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

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 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 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

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 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 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 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 –

Toastmasters –

TEDTalks –


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 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:

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.

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.

Fireworks: Marketing and Business Lessons


Over the past few days you probably have enjoyed Independence Day fireworks.  Millions of Americans gather to watch and enjoy fireworks and celebrate.  I have had the pleasure of being in some amazing places to watch fireworks including Washington DC, Boston, New York City and the United States Military Academy (West Point, New York).  One year I was flying home from a trip on the 4th of July and could see dozens of shows take place at the same time.   It was amazing to see so many shows taking place in small towns and cities across America from above.  1-jpg

Here are three quick marketing lessons we take away from these pyrotechnic displays:


Every fireworks show requires planning. Some of the more complex shows such as the ones done in Boston, Washington DC and New York require months of planning and preparation for shows that will last for the most part less than an hour.  This is a significant investment in time, energy and money.  From a marketing perspective, planning is critical for campaigns and ongoing efforts.

When seeking to grow business through marketing, planning is also an important part of the process.   My mission continues to be to get small business people focused on their marketing and to have them create business and personal plans.   A plan can be developed quickly but it should be done in a thoughtful way.   The goal of marketing is to attract attention and the interest of prospects.  An effective marketing campaign just like a well thought-out fireworks display will capture and keep attention.   Prospects who are engaged will transition into clients and customers.


We have to remember that behind the beauty, fireworks are dangerous.  Every year we hear about accidents.   It is important that all safety protocols are followed and plans are in place to manage any potential accident or malfunction.  In marketing we have to be prepared if something goes wrong.  For example a pre-scheduled social media post that hits during a breaking news story about a tragedy can cause problems and certainly projects insensitivity.    Crisis situations can happen for any number of reasons; some could be the fault of the business or employee or others come out of the blue.  When time and effort are being invested in marketing it is important to take some additional time to discuss possible problems and devise strategies for working through them.  On a larger scale, every business needs to have an emergency plan in place to communicate with customers, staff and vendors.   From a public relations perspective procedures and policies need to be in place in order to manage the situation.  Management and staff need to know who is permitted to speak with the media and how to respond to calls from the media.   This is a blog that I wrote on the topic of emergency preparedness and communications for business.  The inspiration behind this blog were the two hurricanes that hit Long two years in a row.

Creativity and Experiences

Why do we love fireworks?  The loud explosions and the spectacular colors are part of the reason.  The best shows are very creative and use all different kinds and sizes of fireworks.  These displays are often masterfully choreographed with patriotic music.   Boston’s fireworks are remarkable and when you watch them with the Boston Pops Orchestra playing along it creates a memorable experience.   The patriotic exuberance can be felt among the crowd in Boston.    I continue to this day to tell people about my experience in Boston over a 4th of July weekend because of the memorable experience.   Below are some images of my Boston 4th of July visit.   Creativity is more important today than ever before.  With so much competition for time and attention, creativity the key to attracting and keeping audiences.  Sales focused, boring content with no purpose or passion will be overlooked or forgotten.

Experiences are an important part of marketing and interacting with customers.   Whether it is in a retail shop, on Facebook or at a trade show, the experiences you create with your audience allows them to get to know you (employees or staff), your product or services.   It is through remarkable experiences and interactions that connections are made and memories created.   Good experiences are remembered, but great experiences are talked about and shared.    The same is true for negative experiences, except people are much more likely to share and comment to friends and online about bad experiences. If you’re disappointed by a fireworks show would you talk about it and would you think twice about going to that show next year?   Everyone has choices and if you do not deliver exceptional customer experiences every time they will look elsewhere.

Planning, safety, creativity and offering memorable experiences are all important in business.   Like a spectacular fireworks display we have the ability to wow our audiences, create memorable experiences and thrive. However, planning is critical for success and we must always be prepared to address challenges.

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Revisited 2015 – July 4th Independence Day – Lessons from the Founding Fathers for Social Media and Personal Branding

I wrote this blog 5 years ago it is still relevant today.  However, the world has changed.  Today Americans have more ways to market and communicate.  With smartphone technology in our hands we have enormous power to broadcast our messages and engage with others. I call smartphones, PMD’s Personal marketing Devices they can also be seen as your own personal broadcast center. (More on this in a future blog)

The technology we have however is not being leveraged effectively by small business people.  Many don’t see the opportunity because they are overwhelmed with time pressures and lack of understanding of the power that they have. Understanding marketing and why and how it must be done is also a challenge.

It’s time for small business people from across America to take charge of their destiny and bring their brands and messages to target audiences.   Failure to utilize the marketing tools that are available (for free) today will see many smart and capable people struggle to succeed in the new economy and within the new marketing paradigm.

As we look back at the lessons of our Founding Fathers below, consider what they would do today.  I believe that they would be regularly leveraging social media, blogs and video to get their message to the masses. They would engage in conversations and share their vision for the future.  They would be making connections, building relationships and beating their competition.

The pursuit of happiness lies in our hands both literally and figuratively.  Use marketing technology today as a vehicle for achieving success and your American dream.

First Published 5 Years Ago 

Today we celebrate Independence Day, July 4.   Beyond the fireworks and BBQs, we all should think about the great nation that we have the pleasure to be part of, and the many people who gave up their lives to give us the freedoms we enjoy.

Exactly 234 years ago, a group of brave, brilliant and industrious individuals met in a steamy Philadelphia room and agreed to do something that had never been done before—start a revolution.  The risks were great; the price that was paid was high in terms of lives lost, lives destroyed and money, but in the end the reward was unmatched in human history.  The American Revolution gave us a country where freedom is sacred.

Today despite a challenging economy we have the freedom to express ourselves and pursue our business as well as our personal dreams.  For many the dream is being an entrepreneur or a small business owner or simply pursuing a career in a chosen profession or industry.  Having this choice is an integral part of our national character and a driver of the entrepreneurial spirit.  While entrepreneurs and small businesses are under attack from many directions, the American entrepreneurial spirit lives on.

The information age has brought with it new media vehicles which are allowing individuals to voice their opinions, develop creative ideas and start new businesses.  Like the minutemen of Lexington and Concord, individuals can stand up, and take control of their own destinies like never before.  Like the “shot heard around world” that started the American Revolution a simple Facebook post or Tweet can literally be seen around the world just in seconds.

Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Adams, Hancock and the other Founding Fathers all understood the importance of individuality and expression.  They were passionate individuals with a mission, and the creativity and drive to achieve their goal – a free and independent nation.

While the Founding Fathers did not have social media vehicles and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Youtube, Flickr and Foursquare I am sure that they would have taken advantage of them as mediums for communicating with contacts, public, friends and others interested in “the cause.”  Social networking and marketing did not exist, but these individuals knew the importance of publicity, having a personal brand, word of mouth marketing, networking, effective writing, publishing and public speaking. Do these skills and approaches sound familiar?  These techniques and others are the same that individuals need to capitalize on today to build their own personal brands, the foundation for a success in life, in business and in any community.

