How to Get Press for Your Small Business When You Can’t Afford to Hire for PR

I’m a solopreneur and wear all the hats. I’ve been interviewed for my expertise as a personal productivity expert by national TV, radio, and press: TODAY show, O Magazine, NY Times, Washington Post, Real Simple, Men’s Health, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, and many more. I don’t pitch. A journalist will contact me one to two times a month, sometimes more depending on the time of year.

What Works

When journalists started calling me, I asked two simple questions:

(1) How did you find me? Answer: Google.

(2) What did you search when I showed up? Answer: Personal productivity expert, time management expert, or email overload expert (I noticed they always added the word “expert.”)

I’d never paid attention to keywords or search engine optimization before, but, fortunately, everything I was doing online was it! That was an eye opener, so I started doing more. Now, most of what I do online is to keep me on that first page of Google, focusing on my blog (, my YouTube channel (, Google Plus, and SlideShare (  I even wrote a booklet about it (Shameless Self-Promotion: DIY SEO) and started giving seminars.

Shameless self-promotion is all about promoting what you know and feeding it to Google using free resources so you don’t spend one red cent.

Bottom line: When a busy journalist is looking for an expert, you want to make sure they can find you based on what you do, what you know, or what you sell. When a high-priced PR agency pitches a story to the media and they bite, they’re going to want to interview some more experts…just make sure they can find you.

Proud Example

I was contacted by the NY Times to write an article on email overload. When they searched “email overload expert” on Google, I appeared on the first page. They studied my blog so they knew I could write. They contacted me to write this article on reducing bad email habits.

What methods have you used to get press on a regular basis? I hope you’ll leave a comment below. 


Three Ways to Find Out When You’re Mentioned on the Web

Apparently, someone has uploaded an older edition of my Shameless Self-Promotion ebook to the Internet. I sell the book on my Website, so I am quite ticked that someone has decided to give it away. Most people who purchase ebooks, I believe, abide by the copyright and keep the documentation for their use only.

But then, there are others.

I’ll get this straight with the site owner where the ebook is illegally posted, but in the meantime, I wanted to share with you three ways you can find out when someone’s talking about you, your products, etc., online. I’m using all of these, and an email from TweetBeep is how I found out.

Google News Alerts

You can receive alerts when terms you designate show up on the Web. It’s free to sign up at When a Website with my name on it gets indexed, I receive an alert. I also added alerts for my book titles and expertise.

To streamline the responses you receive, enclose phrases in quotation marks (e.g., “Peggy Duncan” or “The Time Management Memory Jogger” or “email overload”).

TweetBeep is like Google Alerts but for Twitter. From their Website, “You can keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, anything, with hourly updates! You can even keep track of who’s tweeting your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL (like or”

SocialOomph (formerly TweetLater)

SocialOomph “will monitor the twitter tweet stream and will periodically email you a digest of tweets that contain your designated keywords.” It can be used  for online reputation management, catching all your @replies and @mentions, finding job/networking opportunities, tracking your competitors, and more! SocialOomph also includes options such as scheduling tweets to send later, as well as several features I don’t like such as automatically following someone who follows me.

If you’re using something different, please leave a comment and let us know, especially if it’s free.

UPDATE: I’m also using for notifications from Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and more in one email report.


Shameless Self-Promotion Defined

When it comes to training, I like to stay in my lane and stick to teaching what I know and love. For me, that’s personal productivity and teaching people how to work smarter: get organized, streamline processes, and use technology the right way.

But then something kept happening.

People started to ask me how I was getting so much national, major publicity. They wanted to know who my publicist was. I’d say “Google.” Huh? Yep, Google. I don’t have to pitch stories because journalists find me on the first page of organic searches when they’re looking for someone with my expertise. Prospective clients do too. Lucky for me, although I didn’t know what search engine optimization (SEO) was back then, everything I was doing was it.

I started sharing the tactics I’d used, then I gave a few seminars about it, then I wrote an ebook.

My Shameless Self-Promotion: Do-It-Yourself SEO (link is to my ebook) seminar is becoming the most popular speaking request I receive, particularly when the audience is business owners.

At a recent American Express event, getting found online was the number one thing business owners wanted to talk about. So I’m going with the flow, veering a little out of my lane, and giving people what they want.

So what do I mean by shameless self-promotion? It’s not going around patting yourself on the back telling everyone who will listen how wonderful you are. My definition is that you use every opportunity you have and every marketing tool you have access to to promote what you know. Help people. Deliver value. As you promote what you know online (blog posts, how-to videos, press releases, social media, etc), the search engines will eat it up.

So how are you promoting what you know?



