Stay with Your Ongoing DIY Publicity Efforts – These Tips Really Deliver in Perfect Timing and in Many Ways

Event Promotion, PR in Action No Comments

I had a great conversation with a potential client on Friday morning that validated much of what I share with Publici-Tea™ workshop guests and readers of this blog. The prospect called to say he was referred to my company two years ago by one of my financial services clients.  He signed up to receive my Authentic Visibility ezine. This free ezine offers a convenient  way to get to know the quality of my ideas and learn more about my company’s products and services without spending a dime.  He started reading it and benefiting from the DIY publicity tips and guidance within.

When this DIY publicity blog went live on September 1, 2007, he started reading it AND paying attention when I posted new audio files or radio interviews offering useful DIY publicity tips.   He specifically mentioned the audio file about making the most of your press releases and my KB Women Blog Talk Radio interview on DIY publicity.  (You can listen for free in to those useful files by clicking on the active links.)  He also followed specific tips about how and who to pitch in the Puget Sound about his story by reading some of the success stories I post here.

When the timing was right for him to apply the ideas I shared to his advantage, he followed my suggestions to the letter. He made a pitch to a well known business columnist and earned a front page business story with a fabulous accompanying photo in the business section of a major metropolitan daily newspaper.  That led to radio interviews, which subsequently compelled as many as six potential franchisees to initiate meaningful conversations about his business concept.   He anticipates that, by the end of May, all six deals will be done deals.

When he called on Friday, it was as if we’d known each other for years.  He already liked, trusted, and respected my advice.   We established winning rapport almost instantly.  A face-to-face meeting is scheduled for the first week of May to see how we can work together.

DIY Publicity Tip: Not everyone you meet is ready to engage your products or buy your services at the first moment your company comes to their awareness.  People have to get to know you, sample the quality of your expertise and advice, and get to the point of readiness at which what you offer is a perfect fit for what they need.  Be patient and keep doing the right kinds of things consistently, with passion, and with commitment to be of service.  Then, when the timing is right, you will be first on their consideration list to call when they have the motivation, dollars, and readiness to get into action.

By the way, the NEXT Publici-Tea™ Workshop takes place on Friday, May 15 from 12:30 – 5 p.m. at The Village Bellevue.  I have just three spots left, and I would be honored if you claimed one of them as your own.  You will benefit from a fun, engaging, and delicious day of training, tips, tools to guide you to earn high impact free publicity results for your business.  Premium chocolate truffles from Seattle Chocolate Company are always on the agenda!

And, the Publici-Tea™ Workshop is coming to Portland, Oregon on Friday, June 12 at Kells Irish Restaurant and Bar.  We’ll be meeting in the Irish Writers Room.  This beautiful room can comfortably accommodate 20-34 guests, and I can’t wait to welcome each and every one of them. I hope YOU are among them.  Portland Business Journal Editor Rob Smith will be a VIP guest speaker at the Portland event.  He’ll share useful tips from his own experience to guide event guests to make more successful story pitches that capture his attention. I’ll be previewing a new bio-in-a-box tool I’ve developed and asking these lucky event guests to take it out for a spin and rate it so I can bring it to market with powerful endorsements soon after.

Special thanks to Kathie Nelson of ConnectWorks and Rebecca Shapiro of The Savvy Collaborative for serving as  powerful advocates for the Portland event.   If you live and work in the Portland area or need a good reason to leave your hometown to learn powerful, buzz-building lessons and acquire time-tested and proven DIY publicity tools that guide you to earning free publicity, sign up today.

Learn more and register for the Bellevue or Portland events at this link, and tell your publicity-seeking friends to take a look, too.  After all, there has never been a better time in the economy to get empowered with DIY publicity insights to build the buzz about your business so more of the right people can show up to benefit from what you have to offer.  Your satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back.

