#FocusFriday – Foolish Friday Edition

It’s April Fool’s Day. I have written a few blogs on April Fool’s Day and here is my in the context of #FocusFriday.abraham-lincoln-quotes-it-is-better-to-remain-silent-3

There are plenty of quotes about being a fool or looking foolish. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “A fool and his money are soon parted.” – Thomas Tusser an English poet and famer
  • “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” – Chinese Proverb
  • “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

In a day and era when personal branding and personal marketing have become so important can we afford to look foolish? Will looking foolish hurt your brand or is being foolish sometimes worth the risk?

henry_ford_quoteNobody wants to look like a fool. If you do, people laugh, they call you out and they certainly remember it. A reputation as a fool is something that no one wants or strives for. However, to truly succeed we need to try, fail and learn.  Sometimes you may look or sound foolish. Can you recover?  In my view if the effort was well intended and if you had a goal in mind the answer is yes. Why can’t you recover? 2ae8593ca4e95aa4bb15be5b28a63382Trying and failing is essential; the recovery process may be long and it may come with pain and remorse. There is a road to redemption if the effort was well intended to begin with.

quote-i-didn-t-like-the-idea-of-being-foolish-but-i-learned-pretty-soon-that-it-was-essential-daniel-day-lewis-17-43-30Here is what some great business leaders of past and present have said about looking like a fool or being foolish:

  • “Too many men are afraid of being fools.” – Henry Ford
  • “Who’s the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?” – Alec Guiness (as Obi Wan Kenobi)
  • “Dare to wear the foolish clown face.” – Frank Sinatra
  • “I learned pretty soon that it was essential to fail and be foolish.” – Daniel Day-Lewis, only three-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor
  • “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs

To achieve significant success and to stand out there is a possibility or likelihood of looking foolish. However, without risk there may be no reward. If you believe in what you are doing and are willing to take the risk of looking foolish, you may be rewarded opportunity and success. For many the experience alone is worth the journey.

steve-jobs-quotes-wallpaper-stay-hungry-stay-foolish-3Today there is a greater risk if your endeavors become a fool’s errand. Videos and all sorts of images when posted are seen by people all over the world. If you post something foolish, remember it will remain online for years, reverberating and potentially damaging your personal brand or career indefinitely.

  • “A fool is the one who fails to think about the ramifications of their actions and how they will reverberate and echo throughout his or her career.” – Bill Corbett, Jr.

The intent of my #FocusFriday blogs is to have people thinking about their actions. It is important to plan and act deliberately. Focus on what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Take the time to focus on what actions you will take and how this will impact our success and your career. Consider how each deliberate act will impact our plan and how you approach goals. Will this action impact your brand or your reputation?

Certainly plans and action can go awry and be misinterpreted. This is to be expected, the likelihood of them happening will be reduced by taking a slower and thoughtful approach before the action is taken.

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.

  • Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” – “I believe that those who don’t think, practice and plan run the highest risk of looking foolish in the worst way possible.  Those who think, plan and execute, may fail or miss the mark, however they will not look like the fool or be the fool. They will learn, grow and advance. The fool is the one who does not learn from these lesson or mistakes. His is destiny for fail and continue to look foolish.”

For more quotes on foolishness check out this story in Entrepreneur by Bill Murphy.

Focus Friday is all about being more effective and successful in business and life activities. Focusing will allow you to save time and achieve goals in both your personal and in your professional life.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com

Join our groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



#FocusFriday – Focus on Video Today for Your Brand and Business

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Who would have thought that billions of hours of video content would be uploaded to YouTube and other online sites each month? The growth of video is astonishing and will continue to grow in the years to come. With mobile technology and smart phones, we have a powerful tool in our hands which you must use for marketing and growing your personal brand. Why is using video so critical now? How can you get started?

The purpose of my #FocusFriday series is to provoke thought and encourage people to take control of their personal marketing and business. Focus on the important time saving, business development, marketing and fun aspects of business. Yes, business activities should not be painful every minute of the day. Hard work is necessary and to be successful you have to hustle, try new approaches and focus on finding what works.

If you are not embracing video now for your brand and for marketing, it’s time to start. Here are the reasons why:

  1. More and more people (consumers and prospects) prefer video content. It’s quick, easy to watch on a mobile device and does not take much time.
  2. Besides meeting in person, video is the best way to convey your personal brand message to those you with whom want to build relationships and business. For some it may even be the best approach; a well-crafted, practiced and perfected video message can convey an exceptional and memorable message.
  3. Producing a video forces an individual to focus on their message, delivery, value proposition and differentiators. Knowing your message and differentiators and being and able to clearly convey it will allow you to more quickly educate prospects and your audiences about who you are, what you do and why you do it.
  4. Without video you are not being competitive, you are actually at a competitive disadvantage without having video as part of your marketing. Your bigger, smarter and more marketing savvy competitors are using video and have been leveraging its power for some time. If you don’t have a video strategy, you are at least two years behind your competition and they are pulling ahead fast and your falling farther behind.
  5. There are many types of video: TV News interviews, video podcasts, corporate videos, videos of speaking presentations, webinars, video conferences, live streaming video (Facebook, Periscope, MereKat, LiveStream, Google Hangouts and others) and how to and educational videos and TV and online commercials. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Blogs and other social media platforms have video elements. These are all conduits for reaching your audiences and building relationships and growing your brand and business.

For many, the thought of doing a personal brand video is a scary proposition; they simply don’t know where to start. This is a legitimate fear and challenge. The process of creating a quality video and regular video content takes a commitment of time, energy and you need to be confident in your ability. Confidence and the ability to present and communicate on video must be developed.

Where should you start?

Start by thinking about your customers, prospects, referral sources as well as allies and enemies. Who are they? What do they need to know about you? For some this may boil down to a simple elevator speech or pitch, for others it may be more complex. Remember, the video content that you are creating is for your audience and not for you. You must have a clear and understandable message, project this message properly, look the part, use the right body language and come across as genuine.

Starting to get complicated, right? Well it is complicated. It’s easy to set up a camera, lights and microphone. You can buy expensive equipment or even hire a professional video production crew. However, without understanding the message you want to deliver to your audiences, it could be a colossal waste of time, energy and money. The end product could make you look worse.

Let’s take a step back and discuss preparing. Over the past 25 years I have trained and prepared hundreds of people for news media interviews, many for local and national TV appearances. There is no greater pressure to perform than being asked to do live television. A live TV appearance can make or break a career, and we know the value of news media coverage is unmatched in its value for marketing. Why do I bring up live TV appearances? The process of preparing for live TV, or even a recorded TV interview, is the same that you must follow when preparing to make a video. The pressure may not be as intense and you may have a few shots at making your points, however, failure to think about your audience, message and the reason for the video will limit your success or even the ability to present effectively.

Once you craft your message, it is time to start practicing. Practicing for video goes beyond just memorizing or rereading a speech or talking points. For those seeking to be exceptional on camera, preparation will require an understanding of presentation and communication skills. How do to you acquire these skills? It takes a commitment to focus on yourself and your abilities. Studying, training with professionals, reading and learning are required. The best students we have worked with and trained are those who embrace this adventure. The investment of the time, energy and effort pay off in a product that is more than the powerful videos and TV interviews that are created. Individuals become better communicators of their personal brand message. They are more confident when speaking, networking and interacting directly with clients and staff.

Make the commitment today to get your video marketing program moving forward. Craft your message and get the training and coaching you need to present effectively.

Click here for a check list of 15 points to follow when developing your personal marketing video program.

Focus Friday is all about being more effective and successful in business and life activities. Focusing will allow you to save time and achieve goals in both your personal and in your professional life.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com

Join our groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



#FocusFriday – Focus on Your Message and Messaging

wesfryer-etechohio09-stageWith so many platforms, strategies and marketing approaches available to us, it is easy to become distracted. Many gravitate to new, exciting and technology-focused marketing tools and social media platforms. However, what is marketing without a message? Understanding what your message is, crafting it and using it are important elements of marketing and business development.

On this #FocusFriday, take time out of your busy marketing activities and programs and examine your message. Ask questions, the answers may require you to hit the reset button or at least reexamine you message and how you are projecting it to your target audiences. The language here may be new to someone unfamiliar, but no matter: take some time to walk through this process and it will strengthen your marketing foundation which is necessary for long term personal and business success.


Message and Messaging

What is your message?

The definition of message. In terms of marketing, message is the underlying idea or theme in a marketing piece or communication, or the central or primary content or information that passes from a communicator to a receiver. When I think of message I think of what my organization is about and committed to and the value we bring to clients. Understanding your message – and it may change over time – is important. A clear and articulate message conveys confidence, success and ability. A powerful message and how you convey it is a competitive advantage and a differentiator.


In the marketing world we often discuss messaging. What exactly is it? This is the process of how you bring your key messages relating what your organization is, what its mission is and why you do what you do. Your messaging focuses on the key points you regularly make when you communicate with your target audiences. Remember, messaging always connects back to your brand.


Can you write it, articulate it and explain it? What good is a message if you can’t convey it to the audience? You message must be clear in its intent and purpose.

Organizational Acceptance

Is your message embraced by your organization and is is a part of how team members communicate with customers or prospects? This is vitally important and all team members must be on board and learn how to communicate and share your message effectively.

Message Projection and Consistency

Can the members of your organization explain it and convey it to prospects and clients? This is where regular training and review of your overall message and marketing messages becomes important. Remember, it’s all about focus; if we wander away from what is important, messages get muddled and this creates brand confusion. Consistency in your message and messaging eliminates confusion and keeps attention focused.

Talking Points

Do you have talking points that support your message? For example, if you were at a networking event and somebody asked you questions about what you do or your business could you easily convey your message and key elements of what you do and the value you provide? Preparation is important any time you or a member of your team will be “on stage” or in the spotlight. We regularly train people for TV news interviews which are typically short and to the point. Having three well defined and practiced talking points makes for a much better interview. In a business interaction you can use these defined talking points in the same way.

Value Proposition

Do you know what your value proposition is? The definition of value proposition is an innovation, service or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers. Sounds technical – and it can be. However, the point here is can you explain in easy to understand terms what value you bring to a relationship and the value that your products or services bring? Being able to articulate value and back it up with examples will give you a competitive advantage when presenting or when speaking with prospects.

Competitive Advantages and Differentiators

Do you know your competitive advantages and differentiators? We know that having an edge or competitive advantage puts you in a superior position over those in your market space. How you describe these advantages and how you are different in your approaches will allow you to stand out and attract more attention. Being different is a competitive advantage. If you have not taken the time to write down your key differentiators, do so. Take the time and assess how you do what you do, why clients choose to work with you and examine how you are truly different. Write these down and commit them to memory.

Why are we going through this exercise?  All too often I have been in the presence of fantastic business people. Many have great ideas, offer quality services and are leaders in their respective industries. Unfortunately, based on the way many communicate, you would never have the foggiest idea. Communicating, whether it is in person, online, or though video or audio must be done effectively and with a message.

Keep Focusing on your brand and your business.



Focus Friday is all about being more effective and successful in business and life activities. Focusing will allow you to save time and achieve goals in both your personal and in your professional life.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com

Join our groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



#Focus Friday: Focus on Learning and Understanding Marketing

Do you know how to market? Do you know what marketing actually is? Do you have a plan for marketing yourself or your business or do you simply take periodic actions or coast along? It is not surprising for people to learn that many individuals admit that they are not following a plan in terms of their marketing. Most people have limited or no knowledge of marketing basics and fall short in terms of experience. It is clear however, and I have been told this many times, that people know marketing is important but the dont have the time to learn or they are not sure where to go to start learning.

No matter where you stand today in terms of your personal marketing, understanding marketing and learning how to use it is critical for your success tomorow.

The questions I listed above are all important. The fact is that if you are involved in business development in any way or you are seeking career success you need to have a marketing plan. You need knowledge, tactics and strategies to succeed so it is time to start studying and learning about what’s out there and what you should be doing.

I was recently asked by a member of the media writing a story on networking where people should go to learn about personal marketing and where they should start. The first step in this process is relevant to this blog series – focus on learning and understanding marketing. Make the commitment today to continually learn about marketing, marketing trends and marketing technology. It is vital you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and strategies. I would like to provide you with a complete outline and strategies, however let’s stick with the basics.

What do you need to know?

Newbies to marketing or those who need a refresher need to start with the basics. Read and learn about the core elements of marketing. These include:

Goals – An observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe. In more simple terms, where do you want your marketing efforts to take you?  Define your goals. Goals can be: How many leads do you want, how many closed deals do you need, or how much customer engagement do you require?

Message and Messaging – Underlying idea or theme in an ad or campaign. You message is the central or primary content or information that passes from a communicator (you) to a receiver (your audience/customers).

Position – An effort to influence consumer perception of a brand or product relative to the perception of competing brands or products. Your position’s objective is to occupy a clear, unique, and advantageous position in the consumer’s mind. What do you want customers to think of when they hear your name, your product’s name or your company’s name.

Value proposition – An analysis or statement of the combination of goods and services offered by a company to its customers in exchange for payment. What value do you offer that makes you or your product preferable to those of your competitors?

Differentiators – Unique features and/or benefits of a product, or aspects of a brand, that set it apart from competing products or brands. Being different is incredibly important; highlight what you do differently and this will attract attention.

Competitive advantages – A superiority gained by an organization when it can provide the same value as its competitors but at a lower price, or can charge higher prices by providing greater value through differentiation. A competitive advantage results from matching core competencies to the opportunities. We are all competing against each other for time and attention. What do you do that your competitors don’t or can’t?

Marketing assets – Customized content such as presentations, brochures, email campaigns, and other promotional items used to promote products or services. Your website, your social media sites, PR coverage and videos are all assets that should be used to market your brand and company.

Marketing vehicles – A marketing vehicle is a specific tool for delivering your messages to a target audience. They are particular channels within a medium that you use to get your message across. Marketing vehicles are contained within marketing mediums. Like your assets, these tools give you the ability to communicate with your audience.

Audience – People or market segment at whom a message or campaign is aimed. Your audience includes your customers, referral sources, individuals from your industry and all those who interact with your company/brand, staff, products and services.

Ideal client or customer – A subset of your potential clients. Ideal clients are those prospects who will provide you with the maximum return on your marketing investment. These are the individuals who will hire you or buy from you. Recognize the fact that every customer or client may not fit the “ideal” client category.

Ideal referral sources – A person or company that interacts with your ideal client prospects and is willing to actively recommend them to you. For example accountants are considered by many as ideal referral sources because they work closely with business and individuals. They know their clients needs and they are trusted advisors, when they make a recommendation it is often acted upon.

*definitions include information gathered from online resources including businessdictionary.com, activedemand.com, trackmaven.com, eyeswideopen.com.au, and lisacherney.com.

Where can you go to learn?

We are living in the age of online learning and the internet. You can use books, blogs, podcasts, online courses, seminars, training programs and event individual training and coaching. As a trainer and personal branding coach I find those individuals that make the investment in some one-on-one or small group training get the greatest value. This personal interaction allows the student to ask questions at and get answers at their own pace.

What should be in my marketing plan?

Your marketing plan should start with your goals and build from there. Check out this blog where I discuss your personal marketing plan. You plan should include a timeline as well as time and financial budget. How much time and effort you will spend are important especially for small business owners and solopreneurs. A timeline of activities is also critical. Map out when actions will be taken, identify themes and schedule activities that will take place during each month. This includes the preparation work that needs to be done the month or two months before a campaign is launched.

An important part of a marketing plan is assessing success. You must examine what works and what did not work. Learn from this process and move forward. Don’t give up on campaigns and strategies right away, some may take months or even longer to show results.

How much should you spend?

Typically 5 to 10 percent of annual revenues is the standard that most in marketing consider to be appropriate. However this varies depending on the industry, business and how aggressive you wish to be.

Where can I go to stay up to date?

As mentioned earlier, there are tremendous online resources that are free or not very expensive. They will give you the ability to stay up-to-date and see what competitors or others with similar businesses are doing or are planning to do. You can create google alerts on topics of interest, subscribe to magazines like Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and others that provide quality content about marketing and business growth.

Learn by reading constantly and listening to podcasts. I find podcasts, while many have an underlying sales message, provide quality information and success stories. These are educational and motivational. Look to thought leaders, follow them.

Gary Vaynerchuck – #AskGaryVee podcast

Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income podcast

Chalene Johnson – Build Your Tribe

John Lee Dumas – Entrepreneur on Fire

Tim Ferris – The Tim Ferris Experiment

All offer great content in terms of books, videos, podcasts, examples, tools, resources and more.

Finally, consider attending local or national marketing, small business or personal development conferences and events. These programs come with a cost, sometimes significant. The value of this focused time and effort can be immeasurable. The quality learning, inspiration and ideas can make a profound impact on your business. These are some events that you might want to consider:

Entrepreneur Magazine Events

The 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016

14 Conferences Every Small-Business Owner Should Attend

Focus Friday is all about being more effective and successful in business and life activities. Focusing will allow you to save time and achieve goals in both your personal and in your professional life.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com

Join our groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 




#FocusFriday – Focus on Networking

IMG_1698Many people spend an enormous amount of energy on business networking and the fact is that many are just not great or even good at it. Why? The lack of focus, planning and practice, of course. For those who want to make the most out of business networking time, efforts and energy, here are some of my recommendations. These steps will allow you to focus on what really matters when it comes to networking for business growth, personal branding and relationship building:

  1. Take time to actually focus on planning out what you are going to do at a networking event or as part of a networking group. Set your goals for what you want to achieve by attending the event and spending your valuable time.  Planning must be done in advance to optimize the time where you are physically at the meeting or event in order for it to be productive for you. Investing the time upfront will aid in overall success. Spend at least a half hour planning before each event and more if it is a target rich environment or a critical event for your business success like a trade show.
  2. Research – Part of preparation is studying the group. This is important even if you are already a member. Identify who you want to speak with, follow up with or even avoid. Get to know who the leaders and influencers are and speak with them ahead of time. They will play a critical role in meeting people, facilitating introductions and understanding the group’s dynamics. Get to know the leaders first; this will pay off in the long run.
  3. Focus on the people you need to meet. Create an ideal client profile and ideal referral source profile. Take this even a step further. Identify the “perfect” client and define them. Practice explaining to those in your networking groups who this ideal client is and what you can do for them. The second part of this process is educating those who are in your networking groups about how to accurately explain who you are and what you do. This will require personal meetings and constant reinforcement of your value message. Don’t assume anyone knows all that you do and all the value that you provide. Ask them to tell you what you do and see what happens. This may be awkward and eye opening but it must be done.
  4. Focus on the person you are with. Give the people you meet and speak with at networking events all of your attention. Listen, ask questions (these are questions that you know and have practiced) and get all the information that you can. Look people in the eyes, face them directly, use their names and use open body language.
  5. Focus on the little things. Make sure you know exactly where you are physically going for the meeting and double check. Nothing is worse than getting lost, showing up late or going to the wrong location. This is all a waste of valuable time that you will never get back. Plan to arrive early and make the personal commitment to never arrive late. Make sure you are dressed appropriately. Stop in the bathroom to check your hair and attire before entering the networking environment. A few seconds of preparation can make a vital difference when making a first impression.
  6. Make sure you practice and perfect your elevator speech. Much has been written about elevator speeches. The fact is that most people are not sure what to say. Keep it brief and let people know what you do and how you can be a valuable ally. Think about relationships and not selling. Elevator speeches are more than just explanations they are your way of demonstrating your personality, your ability to communicate and what you care about. Consider your tone, how you project, how you use your hands, think about the specific words you use and don’t forget the body language. Even seated, you must project confidence and command of your subject matter. The process of creating an effective elevator speech may take a person many hours of practice. It’s well worth the effort and practicing may seem silly, but you have to do it. Use a mirror, video or ask friends for feedback.

Focusing attention on planning and executing networking is vital to success. Networking in a lackadaisical fashion is a considerable waste of time and both you and the people that are in your networking circles will suffer.

Make the commitment to spend at least and hour a week on planning and preparing for your networking activities. Block off part of the time where you will not be interrupted and examine lists or practicing your elevator speech. Spend the other time calling or connecting with influences so that you can be as prepared as possible at your next meeting or event.

Focus Friday is all about being more effective and successful in business and life activities. Focusing will allow you to save time and achieve goals in both your personal and in your professional life.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com

Join our groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Focus Friday: The Snow Day Edition

I am continuingSnow Day my Focus Friday efforts. It is snowing in the Long Island New York area, so I am at home with the kids. I got the message that school was closed while on the rowing machine at 5:20 a.m. My plans for the day have gotten completely turned upside down.  Sound familiar? Snow days and changes in a schedule should not stop anyone’s efforts to grow and market their business or plan for the future. I look at quiet days like this one as an opportunity to focus on certain important tasks and to catch up on others and also to stay mindful of the future and my goals.

Here are my ideas for how to spend a snowy Focus Friday:

  • Snow Day University – The kids may be off from school, but a snow day for you means an opportunity to learn. Do you have a book, magazine articles or blogs that you want to read but haven’t had time? Get them together and spend the day learning more about marketing, business building, sales strategies, catch up on trends in your industry or simply focus on motivation. I like to listen or watch business and personal development related podcasts and TED talks so I can learn about new topics and marketing strategies. Block off the time and commit to learning and self-improvement. Why not spend half your day snow day learning and gaining a competitive advantage. Remember, when you are not learning you’re falling behind.  Take advantage of your free time and attend Snow Day University.
  • Create a Schedule – Even though you are at home, schedule your day’s activities. Set a time for work, set a time for dreaming and set a time for shoveling snow (if you must).
  • snow blowCapitalize on the Quiet – It is hard to concentrate and focus when there are distractions. On this nice quiet snow day, set yourself up and get to work on reexamining your business goals. Review the action steps you have already taken this year and be proud of your accomplishments. If you haven’t completed a task or two, get back on track.
  • Get Organized – Quiet snow days are perfect for re-organizing files, cleaning up your home office or getting tasks done that you have put off. I am cleaning up my office, shredding papers and organizing family photos today.
  • Make Phone Calls – Get in touch with friends, business contacts and others. Most of us are pressed for time and often put off those casual business hellos or “How are you doing?” calls. Snow days are ideal for this. Get your list and make your calls.
  • Relax and Recharge – If the pressure is off to get work done, spend this down time relaxing and recovering from work overload. Do you have a novel you would like to read? Do you like to cook, but don’t have time during the week? Do you need to catch up on sleep? Take advantage of this day to focus on these activities. You will be more productive tomorrow.

It’s easy to sit back and watch TV or do nothing on a snow day. Look at this day as an opportunity to use a quiet environment and unexpected free time to catch up and focus on your goals. Time is one of your most valuable assets use the time you have been gifted to reinvigorate your efforts to achieve your goals and get better organized.

What will you do on your next snow day?

Need to create a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn profile to drive market and drive business? Visitwww.growyourpersonalbrand.com


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Beware of the Groundhog: Groundhog Day Lessons

Punxatawny PhilAs public relations officials, we are constantly on the lookout for media opportunities for clients; some even call them “PR stunts.”   February 2, aka “Groundhog Day,” is one that is often used by politicians.  Everyone wants an end to winter so why not?  The politician will get the photo op and even if the hog sees his shadow, it’s still a win right?  Well, ask New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. In 2014, when doing the Groundhog Day event, he dropped Staten Island Chuck. Not a good move. Instead of seeing a shadow, Chuck saw stars. And unfortunately, did not recover. (See links below)

What do we take away from this? First, make sure when you do a special event or media event you are well prepared. Walk through what you have to do. Talk about contingencies and if you are not comfortable with picking up a groundhog, don’t do it. The negative press that will be short term and long term can be problematic.

From a marketing perspective, Groundhog Day is cute and there are certainly campaigns and social media comments that can be used to attract some attention.  Groundhog Day is Feb. 2. This year it falls on the first Tuesday of February. Groundhog Day can be a day to actually get your marketing on track. If you have stumbled and have failed with your marketing New Years resolutions, get started again and set your goals for February. You have six weeks till spring (despite what Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island Chuck and Malverne Mel say).Groundhog

Need some inspiration and a laugh? Watch Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and directed by the late Harold Ramis.  The marketing and life lesson here? Just ask Einstein and his famous quote on the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Bill Murray’s character in the movie – Phil Conners – is stuck in a day that he is forced to relive over and over and over again.  Unbeknownst to him, he is changing what he is doing every day. He may not know why at first, but eventually figures out that he has to change who he is to get the girl. After potentially living the same day over and over for years, he makes the changes and he wakes up on February 3. In marketing we have to adapt and change our messages until they resonate with target audiences. Look at what works and what does not. Make the changes and keep track.  Learn from Phil Conners and take Einstein’s advice.