Social Media Bootcamp – Training Series of Four Classes

You’ve heard all the talk and raves about social media. But you’re not the only one who hasn’t figured out how to make it work in business. This training will help you pull it all together.

The Social Media Bootcamp of Atlanta is a series of four classes you can take at your convenience. Hands-on with your laptop so you’ll leave each class with everything set up.


Blogging Bootcamp. Create a self-hosted WordPress blog and optimize it for search engines.

Social Sessions. Learn how to use Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to grow your fan base and business. If you’re not already using it, we’ll help you set them up and use them in class. If you’re already using it but haven’t done much with it, we’ll show you powerful, hidden features to take advantage of.

Shameless Self-Promotion. Learn how to do your own search engine optimization and public relations by promoting what you know using free Web 2.0 tools.

Create Marketing Collateral with PowerPoint. Build your brand using software you already have and use. Create Twitter and YouTube channel backgrounds and more.

Save $200 off registration by purchasing the SOCIAL MEDIA BOOTCAMP Series that includes four (4), all-day classes. You will have one year to complete the training from the date of purchase. Classes are regularly-scheduled so you can enroll at your convenience.

All classes taught at my training facility in Atlanta, The Digital Breakthroughs Institute, 1691 Phoenix Blvd, Suite 380. Located 5 minutes from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.


Why I Create Time to Blog and Why You Should Too

Boost your search engine
rankings with a blog.

With over 72 percent of people finding what they need online, you must get found. A blog offers the following benefits.

Share your expertise. A business blog gives you a platform to promote what you know and establish yourself as an expert in the marketplace.

Describe and build your brand. Your brand represents what people know about you or think of when they hear of you. Focusing your blog on your expertise will help promote your brand.

Boost search engine rankings. As you continue to offer tips, insight, and advice to people who need what you have, you’ll give the search engines what they crave – fresh, quality content.

Reach the masses with less effort and money. Search engines, links from other sites, integration with social media tools, and Google Alerts are just a few of the ways a blog can help you reach people you never would have otherwise. You could start to attract potential customers, clients, journalists, and industry giants seeking fresh ideas.

If you need more convincing why blogging is so important, you have got to read this article from Anita Campbell’s Small Business Trends blog, “42 Million U.S. Women Use Social Media: Blogs Most Influential.”

“But I’ve heard blogs are free and
easy to set up. Why do I need training?”

Yes, it’s true. You can easily create a simple blog at sites such as Blogger from Google. But if you want to become a serious blogger and take advantage of customized designs and plug-ins that will boost your search engine rankings and virability, you’ll want our advice and training. You’ll want a self-hosted WordPress blog with powerful functionality that makes it easy to share and get others to promote.

With a self-hosted blog, you will:

  • Have complete control over design, functionality, and virability.
  • Be able to add any number of the thousands of free plugins that make your blog easy to share and promote, thus boosting your search engine rankings.
  • Host your own content and easily move it from one host to another if you ever need to.
  • Easily create full backups of all files.
  • Be able to monetize it by selling your own products.
  • Upload as much content as your hosting package will allow.

Attract new business and the media
like a magnet!

Here is a previous post I wrote that will convince you to start with a professional, self-hosted WordPress blog so you won’t have to backtrack later and change it. A few months later, my blog won Top Business Blog from

“I have a newsletter that I email regularly.
Why do I need a blog?”

It’s a good idea to collect email addresses and send your subscribers valuable information regularly. But if that’s all you’re doing, how will Google and other search engines know? The only people seeing your newsletter are your subscribers. When you add your expertise to a blog, it’ll get picked up by the search engines and exposed to the world! So do both.

Google will be the first to tell you that you don’t have to pay them to get found online.  In the Blogging Bootcamp, we’re going to walk you through what they suggest you do, plus some more of what we’ve learned along the way.


When You Send Press Releases Does Google or Yahoo Know?

In my seminar and ebook on shameless self-promotion, I share how I’ve received international media coverage by doing my own public relations. One of my suggestions is to send weekly online press releases because they will boost your search engine rankings and attract reporters and clients. (I am on the first page of Google for my expertise and this is just one of the things I’ve done to make this happen…without using Pay-Per-Click.)

Several fee-based services are available for distribution of your media releases, including:,,,,, and 

In addition to improving your search engine rankings, online press releases could get picked up by Google News and Yahoo News. This is important because 64% of journalists use these two sources for story ideas, 79 percent of journalists find story ideas from newswires in general, and 74 percent from Websites [Arketi 2008]. I started digging more into Google News and Yahoo News and what effect sending an online press release has on it, and which services produced the best results (showing up on the news sites).

