The Tin Shingle Blog


Highlights from Group PR Challenge Going on Session Three

Tin Shingle's first PR Group Challenge has been a success so far. With 9 dedicated attendees calling in every other week, and actually turning on their video cameras when possible, we are meeting face to face to coach each other on in the quest for press. We have completed two rounds of weeks: Type A where we discuss Short Lead story ideas, and Type B where we talk about long lead story ideas. I'll recap it here to give you a glimpse into what it is like:

The Group PR Challenge attendees are varied, and include:

  • a beauty business
  • a stylist
  • a jewelry designer
  • a dog food maker
  • a positivity change maker
  • a transformation coach for entrepreneurs
  • a magazine publisher to is taking on PR clients

Right away, contacts were exchanged once everyone in the group announced their goals. The stylist shared a contact with the beauty business who revealed what big website she wanted media coverage on. I was able to share another print media move that hadn't been announced yet, nor would it most likely be clearly communicated so I helped a local business cut to the chase of how best to pitch the new contacts.

Last week while covering long lead ideas, we inadvertently had an intervention with one member of the group. You see, we all have homework after our sessions. We need to report back at each session with what we did in our homework. Big or small, we need to report back on what we did. One member of the group needed to post more in her social media. Well, during the group session meeting, she had not done so - on purpose! She opened up a bit more about why not, and about what her plans were for her next post. Her plans actually did not promote her business directly at all, and took a bit of work to complete.

As we spoke, we learned that she had a fear of over-saturating her followers with postings. Quite the contrary! Each member of the group chimed in with what they wanted to see more of from their fellow business friend. We will see this week what she produced for her homework! Accountability is the motivating factor here, with everyone bringing something new to the table to discuss.

Pictured here is my own homework that I will be bringing to the table. PR is a daunting task, and I have realized about myself, that I am much better at pitching individuals who I know. I need to know what they cover and how they cover it. Then I can write an effective pitch email that is short and to the point. Therefore, I am picking one target media outlet at a time, going through it to get to know the sections of it, and who tends to write what. I am recording all of these names links to related articles (meaning, articles that seem like my business would have been a great feature) into a tab in my Media Tracking Sheet (available here in Tin Shingle's Template Suite), and will share my findings with the group tomorrow. Because one of my goals is print media, I am reading the magazines in paper and ripipng out articles to make sure I enter them into my Media Tracking Sheet as pitching ideas.

PR Group Challenges run for 8 sessions over the course of 3 months. The next one will begin in August. If you are a member of Tin Shingle and want to follow along with how they are going, and learn from the Community Boards, then click here to take a peek into our online conversations in between sessions. If you're not a member of Tin Shingle yet, flip that switch and dive in with us!


Tin Shingle Moves Into an Office - On Main Street! In the Trenches with Local Businesses

Back in January, while ruminating on 2016 Resolutions, I let myself say out loud that it was maybe time to take an office. Tin Shingle has been run from the home offices of myself and my former business partner, Sabina Hitchen for 8 years. I personally have been in business for 11 years running InHouse Design Media, and now A Little Beacon Blog as well. With the addition of a husband and two kids since the beginnings of those businesses, it began to get a little crowded up in the home office, despite my dedication to always carving out and decorating a room in my NYC apartment, and then my home in Beacon, NY.

Being business partners with someone in a different town makes having an office tricky. Which one is the headquarters? Which address do we put in MailChimp footers and so forth? Do both partners even want an office? When Sabina and I realized our paths as leaders of different businesses, and officially ended our partnership in May, which included an announcement on a TuneUp webinar,  something happened to both of us: new possibilities started opening up.

My casual statements out loud of wanting and office led me to believe it was possible. A friend of mine in town had bought a building that had a small retail space in the bottom of it. Small enough for me to experiment in with an office that I could also rent out as a event space for PopUp Shops, since we promote them on my local blog, A Little Beacon Blog. However, my friend decided to keep the space in-house, and do something with it herself.