No More Excuses, Sales People Must Leverage LinkedIn

Why is it that many salespeople don’t understand LinkedIn? In my personal branding and LinkedIn seminars I have had many people who are in sales offer answers to this question. The top answers: “I am not getting any leads.” “No ROI.” “Too much time is needed.” “I don’t have time” and finally, “I can’t find or reach prospects.”  There are many excuses; too many to list here.

Let’s consider some important factors before moving forward: competition exists in every industry and business is lost or gained based on opportunities and relationships. Salespeople must do everything that they can to beat or at least keep up with their competition. LinkedIn research has shown that half of all businesses will not work with vendors’ salespeople who have an incomplete LinkedIn profile. This point alone should be enough to motivate a salesperson to immediately work on completing their profile (with a professional photo headshot, of course.) Finally, in respect to competition, a salesperson who thinks that LinkedIn is not important should be aware that in most cases their competitors are active on LinkedIn and so are their prospects.

As a business owner and salesperson myself, I understand the frustration. We live in a time where we want immediate gratification and success. For highly focused and driven salespeople, a long lead time strategy that requires investment in time, energy, creativity and effort is a real challenge. However, any form of marketing success takes a plan, an investment of time and consistency.

In terms of consistency, Tony Robbins sums it up perfectly:

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”

To succeed with LinkedIn you can’t just “dabble in it” or create a profile and “set it and forget it” as Ronco’s Ron Popeil would say. A well written and complete LinkedIn profile has many competitive advantages which certainly should not be overlooked. However, expecting a tidal wave of leads to come simply by having a complete profile is a dream.

Bill linkedin sales 1Click here for Part 1 of my video of secrets for LinkedIn Salespeople that nobody is telling you. Click here for Part 2.

So let’s examine each of the excuses salespeople (and many others) have given to me.

I am not getting leads or a limited number or no ROI. As mentioned above, the “set it and forget it” strategy will not work on LinkedIn. You must transform your LinkedIn profile into a living entity and use it as a marketing tool to communicate with prospects. Start by visiting your profile to see who has viewed it, respond to messages and answer connection requests and endorsements. As part of your plan you should have a system for how you will respond to each of these relationship development triggers. Yes, each of these interactions allows you to interact and start conversations with people who are the most likely to become your clients or referral sources. Investing the time to build relationships will lead to success, but this success will take time and regular effort.

Too much time is needed/I don’t have time. Time is money. We all know this, especially people who work on commission. They have to spend their time as efficiently as possible. Studies of salespeople indicate repeatedly that their greatest frustration is wasting time or spending time educating prospects just to have them go someplace else. What’s the solution?  It starts with a LinkedIn marketing plan. Your plan must outline how you will use LinkedIn, what you will do, when you will do it and how much time you will invest. Your marketing schedule is critical for success and consistency. Put on your schedule the specific times you will spend using LinkedIn. However, before you actually do this you should create a “time budget.” A time budget is a clearly defined amount of time you will spend on LinkedIn each day, week or month.  Keep track of your time; you want to invest time but you don’t want to get sucked into a time-wasting vortex. Adjust your schedule but stay within the time parameters you have set. When you start seeing success, invest more time; if you see limited success keep to your schedule but try to work more efficiently.

Not having enough time is a little tricky to address. We are all faced with time constraints and pressure. This is a function of the fast-paced and high pressure society we live in today. The fact is that “not enough time” can no longer be an excuse. Salespeople need to make time to use LinkedIn and, in a more general sense, create a personal marketing plan. Fewer than 5 percent of salespeople, while they have sales goals and plans, lack a personal marketing plan. Time is needed to focus on marketing activities and actions in order to succeed. Start by creating a “time budget,” make a commitment to invest the time you need in the same way you allot a certain amount of time at the gym, making cold calls or networking. Investing time is not easy – nobody said it would be – an extra hour at night, getting up at 6 a.m. or focusing on LinkedIn on the train commute to work may be what works for you.

Still challenged? Here’s a secret: you don’t have to post on LinkedIn during the week and you don’t even have to do live posts. Your prospects and contacts will be using LinkedIn on weekends and there are programs such as Hootsuite that allow you to schedule posts on LinkedIn any time. This means that you may not need to spend as much valuable work week time marketing and building your brand on LinkedIn.

I can’t find or reach prospects. Nobody wants to spin their wheels and get frustrated. This is why consistency and a plan matters when using LinkedIn. A key part of any marketing plan is identifying who your targets are, your ideal clients/customers, referral sources and brand ambassadors.

To effectively reach these individuals or groups you must explore LinkedIn communities (groups) and learn how LinkedIn’s advanced search functionality works. Searching has become easier and more refined, with over 100 million Americans on LinkedIn, the likelihood of prospects being on the site is high. The key is finding them, connecting with them, communicating with them and presenting to them a value proposition or building a relationship with them. Create your ideal client profile and start searching. I recommend using as many filters as possible and geographic boundaries. Create your lists and get into the process of connecting. Connecting with people you don’t know is a challenge and certainly a hard selling approach is not the right method. Start by examining a person’s profile for commonalities, see what and how often they are posting and seek who they are connected with and what groups they belong to. Groups give you the best access to connecting with somebody you don’t know or don’t know well. However, your chances of connecting and doing business with somebody are greatly increased when you share a group affiliation.

Still struggling to reach the right decision makers? Here are two additional approaches that you can take. Remember, your competitors are also doing this. First, InMail. InMail is part of LinkedIn’s premium services. InMail allows you to communicate with anyone you are not connected with on LinkedIn. This type of communication has proven to be effective especially for people impossible to reach in other ways.

You’re standing out because your message is received in their personal email inboxes, and you’re standing out because receiving an InMail is still somewhat novel. It’s also very unlikely that your prospect is getting bombarded with LinkedIn mails from spammers and others trying to “sell” something.

Prospects will get messages, and you will enter their stream of thought. You have your shot at making an impression, so make the most of it. Craft a well thought out message and make sure that your profile is complete and ready for viewing.

Second, a recent paper issued by Sandler Sales Training in partnership with LinkedIn found that prospects are 100 percent more likely to positively respond to a call or message if they are called or communicated with within 5 minutes of posting on LinkedIn. If you are having trouble getting to speak with a prospect, by simply monitoring them and communicating with them right after they have posted will give you a much better opportunity to reach them on the phone.

There are no real excuses for not leveraging the power of LinkedIn. The process of making the sale using LinkedIn marketing is likely to take time, energy and effort. This investment is worth it to you, particularly when you have a plan and a commitment to consistency and understand that competitors are on LinkedIn may be using some of the same approaches. There are plenty of other secrets, strategies and marketing approaches for using LinkedIn to effectively grow your personal brand and business even more.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Personal Brand Actions to Take in 2016 – Start Today

hourglass 2016.jpgStrategies and Predictions

I recently wrote a blog about taking action steps to achieve goals. As we end 2015, let’s look at some specific action steps you can take to Grow Your Personal Brand in 2016, achieve your goals and attain long term success.

Make time, don’t waste time.

First, stop talking about not having enough time. Recognize that your time is valuable and you need to focus on what you need to get done. If you want be successful you may have to get up early, stay up late and work more. Do you know that billionaires typically get up three hours before the “work day” starts? Set your priorities and create real deadlines. Block off the time you need each day to move closer to your goals.

As part of time saving, examine social media activities. Are you getting the ROI (return on investment) or ROE (return on effort)? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know,” then it is time to re-evaluate these activities. For most small business people and solo entrepreneurs your time is very valuable; Tweeting, Facebooking and posting images to Instagram is probably not the best use of your time. If it is not generating income or leads, delegate it or stop doing it. Focus on what works in terms of business development and sales.


archery[1].jpgWe live in a world where distractions are killing our productivity and sucking away our time. One way to save your valuable and precious time is to learn how to remove distractions. Distractions hurt us in many ways more than just stopping us from doing what we need to do – they make us lose focus and concentration. It takes 10 to 25 minutes to get back into our productivity zone again. What’s the solution?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Put your cell phone in another room or turn it off (I personally need to have it in another room or I am tempted to check it every 5 minutes). Do whatever you can to get it out of your view and reach. I know you are afraid to go without your smartphone. What do I do? I go into settings and forward my calls to my office. My staff answers or it goes to voice mail. Give staff, colleagues, clients and friends the message that you can only be interrupted in the case of a real emergency.
  2. Remove distracting sounds. Sounds break up your flow and concentration. No surprise, this is a natural response to danger. What can you do? Try noise cancelling headphones or ear plugs. For some people it requires moving to another room and closing the door or even going to another building.  Create a distraction proof environment.
  3. Turn off all message notifications from social media, texts or email. This is hard to do, we want to be connected but these messages distract and even if you can avoid looking, you know you really want to. Your scheduled time should be sacred and this means email and other digital messages should not distract you.   Emails and texts can wait an hour or two.

Create that Plan

I always ask my LinkedIn or personal branding students if they have a plan for marketing with LinkedIn or a personal marketing plan. Only 5 percent have a plan. For this year make the commitment – not resolution – to create a plan. You need to have a road map and a plan to get to where you want to go. You may be successful without a plan but think about how much more successful you could be with one. I believe the average sales person, business owner or entrepreneur will be 20 to 50 percent or more effective and successful if they simply created a plan and modified this plan every quarter and annually. From a personal perspective, I have a plan with goals and multiple action steps. I regularly achieve goals when I have a plan, when I don’t those goals take longer or are never achieved. The plan is critical for achieving goals, staying focused and saving time.

Create Your Video(s)

If you don’t have a video for your brand today you’re falling farther and farther behind your competitors. This statement is true not matter what industry you are in. Why? In the mobile age people (a.k.a. customers and prospects) don’t have time and they want video content. If you are not providing it and a competitor is, guess what?  The competitor is winning the battle for attention. The other more long term problem with not having video content is the fact that you are falling behind in the content war. By not creating content and getting comfortable communicating it on video you do not appear to be up-to-date and ready for the challenges of the digital age. Communications is an art and a skill, it requires practice. While anyone can fire up a camera or smart phone and shoot a Periscope video or post a video to YouTube, it takes practice to learn how to speak and present a quality message on video.

If you don’t have a video you are not conveying your brand message to contacts, prospects and referral sources. These are the people who create your brand and reputation. Without your personal content to guide them, perceptions will be inaccurate, they will not know what you stand for and they certainly will be less likely to hire you or recommend you to others.

Two predictions about video in 2016

  1. Video on LinkedIn will be much more important and likely will be positioned higher in profiles. Making/having a personal video not only will be needed on LinkedIn, but required for optimal success. Those who are ahead here will dominate for at least a year.
  2. Live streaming video from Periscope, Facebook and others will become much more widely used. If you are not doing this you’re going to get beaten by competitors, lose market share and you will not project the right image to those seeking you or your services.

Be Consistent with your persona marketing and messages

Your message and personal brand must also be consistent in the real world and online. Make sure all of your profiles, images and videos are consistent with your current personal brand and what you are passionate about. Confusion in the marketplace is not something you want when people are looking at you and considering you for a referral, recommendation or to hire you.

To succeed in marketing and in business you must present your messages and content regularly to your audience. Make the commitment this year to be consistent with your marketing. Regularly create and post videos, write your own blogs, post on on social media, attend events, send email newsletters and content and execute your marketing plan. Examine what works and don’t be afraid to change. Remember that for your personal brand to resonate with audiences you must have a consistent message that is delivered often. Consistency and frequency build and maintain trust, a critical component to personal brand growth and business success.

Have a great 2016 and make the commitment today to Grow Your Personal Brand.

Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com to learn more about personal branding training programs, events and more.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Actions speak louder than words. Goal Setting for 2016


I am always speaking and writing about the importance of planning particularly in terms of marketing. This is the time of year when we make our plans and personal resolutions.

Forget about New Year’s resolutions. Think about your goals and how you are going to achieve them. With goals in mind it is now time to take action. Create an action plan for the days remaining in 2015 and for the year ahead. This will be your road map for achieving your goals. Remember actions do speak louder than words.

We have all heard this axiom before. It comes to mind when I am planning and coordinating with clients who are working toward goals. It is wise to have goals but action is necessary to achieve them.

So how do you go about achieving your goals and creating action steps? After you have set your goals, ask yourself if they are realistic and achievable. You must recognize that it may take months, or even years to reach one or more of your major goals. Think of all of those people who appear to be overnight successes.  The fact is that for most it took years to reach their goals and dreams.

First, start with goals for different aspects of your life:

  • Personal
  • Business
  • Life
  • Family

Second, write (or type) down these goals – I am not the first person to recommend this. But it does work. Keep your goals top of mind. Your goals can be long, short or – like me – bullet pointed.

Remember, it is important to be reminded of your goals – post them where it is impossible to miss seeing them (or hearing them) regularly, such as:

  • Create a graphic and make it the opening screen of your Smartphone
  • Send yourself a daily pre-programmed text or email
  • Print a list of goals and tape it to the edge or top of you monitor or phone
  • Record your goals as a voice mail message or memo that you can play back on your phone, listen to on your way to work every day and on weekends

Again, your goals must be achievable. If not, use the divide and conquer method:

  • Take one day/step at a time – every step may involve multiple actions.
  • Write your goals down even if the list is very long.
  • Consider it a learning process that can be repeated when working on other actions or goals
  • Accept the fact that it could take years to achieve certain goals, take pride in smaller accomplishments on a weekly or monthly basis.


How do you create an action plan?

Start by writing out the specific actions that must be taken to achieve each one of your goals. This could take considerable time and the list will likely be lengthy. The more detailed the list of actions, the better. Many small actions combined lead to major achievements. Think of this like a marathon runner. The runner practices for months, running a few miles, then further every day. They build up the stamina and endurance to run the full marathon. But even on marathon day, each mile completed is a step toward the ultimate goal.

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Click here for a video of my tips for creating an action plan for yourself for 2016.


An action plan takes thought and you need to ask yourself a number of questions:

Write down and determine the answers to these questions:

  • What do I need to achieve my goal?
  • How much time do I need?
  • How much money do I need?
  • Can I do it myself or do I need a team? (Who would be on the team?)
  • What support do I need?
  • What knowledge do I need to have or need to acquire?
  • Who can I ask for help or advice?
  • Where and when do I start?

Remember, just as actions need to be examined separately, you will want to treat each questions the same way.

Don’t be reluctant or afraid to ask for help from friends, family, mentors, and coaches. You might even post your questions online.

Go to free or paid resources such as podcasts, books, seminars, online webinars or courses/classes.

If you are asking yourself, “How can I complete each step or task and then move to the next?” Here is a helpful example:

A consultant determines his goal for 2016 is to increase his income by $50,000.

The consultant could use the following process:

1) Create a marketing plan

  • Identify the target market
  • Create a list
  • Create email blast and content
  • Create a letter or sell sheet
  • Create a schedule for sending marketing material out
  • Create a follow up process
  • Create online assets and web content

2) Create relevant promotional content

3) Develop a budget for how much money to spend

4) Decide a budget for how much time to devote

5) Develop a timeline or schedule for executing actions

6) Identify experts or friends who could review the plan and or provide advice

7) Create a tracking system for progress and assessment of efforts

Remember, each action contains a series of steps and involves work that must be completed in order to move ahead and continue on the pathway that will enable you to ultimately achieve your goals.

When you have completed your action plan, go over it again and ask others to review it before you take action. They may be able to spot something that you have missed or offer a more effective approach.

Many people wait until New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day or the first work day of the New Year to reflect on the past and make sincere and purposeful resolutions. Don’t procrastinate define your goals for the future today and start on your action plan now.  The head start is worth the effort.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Tips for Making the Most of Your Holiday Networking


I just returned from my third – yes, third – holiday party so far this month. Say “yes” to holiday parties and events and stay positive. While the holidays are a great time of the year to get out and see people, they also present a perfect opportunity to reconnect professionally with those you only interact with a few times per year.

The best part is that most of these tips can be utilized throughout the course of the year. Of course, you must always start with being prepared and having a plan for networking.

bill screenshot 2.jpgClick here for a video of my tips for making the best use of your holiday networking time.

Be prepared for each event you attend:

  • Know who is going to be attending
  • Have a goal
  • Have an understanding of what you want to achieve – whether it be meeting new people and/or strengthening existing relationships
  • Know the event’s setting  – restaurant, catering hall, etc.
  • Remember to take into account traffic and parking

Prepare your questions so they are designed to ask engaging questions about a person’s experiences over the past 12 months and their plans for the New Year. Among questions to ask:

  • How was your year?
  • What was your greatest success?
  • Who are you looking to meet?

Remember to listen and then be helpful in assisting them in achieving their goals:

  • If you ask questions listen to the answers
  • Think about solutions….be it your solution or how you can help them achieve their objectives

When attending:

  • Recap the year
  • Ask people questions
  • Be proactive in exploring ways in which you can help them   in2016
  • Determine what your and their personal goals are for next year
  • Practice your elevator speech and be prepared to meet lots of new people

Look to connect with key leaders and decision makers as this may be your only chance in linking up with them the entire year:

  • Don’t be afraid to approach key leaders and decision makers
  • Wait your turn
  • Don’t be too pushy

Be a connector and ask to be connected:

  • If it is your party or you know people in attendance, make the intros – especially if people don’t know anyone
  • Ask to be connected and if there is anyone here that you think I should meet
  • People appreciate thought and effort:  Send out those holiday greetings and follow up/thank you cards:
  • Utilize personal email: if you’re not a big fan of the ecard, try sending a short personal video instead
  • Call people if you can’t see them in person

As always, remember to thank your clients, referral sources and others who have helped you personally as well as professionally.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Working with Children for Video Production and Media Interviews: Challenges and Considerations

OliviaW.C. Fields once said that you should never work with either animals or children.  I respectfully disagree, having worked with both in my professional career.  While I have covered aspects of working with animals previously, for this blog I want to focus on working with children– especially younger ones – in media relations and video production.

IMG_0348.jpgThis week I had the opportunity to assist a friend of mine – Adam Schwam, founder and President of Sandwire, a leading IT company on Long Island, after his company made a $10,000 donation in the form of computers and software to Commerce Plaza in Levittown, New York. Commerce Plaza is a program for fifth graders from across Long Island, New York who come to learn about business and basic finance in a hands-on environment. More than 40 students were at the school for the day when we visited.

Children are a wonderful subject for the news and videos. While they can offer spontaneity and an innocent perspective on the world, there are challenges that must be addressed. The goal of any video production or news piece is to tell a story. Getting children to express themselves effectively on camera takes special attention and consideration.


Here are some of my tips for helping children feel more comfortable and effectively providing quality content for video productions and news pieces.

Bill Video Scrrenshot.jpg

Click here for a video of my tips for working with children in the media.


If you are the producer or interviewer, remember the following:


  1. As kids, they have probably never done professional video before. Though may already be familiar with smartphone or tablet videos and are savvy, the size and complexity of professional equipment and approaches can be overwhelming and disconcerting for them.
  2. When interacting with children always stay relaxed and show confidence.
  3. Make children feel special and help them to relax. Take your time and look them right in the eye. At the same token, ask them to look you right in the eye at all times.. We know that people will look up, down and all around when they are thinking. Looking directly in one another’s eyes helps to maintain focus and provide much better for video.
  4. Prepare your questions in advance. Write them down or use cue cards or index cards. If you are prepared, the children will respond more effectively.
  5. Know what to do when you get the “one-word answer.” Children frequently give one word or very short answers. Ask open ended questions that require more words for providing a complete answer.  Ask questions such as: Can you describe how you prepared for this program? Be ready for a follow up question if the answer you get is short. Questions that start with “how did this make you feel?” or “what did you think about that?” are two in particular that you should always be ready to use.
  6. Help the kids to help you. Talk with them and get them to give as much as they can. Speak with them in advance and practice. If you like what you hear tell them. However, sometimes talking in advance can hurt the genuineness of the answers so this is an area that you should use your own discretion and  judgment. You may want to speak with the child but not ask the specific questions in advance. Get a feel for how they speak and their energy first.
  7. Do a run through with kids and explain to them exactly what is going to happen.  This removes uncertainty.
  8. Remember to have fun. It is ok to joke with the kids, but keep it light hearted and fun. This helps them to feel comfortable, smile and have the right energy level. The more assistance and support that you can give children the better they will perform. They want to do well and you are in a position to help them achieve this. Help them to be proud of their efforts and you will be rewarded with quality content.No matter if you are a child or adult you must be prepared to be on video.   Practice and take the time to prepare. We suggest hiring a professional media trainer and video production crew to produce your videos. I have trained and prepared hundreds of people for interviews, video productions and commercials. The people we train or who receive professional training are much better on camera and feel more confident.


Training and preparation are critical for the development of video content that properly and effectively presents your message to the media. Video production quality is important, but an unprepared subject cannot be corrected. Never agree to do an on-camera interview with the media without preparation and knowing what you will be asked about. Any subject or guest who is not confident and capable will delay the process, which will increase production costs and take much longer than it should.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Giving Tuesday, a Much Better Tradition

Give today and share information regularly about the causes you support all year long.

We have now passed the big consumer shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These are two “holiday traditions” that I really wish would go away. Traffic at the malls and hyped up media coverage of people buying items really does not interest me. As a person who embraces capitalism and business I understand the drive for profit but when shopping starts on Thanksgiving and people act dangerously crazy just to save a few dollars it does not make sense to me.

A tradition that I do like that has grown in popularity is Giving Tuesday. This is a day were the focus is on giving and supporting charities. It is truly better to give than to receive and this day puts this into perspective and hopefully reminds people of the importance of the season and other. We thankfully live in a wealthy and giving nation full of the most generous people on earth.

Americans don’t just give on this one day but they give all year long and step up when adversity hits at home or abroad.

From a marketing perspective, this day offers an opportunity to think about what is important to us. What causes groups or institutions connect with us and empower us? I am on the executive boards of two not-for-profits: The Marty Lyons Foundation and the Theodore Roosevelt Council of Boy Scouts (Nassau County, New York).

ML screencap

Marty Lyons is interviewed on FiOS 1’s “Heroes On Our Island”


The Marty Lyons Foundation was created by former New York Jets Star Marty Lyons. Marty, a member of the Legendary “New York Sack Exchange” from the 1980s, faced a period of tragedy and from this created the Foundation which would go on to grant over 7,100 wishes for children facing terminal and life threatening illnesses. The Foundation is going strong in its 35th year. Check out the Foundation at www.martylyonsfiundation.org.  Over the years my firm has helped to get the Foundation some very positive media coverage – this is a link to a Heroes on Long Island from FiOS1 News which tells the story of the Foundation and how it is helping families and children facing unimaginable situations.

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Marty Lyons is interviewed for FiOS 1’s “Heroes On Our Island”


Before the birth of my children I knew that I wanted to do more with organizations that empower young people. I volunteered to help with publicity for my local Boy Scouts organization. Today I am Vice President of Marketing for the Theodore Roosevelt Council of Boy Scouts. The council provides programs and services for over 10,000 local Nassau County Long Island young people. It has been a privilege to work with this group and support these programs. Young people today are faced with many complex challenges and need support to build confidence and leadership abilities. I am pleased that this tradition is alive and well on Long Island. This is the council’s website for information if you are interested: http://www.trcbsa.org/.

Scouts are always up for a challenge this is a video news coverage from News 12 Long Island of scouts at their studio last year.

BoyScoouts - News12- Corbett PR (11).jpg

Boy Scouts of the Teddy Roosevelt Council at News 12 studios in Woodbury in 2014.


Why do I bring up these charities?  Giving Tuesday is a good day, like Thanksgiving and other holidays, to reflect on what we are and should be thankful for. Today think about those who are unfortunate and in need. Offer you help and support. If it can be a financial donation, great. If you can’t give, then share their message. Use your “influence” on social media to share information, stories and the mission and purpose of the organizations that you support. Tell people why you are a supporter and what role you play. Give the gift of awareness and attention. Not-for-profits struggle, to get their messages out to potential supporters and donors. Help them today. However, make supporting and promoting these worthy causes part of your regular marketing activities.   Give today, but support and share all year long.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Social Media Marketing During the Paris Terror Attacks

Blacked Out Eiffel Tower

The blacked-out Eiffel Tower following the terrorist attacks on Nov. 13, 2015.

