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SOHO Today is moving!

Like many of our viewers SOHO Today is also growing, and is being relaunched as a network.

Visit us now! Our new site is up, although we are still tweaking the design and adding content. Next month we will officially launch the site and we've got a bunch of new programming!

  • SOHO Today: stiill your show for current news, tips and tricks for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Our flagship show will still be hosted by Mary Joan Schultheisz, but returns in a 30-minute format.
  • Shut Up!: A round up of the most outrageous small business and entrepreneur headlines out there
  • He Said / She Said: Opposing points of view from married business couples on topics like finances, health care reform and other current news.
  • Small Business Juggler: Isn't this the real title for every small business owner? We take a look at the every-day challenges and how people manage them.
  • All Things Tech: The latest in technology and how it impacts you and your business
  • Contributions from some of the leading small business experts - including you!

Email us at info@sohotoday.net with questions, topics, and suggestions for guests.

What's your area of expertise? You never know, you could find yourself on the air!

Marketing Episodes on SOHO Today

SOHO Today is hosted by Mary Joan Schultheisz, and it's all about small businesses. Beginning in July 2009 SOHO Today can be seen live Thursday afternoons, and in the InTimeTV.com archives any time. So if you miss a show or want to refer a colleague or friend you’ll always be able to find us.

SOHO stands for Small Office, Home Office, and small business is the focus of this show. On SOHO Today we provide you with tips, tools and techniques for running and growing your small business. We explore topics like technology, financing and insurance, how to get started, how to grow and how to compete against larger companies.

Topic: Child Care Business ExpoView the show here!

We'll be discussing The Annual WBDC Child Care Business Expo. The Expo provides you with the opportunity to meet vendors and suppliers, to attend workshops and to network with other child care entrepreneurs. So if you're thinking about getting into that industry, know someone in it or are in it yourself already watch SOHO Today June 18.

Guest: Liz Gardner, Director, Retail/Franchise Initiative, Women's Business Development Center. Ms Gardner brings over 10 years of experience in marketing and business development with a special emphasizes on small business. The Women's Business Development Center (WBDC) is a nationally and internationally recognized not-for-profit organization established to launch new businesses and strengthen existing businesses in the Chicago area.

Topic: Marketing Your Small Business On A Shoestring BudgetView the show here!
We talk about marketing on a shoestring budget for your small business, including online techniques to help drive your web site up in the search engines, low and no cost techniques. Join us for a timely topic. Our experts are:

Guest: Bill Steele, SEO Strategist. Mr. Steele has extensive Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization experience, most recently with NuZoo Media. His background includes analysis, budgets, and strategy for 60+ web sites, and managing SEO vendor relationships while at Career Education Corporation. Mr. Steele has a bachelor's degree in Finance from Northern Illinois University.

Guest: Ebony Crump, Marketing and Business Instructor at Westwood College and Kennedy-King College, where she teaches both online and on-ground. Ms. Crump has an MBA in Finance, and is a doctoral student in higher education at the University of Illinois in Urbana. Prior to becoming a college instructor she taught in the Chicago Public Schools for 10 years.

Guest: Sylvia Wynn, owner of SJW Enterprises, a marketing and marketing research consulting company. She is also a consultant with the Women's Business Development Center where she provides marketing consulting and advice to established and emerging businesses. She has studied political science at Hunter College in NYC, and attended the accelerated executive program at Simmons College in Boston.

Topic: Business Basics: The First YearView the show here!
Guest: Dawne Simmons, President of WordStorm Communications, Inc.
WordStorm is a business communications firm that specializes in written and verbal communications. Ms. Simmons is an award-winning speaker and speech writer with more than 20 years of experience in all areas of corporate communications.

Guest: Rochelle Reaumond, President of R&R Laundry Solutions. Ms. Reaumond has recently gone full-time with her company and we'll be following her throughout her first year as she meets with clients, makes decisions about her corporate identity and web site, and deals with the myriad of decisions and details that small business owners have to face

Topic: PR Tips and Techniques for the Small Business Owner View the show here!
Guest: Gini Dietrich, chief executive officer and founder of Arment Dietrich, Inc., a boutique PR firm with offices in Chicago and Denver. She also is immediate past president of the Public Relations Society of America and board member of Counselor’s Academy, an organization for PR CEOs and business owners.

Guest: Keith Burton is Executive Vice President and serves on the executive committee that leads GolinHarris, a global public relations firm headquartered in Chicago. He is also president of Insidedge, a global employee communications consultancy and a sister company to GolinHarris. He’s recognized as a thought leader in the public relations field and has more than 20 years of experience on the agency front. He has been a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for more than 20 years and was recognized in 2007 as Public Relations Professional of the Year by PRSA – Chicago.

Gini, Keith and I talked about why you should spend money on PR, how you can do many things yourself, finding a cost effective PR consultant and interns, their Top 5 Tips and much more!

Why Should I Spend Money on PR?

Keith told us what Jeff Bezos of Amazon said: “Your reputation is what people say about you when you’re not in the room with them.” You want to spend money, or your time which is money, on PR to shape opinions of you and your company, position yourself as an expert in your industry, gain publicity -- and all of these things can increase sales.

