Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound, is offering The Best of the Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week 2013 on her website as a free ebook that I highly recommend. 

She includes many tools that help public relations professionals save time and money such as the social media image maker that helps you resize images for all types of social media accounts.

She also gives out valuable tips that are hard to find elsewhere. The tips she shares are hidden gems that PR pros would usually pay money to acquire.

Here are some of the neat tips and tricks that are in the free ebook:

—Where to find a huge directory of freelance writers

—Where to find a giant list of local and regional magazines so you know all your pitching opportunities

—36 places to publicize your startup

—Where to find a free 39-page report on how to research and pitch bloggers, step by step

Check out this wonderful ebook and start using her PR tips today.

I recently wrote about retail promotion tips for the 2013 holiday season. If you are a small business, there are ways you can stand out from the competition this season.

Start promoting now. The holiday season is shorter this year and the retail outlook is lower than last year. Email newsletters that share what's new and spotlight promotions

Offer stand out promotions. Get creative. Make your repeat customers VIPs and give them the star treatment. Start a referral program. Find ways to stand out and draw in new customers.

Customer service is tops. Above all, make sure your customers experience a positive, helpful environment. Going above and beyond expectations will ensure they return.

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It's hard running a small business. How do you carve out time to market your business when you are busy running it? 

Here are some great public relations tips from Media Leaders to generate publicity. Some of my favorite tips include:
  • Have a story to tell.
  • Build a short list of highly targeted media.
  • Keep your pitch short and sweet. Leave them wanting more.
  • Partner up with a technology company and show how you solved a customer's problem.
  • Track your inbound links and those of your competitors and see what works and what needs work.
What tips have worked for your business?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of my favorite marketing blogs is Hubspot. They have a resourceful blog on lots of topics including small business marketing.

For small business owners, it can be hard to market their business when they are busy with sales, operations and other facets of their business.

Hubspot's Small Business Marketing Hub offers tips and tricks to give small businesses a head start on marketing programs that they have been thinking about. 

Spark some ideas!

Small Business Trends talks about Why You Should Be Focusing on Visual Content Marketing. They are spot on. Think about when something has really moved you emotionally - was it a commercial or a picture someone posted on Facebook? 

Usually an image or video presented with messaging has made a difference. We are human and are visual beings. Think about how you can add visual images and concepts to your story that you are telling. It is the best way to connect with your audience.

How have you used visual storytelling and how do you plan on improving it in your marketing messaging?

Have you checked your company website lately? Is it up to date with news and information? Here are some tips for a quick website audit.
  • Home page - is your message clear? Can someone tell what you sell and who you sell to in 3-5 seconds?
  • Is your contact information and social network information easy to locate?
  • Is your copy written in clear conversational language?
  • Remember short and sweet. Visitors do not want to scroll down a website and read a long passage.
  • Can you search on your website?
  • Are you hiring? Do you have recent news?
  • Don't use stock photos of business people. Use photos of real people like your employees and customers.
  • Are your meta tags filled out for your website? Title, description, keywords for each page.
Remember, your business website is your central hub for all of your online activity. Be sure it's worth visiting.

Small Business Saturday is an initiative by American Express and local businesses to build awareness of the power of buying local and supporting our community. 

How is your business involved in your community? Find out how to get involved in this initiative and promote your business. 

Does size matter when it comes to followers? According to a recent SMB social media study from Vocus and Duct Tape Marketing, it does not.

Two in three SMBs favor quality over quantity. 40% prefer very active, engaged followers and only one in four small to mid-size businesses think the number of followers is more important than level of engagement.

The main challenge that SMBs face is the perception that social media is free. Like any other marketing initiative, social media takes time and resources. 

The study shows that SMBs are active in social media, they see its value, and they measure progress through connected business outcomes.

From the study:
  • 77% of SMBs say that social media accounts for 25% or more of their total marketing effort
  • 87% of SMBs say social media has been somewhat helpful or helped a great deal
  • The top two measurement metrics are 1) traffic (76%) and 2) # of new customers
"Path to influence.  One of the most fascinating findings of the study was the divergent views of online influence. For example, 40% of SMBs prefer a smaller but highly engaged audience, while 27% would prefer a huge following with little engagement. What’s important to note is the 27% that prefer a large following are also more likely to report social media has been very helpful to their efforts." 

Have you checked out Twitter yet for your business? You can easily connect with other businesses and customers using Twitter. Join the conversation and see what it's all about. Use Twitter Search to search your company name and keywords. 
If you have a Facebook fan page, you are probably aware that your page will automatically convert to the new Timeline design on March 30, 2012.

Mari Smith, a social media speaker and author, has put together an informative post which covers the majority of basic settings and features you need to know. She has also included a great infographic that highlights all the key elements of the new layout. [Facebook Timeline for Business Pages – 21 Key Points To Know]