Did Franklin and Madison have a Blog?  Not exactly, however they did have a printing press.  They were able to create a buzz using well written content, printed books, flyers and newspapers. Papers and printed materials were circulated in pubs and homes across the 13 colonies and beyond.  People held discussion sessions and analyzed the information they were provided.  They debated and came up with their own comments and then shared materials with others who they thought would be sympathetic to their dreams of an independent democratic nation.

Today’s social media and personal branding gurus like Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)Dan Dchawbel (@DanSchawbel),  Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki), Peter Shankman (@skydiver), Seth Godin and others are taking similar approaches as the Founding Fathers.  The Founding Fathers published articles and spoke to small and large groups to educate, motivate and inspire individuals to become part of a movement that included the individual but also was much larger than any single person.

Let’s look at some of our Founding Fathers and how they relate to personal branding and communications.  There is much we that can learn from them and ways we can apply these lessons to social media marketing and personal branding efforts today.

George Washington – Founding Father and First President of the United States of America.  Washington is also

known for his leadership abilities, speaking skills, political savvy and ability to stand out in crowd.  Although he did not sign the Declaration of Independence his leadership of the Continental Army made him a front runner to lead the country after the war.

During the Revolutionary War era it took weeks or months to get information or important messages out to thousands of people, or just one letter from one colony to another.  Hand written copies of the Declaration of Independence were circulated by hand around the 13 Colonies and read in front of groups gathered in pubs and in front of churches and other community buildings.

Today we can disseminate messages and blog articles in seconds using social media sites and digital communications.  The speed of distribution may have changed but the goals of communicating ideas messages and attracting attention remain the same.

We can learn from George Washington an important lesson, humility.  When offered the opportunity to become king of the new nation, he turned it down.  He also turned down the opportunity to run for a third term as president; instead he retired.  In today’s world full of online and off line self promoters and overexposed celebrities seeking the lime light, humility is a trait that seems to be in short supply.  We could all benefit from more people following Washington’s example of humility and grace.

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, agonized for weeks to find the right language and consulted with other Founding Fathers to craft this historic document.   We learn from this example that writing passionately and choosing the right words is important.  On Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other writing quality has certainly suffered. Today it remains true that quality writing and compelling content will attract followers, and poor and uninteresting content will drive them away.

In our fast paced mobile technology society we are constantly on the move. A telling example of this is that on average there are more than 3,000 Tweets being placed every second.  Jefferson’s quote: No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing,” is apropos for today.  Many people are always “doing,” (communicating).  However, how much doing is actually wasting time? How much time is being spent on social media marketing with no measured results? Social media marketing programs must be planned and have goals. Without goals or a plan, the “doing” is nothing more than wasting time.

John Hancock – We know the name and we know the signature, he was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence and did so in large and bold script.   John Hancock knew the importance of standing out, making a statement and doing something different.  My favorite quote from Hancock is: “The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions.” This statement is especially true today. To be successful in business relationships and trust need to be built.  To influence people to act, purchase products or services, information and proof of abilities need to be conveyed to the target audience.  Be bold, but also have objectives and consider how relationships are being forged.

Benjamin Franklin – Frequently clients ask what should be said or what information should be put out on social media streams?  This quote from Benjamin Franklin answers the question perfectly: Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”

Benjamin Franklin was truly an original and individual who understood celebrity and personal branding.  His exploits, scientific experiments and inventions as well as his larger than life personality made him a celebrity in France before he arrived to solicit their support for the “cause.”

We have much to learn from Franklin but for now, his grasp on being relevant and authentic can be our take away.  If something interesting or newsworthy is done write about it, don’t just write something for the sake or writing something.

John Quincy Adams – Are you a leader or do you aspire to be one in business, politics or in another field? If your answer is yes then this quote from John Quincy Adams is most appropriate:If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” To be a leader you need to be relevant and interesting.  Self-promotion and self-serving actions will not attract the right attention or inspire others.  Remember that being successful is not what inspires; what motivates and inspires others are the stories and examples of overcoming challenges and hardships to become successful.

There is much we can learn from studying our Founding Fathers.  From humility to creating relevant content their lessons can be applied to many facets of business and life today.

Every day of the year we should celebrate the precious gift of freedom we have been given.  We continue to enjoy this freedom because of the sacrifices of those who came before us and those who fight for us today in foreign lands and on other fronts.  We can honor them by embracing the American entrepreneurial spirit and following the examples set by our Founding Fathers.

All comments welcome, Happy 4th of July.

Founding Fathers: Marketing and Other Lessons from Thomas Jefferson

JeffersonThe first few blogs in this series will keep with the 4th of July theme. This is the 239th birthday weekend for the United States. Despite current economic challenges, the American dream and the American spirit live on. The American entrepreneurial spirit certainly needs a hand right now, with the number of business startups at a low point and young people choosing not to become entrepreneurs. On the bright side it has never been easier to start a business or come up with an idea that could explode. Look at the businesses of Snapchat and Instagram that did not even exist just a few years ago. Now they have market valuations in the billions.

I have always been interested and hold in high regard our nation’s Founding Fathers for a number of reasons, the greatest of which was the fact that they each put their lives on the line by publicly rebelling against England and signing the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson was a remarkable thinker, leader and innovator. We can learn much from his example and his triumphs.

We know that Jefferson was the leading author of the Declaration of Independence but he wrote much more. He was a prolific writer having written tens of thousands of documents. Over 25,000 of these documents are in the Library of Congress.   Expressing opinions, communicating, negotiation and building relationships were as critical then as they are now. We can take away from this example the importance of communicating, writing down ideas and the need to continually producing content. The way we think about content in the marketing context today is different than in Jefferson’s time, but take the Declaration of Independence for example. Multiple copies were created and “shared” (they were posted and read across the colonies after it was signed). This document rallied the colonists and made a clear case to England why the revolution had begun.

Like writing, reading and learning is important for success in marketing and business. Jefferson was a reader and loved books. It is reported that he sold his 6,500 books to the Library of Congress. Jefferson and his interest in reading helped him to navigate politics, communicate with leaders, present augments to Congress and win elections.

Knowledge and continual learning are important for all business people. With our rapidly changing market place and marketing technology we need to keep up and reading is important. Today the ability to consume information has been enhanced by technology. Like Jefferson we need to commit to continually learning, reading and developing our own ideas and plans for success.

Jefferson was an inventor. One of his creations was the wheel-cipher. This was a small machine that allowed for Jefferson to send messages back and forth to George Washington when he was Secretary of State and during the Revolution. This was a sophisticated device which allowed for messaged to be encode and decoded; an encryption device. We are all familiar with encryption today and the need to secure passwords, personal information and other personal data. I encourage you to read more about this device and how it was used.


While we all may not have the ability to design new devices like Jefferson we can recognize the importance of being inventive.  Whether it is working alone or in groups brainstorming ideas, developing campaigns and creating new approaches can and should be done. Due to competition and information overload we have to be creative in the way we communicate.

We see from Jefferson writing, reading and creativity are important for success.  Continually communicate, explore new ideas and use this knowledge to be creative and find new solutions to problems. When you take this approach people will get to know who you are and they will be drawn to you and your brand.