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Media Skills Trainer Lorraine Howell Offers More Tips for DIY Publicity Success with Interviews

Media Skills Training No Comments

Today’s guest post on DIY publicity from Media Skills Training’s Lorraine Howell completes this week’s blog series on getting ready to make the most of your time in the media spotlight.  After all, preparing your story and enlisting the media to tell it are just steps one and two.  Delivering your story in a winning way during the interview is your best approach to making the most of the media opportunity and earning the favorable publicity you seek.

Take it away Lorraine!

Lorraine Howell, Media Skills Training

Lorraine Howell, Media Skills Training

The prospect of talking to a reporter intimidates a lot of people. With a few tips, tools, and strategies, you can minimize your stress levels and improve the odds of you getting your message out and having a good experience. Ninety percent of doing it well involves preparation and practice. Don’t head into an interview with the idea that you can “wing it!” That usually leads to missed opportunities.

Here are my top tips that really work:

PREPARATION

1. Study the Media: See if you can distinguish the differences between the various media outlets. An interview on “60 Minutes” will be different from “The Today Show.” Radio is different from TV. Both of them are different from print media. In addition, the web has created a whole new media category with websites and bloggers. Notice what makes a good interview.

2. Think Like a Journalist: Look for the story angle. What questions can you anticipate? Why would anyone be interested in what you have to say? Thinking like a reporter will help you understand whether or not there is interest in your story.

3. Have a Clear Purpose: Before your contact with the media, have a clear purpose in mind. Your purpose must be more than just calling attention to you or your service. The media’s job is to provide useful information. How can you help them do their job?

4. Be Ready with 2-3 Key Messages: Keep it simple, concise and relevant. You can’t tell people everything in one interview, so make the most of it by staying focused on the most important ideas you want to communicate. Get some practical experience. Have a friend or colleague roll play with you. Hire a professional media trainer. Practice responding to all kinds of questions, including the difficult or controversial ones. Don’t “wing it!”

DURING THE INTERVIEW

5. Shift Your Focus:

Treat the reporter like a potential customer or client and consider the interview a customer service situation. You have information the reporter needs. How can you give her what she wants and still get your message out? Put your focus on listening and responding.

6. Put Important Points First: You have 10 seconds or less to engage a reporter or an audience. Don’t bury the “lead!” Get to the meat of the matter as soon as possible. You can always back up and explain or give background information.

7. Bridge Back to Your Point: Don’t let questions lead you off track. Even questions from “left field” can be an opportunity to get back to your point. Use “bridging” phrases. i.e. “We’ve heard that comment before, but we prefer to look at it this way…” or “We know there are other products out there, but here’s what make us different” or, “We don’t release that information, but in general, it works like this…”

8. Develop Alternative Phrasing: Find different ways to say the same thing, then you will worry less about what to say. For example: I do media training for people who are launching a publicity tour; or, I teach people how to be more effective when speaking to the media; or, I teach people how to be more relaxed and focused so they can do effective media interviews.

9. Less is More: Don’t over explain. Answer the question, make your point and wait for the next question. i.e. If they ask you what time it is, don’t tell them how the watch works!

10. Make It a Conversation: Maintain eye contact and listen.

Big Finish and Special Offer:

No one wants to look like a deer in the headlights when talking to a reporter. It pays to get professional help for media interviews. Since 1998 I have been helping people look comfortable and confident in the media spotlight.  If you want to be ready for your 15 minutes or more of fame, please get in touch and I’ll show you the way.

And, if you send me an email at lorraine@mediaskillstraining.com, I’ll send you a complimentary PDF version of my tips card for improving presentation skills.  This is a great companion to any media training service.   Be sure to put “Nancy’s DIY Publicity Blog” in the subject line of your email.

Thanks Lorraine for sharing these timeless and timely tips.

Be sure to visit the Media Skills Training website and Lorraine’s blog to benefit from her latest posts about media and presentation skills training so your do-it-yourself publicity efforts will be well served when the media comes to call.