Sabina and I meanwhile had begun discussions of our partnership ending, and how Tin Shingle would continue. One weekend, as I was fulfilling one of my 2016 Resolutions of actually attending one of the events I blog about, I was walking to the going away party of one of my favorite businesses on Main Street - Nixie Sparrow - who hosted crafty DIY workshops. Their office space was beautiful. Just steps away from the door, the idea hit me - I could take it over, and continue to run workshops out of it, as well as rent it out to others for business workshops and PopUp shops, and finally give Tin Shingle and A Little Beacon Blog an official home.

After hugging the girls and learning about their next endeavors (they outgrew the space and needed more room to construct amazing designs for weddings and other big events), I Instagrammed-commented their landlord with my interest in the space. What followed was a month of visiting the space, pictures, learning about required insurance to take the space, and dreams about what would fill the space, and how I could decorate it on a shoe-string budget. I had big shoes to fill with those Nixies!

While I'm a stickler for consistency, it is for this reason that I have taken the Tin Shingle TuneUp on a 2 week vacation. Yes, my kids have graduations, and we do have a family vacation coming up, but I like you all to know what you can count on at 12pm each Wednesday. The PR Challenge will continue without interruption. I moderated my first PR Challenge last week - before the cable guy could come and install the cable! I was tethering on my phone, and thank goodness AT+T services is awesome and ran GoToWebinar smoothly with no issues for the 8 of us in our new accountability group.

I recorded a little Periscope about it for you, to give you a sneak peek into the space. If you're not following Tin Shingle already on Periscope, please do, because more announcements, tips and sneak peeks are always to come. Plus, you never know which expert I'll run into in town, like when I sat next to a columnist for GQ, Sarah Crow who writes "What She Said", and we chatted on Periscope about editorial calendars.

Thanks for your patience everyone, as we get through this minor phase of construction! So far, we have been:

  • Arranging the cable guy (check!)
  • Hanging new wall art (tricky! my landlord is pictured here, challenging herself to drill into the wall...but the drill-bit wasn't sharp enough and we had to push it a few days until after a trip to Home Depot)
  • Picking up neat furniture at my local flea market, The Beacon Flea, and taking pieces from home. It's refreshing to actually have a sunroom that doesn't double as my office!
  • Getting to know the new systems in the building, like security, and the best food composting program! My landlord is a participant in Zeor 2 Go's composting program, which means I get to take my trash down to the lower floor and separate food for composting, plastic for recycling, and garbage for the landfill.

Back with more updates soon! Meanwhile, hang on Tin Shingle's Instagram.

Easy Media Contact Filter Tool - Video Tutorial

As you are searching through the Media Contacts, researching and plotting for who you will reach out to next, we wanted to be sure you knew how to use the easy filter tool when narrowing down your search.

If you were looking for a specific outlet, say, the Steve Harvey Show, you could go to the Outlet Name field, pull it down and scroll. Or, you could start typing in Steve, and the outlet will display for you! You click on it, and run your filter. Below is a short video that walks you through this.

If you wanted to get more precise about areas of interest, you could add a 2nd filter onto your search, and tell the system only to look up people who have a keyword in their description. Keep in mind that no everyone types in their description in a way that you think they might, so do a cross filter, but if you get zero or phew results, try looking at the media outlet at large.

Once you find names you want to keep track of, we have added a new tab in your Media Outreach Tracking Sheet, where you can record the names, emails and Twitter handles of people you intend to pitch, and why you want to pitch them. This makes your list very easy when you have a story idea, you can refer back to your list of media names to find the perfect fit, and reach out to pitch them your story idea that features your business!

Do you wish you had access to our Media Contact database, and free access to the template referred to here? Join Tin Shingle today and get started!

Special Opportunity with Momtrends for Tin Shingle Members

Momtrends founder, Nicole Feliciano, is publishing a book called #MomBoss, which is a book for women who are ready to take a break from the strictures of corporate life to create a career that works with family. It is a great concept, will be a relief and a helpful guide to read for those of us already in the throws of being a #MomBoss, and looks like it is off to a great start with implementable ideas, all made pretty from Post-Its around their WeWork office.

The team at Momtrends is looking for a few things for the upcoming summer, and reached out to Tin Shingle to see if our dynamite members would make great fits with some of their upcoming opportunities. That Special Opportunity has been posted to members' PR Center, and can be read here. If you are not a member yet, activate your subscription now and enjoy all of the other wonderful buzz-building resources that come with membership.