It’s Time for Your Personal Marketing Plan

As we approach Fourth of July we prepare to celebrate American Independence. America is the land of opportunity but many don’t achieve success or all the success that they want.

Many American business people work hard each day to be successful within the companies in which they work or in their own businesses. Countless hours of time and energy are spent networking, attending trade shows, using social media, sending emails and cold calling. Each of these activities has the goal of generating leads and developing business. However, most people who are in sales or business development do not have a personal marketing plan.socialmedia[1]

Let’s face it, most people have little or no idea how to market themselves effectively. I know this from having met thousands of small business people. I also know that many are motivated and want to learn. I believe that everyone can succeed if they leverage their talents, time and energy. Combined with a personal marketing plan there is no limit to where you can go.

I am on a personal mission to educate people about the importance of having a personal marketing plan and to grow their personal brands. America is a great country and the marketing activities that I listed above can all be effective. However, most people do not approach them with a system or a plan. For many, business and referrals come through these efforts but often it is a matter of pure luck. With even a basic plan a networker or salesperson can improve their lead generation and business development by 20 to 50 percent. You can be a leader, you can dominate, you can attract attention but to do this you need to market and harness the power of the free platforms that exist today and technology.

Here are some quick actions you can take today:

  1. Create a personal marketing plan. Remember to write your plan down. As part of this plan set financial goals but also set marketing goals such as:
    1. Number of new LinkedIn contacts made per week
    2. Number of new names added to email marketing list
    3. Number of follow-up calls or emails made to people who you meet at a networking event or trade show
    4. Number of social posts you will do each week
    5. Number of videos you will film each quarter
    6. Number of blogs you will create each quarter
    7. Number of personal marketing videos you will create, post and share.
  2. Create your personal mission statement. What do you stand for and why should people work with you when they have so many options and choices?
  3. Review and clearly identify your target audience/market and who are the key referral sources. Who do you want to do business with? Start by looking at your best current clients.
  4. Create your system for following up with new contacts. You goal should be to turn contacts into prospects or to build trust which leads to referrals or opportunities. Remember it is important to give before you receive.  It may take months of giving and showing interest before any action occurs. Never give up.
  5. Review all of your social media sites and make sure that all photos, bios and job descriptions are up to date. It is critical that your real world brand matches your online brand. You need to present the right image every time you are in contact with a prospect. If you have a blank profile or with a horrible picture you first impression will fail every time.

We live in a highly competitive world for business as well as attention. Business people need to rely on action and effort and less on luck. With a simple personal marketing plan efforts will be focused and greater success will be achieved.

Look for resources and people who will help you. Don’t be afraid to ask me or others who you see doing a good job.

Do you have a personal marketing or networking question? Send it to me. I can help you create a personal marketing plan.  If you want a list of question to kick start your personal branding effort send me an email at

Lazy days of Summer (Not for me!) – My 31-day Blog-a-thon

vacation-from-work[1]With summer here, we always hear about the lazy days of summer. Long weekends, days off, vacation and more daylight with which to have fun. All true, but summer is not a time to be lazy if you are seeking to grow your business.

Click Hwrhu-HRAA-logoere to listen to me on Tim Healy’s Profit Express Radio Show talking about not being lazy this summer and blogging. 

Over the past several years, having done dozens of speaking engagements and marketing training programs, business people need to keep their marketing efforts going all year round. If you don’t, your competition will take advantage of the opportunity and pounce.

Over the next 31 days, my goal is to blog daily, be more active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. I will also be doing YouTube videos focusing on topics that I have been interviewed about by the media and have presented on at seminars over the past year.working hammock

My mission is to provide valuable, interesting and fun content that will give readers ideas and strategies for growing their business. I am committed to making those who are part of my community more effective marketers, personal branders and relationship builders in the real world and online.

So where do we start? Tomorrow’s blog with be one that I have not published on this site. It discusses the importance of having a plan for your personal brand.  If you don’t have a personal marketing plan you will struggle to achieve success .   Can you five percent, 10 percent, 20 percent, 50 percent or even more successful?  Read tomorrow’s blog – “It’s Time for your Personal Marketing Plan.”

Ok 30 days to go.  Please comment, follow and share.

Fight for Your Brand

Recently we announced the 26 boxers who will participate in the 2015 Long Island Fight for Charity. This is a 12-year-old not-for-profit event that my firm has worked with for several years. Over the 12 years of the Long Island Fight for Charity we have helped many boxers become local celebrities. We have secured hours of TV coverage, hundreds of newspaper and online stories, dozens of online video interviews and more social media activity than we can remember.

FightForCharity2014 AL (39)The boxers who participate in the Fight for Charity are a unique group of people who train and are willing to get in the ring and take a few punches, some in the face of course. They also have to raise money for local charities. To do this they must network and market themselves.

FightForCharity2014 AL (18)

The lesson that can be learned here is that when you are involved in charity events this is an opportunity to expose people to your brand. You can express to people who you are and what you are passionate about. Discussing and letting people know what you are interested in and passionate about helps you to make personal connections and build relationships. Business is not always about business; when you are known for being a contributing and caring member of the community, you stand out. This attracts attention but it also attracts interest and respect.


You don’t have to get into the boxing ring like the brave Long Island Fight for Charity participants, but you must show the same determination in getting your message out to your target audience and community. Any time you are involved with charity you should let people know; yes this helps your brand but it also helps the organization that you are supporting. Keeping your involvement a secret or not actively promoting your participation in an event limits your ability to help the organizations achieve its goals.

Want to see who these boxers are? Check out this YouTube channel with their personal interviews.

Improv for Business – Part I

Bill Corbett Jr. giving a seminar at Trade Booklyn, April 15, 2015

Bill Corbett Jr. giving a seminar at Trade Brooklyn, April 15, 2015

Recently my firm and I promoted a business-to-business trade show in Brooklyn, New York, Trade Brooklyn. This was more than a trade show, it was also a business conference that featured a number of great programs. I was lucky to have the opportunity to speak at this event.

My program focused on LinkedIn and personal marketing. This is a topic I enjoy speaking about and I am personally committed to making businesspeople more productive with their marketing. The program was going great, I was getting some good questions, a few laughs and the audience was learning and having fun.

Bill Corbett Jr. giving a seminar at Trade Booklyn, April 15, 2015

Audience members listening to a seminar by Bill Corbett, Jr. at Trade Booklyn, April 15, 2015

And then… the projector I was using for my Power Point stopped working. Yes, it went completely dark – my laptop was working but nowhere near where I was speaking and I really could not use it for the presentation. Thankfully, I had staff and help there working the problem, but the show must go on. I have given this presentation many times before, but even so I was not prepared for my “notes” or my outline to be taken away.

This is where I learned that it is critical for speakers to prepare ahead of time. Don’t rely on a Power Point or even an outline. I have come to truly respect comedians, actors, politicians and motivational speakers who can get up and do an hour or two hours of material without notes or other queues.Thankfully, I know my material and after a few awkward moments I moved forward.  Ironically, I had just attended an earlier session at the show on improv and business. The session was given by Taren Sterry of Taren Sterry Coaching ( and sponsored by Lee Rubin and Kuhbe ( The program was fun and informative and got me thinking about what I would do if something “unexpected” happened during my presentation or at future presentations.