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Vern Yip Cover Feature in NW Asian Weekly in Time to Drive Last-Minute Ticket Sales for Eye on Design 2009

PR in Action, Seattle Design Center No Comments

It lights me up to earn prominent, engaging, and timely coverage for my clients in the media that are right for their message.  Today, I logged on to www.nwasianweekly.com to get some very good news in that regard.

HGTV Designer Vern Yip is on the front page.

Seattle Design Center Marketing Director Craig Cross reports that tickets are selling at a quick clip.  There has been a particular rush for tickets these last two days in particular.   This event promises to sell out at 600 tickets.

Thanks to Vern Yip for being so gracious and available to the media leading up to his April 25 appearance at Eye on Design 2009 at Seattle Design Center.  You can still buy tickets if you act fast.   Here is the link.

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Even in Tough Times, Local Businesses Play Ball — A Cheer for Local Publicity

Be Heard, Local Publicity No Comments

This is a very well written and moving article that ran in the Saturday, April 18 issue of the Seattle Times.  Mark Cutshall makes a strong case that generous, local businesses and service groups can always be counted on to step up and invest in the things that matter most to us in the communities where we live and work — including Little League baseball.  This is a home run well worth the read.  With writing skills like these, Cutshall — who says he runs the world’s smallest public relations firm — should have his choice of prime engagements. What remarkable things are taking shape in your own community to support the causes and programs that make your community great?  Share your news with your local newspaper and see what magic can manifest.   Good news right about now is more welcome than ever, and a story that tugs the heart and get us all cheering is a beautiful thing.

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Susan Harrow Shares How to Turn Media Interviews into Opportunities – An Essential Guide for DIY Publicists

Media Skills Training No Comments

Monday’s blog post hinted about the importance of sound bites.  Getting your sound bites in order is essential for those media savvy enough to invite quality media interviews to take their stories far and wide. Over the weekend, I engaged in a rather compelling online conversation with Robert Middleton about the value do-it-yourself publicity actions can deliver for a growing business with proper message planning and preparation. You can read that exchange at this specific link.

Whether or not DIY publicity pays off has a huge amount to do with proper message planning and interview preparation. That is why, today, I am honored to feature as a guest blogger Susan Harrow to Authentic Visibility.

PR Secrets Founder and CEO Susan Harrow

PR Secrets Founder and CEO Susan Harrow

Susan Harrow is a respected media coach, marketing expert and author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul (HarperCollins), The Ultimate Guide to Getting Booked on Oprah, Get Into O Magazine and Get a 6 Figure Book Advance. Publisher’s Weekly called her book “Sell Yourself” a “Rumi-meets-Seth Godin public relations handbook.” Hundreds of people who’ve read it call it their “Publicity Bible.”

Her clients include Fortune 500 CEOs to celebrity chefs, entrepreneurs and best-selling authors and people in unusual professions like a voodoo priestess and leaders in banning racism, who she helps to double or triple their businesses with PR. Dozens of her clients have appeared on Oprah, 60 minutes, CNN, CBS, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Donny Deutsch, and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Parade, People, Vogue, Elle, O, Forbes, Time, Inc. and more.

She has been featured, profiled or quoted in USA Today, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Woman’s Day, Ladies’ Home Journal, Women’s Wear Daily, Entrepreneur, Salon Magazine, Pink, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and Investor’s Business Daily, and on NPR, national/syndicated TV and radio.

Take it away Susan Harrow!

Turn Media Interviews into Opportunities & Sales

Many people don’t understand what sound bites are. They don’t know how to create sound bites that sell. Reporters and radio and TV producers want guests who are clever, entertaining or quippy. They consider the interview a success if you are succinct and sassy. But while that may make a pleasant interview, and please TV and radio hosts, it typically does nothing for your reputation, your opportunities, or your sales. In other words, you probably won’t get the results you want.

I have one client who is a fantastic guest who has been on numerous national TV shows. She makes everyone laugh and have a great time. But have those interviews sold books or gotten her higher speaking fees. No. Although she’s a polished guest, she still has a lot to learn. Her need to be liked has eclipsed her true north goals.

