fast, Easy Ways for Author Blogging woman with billboard


Update on Feb. 28, 2015

Watch the webinar replay of 7 Fast, Easy Ways to Pull Traffic to Your Author Blog here before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 2. After that, we take it down and our killer offer for a product that will make blogging fast and easy disappears too:


When it’s time to write a post for your author blog, how many times do you find yourself thinking about something interesting or funny that happened in your personal life?

It might be the litter of adorable puppies that you took in last night from the local animal shelter.

Or the certificate you just received for finishing the American Red Cross course in First Aid/CPR.

Or a something painful you survived, like hip replacement surgery.

And how many times have you asked yourself, “Why would my readers care about THAT?” 

You’d be surprised.

Readers LOVE Knowing More About You

When I write about something personal, like how I finally found a treatment for my voice disorder, or how I know all the words to Talent Roundup Day from the “Mickey Mouse Club” TV show in the 1950s, or the childhood photo of my sisters and me that I gave them this past Christmas, my readers respond!

They comment. They share the post on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. They email me with long stories about their own fears, discoveries and funny things that happened to them.    

If you’re an author, how about sharing what sparks your creativity? For me, it’s a sink of dirty dish water. I wrote about it here and readers loved it!  

Free Training Thursday, Feb. 26

That’s one of seven types of blog posts readers love. Joel Friedlander—a good friend, fellow author and prolific blogger—is hosting a webinar with me from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, Feb. 26, on 7 Fast, Easy Ways to Pull Readers to Your Author Blog.

In addition to the blog post on creativity, we’ll discuss six other types of posts readers love. We’ll also share dozens of helpful tips that will save you time and money blogging.

For example, we’ll give you two websites where you can subscribe to receive free stock photos every week. You can use them for your blog or other marketing materials. Register here for the free training.   

Who Should Attend

This is perfect for beginning or veteran bloggers, regardless of whether you write fiction or nonfiction.

Not an author? You’re invited too! We wouldn’t want you to miss out on the fun.  :-) 

Dog Tweets–Learn how to maximize your media leads

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

twitter birdLearn how to maximize your #media leads!

Website Tools that Will Maximize Your Engagement #mondaymemo via @SusanGilbert

Book #publicists crushed that Jon Stewart’s leaving. He helped authors sell books.

How to Create Your Guest #Blogging #Strategy [with a 5 step template] : @problogger

4 Steps to Create Share-Worthy #Content for Social Media

How to Set Up Multi-Product Ads on #Facebook [Quick Tip]

How to Get Featured in #Mashable by @larrykim

How Buyer Personas Come to Life with #Content Creation by @VerticalMeasure

This Week in #ContentMarketing: A Net Neutrality Win | Stop Talking So Much About Yourself

RT @MariaPianelli: 3 Heartwarming #Publicity Campaigns We Love — @LaunchSquad #LaunchBlog

The top 9 writing mistakes and how to fix them

Wimpy Words Make Writing Boring

Blog posts. Articles. Ebooks. Ezines. Case studies. Slidedecks. Stories. Your bio. Press releases. White Papers.

If you need to create content but you can’t write well, spend five minutes on this crash course. Follow my advice, and you’ll improve your writing.

When I worked as a writing coach at a daily newspaper 20 years ago, I introduced reporters to my list of the Top 9 Writing Mistakes. Within minutes, and with a little practice, they improved their writing.

You will too.

Here are the most common mistakes:

1. Wordiness

This occurs most often among people in academia or in the corporate suite. They think $25 words make them sound smart or important. But $5 words make it easier for people to understand them.

If you came from either world, don’t let bad habits learned there creep into your writing. It should be so easy to read that a tenth-grader can understand it.

Here are wordy phrases that can be shortened: 

after the conclusion of = after

at the present time = now

in accordance with = by

in view of the fact = since

on a timely basis = fast

the necessary funds = money

signage = signs

roadway = road

in lieu of = instead

due to the fact that = since

with the exception of = except

2. Overusing any form of “to be”

It includes “is,” “are,” “was,” “were” and “would be.”