I remembered what Taren said: that improv was based on being “real” and honest.  Most people think of improv as “trying” to be funny, but at its core it is really about being who you are, communication and trust.

Bill Corbett Jr. giving a seminar at Trade Booklyn, April 15, 2015

Bill Corbett Jr. giving a seminar at Trade Brooklyn, April 15, 2015

When I was faced with my challenge, I thought of this and on why I was doing what I was doing. I focused on my commitment to make, not help, people become better marketers. If I stayed true to the mission, I knew I would be fine. The program flowed forward, eventually the Power Point came back on, my crutch was handed back to me. However, losing the crutch for part of the program made me a better presenter and allowed me to make a better and stronger connection with the audience.

What happened at the end of the program was amazing. Dozens of people came up and asked questions, exchanged cards and two asked me to speak at events.

Bill Corbett Jr. at Trade Booklyn, April 15, 2015

Bill Corbett Jr. at Trade Booklyn, April 15, 2015

It was clear that I needed to learn more about improv. I am enrolled in a three-session improv class with the goal of improving my presentation skills and developing strategies to better connect with audiences.

Here are a few quick tips that resulted from this past week’s events:

  1. Trust yourself and your message. If you believe this and express it during your presentations you will connect with people.
  2. Don’t rely on crutches (Power Point), know your material cold.
  3. Expect the unexpected when presenting, and have fun when it happens.
  4. Have fun, audiences today at business events, seminars or training sessions want to engage and have fun. When you can make your programs fun, interesting and inspiring, you will turn a room full of people into fans and followers.

More to come on in this series next week as I go back to school for the first time in a long time.

Don’t be a Fool – an April Fool’s Day Reminder

It’s Foolish to forget the importance of a having a personal marketing plan.

Many American business people work hard each day to be successful within the companies in which they work or in their own businesses. Countless hours of time and energy are spent networking, attending trade shows, using social media, sending emails and cold calling. Each of these activities has the goal of generating leads and developing business. However, most people who are in sales or business development do not have a personal marketing plan.

I have been on a personal mission to educate people about the importance of having a personal marketing plan and to grow their personal brand. America is a great country and the marketing activities that I listed above can all be effective. However, most people do not approach them with a system or a plan. For many, business and referrals come through these efforts but often it is a matter of pure luck. With even a basic plan a networker or salesperson can improve their lead generation and business development by 20 to 50 percent. Here are some quick actions you can take today:

  1. Create a personal marketing plan. Remember to write your plan down. As part of this plan set financial goals but also set marketing goals such as:
    1. Number of new LinkedIn contacts made per week
    2. Number of new names added to email marketing list
    3. Number of follow-up calls or emails made to people who you meet at a networking event or trade show
    4. Number of social posts you will do each week
    5. Number of videos you will film each quarter
    6. Number of blogs you will create each quarter
  2. Create your personal mission statement. What do you stand for and why should people work with you when they have so many options and choices?
  3. Review and clearly identify your target audience/market and who are the key referral sources.
  4. Create your system for following up with new contacts. You goal should be to turn contacts into prospects or to build trust which leads to referrals or opportunities.
  5. Review all of your social media sites and make sure that all photos, bios and job descriptions are up to date. It is critical that your real world brand matches your online brand.

We live in a highly competitive world for business as well as attention. Business people need to rely on action and effort and less on luck. With a simple personal marketing plan efforts will be focused and greater success will be achieved.

If you would like an outline to help you with the personal marketing plan process, please email me at

Beware of the Groundhog: Groundhog Day Lessons

Punxatawny Phil In the world of PR, we often are looking for media opportunities; some even call them PR stunts.   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 Monday of February. The start of the workweek can often be a depressing day getting back to work, especially the day after the Super Bowl. This year we also have snow in our part of New York, making it even more depressing.  But 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.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.

Leverage the Super Bowl For Your Business

Featured imageThe Super Bowl marks the end of the NFL season. The winning team will walk away from the game with the Vince Lombardi Trophy and bragging rights for the next year. However, there will be more than one winner on this day and you can be one of them. From the host city and large corporations with their Super Bowl ads to the sports bars and other venues hosting game day parties, this annual event and this day generates hundreds of millions of dollars if not a billion dollars in economic activity worldwide.

How can you capitalize? Here are a few strategies:

1) Super Bowl parties. Whether you host your own party or go to one, put your game face on and look for opportunities to make connections. Connections made at social gatherings can impact your business. Start conversations with new people at parties and see if they can be brought into your network. Always look for new people who offer new or different services that you can recommend to others or simply have as a resource. Some of the best business connections I have made have been at non-business events. As for your game face, you should look for opportunities but not be out to hard sell. A win for you is meeting two or more people that can have an impact in the year to come.

2) Stand out at the party. Nothing is better than getting attention at a party. How can you do this? If you’re a super fan then dress the part. Not a face painter? Then why not bring a winning dish, create a specialty drink for the party or bring a door prize. A little extra effort and a small investment can create a memorable impression. Offer to share the drink or food recipes to those who ask; it’s another way to make a connection one-to-one or on social media.

3) Be “super social.” Use the Super Bowl hype and interest to engage with followers and fans on social media. “Deflategate” (the controversy around the deflated footballs the Patriots played with in the AFC Championship game against the Colts) or the amazing come-from-behind-victory the Seahawks achieved are both topics that you can use to ask questions or comment upon. Use stories about the Super Bowl to engage with fans and start conversations with people that you may not have seen for a while. When possible, tie the conversation back to your brand message. If you are in marketing or sales, the commercials during the Super Bowl offer great opportunities to comment before, during and after the game. If you can express yourself in a witty way, your posts could go viral. However, anyone can comment on the game, the commercials, players and plays. Your followers and fans will see you, helping you to stay top of mind. Use questions to drive conversations and tweet at people you know or celebrities who are commenting as well. More views mean more opportunities to grow your followers and your brand.

4) Pre-game and Post-game. Pre-game – by following the hype and media, you have the ability to talk about the game with colleagues and contacts. Use this to start conversations at meetings or networking events. Put your spin on what’s happening and get other opinions. Post-game – have your facts and info about the game ready for discussions at the office with clients and contacts and online for the days following the game.

5) The commercials. I like to read about the hype surrounding the commercials that air during the game. Share your thoughts, criticisms or praises. If you can, share links with others so they can watch the commercials. Some people have even used the commercials as opportunities to create contests or surveys.

Anyone and everyone can capitalize off the hype and attention that the Super Bowl receives. If you’re a fan of one of the teams, the sport, the commercials, the half-time show (Kate Perry) or just the event itself there is plenty to comment on, share and discuss. Conversations lead to relationships and relationships lead to business. The Super Bowl is big business; why not get a piece of the action?