Remembering to keep the end in mind will help you stay on track. Before every interview review your intentions and what you want to cover that will get you the results you’ve set out for yourself.

You want to develop sound bites that speak to who you are, what you do and how well you do it. Sound bites are the essential messages that will create sales and recognition. They consist of anecdotes, analogies, stories, one-liners, and facts that you can speak in 10-30 seconds. They should be singly focused on what you want your audience to know. To turn media interviews into sales here are 3 things you can do.

1. Incorporate Your Past into Your Present Experience.

Camus says, “We are the sum of our choices.” We are curious about how your childhood dreams have influenced the career you’ve chosen. Your past often has hidden predictors to your future interests and life decisions. If you don’t want to go back as far as childhood then go back in your professional career. Sarah Newton, The UK’s Top Teen Coach, said that when she was a juvenile corrections officer what she heard from teenagers most was that they didn’t feel heard, understood or respected. “The most important thing a parent can do is listen,” says Newton.

Often sound bites like Newton’s seem simple. But it takes work to distill your ideas down to their essence. It’s the unadorned statement that is often the most powerful.

Another way to link the past to present is to demonstrate how your passion drives your profession. “People think I am disciplined. It is not discipline. It is devotion. There is a great difference,” says Opera star Luciano Pavarotti. Choose the words that show your devotion. We want to be involved with people who sparkle when they speak.

2. Include Client Successes.

Many of my media coaching clients don’t want to brag. They believe it’s unseemly and gauche. I encourage them not to talk about themselves, instead speak to how their product or service has impacted their clients or customers.

Tell a story that centers on that success. Marty Friedman, seminar Leader and author of “Straight Talk for Men About Marriage,” says, “An attorney who came to one of my seminars said he didn’t really think he got much out of it-until he got home and his wife wanted to have sex with him-for the first time in months.”

“I guess I must have learned a little something,” the attorney admitted with a big smile.

Friedman tells a very succinct story with a powerful punch line. Doesn’t this sound bite convince you that his methods are so potent that they work on non-believers and difficult people like attorneys?

3. Show Your Suffering.

The people I’ve known who have suffered deeply are funny, sarcastic, and wise, but not saccharin. Sweetsy talk about love, gratitude, thanks and understanding comes off as facile. So much of what we hear in the media today is shallow talk about accepting things the way they are, often coming from people who don’t.

Love, understanding and forgiveness aren’t sickly tender. True sentiments frequently come out of bitterness, hopelessness and heartache. We trust those people who are vulnerable and have suffered or who have failed over and over again and are willing to share their insights – without plumage. We want to see the underbelly of your beautiful self. Don’t be afraid to show it. We’ll love you even more for standing out and being real.

Dr. Vicki Rackner, CEO of Medical Bridges and Medical Editor of the Hope Health Letter which reaches over 3 million people says that at age 40 she made a radical choice: to close her private practice to be with her son, Meir. “As the operating room door closed, another opened. I can’t tell you that everyone lived happily ever after because we’re just at `once upon a time.'”

In closing her business, the choice she made to to forgo surgery in favor of becoming a patient advocate, goes against the grain of what society might deem is proper for a board certified surgeon with a full practice. You know right away that she is thoughtful and has tremendous empathy and insight. As a patient wouldn’t you want her on your side? I know I would.

Sound bites, speaking in condensed language to convey your points, is an art to be practiced daily in and out of media interviews until it becomes a natural way of speaking that you can do for every media interview.

If you incorporate your past into your present experience, include stories of your client successes, and show your suffering during an interview you’ll be perceived as an expert, increase your sales, and develop a following all while demonstrating your humanity.

Download the free teleclass “How to Become a 60 Second Sound Bite Genius” to learn how to create sound bites that reporters and audiences love, avoid committing the 3 deal breakers that automatically eliminate most guests from getting on national TV shows, tell captivating stories to attract media and inspire audiences to buy at this link.