PS: Tin Shingle members, access this Special Opportunity by clicking here.

Starting Tuesday - Tin Shingle's 1st Group PR Challenge!

This week marks the first in a new extension for Tin Shingle - meeting in groups in person via video conferencing in our first Group PR Challenge. Members of Tin Shingle are located all over the US, and some in other countries. The value of speaking to like-minded people about work you are passionate about is unmatched when meeting in person. There is still time for you to join this Group PR Challenge that meets every other Tuesday starting tomorrow, May 24th, 2016. First, you must be a member of Tin Shingle (join here). Once you activate your subscription membership, then click here to get the secret link that gets you to the video conference group at GoToWebinar. It's super easy, I promise. Just follow the links.

The Purpose:
To hold yourself accountable to pitching the press and getting the media your business deserves.

Come Prepared:
We are working closely with Tin Shingle's Media Outreach Tracking Sheet that is free for Tin Shingle members. A fresh version of it has been uploaded to Tin Shingle, so be sure you log in and visit this page to download it. Save it on your computer. Tin Shingle co-founder Katie will be moderating this Group PR Challenge, and recommends that you upload the template into your Google Docs/Drive. The template is an Excel file, and it's going to be an extension of your brain. You're going to want it on the go, where you can access it via the Google Drive app on your phone.

Homework for Tuesday for those who are in the PR Challenge Group:

  • Declare at least 1 media outlet you are going after.
  • Declare at least 1 person in the media you are watching in social media to get to know their style and start engaging with them.
  • This first week is Week A, where we focus on "short lead media" which is blogs, TV, radio, and weeklies. We will be reviewing the Blog Planning and Production Calendar for monthly holiday and theme based ideas (download it here). The next session will be Week B, which focuses on "long lead media" which are national magazines, and will review Editorial Calendars in Tin Shingle's collection.

Communicate Via PR Challenge Thread in Community Boards
We will keep all communications in a dedicated thread to the Group starting on Tuesday. To follow this Group PR Challenge, enter a comment in this thread and it will subscribe you to emails about it. However, to officially sign up to the group in order to be in on our video calls, you will need to be sure you are subscribed to a Tin Shingle membership, and then click here to the special thread in our Community Boards to get the super secret link.

Signed Up So Far:
We are keeping these Challenge Groups small so that individualized attention and conversations can take place. There is room for a few more. You do not need to be the business owner, you can be a marketer for a business. These are only available to members of Tin Shingle, of which you are one! Sign up today to join this group by clicking here.

See you in the Group PR Challenge!

NEW: Community Boards Get New Boards For Members Including Press Release Workshop and Introductions

Tin Shingle's Community Boards are the focus of a few breaths of fresh air and makeovers this week, from the production team of Tin Shingle. Design changes have descended upon the dedicated newsletter that members get, announcing new conversations and updates to existing ones, as well as restructures to the boards themselves. Members now have four major types of Boards to communicate in:

Guidelines & Account Help

Our most popular thread has been the Pitch Workshop, where members can submit their hopeful pitches to the media before they send them. Fellow members from the community chime in with useful feedback and their impressions. Results have been astounding, with major clarity given to pitches that were going un-addressed before. So popular was this board, that Press Releases were also getting submitted here. So we created a new Workshop board dedicated to Press Releases so that everyone is clear on what type of email it will be - a pitch or a press release.

As for Feedback, this is all the rest of the boards members want feedback on, such as Advertising, PR, SEO, Connecting and Growing, and so on. Inside of these boards, members now have a dedicated area to Introduce themselves, in the new "Introductions" board. Members are encouraged to say hi, and also to share what their goals are and why they joined Tin Shingle. The more members share, the more everyone knows what they want, and the foundation is created for how they will succeed here.

Are you a member of Tin Shingle yet? Fully activate your membership, and start growing with us!

Big News & Special Announcement: Sabina Hitchen Leaves Tin Shingle to Launch New Business

Hello Tin Shingle Family,
We've got some pretty big business news for you.

Katie and I have been business partners for eight years, but our relationship goes back even further - a decade -  since that magical day we met in an elevator on our way to a networking event.