What do you think?  Will you try some of these?  Let me know

Goodbye CardMunch, Hello CardFul

screen-shot-2011-11-14-at-10-27-41-pm evernote

This is an important blog for individual use user LinkedIn for networking and business development. It was only three years ago when LinkedIn first announced it would be offering the then-startup business, CardMunch, to its users (TechCrunch).  Now, LinkedIn is officially breaking its ties with CardMunch in order to “invest” in other developments.  A result of this decision is that CardMunch data will now be transferred to CardFul, a business card management app that extends from Evernote, an up-and-coming note-taking app. This transition from CardMunch to CardFul will take place Friday, July 11th (LinkedIn). photo 3 I have been a big advocate for CardMuch and have spoken often about its benefits and how it makes it easy to connect with people on LinkedIn.   Since most people struggle with ways to network better CardMunch is/was a good tool for making connections on LinkedIn, a good step in building relationships.   I am disappointed in the change but I do use and like Evernote. I have been using the application for note taking and now I am using it for card 2

Although there has been a mix of reactions between tech-savvy business professionals and existing Evernote users, each member of the LinkedIn community is left to decide how he or she would like to continue managing his or her professional contacts. LinkedIn has offered the following options:

1)      Sync existing business card data to Evernote. Users will be granted two years of free business card scanning. It is important to note that although this is a premium feature, this does not automatically give users a premium account. Additionally, it may take up to 24 hours for the information on a business card to fully process, so users are urged to have all cards fully processed and transferred by July 11, 2014.

2)      If a member of both LinkedIn and CardMunch, a user will be able to access existing CardMunch contacts data under the “Contacts” tab at This data will also be available in the Contacts app, where contacts can be managed and deleted. Users who select this option will not be able to view business card images.

3)      If neither of these options is convenient, users can request to download their existing CardMunch data by July 11, 2014 (LinkedIn). More information about these steps can be found here.

Note: I have done this and it can be a little challenging.   Take your time but do it now.Cardful-Business-Card-Management-iPhone-app-icon

While this may seem like a hassle, it is worth it in the end due to certain notable changes on the CardFul app. By scanning business cards on Cardful, the process of connecting with individuals on LinkedIn is much easier and efficient. Users can write detailed notes about their contacts and add a geo-tag location to each business card they scan (Mashable).   I have found that the scanning easily integrates contacts into my outlook and it does make connecting easy.  Although there have been a few technical glitches along the way.

CardFul’s convenience and user-friendly interface is different but it is growing on me.   One problem I had was because I already have an Evernote account, some of my scanned cards became mixed with my existing notes. Also, CardFul doesn’t work as well with business cards that are glossy or with ones that have white lettering and a dark backgrounds.  Overall, however, CardFul is providing me with a relatively seamless way for me to store contacts and manage my business card information.  At this point its ease of use outweighs the app’s minor glitches.   I am sure that tech issues will diminish as updates are made

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for marketing, personal branding and networking.  Not matter how cards are scanned and connections are made user must have a system for using LinkedIn.  I am looking forward to additional changes and improvements.  It is hard to believe but I have had a LinkedIn account for over 10 years.

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Hiring a Public Relations Firm for Media Relations: What Businesses Need to Know and Expect

By Bill Corbett, Jr.

Corbett Public Relations, Inc. 

Media coverage is a key element of many businesses’ marketing efforts and mix.  News coverage is invaluable in projecting a message to a large audience for branding and reputation-building purposes.  Securing media coverage requires time and an investment of resources.  The results generated by a PR firm must support branding, assist in building relationships and provide high-value marketing assets which will assist with sales and business development.  There also must be a strategy for using media relations assets to achieve business goals and objectives.

Many business owners and their teams lack the knowledge and the contacts to successfully launch PR and media relations efforts.  They do, however, recognize the importance and tremendous value, including SEO value, of media coverage.  For this reason, many business owners need to hire a PR firm.  Hiring a PR firm does, however, come with a cost.  Therefore decision makers need to be able to make informed choices in this area.  Before hiring a PR firm, it is important to understand what should be expected from a firm in terms of service and results.  It is also essential to recognize what type of commitment the client must make to ensure success.  Below are the important points to consider when hiring a PR firm.

Corbett Public Relations client David Antar, President of A+ Technology and Security Systems being interviewed by FiOS1 and Newsday at a forum on school security.

Corbett Public Relations client David Antar, President of A+ Technology and Security Systems being interviewed by FiOS1 and Newsday at a forum on school security.

Watch Out for Promises.  Media relations is an important marketing and business growth function   Working in media relations is challenging and requires creativity and the commitment of significant time.  There are many exceptional professionals in the media relations field, but as in any business sector, there are those who do not maintain high or ethical standards.  Media relations is a process and securing media coverage takes work.  Beware of any PR “professional” who promises or guarantees coverage.  Seek to work with those who can articulate messages, product information and competitive advantage and who will commit to spending the necessary time to develop and bring ideas to the media.  If they promise or guarantee coverage, start looking at other firms.

Like and Trust the PR Firm Team.  Business owners and marketing team members must feel relaxed speaking and interacting with PR firm staff.  Being comfortable with the team is essential because confidential information, proprietary strategies as well as personal business and financial information are often discussed.  Only individuals that can be trusted should be chosen for this important relationship.

Research the Track Record of the PR Firm and its Professionals.  Find out how long the firm has been in business, as well as what kind of relationships they have with target media outlets.  Ask to see print and video clips of clients in the news.  Also request testimonials from satisfied clients as these are a good source of feedback about the company and its team members.  Look for a firm that is well established and has a solid track record of success.  Search for their clients online and see how media coverage is supporting SEO and their brand.

Accessibility is Very Important.  A firm that is available any day and any time is ideal.  A client needs to know that their chosen PR firm can be reached if they need them, whether it is for positive communication with the media or if there is a crisis situation that requires immediate attention.  Today’s 24-hour news cycle and social media require constant and unwavering vigilance.  If a PR firm takes a 9-to-5 approach, look elsewhere.

Corbett Public Relations secured News 12 coverage  for Cruizin' for a Cure Volunteer and Prostate Cancer Survivor Vince Bucilli.

Corbett Public Relations secured News 12 coverage for Cruizin’ for a Cure Car Show Volunteer and Prostate Cancer Survivor Vince Bucilli.

Firm Proactivity is Key.  Quality PR firms are always monitoring the media, trends and events that can lead to positive coverage and interviews.  Taking a proactive approach demonstrates the firm’s desire to be an active partner and this will provide the greatest return on investment (ROI).  Make sure to select a firm that is proactive and not one that will only communicate when ideas for media coverage are presented to them.  PR firms should have a process for regularly generating ideas to pitch to the media and clients must agree to be involved.

Keep in Mind PR Firm Expertise and Creativity.  When choosing a PR firm, ask if the firm will come up with media pitches on their own or if it is a team effort.  Media relations professionals understand the media and should be able to quickly develop pitches based on the information provided.  Ask if the firm has any experience in specific industries or subject areas.  Sometimes it is helpful to have a firm that focuses in a niche or specific industry, while other times firms with a broad reach can serve a client better.  Also consider conflicts, if the firm represents more than one business in a sector this could be a problem or possibly a synergy.

Relationships and Approaches Matter.  Ask the firm about their relationships with members of the media.  Do they have contacts with the right media outlets?  If they don’t have contacts, ask how they work to get media coverage with new outlets.