Thanks Susan, for helping Authentic Visibility readers understand how to turn media opportunities into business building opportunities.

Later this week, we’ll hear from Media Skills Training Founder Lorraine Howell, who has even more to contribute on the subject of making the most of media opportunities. Stay tuned.

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Drive Traffic & Build on Product Passion with a Contest: Seattle Chocolate Co. Mother’s Day Example

Seattle Chocolate Company, Social Media Marketing No Comments

If you have a product to share that is perfect for Mother’s Day, why not reach out to bloggers and offer your products as a blog giveaway prize? One way you can do that is by signing up and making your products available for review via BloggerLinkUp, a new and free service that debuted on April 20, 2009.

Another way you can do that is to suggest it when you respond to HARO, PR Leads, or ProfNet media queries.

About a week ago, I received a ProfNet media query asking for last minute Mother’s Day gift ideas to review.  I responded right away to suggest some of the delicious, exquisitely packaged gift ideas from Seattle Chocolate Company to meet her need.  What followed was a quality email exchange that resulted in the creation of a blog contest that offers premium chocolate lovers across the nation the opportunity to win a Fleurish Heart Box as a result of entering.

What I love about this contest is that it requires that contest entrants visit the Seattle Chocolate Company online store and share in their contest entry the item they love the most on the contest blog.  Since chocolate is a passion product, this contest reinforces desire, builds buzz, and offers the opportunity for one lucky entrant to win.

Contest entries are sharing wonderful comments about Seattle Chocolate Company on this site.  They are also entering on Twitter, Facebook, and spreading the word via their blogs.  What a great way to spread good news about a very delicious opportunity.

Visit this link to read more about the contest and enter.  The contest is also posted on the home page of My Shopping Connection.  And, if you would rather just treat yourself and all the moms in your life with a gift of the Fleurish Hat Box from Seattle Chocolate Company, here is even more great news.  The product is on sale now for just $9.99 at the company’s convenient online store.  Make your purchases here so all the moms in your life will be seen, heard, and celebrated … with premium chocolate this Mother’s Day.

Next time you submit your product for review, why not suggest a blog contest like this?  That could turn a single product giveaway into a much bigger, buzz-building deal for everyone involved.

Speaking of sharing passion comments,  if you are among the thousands of people who love Seattle Chocolate Company, your comments are welcome and appreciated on Yelp.   This is a site that makes it easy to share your reviews of all the products and services you think are just great — including those you find at Seattle Chocolate Company.  Ask YOUR customers to post reviews here about how you serve, and watch your rankings on Google grow to new heights of visibility.

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Two Examiner Blogs Share HGTV Designer Vern Yip Tips Prior to 4-25 Seattle Design Center Event

Seattle Design Center, Social Media Marketing 2 Comments

Citizen journalism sites such as those you can find at Examiner.com can prove to be powerful partners in sharing your event news with well targeted communities.  You can search the categories to find the perfect avenue to share just about any message with the right people.   Then, you simply connect with the blogger by email to suggest a winning story idea that is on target to serve the readers.   You have to read the blog first to know that it is a fit.  When you do, good results await for your message.

Case in point.  Here are two blog interviews with HGTV Designer Vern Yip that offer useful tips to organize your home office and create an eco-friendly space from an expert who is coming to Seattle this Saturday, April 25 for Eye on Design 2009 at Seattle Design Center.

Thank you Seattle Women and Business Examiner Karen Rosenzweig and Eco-Friendly Design Examiner Amy Woidke for sharing useful tips to inspire others to life their most organized and eco-friendly lives through the power of interior design tips from Vern Yip.

And, here are even more tips from Vern to inspire your interior design efforts:

How can I get  organized and still be stylish?