In checking the Google News and Yahoo News archives, I discovered that some free press release technologies such as don’t even show up. I also found that although the fee-based service,, costs less to use than per release, it shows up WAY more: 45,200 compared to 14,400. And leaves them all in the dust with 161,000 results.

I’m going to have to dig a little deeper to find out what makes one service get so many more results over another. I’m sure it has something to do with the popularity of the sites and how many links there are to the site, but I want to discover other related factors. I’ll update this post when I do.

The service that I use,, doesn’t show up either, but it’s terrific for keeping me high in the regular Google search. And I can send as many releases as I want to for one very low monthly fee. I used for the first time last week and am waiting to see how my press release (Email Etiquette in the Workplace Can Reduce the Stress of Email Overload) will place in a standard Google search (that is, not in Google News). This is important because journalists also do regular searches, not just on the news sites.

The bottom line is that before you pay for a wire service, check before you buy. Here’s how.
  1. Go to and search for all news releases from the service you’re considering.
  2. Type the following and replace with whatever service you’re considering (see in the search box. Google will return the press releases on this site only.)
  3. Then check the total of results.
Related Posts

How to Create Buzz About You, Your Business

People say they “see me” everywhere. I am a solopreneur, but I have a powerful, international marketing machine in place.

I create buzz using the following methods.

  • My blog. I didn’t jump on the blog bandwagon right away because I’d been publishing a Webzine for years. Now I’m hooked. The best thing about the blog for me is that every time I think of something, I have somewhere to write and publish…unlike my Webzine that only comes out once a quarter. I installed a free widget in my blog that monitors traffic to my blog. Feedjit lets me know where people are coming from and what they typed in the search engine to find an article. I am delighted that people from all over the world are finding my articles.
  • Webzine (more free tips). I started a Webzine in 2001 and published regularly until 2008 because the blog works better for showing up in the search engines.
  • eSeminars (global training via the Web). I conduct seminars via the Web on getting organized and conquering email overload with Outlook. I’ve taught people in England, the Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Companies have also signed up for private sessions for their employees. I’m going to do more of these in 2008.
  • Article submissions to popular Websites. I’m a regular contributor to the stress-related site on When my site doesn’t show up in the search engine, my articles on will. I also have articles published at (this doesn’t show up in search engines as my blog and but it’s still worth it).
  • Media publicity. Journalists contact me all the time. I’m interviewed at least once a week. They find me in the search engines and other publications. I also respond to journalist queries. PRLEADS is a publicity service, and for $99 per month, journalist queries come to your Inbox, you respond, maybe get press. A free query service, HelpAReporterOut works too. I also train journalists and media executives so more of them know who I am and what I’m about. I also publish my own press releases. Note: it is important to show up in the search engines by your topic…not your name…they don’t know your name!
  • Seminars at national conferences. This is my main source of income (usually leads to corporate training gigs too). I love huge audiences and am enjoying building a national reputation.  Check out my schedule on my Website.
  • Workshops open to the public. As a computer trainer, I have to keep my skills up and nothing does that better than conducting hands-on workshops for busy people. I publicize these workshops on my Website and other event sites. I started these sessions to help small business owners who couldn’t afford to bring me to their organizations. As it turns out, corporate employees from companies such as The Home Depot, Hewlett-Packard, Estee Lauder, etc., are enrolling…works for me!
  • Association with credible organizations. I am a SCORE volunteer, and I teach classes at Georgia Tech for faculty and staff on how to get organized.

All these things boost my search engine rankings and help to feed the buzz. I love the fact that when you type in my expertise or training topics in any major search engine, I show up on the first pages. And I never paid one red cent to make it happen.

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Get quoted in the media

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert

Get Quoted in the Media

When you’re quoted in the media, you get instant credibility in the marketplace.

If you want more publicity, you could be going about it the wrong way. I train a lot of journalists, and here are some things I know for sure.

  • Their absolute #1 pet peeve is receiving PR pitches, calls, books, etc., on topics that in no way fit what they do.
  • They delete almost all email messages from PR people without reading them.
  • They trash almost all (I want to say all) faxes without reading them.
  • Spam filters that make them get permission to send you an email message get ignored, deleted. They then move on to the next expert.
  • They’re way too busy to return phone calls (although their voicemail says they will).

So knowing all this, what can you do?

Do the work to make your Web site come up on the first two pages when they Google your expertise (mine does and I never paid one red cent to make it happen). I’ve written an ebook and conduct seminars on how to get found online.

Related Articles
How to create buzz about you and your business

When You Send Press Releases Does Google or Yahoo Know?

How to Promote Your Events Using the Internet

Shameless Self-Promotion: DIY PR. Get Found Online