Pre-programed and robotic posts show many “marketers” were out of touch.

Nothing is worse than looking insensitive and out of touch with your audience. During times of crisis your audience will shift its focus to the latest news and world events. We saw this happen immediately when the Paris terrorist attacks occurred on Nov. 13 and during the aftermath.

Breaking news and major world events requires an understanding of our audiences and the 24-hour marketing/news cycle.  We must constantly watch and monitor what is happening and have the ability to take action immediately.

Were you watching the events unfold in Paris? Were you or your audiences commenting about this on social media? I did and many of the people I know and with whom I am connected expressed their opinions, outrage and sadness. The ability to express our feelings and opinions as well as communicate with others is what social media is all about. We have the unique ability, like never before in history to communicate and interact instantaneously. However, with this ability comes a responsibility, especially for those of us who use social media as a means to market and build our brands.

I was shocked to see many social sellers, marketers and so called marketing gurus continuing to post marketing/sales information and content throughout Friday night and they continued through Saturday and Sunday. Their posts showed a real disconnect with the concerns and the focus of most people around the world. Posting marketing messages and inspirational “sales” quotes only demonstrated a lack of understanding of the global picture and audience interest.

These posts also made it clear that these marketers were using pre-programed or robotic messages. The use of software-based tools is not the issue.  In my opinion the problem is the “set it and forget it” attitude marketers take today. Yes, these tools save time and effort, but they come with drawbacks as we have seen in times of crisis. Attention must be paid to the messages and information being sent out. A poorly-timed post can damage a personal brand, the reputation of a business or cause other harm.

How can you prevent looking insensitive, greedy or just out of touch? The following are some strategies to consider:

  1. If you are marketing socially, monitor the news or have team members monitor the news every day of the week, including nights, weekends and holidays.
  2. Have a system set up that will allow you to react quickly. You may need to have the ability to post on all social networks at once an appropriate message or order that all posts stop. If you manage this yourself, this should not be an issue. Make sure to test your plan and, in addition, be sure you have the ability to shut down programed posts via your smartphone or remotely.
  3. Have the ability to quickly shut down or suspend programed posts and responses. This may be tricky if you use a digital marketing agency. When an event occurs, over a weekend or at night, there should be a policy or system your business and your agency have agreed upon. You need the ability to order the shut down or have a policy in place that will allow your agency to shut down social media activity. Make sure to discuss this with your agency when developing campaigns and when signing engagements. Poorly timed posts and those that continue on throughout a crisis can hurt your brand and your reputation.
  4. Wait to react socially to breaking news and trends. Often initial news reports about a major incident are flawed and inaccurate. Wait until the facts are clear to formulate an appropriate response. In the case of the Paris attacks, it was clear very quickly what had occurred. However, in many situations the root of a crisis cannot be determined so fast.
  5. Don’t respond because everyone else is responding. Sometimes being silent is the best policy. Consider carefully how you are going to respond and don’t post just for the sake of being seen.

Watching and being sensitive to horrific events unfold before our eyes is unfortunately part of the world that we live in today. Understanding the messages that we project during these periods of time is critical. Monitor your marketing and social media and be prepared to make changes or, in other words, react appropriately. Those who use social media spend significant time and energy building their brands and reputations. Don’t let poorly timed or scheduled posts cause damage that pre-planning should have prevented.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Costumes, Characters and Fun: Halloween Personal Branding Lessons

Americans will spend an estimated $6.9 billion on Halloween in 2015, with $74 being the average amount spent per household on spooky decorations, candy, costumes and more for All Hallows Eve. There are the enthusiasts who take time to plan and are willing to spend more of their hard-earned money on props and over-the-top costumes, while the procrastinators are forced to pick over whatever is left at the pop-up party stores.

When thinking about Halloween you need to be creative, whether your costumed as a ghoul or beautiful princess, you want to attract attention. To have fun at a Halloween party and create a buzz you can’t just walk into a party with a hat on your head saying that you are some character- you need to put in time, thought and effort into your Halloween ‘look ‘ in order to stand out.  Sound familiar? These are the same strategies that apply when you want to grow and build your personal brand.

halloween-kidsHere are tips and strategies that you can use when crafting your Halloween costume that also apply to your own personal branding efforts:

  1. Planning – is necessary if you want to wear a really great costume on Halloween – a store bought costume is OK, but the best costume for you will result from your imagination, time and effort.  This is true as well when creating a really great Brand; it requires imagination along with time and effort. Your objective is to get the attention of your audience and to enhance brand recognition.
  2. Attract attention – a quality costume is one that stands out from the crowd and turns heads. How many scary clowns, zombies and generic vampires have you seen at a party or trick or treating? An attention getting costume will bring greater rewards and help to build relationships.
  3. Be creative – think about your costume; do you want to be one of the 20 pirates at a party?  Let your imagination shine and think about how you can express yourself.  Create your own costume or embellish one bought from the store.  Different is always better, the same goes with your personal branding.  Focus on your differentiators whenever possible.
  4. Be memorable and different – I have seen many memorable costumes over the years. By far the most memorable one was one I saw on my way to a Halloween party on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the late 90’s.  While on our way to the party, we saw a man in costume turn a corner about a half block away from us. He was dressed in a huge Transformers costume made out of painted cardboard boxes that looked completely authentic, as realistic and detailed as the CGI beings from the Michael Bay films. The back of the costume had fins, didn’t look very comfortable, and the guy inside might have had lifts on.  It was painted and decorated perfectly, down to the smallest details. Even more surprising, there were about 20 people following him with cameras; an Autobot Pied Piper. It was a rolling event the closer he got to us. Suddenly he approached and everyone waiting to get into the party (30 or 40 people) started to applaud for what seemed like minutes. This is the classic example of creating a buzz and being remarkable.  This guy did something so unique and special and almost so perfect he attracted amazing attention.  Long before social media, people “followed” him – he created his own parade and people applauded him (“Liking” him) and commented in the street about how awesome he was. Cheers and shouts, applause and whistles fill the street.  It was a memorable happening.  It shows that with planning, creativity, commitment and a great idea amazing attention can be garnered.
  5. Be committed – Go all in with your costume; if you are going to do it, do it right and go all the way – here’s a modern day example of my story above about a costume that took 1,600 man-hours to build.
  6. Be clear – Ever see somebody in a costume but you don’t know what they are trying to be?  Be clear in what you do when you brand yourself.  You should never get the question “What do you do?” after somebody has read your blog, follows you online, has seen you speak or watched you in a video. They should know exactly what you do, why you do it and what you’re passionate about.
  7. Have fun and act the part. Part of dressing up for Halloween is the freedom to be something different and play a role. Understand your characters, do some research, know some facts and have some fun. Live the character for the day or for the party and this interaction will allow you to have more fun; allow those you are with to enjoy your personality. Your career should be fun, embrace your brand and live it with passion.
  8. Be appropriate – Have the right costume for the right event. If the party is for adults you know how to dress; if it is a kiddie party you will not want to be too grotesque or too sexy. The same is true for networking and when you’re in the business world. Dress appropriately for all occasions. Use your look to your advantage and make it part of your brand. I have discussed this in other blogs but take the time to think about your look and how it helps you to convey who you are, what you do and why people should work with you and trust you. Inappropriate activities such as hard selling or getting involved in controversial issues will drive people away vs attracting people with whom you want to work.
Group of children dressed up in costumes for Halloween

A Ggoup of children dressed up in costumes for Halloween

Halloween is a great season and one that allows for us to be creative and have fun. Growing your brand must be fun and you must be creative.  Have a plan for your brand and examine all of the factors that play a part in who you are, what you do, why you do it and why others should trust and work with you.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Scary Trade Show Marketing Mistakes

Trade Show FloorIt’s the week before Halloween, stores are full of merchandise, homes are decorated and kids are getting ready to trick or treat. Recently, I participated in a local business to business trade show – Trade Nassau in Farmingdale, NY, where over 1,000 people attended and over 100 businesses exhibited their products and services. Shows like this are where businesses and businesspeople introduce themselves to prospects and contacts. Participating in this show got me thinking about the mistakes business owners and entrepreneurs make when they decide to take part in this kind of an event. Thankfully, most of the exhibitors at Trade Nassau did a solid job marketing. However, there is always room for improvement.

Throughout the year businesspeople spend significant amounts of funds and resources on trade shows. From attendee reservations, exhibit space, displays and marketing materials as well as promotional giveaways, they want to have a presence. The concept behind shows is to make a good impression and attract people to your brand. Efforts should get those passing by to engage with you and enter your exhibit space.

The four biggest mistakes that small and medium size businesses’ make at trade shows are the following:

  1. Inadequate preparation – no plan for trade show activities (before, during and after).
  2. No advanced promotion – failure to market to attendees and prospects
  3. Poor presentation – e.g., an unprofessional booth; no time invested thinking about the impression the company will make at the show.
  4. Inattentiveness – failure to look for opportunities to engage. Too many people at trade shows sit behind their exhibit tables all day texting, reading, making calls and looking disinterested.
Trade show attendees at Trade Nassau in Farmingdale, NY on Oct. 21, 2015.

Trade show attendees at Trade Nassau in Farmingdale, NY on Oct. 21, 2015.

Why do businesspeople attend trade shows? The answer is simple: to attract attention and build relationships. To do this you have to create the best temporary environment to generate those conversations. This starts with strategies for drawing people to or into your booth. Quality signage, video monitors, interesting product displays and open layouts all play a part.

Have trouble standing for long periods of time? Bring a high chair or stool to enable you to make direct eye contact with attendees as they pass by or enter your space. To draw trade show attendees’ attention, your booth needs to be visually pleasing and interactive whenever possible. Use your iPad, a laptop or other screen to show off your business, show success stories, provide product demos, re-purpose news media coverage. To succeed you must stand out from others in your industry as well other exhibitors. Being different, as I have emphasized in the past, is critical. If you look and sound too much like others, your message will never be heard.

Once you have attendees’ attention, you should welcome them into your space. Create a space that will coax them to enter and stay. For small businesses and small business shows, during setup you should push your table back to create a larger area for you to have a conversations and conduct demonstrations for people. This gets people out of the isle and they won’t get pushed by passersby.

At Corbett Public Relations we are all about education and making people better marketers. We work with businesses to get their brand message heard in the media and for individuals we work with them to grow their personal brands.

Bill Corbett (l) interviews WRHU radio host Tim Healey (r) at the Corbett PR studio at Trade Nassau on Oct. 21, 2015.

Bill Corbett (l) interviews WRHU radio host Tim Healey (r) at the Corbett PR studio at Trade Nassau on Oct. 21, 2015.

At the recent show we differentiated our booth by creating a show within the show. We did this by setting up a unique video and audio studio environment. Throughout the day we interviewed sponsors, business leaders and exhibitors in talk-show fashion. This was done live on Periscope; we also recorded on video and audio. The interviews will be used as a future podcast and as videos to further support the show’s value for our firm and for the show producer.

Earlier, I mentioned the importance of planning for trade shows. I worked with my team for weeks to plan and prepare but the effort paid off in several ways. We attracted considerable attention during the show with attendees stopping by to watch and also take photos of what was going on. Some of these photos were posted on social media creating an additional buzz. We took photos with guests and these were shared online. The process created content for my soon to be launched podcast and videos for the Corbett Public Relations YouTube Channel. The investment of time paid off with leads for business. We helped to strengthen our brand awareness and recognition in our home market of Long Island.

Bill Corbett Jr. at Trade Nassau on Oct. 21, 2015.

Bill Corbett Jr. at Trade Nassau on Oct. 21, 2015.

During the recent show I played “double duty” as a featured speaker for one of the seminars. For those who are speakers or offer seminars at a trade show, remember you need to give your audience an incentive to visit your booth after your presentations is over. I offer tips sheet on how to use LinkedIn more effectively and questions to ask to identify your key differentiators.

There is a saying that the “real” trade show starts after the trade show ends. This is when you will follow up on your leads. Unfortunately, there are those who expend their time, energy and money at shows but never follow up. An estimated 61 percent of trade show leads are never followed up on – truly a frightening statistic.

Remember to block off a full day to follow up after the show. I usually wait one day then follow up with my best contacts. Have a follow up system and process. Identify the best prospects and work your way down the list. You may have to try to reach people four or more times. Keep trying, you made the investment and this is why you were at the show to begin with.

To avoid such horror stories, remember to plan out your trade shows activities including marketing strategies. Think about what you are going to do and be sure to follow up with what you are going to do after. Take the time to assess your show activities, examine what you did well and identify areas for improvement. Review your plan and make notes about how you will make your next trade show more successful. Avoid the scary mistakes I have outlined and look for ways to be different, attract attention and find more prospects.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Being Different is Your Competitive Advantage

different[1]In May of this year, FastCompany.com included some of my thoughts about how to be unforgettable. Many believe that demonstrating and promoting how or why you are “the best” is the most effective strategy to take. In the marketing and ad driven world that we live in today, “the best” message simply does not resonate. To be effective you must identify and show how you are different and how you approach challenges differently than others. Different is better than best.

When teaching personal branding, I always focus on ways that people can show how they are different. Below I have listed some of the questions you need to ask yourself when developing you brand message and identifying your key differentiators.

Determining how we are different is something that many people struggle with. This is not a surprise; it is hard to look at ourselves and be honest and realistic. We want to be the best, we want to believe we are different, but it is a challenge to identify what makes us different from competitors or simply others who are vying for the attention of potential customers. However, determining your key differentiators will allow you to identify your competitive advantages and this is critical to career and business success.

What makes you different? What makes you remarkable? What makes you interesting? Why should anyone care about you and what you do? These are compelling and important questions to ask to start this process.

In a time when we have just a few seconds to make an impression, we need to think about the messages we are projecting and their value. Your message must show how you are different and you need to consistently project this message for it to resonate.

Now we get to the big question – What makes you different? Have you ever thought about this, have you ever written it down? Get a clean sheet of paper or a blank screen on your computer and get to work now. Start with these questions:

  • What makes you different? (skills, experience, passion, commitment or creativity)
  • How do you communicate differently? (This can be in writing, in person, on video or through social posts)
  • How do you listen differently? (Do you actually listen? Many people don’t)
  • How do you ask questions differently? (Do you even ask questions or know what questions to ask?)
  • How do you follow up differently than your competitors? (A majority of small businesspeople fail to even follow up once)
  • How do you build relationships differently?
  • How do you provide value differently? (How do you go beyond the services you offer or the products you sell? What is the added value you provide?)
  • How do you empower or inspire others differently?
  • How do you do what you do for a living differently than others? (Get specific, there may be a number of reasons)
  • How is your leadership style different and more effective?
  • How is your ability to achieve success for your clients or for your organization different?
  • How do you show you care differently than others?

You are different and you need to think about it and have a plan for using it.

From a practical standpoint here is what you can do to move this effort forward. I have presented before many networking and business groups. Although each group is different, they share a common goal. Networking groups focus on building relationships which will generate business. Elevator speeches or introductions are a primary way people describe themselves. Unfortunately, they are often boring; too sales focused and fail to highlight why a person is different. Take a step back and think about how you do what you do differently and clearly state it.

  • Some approaches that work well include:
  • Tell a success story with an example of a winning outcome
  • Talk about a challenge that you overcame or helped a client overcome
  • Tell a story about how you went the extra mile
  • Discuss what you are passionate about in terms of business and charity
  • Relate a personal or businesses strategy that worked
  • Talk about the added value you bring to relationships
  • Tell people how you are different than competitors
  • Talk about how you empower and help

Don’t make a sales pitch, this alone will make you stand out in many groups

Are you still stuck on how or where to start?  Try this – “Hello My name is… I’m a different kind of (fill in the blank).” This is basic but it is a good place to start.

When you have the opportunity, practice and see how this approach works. Compare responses to how your pervious introduction was received. See if people mention your approach and ask others what they think of it. Do more people come up to you after?  Your elevator speech and introductions do not have to be set in stone; change them until you find what works. Practice and ask for feedback. You will also need a few versions of your intro. Have a 10-second, 30-second and one-minute versions of your elevator speech in your arsenal and ready to go.

Home Work

Write down how you are different. Start by looking at this in a big picture way then narrow it down to specific business related actions and activities, personality traits and personal approaches to life and business. Remember to focus on you and who you are, these are personal branding questions, they are not about what you sell.

For a free key Grow Your Personal Brand Personal Differentiator Questionnaire, email  info@growyourpersonalbrand.com.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Back to School, Back to Networking: Tips for Optimizing Your Networking this Fall

Students getting on a school bus for their first day of classes.

Students getting on a school bus for their first day of classes.

As summer comes to a close and the last quarter of the year approaches, it is time to start thinking about how we want to finish out the year. Many business professionals have children and are preparing them for school or going on their last vacation before the summer ends.

Once summer is over, everyone starts to feel the pressure of getting back into a networking mindset. Networking groups start meeting again, people take fewer vacations and with the fiscal year winding down, professionals “buckle down” to finish the year strong. Networking is one of the most valuable tools and skills a business person can have.

With Labor Day falling late this year we technically lose a full week of networking. I would not be concerned about losing 7 days of networking; look at it as an extra week to prepare for business development activities.

Here are some tips for getting back into the swing of networking.

Look at your online profiles

Granted summer is a time for relaxation and vacations but before doing anything business related I make sure that my online profile is up to date. Did you receive an award or have a business success since you last updated your profile? Adding an award or new accomplishments that you are proud of should be done at this time.

Examine your LinkedIn profile. As we know LinkedIn is the number one online networking site among business professionals and updating this profile is important.  LinkedIn is also a place where people go to find out who you are and what you do. Remember to have a profile that does not focus on selling. Let your experience and personality shine. Your profile should be informative and demonstrate how you can be of assistance to others. In a networking context this is where you can expect a visit from people you have met at networking events.

Networking event.

Networking event.

Set your networking goals, budget and time commitment

Knowing the level of commitment that you are able to give to networking is vital.  Networking is work and part of your overall marketing. The commitment stage is where you decide how much of your time you are going to give to meeting and following up with people as well as how many meetings you will attend. Create a schedule that works for you and does not put too much time pressure on you. Don’t overbook yourself to a point where you cannot get the most out of meetings or events.

Next, create a budget. Not many people think of this, but it is critical and should be built into a networking plan. It’s important to be aware of the amount of money being spent to be a member of each networking group as well as the time spent on networking. We know time is money and to properly network you must spend a significant amount of time. Consider how long meetings are, how often they take place, how many one-on-one meetings you will need to set up and are their extra costs for special events or activities that are not part of annual dues or fees?

Setting goals is among the important elements of networking. How many groups do you want to belong to?  How many of meetings do you wish to attend? Keep this constant throughout the year.

Networking schedule and preparation

It is important to keep track of the networking events that you have on your calendar and to prepare for them thoroughly. The night before the event, review what the meeting is about, what you hope to gain by attending and how you can help others with their business growth. Consider the fact that even if the person you are meeting with cannot help you or send you business, you may be able to assist them. Giving and facilitating relationships is the step in building trust.

Have a follow up plan

Attending an event or making an introduction starts the networking process. How you follow up with people will be critical to the outcome. How are you going to follow up? Are you going to connect with them on LinkedIn, send them an email or a note or call them?  Have a plan of action and as I have recommended in the past, have a system for categorizing new contacts. Focus on those who can send you business but who can also send you referrals. Look for people who you can partner with as well. For different types of contacts or even different professions you should have a system for following up and adding people to your database.

A thoughtful follow-up approach will lead to a positive impression; it shows that you are really interested and not just looking to sell new contacts your products or services. Think about how you are going to ask for a meeting or a call. Once you have set up your follow up, be sure to have an action plan.  I will repeat again, meetings should never be sales calls. Have you ever had lunch with someone who immediately started talking about their services and why you need them? This is a flawed approach and one that will repel people. Get to know people, share information and once trust is built you can offer your solutions.

Have some fun

Summer was fun and there is no reason why the fall can’t be fun. When networking, share your summer experiences, just like you did when you were in elementary school. Ask others to tell you what they did last summer. This is a great way to engage, build rapport and get to know what people like to do outside of work. This approach will be helpful in starting conversations. As you know some of the best business conversations have nothing to do with business at all.

Welcome the fall with open arms and think about these strategies before you head out to your next networking meeting. Check out more about networking from my blog at www.corbettpr.wordpress.com.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Black Monday – Why Proactivity and Being Top of Mind Matters

A financial advisor speaks to a client on the phone.

A financial advisor speaks to a client on the phone.

The financial market meltdown which occurred today, Aug. 24, 2015, is a stark reminder that being proactive matters.

Planning in finance, business and marketing is critical. Today and in the days to come, we will be hearing a lot about portfolios, risk tolerances, retirement, investment and financial planning.

Having a plan for your finances and retirement is important but many Americans fail to plan. Unbelievably, more than half of Americans have not even spoken with a financial advisor. In a time where 30-40 percent of Americans continue to struggle to pay their bills each month, it is amazing so few look for assistance.

These facts and the market meltdown puts into perspective the need for advisors and others who work with clients in the financial professions to be proactive. Communicating regularly is important to prepare for the future and to prepare for eventual downturns.

Proactive communications is key for customer service, relationship building and to maintain trust. Advisors should communicate regularly with clients by phone, in-person and now with technology: Skype, GoToMeeting or Zoom.com. These services allow advisors to meet virtually and “share screens.” With screen sharing it is much easier for an advisor to help his or her client visualize where they are and where they want to go. Engagement with clients allows the advisor to assess risk tolerances as well as educate clients about different strategies.

A financial advisor consults with clients.

A financial advisor consults with clients.

Staying top of mind is also important. Advisors must communicate and share information regularly and when important news breaks. As we move through this current financial downturn, all businesses can learn a lesson: it should not take a crisis for a service provider to contact you. Your team should be in regular contact and understand your specific needs and challenges.

It is also vital for advisors and business professionals to listen to their clients and the marketplace. What are they discussing online and what are they sharing? What are they (clients) discussing online and what are they sharing? What are they reading and watching? During a day like today, clients are watching news and business news networks; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites are buzzing with news and commentary. Understanding your clients and where they get their news is important. Some advisers correctly ask their clients what media outlets they follow and they connect with clients on social media. Although constrained in some cases by compliance rules, there are no rules against listing and finding out client concerns.

A few takeaways:

  • Communicate regularly with clients to provide information and education.
  • Listen to markets and observe what interests and concerns clients.
  • Provide solutions or at least assurances when crisis periods take place.
  • Have an ongoing communications plan and process to take during challenging periods.
  • Encourage planning; this is important for everyone in terms of finances but also in terms of business, marketing and when seeking personal objectives

This, unfortunately, is an historic day. Let’s hope it does not mark the beginning of a new economic downturn or recession. We can learn from today that ongoing relationships can regular communications can and do play a vital role. Clients will gain great respect for any advisor who is proactive and thoughtful.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



The Subway PR Crisis, What Should Franchisees Do?

A Subway franchise owner.

A Subway franchise owner.

Another Reason why Personal Branding Matters

I have written about the Subway Jarod Fogle spokesperson scandal and crisis PR recently. I understand what the management, marketing team and PR firm for Subway is doing this week. It has been a roller-coaster and certainly a challenge for them; this is truly a nightmare for a corporation. While I have discussed spokespeople before in blogs, I am not going to focus on the spokespeople for this blog. I have a different take and a marketing strategy that most franchises should take, both on how to market as well as how to weather a crisis.

Let me start by saying that I like Subway and give them great credit for building a brand and empowering so many entrepreneurs.  I have been to Subway shops many times and have been treated well.  Through Subway, many people around the word are experiencing the American dream of business ownership. They provide for their families, they create jobs as well as economic activity. They provide food at a reasonable cost and for the most part are a positive influence in communities; but, I feel quite sorry these days for the average Subway franchise owner. They have no control over who the corporate management chooses to use as a spokesperson and have little control, if any, over national marketing programs. However, there is no doubt that they do benefit from national marketing and branding efforts. The branding is part of the overall rationale behind franchising in the first place. I have worked with a number of franchises and understand the model from the franchisee as well as the franchisor perspective.

I hope that the marketing team at Subway is thinking about its franchise owners and local operators. The franchise was founded in Connecticut in 1974 and today has close to 70,000 units in over 100 countries. Interestingly the company does not own any units.

The damage of the current controversy will impact store sales, some more than others. Negative publicity for any reason will have an impact.  Most consumers also know that the crisis is not the individual franchisee’s fault, but it is their problem. Negative perceptions will hurt them.