Ask Who Will be Working on the Account.  A number of firms have developed bad reputations for putting inexperienced staff members or even interns in charge of new or small accounts.  Before engaging a PR firm, make sure to find out who will be working on the account and their expertise and industry knowledge.  Do not let the principal of a PR firm disappear after the engagement is signed.  Make sure that the team is experienced and monitor who is doing the work regularly.

Corbett Public Relations client Marty Lyons of the Marty Lyons Foundations was interviewed by FiOS1's Jessica Fragoso for the "Heroes On Our Island," segment.

 Marty Lyons of the Marty Lyons Foundation was interviewed by FiOS1’s Jessica Fragoso for the “Heroes On Our Island,” segment.

Ask About Sales Support and Leveraging Coverage.  The public relations and  media coverage that a business secures becomes a valuable marketing asset that can be used for years.  PR firms should provide strategies, approaches and support for the sales and business development team members of their clients.  The PR firm needs to use its media relations assets to help secure meetings, build relationships with prospects, start conversations and fill social media streams.  When selecting a PR firm, ask how they intend to help amplify the media coverage with social media and how they will help put coverage in front of decision makers, prospects and referral sources.

PR Firm Members Must Be Team Players.  Ask about the firm’s interest and ability to work with other members of the marketing team.  Media coverage is an important part of marketing and the PR firm must be engaged in the process.  Firms should recognize the value of media coverage from a social media perspective and explain how it will help with SEO.  PR team members should be part of the marketing strategy and relevant planning sessions.

Return on Investment and Reporting.  Ask what the fees will be up front as well as how they are to be paid.  Often firms require a monthly fee or retainer, while other firms will work on projects or for hourly rates.  Before hiring a PR firm, set the budget and determine how the firm’s service and PR goals can be achieved within these financial boundaries.  Public relations should be looked at as a long-term investment in a brand, product or business.

Retaining a PR firm is a decision that requires research and consideration.  Speak with people who work with media relations professionals and do research before beginning the search process.  Create a budget and select a PR firm that will secure diverse and quality media coverage.  The efforts of PR firm should support brand building, attract business and support sales team efforts.  Recognize also that PR efforts require time to work and it may take several months before results can be observed.  Consider PR firm engagements of six months or more when setting goals and budgets.

5 LinkedIn Resolutions You Need To Make for 2014

By Bill Corbett, President, Corbett Public Relations and Founder of Grow Your Personal Brand

As 2014 begins, it’s a good time to take a step back and reflect on your personal branding efforts in 2013.  Did you achieve your goals? How active have you been on LinkedIn?  Have you generated new business from LinkedIn?  If you aren’t satisfied with your answers to those questions then you need to change what you are doing and take a better look at your LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn is the number one social networking website for business professionals and others looking to generate new opportunities.  The following are 5 LinkedIn Resolutions You Need To Make for 2014:

1.  Commit to investing 1 hour per week on LinkedIn activities You need to create a schedule in advance and block out a certain time period for you to work on your LinkedIn activities.  Schedule posts ahead of time by using a social media aggregator such a Hootsuite to save time.  Once your posts are scheduled go into your groups and facilitate discussion and engage with other group members.  An investment of an hour a week will be beneficial to growing your personal brand.

2.  Connect with others Make weekly or monthly goals of how many people you want to reach out and connect with.  Connections are valuable on LinkedIn.  The more you have and the better you know them the more valuable they are.  LinkedIn is a great way to increase the size of your network.

3.  Maximize you profile – Make sure to update and maximize your profile so that it is easier for prospects to find you and so it clearly identifies why someone would want to work with you.  A maximized profile is the strongest asset you can have on LinkedIn.  If you profile is poor or is missing information then you could be missing out on potential prospects.

4.  Be seen – Make sure you stay top of mind among your connections.  Use status updates several times each week.  In your updates discuss what you are doing, what projects you are working on and share relevant and interesting articles related to your industry.

5.  Facilitate recommendations – Recommendations are one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile.  You should accumulate as many recommendations as you can.  One way to do this is by giving recommendations to others and then asking for one in return.  The more recommendations you have the better.

By implementing these LinkedIn resolutions you can be confident in your LinkedIn profile and this will lead to building stronger relationships and future business development.  LinkedIn is a power tool.  Make 2014 the year you get the most out of your LinkedIn profile.

Steps to Become a Successful and Powerful LinkedIn User – Part 2

Recently I wrote Part 1 of “Steps to Become a Successful and Powerful LinkedIn User,” in which I outlined some important strategies.  Creating a plan and strategy for using LinkedIn and creating a personal marketing plan are essential in growing a business and having a personal brand that will resonate.  Spending focused time and energy on LinkedIn will enhance relationships, build trust and create awareness that will assist you to achieve your promotional, business and career goals.

Here are five additional steps to take to become a power LinkedIn user:

Who to connect with? – You should consider connecting with almost everyone.  However, keep a sharp eye out for people who are not serious LinkedIn users or those who are likely to place you on a sales solicitation or an e-mail marketing list.  There are easy ways to determine if someone is a good connection or not.  Some of the immediate red flags are: no photo or one of poor quality; no status update activity; few endorsements; few contacts; no personal “who I am” details in the profile, and ambiguity about what it is the person actually does.  When reviewing a new potential contact, consider whether the person could be an ally or a competitor.  For example, some attorneys want to connect with other attorneys, but marketing professionals may not want to connect with their competitors located down the block.

When you are approached to connect with people you don’t know or with whom you are casually acquainted, you must ask them to provide you with more information. Questions should be posed to them.  Ask questions such as: Who do you want to meet? Whom do you network with? Whom are your ideal clients?  This process also gives you the opportunity to tell them who you are and who you want to meet.  We have found that those who are not serious LinkedIn users never respond to these requests.  This nonresponse is a good indication that they will not communicate in the future. If they will not engage, they are likely not interested in developing a relationship.  If the individual responds to the questions posed, move forward and connect or ask additional questions.  Whom you are connected with is important.  You will develop relationships with these individuals and connect them to others on LinkedIn.  Starting relationships the right way creates the right foundation of trust.

Bring real world networking into the LinkedIn cyber world – The process of networking, meeting people and developing business relationships, existed long before LinkedIn.  However, LinkedIn offers a platform that can be used strategically to enhance and facilitate real world networking.  LinkedIn can make networking and networking follow-up more effective.  Most importantly, when used strategically, LinkedIn can speed up the relationship development process.  Basically, LinkedIn will assist in building trust, which is essential in the business relationship growth process.  Without trust there is no relationship.  How do you use LinkedIn to build trust? Start by bringing your real world contacts into the online LinkedIn world.  Often the first step in the networking process is meeting and talking with new people at events or meetings in the real world.  You will collect business cards and begin communicating.

One easy way to bring the people you meet in the real world into your LinkedIn world is to use the mobile app produced by LinkedIn called CardMunch.  Use this app to scan the business cards you receive.  The app makes it easy to send a connection request and quickly connect with people.  This can all be done using your smartphone on the road or even during a networking event.