After you write something, print it. Underline every verb. If you see any of those lazy words or phrases, try to replace them with stronger verbs.

3. Weak verbs followed by prepositions

Instead of saying “get up,” you can use verbs like “awaken,” “stand,” “rise” or “climb.”

Strong verbs that mean the same as “fall down” include “collapse,” “trip,” “fumble” and “stumble.” They help paint a visual picture.

4. Lack of details

Describing the girl as “6 feet, 2 inches” beats saying “she’s tall.”

At night, in the middle of the forest, you can’t see the wolf in the dark. But describing the forest as “pitch black” makes readers feel as though they’re there.

Saying “The temperature inside the car reached 120 degrees” helps readers better understand the severity of the problem. It’s more specific than saying, “It was hot inside the car.”

5. Vague or abstract words and phrases.

They include:

“A large number” of babies born out of wedlock.

“The type of exercise” people hate most.

The word “thing,” as in “There’s this thing he does that annoys me” or  “She placed the things in the box.”

6. Writing in the passive voice instead of the active voice

Active voice describes a sentence in which the subject performs the action stated in the verb. In passive voice sentences, the subject is acted upon by the verb.

Passive voice: The book was placed on the table by the boy.

Active voice: The boy placed the book on the table.

You can find many more examples of the active and passive voice here.

7. Overworked words. Also known as empty words or wimpy words.

They include:

In essence

8. Business Jargon

This mistake deserves its own article! It includes:

End-user perspective
Pushing the envelope
Thinking outside the box
At the end of the day
Throwing anyone under the bus
Heavy lifting
Kept in the loop

…ad nauseum

See this Forbes article on The Most Annoying, Pretentious and Useless Business Jargon.

9. Rambling Sentences

I plucked these samples from online press releases. All include business jargon, industry lingo and $25 words that make my eyes glaze over.

Merex specializes in logistics, distribution and supply of spare parts, in-house product engineering and specialty manufacturing, FAA and military repair and overhaul capability at its ALCO Services subsidiary, repair management, and overall project management.

This approach that has led to a strong strategic partnership and $100 billion in two-way trade by growing bilateral investments, increasing cooperation in defense, and building a shared knowledge economy —all of which will continue to create much needed jobs in both countries for years to come.

Reynolds and his team at SupplyPro designed SupplyScale to take full advantage of SupplyPro’s software, SupplyPort™, which delivers automated inventory management and vendor integration; comprehensive reporting; superior ease-of-use; enterprise-wide administration; and the flexibility to adapt to customer work flow and business processes.

If you want an accurate tool that identifies bad writing and shows you how to fix it, try the Hemingway App.

Hemingway App

First, highlight all the text already on the page and hit Delete. Click on “Write” and start writing. Or click on “Edit” and paste your text into the window. The app will give you a color-coded critique.

Yellow highlights long, complex sentences and common errors. Red identifies dense, complicated sentences like the ones from the press releases above.

Blue shows you adverbs that you can remove and replace with more forceful verbs. Purple points out $25 words. Green flags you to the passive voice.

You’ll love this tool! I pasted this entire post into the app before publishing it. I saw lots of colors on the screen and corrected my errors.

The Hemingway app also ranks the readability of your copy. This post scores “Grade 6″ which means children in the sixth grade can understand it.

My grade will horrify the college professors. But I’m not writing for them. I’m writing for you!

What writing mistakes have I missed? Which ones do you hate most?