If I was on the Subway marketing team, I would focus my attention on the franchisees and provide them with support, tools and a long term strategy for localized marketing which should include a personal branding and marketing plan for franchise owners. Subway shops are no different than any other local business. They are part of communities and rely on people for business. Franchises like Subway, unlike most other small businesses (restaurants in particular), have owners out front. What I mean by this is that in my market, Long Island, New York, it is not uncommon for you to walk into a diner, Italian restaurant or even a sushi place and be greeted warmly by an owner, chef or hostess. Many of the most successful local restaurants have owners who get to know their patrons, interact with them and treat them special. They make customers feel like family and this builds loyalty. This works with chefs and hostesses as well but not as effectively when you have an owner interacting directly with the customers. The key is the relationship. This relationship-focused approach is something that franchises, and in this case, Subway, need to embrace. When customers know the owners, they have a relationship with them, can compliment them or provide feedback. Even negative feedback is important for businesses and the owner is the best person to deliver it to.

A Subway franchise location.

A Subway franchise location.

Recognizing that franchises do not have this type of structure, for the most part, is a challenge but it can be turned into an advantage if done properly. Like me, many people like Subway, but they don’t know the owner. If they did, when a crisis hits, having a relationship will help the franchisee weather the storm. People will come back because they know the owner and like them. This personal connection is invaluable but must be cultivated. Here are a few personal branding strategies for franchise owners:

  1. Be present: Franchise models are designed so that owners don’t have to be there. While is true, this does not mean that they should not be there. Owners should spend time at their operations, greet people and speak with them.
  2. Be active in the community: Some Subway shops provide food, support and other items for charity or local groups. Owners need to be part of this and part of the engagement with community members.
  3. Local press: There is no reason that good work cannot be touted in the media. Owners, who have interesting stories to tell, should tell them and be available to the local media for stories. However, in the case of Jarod Fogle or crisis situations from corporate, it is best to not to get involved. All media inquiries should be forward to the regional or corporate office. However, local positive business stories or franchise stories are certainly fair game.
  4. Social media: Subway has a large and active social media presence and this helps local owners and operators with branding and promotions. However, local operators should also have a presence online and be part of the online/local online community. Social media should be used to allow the community to get to know who the owner is, what they stand for and what they are passionate about. Again, this is another way to make connections and build valuable relationships that matter when crisis situations occur.
  5. Join local organizations and business groups: This is simple marketing 101. Owners need to be out at groups and remain. Business people need to buy lunch. Do you think that they would frequent Subway shops more often if they know the owner? I do.
  6. Speak: People are interested in big brands and business owners. The branding of Subway or any international brand will open doors. Owners should create presentations for local groups and present the lessons learned as a Subway/business owner.
  7. Educate: Schools and camps are looking for activities for students. They also want to give them life lessons. I remember going to a Roy Rogers as a child. I still remember how they made the burgers and the fact that they placed a little butter on the hamburger buns. This is a memory that has stuck with me for over 40 years.
  8. Have a personal marketing plan: The steps outlined here are part of a personal marketing plan. The owner of a Subway or any franchise should have a personal marketing plan that will allow them to become better known in their community. With the right approach and commitment to the effort, a franchise owner can become a local rock star. We know rock stars attract attention and interest. Interest will lead to customers and will also blossom into relationships. These activities create good will. Through good will and relationships is an insurance policy in the event that a crisis should one day occur.

The Subway Jarod Fogle controversy presents an opportunity for all franchise owners to look at their marketing and their reputations in their communities. Franchisees leverage their brands to grow their businesses and this is an advantage in many ways. Branding and frequent messages builds awareness and a modest level of trust. However, personal relationships and direct interaction with customers build stronger trust and loyalty and can mean the difference in weathering a given crisis.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Simple Marketing Strategies for Accountants and Accounting Firms to Beat their Competition



Over the past 25 years I have worked with and networked with many accountants and accounting firms. My team and I have secured media coverage and built personal brands for professionals. We have developed websites with firms as well as LinkedIn and other online strategies for individuals.

The field of accounting is more competitive than ever. Most accountants generate new business via referrals. Although accountants possess special expertise in what they do and are able to build trusting relationships with clients, they struggle with marketing effectively for new sources of business. For many accountants projecting their expertise and their unique value is challenging. A few years ago I gave a presentation on personal marketing to a group of 100 accountants on Long Island. When I asked who in the room has a personal marketing plan, only five raised their hands, and when I asked if their firm has a marketing plan, only about 15 raised their hands.

This response rate is slightly below the average that I see when speaking with small business owners or managers.

Accountants are in a unique position to market themselves and their firms because of the special relationships they have with clients and other professionals. Based on the work that my team at Corbett Public Relations has done with accountants, we wanted to share some strategies that work and will make your firm stand out. While these recommendations are geared toward accountants, they can also be applied by other professionals and businesses.


Create a video about the firm discussing not only what the firm does, but specialties, giving examples of how the firm has assisted clients to be more successful or overcome challenges. Videos should feature the firm’s accountants relating who they are, why they do what they do and how they help clients. Stay away from listing services and explaining in details about accounting practices. People will not remember descriptions of services but they will remember stories and examples. Tell stories which will resonate with prospects, clients and referral sources.

Accountants, like all businesspeople, must be completely prepared and comfortable before going on camera. Practice and, if necessary, contact a firm like Corbett Public Relations to secure the training and professional advice needed to project a powerful message. Accountants who want to have the competitive advantage will have to invest the time and some money on training. Production is important, but how you appear on camera and your message is much more important.

Why video? Savvy business owners, young business executives and growth focused referral sources are looking for partners who they can build relationships with. They want to watch videos and they want to work with professionals who understand how to market effectively online and on mobile devices today.

Firms and individuals will struggle to get the attention of startups, growth focused companies, tech companies and businesses that have been passed to younger family members if they don’t understand how to use video to market.

Personal Marketing Plan

Every accountant and/or partner needs to have their own personal marketing plan.  The marketing plan will establish goals, clarity marketing messages and identify what online sites or tools will be used, such as LinkedIn. Additionally, every accountant must have a fully completed LinkedIn profile. This includes having a quality image/headshot, videos, a profile written in the first person and messaging telling people who you are and why you do what you do.

A personal or firm marketing plan is the road map for success. It will establish a process for communicating with prospects. The development of the plan also allows the firm to create ideal client profiles. Gathering this information is essential for marketing. With this information in hand materials can be created and the process of communicating with prospects and referral sources can begin. Without a plan and process there is no way to track success. We know that accountants are ROI focused and want to use their time efficiently and effectively. This is why there must be a mechanism for judging success.

The unique relationships that accountants have with clients create wonderful opportunities to gather stories about the challenges business owners face. Every challenge and solution is an opportunity for an accountant to tell a story and highlight a success. While the names of clients can’t be revealed the discussion of the types of issues and problems can be the foundation for blog posts or long form posts on social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Accountants should not be fooled to think that social media will not help them. Success stories and stories of interesting challenges will attract attention and demonstrate capabilities and knowledge. Since most accountants are not taking advantage of this approach those who do will stand out. Combined with video, the firm will attract attention when they are active online.

Accountants can also provide a wide variety of helpful information for business growth and management and this expertise can be leveraged to get media coverage through PR. Accountants can then use media coverage to build the firm’s brand and their individual reputations as experts and advocates for clients and businesses.

Every marketing plan must have a budget and schedule. Marketing requires resources and energy. This means spending money and putting in time. With a marketing schedule, calendar and goals a program can be implemented. The elements of the program and its goals will dictate how much time will be needed and how much money will need to be spent. Funds spent on marketing should be looked at as an investment and not as an expense.

The growth in the number of young professionals, advances in technology and new marketing strategies will make it much more challenging for small accounting firms with older partners to survive and compete. To compete and keep current clients individuals and firms must adopt proactive marketing approaches and embrace digital media and video as part of their marketing plans.


Accountants must have a system for approaching networking events and for following up with the people they meet. Accountants, particularly solo practitioners and those from small firms network but do not do it effectively or efficiently. This is a challenge that accountants and most businesspeople face.

A good system starts with creating a process for following up with people that are encountered at events. Without this there is no reason to go to a networking event in the first place. Determine the criteria to use to classifying contacts and how you will follow up with them. For example, after you get their business card mark on it P–Prospect, R–Referral Source, M–Marketing prospect or N–not sure. Add these people to the database. Based on the person’s classification, a follow up procedure should be established.

There are plenty of places to go to network. Every networking event should be viewed as “work.” Set goals and remember the purpose of networking, which is to meet people and build relationships. Networking groups are costly, not in terms of the membership fees but in time spent. Determine how much you need to benefit financially each year as a member of a networking group and focus on achieving your goal. If this goal is not met at the end of the second year, then you may not be in the right group or your approach is not working. After assessing your activities either re-commit or move on. It may be wise to stop networking and look to other forms of marketing. Remember, networking and relationships building must include one-on-one meetings which occur after or between events.

Accountants are in the unique position of having the trust of clients and this is the reason why other professionals and businesses want to build relationships with them. It is also why it is easier for accountants to get meetings or introductions. Leverage your knowledge, contacts and skills to market and build relationships. Keep in mind what it is that prospects need and expect. Today, they expect accountants and firms to have video content, quality websites and a social media presence. Accountants must use their skills knowledge and status of the most trusted advisor to market and attract the attention of prospects and referral sources.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Are Lifeguards Watching Out for Your Brand?

A lifeguard watching over a pool.

A lifeguard watching over a pool.

Tragically, Long Island beaches have experienced a number of rip currents this summer that have led to drownings. Rip currents drag swimmers out into deep water. Swimmers then drown as they become exhausted fighting to swim back to shore. Even non-swimmers can get swept away by a rip current when standing in shallow water. Rip currents, rip tides and undertows are powerful forces of the sea that are difficult for even the most experienced swimmers to contend with. To escape the rip, the person must swim parallel to shore and NEVER swim against the current.

Unfortunately, swimmers panic and tire out in a short period of time and/or they may not know what to do in this type of situation. As a former lifeguard, I know the challenges and pressures a lifeguard faces when watching water conditions.  Lifeguards use their eagle eyes to look out for the safety of swimmers. I never was a lifeguard at an ocean beach – only at pools and lakes – but I had to come to the aid of close to 50 swimmers in just two summers.

Jumping into the ocean when lifeguards are not on duty is a risk, one that no one should ever take. The same is true for your brand.  When you open your business and jump into marketing and promotion, once you put just one foot into the water you are exposed to threats and risks to your business, which could consist of angry customer reviews or comments on social media, negative word of mouth comments about your business or a product or a poor review in the media.

There are many ways a brand or business can get in trouble. Some problems are completely out of the control of the business owner or management: a fire, an unwarranted lawsuit, theft by an employee, an extended power outage or a computer virus. Any of these can cause a major disruption in business and will quickly have a negative impact on a brand.

Every business must have a crisis plan in place for the day when something unexpected happens. The crisis plan, like an insurance policy, will provide you with a process for reacting to the problem at hand. The plan is only part of your response. You also need a “lifeguard,” somebody who can help keep you away from danger and step in when something bad happens. In fact, you need more than one lifeguard to make up an effective support team.

Your professional business team.

Your professional business team.

Your business lifeguard team must be comprised of the following professionals:

Reputation Monitor 

We live in the digital age and social media is a key part of marketing and branding. A crisis for any business can start online or in the cyber world. Negative reviews, comments and articles can damage a brand or business. Failure to know that your brand is under attack is unacceptable. It’s imperative that you or your team monitor your brand online. If you don’t have the time or lack experience, have your digital marketing firm monitor and report to you regularly about your online reputation. They should also have a plan ready should your brand come under attack online or in the real world.

We regularly monitor online news, social media sites and websites to make sure that nothing negative is being said about our clients’ companies, their products, their services, their staff, or owners/management. Online reputations must be monitored and if there is a need to address an issue, it must be done in the right way. Negative reviews, comments or even videos can damage a company’s ability to attract and keep business.

Crisis Communication Expert / Public Relations – Media Relations Expert 

If a crisis situation impacts customers, business or a community, it is likely to become of interest to the media. Negative press can lead to loss of business, clients questioning their relationship with you and damage to your brand (personal or business). Having a communications plan and a crisis communications expert available to you is important. At Corbett Public Relations we work with clients on Long Island and across the nation to establish a procedure to follow during a crisis. We see ourselves as professionals who are promoters and protectors of brands. Reacting to a crisis situation in the media takes thought and consideration. Every incident is different and those with decades of experience, such as the individuals on my team, know how to manage communications in all kinds of situations. At a minimum the owner of a business should consult with a firm and have a plan for managing a crisis and know who to call if the situation escalates. Would you know what to do if the media calls or shows up with cameras at your office? If you don’t, you need a plan today and the help of a crisis communications expert.


Your attorneys protect you before, during and after an incident. Make sure to consult with them and discuss potential risks and know how to get in touch with them during nights and weekends should a crisis situation occur. Discuss your concerns with your attorneys so you know that they are prepared to handle the types of situations that could possible occur. Attorneys have different types of practices so make sure your attorney is experienced in handling crisis situations.


Crisis situations can come from many directions. Bankruptcy, fraud, ID theft, tax issues and other financial issues require the assistance of accountants. Your accountant should act proactively to warn you about issues and potential problems that could occur from their perspective. Your accountants will also be part of your team to provide reports and financial information should you need to defend your business and brand in court or with authorities.

Insurance Professionals

Everyone and every business has insurance. In addition to knowing the coverage that your policies provide, it is critical that you also know and trust your insurance agent and local broker. These are the people who will fight for you if and when a crisis occurs.

Depending on the company that the policy is purchased from and the kind of policy, there are many details that you will need to know. Having a good relationship with your broker will help. We saw this play out on Long Island after Super Storm Sandy in 2012. Thousands of people and businesses were impacted by flooding and extended power outages. Local insurance professionals played an important part in helping clients submit property claims and get the funds they needed to rebuild and survive. Insurance companies will also assign attorneys to defend clients following incidents. Remember to look at this part of your policy to get an understanding of how it works and get the name of the firm that could potentially be defending you.

Often crisis situations occur without warning. Trying to manage them as they happen is a challenge. Take the time in advance to create a plan, put together a list of the critical actions that need to be taken and be sure that you have all necessary contact information at your fingertips. Keep copies of your plan at the office, at your home and in a place that is accessible online at all times.

Lifeguards are on duty to protect as well as to jump-in to save a swimmer in an emergency. Every business needs to have a team of “lifeguards” watching out for the management and the brand. The swimmer (the business owner or management) must also know what to do in case of a crisis and certainly never take risks when the lifeguards are not on duty.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



End of an Era for an Entertainment and Business Venue

Business Events, Memories and Lessons Learned at the Nassau Coliseum

Earlier this week I attended the Billy Joel concert that marked the final show at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island, New York. The show was both memorable and special. As a Billy Joel fan for decades, this was the first time I have seen him live in concert; I hope it is not the last. It was strange to walk into the venue that I have been to well over 100 times for concerts, games, business events and trade and consumer shows. Almost all the signage outside and within the area was gone.  The crowd walking in was upbeat and we all knew that this would be a memorable evening.

While You Were Out host

WPIX 11 “While You Were Out” host Leslie Segrete at the Nassau Coliseum Home Show.

Going to the Coliseum brought back over 30 years of memories of events I attended or promoted there. Corbett Public Relations specializes in securing publicity for clients sponsoring large events. Over the years, we have worked with an eclectic group of clients that held events at the Nassau Coliseum, including multiple home and consumer shows that featured all types of home renovation, remodeling and products and services companies. We also promoted the Nassau Coliseum Fair for several years, an event held in the parking lot.

A flyer for the March 2010 Home Show at the Nassau Coliseum.

A flyer for the March 2010 Home Show at the Nassau Coliseum.

The Fall and Spring Home Shows were very different from each other and interesting events. They included between 200 and 350 exhibitors, several seminars and contests sponsored by local radio stations. Shows ran for three days; Friday through Sunday. Shows were fun to be a part of for several reasons. During the time we promoted the home shows, television home makeover programs were very popular with consumers. You may remember the Discovery Channel programs While You Were Out and Trading Spaces. We were fortunate to have many of the show designers and carpenters as guests at these home shows. Leslie Segrete, Andrew Dan Jumbo and Frank Bileck were three “celebrities” that were great to work with; they were excellent educators and promoters. In the past I have written stories about working with celebrities; I can say that these three people were “good” to work with, not among the bad or the ugly. They cooperated with me to do media interviews, including early morning live remotes that started at 5 a.m. They carried show messages well and were friendly with audiences.

A John Deere vendor during one of the Home Shows at the Nassau Coliseum.

A John Deere lawnmower race broadcast live on WPIX 11 during the Home Shows at the Nassau Coliseum.

The exhibitors at the home shows, for the most part, were local businesses mixed with some national product vendors. It was enlightening and inspiring to work with local business owners seeking to grow their companies. We looked for new products and services to promote and we helped to educate exhibitors on how to promote themselves and attract attention. There are do’s and don’ts in the trade show business and we found that new exhibitors often needed assistance. The management company and my firm provided training and support. We also provided media training for exhibitors who were lucky enough to be part of our live or recorded television segments.

We also worked with local trade groups to produce a quality insert that was published and included in the Sunday edition of Newsday. Two home shows each year for several years was a lot of work, but the energy of working with entrepreneurs at the Nassau Coliseum was rewarding.

News 12 Long Island conducting an interview during a Home Show at the Nassau Coliseum.

Trading Spaces star Frank Bileck being interviewed by News 12 Long Island during a Home Show at the Nassau Coliseum.

We secured dozens of live and recorded media interviews before and during shows. This publicity attracted attendance and provided show exhibitors with valuable media coverage. When exhibiting at a show, it’s always good to communicate with the show’s PR team to let them know about new products and services and special promotions. I know from experience that they want to be given this information; it helps them and the exhibitors get the most marketing value out the show.

Dondi the Elephant during an event at the Nassau Coliseum.

Dondi the Elephant live at the Nassau Coliseum Fair on Fox 5 News.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the convention space will be revamped. This was needed at the Coliseum back when we did the shows and is sorely needed now to enhance economic development in the region. The old convention venue was actually an underground parking facility and was used to store equipment and even circus animals when it wasn’t used for trade or other shows. I can tell you it is not a good idea to have a trade show in the same space where just a few days before, elephants, camels and horses were being stabled.

From the marketing and event perspective, what I gained was a keen understanding of the logistics of a venue like the Nassau Coliseum and the rules. There were strict rules on hours of access, labor and media access; these rules became challenges. Thankfully, I was aware of most of them and was able to plan to ensure that media crews would be granted access and I knew when labor was required. It’s important to communicate with event production companies and venues well in advance. Doing this and knowing the rules and schedules is vital. We had one Home Show that was delayed due to a hurricane and another by snow. Exhibitors who followed the schedule and the rules got in, but those who did not missed a day of valuable exhibit time.

The Nassau Coliseum Fair.

Fox 5 News filming live at the Nassau Coliseum Fair.

The Nassau Coliseum Fair was an enjoyable event we publicized. For over two decades my firm has promoted large fairs, concerts and balloon festivals. More than one million people have attended the events that we have promoted. In July I wrote about what it’s like to do live morning TV. One memory related to the Nassau Coliseum Fair stands out. This particular fair took place in July when we were experiencing a heat wave and the event was in the parking lot, which didn’t help. We scheduled a live morning remote with the WPIX 11 Morning News.

Morning TV at the Nassau Coliseum Home Show.

Larry Hoff live on WPIX 11 Morning TV at the Nassau Coliseum Home Show.

Over the years I have done over 100 live mornings with WPIX and this wasn’t going to be any different, or so I thought. I arrived at about 5 a.m. The TV crew and truck were expected at 5:30 a.m. I had several performers set up for high wire performances and acrobatics. At 6 a.m. it started to rain very hard. A summer thunderstorm that was not predicted to hit the area materialized and very quickly the parking lot (with only a few drains) was flooded. We were actually in the middle of a flash flood. Thankfully, one of the acts, a family that operated a circus, had a big top and we took refuge. The skies were dark, the thunder roared, but the show went on even though the water level rose and the wind rocked the tent. Of course we checked the tent supports every 10 minutes to make sure we were safe. We changed some performers on the fly, but all the segments were done live under the tent with lights and some improvisation.

WLNY-TV 55 at the Nassau Coliseum Home Show.

WLNY-TV 55 at the Nassau Coliseum Home Show with Frank Bileck.

Fortunately, I knew that we had access to the big top and that the performers were spirited and I could count on them. We created a great morning with five segments of live and exciting TV coverage. We were a little wet by the end, but the job was done. Ironically, as the TV crew packed up and headed out of the parking lot of the Nassau Coliseum, there was a burst of sunlight starting a great weekend that was warm and dry.

Memories have been made, business opportunities were realized and lessons were learned. The renovation of the Nassau Coliseum will give us a more modern and a bit smaller facility. The area will be developed with new businesses, restaurants, entertainment and an improved exhibition hall. Soon this new venue will be where new memories will be made and new opportunities created.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Marketing Lessons from Beach Wrestling

Beach Wrestling.

Beach Wrestling.

On a hot Saturday afternoon I went for a stroll on the boardwalk in Long Beach, Long Island, New York. Thousands of people were enjoying the beach, walking, biking, playing volleyball and wrestling. Yes, wrestling.

It is commonplace for concerts to be held along this iconic Long Island boardwalk. From a distance I could see a crowd gathered in front of a stage. I approached the stage but did not hear any music. I thought to myself maybe the performers are between songs or sets. As I got closer I could see there was some sort of competition going on. When I arrived, my assumption was correct.

I saw three rings. These “rings” were basically rope circles about 20 feet across. I wondered what was happening. Then a young Asian woman entered one of the rings. She warmed up and stretched. A few moments later a young man entered the ring. Before I knew it they were grappling. The match was quite good; as a high school wrestler, I appreciated the skill and the dedication of athletes like these two young people. A minute later another wrestling match started in the second ring. Two very large young men squared off. It was more akin to sumo wrestling than the match in the first ring with the smaller athletes.

Both matches lasted just a few minutes. I can’t see how they could go very long in the 90-plus degree heat. The young lady, by the way, did not win, but it was close.

You never know where you will be when you see something remarkable. I vaguely recall someone mentioning wrestling at the beach. I thought this was just a bunch of friends getting together and going at it. I learned that it is considered a real sport and that right here on Long Island people of all ages and both sexes are enthusiasts. It’s great to see people compete in sports that they love.

Beach wrestling at the Jersey Shore.

Beach Wrestling

What I watched was remarkable in another way. Although it was not the first time for me to see men and women compete against each other, this was not any ordinary competition. The young lady was obviously there to compete and no doubt she loves this sport. She appeared dedicated, skilled and fearless. She had the crowd on her side and she got the attention of those – like me – walking by. The lesson here is don’t be afraid to pursue your passions and don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something. You may not win the match, but you are in the ring. Simply being in the ring allows you to make an impression on others and gain valuable experience.

Every week I talk with business people who relate their ongoing struggles to achieve the level of success that they want and need. Many fear taking chances with their marketing and marketing dollars. They sit on the sidelines; they don’t jump into the ring so they fail to get the attention they need to grow and succeed.

If you are not ready to wrestle (build your brand and market yourself), then find a coach, get some training and start preparing (read books, blogs and listen to podcasts or attend seminars). Business is a wrestling match; you must get in the ring with your competition to show the audience (your prospects) your skills and abilities. When you make a positive impression in the ring, you will gain respect and this will stimulate business growth.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



The Lazy Days of Summer? The “No Crazy” Days of Summer

At the beginning of July, I committed to blog every day and to encourage you to engage in significantly more social media activity. This is my 31st blog in a row. The results, on a number of fronts, have been positive, interesting and rewarding. I have also learned quite a bit and I want to share the lessons learned and a few frustrations with you.

vacation-from-work[1]On the positive side, being more active with content creation has allowed me to re-ignite my passion for providing marketing, PR, personal branding and business strategies for entrepreneurs and businesspeople. By sharing my knowledge and experience, I have been able to engage in conversations with wonderful people from around the world and get feedback which has advanced my own knowledge base.

I have experimented with blog distribution and social media to provide new and more effective strategies for clients, friends and colleagues along the way. In the pursuit of understanding new marketing trends, I have read a variety of articles in respected business publications such as FastCompany, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Business Insider and others. This led me to follow some impressive writers and bloggers and pod casters and their fantastic podcasts. I have also discovered people who are equally passionate about the entrepreneurial spirit.