Groups – Strategically pick the groups you join.  If you have limited time, pick two or three groups where you can be very active.  Remember to join groups that offer a target-rich environment for business development and potential referral sources.  If you are an accountant and rarely get referrals from other accountants, limit your membership in groups that are geared toward accounting professionals.  Find groups where you can demonstrate your expertise and connect with individuals that fit your ideal client or ideal referral source profile.

Regionally focused groups should be considered.  Even if every person in the group is not an ideal direct prospect or referral source, relationships matter.  Having contacts and connections in different business sectors will allow you to connect to people looking for a wide variety of services or solutions.  Groups are where you can build a reputation as a giver and provider of information as well as share connections.  When you can assist individuals advance their career, help them solve a business issue or most importantly drive business to them, they will remember you and your efforts.  This strategy is one of the most effective business lead generators available to networkers.

Recommendations and Endorsements – LinkedIn users benefit from recommendations from individuals whom they have worked or whom they know. Recommendations help to reinforce the value of individual skills, abilities and services that can be provided.  We have suggested that to be effective on LinkedIn users should secure one to four recommendations each month.  This shows continuous activity and makes it known to your contacts that you are somebody that people like and respect working with.  Recommendations and endorsements of services assist in building brand awareness and are effective in demonstrating and reinforcing to others your stature and expertise in a given area.  These recognitions are particularly important for people who are just getting to know who you are and the areas in which you are a leader.  Recommendations are also a good way to get feedback on your personal marketing efforts.  If you receive a number of endorsements recognizing your expertise in a specialized area, then it is clear that those who are connected with you know what you do and what you do well.  If you are getting endorsements for services you do not provide, then you have to review how you are marketing and communicating with contacts.  If this is out of sync you need to work on how you are perceived in your market.

This article was provided by Bill Corbett, President of Corbett Public Relations based on Long Island in New York.  Mr. Corbett is a respected leader in public relations, media relations, personal branding and social media.  Over the past two decades Mr. Corbett has assisted thousands of clients to secure media coverage, build brands, attract attention and grow.  For more information visit or contact him at Twitter @wjcorbett

This blog originally was originally posted on


Steps to Become a Successful and Powerful LinkedIn User – Part I

Looking for a magic formula to be more successful on LinkedIn?  The fact is you need to create your own strategy for success on LinkedIn.  The magic formula is understanding marketing, creating a system for developing trusting relationships, putting time in and having an understanding for the tools and opportunities LinkedIn offers.

Your success strategy must be part of an overall personal marketing plan and system.  LinkedIn can and must be an integral component in a personal marketing effort.  To be successful users must have a plan for leveraging what LinkedIn provides.  Using social media including LinkedIn cannot be set on “auto pilot.”  Just creating a profile and posting occasionally will only bring modest success.

These are three steps on the road to becoming a power LinkedIn user:

Plan – Create a personal marketing plan and include LinkedIn as a vehicle for building your reputation, connecting with the right people, enhancing relationships and making it easy for those you want to do business with find you.  A marketing plan that includes LinkedIn requires that the user spends time on the site, becomes familiar with each section and creates a strategy for using each part of LinkedIn.  This step is broad but before you ride a bike or drive a car you have to know how it works and how it will get you from Point A to Point B. Your plan, like any marketing plan should have goals and objectives. Certainly business secured and funds generated are great goals, but there are many objectives you will have to achieve first.  Set realistic and achievable goals, track when objectives are reached and what the results of activities were.  Create questions and milestones that will help you judge success.

Don’t be a bystander – According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, the average LinkedIn account/user checks in and uses the site for about 17 minutes per month. To be a power user you have to commit more time.  You must be active, seen and remembered.  This requires daily activity, attention and focus.  At first it may take more effort, but over time you will find the activities, groups and interactions that will yield the greatest results. In marketing, strategies need to change.  If an approach or tactic does not work, after time change it.  For example, when using status updates the key is to generate a response and create a buzz.  If your activities are not attracting attention look at the content of your posts, and compare them to the responses others are getting.  Don’t be afraid to change or implement several different approaches at the same time.

Spend time but don’t waste time – The goal of marketing is to develop a system that allows for growth and the development of relationships and business. Focus on those activities that work, to prevent the wasting of energy.  Create a schedule and time budget.  A schedule is what you will do each week and the time budget is how much time you will spend.  Do not exceed the amount of time you have allocated and don’t do less.  Monitor and track this time and refer back to records to see if you are keeping with your goals.  Time is money and must be spent in an efficient way.

Your profile, title and image-  Much has been written on this and I will start briefly with your photo, it must be professional and clear.  No image means fewer connections and only 1 in 7 will even look at your profile.  Also stay away from logos, caricatures, and other images.  These are frowned upon by users on LinkedIn and they don’t present you in a professional manner.   What your profile and title says about you is key, and will make the difference between people getting to know you or moving on to someone else. Let’s start with your title.  Here is an example of a big mistake, having President, CEO or account manager listed as your title.  No one searches for president, CEO or account manager.  If they do they will find thousands of people from all different sectors in no particular order. Be more specific with your title based on your industry and what you do.  My title is Public Relations, Personal Branding and Social Media Consultant. I do list president of my firm but at the end not the beginning.

Your profile text must be optimized the same way.  Include what you do, where you do it (geographic market) right at the beginning.  Make sure those different terms that describe what you do and your industry appear often.  To be the most effective and to connect with prospects your profile should be written in the first person, (I am the leading PR professional on Long Island…), should include some history, experience, accomplishments, success and some personal information about what you like to do when away from work.  How much you share is up to you.  However, we have found that in many cases this personal information is as important if not more important than business background and information. Why? This type of information allows you to offer and find common interests with others.  This information helps people understand who you are, what you’re interested in and offers a great way to start conversations that have nothing to do with business.  These easy conversations allow for relationships to start, grow and put you in a position to eventually do business with the other individuals.   Text that only talks about company services, products or benefits thereof is an instant turn off and limits the effectiveness of your post.  Your profile is where your personal brand will shine, take advantage of this opportunity.

This article was provided by Bill Corbett, President of Corbett Public Relations based on Long Island in New York.  Mr. Corbett is a respected leader in public relations, media relations, personal branding and social media.  Over the past two decades Mr. Corbett has assisted thousands of clients to secure media coverage, build brands, attract attention and grow.  For more information visit or contact him at Twitter @wjcorbett

This blog was originally published on


Going to Google – The Glass Introduction Experience

I had the pleasure and thrill of accompanying Basil Puglisi, social and digital media leader, to his special appointment at Google for a fitting for Google Glass.  Although we were not able to record video inside, I was able to document the experience.  It was quite remarkable.

Google’s Glass training and introductory area is located just above Chelsea Market, a trendy and popular setting in New York City.

After we entered a café-like setting, we were met by our Google training rep, Duyin Ha. She was fantastic and it was clear she had extensive training and knowledge of this amazing new device.

So what is Google Glass?  It’s a device worn like glasses; however, it possesses cutting edge technology which integrates an array of mobile applications and digital technology. If you have not read or heard about Google Glass you are behind the tech curve.  This incredible device takes video, connects with your online “life” and much more.  In the short training, Duyin explained features and walked Basil, a very tech, Google app and Android savvy individual, through the many functions, features and the set up for Glass.