Dog Tweets–7 Writing Strategies to Boost Traffic on Your Blog

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

twitter bird7 Writing Strategies to Boost Traffic on Your #Blog

RT @PRforAnyone: Five Tips For Integrating Social Media Into Your Communication Plan #PR #socialmedia

How to Get a Juicy Quote for Your Press Release via @Cision

RT: @AuthorMedia Here’s the secret that will set you free: you don’t have to produce a #newsletter every week…

11 ways to keep your #pressreleases from being ignored via @PRDaily

RT @MeghanMBiro: My 5 Best Tips for Keeping Your Email Inbox Clean via @RebekahRadice

How to ask 10 #influencers in your niche a question and turn their answers into shareable content. #contentmarketing

Free #infographic tools to get you started showing off stats. Find out what I discovered! @tigerlilyva11 via #sbzclub

4 Things to Know About Media Outlets Before You Pitch via @Cision #pitchingthemedia #pr

RT @MeghanMBiro: Who Are Your Mentors Online, Choose Wisely My Friend? via @RandyHilarski

7 ways your local library can help you sell more books, even if you’re an indie author

7 Ways Your Local Library Can Help You Sell More Books

Authors who need help selling their books should start looking close to home, at the one place where books are free: their local libraries.

When I speak at writers’ conferences, I hear authors complaining that they don’t want to be bothered with selling to a library “where hundreds of people might read my book for free.” Or they whine that libraries “don’t want self-published books.”

Are they kidding?

First, libraries are marketing machines. They do all the heavy lifting and help you gain exposure, generate publicity and pull crowds. Some readers in those crowds buy books.

Patrons Want Indie Books

As for indie titles, a survey of patron profiles by Library Journal found that at least 6 out of 10 patrons want self-published books to be available in their libraries. Librarians listen!

Knowing who’s who at your local library and asking how you can help them, so they can in turn help you, is just one of the many ideas I’ll share on Thursday, Feb. 12, during the webinar on Book Publicity Ideas You Can Use Today to Sell More Books Tomorrow.

Here are 7 ways libraries can help you sell more books.

1. They’ll host a book signing or event.

Libraries aren’t beneath New York Times best-selling author Lesley Kagen. She did a book signing at the small Grafton Public Library near my town last week to promote her book, The Resurrection of Tess Blessing. She and I live in the same county so it was close to home for her.     

Big-name authors can usually negotiate an honorarium, transportation, hotel and meal costs if they’re traveling. Libraries are meticulous about these details.

If you aren’t a big-name author, and you’re appearing for free, you might sell only three books. But that’s three books more than you sold yesterday.

 Here’s a long list of publicity, programming and promotion tips for author visits, created by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.  It’s proof libraries love hosting authors.

2. They’ll let local newspapers know about your event.

I saw a photo of Lesley Kagen’s book signing in my local newspaper, The Ozaukee Press, last week. On the same page, I saw a  calendar item about another local author who’s doing a book signing at the same library. 

3. Libraries will often use the local Chamber of Commerce’s website and contacts to publicize your event.

Here’s what the Grafton chamber put on its homepage to promote Lesley’s library appearance:

Grafton Chamber of Commerce promo for Lesley Kagen book signing


4. They look elsewhere in the community for help marketing your event.

Your library might contact other community groups, businesses and neighboring libraries that might be interested in collaborating. Have you written a book about how to make household repairs? A local hardware store might love to partner with the library and host you.

5. Friends of the Library can work with you.

These are the fundraising arms of libraries and they often sponsor luncheons and other events.

They need speakers and interesting programs. (Hint: More publicity!)   

6. Local libraries will feature you prominently everywhere.

You’ll show up in their newsletter, at their website, on their Facebook page, and on flyers around town. Many libraries also submit calendar notices to the local TV station’s public access channel.  

7. Librarians share tips with other librarians about which authors are great presenters and make their jobs easy.  

In addition to the American Library Association, librarians are members of statewide and regional industry groups. Librarians know how to network!

Have I convinced you that you need to run, walk or drive to your local library today?

During Thursday’s webinar on Book Publicity Ideas You Can Use Today to Sell More Books Tomorrow, I’ll share a tip on how indie authors who write ebooks can take advantage of a free program that will market your ebooks to public libraries all over the U.S.  When I stumbled on this, I thought I’d struck gold.

What other ways can libraries help authors sell books? Librarians, what have you done? And what do you recommend authors do to form strong relationships with you?