Together, we've been through so much personally and professionally: Business re-branding, corporate trademark bullying, marriages, big moves, the birth of babies, the loss of in-laws...and so much growth as women and entrepreneurs.

Just like any good, healthy relationship we always want the best for each other, and we each want the other to follow our bliss, passion and purpose.  We encourage each other to take the right kind of risks and challenges and to see where they take us. And just like any healthy relationship, we support one another and our desires to evolve, grow and change.

One such evolution and change is beginning right now, and we wanted you to be the first to know...
Sabina & Katie
With this note, I am writing to let you know that I will be leaving Tin Shingle and going full force, working full time at my new company, Sabina Knows, which houses my PR training platform including my online course Press for Success. My mission in my new "home"? To teach entrepreneurs and small business owners how to get publicity for their business strategically and confidently via online content, self-guided classes, and other courses and tools that will be emerging throughout the year. Tin Shingle will continue to offer PR guidance and training in its toolbelt of resources for businesses like yours who are building big buzz for your brands. 

I do this with the support and love of Katie behind me, and I in turn will be cheering her and Tin Shingle on as she continues to rock and grow this platform for all of you! I'll also be returning for #TuneUps in the future, so watch out for those!

We know that this change will allow us to serve all of you and your businesses even better, and to collaborate in new ways that will help you reach your buzz building goals! This is so important to us, and we feel so connected to you, that we will be talking to you about what this means today (Wednesday) LIVE and on camera on our weekly #TuneUp.

And now...for a little bit more about the new resource I have been building, which has been a glimmer in my eye for ten years (yes...true story), and finally has come to fruition.

Press for Success Course
Moving forward, you'll be able to find me on my website Sabina Knows as well as via the online courses I'll be creating, beginning with Press for Success, an online masterclass for experts and entrepreneurs, which is open for students right now!  You'll find a promo code and sign up information below.

I'll be dedicating myself full time to teaching entrepreneurs how to share their message with the press, and how to boost the courage and "discomfort zone" muscles you need within you to do just that!

How will I be able to help you do that?

  • Via the Sabina Knows blog posts and newsletter where I'll talk strategies and tips for both PR and confidence-boosting every week.  You'll be signed up for the newsletter automatically, and should you not want to learn how to boldly get publicity and visibility for your biz, you can unsubscribe at anytime.
  • Take my online, self-guided course Press for Success, which you can find out more about HERE Use promo code TINSHINGLE and you'll get $50.00 off for being a member of the Tin Shingle family.
  • Let's stay connected on social: You can find me (and my advice, and my dog) on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • On Tin Shingle! That's right - this isn't goodbye forever.  I'll be making appearances on the TuneUps and the blog from time-to-time, so stay tuned to this newsletter for news on that.
We'll talk about all of this and more on Wednesday's LIVE #TuneUp - it's definitely one you'll want to be on, as we talk about this change, and dive deep into our partnership, how we've made it work for 8 years, and how it's possible for us to continue to collaborate - we've got some golden nuggets worth sharing!
  • The evolution and changes in our partnership: Sabina and Katie get up close and personal.
  • Where and how you can connect with Sabina in the future.
  • Business partnership truthbombs and golden nuggets.
As always we'll be answering YOUR questions live during the class!


Call or Click to Listen!
Use a phone if you're on the go, or watch it if you're at your computer!
All Live TuneUp Webinars Are Recorded.
Recorded Archives Are Available For Purchase A La Cart,
And Are Free For Premium Members.

Now Serving: Editorial Calendars to DIY PR Diggers

Back by popular demand, Editorial Calendars are now in your PR Center with your subscription membership to Tin Shingle! We have offered Editorial Calendars for years, yet took a hiatus as we re-systemized how we gathered them for you. There are quite a few publications in the the PR Center now, and more are being added weekly!

What Are Editorial Calendars?

Only some of the best idea generators ever! You know when you are relaxing on a Sunday, reading magazines, and you see the Inc. 500 issue, or the Women to Watch issue of your favorite magazine, and you think "Dang it! I wish I knew when they were putting that together! I should have submitted!" Well now you have the heads up - via an Editorial Calendar. Magazines put them together so that they know the theme of each magazine each month, and how the stories will fit together.