What did I learn?


One blog I did was called “I love Twitter, I hate Twitter.” My explorations and research into Twitter has opened my eyes to the potential of this platform and the best ways to use it to engage with people and build a following.

use 022814twitter[1]The two most important lessons:

The first is to engage with people on a one-to-one basis but do so in public. Thank people for following, ask questions and start conversations. I did not hesitate to send messages or ask questions of thought leaders. I am pleased that a number of them responded and are now following me. Having some TV personalities connected with me has been fun and it is very cool.

The second lesson is to acknowledge that brand consistency matters. When I veered away from my core interest and brand engagement the results were not the same as when I was more focused. The outcome after a month of heightened activity on Twitter resulted in an increase of over 300 followers and hundreds of likes, retweets and favorites.


I wrote a number of blogs about LinkedIn. Since LinkedIn is a community and platform that I encourage businesspeople to use, I want to know how to use it more effectively.

The two lessons I learned:

Bill Corbett's LinkedIn profile page.

Bill Corbett’s LinkedIn profile page.

First lesson: if you are not doing long form posts on LinkedIn’s publishing platform, you are missing out on one of the best ways to build your brand online. I shared some of my blogs from this past month via this platform and the response has been amazing. My profile views tripled, contact requests are way up and the number of followers on my business page has more than doubled.

Second lesson: share content in groups and join the conversations. Conversations in groups have not only enabled me to speak with and connect with amazing people in the small business world but also with thought leaders and top level executives with major corporations. LinkedIn is about relationship building, not selling, and in this month alone I have started many new relationships.

Social Media

socialmedia[1]By sharing blogs and being more active on Google Plus, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest I have been able to bring my message and expertise to more people. Using images and video has been critical. I made the commitment to share images more and learn more about Instagram and Facebook. On both of these platforms I have seen engagement and this has strengthened my brand. Interesting, this is where business and personal activities intersect. In fact, this will be a future blog topic for me – relationship building does not stop when the business day ends. Personal posts and images of activities of interest to me have helped me to engage with more people and to share my involvement in charities and interest in grilling/BBQ and photography. The lesson learned here: share your passions and interests and you will be rewarded with comments, likes and respect. People will more likely approach you at networking events because these posts are great conversation starters and business opportunity generators.

PR – My Core Business

Many people know me, but there are those with whom I have not personally worked with and therefore it’s understandable that they wonder what I do and what happens at a PR firm every day. Through blogging, social media activity and storytelling, I have been able to educate people about what I do, my expertise and what it is like to be a PR professional. Lesson learned: talk to people and tell stories about what you do and how you do it. Give examples, use images and video whenever possible to tell the story and you will advance your business goals and build stronger relationships. We all have competitors, to stand out you must tell stories and let people get a good glimpse of what you do and how you can help them.


Build_Brand[1]Through my social interactions, experience writing blogs, research and observations of  what others are doing to succeed, it is very clear that video is going to be the most important part of personal and business marketing in the years to come. I have included many videos in my blogs and I have shared many videos across social platforms over the past month. Video tells your brand story and invites people to get to know you better or introduces you to people before they even have a chance to meet you in person. I shared my recent TV interviews and the feedback has been very positive and has led to meetings and opportunities.


Active blogging and the process in creating a blog has been an enlightening and positive experience. I have shared information that I am passionate about and have had fun. At the same time, I’ve broadened my knowledge base. Blogging can be both frustrating and challenging. Developing new content takes time and pushing out content requires a system and a consistent effort. It is frustrating when a blog does not get the response expected. Nonetheless, you must learn from disappointments to ultimately find success. I know that good content with images and videos attracts the most attention. I learned that social media sharing of your own content builds respect, interest and engagement. I also learned that when it comes to blogging it is great to share blogs directly with friends and others who will share it with their networks.

podcastmikeheadset1[1]I have said repeatedly during my Grow Your Personal Branding program presentations that your blog is where your personal brand comes to life. My daily blogging over the past 30 + 1 days has proven this to me once again. I plan to continue to blog, just not every day. I definitely will integrate more videos and I am looking forward to launching a podcast in the fall.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Is it Time for a Business or Personal Branding Makeover or Update?



Technology and social media are rapidly changing. Strategies for networking and personal marketing have also changed. Small business owners, networkers and those in sales roles need to adapt and update their approaches. I continue to urge people to create a personal marketing plan and implement it. Simply doing this creates systems and strategies that will make marketing efforts more efficient and more importantly, more effective.

With the changes taking place in technology, especially in video and mobile, personal marketers need to evaluate their brands regularly. I was recently looking back at some of my Facebook posts from six years ago. It is amazing how much has changed. I also took a few minutes to examine my social media sites. This is a process that you should do yourself periodically.

What should you look at?

Are you leveraging the power of video?

If you are not using video on your social media platforms and your website you are three years behind your competitors. According to YouTube – “Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.”

In our mobile society it is clear that people want to watch videos on their devices.

According to this article from eMarketer, “Adults in the US will spend an average of 5 hours, 31 minutes watching video each day this year.” Digital devices are fueling growth.

Here is the full article with other interesting statistics:


People want to watch video and if you don’t have video on your website and don’t use video regularly on your social media channels you are three years behind your savvy competitors. If you have videos that you did three or more years ago, don’t delete them, but look to update them. Spend the time and make the investment today to create quality videos. There are many easy to use tools, apps, devices and cameras that can be used today. You can do it yourself but consider the quality of videos and how they will be used. Create a plan and a strategy for creating new video content at least every quarter.

In terms of a makeover, if you look a lot different in person today than you looked three or four years ago in a video, then it’s time for a makeover.

Is your image up to date?

Similar to video, if your image has changed you need to update your profile photos. I have covered this topic many times in blogs. Your real world image should match your online image. Every two or three years get a new head shot. For some people you may also want to get more “glamor” or stylistic images done. This all depends on your business and your personal brand. If you are a professional speaker, in the entertainment business, marketing, sales or other creative industries, images that reflect your personality, sense of humor or style might be more appropriate for use (not for your LinkedIn profile). Check out this article from The New York Times: “When Selfies Won’t Do – Glamor Photos Replace Selfies for Personal Branding.” When you are looking to present your brand and have social media and websites where you can do this, look to be more creative. For a brand makeover or update, a glamor shot or two could be the right approach. Remember use a professional photographer. Don’t risk taking photos yourself.

Review your profiles

Over the course of time everyone’s approaches, strategies and areas of expertise change and evolve. When was the last time you updated or made changes to your LinkedIn profile, your Twitter profile, your Facebook profile, your YouTube channel description or your bio on your website? Take a look at them and compare them to what you are doing now. Are they accurate? Even if they are, it might be time to re-draft them, keeping in mind how you and social media has changed. Make sure to use important keywords that describe why you do what you do, what value you offer and why you are different and better than your competition.

Review your brand and brand message

Take a look at your personal mission statement and vision. Has it changed or have you gone off-message? Examine your blog and social media posts to see if they are still consistent with your message and your personal marketing plan. It is easy to lose focus when we are bombarded with so many messages every day. Changing and pivoting to adapt and take advantage of opportunities is fine, but review your core mission and values. You may have to get back on course or create a plan to chart a new direction.


A restaurant website before and after a redesign.

A restaurant website before and after a redesign.

Websites are a central focus for most businesses. Take the time to look at your website and address the content updates, image updates and video updates. Today websites need to convey a quick message and tell a story. Does your site accurately tell your story? Does it look up to date? I am in the process of updating the look and format of my own website and blog. Examine your site but also look at competitors and others you respect. If it is time for a change, start the process. A new website or a website conversion takes time and a budget. An old and out of date website presents the wrong image and this must be addressed.

Marketing and branding takes time and effort. It certainly takes a budget and planning as well. Reviewing your brand regularly is important. You must keep up with technology and leverage what it has to offer to keep your image fresh and on track.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Consistency Matters: Does the Real World Brand Match Your Online Brand?

Target and Single ArrowFor nearly three decades in the public relations business, I have had the pleasure of working with some great entrepreneurs and businesspeople.

The firm’s goals have remained the same: we seek to secure media coverage to build a person’s brand, reputation and attract attention. Building a brand takes time. In the past I have discussed the questions you need to ask to define your brand and I have outlined what is needed in your personal marketing plan.

With so many ways to promote your brand and with so many places online where your brand resides, a challenge surfaces: consistency. Is your brand image and message consistent across all the digital properties that you own? Does this “online brand” match how you present yourself in the real world? I bet some readers have not even thought of this.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a social media marketer using social media for your brand, business or if you are just a casual user of social media. Guess what? You have an online brand and you need to know how you are presenting yourself. For those of you who are not practitioners of social media, you cannot escape either. Even when you don’t have social media accounts of your own, your name is probably online on your company’s website, in directories of the groups that you belong to or perhaps in the media. Have you ever searched for your name? Have you searched for it recently? If not, you should. You need to see how your brand is represented online and what people are saying about you.  Are people making positive comments, negative comments are they not saying anything at all?  Search for your name in Google (and other search engines) to see what comes up. Search down a few pages and make notes of what you find. Search Google Images; does your image come up? Is it an old image? Is the image unflattering? Again, take notes and click on the images, where are they being pulled from? Perhaps images are coming from social media sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook or a newspaper or organizations to which you belong.

Tip: for Gmail/Google Plus users – you can create what is known as Google Alerts. These are Google searches that are done daily or periodically for search terms that you want to monitor. Put your name into the Google Alert system and if your name is mentioned you will get an alert. There is more to this, but begin by creating an alert with your name or, more specifically, your name in quotes such as “Bill Corbett.” This tells Google to search just for your name. If you have a relatively common name like I do, I suggest adding additional words to your search. I use “Bill Corbett” “Public Relations.” This narrows down my search and gets better results – not all the results of all the other Bill Corbett’s in the world. There are quite a few of us by the way.

Businessman Looking in Mirror

Now that you are monitoring your brand, it is time to look at the consistency of your brand. Do you have an elevator speech? Do you have a personal mission statement that you share with people you meet? Do you have an area of expertise that you discuss in the real world? Your answer to all of these questions is likely to be “yes.” How about this question: do you have a certain style of dress or a “look” that you are known for? If you don’t have a specific look, you can be sure the way you present yourself professionally will not go unnoticed. Your message, your mission and the way you look and present yourself needs to be the same (consistent) online as it is in the real world. Your headshots and images need to be professional and consistent. Every written profile also needs to reflect a similar message. Certainly your LinkedIn profile will provide much more information than a Twitter profile, but stay consistent. The graphics and the videos you use must also be consistent. Video is by far the best bridge between the real world and the cyber world. If you can convey on video your brand and message, you are doing it right. Be aware that video is tricky; poor quality videos (poor lighting, poor audio and an awkward presentation) can hurt you and your brand, especially if you are sharp and clear in the real world. Keep an eye on your videos.

Your bios, profiles and content needs to be consistent with your messaging. Think about what you post and the subject matter. If you are a banker or financial services professional, is posting marketing-related content consistent with your brand? If you are a medical professional, are posts about movies and TV appropriate? When using social media for business you must consider these factors. It is not the same if you are using social media to communicate with friends and family. However, in today’s world the lines between what is business and what is personal (for the most part) has faded away. Remember, if you’re online you are representing your brand at all times. You should expect anything and everything you post to be seen by everyone. So if you don’t want friends, employers, prospects, clients or others to see what you are doing, don’t post. In some cases you may not have a choice; friends and others can and will post images of you and mention your name. Again, this is why you need to monitor your brand regularly.

A poor or inconsistent image can result from simply not having your image or content on a LinkedIn, Twitter or other accounts. How does this look to someone you met at a networking event or the person you were introduced to by a friend as a referral? When you don’t bother to project your brand image to prospects, you damage the potential for establishing a business relationship. It’s better not to have an account than to have a blank one. It is shocking to me to see how many networkers and salespeople don’t have completed profiles on LinkedIn. Think of the opportunities you have lost or how this looks when compared to you competition. You’re not looking good online even though you are very impressive in the real world.

Your brand message and image must be consistent in the real world as well as in the cyber world. Take the time to review where your brand resides online and make sure that it is consistent with your real world image. Keep your content consistent and you will be rewarded with a stronger and more effective brand.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Business to Business: Do You Have an Ideal Client Profile?

My ideal client is...

My ideal client is…

You have probably been asked at a networking event or lunch these questions:

Who is a good lead for you? Who is your ideal client?

These questions are important; ones that that people don’t think about or examine fully. We know who we like to work with and we certainly want to find quality clients and customers. However, have you recently considered who your best clients are? Have you asked them why they work with you and why they like you?

Small businesspeople are continuously marketing for business, but are they looking for the right kind of business? This is why creating an ideal client profile is valuable.

The following are questions you need to ask yourself. The questions may vary depending on industry but the same strategy applies for everyone. Create a profile (or profiles) that will allow you to focus your marketing efforts and that will enable you to get in front of the right people/businesses more frequently. Getting the answers to these questions is not as easy as you might think; it will take time and effort. It may take several meetings or even months.

Start with the financial qualifiers. How large should the company/business be in terms of revenue or sales? If a company is too small, are you wasting your time?

Does the company have a budget for the products or services that you offer? Ask about a budget. If funds are not allocated for items or services you offer, don’t waste your time or cut your prices.

Is the company in the right industry or niche for you? Many of us work hard to adapt our services, but this may limit our ability to be successful. Stick to the industries where you have your greatest strengths. Trying to service too many different industries can spread your marketing message too thin.

Who do you need to get in front of? Will you be presenting to a CEO, CMO or CFO? Make sure your profile identifies who the right decision maker is to fit with your process. This is where many networkers fail. They waste their time speaking and meeting with the wrong people.

What structure is needed for the client to effectively engage with you and your business? If you need to communicate with a CEO who is generally inaccessible or you need to be in touch with a marketing department, make sure that this is part of your profile.

From a marketing perspective you will want to know where your ideal clients congregate or meet? Who are their clients/customers? How can you help them meet more prospects? By understanding your prospects’ needs you can be helpful to them in their efforts to grow their businesses. If you know where prospects are you can find them. This may be in the physical sense. For example, if you know certain decision makers will be attending a trade show or conference then you can focus on these events. If you know your ideal client reads a particular blog, trade or business publication, you can work to get coverage in that publication. You want your prospects to see you and learn about your leadership and expertise.

Spend the time reviewing and researching your best clients and look at the attributes that make them perfect for you. Create your own list of similar companies or businesses and start marketing to them. Find out where they will be, work to build relationships with them and plan to provide them services that have value.

How did you meet your ideal client? Can you repeat this process? Who introduced you or gave you the referral? If you received business from a referral, create an ideal referral profile.

Work to recreate the process for meeting and engaging with an ideal prospect and track how your marketing and relationship process resulted in the opportunity to make the sale. Keep good records and repeat your successes.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



Important Feature Removed from LinkedIn? Or Not?

We Almost Lost the Ability to Easily Download Contacts from LinkedIn

Ironically, after recently posting two blogs related to LinkedIn, I learned some challenging news. On July 23, 2015, LinkedIn removed one of its best features for members – the ability to easily download LinkedIn contacts. However, LinkedIn apparently quickly reversed this decision. This change and reversal points out several important concerns about being involved in social media and social media marketing.

The most important point is that as a personal marketer your database is a valuable asset. Keep a separate database of your own and be sure to update it regularly. Download your LinkedIn database today and do this every few months as you add contacts.

Click here for a how-to guide to download your LinkedIn contacts.

Click here for a how-to guide to download your LinkedIn contacts.

Check out this video I will show you how to do it.

In terms of social media sites, remember that your profile or page resides on a platform that is not yours. You have no control when format or features changes are made. Therefore, it is wise to have your own website and your own blog. You have control and always will have control over the look, feel and content of your own online properties.

In the past, changes to Facebook, Twitter and other sites have caused complaints from many users. However, this is the price we pay to have our content on popular social media sites.

As a personal branding, PR and marketing consultant, I recommend a number of ways for people to leverage the power of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the most valuable ways to build connections and relationships with others.

Communicating regularly and using different channels of communication with others is essential. It is how we stay top of mind. Email is another important communication tool. Many people use services such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact, companies that offer good features and help users to reduce spam and unwanted emails. Blast emails have proven to be effective in marketing and continue to be used by many as a strategy. However, just because you have a large downloaded list of email addresses of your LinkedIn contacts, it does not mean that you can or should just start sending out eblasts. Make sure to get the permission of people before you start sending newsletters or other communications. Failing to do so could get your accounts suspended or cause other headaches.

This is the link to LinkedIn’s blog about why they reversed the change:

Business Insider – LinkedIn Restores Ability to Download Contacts

I have written frequently about the importance of your database for growing your personal brand and business.

I am still curious as to why LinkedIn made this change and then reversed it. Perhaps, as it appears, there are too many people with fake LinkedIn accounts; accounts created to capture contacts just to get email addresses to be used for spamming purposes. I would not be surprised if this was also an attempt to help protect member data. I will keep you updated as we learn more.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



What Does “Brand” Mean to You?

Stand OutYour personal brand is your image and how you are perceived (good or bad) in your market. You must always be thinking about your brand and how to grow it.

Look at the letters that spell B-R-A-N-D:

B – Believe in yourself and others will follow.

R – Reputation is your most valuable asset.

A – Authenticity builds trust.

N – Name recognition comes from personal marketing.

D – Determination is required for continued success.

I often write about the need for individuals to have a personal marketing plan. This plan is critically important if individuals wish to be competitive in the business world. How do you start building your brand? Likely, you are doing this without a plan but you will be more effective if you put thought into it and create a foundation for success. You need a strong brand to attract attention, stand out from competitors, beat your competition and develop more business.


How do you get your brand on track? Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are developing your personal brand and brand message:

  1. Why do you do what you do?
  2. What is your personal mission statement?
  3. What is your personal passion statement and how does this connect with who you are and your career goals?
  4. What makes you different than others in your industry or business sector?
  5. Why do people want to work with you?
  6. What do people like about working with you?

Asking yourself these questions creates the starting point for your personal brand development process. Answering these questions will allow you to gain a better sense how you want to represent yourself. When you define your brand you will then be able to consistently communicate your message.

Using LinkedIn is the perfect place to start. Using the questions provided above and you experience drafting your profile in the first person on LinkedIn. Describe why you do what you do and what sets you apart from others. Your LinkedIn profile is your personal brand page; it reflects who you are and what you offer. People change, so don’t be afraid to modify your profile to reflect what you are doing today, your successes and accomplishments.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 


Don’t Be a LinkedIn Loser: Strategies for Using LinkedIn Effectively for Business and Personal Branding

ClownWhen I describe someone as a “LinkedIn Loser,” I do so tongue-in-cheek. LinkedIn is the most significant business networking site in the world. If you are in business or need to network in any way you must be on LinkedIn. Even if you’re retired and volunteer for a local charity or if you are a freshman in college there are specific ways to leverage the power of LinkedIn. Here are some of my tips on how to navigate and utilize LinkedIn to your advantage. Follow these tips and you will avoid being a “LinkedIn Loser” and become a “LinkedIn Winner.”

Here are 12 tips to maximize your profile, attract attention, develop relationships and generate leads:

1. Commit to relationship building and not selling.

LinkedIn’s motto is “Relationships matter.” This platform is meant to build relationships and not sell which will push people away. Despite what digital marketers say, LinkedIn is not for selling but for building relationships. For more on this tip please visit my blogs Networking and LinkedIn: Build Relationships and Don’t Sell and Networking for Success: How to Start Conversations.

2. Have a high quality headshot.

Only one out of seven people look at your profile if you do not have a good headshot. For more information on this tip please visit my blog Making the Wrong LinkedIn Impression: Profile Photo Blunders.

Are you an Unknown on LinkedIn?

Are you an Unknown on LinkedIn?

3. Have a criteria and system for people who with you connect.

Do not be afraid to connect with people if you do not know them. LinkedIn is the conduit. There are people who want to spam you (get your email and they do so directly or with fake accounts). For more information on this tip please visit my blog LinkedIn Connection Criteria. More on this in a future blog.

4. Be active-post updates daily.

You have to be active, which allows you to be top of mind. Publish your work, share posts and comment on posts. Try to post every day, including weekends. Don’t forget LinkedIn’s publish platform. For more information on this tip please visit my blog Tips for Getting More Views for Your LinkedIn Profile.

5. Belong to the right group.

Being active at times may be overwhelming; focus on two to five groups for the greatest impact. This will get you the greatest ROE (Return on Effort). Join groups that are regionally focused in your industry, target rich for prospects and where referral sources are active.

6. Be active in groups and/or create your own group. 

This allows you to develop your community, where you will demonstrate your knowledge and thought leadership.  Show your expertise and develop relationships.

7. Have an error free page.

Take the time for someone to proofread your profile. Make sure it portrays you the way you want-it is meant to build your reputation. Grammatical errors will take away from the work.

8. Include hyper-local geographical tags in your title and in your profile.

Geo tags (community, city, town or state names) help people to find you and your business.

9. Include key words often and close to the beginning of your profile.

Key words are critical for internal search. Without them, you will be invisible. Describe what you do, where you do it and your industry expertise. If you offer a number of services mention them all.

10. Make sure your title quickly tells people what you do.

People don’t care about your official title (President, Vice President, CEO, etc.), use descriptive words instead.


All caps means shouting online; if used you will be considered rude/unapproachable.

12. Incorporate videos and projects into your profile.

Videos are critical to your personal brand. Images online are important; they need to reflect who you are and what you stand for. For more information on this tip please visit my blogs Guess What? You’re a Media Company and How to be a Local Business Rock Star.

For the full list of tips here is the link to the pdf:

Having these strategies in one’s back pocket will give you and your brand an advantage over your competitors.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 


LinkedIn Connection Criteria

Connection WebShould you connect with or not connect with on LinkedIn or social media in general?

This is one of the most common questions I get asked during my Grow Your Personal Brand and other personal marketing seminars.

Yes, having a large number of connections will be beneficial for your marketing, branding and business development. Your “connections” and database of contacts are valuable assets. Your contacts and relationships are important to you and must be developed properly. However, everyone is not a perfect connection and others may be inappropriate for you and your goals.

Many people have explained to me their connection criteria. Here are some common statements about how people limit with whom they connect:

  1. I only connect with people I know well.
  2. I do not connect with clients because I do not want people to see with whom I am working.
  3. I never connect with competitors or people in my industry.
  4. I don’t connect with my staff on LinkedIn because I do not want them to see what I am doing.
  5. I don’t want my employees to connect with a lot of people because this will make them targets for poaching by competitors looking for staff.

All are interesting points and certainly everyone has their opinion. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of LinkedIn? The answer is simple; just look at the company’s tagline: “Relationships matter.” This is so true and we also know that LinkedIn is akin to a huge and ongoing networking event. If you look at LinkedIn this way, then you should expand your criteria for connecting.

I personally connect with just about everyone. However, I do have my rules. I do not connect with local competitors; if they are a PR firm on Long Island I will probably not connect, but if they are from Chicago I probably will. I look at all connection requests carefully and follow my specific connection criteria.

For a PDF of my connection criteria checklist click here.

Do I connect with people I don’t know? Yes, for the same reason I go to networking events: I want to meet and get to know new people.

In terms of connecting with clients, you absolutely should. There is no way anyone will know that they are your clients. If you are worried about losing clients because of LinkedIn you have a bigger problem. You need to have better relationships with your clients.

This is my connection criteria checklist:

Your connections are a valuable asset. On LinkedIn they are your audience. You need to connect and engage with people and this will increase the value of your overall network and brand. With a well-developed network you will generate more business and create opportunities.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 


Working with the Local Media: Live Early Morning Television Remotes

News 12 Long Island at the Brookhaven Town Fair in 2015.

News 12 Long Island at the Brookhaven Fair in 2015.

During my career I have worked with the many local New York area media outlets. I have been involved with over 250 live morning TV news remotes. Each of these mornings included at least several segments featuring clients and causes which I support. Segments have taken place at locations across the entire New York region including Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx and lower Connecticut.

Each morning remote is different because of the client, message and location. However, the one aspect that doesn’t change is the amount of planning and preparation that is involved.

In order to ensure live TV coverage works, you must approach the media well in advance with a special, original and visually intriguing story. You must know all the details regarding exactly when and where the media would be able to cover the story and describe the visuals and location.