Free Publicity Tip 46--Local libariesIf you’re looking for more tips about how to generate free publicity, check out my popular Pinterest board 50 Tips for Free Publicity. I pin often.

What do I pin?

The same types of tips you see in the blue and white image on the left. Be sure to join the more than 3,000 Publicity Hounds who follow the board so you don’t miss a thing.

How to ask 10 influencers in your niche a question and turn their answers into shareable content

By Frederik Vincx

In December, our company, Prezly, successfully pitched 10 big-name PR influencers to help us create one of our most popular content pieces of all time. In just a few weeks,  we received:

  • 550 tweets
  • 13,000 views on slideshare
  • 3,500 website visits

 (and counting.)

Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound, was one of these influencers who was so kind to share a bit of advice with us. When Joan saw the success of the content, she invited us to share our process here. We’ll give you a step-by-step guide beneath this SlideShare presentation:



How We Reached Out

There was nothing ground-breaking or sexy about our process, just solid research and a great pitch email. First, we researched PR influencers online using Buzzsumo, made a shortlist of people we wanted to reach, and sent each one a simple email asking if they’d like to share a quote.

For example, here’s the email we sent to Joan:

Hi Joan,

I’m Robin, and I’m a freelance writer for Prezly.

Here’s why I’m reaching out: As part of a new article teaching PR beginners about influencer relations, we’re asking PR’s biggest thought leaders to weigh in on the following question: What is the #1 thing PR pros can do to build solid relationships with influencers on social media?

Hopefully this sounds up your alley. If you’d like to participate, just email me your 2-3 sentence reply to the question above.

That’s it! We’ll share the article with our 6,000+ newsletter subscribers, so in addition to good karma, you’ll get a real traffic boost, too.

 Looking forward to your reply! 



Using this template, we achieved a response rate of over 50 percent. As any email marketer will tell you, for a cold email from someone you’ve never met, that’s huge.

Telling the Story in Many Ways

Writing an excellent story isn’t worth the effort without a solid distribution strategy. After all, what’s the use of your efforts if no one will be readying it? To reach a big audience, we shared the same story in many ways. Once we had received 10 quotes from influencers, we shaped them into four different forms to get the most mileage out of it:

  1. Blog post: How to influence the influencers
  2. Blog post: Are you listening? Experts say PR pros still have work to do.
  3. Slideshare: How to influence influencers
  4. Pinterest infographic

Get visual

The visuals were a big part of the success.

If we had written a plain looking blog post with the quotes of the influencers, we wouldn’t have had that much attention. The higher production value gives more gravitas to the quotes, and they make it more worthwhile to share. We produced the illustrations using Illustrator Draw application for iPad.

Amplify on social media

Publishing a presentation on SlideShare gave us our first traffic boost because Slideshare awarded the deck “Presentation of the Day” and featured it on their homepage. This way we reached thousands of people on SlideShare, and Slideshare promoted us on Twitter.

Hundreds of presentations get uploaded to SlideShare every day. To be featured, your presentation needs to be interesting and of high production value. This guide is a good starting point: How I got 2.5 million views on SlideShare.

SlideShare is an excellent traffic driver. Browse through the presentation above to find out how we managed to guide people to our website from the presentation.  You’ll see that we included clear calls to action in the (Tweet to download it, Discover our service Prezly, Read a similar presentation on a landing page, etc.0.

We also promoted the presentation via our Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and G+. We made individual images for each quote and shared them multiple times with different angles, following Buffer’s reposting guide on Why You Should Share Your Blog Post More Than  Once on Social Media: The Case for Reporting Content. 


Joan Quote for Prezly Slidedeck 


 Our Best Tactic 

 The strongest promotion tactic might be this last one: the quotes are of many influencers with thousands of followers. We @ mentioned them in our tweets so they could easily retweet and share with their vast number of followers.