Organization can seamlessly go hand-in-hand with being stylish. Look for pieces that offer  you storage opportunities such as end tables that have drawers and doors,  large ottomans that have storage inside in lieu of coffee tables, and  bookcases and cabinets that have doors that allow for useful closed  storage instead of open storage solely for display. Culling through your  things to determine what you really love and need versus what has  outlasted its purpose or usefulness can also reduce clutter and get you  organized. Having fewer things…that have meaning, impact and style…will  take you farther than having lots of things that lack meaning and purpose  in your life.

Small spaces can  be made to seem larger through monochromatic color schemes that reduce the amount of contrast  in a space. By staying within a defined color  palette, you can expand the visual plan by creating less visual  breaks. Additionally, buying fewer but larger pieces instead of many  smaller items will create a sense of more space. Painting your ceiling a  slightly lighter version of your wall color will help diminish the  separation between your wall and ceiling planes…and hanging curtains all  the way up to the ceiling line will create a greater sense of height in  the room.

What is the  best way to decorate an open, multifunctional space? For instance, a great  room that is used as both a dining room and living room.

The  best way to decorate an open, multifunctional space is to stick to some defined consistencies that still allow you freedom to express personality.  For example, picking a common wood tone for furniture…whether it be maple,  cherry, wenge, walnut or some other color… allows you to have flow from one space to the next. Individual pieces do not need to be exact matches,  but if they are at least tonally similar, it will create a visual link  that will visually unite the separate functions. Sticking to one paint color and drapery material for the entire space creates a consistent envelope  that then allows differentiation with accents such as throw pillows and  decorative accessories. The key with an open, multifunctional space is to  have common visual threads that will also allow for areas of  experimentation, differentiation and lots of personality.

A common  color  palette in the  Northwest is “subdued neutrals.” How can we infuse our homes with some  color without going overboard?

Subdued neutrals  are great for people who like a lot of change because color can always be infused through easily changeable items such as art, drapery, throw  pillows and decorative  accents. All of these elements are opportunities to inject color in  concentrated amounts. The key to doing it successfully is to limit the infused color to one or two…allowing that color to have powerful impact and punch.

In Seattle,  we really appreciate green products and green design. What are some of  your favorite environmentally friendly pieces?

Being  environmentally friendly and stylish is easier than it’s ever been. Of  course low VOC or no VOC paints are becoming widely available through many paint  manufacturers. Additionally, Crate & Barrel has the majority of their  upholstered pieces now manufactured from hardwood frames certified as  coming from sustainable forests and cushion filler made from a soy-based  product. I also am a big fan of incorporating antiques into a home…even a  modern one. Design these days is not limited to one style in a house…or  even in a room…and antiques are a wonderful way to employ an existing  resource instead of buying a new one.

Thanks Vern for these timely and helpful design tips.  Even more tips await, thanks to the panel of Seattle-area interior design experts who will be contributing to the panel discussion.

By the way, did you buy your Eye on Design 2009 tickets yet?  Here is the link to make it easy.  See you there.

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Tips to Guide Your Media Interview from Experts You Need to Know – Meet Lynn Espinoza

Media Skills Training 1 Comment

You’ve worked hard to enlist the interest of the media in your story.  Your pitch or press release paid off.

Now, the real task is making sure you share your message in a winning way so the story to debut reflects well on your brand and reputation and supports the objectives you have for sharing the news in the first place.

Today, I am pleased to share a guest blog post from Lynn Espinoza, president of Speak! Communications. Lynn is a broadcast veteran with 15 years of experience as a major-market news anchor and reporter. In addition to the Emmy, her work earned several Associated Press awards and the McGraw-Hill Editorial Excellence award. She was the Global Director of Communications Training for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide before starting Speak! Communications. Prior to that, she led national and regional consumer and technology campaigns as public relations manager for drugstore.com and as the primary Northwest spokesperson for telecommunications giant US WEST (now QWEST).

Needless to say, Lynn knows a thing or two about preparing a winning message for the media.  Take it away Lynn.

The economy has shaken the news-gathering industry to its core. Newspapers are disappearing; television reporters are losing their jobs in numbers we’ve never seen – both nationally and locally. The impact on you is that your chance of getting ink or camera time is greatly reduced.  You need to stand out – to provide something different or unexpected – if you want to attract the attention of strapped news editors.