Here is a recent example of what goes into this effort and the challenges: earlier this summer, the Brookhaven Fair was on Long Island. I contacted local cable news network News 12 Long Island early and provided the dates that the fair was taking place. I have worked with the Brookhaven Fair for over a decade and knew that News 12 was an outlet that had done live mornings at fairs in the past. I was hopeful that they would be interested again, but it is never a sure thing. I communicated with the show producers and was able to get a date set up.

News 12 Long Island at the Brookhaven Town Fair in 2015.

News 12 Long Island at the Brookhaven Fair in 2015.

The early morning live coverage morning at the fair meant that the reporter and news truck would be arriving before 5 a.m. to set up their trucks and equipment. I visited the site the day before to assess the layout of the location and make sure there was a centrally located area for the truck to park.

The truck must be centrally positioned to cover each segment that was planned. The location should also take into account the ability to send and receive a broadcast signal and quickly run cables to each new position. I recommend doing a site visit before the news outlet arrives because it is also a chance to talk to everyone who will be interviewed. In my case, I was able to give them details and let them know how the morning will work. It is going to be early so I knew that they would be better off if they were prepared ahead of time. It is very hard to do this in a rush at 5 a.m.

One of our Summer 2015 interns Tara with a gator handler at the 2015 Brookhaven Town Fair.

One of our Summer 2015 interns Tara with a gator handler at the 2015 Brookhaven Fair.

Often people being interviewed do not have experience being on live television so it is important to recognize this and outline the process for them; give them sample questions or talking points so they can prepare their answers for the interview and run through any movements or interactions with animals, people, or surroundings to ensure they are providing the best visual and message for the audience. Live television segments in the early morning may only be one to two minutes long, so the preparation beforehand will eliminate any wasted coverage due to confusion of what to do or say during the short interview. For this particular morning at the fair, it was easier because each performer was describing what they do.

Although I did on-site visits, confirmed the night before with everyone and had constant communication with the media and people at the fair, we did have a last minute cancellation due to breaking news. This is another aspect that you must be prepared for in advance; breaking news, bad weather, injuries or any other interruption can occur at any moment and you must have a protocol in place in case it does happen. In this situation, I received a phone call at 3 a.m. informing me that the morning shot had been replaced by breaking news. I had to immediately contact everyone at the fair and tell them. In the end it worked out well; the fair was in town for another week, so we were able to provide an alternative date.  We were lucky, often you only have one shot.

A performer from the Fearless Flores Thrill Show getting ready to enter the

A performer from the Fearless Flores Thrill Show getting ready to enter the “Globe of Death.”

The planning should continue all throughout the morning of the remote. Always be in constant communication with the studio, providing them with the information about location, set up, names of people to be interviewed and the visuals they will be able to receive at certain times. For example, some of the performers at this fair including the team from the Fearless Flores Thrill Show and their motorcycles could only be used in later segments because of the lighting and potential for moisture. Their act includes the “Globe of Death” and motorcycles need to run on dry surfaces to be safe. With this in mind, we planned out the entire morning.

Even with all the planning and preparation, always be ready to react if something were to go wrong. There is limited time for hesitation. At the fair, we were dealing with animals in some segments and they are not predictable. We also had to manage the loud noise from the motorcycles that prevented the interviewer from asking questions or hearing comments from guests. However, we were able to make adjustments and the segments looked great. For each segment we go through what will be done and who will be speaking. Everyone is well prepared and they understood what they had to do and what the TV crew needed.

Along with organizing each segment and performer, I worked in between the segments to share and post video and pictures of the fair and media to spark more interactions with our audience. I used Meerkat on my iPhone and was able to live stream the activity and provide commentary which increased traffic and interest in the fair. Live tweeting and streaming is mutually beneficial; it brings attention to your client and activity as well as you and your brand. Thousands of people saw the posts and many commented. Many also attended the fair that weekend.

This was one of the photos that I took of my encounter with a coatimundi.

This was one of the photos that I took of my encounter with a coatimundi.

Coverage does not have to end once the media outlet finishes their live segments. After sharing your pictures and video throughout the morning, continue to share throughout the day, and in the case of the fair, throughout the weekend. People are interested in seeing what happens behind the scenes during live TV events, so they will appreciate seeing the updates on your social media accounts and be more likely to visit your client’s website, attend the event and remember their brand which is the whole reason for obtaining this coverage to begin with. I always share pictures with reporters who use them on their social media sites. These activities help get the message out to more people and it creates a personal connection with those involved.

Live morning television takes time, energy and planning. The day can start early; sometimes midnight, 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. A typical live remote will include three to eight segments. These segments are typically two to three minutes in length. The value of this coverage is significant and long lasting. Morning coverage is on when people are getting ready for work and school. They are looking at the news of the day, weather and sports; early morning is “prime time” for many viewers.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 


Media Relations for Your Brand: Doing Live National TV Interviews

Fox Business News Host Neil Cavuto (l) with Rob Basso (second right).

Fox Business News Host Neil Cavuto (left) with Rob Basso (second right).

Media coverage is an important part of marketing and personal branding. Getting on television as an expert will bring your personal brand message to a large audience and create valuable content that you can use on social media. To succeed with a television media relations strategy you need to be prepared and committed. You need to present your ideas to the media and when they bite, be prepared to express your message and show your expertise live on TV. To present yourself properly, you need to practice and be well prepared. Corbett Public Relations has worked in this area for close to three decades.

Recently I asked longtime client entrepreneur, author of “The Everyday Entrepreneur” and president of Advantage Payroll Long Island, Rob Basso about his TV interview experiences and how he prepares for being on live national television programs. Rob is a regular guest on Fox Business, including Neil Cavuto’s primetime program; he has also appeared on Fox and Friends, MSNBC’s Your Business, Huffington Post and dozens of local TV news programs.

Rob Basso on Fox Business News.

Rob Basso on Fox Business News.

What was your first live TV experience like?

My first experience was very nerve racking. I had been preparing for that day for years by producing my own web series, but live television with hundreds of thousands of people watching was much different. I was more excited than nervous, mainly because I wanted to do a good job. It’s ok to have butterflies in your stomach, but you can’t let it show.

What do you do when you get the call?

It’s all about the preparation. I never go into a live spot without learning and understanding the topic completely. I also start thinking about how my personal business experiences can be brought into the discussion.

How do you prepare once the topics of the interview or panel discussion are provided?

As a small business advocate and author, most of the topics that I am asked to comment on are within my experience and knowledge base. However, when we are discussing breaking news, specific companies or governmental policies, I may need to do some research. My staff and I scour the web for details about the topic and I create a briefing document that has my opinion on the subject, as well as pertinent facts associated with the topic. I then spend time going over the notes and sometimes working with my publicist going over mock questions that may be asked. I also think about the specific messages which I want to convey.

Rob Basso during an appearance on Fox News Channel.

Rob Basso during an appearance on Fox News Channel.

How do you keep from getting nervous?

Being prepared is the best way to cut down on the nerves. Sometimes that’s not enough and many times on live television the unexpected happens. For example, I was on the air when Osama Bin Laden was killed and was asked to comment. Being up on current events is vital.

What is it like being on set with well-known members of the media?

It can be intimidating, but after a few times, you realize they are real people too. The good hosts are very gracious and make you feel comfortable.

How do these appearances help your brand?

Being associated with national news media raises your national presence and builds you strong credibility. When a national news network trusts your opinion, you should share with your clients, prospects and contacts.  Always share good media coverage on social media; this will enhance your brand and your reputation as an expert.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 


Networking and LinkedIn: Build Relationships and Don’t Sell

I have been posting frequently about networking and personal marketing over the past few weeks. Networking is an important part of most business people’s marketing efforts. There is no better way than networking to get in front of people and speak with them, get to know them and build relationships. In a previous blog I described being accosted after a speaking engagement by an overly aggressive and hard selling insurance agent. The person followed me down a hall, into an elevator and for several blocks in Manhattan.

I was thinking about this incident and remembered the famous scene from Groundhog Day were Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is accosted by Ned Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky), a hyper aggressive insurance salesman in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. This is the clip from the movie if you have not seen it, but I am sure the experience will be familiar:

Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day.

Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day (click for video).

I have managed networking groups and hosted many networking meetings.  I think of Ned every time I am at a networking event where the person I meet, immediately or almost immediately starts to try to sell something to me. To some degree I can understand this approach. Some people receive training that encourages this activity and others are simply business card collectors. People are desperate for immediate business; they need to make sales quotas or commissions to survive. I understand the sales process, but networking and using LinkedIn are not for selling. We all have to sell, but networking is a marketing function that leads to the sales process. You have to build relationships first to generate business leads.

I also have nothing against insurance professionals. I work with many of them to develop personal brands and LinkedIn marketing strategies. As a matter of fact, insurance professionals can be, with the right approaches, some of the best networkers. Insurance professionals often have many clients from many business sectors and professions. They also frequently work with business owners and decision makers. All are important contacts and relationships that can be brought to the networking table.

The hard selling approach simply does not work. It actually repels people from you and what you are seeking to accomplish. I call hard sellers “marketing kryptonite.” If you don’t know, kryptonite is the fictional radioactive stone remnants from the planet Krypton, the original home of Superman. Kryptonite weakens Superman and removes his super powers.

Superman suffering the effects of kryptonite.

Superman suffering the effects of kryptonite.

A person who is marketing kryptonite removes the energy from a networking event and limits the abilities of quality networkers to do what they need to do to develop relationships. On LinkedIn the same approach drives people away. How? Getting an unsolicited sales message creates a negative perception of you; it shows that you don’t care, as well as that you don’t understand how LinkedIn should be used. LinkedIn is a networking and relationship building platform that opens doors. A hard sales or miss timed sales message will close doors and limit opportunities.

The key to successful long term networking efforts is relationship building. Invest time to get to know people. Getting to know people does not happen overnight, you must meet one on one and be part of groups that focus on this aspect. It is well known and proven that people do business with people that they know, get to like personally and trust. They will do more business, give referrals and act as brand advocates for people who think of them and look for opportunities for them to expand their networks, refer business and give them information, as well as support that will help them be more successful. This process demonstrates that you have value and that you value the relationship with your contact. If you don’t give and provide value, you have no value yourself. This often happens when the individual is focused on themselves vs the other person. Leverage the power of LinkedIn to communicate with new networking contacts and use the platform to make introductions and share business growth strategies.

What not to do when networking – some simple rules:

  1. Never hard sell.
  2. Build relationships first before asking for business.
  3. Ask for referrals only after you have built trust.
  4. Never set up a meeting just to have a one on one session to present a sales pitch.
  5. Don’t focus on collecting business cards just to reach a goal.
  6. Never follow up by phone or email with a sales pitch.
  7. Don’t lead or start conversations with a list of your services.
  8. Don’t ask, immediately, who are you using for (insert your industry or profession)
  9. Don’t ask probing questions just to qualify people.
  10. Don’t use an elevator speech as a sales pitch.

What to do if you encounter Ned Ryerson or a hard seller? They are persistent so you have to hold your ground. It may be a challenge because most people are not seeking conflict. Start with this:

Ask them a personal question. If they don’t answer, ask it again.

Tell them that you are here to get to know people and find out who has the personality to work with you and your clients or customers.

Do your best to extricate yourself from the conversation and move on. Warn your friends and if possible, work with group leaders to discuss the group’s culture and approach and that hard selling is frowned upon.

In a perfect world wouldn’t we all like to do what Bill Murray does to Ned Ryerson?

See the video below:

Phil Connors (Bill Murray) and Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day.

Phil Connors (Bill Murray) and Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day (click for video).

Of course we can’t do this but we can fight back and let people know the importance of building a relationship with you and let them know who you are, why you do what you do and finally what you do.

Your reputation matters. Being known as a hard seller is a quick way to destroy your reputation in a group or online. Build relationships and you will gain value in many ways. By taking this approach your investment will be rewarded with referrals, recommendations, introductions, new business and interesting opportunities.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 


Networking for Success: How to Start Conversations



Networking effectively never involves hard selling, asking a prospect if they need your services or if they have any prospects/leads for you. About two years ago I was in New York City; I had just given a presentation to a group of startup entrepreneurs. The group was great and there was tremendous energy. However, one attendee – I believe he was a guest – came up to me after the program. This is usually a fun time for me when attendees will ask for my card or perhaps ask for a tip or some help with a marketing challenge. This one attendee came up to me and pushed his card into my hand and said, “you should call me, I have great insurance programs for business people like you.”

This person had an opportunity to ask me questions and engage in a conversation. Quite the contrary happened, I said “Ok, thank you.” I then said my goodbyes to the event producer and some other people. I was walking down the hall and guess who followed me? He literally tried to sell me all the way down the hall, in the elevator and for three blocks in Manhattan. I finally escaped into a cab, even though my car was parked two blocks away. Needless to say, the guy’s business card never made it to the parking garage.

Does this guy look familiar?

Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day.

Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day.

More on him tomorrow.

Networking and relationship building are important elements of personal marketing. However, networking is not easy for many people. Many struggle to start conversations. If you don’t interact with people, why should you be networking? Ok so you are making the commitment to network, you have joined a group or you are “out” in the business community looking for business. What are some of the ways to get conversations started? Before you start, remember the example of the hard selling insurance guy. Networking is not selling; effective networking leads to business but only after relationships and trust are built.

Before you think about questions to ask and ways to approach people, take the time to examine and research the group or event you will be attending. Who will be there, why are they there, what is the purpose of the group, who are the leaders, how is the event or meeting structured and what is the culture? Some of these questions you may not be able to answer immediately but you should think about them before you go to the event.

If you have been invited to the event or group, have a conversation with the person who invited you. Find out what they have to say about the group and the members. If there is a list of members online, look them up. Remember that networking is work and if you don not do your homework ahead of time you will not be prepared and certainly have a harder time starting conversations. Here are some approaches that I personally endorse and use regularly to start conversations.

Arrive early. If you are late, you miss opportunities. It is easy to start a conversation with the first two or three people who arrive at an event. These people are also likely to be the group leaders. They can help you get more information about the group dynamic.

Start by staying positive; smile and say hello to people as they arrive. Stand up straight and be aware of your body language. This sets the stage for getting into conversations. Look people in the eye and face them directly. Don’t forget the handshake. Your handshake must be firm; at least equal in strength to the person you are meeting. A weak handshake will not set the tone for an effective conversation.

While listening is key to successful networking and relationship building, you have to get the interactions moving, especially when you are new. Questions are key. Think about your questions and work to have five to eight questions in mind. If you have done your homework some specific questions will help facilitate this process and if you recognize the person from research even better; you will know their industry. For example, if you know they are an attorney then you can craft your question appropriately.

Ask open ended questions that will allow you to ask follow ups and for the person you are asking to discuss something of interest to them. This may start with small talk but watch out for politics, controversial issues or religion. If you can sense or quickly find out what they are interested in, ask questions. When you have built a rapport, this is when you can start asking questions that are more relevant to business:

  • Are you working on anything interesting?
  • What challenges are your clients having these days?
  • In your opinion, how can you specifically help clients overcome their challenges?
  • What are some of the trends that are impacting your business or industry?
  • We are halfway through the year, are you reaching your goals?
  • How is this group helping you achieve your goals?
  • Why do clients choose you over your competition?

These are some ideas and you can get more personal as the conversation progresses. Many people ask the questions – Who are good prospects for you or who is your ideal client? These are good questions, but make sure you are ready to ask them. Once you ask, make sure to listen carefully and ask follow up questions to help clarify their answer. The answer to this question is very important because it may be the way to open the door for you to make introductions for your new contact. Always be thinking about giving before you expect anything in return.

You are asking questions and getting answers. Make sure that you listen carefully.  Relationship building requires much more listening than talking at first. Take note of important information you receive from people you speak with. Formulate a follow up process and be prepared to answer questions yourself.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 


Tips for Getting More Views for Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile Views.

LinkedIn Profile Views.

One of the most important ways to develop business is to attract people to your LinkedIn profile and your personal brand. When you know who is viewing your LinkedIn profile, it can lead to new business, meetings with prospects and an opportunity to reengage with people whom you have not connected with for a while. Yes, looking at profiles can seem a bit like cyberstalking, but it is a feature that LinkedIn offers and we need to take advantage of it. It is no secret that this feature exists, so why hide the fact that you know that people are viewing your profile or you are viewing theirs?

The following are a few strategies to get more profile views:

LinkedIn Publishing

LinkedIn’s publishing platform is basically a blog. You need to use it to show your expertise, knowledge and personality. To get more profile views, post often (at least once a week). This platform, which has been available for over a year (February 2014) offers a perfect opportunity for creating a blog, especially if you do not have one. Once the blog is published, share the content in your own news feed and in your LinkedIn groups as well as on other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

I started to use the platform and it is driving profile views. The platform has surpassed the 1 million mark in LinkedIn users who are publishing. This is not really a large percentage of users when you consider the total number of LinkedIn users is over 330 million. The fact that you are among those using the platform is a differentiator that will attract people to you and your brand.

LinkedIn Profile Views graph.

LinkedIn Profile Views graph.

As I have stated previously, LinkedIn is where your brand lives and your blog is where your brand can come to life. Now both can happen in the same place – on LinkedIn.

Top of Mind – Actively Posting on LinkedIn

We must stay “top of mind” with contacts, friends, family and prospects. LinkedIn users typically go through the effort of creating a profile and then expect people to find them and view their profile just because they are there. The Field of Dreams model of “If you build it, they will come,” will not work. You may get some visitors but you need to be active to get a larger number of real profile viewers who are interested in you and your brand. Remember, you can’t just “set it and forget it”; you have to be active and engaged.

For posting on LinkedIn, consider how much time you can spend to accomplish your goals. Create a time budget for collecting or creating content that you will share in your news feed. You want to be active and try to post every day. I like to see people post daily (yes, even on weekends). Some other suggestions: share your own content (blogs or articles), write long-form posts about a topic or a subject of interest to you, like other people’s comments and comment on posts. When you share your content, be sure to use an image or video whenever possible. Images and videos will enhance posts, spark interest and will attract three to eight times more engagements (comments, likes or shares). Also, test the content that you post to see what gets attention. Keep in mind that content needs to be consistent with your brand and point of view.

News Feed and Group Engagement

Engagement comes by interacting with people on their posts, but it is also about being active and listening. You should post questions and provide commentary that leads to open-ended questions. Use true and false questions in your feed or in groups. If you see other people asking questions, answer them as well.

These actions will assist in getting views from current contacts but you can also engage with people in groups with whom you are not directly connected. When people in groups find you interesting, they are going to check out your profile and potentially connect with you. When they like your posts in groups this is also a great opportunity to ask a question or connect. Remember, in addition to profile views, making connections and building relationships (not selling) is what LinkedIn is all about.

Using the LinkedIn InMail capability to communicate with people whom you are connected with will strengthen relationships and your ability to share information, whether it is a link on your publishing platforms or simply saying hello.


LinkedIn “Keep In Touch.”

LinkedIn’s “Keep in Touch” feature is a valuable feature where birthdays, changes in positions and new jobs among your connections are highlighted and can help give you a reason to reach out and communicate with someone who is a potential source of business, a prospect, an influencer or a thought leader. Ask questions and tell people proactively what you are up to.

LinkedIn is by far the best platform for business-to-business relationship building. In terms of lead development, it is 277 times more effective than Twitter or Facebook in the B2B space. These strategies are critical for driving your business relationship and business relationship success on LinkedIn.

Connect with me on LinkedIn today and check out my profile:


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 


Making the Wrong LinkedIn Impression: Profile Photo Blunders

Almost 100 percent of the attendees of the business groups that I speak in front of or train are using LinkedIn. The amount that they use LinkedIn varies depending on the industry. From a networking perspective, LinkedIn is a valuable tool for anyone seeking to grow their brand, attract attention, grow their business, find a job, advance their career or share their knowledge.

As I always say, LinkedIn is where your brand lives. You need to project the best image possible and make the best first impression possible. LinkedIn studies have shown that only one in seven people will even look at a profile if it does not have a photo. I am shocked to see some of the horrific, confusing and silly photos that people use in their LinkedIn profiles. I thought I would share a few of these with you.

The following are all profile images that I have found. I have removed names, but these are all photos from public pages and once you put something online, it is fair game.

Will the real profile owner please raise their hand?

Will the real profile owner please raise their hand?

Will the real profile owner please raise their hand?

While it is great to work in teams, your LinkedIn profile is your own digital property. Don’t share it with others. Having multiple people in your photo causes confusion.

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!

Keep the vacation photos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Your profile viewers on LinkedIn don’t know you and don’t care about your vacation yet. Your photo needs to be clean and clear; don’t use a blurry photo, ever.

Dragon Lady

Dragon Lady

Dragon Lady

This is actually the profile image used by a female CPA. Can you believe it? Would you would with a professional who uses and image like this? How serious are they, especially if they are going to provide you information about your taxes and finances?

In the dark.

In the dark.

In the dark

This is not a horrible photo but you can barely see the guy. A dark photo does not reflect a bright and positive image. Why is it dark? Is the person hiding something?




Yes this young attorney is happy and smiled for the camera. There are so many problems with this photo I don’t know where to start. Blurry, poorly cropped, taken at a party, pixelated and he is not standing straight. Another professional who presents himself in a very confusing way. Not a good first impression at all.

behind the mask

Woman in the mask.

Woman in the mask

Well it’s not a mask, but it looks like what Catwoman or another cartoon villain would wear. It is not likely that if you looked at this woman’s profile photo and then she walked up to you in the real world that you would recognize her. Your image online should help people to recognize you in the real world at meetings or networking events.

bad crop

Give me a hug!

Give me a hug!

Really, this is actually a real profile photo. They did not even take the time to get a shot with them alone. This type of photo shows that the he really does not care about his image and what others think of him. Poor judgment in the choice of a photo reflects on how you are perceived. When people have choices they will choose people with good judgment over those who lack it.

Four of a kind – Aces

Four of a kind – Aces

Four of a kind – Aces

A nice image for a gambler, but this is the profile photo of a real estate agent. Are you hiring a gambler to sell your home? Stay away from logos and graphics. Use your photo and you can use graphics in other parts of your profile.

And he’s off!

And he’s off!

And he’s off!

Wow. Happy that this guy had fun at the Kentucky Derby. He is not in the racing industry and this photo, even if it was good quality, is just perplexing.


A Formal Event

A Formal Event

I am not a fan of profile photos of people in tuxedos, but if they are done right then they can work. Another CPA who just picked a photo to fill the spot without thinking of his image and what people will be thinking.

A bridge too far

A bridge too far

A bridge too far

You must be in the center of your photo and your face needs to be clearly seen. Far off nature shots should not be used on LinkedIn.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Lights, Camera, Action!

This is an image of a young lady who works in TV. I like that fact that it was shot in the place of business, but a selfie with poor lighting does not help her brand.




When resizing images you must do it to scale. This image was compressed incorrectly and makes it look odd. Again, rushing to have an image is no excuse. Take the time to properly size the image in your profile.

on the road again

Drive on

Drive on

Wearing sunglass is also a mistake. Glasses hide your eyes and shows that you may be hiding something. It also hinders the ability of others to build trust with you. In the car – well this is also not the best place to present an image of who you are and what you do. This guy was not a professional driver, so the context is not appropriate.




This maybe a wedding shot and it is a nice photo but it does not project the right image for LinkedIn. Formal clothing is ok but this shot is cropped and it likely is not the image that this woman presents on a regular basis. Not horrible, but she can do much better.

A LinkedIn profile headshot placeholder.

A LinkedIn profile headshot placeholder.

No man’s land.

Not having a photo is the biggest mistake of all. However, it is best to wait until you have a quality headshot to use to put on your profile. You are best to wait on creating your profile or using your profile until you have the appropriate headshot.

These are only a few examples of images that create confusion and do not present the right image online and on LinkedIn, the world largest business networking community. It is essential that you make a good first impression and your profile image plays a major part in this. A good impression allows you to start off relationships and build trust in a more effective way.

What about the people you don’t know? Your LinkedIn profile is where they will get their first impression. Will it be a positive impression? How about if they are going to meet you for the first time and they are looking at your LinkedIn profile to get an idea of what you look like so when you meet them at a restaurant for lunch they know what you look like? If you look nothing like your image online, what does it say about you and how much do you care about your image? If you don’t care about your image and brand why should anyone else?

What about selfies? Never use a selfie for a profile photo.