The results:

  • 13,500 SlideShare views
  • 550 tweets
  • 4.000 website visits
  • 17 newsletter subscribers
  • 9 signups for our PR software

While the story received a lot of attention, we didn’t see enormous amounts of signups. In evaluating its success, content marketing is a long-term play though, which is why it’s important to look at metrics besides revenue, such as social shares and PR opportunities generated.

 At the end, it’s worth reaching out to influencers to help them tell your story. It gives a traffic boost because of their big social following, and it might open opportunities like this guest post.


frederik-vincxFrederik Vincx heads growth at Prezly, an online PR toolkit that helps brands like HP and Toyota get their story told. Try the 15-day trial of Prezly to see how you can get better at media relations and influencer relations.  Prezly also offers a free, 5-day email crash course on How to Pitch the Press. 



How your digital fingerprint can keep you from appearing on the 5 o’clock news

Raccoon cap with type2 cropped
By Roshanda Pratt

If you’ve read my guest posts here on The Publicity Hound’s Blog, you know I’m  a news hound. While I was snooping around recently, I was reminded of something I need to warn you about when it comes to the media. 

Nothing is really off limits.

In our digital world, it’s much easier for journalists, bloggers or anyone else to simply Google your name. Before Facebook pages and Twitter chats, the news media had to do some real digging to find out who you were.

Not the case nowadays. Today, journalists can type in your name and discover your Facebook page or any other social media handle. Social media has now become another “source” for information.

I’ve watched many local and even national news sources pull photos and information about a person from their social media profiles and credit Facebook. The days of playing detective are long gone. Now, you make it easy for them.

What Do Your Social Media Profiles Say About You? 

So here’s the question. Does your social media profile portray an accurate picture of you? Does your business profile look like a business profile or do you still have the surfer dude photo as your profile picture? Or the goofy photo of you when you were deer hunting with the guys?

I’m concerned about this because too often we’ve forgotten that our digital fingerprint is equally important. This friendly reminder isn’t just about making sure you have a profile photo.

It’s also about making sure what’s posted or tweeted or shared won’t come back to haunt you. Social media and press releases go together like hand and glove.

I sent a press release to a TV station for a client who was a financial expert. I was pitching him to share tips on finances along with a plug for his new book. The station booked him to be on the 5 o’clock news.

But to my surprise, when I assured the producer that my client was comfortable in front of the camera, she told me she already knew that. She had already searched for him online and found some clips of him on YouTube. Since that experience, I make it a point to include social media handles in press releases.

How to Make Yourself Ready for the Digital World

Google: When was the last time you Googled your name and also looked through all of Google’s images? Don’t do it now. Keep reading.

Studies show people are more likely to use Google to track down others. In this case, what you don’t know can hurt you. Know what’s out there so you’re not surprised.

Clean it up: Like the “Orbitz” commercial, got a potty mouth? Clean it. In this case, if you have a crabby social media profile or digital image, clean it up! Be clear, concise and real about who you are online. If you wouldn’t say it to your mom, then don’t say it online. What you do or don’t do could hinder your TV time.

Balance: Have a good selection of posts that offer an accurate portrayal of who you are. This helps give the media an idea of what you’re like personally—a glimpse into your life.

That glimpse is what we give people every day on social media. Social media is free space. Use it to your advantage to attract and not distract.

Managing your digital fingerprint helps you keep a handle on your message. How can you improve your digital fingerprint? Do you have some suggestions? Tweet me @RoshandaPratt or share in the Comments below.

Dog Tweets–15 things not to say to a journalist

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

twitter bird15 things not to say to a journalist from @PRDaily #pitchingthemedia

Design Trends of 2015: How Your #Blog Can Adapt : @problogger

Use Hangouts On Air to Build Your Platform via @DeniseWakeman #visibilitytip #HOA via #sbzclub

“3 Ways to Find More Clients Like Your Clients on #LinkedIn” by @SocialSalesLink on @LinkedIn

#Video Content #Marketing Tools That Rock via @SusanGilbert via #sbzclub

RT @janlgordon: #Mobile will disrupt your industry: 3 ways to protect your business. #mobilemarketing

5 Steps to Great #Graphics with Canva: Newbie Guide #SMM @Louise_Myers via #sbzclub

10 Sites for Free, Non-Cheesy Stock #Photos Written by @CarlyStec

Get FREE media leads with these services — featuring @pitchrate — thanks, @PublicityHound!