Don’t despair. You can still get great press, if you follow some tried and true tips:

Spend time crafting your story.

A product announcement is not a story. Your story lies behind the product or initiative. Before you get to those all-important key messages, chart out the three distinct parts of your story; the beginning, the end, and what happens in-between.  List all of the proof-points that strengthen your story, and figure out where they fit best.  The beginning should speak to the real-world problem that your product or initiative solves. The middle should include what you heard from your customers about how a product like yours will solve their problems. The end requires real-world examples of how your product or initiative will change the way people do things.   If you don’t have all three elements, you might have all you need for a nice press release, but you don’t have a compelling story to attract a news editor.

Tie your story to trends.

Let me give you an example.  Athletic gear- maker Reebok was in the process of launching a new athletic shoe line for women. Let’s face it, the announcement of a new sneaker is not much of a story.  But Reebok really did the homework and found out some interesting things about women and working out.  While men want their athletic gear to say “strong and serious”, women, it turns out, want their gear to say “fun and healthy”.  It’s a new and growing trend.  So they built a shoe line that looks and feels different than the traditional athletic shoe, and then they built a story around a woman’s emotional tie to “fun and healthy”.  It was a big success for them. In many cases, you don’t have to do exhaustive research. Just watch and listen for the trends happening in your target audience, and build your stories accordingly.

Avoid Jargon.

If your key message looks something like this:

“ We’ve developed a robust ecosystem to address the lack of connective tissue between our customers’ business objectives and the economic realities.”

STOP!!!!!

Reporters have grown impatient with spokespeople who don’t speak like humans!  You want to connect with the broadest-possible audience, in a way that appeals to the audience on an emotional level.  Instead of the message above, you want your message to look more like this:

“In this rotten economy, our customers told us they need to do more with less”.

I have suggested reading on this topic: Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide by Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway, and Jon Warshawsky.  It’s my favorite business book.

Be authentic.

Before you speak to a reporter, make sure that you’re completely comfortable with your key messages. Are the messages in language that you would use naturally? Do you really believe them?  If the answer to both questions is yes – take a breath and relax.  You don’t need to be perfect when you speak. An occasional “um” or “uh” will not tank an interview.  Sit up straight, focus on eye contact, and trust that you have made the messages yours.  If the answer to the question is no, CHANGE the messages so that they work for you.  If it doesn’t sound like your messages are authentic to you, the reporter will easily pick up your discomfort, and may assume that you’re covering up something, or worse, lying.

Expect to be asked about the economy.

The economy remains the biggest story for every news operation.  Whatever the purpose of your interview, be ready for a question or two about the economy.  Can you tie your product to the economy in a positive way? That’s great! Point it out!  You may also hear questions you don’t necessarily want, such as, “You’re really struggling in this economy, aren’t you?”  or, “How many people are you laying-off this quarter?”   Come up with answers to questions like this before an interview. Be as honest as you can. Just don’t get caught off-guard!

As always, remember that reporters are not your friends AND they’re not your enemies. Know your story; speak it well; show your passion. And then sit back and watch the great coverage roll in.

Thanks Lynn for sharing useful tips to help do-it-yourself publicists make the most of their interview opportunities.    And here is one final tip from me.

When you lay awake the night before your interview and imagine what you want the front page of your local newspaper, business journal, or trade journal to reveal about you and your company, what three messages are most important?   Be clear about what they are, and share them in a cogent, compelling,  memorable and BRIEF way.   A good sound bite beats a manifesto every day of the week.

Stay tuned for Wednesday’s special guest post from PR Secrets CEO and Founder Susan Harrow who has some value to add to the sound bite conversation.