There is only one easy fix to all of this. Spend the money and get a professional headshot done. This will present the right image on LinkedIn and you will make a good impression on those who visit your brand page. The small investment may prove to be priceless for your brand.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 


How to be a Local Business Rock Star

Rock StarWouldn’t it be awesome if you walked into a business networking event and everyone knew who you were and what you did even if they have never met you in person before? Would having them know you help you to start a conversation and attract attention? Being able to quickly connect with people, talk with them about who you are and to find out who they are is an avenue for building relationships. This critical first step in relationship building takes place at business networking events in the market here on Long Island and in business communities across the nation every day.

So how do you become a local business rock star?

Understand your brand and brand message

rockstar[1]Examine who you are and what you stand for. Understand your brand and your message. You need to clearly define your brand, what you stand for and what you are passionate about. This will enable you to craft your elevator speech and your online message. You will be ready to create your LinkedIn and other social media profiles for people to review and quickly grasp what you stand for. Remember your message should not be about you, it should be about what you can do for others and how you can work with them to overcome a challenge or achieve a goal.


Who you are is presented in the content that you produce. Your blog, videos, speeches, social media posts or a book allow you to present your point of view and expertise.   This content positions you as an expert and by presenting your views in an informative and passionate way you will generate a buzz. Remember that the content has to be interesting and applicable to your audience.

Know your audience

In the context of being a local business rock star, we know the audience will be local businesses. You may need to identify the types of businesspeople or professionals that you want to meet within the marketplace. By narrowing your focus, you can convey quality content to them. If, for example, you are a financial services professional it is likely that accountants are a good referral source for you. Getting in front of this audience regularly is important. Start by searching for groups in LinkedIn. There are business and accounting groups with members who fit your criteria as referral partners. Become active in these groups and share your content and ask questions. From a local business perspective, go to LinkedIn and search for business-focused groups in your geographic area. On Long Island, for example, there are over 100 business-focused groups. Some are of general interest while others cater to niche industries or interests. Join the best groups that fit your audience and become active.

Use Video and Give

People are drawn to others who give. Individuals who offer quality written content or video that will help people grow their business or become more successful attract attention and shares. Video is essential to becoming a rock star. People want video, people prefer video and video is the best way to present your personal message. When you are in front of the camera you can speak directly to your audience. This is where your knowledge can shine, people will get to know you and they will see and hear what you stand for. Let your personality and passion come out and people will remember you and what you do. It is essential to first get your personal brand message on video and then follow up with the helpful content. Your personal brand video should not be a hard sell; tell people who you are and what you stand for, followed by how you can help them.

Presenting a memorable image

To be a local business rock star you need to present a memorable image. Rock stars have a “look” or style that defines them. On the local level we don’t have to go to this extreme. Create a professional look and style of your own and be consistent with this style in the real world and online. You must have a professional headshot on LinkedIn, the image can vary on other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter since they are less formal social environments. The photos and images you use online are important in the process of becoming a rock star and memorable person. Having a quality image on LinkedIn is smart because only one in seven people will even look at your profile if you don’t have an image. If no one is looking at you, you will not become a rock star. Your image will be right next to your posts, on your profile pages of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Your image should also be part of your printed marketing materials and newsletters.

Media coverage



The paparazzi follows rock stars and the media loves to cover them. When you establish yourself as a local business leader and expert, the media will want to interview you. How do you get the media interested in you? Start by saying hello and commenting on articles that reporters write on subjects of interest to you or your customers. Follow members of the media on social media and when you have an idea send them an email. Check out my blog on getting media coverage for more details and strategies. (Speaking For Your Brand)

When you are interviewed by the media, your stardom and credibility increases. More people will see you and they will become more aware of you and your brand. Remember to share this content on all of your social streams and directly with people to make sure the largest audience sees this important content. Don’t just do it once; share this content periodically, especially if you get a TV or video interview.

Charity involvement

Doing good is good for your brand and others will notice. Involvement with community groups, charities and not-for-profits gives you the opportunity to show that you care and are an active supporter in your community. Share your involvement with others in person and online. Your active support of charities will positively reinforce your reputation with people. Do something out of the box for charity and make sure to record it on video or with images. Fight for Charity as a volunteer boxer, take the ice bucket challenge or the polar bear plunge, take part in walks, marathons and other activities all of which are opportunities to tell your stories to reveal who you are and what you are passionate about.  I am an active member of the board of the Marty Lyons Foundation. mention this whenever I do speaking engagements and share my interest and support of the foundation actively online.

Here is one quick example: on Long Island we host an event every year called the Long Island Fight for Charity. This is an event where local businesspeople train and then get in the ring and box. The event has over 1,000 attendees and is a memorable once in a lifetime experience for a boxer. The volunteer boxers use social media, media coverage and events to market themselves. The result? These men and women become local business rock stars. They attract attention, their businesses get attention and reap opportunities for success.

What is the key to becoming a local rock star? It is to simply keep presenting yourself and your brand message to your audiences. Be different and show what you care about in terms of business, personally and charity. Give them the content that they want and need and leverage the power of social media. Be active in locally focused business groups online and harness the power of the media to spread your message. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t be a rock star.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 


Guess What? You are a Media Company


Smartphones such as iPhones are your Personal Marketing Devices.

With today’s changing marketplace for business and communication, the old rules no longer apply. To succeed and thrive you must recognize that you and your business are media companies. How can this be? We are in an age where technology and communications is not only vital for business operations but also for marketing. Some traditional marketing strategies will continue to apply but sticking with them alone will be a recipe for difficulty in the years to come.

A media company. Really? Yes, and the sooner you recognize this and make changes to your marketing the better prepared and the more competitive you will be. In addition to using traditional print marketing and mailings, your multi-media business must add technology.

You hold in the palm of your hand a powerful tool: your smartphone. Virtually everyone in business today carries one and if you don’t, this post is probably not going to help. I call the smartphone your PMD – Personal Marketing Device. This amazing tool can do so many things that many of us would never have thought it would be possible. From a strictly marketing perspective, what does this device do?

Video: When done right, video content created and shared can reach as many people as a broadcast TV program. YouTube is the center of the video universe and you and your media company need to be present. People want video content. They want to watch videos on their smartphones and tablets. They want to watch them at the time of their choosing, on demand. Your competitors are on YouTube and using video. If you are not using video to market and share your brand message, you are two or three years behind your competitors.


Meerkat (l) and Periscope (r) are two smartphone applications which allow for live broadcasting.

From a broadcasting perspective, new applications Meerkat and Periscope are on the scene and part of the next wave. With these apps you become a live broadcaster. You can do shows on the fly and your followers/audience can watch them live. All of this is done on your phone and amazing to think about. However, recognize that the quality of video from smartphones is great. Use your phone, but whenever possible use real video cameras to capture and create content.

Face to Face Communication: iPhone’s FaceTime application or other applications like Skype allow for one-to-one or multi-user video conferencing. This is another form of broadcasting, but to small audiences. The use of video conferencing will be much more common in the future and for meetings and networking it will become an important tool. To reach larger audiences in a live format check out www.Livestream.com and its mobile app.

Blogging: video content is important but written content is also an integral part of your marketing and branding. Your blog is equivalent to your media company’s publishing arm. Your content is created like a magazine, offering articles on a variety of topics for your audience. Your audience wants this content and they will seek you out for it.  Without a blog your brand has no voice and no place to come to life. For a business, your website is where your brand lives; for an individual it is your LinkedIn profile, but it is your blog that brings your brand to life. This is equally so for your video content and – if you have the energy – a podcast.


A podcast microphone and headset.

Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular. They represent the “radio” part of your media company. Podcasts allow you to share your knowledge in an in-depth way. Many podcasts incorporate interviews where ideas can be shared and expertise can be further presented. While not for everyone, podcasts are an effective tool in reaching new audiences and they are the next generation of audio content.

Social media: for most people it is clear that social media sites are where brands and individuals engage with audiences. Many people have social media accounts/apps on their smartphones and use them for personal activities. But they must be properly leveraged for business purposes. Are personal social media accounts used for business still personal? Today we see a mix between what is personal and what is business. In order to engage with people 24/7, it is often necessary to use personal accounts. If you are seeking to build your brand, you want to utilize all social media sites to build awareness and to become an influencer. With a mobile device you have the ability to engage at any moment. Consumers and prospects are online nights and weekends. You need to understand their habits and “live” communicate with them when their eyes and attention are on the social sites that you are using.

Social Media Logos

Icons of various social media platforms that are popular today.

Social media activities can be done on desktops or laptops but more and more of the content is coming directly from mobile devices. Again, your PMD becomes the conduit for bringing your message to potentially millions of people. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram, Snapchat and others that are emerging are platforms where you will need to present your brand.

Social media in the consumer space is much different in business-to-business. Recognition of this fact impacts how you communicate with your audiences and the sites that you will use. Certainly LinkedIn is the premiere site for business-to-business while sites such as Facebook and Pinterest are more effective at reaching consumers. The point here is not so much the value of social media; it is not new. However, we need to look at it differently and recognize that social media is not only part of how we project our message but also where we engage with prospects and customers. When social media was new, many focused only on projecting and sharing content. They skipped the important part – building relationships. This is going to be the key factor in the success of businesses that are adopting social media now.

We see that technology, particularly the technology that is in the palm of our hands, has enormous power. Businesses and individuals need to harness the marketing power of these devices and become media companies which offer diverse content (text, video, audio, photos, graphics) to audiences in different ways. Broadcasting alone will not see results; these tools must be used to listen, interact, share and build relationships. Build your media company and use its capabilities today, this is how you will achieve short and long term success.

Working with Celebrities: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Jared Subway

Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle.

The recent Subway controversy with spokesperson Jared Fogle has once again brought unwanted attention to a large corporation. The lesson is: although there are positive aspects about working with celebrities, businesses must be prepared for anything if you decide to go down this path.

Working with celebrities and well-known figures can draw attention to a charity or business. Celebrities such as Betty White (Morris Animal Foundation), Danny Thomas (St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital) and Christina Aguilera (World Hunger Relief), have adopted causes and have been effective spokespeople as well as superb brand ambassadors.

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.

Over the years we have seen celebrities endorse products and pitch them to us on television and in most other forms of advertising. Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy!, currently promotes reverse mortgages. In past ad campaigns, Wilford Brimley was the spokesperson for diabetes supplies and Sally Struthers implored viewers to “save the children.”

On the local level small businesses work with celebrities too; most often they are former sports stars or entertainers. These “local” celebrities are less expensive and can be very effective in driving attention and awareness of a new brand, local business or not-for-profit. When acting as spokespeople for a temporary campaign or long-term effort these local celebrities can become synonymous with the brand or not-for-profit. The results can be very positive, but pay heed to the current headlines with Jared Fogle and Subway – it is getting very ugly.

Good pitch men and women are spokespeople and celebrities who know how to articulate a message. They can do this in person, as part of an ad campaign and potentially when interviewed by the media. A savvy spokesperson will make sure that they stay on message and get their pitch or promotion out when being interviewed. This is not as easy as you might think. Even when the popularity of a celebrity is on the decline, they will get the attention of interviewers who will typically ask questions related to what the person is best known. This is fair game of course, but it cannot be the only topic for an entire interview. Likewise, the interview cannot be a 100-percent pitch or commercial. An astute spokesperson will balance both and never lose the opportunity for the plug.

Shatner Cuoco Priceline

William Shatner (l) and Kelly Cuoco (r) for Priceline.com.

Those who fail to use the opportunity to make the pitch fall into the “bad” category. They have neglected to present the brand message. The company or business that hired and paid the celebrity will not get the attention or PR it needed and expected. Certainly, long-term, experienced spokespeople rarely have this problem; they get to know the businesses and management they work with and are practiced at what they do. William Shatner and Kelly Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) with Priceline.com are both excellent examples.

The Jared/Subway controversy, just like ones involving Tiger Woods (Nike, Gatorade, Gillette, General Motors) and Lance Armstrong (Live Strong and the United States Postal Service), highlights how celebrity endorsements or relationships with spokespersons can crash and burn. There is always the potential risk for crisis and controversy in associating a brand with an individual, regardless of who they are. When this happens it can truly be ugly, dragging a brand or business through a media controversy for days, months or even years.


Lance Armstrong.

Whether you are associated with a not-for-profit or a business, working with big or small name celebrities must be examined and monitored closely. Be leery of putting too much of the brand’s reputation in the hands of a spokesperson and always have a “crisis” plan should a controversy arise. Weigh the value of the good coverage that you can potentially receive against the bad and hopefully, not the ugly.

Time Saving Productivity Hacks

SpeakWriteTime is something that we all wish we had more of it and lament when we run out of it.

Today time is more valuable than ever and we will fight to get more of it as well as complain when we don’t have enough of it. Time is a valuable commodity and we need to do whatever we can to make the most of our time when working or seeking to improve our businesses.

Most of us – if not all – are on the lookout for ways to make more efficient use of our time, whether it is saving time or accomplishing more in a given period of time. For those who – like me – are constantly on the go, we have no choice.

As a busy public relations and marketing firm owner I am always on the run. I want to share with you some time-saving apps and strategies that I use on a regular basis to assist me to be more efficient and effective.

Dictation Applications

People who are pressed for time are not always the best typists. We rush and it is hard to type very fast on a mobile device. I have found that dictation, a tried and true business efficiently activity, can be easily adopted in the mobile environment.  If I need to write a letter, a lengthy email or a blog, I use apps on my phone to record myself – often when I am driving, on the train, waiting for a meeting or on the road between meetings.  When I am on the road, I do not have a place to sit down and type but I can hammer out a lot of content rather quickly verbally.  Every smart phone has applications that can be used for recording. There are services that, for a fee, will then convert that audio content into written text.

I use SpeakWrite, a dictation app and service, as well as the voice memo application of my smartphone. Dragon (you may be familiar with Dragon Naturally Speaking) can also be helpful, although I have found that it is challenging to work with and it can be expensive.logo

SpeakWrite translates your dictation (mp3 file) into text.  The file is then uploaded to the company website. The company processes the audio and cleans it up in terms of some structure and spelling before returning it to you relatively quickly.  The caveat though is that there are fees involved with this and if it is a long dictation, it can cost between $30, $40, $50 or more. Check with www.speakwrite.com for pricing and services. However, the goal here is to save time. By saving time we save money and this activity gives us the opportunity to literally do two things at once.  We can be in a meeting while the document is being created. After the meeting you have the convenience of having the text waiting for you when you return to your office or right on your website. Now all you have to do is edit the document and you are finished, a great time saver.

The other option is to find a manual service that will take your audio file and return the text to you typed up. If you have flexibility in the timeframe for returning the script, the fee will be much less. All you need to do is edit the text file and again count the time you have saved.

Text Reading Software Apps

Do you have a lot of articles or blogs that you want to read, but just don’t have time?  This is a problem I have but I have found a fun and easy solution. I use Natural Reader Pro, which can take a PDF, Word document or other formatted content and read it back to me. It also has a desktop application, which is great if you are not an outstanding proofreader. It is a valuable timesaver, especially if you are working by yourself. It is also available on mobile devices.naturalreaders logo

This is my hack: copy and paste an article’s text or a PDF magazine clipping or letter that you can send to yourself as an attachment and the software will read it back to you. It is like converting written articles into podcasts because you can fast-forward, pause, rewind and choose different voices.

Taking this approach allows me to listen to a large amount of content via my smartphone while I am doing other activities such as driving to meetings, doing work around the house, walking or exercising. Again, I am able to do two activities at the same time, allowing me to be more efficient. This allows me to read the dozens of magazine articles that I cannot read otherwise because I simply do not have time. In just one hour in the car I can listen to a dozen articles, expand my knowledge base to better serve my clients and find strategies to improve my business.

Social Media Scheduling

It is valuable to create your own fresh, original content and be “real” in your interactions with people on social media. It is important to be both a listener and an engager. If you are blogging and sharing your content online, scheduling posts is a good strategy, but scheduling should be intermixed with ongoing social posts and other activities.

Sites like Hootsuite, Gremlin and Tweetdeck allow you to schedule posts whenever you want to so you have control over your social media strategy. Depending on your business – a mattress company, for example – you may want to post late at night to reach those restless sleepers. Scheduling means that you don’t have to do real time posting. The combination approach for the most part is the best way to get content out. However, do not publish too much content, especially if you can not react to likes, retweets or comments.

Some services offer the option of recurring posts within a specified period of time or for a specific number of times. These are also a good time savers. However, with any scheduled post – watch out for these as there are risks associated with this strategy.  For example, scheduled posts can hit at inappropriate times, i.e. during a national crisis.  If you are posting robotically when something bad is happening it can make you look uncaring. You must have the ability to quickly shut off scheduled or recurring posts.

These are examples of the ways you can use mobile applications and sites to save you time and become more efficient. I am a busy Public Relations firm owner and father of twins. I have a very hectic schedule; I am in New York City and Long Island working with clients, attending events and communicating with the media. I use these activities and tools to create a system that makes me more time efficient.

Look for ways to optimize your time while in transit or involved in other activities. If you have any time-saving hacks, please share them with me, I would love to hear about them and share them with others.

I love Twitter, I hate Twitter

use 022814twitter[1]use hate-twitter-281x300[1]I have made a real commitment to be more active on Twitter. My efforts thus far have been positive, but frustrating. I like Twitter; it is an excellent place to find information, learn and follow interesting people. I get inspiration for blogs and ideas to pitch the media for my public relations business. On a practical level, I use Twitter to help spread the media coverage we at Corbett Public Relations secure for our clients. I am guilty of a degree of self-promotion. When I get a media hit such as a TV interview or I am quoted in a publication such as Fast Company – which has happened in the past two months – I share this information and use it to start discussions.

Here is my frustration (and I know I am not alone): Why aren’t I getting more Twitter followers? The problem is I have been looking at Twitter in the wrong way. I suppose I am guilty of Twitter envy. I envy people who have amassed large numbers of followers. How can they do this? Why am I failing? My content is as good as theirs, so why are people not flocking to my Twitter account or my brand? After review and study I now have some of the answers.

It’s not about the number of followers. It is all about connecting with quality and engaged followers. People who will share your information, interact with you and potentially buy or refer business to you. To get hundreds or thousands upon thousands of people interested in you and your brand it takes personal effort.

It is no secret we want a lot of followers on social media – and not just on Twitter. There are many people and many accounts on Twitter that “fake it,” i.e., buy followers and don’t really engage. Without taking a close look at some “questionable” accounts, it’s hard to figure out how this is being done.

For example, if you look at an account that has good, consistent content you can readily see why people follow that person, right?

However, you need to look more closely. For me the realization came a few weeks ago when I was Tweeting 20 to 30 times a day. Yes, that was quite a bit for me, but I have not yet decided what the optimal number of tweets per day should be for me. This is something everyone needs to determine for themselves. We live and learn. During the days and weeks when I was very actively Tweeting, I was rewarded with new followers. It led to more favorites, retweets and direct messages. These were positive indicators that my content was interesting and appropriate for my brand.

However, after a spike in activity, I was not able to maintain the followers I had worked so hard to get. Why? Why did 5, 10 or 20 followers drop me in just a day or two? You have probably had this happen to you. Did I post something off color or offensive? Did I fail to thank a person for following me? Did I forget to follow somebody back? I think to a small degree that by not thanking a person or posting something that was deemed uninteresting to a person could be the cause for drop offs. However, losing 10 or 20 followers in a day seems odd.

What I have discovered – and I am not the first by far – is that there are simply tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Twitter users that are simply focused on the numbers game. They use “services” to buy followers or they follow large numbers of people, then if they do not get an immediate or near immediate follow back they unfollow. Sometimes they dump hundreds if not thousands of followers at a time. How do you know? There are a few clues, besides the drop in follower count. For example, look at a Twitter account that has a few hundred thousand followers. Ask if the person is well known? Are they a celebrity? If they are virtually unknown, a red flag should go up. If an account with a large number of followers is following around the same number of people who follow them, this too is a sign.

But the real sign is to look at sites like TwitterCounter.com or others that show the follow history of an account. A solid Twitter influencer who produces and shares quality content and engages with followers does not simply broadcast information or retweet.

Radice Graph

An example of a quality account/ influencer on Twitter.

If you look at an account like this and see a steady climb in both followers and those being followed, you have quality influencer. If you see a person with massive shifts in those whom they are following and in return see corresponding peaks in the number of followers, you know that something is not right.

2 Graph 4

1 Graph 3

These users are dumping followers to clear room to follow more people. The goal for them is to follow more people who will follow them back. This achieves the goal of getting followers and but can it produce marketing success? Perhaps business can be generated but it is built on a misconception that the person is more influential than they actually are. The individuals and accounts with tens of thousands of worthless followers have only an inflated perception of influence.

I am no longer interested in the numbers alone. Real and interested people will follow you when you present quality content, interact and listen to them, respond to their needs and concerns and share your personal knowledge and interest in helping them.

Consider news outlets – broadcasters: CNN (18.1 million), FOX News (5.33), USA Today (1.66 million) and Huffington Post (5.91 million). The outlets have millions of followers because of the content that they provide. We can learn from their example; while they don’t engage directly with readers, they do provide the content that readers want. People follow these news/media brands for the content. On the other side look at Guy Kawasaki (1.46 million) and Seth Godin (480,000) and others that are not multi-billion dollar international media companies but are personal brands (with successful organizations behind them) that produce the content that people want. People engage with them and relationships result.

Don’t be obsessed with the number of followers you have. Faking it or buying followers may work for a few, but these accounts are built on weak foundations and misconceptions. Foundations of strength focus on relationships, engagement and quality content. Use this approach and you will get more out of your social media activities.

Preparing For Your Next Public Speaking Engagement

Speaking For Your Brand Part 2

Preparing For Your Next Public Speaking Engagement

Speaking for Your BrandPublic speaking is an essential business activity that some people love and others love to avoid. With practice and the right tools and techniques, the advantages to speaking to the right audiences will have a tremendous impact on your business and your brand.   For many, speaking is the most terrifying activity that they can attempt to do for their brand. There are many strategies for overcoming fear and nervousness.  For me it is confidence. When I get a speaking engagement, I make sure that I know my material cold; I practice. I always know who my audience is and I am prepared in case there is an unexpected technical or other issue. I arrive early at the venue. This allows me to relax, get a feel for a room, greet people as they come in and check, and double check all technology (AV, computers, Power Point, WiFi, power, etc.).

The following are questions and tips that will help you present better and make a memorable impression on your audience:

Do I know exactly what my message is for my presentation?

The more you practice, the more self-confident you will feel in front of your audience. Make an outline of the topics you want to cover and review it multiple times. Once you know exactly what messages you want to communicate and in what order, you can create your presentation. Being organized is key. It is also critical to know your audience, research the group and the people in it. For a small group I look at each individual’s LinkedIn profile. If you are familiar with the people in your audience you will feel more confident and comfortable. When you are comfortable your presentation will be better and your appeal to the audience will be enhanced.

How will I engage my audience?  How much engagement is enough?bringpersonup

I have adopted several ways to encourage my audiences to participate during my presentations. For example, you can ask questions now and then or give the audience the option of live Tweeting or texting questions and comments to you. Asking questions and getting people to raise their hands creates action/movement and this sustains the energy level and it lets you know if people are listening. Personally, I like to ask someone from the audience to join me on stage. It is especially entertaining to put one of the most well-known people in the room on the spot. On the spot does not mean to embarrass them; it means to let them show their knowledge and have fun too. These actions will energize the event and keep the audience engaged. People tend to focus the most at the beginning and at the end of a presentation, so use techniques like these 20 or 30 minutes into an engagement to recapture attention.

How will I capitalize on this speaking opportunity?

We know that speaking is a tool to project your brand message and expertise.  It is also an opportunity to develop leads for business or referrals. Preparing for speaking engagements takes time; you need to capitalize on this time and the time you spend at the event. Make sure that you develop a way to generate opportunities and build your following. Offer people your Power Point, a free consultation and/or a free product or book. I give a free personal branding makeover to one person in every audience I address. Make sure to get a list of all the attendees and group members. When you are speaking for free make it mandatory that the group give you the list of members. This is a fair trade for your time and energy. Create a repeatable system for communicating with people who attend your events.  Add attendees names to your database for future marketing.

What is my emergency plan if there are any technological difficulties?

Always expect the unexpected. Technology can be a great addition to a presentation, but you should never rely on it.  Always have a hard copy of your Power Point and outline for your presentation.  Eventually, there will be an occasion when the computer, projector or other technology fails. This is another reason why preparation is so important. You should always be ready to present and speak without the crutch of technology.