#Totinos earns kudos for Super Bowl social media; #Nationwide takes a hit. @PRDaily

RT @AvantGuild: Super Bowl Sunday is in 2 days! Learn how to #pitch & get your #sports stories published

Do you make these 5 beginner’s mistakes when doing event publicity?

5 Event PR MistakesBy Jen Thames

Event PR is a special breed of publicity.

Whether you’re just starting out in this niche or you’re taking on event PR yourself for the first time, there’s a lot you need to know. Being new to anything, you’re sure to make a few missteps at first. But if you know what common mistakes PR event newbies make,  you can avoid a few big problems.

Mistake #1:  Not Enough Details

When you start to spread the word about your event, it’s not the time to become a minimalist. Time, date and focus are just the beginning. 

You want as many details as would interest your audience. Some details you want to include are the notable attendees, the entertainment, the food, and any swag.

Know your audience, too. Is it a kid’s event? If the Wiggles are your entertainment, it’s a really big deal.

Conference goers often focus on the presenters, so you want to lean heavily on who will be on the panels. On the other hand, if you’re hosting a bunch of foodies, the catering will be a big draw. 

Mistake #2: Overpromising

Newbies often make the mistake of overpromising in the publicity blitz leading up to their events. Don’t let the excitement of trying to get butts through the door have your mouth writing checks your event can’t cash.

Confirm everything and only publicize confirmed details.

Avoid embellishing, too. You may think a few dozen bottles of champagne is an open bar. But depending on your crowd, your numbers, and the event, that could turn out to be just a toast. And if your guests come expecting one thing and getting another, you might find yourself with an angry crowd. 

Mistake #3: Expecting Media to Find You

Publicity is all about working with the media to get your message to as many ears as possible. So when newbies do things like post a press release on their website and call themselves done promoting an event, it’s a head scratcher.

The media doesn’t go to you, you go to it. You should be distributing your releases to every relevant channel possible. The keyword here is “relevant.”

If you’re working in a niche where you have some pull on social media, take the time to invite influencers personally. This is not the same thing as sending out Facebook invites to 400 of your random friends. Instead, send out individual messages inviting them to your event. If you’re still building contacts, consider using a reputable distribution service, such as iSentia, to reach out to the right people. 

Mistake #4:  Not Sending Multimedia Releases

There was a time when a straightforward text release by fax was all you needed to get attention. Today, you’re sending your releases by email and through social media platforms and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of noise. No matter how well written it is, you’re going to need more than three paragraphs of text talking about how great your event will be.

You can now add texture to your releases by including video, images, embedded content, etc.

Let’s say your main draw will be a speaker. If you have a video clip of her shown at a previous speaking engagement that will make her more appealing, embed it in the release. Boring releases are deleted without a second thought so everything you can to avoid that.

Here’s a fun video that Get City Dealz, a New Orleans business, embedded in its press release on BusinessWire two years go. The video illustrates how Get City Dealz is teaming up with a new boutique in the French Quarter to help them both reach out to tourists and visitors just in time for the 2013 Super Bowl and the upcoming Mardi Gras celebrations.   



Mistake #5: Thinking the PR Part is Over When the Event is Over

Free Publicity Tip 45--Event PR mistakesPublicity isn’t just about making a lot noise before the event. Follow-through is everything.

Now that your event is over, you need to promote the story using photos and videos from the events. A post-event release—with attendee numbers, recaps and quotes from notable attendees—can be a useful tool for getting a head start promoting the next event. 

Being new to PR or even event PR doesn’t mean your event will automatically be a flop. But if you avoid the common pitfalls newbies fall into, you’ll boost your chances of success considerably.