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Publici-Tea™ Graduate Rachael Costner Earns Cover Story in South Sound Woman Magazine

Publici-Tea™ Graduate Success Story No Comments

Publici-Tea™ graduate and award-winning business owner Rachael Costner graced the cover of the Jan/Feb 2009 edition of South Sound Woman Magazine.  This is a magazine dedicated to informing, empowering, and connecting women. Rachael, a practitioner of purposeful networking over many years of successful business ownership and community contributions, represents much of what the magazine is all about.

With such a fabulous photo of Rachael on the  cover, this particular issue of the magazine now serves as a high impact trade show booth giveaway and a new element of her marketing collateral package.

Just one quick read of this article — which includes five pages with color photographs — and anyone serious about doing business in the South Sound or beyond is quite a few steps closer to “getting to yes”  and doing business with Rachael and her Women’s Resource Directory, participating in her signature Tacoma-based networking event Jazzy June, and doing business with her advertising agency Sands Costner.

Rachael told me the steps she took to earn this magazine’s attention.   Learn from her example so you can earn similar coverage for your own winning ways.

Rachael explains, “The steps to connecting are building on relationships and becoming the best resource you can be to others without expecting anything in return. Through my own networking and giving, I would partner with the publisher of this publication so we could support each other in business.  In 2008, I was honored to receive the  Small Business Administration (SBA) Women in Business Champion Award for Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.  I sent my first press release to the publisher. A conversation followed about kicking off 2009 with my story.  What a way to recap the success of 2008.”

By the way, the hard cost to purchase five pages of editorial coverage in a glossy magazine is not insignificant.  Rachael’s cost to earn this editorial coverage was a wise investment of time authentically connecting to build a relationship and additional time sharing her story and sitting for gorgeous photos.  I’d say the return on her investment is well beyond measure.

Free publicity opportunities abound for those willing to roll up their sleeves, connect with the right people in the media, prepare and share their stories with the right media outlets, and enjoy the abundant rewards that accompany being seen, heard, and celebrated.  Success stories like Rachael’s are unfolding every day.  If you want to be among them, keep reading this blog for tips, resources, ideas, and inspiration.  And, when the timing is right, register for the Publici-Tea™ Workshop. The next session is May 15, 2009 from 12:30 – 5 p.m. at The Village Bellevue.  Seats are selling fast, and just five remain.   Claim yours today.

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Read the “Do’s and Don’ts” for Responding to HARO Leads in Today’s Puget Sound Business Journal

Media Savvy 101 No Comments

If you’ve been wondering the best ways to respond to Help a Reporter Out leads, be sure to check out today’s Puget Sound Business Journal for my latest “Media Savvy” column that get to the meat of that matter with pitching tips to enhance your success.  Here is the link.

Here is a brief excerpt from the column to tempt your interest:

Peter Shankman launched Haro in November of 2007. Today, well over 70,000 people subscribe. Haro has become a do-it-yourself publicist’s best friend because with a modest investment of time and on-topic pitching efforts, business owners can have their stories told without spending a penny on PR firms or subscription media query services.

To earn placement success, it is a matter of pitching in a “just right” style. Share too little information, and you are sure to come up short. Share too much information, and you’ll overwhelm the decision maker. Share the right amount of on-target information, with quick links to demonstrate proof of claims and credibility, and provide access to email and phone contact information to make continuing the conversation convenient, and you’ll be well poised to earn the media attention you seek.

This column is available to print subscribers for the first 30 days and subsequently made available online.

If you are not yet a print subscriber, you can enjoy the “Publici-Tea™ Anyone?” special rate of $72.95 for a full year of quality, timely business news and information when you contact Elizabeth Case at 206-876-5418 or send her email at ecase@bizjournals.com.   The Puget Sound Business Journal is a must-read publication for anyone serious about doing business in this region.  And when you subscribe, you can always enjoy my “Media Savvy” column conveniently online.

HARO leads are an abundant resource of quality media placement opportunities for business owners who are serious about rolling up their sleeves to earn their own publicity.  It’s free to join. Based on my experience and media placement success over the last year with clients big and small, your time and effort to pitch YOUR stories is well worth it.

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