Am I confident and passionate?basso-trade-brooklyn

Your brand – live it and love it. Talk about subjects that you are passionate about. The enthusiasm and energy you display on stage will affect the interest level of your audience. It will also help build your brand and reputation. People will remember your speech and associate you as an expert in that field especially when you are poised, well-informed, entertaining and personable. They will want to listen to you and find out why you are so passionate. Your attitude and body language will demonstrate that there is something to gain from listening to you.

Am I funny and do my stories connect?

Funny and entertaining stories can be used as examples and provide details that your audience can relate to on a personal level. However, if being humorous doesn’t come naturally, don’t try too hard to make everyone laugh. When people see a genuine speaker in front of them, they will feel more comfortable and intrigued. Practice humor and stories and see what reaction you get from others. Timing, cadence and how stories are told can be practiced and this can help when you are seeking to interject humor. Watch comedians that you like, especially those who are storytellers. You can learn a great deal from them. Remember to relate stories that make a point and are appropriate for the situation.  Personal stories offered at the beginning of a presentation often help speakers make a direct or emotional connection with audiences.

How will I use my presentation after the event?

Every presentation should be used again after the initial event. There are several ways to do this. I strongly recommend recording on video to see where you can make improvements in your delivery. Video clips can be used as social media content and can and should be intermixed with your blog posts. Full length videos can be used as educational and marketing tools and can help you to get media interviews.  Quality pieces can even be sold as training courses.  Make sure you have a top-quality microphone and that your camera is properly placed. There is nothing worse than recording an area of the stage where there is nothing going on; make sure you are in the shot.

Public speaking to enhance your brand recognition is a critical part of business growth and attracting attention.  Speaking on topics you are both knowledgeable and passionate about.  Remember it is not about you it is about what the audience wants. Use your talents, skills and personality to convey your message.  Don’t trust technology and watch the humor.  With this recipe you will be on your way to successfully growing your personal brand and business.

Speaking For Your Brand

Speaking For Your BrandSpeaking for Your Brand

We live in a time when it is not only important but it is critical that people grow their personal brands and connect with others to be successful. Whether you are an insurance salesperson, marketing director of a technology company or a member of the media, your personal brand and reputation must be built to garner attention and stand out from competitors.

Some people say that they don’t have any competitors. This is completely false. The reality is that we are all competing with each other for the attention and the time of others. It is a real challenge to get attention, even for just a few seconds. To secure the attention and interest of others we must put ourselves literally on stage and be prepared to say something of value. This is why public speaking is so important. Speaking allows you to present your point of view and knowledge directly to people. As a speaker you have the perfect opportunity to build your reputation as an expert and giver. The audience is giving you the gift of their time and you must make the most of this.

I recognize that public speaking does not come naturally for everyone.  However, becoming a good and memorable public speaker starts with acknowledging that it is all about the audience. Audiences have expectations and they want to learn from speakers.

Where do you start?

Examine your talents and expertise and use this to develop presentations and talks that will inform audiences and attract interest in your brand. Think about your audiences and what they are looking for. Do they have business challenges? Do they need assistance improving their health? Are they faced with financial challenges or are they simply looking to gain motivation?  When you know what information your audience is interested in you can create presentations to address their needs and solve their challenges. The execution of the presentation is something that you can practice and perfect over time.


Practice and LearnSpeaking for Your Brand

The classes I took in college have been a good foundation for me as a public speaker. There are plenty of books, blogs, websites, videos and training programs that can help you to become a better speaker.  (See the list of resources below.)  Watch TED Talks, comedians, motivational speakers or even politicians to see how they present and interact with audiences. Invest the time in educating yourself and then start to practice.   Practice in front of the mirror, video tape yourself or even practice in front of friends and family. Ask for feedback including criticism and praise.

Body Language

Understanding body language is an important part of public speaking.  Standing up straight, how you use your hands, your movement on the stage and how you make eye contact with people are all critical. Do some research on body language to see how you can enhance your image on stage. Here are a few quick movement and body language tips.

PodiumBill Corbett Trade Brooklyn

Don’t stand behind a podium, this creates a barrier between you and the audience.  Barriers limit the ability of a speaker to build trust and interact.  In some instances a podium may be needed but it should not be an anchor, don’t be afraid to move.

Hands on the hips

Hands on the hips, the “Superman pose.”  This is a power pose and when it is used it imparts confidence and command. Used periodically it can help to project power and knowledge.

Touching Fingertips

Touching fingertips of both hands together at the same time. This action projects to audiences that you are thoughtful and knowledgeable on the topic that you are speaking about.

Arms Crossed

On the negative side, crossed arms shows a defensive posture. It projects that a person is not informed or does not know the answer to a question.


Movement keeps attention but too much movement can be distracting.  It is important that when making strong points during your presentation that you stop and make them then move on.  At the beginning of a presentation, when you are defining what you will discuss, it is a good idea to do this from one standing position.  Again, this helps to get the audience to focus on what you are saying and what you will be covering.


Being confident on stage is necessary to really connect with audiences. If you are shy or introverted but want to speak to grow your brand consider getting involved in the leadership of organizations.  Leaders are expected to speak at meetings and groups. This process starts slowly and if you become the president or leader of a group you then have the spotlight and the stage. This will build confidence and gives you practice.


Humans are visual animals.  As public speakers we need to recognize that how we dress and how we look is an important part of our presentation. Wear the appropriate outfit for the audience.  A three piece suit may not be the best outfit for a group of millennials looking for advice for their tech careers but it may be perfect for a group of young lawyers.  Know your audience and dress up or down as needed. Some individuals like to develop a look or style of their own. This is a great concept.  Some people like hats, accent colors (I know one speaker who always wears red sneakers) or a specific kind of clothing (Steve Jobs always wore black turtlenecks). Your look is critical and you must take is seriously. Check your teeth, hair and clothes in the mirror before you step out on stage.

To stand out and grow your brand it is necessary to remember that public speaking is a powerful tool. When you are at the front of a room you capture the attention of people who see you as the person with expertise and knowledge. They have given you a gift of their time, don’t squander it. Remember that you are there to share and give. Think of the audience first and then your goals.

My next blog will provide some additional techniques and strategies for preparing for speaking engagements.  These are some additional resources.

Dale Carnegie – www.dalecarnegie.com

Toastmasters – www.toastmasters.org

TEDTalks – www.ted.com


Why College Students should be on LinkedIn Today


It’s no secret that LinkedIn is growing; there are now 364 million members using this social media platform to make connections and apply for jobs. Yet, according to a study conducted by Millennial Branding and AfterCollege, 46% of students have never used LinkedIn.

As a big fan of LinkedIn, I find this statistic surprising. There are a large percentage of students who will soon be entering the workforce who could be engaging in online conversations and benefiting tremendously from LinkedIn. As I’ve written and talked about before, your LinkedIn profile is where your personal brand can grow and really show others what you do and how well you do it. Starting a LinkedIn page after college is a step that is three years too late.

There are many reasons why college freshmen should be joining and exploring LinkedIn now and why every senior should be utilizing its features as a Launchpad for their future career plans. For parents, college students using LinkedIn is in their best interest as well since it will help student make early connections that can play a pivotal role in their eventually getting a job. Here are some of the reasons why college students must be on LinkedIn:

1. LinkedIn assists in turning a passion into a college major and later, a job


On LinkedIn, students can explore all of their interests and discover the types of jobs that exist in any field. College students, especially first-year students entering college as “undecided” majors, can learn more about, for example, how their fascination with photography or travel could lead to a job in photojournalism or the travel industry. If students join LinkedIn today and gain the advantage of discovering career interests, they can avoid the stress of changing their major several times or not knowing what to do with their major once they graduate. LinkedIn profiles and groups sharing similar interests can offer insight into possible jobs and career paths, providing students with helpful information about where their major can lead them. If they start this process early, the job search will be less overwhelming by the time senior year rolls around.

2. Your brand lives through your content


Students are usually taking three to five classes a semester, completing a number of PowerPoint presentations and creative projects. LinkedIn is the perfect location to post and share these finished assignments. Since students invest hours of hard work into these projects, they should show them off. A description of the class, task assigned and any leadership role that the student held in a group project will demonstrate to recruiters and any future employers how he or she was able to effectively apply what they learned in class as well as manage an successful presentation.  This is a beginning point for creating a personal brand and reputation as a hard-working, motivated student. Throughout the four years of college, a student will produce a considerable amount of original content to display as part of their portfolio. I view LinkedIn as a platform for sharing content and enhancing reputations. The projects area of LinkedIn is where these examples of work will be published. Recruiters and potential employers will look at this content.

3. Alumni networking assists in relationship building

Networking is one of the main purposes of LinkedIn and your connections on LinkedIn are the key to success. One way for students to increase their number of connections is by joining their university groups and sending requests to alumni. Students can send messages to recent graduates who have accomplished exactly what they are planning on doing and ask how they landed their current job and for any recommendations. These alumni are professionals who know a number of people in the field and can share their direct knowledge and possibly contacts. Alumni often want to maintain a connection to their alma mater and when a student reaches out about professional advice, they are often flattered and willing to assist. This action builds important relationships. Don’t forget to also connect to all your friends and professors.


4. The Student Jobs Portal is full of opportunities

On LinkedIn, there is a specific Student Jobs Portal that offers students and recent graduates a listing of available entry-level jobs and internships. Students should take advantage of the postings from jobs around the world and apply to ones that interest them. Even if students are not applying now, they can just look and gather information. Again, this is an action that can be taken at any point during college. Students should be looking at what is out there and learning about how to make themselves attractive to employers for landing the jobs they want. Once they’ve seen what companies are looking for in applicants, they can adjust their profile accordingly or enhance their profile with relevant content such as videos or blog posts. An informed and focused student will have a competitive advantage.

5. Updated profiles attract recruiters

According to LinkedIn, completed profiles get 40 times more opportunities than incomplete profiles. One of the best ways for students to attract and impress recruiters and employers is by including descriptions of any and all experience as well as any leadership roles they’ve had with organizations, on and off campus. These positions, especially leadership roles, awards, and honors, will distinguish one student’s profile from another. Also, if a student is consistently updating their profile through statuses, sharing articles, or writing blog posts it shows employers that this student is professional and aware of trending topics in their field of interest. Simply understanding how LinkedIn works and how relationships are built is an advantage. Recruiters will notice and remember student profiles that are thorough and actively used. Students who create videos will rise to the top of recruiters and employers lists. Videos will educate profile viewers, build credibility, and make you more memorable. Remember that in order to be memorable, you must be remarkable. Video content must be well thought out, practiced and be of good quality for accomplishing this.

The economy is improving but students graduating are still facing challenges. There are many qualified candidates and students from the past five years who have not secured the job that will launch their careers.  With a quality LinkedIn profile that has been built and nurtured, a student will have more opportunities. If they take the extra steps to connect with dozens or hundreds of people, create a video and post quality content they will stand well above the tens of thousands of competitors that will looking for employment alongside them.

Pitch the Media: Strategies for Getting Media Coverage – Part II

A+TechSchoolSafteyAs explained in my previous blog post, there are numerous benefits to using PR as part of your marketing plan. It positions businesses, individuals, products or services in a positive way, increases brand awareness and sets you apart from your competition. You don’t have to wait to start obtaining media coverage. Today’s post focuses on strategies you can use yourself to get media coverage you want and need.

The best place to start is by reverse engineering the whole process; really think about what you would do with the coverage if you got it? Why do you want your story to be told? The answer can vary based on the type of coverage you receive and want. You can send links and videos to clients, prospects or use it as part of a sales presentation kit. Remember PR is a vital part of a marketing plan for a business or individual.

To make sure your PR efforts are effective, first identify your target audiences and their preferred choices for news outlets. Research your prospects and understand what they are reading and watching. You want to position yourself in the media in a way that is relevant to your target audience. Media coverage is most valuable when it directly or indirectly reaches the right people.


To succeed in this effort you need to develop a list of media contacts. These are the people to whom you will pitch your story. You must know who they are and build relationships with them. You need to be aware of the specific department or subject matter a writer or reporter covers. It’s now time to pitch and here are a few strategies to follow:

  1. Think like a reporter: What do they need/ want? What angles, stories or subjects does this reporter usually find interesting and write about? Recognize that they have deadlines and only bring appropriate stories to them at the right time.
  2. Find out what is trending: If your story or information is relevant to trending news, the media will be more inclined to write about it. They need to see that it is newsworthy and what is your connection to the story or trend. If you can be industry specific or if you can create a local connection, even better.
  3. Demonstrate that you are an expert: why should members of the media even listen to you? You should be prepared to back up all your information with details, facts and sources. The media can position you as an expert in your field if you provide them with everything they need, which sometimes includes having clients and customers ready to provide information or quotes. A story that includes people with whom you have worked or you have assisted boosts your reputation and strengthens your relationship with reporters.
  4. Always think about the visual aspects of storytelling. Today all print and online media as well at TV media outlets want greater visuals. These can be images or locations and people that are interesting. Always include a description or sample of what the visual will be when pitching.

Pitches are most successful when they are short and offer a solution to a problem and provide a personal connection or narrative. Members of the media are not looking to do a commercial about businesses and write about how great they are. Pitches that are clearly promotional are often disregarded and can foster negative perceptions.

Pitch ideas create a “buzz” and new awareness about a topic. Again, describe and provide an opportunity to tell the story with visuals. Images and video clips can all be helpful in this capacity.

As described in Part I, each story in the media gives people a chance to learn about your business, your brand and what you stand for. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you practice your pitches. You want to deliver pitches clearly and professionally. At Corbett Public Relations we also recommended that you think about the medium you are pitching to; stories for print, online, TV and radio vary based on the length and space for visuals. For example, radio spots may only allow for a few minutes to tell the story, so be sure to send an informed and articulate public speaker, while print will most likely offer more space for details and visuals to enhance the story.

Knowing how to best pitch to these mediums is something that everyone can learn through practice and experience. However, it does take time and effort to learn the practices and build a contact list.

We encourage everyone to seek media coverage and ask professionals questions about how you can do it yourself or with some assistance.

Public Relations professionals work with the media every day. Most, like those who work with our firm, have strong and established relationships with the media. These relationships come from communicating with the media regularly on behalf of many different clients. If you are not 100 percent prepared, it is best to seek out a PR professional that can help prepare or perhaps work on your behalf to gain the coverage you need for your brand and your business.

If you have any questions about PR and how to pitch the media, please feel free to contact us.

7 Reasons Why You Need PR as Part of Your Marketing – Part I

Hey Small Business Owners and Executives – Don’t Forget the PR!

I wrote an article that was published several years ago with the title “Don’t forget the PR.” This was a well-received piece, however with the changes taking place in marketing and technology I wanted to revisit the subject. It also became clear to me recently at several speaking engagements where I was talking about personal marketing and mentioned PR to attendees; only 10 percent of those in attendance had ever been interviewed by the media. I was not surprised about this and it was not surprising that only about 1 percent of small businesspeople have any kind of PR strategy. Let’s explore PR and why everyone in business should have PR as part of their marketing strategy.

Long Island Public Relations

Click for video.

Why public relations? For today’s post, I am focusing on the media relations and positioning elements of public relations. Media relations are, in its most simplistic form for business, about securing positive media coverage for a business, individual, product or service. Media relations can also include providing authored articles to blogs or publications.


Securing media coverage is important, here are seven reasons why:

  1. Positioning – Media coverage positions the company, individual, product or service in a positive way. Media coverage is an unbiased third party endorsement. Coverage is not purchased like advertising; it is earned and has tremendous value.
  2. Awareness – Media coverage or an authored article in a trade publication builds awareness with a niche audience or with a mass audience. Either way, the message reaches an audience which contains prospects or referral sources.
  3. Competition – If you’re not part of media stories that relate to your industry, your competitors will be. You lose in several ways when your competitors get the coverage that you should get as these are lost opportunities for business, result in reduced awareness of your business and your competitors will be seen as the experts and not you.
  4. Reputation – Your greatest asset and one of the greatest assets of a company is its reputation. Being in the media and being recognized as a thought leader will enhance your reputation and this is a competitive advantage.
  5. Marketing assets – Every print or online article, news video interview or radio interview is an opportunity for you and your brand to shine. These materials can be shared on social media creating quality content; copies are added to your website and marketing portfolio, these assets are also added to sales presentations and project proposals. These materials provide you with the ability to differentiate yourself, your products, services and business. These assets, when used properly and regularly, give you a competitive advantage.
  6. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – The more often you or your business are in the media, the greater impact this will have on positive search engine optimization and online searching. Every online story creates a new place where your brand lives and provides an opportunity for people to find your brand and learn about who you are and what you stand for.
  7. Insurance – Positive media coverage built up over time can be invaluable should a crisis impact you or your business. Positive coverage allows you to control the narrative and build relationships. With a good reputation, customers and others will recognize who you are and what you stand for. This is critical in the event of a serious crisis. Having relationships with the media also plays a part during a crisis. Knowing members of the media and having the experience speaking with them can help reduce the damage of a crisis.These are some of the reasons why PR/Media Relations is important for a small business and for individuals. For those who work with businesses and who may not be owners, PR is also an important marketing tool that can be used to build business, create job security, advance your career, enhance your standing in your industry as a leader and support the growth of the business that you work for/with. In some instances, businesses do not allow staff members to pursue media coverage. This is a challenge, however when you can make the case that media coverage for you will enhance the bottom line and will prevent competitors for securing the coverage, you have two strong arguments that management will have to recognize. If you are an expert and leader, you owe it to your career to pursue media coverage to build your brand. As a manager or owner, create rules and a strategy that will allow team members to pursue media coverage that is in line with business goals.

Securing media coverage can be a challenge. However, with effort and energy it can be done. Part two of this blog will discuss some of the strategies you can use to obtain coverage for yourself or business.

To Be Memorable – You Must be Remarkable

Memory GraphicI recently researched the topic of “how to be memorable” in preparation for my presentation at a retreat for RE/MAX of New York Brokers and Agents. Being memorable is critical to success for both individuals and businesses. This is the first of a series of blogs on this topic which I will delve into to gain better insight as to what makes a person memorable and relate my practical tips on how to become memorable by letting others know you are remarkable.

I have been reading, researching and watching videos, including a number of TED Talks. I also looked into the growing subject of neuro-marketing. The challenge, as I see it, is that we need to recognize the fact that our brains are programmed not to remember, but to forget. We remember things that we do over and over again such as driving, dressing and cooking. These activities eventually become habits. These habits become part of our daily routines and we don’t think about them much. We don’t need to remember every detail of every experience we have every day, every hour, every minute.

So, we have a biological challenge and we also have a real world problem. The world is changing at a very fast pace. We are constantly distracted; technology and electronic devices are in front of us all the time. We can communicate with people in dozens of ways: smart phones and phone calls, video conferences, FaceTime, emails, direct messages, text messages, videos, social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others), two-way radios, faxes and even direct mail. We have the ability to speak directly one-on-one or in small or large groups. This is how we communicate, but we also are receivers of information from radio, TV, computers, tablets, websites, mobile devices, print materials and signs. We are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of messages each day.

Information overload combined with the desire of people today to have instant gratification, in terms of what they want when they want it, has created a major challenge for businesses and individuals.  Businesses and individuals in all sectors need to be heard and seen in order to make an impression and market.  We have to get through all of these competing channels and messages to be successful and to build both business and personal brands.

I experience these challenges myself. Nowadays, it’s important to recognize that to be truly memorable, we have to be remarkable. We have to be worthy of being remembered and to achieve this we have to be different, better and interesting. In short, we must seek to be remarkable in everything we do, whether it’s customer service, selling, marketing, branding, manufacturing, leading, speaking, creating, writing or interacting with others. Each of these activities requires thought and consideration. When building a memorable brand, we may fail to meet the expectations of a client, prospect or a team or our target audiences. But we have tremendous opportunities to create memorable interactions and memorable moments that will impact how people perceive us as we begin a relationship and develop trustworthiness.

Some first steps in the process of being memorable and creating a memorable brand:

Create Your Brand Story

Daymond John

Daymond John of CNBC’s “Shark Tank”

Being a remarkably good storyteller is vital for your brand. Tell stories to illustrate who you are and what you stand for. Telling stories (your own story or those of others) that you can use in context will make you and your message memorable. Some of the most memorable business leaders and experts that I have ever heard were superb story tellers. Watch what others do and learn from them. There are many great speakers; go to Ted.com to see hundreds of exceptional videos. Many speakers use their own stories to make the case for their brand and what they were “selling.” Two remarkable people I saw were business woman Fawn Germer and entrepreneur and NBC Shark Tank star Daymond John. Daymond related his life story including the risks he took, the challenges he overcame as well as his regrets.

Here is a video to one of his presentations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yKHIc-RO8Q

Fawn Germer

Author Fawn Germer

Fawn Germer used her story of success to motivate and inspire. I recommend you watch this exceptional business woman and speaker.  http://fawngermer.com/

Create an outline for your personal story

Identify experiences that shaped your approaches, your successes as well as your failures. This is your story so you can add to it as you go along, but write down and capture the important chapters and use this to put who you are in context. Remember, telling stories is how you will capture attention but it is also how you will make a connection with your audience. While the story is about you, never forget that the message is not about you; it is about your audience.  Provide them what they want, not what you want.

Create a Plan for Your Brand

I regularly write and speak about creating a plan for your brand. For those people who are not marketing professionals, it may be a challenge. However, your marketing plan for your brand does not have to be overly complex.

  1. Define your brand and for what you want to be known.
  2. Write down why you do what you do and make this a focal point of your brand.  Being memorable is about making a connection with people and telling them the reasons why what you do is important.
  3. Define what you do better than everyone else. This is your “Magic” or key differentiator. Your magic and how you communicate about it is part of why you are remarkable, worthy of being remembered.
  4. Set Goals. Every marketing plan has goals.These can be financial, but they do not have to be. Goals can relate to the number of interactions you generate, the number of shares you garner, the number of new connections you make, certainly the number of leads you generate and the number of sales you close.  Remember, social media and online marketing has branding value which may not translate immediately into sales.

Marketing Infrastructure

Depending on the industry and market, businesspeople or individuals must identify the best marketing vehicles to use to reach their target audiences.

  1. Identify your audiences and how they receive information and where they go for information.
  2. Create your real world support materials (your marketing or PR kit).  It does not have to be elaborate. It should contain:
    1. Business card
    2. Brochures and pamphlets
    3. Educational materials
    4. Photos
  3. Create your marketing video. If you do not have a personal marketing video, you are 2 or 3 years behind your competitors. Using your new brand message and story, create your first video and keep going. Create at least three videos a year.
  4. Build your online infrastructure:
    1. Optimized Website
    2. Blog
    3. Social Media Sites
    4. Photo Sharing Site
    5. Video Media Sites
  5. Create your print and electronic materials.

These are just the first few steps that you need to take to create and build a memorable brand.  Part II of this series will focus on the importance of creating your real world image and persona. Part III will cover your online brand and strategies for being memorable online.

As always I am looking for feedback, comments and thoughts. Let me know what you think.

For more information on this topic go to this Fast Company story that featured Bill Corbett.

Make the Truth Be Your Friend

Witness 1

It is not uncommon for critics and others to call PR professionals spin doctors or manipulators of perception. The fact is that we seek to present clients in a favorable way and position them as leaders and experts. Many PR professionals and my team take our role seriously and ethically. In order to effectively promote a company or individual, the effort must be solidly founded in truth.  Companies, individuals, marketers and hopefully politicians who lie will be caught and called out for it.   Communications professionals and marketers must accept responsibility as Picture1well.  Today consumers may not always expect great customer service, but they do expect honesty.

When developing a PR strategy it is critical that you identify what your vision is and what your messages will be. What will your brand stand for? This may not be an easy question to answer right away, but it must be based in truth. It takes some thought and discussion. What a business brand stands for or what an individual’s personal brand is must be stated upfront and for it to resonate, it must be honest and truthful. Including lies in a brand story will cause problems and when business Picture2owners or those who are there to defend them do not have facts and truth as their friends, the challenge may be insurmountable. When brands and individuals are caught lying, it destroys trust and trust is the currency of success.

Some embrace the “fake it till you make it” philosophy or approach. This is a dangerous path to pursue and could destroy a growing brand or even one that is established. Reputation is based on truth. Look at examples such as Brian Williams of NBC News, disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner and professional cyclist Lance Armstrong. Each was caught lying and look what happened to their brands.

Invest in the truth and it will grant you significant rewards.


Make truth your friend and you will have no regrets.

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