This is also a heads up to the advertising department so that they can approach the best fits for advertisers for that month. These can include special inserts and, big page fold-outs, and print opportunities for certain magazines. We know that you pitch the press for PR, but that you also may pay for advertising. Included in these editorial calendars are special promotional opportunities as well.

What Does an Editorial Calendar Say?

Be ready to experience a ton of ideas flying around your head when you browse through our collection. A story idea in an Editorial Calendar in Tin Shingle's PR Center will read something like this:


It's back to campus time! Cosmo has all the denim trends and all the ways she can make them her own. And with tips and tricks for rocking the hottest fashion and beauty trends, she'll own the scene, on the town or on the beach.
Submission Deadline: 5/24/16
Newsstand Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2016


The Fall Entertainment Guide. Special Section: Fall Television Preview; Fall Reading List; The Esquire Fitness Challenge
Submission Deadline: 5/10/16
Newsstand Date: Tuesday, July 5, 2016

So Two Things...Timing and Search by Relevance!

As you can see, those are two pretty sweet issues coming up at Cosmopolitan and Esquire. And their deadlines are approaching fast! You'll also note that the newsstand date is quite later than the submission deadline date. That is because national print magazines work 3-6 months in advance. So you really want to get up on this.

In your PR Center, you will be able to search by title of a magazine, and also by category, like "Aging" or "BFFs" or "Amazon TV" or "Vacation"

Have Fun! Where to Find Editorial Calendars

If you activated your member subscription, you'll have a special navigation at the top of the website. Click on PR Center, as shown below. If you are subscribed to Tin Shingle's free newsletter, and think you are a member but don't see the PR Center shown below, then you actually need to upgrade your subscription! It's easy, just click here to pick a commitment-free payment plan.

Editorial Calendars found instantly in your PR Center

Late Night SEO Tinkering - Watch How Katie Makes a Simple Copy Change for Big Results

I do my best SEO data analysis at night.

Or maybe I just think I do because there is no one around to argue with me or cross-examine my theory. :)

It is because of the night, when everyone is off-duty and no one expects an email back, that I can sit in the Google Analytics of some website - my own or clients - and watch what the traffic is doing.

How do I watch? I look at numbers. Lots of different numbers assigned to different things. Like the number for how many clicks to one page there were. Or how many times a page showed up for Google searches (aka "impression"). In this video, on this night, what caught my eye was how many impressions a page got, and how many clicks it got, and if there was a big difference in that number.

SEO Translation:

Someone searched for "restaurants in beacon ny".

One of my pages ranks pretty well for this and gets a lot of clicks. But what I noticed was the page actually got a lot more impressions than it did clicks. And in this case, I want clicks.

SEO Translation:

People are seeing my page in their Google search results, but way more of them could be actually clicking on it than I realized.

What's a girl to do?

Change the page title. With a little copyediting finesse, I made one swift change to what that page was called. And now I wait. About two-four weeks, depending on how fast Google picks up the change and starts showing it to people. Then I study how people responded. Did the new title of the page grab them more from the search results? Did the clicks increase? Did the impressions increase because the page actually got a better ranking by Google?

Watch this video and go through the change with me, to see what I look for. Even better, join me this Wednesday where I will be covering this and more in Tin Shingle's Live TuneUp Webinar. And then, follow Tin Shingle in Periscope so that you don't miss these sessions where we can connect with you immediately!


TuneUp: Trademark Bullying, IP, and Common Sense Startup Issues with Guest Eve Brown

In our live TuneUp on March 16th at 12pm EST, Tin Shingle co-founder Katie Hellmuth Martin will be joined by special guest, attorney and professor Eve Brown of Bricolage Law, LLC

Eve will be talking to us about trademark bullying, common sense approaches to starting your business, and intellectual property (IP) issues you'll face in the course of growing your business.

Katie has all the juicy details for this can't-miss live training in the video below including:

  • Inexpensive ways to get legal advice for your business
  • Six tips to avoid common mistakes when starting up
  • Steps to protect your intellectual property
  • Best practices for crafting your business name to avoid trademark bullying
  • and more!

Watch this quick video we pulled from Periscoping to get the inside scoop and to hear Katie's current pet peeve with a corporate bully! You can click here to register.  The recording will also be available for download (free for members) on our Classes Page.



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