From a marketing and social media perspective, Google Glass has tremendous potential.  The ability to quickly take, upload and share video content and images will make G+ an even more desirable and friendly social media platform than it already is.  Recent reports indicate that G+ has close to 350 million accounts and growing.  Glass interacts seamlessly with Google Chrome and other specific apps created for it.  Here is a prediction – with Google Glass, enhanced apps, services and integration, Google social media use will explode.  Watch out Facebook—with devices, apps and ease of use combined with search, it will be a challenge to keep up.

From the brief time I was involved with the demo and Basil’s first hours with Google Glass I was impressed and certainly liked what I’d seen.

From my public relations and marketing perspective, Google Glass will provide individuals and businesses with the ability to demonstrate, explore, educate and market products and people like never before.  Story telling from the first person perspective will be unmatched.

Glass is new and it was amazing to see how Basil became an instant “celebrity.”  After our session and following just seconds on the street in Manhattan, people were pointing, taking photos and asking questions.

People from all walks of life and ages wanted to know more about Glass.  Glass is a powerful personal branding tool which allows users to broadcast their experiences, demonstrate skills and expertise and show people a glimpse of their personal lives.

Information comes from the first person perspective and this allows users to share in a uniquely personal way.  We will be able to get to know people better and build relationships.  In terms of business, getting to know those that you work with or may work with will open up new opportunities as well as create new questions.

I can’t wait to get my Google Glass.  If you’re listening Google, I am a fan.  Can I get one?

More to come on this great device and technology.  We have not even scratched the surface of what Glass can do for business, brands, and to make life a little easier and more interesting. Here’s one final point. Google Glass enables its users to utilize Google maps. You can enter an address and the map and directions pop right up on the screen.  This technology is ideal for individuals walking in an urban-type setting but is not appropriate to use when driving.

If you have questions about Google Glass ask Basil Puglisi on twitter @basilpuglisi

To read about the story in Newsday please visit 

For more images from the Google Glass experience please visit

Follow me on social media to see additional posts, images and videos relating to glass and other marketing topics.  Feel free to email me any questions at

April Fool’s Day – “Foolish” LinkedIn Mistakes to Avoid

Fool2The world of online marketing and personal branding is new for many people.  When getting involved in something that is unfamiliar mistakes are bound to happen.  LinkedIn is a marketing vehicle that is not new.  However, using LinkedIn as a marketing and branding tool is new to many.  To successfully use LinkedIn effectively requires planning and a strategy.  On this April “Fools Day” here are some LinkedIn marketing and profile building “foolish mistakes” to avoid and some easy to implement solutions.

Mistake: Connecting then immediately selling. LinkedIn is for relationship building and branding.  LinkedIn it is not a hard selling tool.  Hard or in-your-face selling strategies will lead to being ignored and possibly disconnected, the exact opposite of what you want to accomplish on LinkedIn.

Solution: Be genuine and make personal connections. Connect with others to build relationships and start business focused discussions.  Have conversations with people, ask questions and demonstrate expertise and knowledge.  This process builds awareness and when done properly, trust.  With trust will come opportunities and business.

Mistake: Using LinkedIn’s default message when connecting.  Impersonal requests do not carry the same weight as a personal note with more information.

Solution: Connecting to LinkedIn users in a personal way is the best approach.  If the person is someone you don’t know well, research them and tailor what you say in the connection request.  If you know the person, say somebody you met at a networking event, the same rule applies.  Find out more about them and create a personalized and memorable request.  Remind the person when and where you met and why you two should connect.  This will make you stand out and be remembered by the new potential contact. They will be more likely to accept your request as well. Building professional relationships is why you are on LinkedIn, and being personal and likeable from the first interaction is important.

Mistake: Not giving then asking for recommendations.  LinkedIn and the recommendation function is a two-way street; if you don’t give you will not receive.  If you do not have recommendations, your profile will not be as robust and effective as it should be.

Solution:  An effective approach for acquiring recommendations is to start by giving.  Your connections are much more likely to provide you with a recommendation back if you spend the time to write an effective one for them.  Doing a recommendation sends the message that you are taking your time and that you are interested in the relationship.  LinkedIn helps to facilitate this process by asking the recipient to do a recommendation in return.  If this does not prompt a response, contact the individual and see if they will reciprocate. Either way the likelihood of getting a recommendation is increased and you have a new reason to communicate with the contact.

Mistake: Skipping or infrequently providing status updates. LinkedIn users unfortunately don’t use the status feature as often as they should.  By not posting updates a user shows that they are not an active member or user Fool1of LinkedIn.  Simply being inactive is a mistake that must be avoided.

Solution: Update your contacts with LinkedIn status posts regularly.  This will allow you to show them what activities you are involved in, who you are getting to know professionally and what articles and information are of interest to you.  Users can also tout their accomplishments, authored articles and disseminate media coverage.  Update your profile daily or several times each week.  The more often you post updates and information the more your contacts will see you and can learn about who you are and what you do.

Mistake: Skipping the summary portion of your profile. Filling out the summary is crucial to being found in search results.  An incomplete profile, especially one that focuses only on what you do instead of who you are, can be a problem.

Solution:  Every word in your summary counts so make sure to fill out a detailed summary of yourself and what you want to achieve with your LinkedIn profile.  Some people choose to use bullet points to highlight activities and services.  The design and layout is up to you and may depend on your goals and the industry you are in.   Keywords in your profile and your title assist you to come up in internal LinkedIn searches.   Business owners, recruiters and consultants will search specific terms, and if you include these terms into your profile the likelihood of you being found by the right people will increase significantly.  You will get more views to your profile, and remember each view to your profile is a new business prospect.

Mistake: Not adding past jobs or volunteer work experience. It may not seem important, but adding these will present the best image of who you are.  These activities as well as involvement in real world groups and charities demonstrate that you are a person who is interesting and has connections.

Solution: Elaborate on past job history and volunteer work.  List as much information about what tasks you accomplished during each venture and what new skills you acquired.  For those with limited information or work experience, volunteer activities can help bolster a profile and give business contacts or even recruiters a better idea of who you are and what personal assets you possess.

Mistake: Failing to be active in groups. Not participating in groups hinders a person’s ability to make connections and demonstrate knowledge and leadership.

Solution: Take part in discussions in LinkedIn groups. This activity will help to get you noticed as a thought leader, job seeker or expert.  Discussions and sharing information keeps you relevant and visible.  Groups are a great place to ask questions, show expertise and enhance credibility.

Mistake: The final and worse mistake you can make is not having a photo or having an unflattering photo connected to your LinkedIn profile. 

Solution: Make sure to have a professional and clear picture of yourself on your LinkedIn profile.  You are seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have a photo.  A missing picture will lead to missed opportunities.  A good photo will also help you in real world networking.  People you meet will recognize you when you walk into a room.  Remember your photo is an important part of your image and your personal brand.  You must always present the best image possible in the real world and online.fool3

Take a few minutes to make sure that you never look like a fool on LinkedIn.




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