How Do I Get "Free" Publicity

There is no such thing as "free" publicity -- you're spending your time or your money to get those mentions in the media! Things you can do on a small budget to get some notice:

  • hire a PR consultant to map out a strategy for you. Look to PRSA.org to find a chapter in your area and then visit the web site, attend functions, and in many instances post a position on their job boards. PRSA stands for Public Relations Society of America, and it is an international assocation with experienced professionals.
  • hire an intern to execute the PR consultant's strategy. Students need practical experience and will be thrilled to be able to write releases, pitch media and do as much PR work as they can. Gini said that when she began her business she used interns to help her grow, and she still uses them.
  • Understand the publications where you want coverage. Read them, track them, become familar with them. Then call the editor or reporter and introduce yourself. If they're in your area, ask to set up a face-to-face meeting. At the very least, send them info about your company and follow up. Ask how you can be a resource to them!
  • Attend trade shows, and ask for the media attendance list. This is a great way to meet reporters that you might not be close to geographically.

Do Online Press Distribution Services Work?

Neither Gini or Keith are fans of this type of service. This is because although the release may get picked up by many news Web sites it's unlikely to be picked up by the publications that you really want the publicity in.

But there are two good things about using an online wire service like PRNewsWire.com:

  1. All of the press release distribution companies have full-time staff who can help you with messaging and the newsworthiness of your information.  Their services come with the fee to distribute your release, so use them. They are professionals. Once they have helped you once or twice you'll understand how to structure and write a good release
  2. Online distribution helps increase your search engine optimization. This may be worth the price of admission for some of us.

Gini's Top 5 PR Tips for Small Business Owners:

  1. Get to know your local publications - figure out who writes about your industry, read their columns or articles, invite them to lunch, and cultivate a relationship with them. This will go a long way when you have news to share and want it published.
  2. Create a blog!
  3. Attend your industry trade shows, ask to be put on their speaking circuits, and meet with trade reporters during the shows.
  4. Write columns for your industry trade pubs.
  5. Develop a media room on your Web site
    • Company background info
    • Executive bios
    • FAQs
    • Recent news releases
    • Hi-res photos, drawings, or illustrations
    • Fact sheets about your products and services
    • White papers of speeches your executives have given,
    • Copy of your annual report
    • any community involvement you do, photos of your team working with a charity
    • Contact info for someone in marketing department or at your PR firm, and
    • PDF of all of the above that is easily downloadable.
    • Don't include stories that have been written about you or your company. This is for easily accessible information reporters will need to write about you or your company.

Keith's Top 5 PR Tips for Small Business Owners:

  1. Create a PR plan for your business — and begin socializing it to test it out
    • This means share it with everybody -- colleagues, peers, family and friends -- and find out what they think, get their input
  2. Find free or available resources where you live to begin and use them to validate and activate your plan for public relations
  3. Know your competition and how they use PR
  4. Track your progress and make sure you really know if public relations is “moving the needle”
  5. Determine from your plan and success when you need to activate a public relations professional to support your growth
  6. Return to top

    Topic: Branding, Marketing and Communications Plans — View the show here!
    Guest: Margot Wallace, Program Director of Marketing Studies at Columbia College Chicago
    Ms. Wallace is former vice president and creative director of J. Walter Thompson Advertising (JWT) in Chicago where she worked on Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Kellogg's, Sears, Northern Trust Bank, Quaker and other national consumer and business-to-business accounts. She formed and headed the sales promotion creative group. As a marketing communications consultant, Margot has developed branding campaigns for food, education, museum and financial services clients.

    We talked about how important it is for small businesses to brand your company, marketing, and different types of communications vehicles to reach your clients and prospects.

    1. Branding your company is critical to your success
    2. Your brand means what you stand for
      • great customer service, family-oriented, are you "Green", your core values
    3. Don't go into business just because you love it.
      • Identify your distinguishing factors
      • How are you different from others
      • Is your idea original or are you kidding yourself
    4. Everybody benefits from marketing
      • ID what's your product
      • Do some research on your target audience, price points, channels of distribution, communications, how will you gain clients or customers
    5. On the communications side there are a myriad of ways to communicate with customers and prospects
      • Web site
      • Business cards
      • Networking
      • Direct mail
        • Email
        • Snail mail
        • Very targeted audience
      • Press
      • Even your on-hold phone message

    Return to top

    Topic: Business Basics Made Easy — View the show here!
    Guest: Gina Orlando, MA, CH
    Ms. Orlando is a small-business owner who specializes in the holistic health field as a wellness consultant and certified hypnotherapist. She teaches seminars and workshops both at the National and Midwest Hypnotism Conferences on how to be a successful small-business person. She has a Master’s Degree from DePaul University as a consultant in Holistic Health, Wellness and Anti-Aging.She is a certified hypnotherapist and wellness consultant in Oak Park, IL working with private clients and groups. Ms. Orlando has successfully started and run several small-businesses, and she has worked in sales, marketing and PR in both the corporate and non-profit sectors.


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Emails, Feedback, Calls, Topics, Guests

As a small business owner, entrepreneur, sole proprietor or whatever you want to call yourself we want to hear from you! Email us at soho@intimetv.com with questions, comments,

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