Are You Guilty of Press Releases that Say Nothing or Rank High on the Judd Stupefaction Scale?

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While reading the Sunday Seattle Times, I found myself laughing out loud as I read Ron Judd’s column. Under this subhead ‘Now Here’s a News Flash!  Well, Maybe’ he writes:

“They would never admit to it. But deep down, every communications officer working for a public agency knows that part of his or her task is to communicate official business to media and the public just well enough to never attract undue attention. Some are better than others. Ranking highest on the Judd Stupefaction Scale (patent pending) is this humdinger of a lead paragraph on a news release from Washington State Parks. Guaranteed to make you not want to know more.

OLYMPIA — Nov. 25, 2009 — At its regular meeting next week in Centralia, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will consider a variety of actions, including adoption of park land-use plans, sustainability, winter recreation appointments, easements, partnership agreements, land acquisitions and park transfer agreements.

We KID the State Parks people. And we know there’s something interesting going on down in Centralia. Someone please wake us when it happens.”

Authentic Visibility Question of the Day: How does YOUR press release read on the “Judd Stupefaction Scale?”   When in doubt, use Press Release Grader for a reality check.   And remember to use common sense.  The most important ingredients that should appear in the first paragraph of a press release include the “who, what, when, where, how, and why anyone should care” details in a way that wakes up the reader, instead of putting him/her to sleep.   It’s a simple concept that may also sound revolutionary, especially if you’ve forgotten to serve your reader.  When you serve the reader, you ultimately are in good position to serve yourself.  What a concept!

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The Energizer Bunny, Kermit the Frog, and Dora the Explorer Have Great Bios. Do You?

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While enjoying the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I enjoyed listening to the write-ups for all the fantastic floats.   The Energizer Bunny, Kermit the Frog, and Dora the Explorer all have memorable bios that make them seem bigger than life — and they are.  The Energizer Bunny is known for his perseverance.  Kermit the Frog knows that it’s not easy being green.  Dora the Explorer knows a thing or two about friendship.  What do you stand for, how do you stand out, and how are you known?  Does your bio tell your best story?   If it’s time to refresh your story, the Bye-Bye Boring Bio Action Guide can help.  Treat yourself to an easy-to-use, well-reviewed, and popular tool that will make your own story shine.  And — since it is the day ofter Thanksgiving — take heart that there are no calories with this gift to make you appear bigger.  There is just plenty of good advice to make your story read a whole lot better.

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Showcase What You Offer to DIY Publicists at 2010 Series of Publici-Tea™ Express Workshops

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Here is a link to a new page on the blog that highlights all the great reasons to become a table sponsor for the 2010 series of Publici-Tea™ Express Workshops coming to Seattle Design Center.

If you are a press release distribution service, photographer, graphic design company, practical marketing expert, social media site founder, or other service provider that can make a difference for the small business owners, experts, authors, and coaches that are among the target audience for this popular and empowering workshop, consider this opportunity carefully so you can make winning connections to fuel your own “Prosperi-Tea” in the New Year.

Looking forward to welcoming you and working with you to make your involvement among the best decisions you make to support the growth of your business.

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Blending Traditional and New Media for Synergized Results

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While on vacation, I am happy to feature Wax Marketing Founder Bonnie Harris as a guest blogger.  Take it away Bonnie!

I always laugh when people say the newspaper is dead and it’s “all about social media” now. If you’ve been reading Nancy Juetten’s Authentic Visibility blog,  you know for small businesses in particular, print is still very much alive. So is guerilla marketing, radio, TV and the rest of traditional media. Social media is an inexpensive (free if you don’t count your time) set of additional messaging channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Social media can deliver your message , and it can also accelerate and invigorate your results from traditional media. Here’s how to do it.

If you haven’t already, pick your social media outlets to match your customers. Retail does well on Facebook, especially if you’ve got a loyal fan base. Add Twitter to help feed fans to your Facebook page. If you’re a B2B service or product, LinkedIn might be a good bet.

Write down the possible media you may use to promote your business or a particular event for your business. An event can be a sale, a discount, a new product, a new location – anything that’s NEW or SPECIAL. That list should include anything you pay for, like ads in a community paper plus anything that’s not paid for, like calendar listings, Twitter postings, etc.

Now make two lists. The first list is the set of media you REGULARLY communicate with . This should include your social media sites, regular advertising that’s working for you and anything else you’re currently doing. List the frequency you post or advertise there two, if it’s daily, weekly, etc.

This list gives you a really good picture of the ‘maintenance’ piece of your marketing. Take a look at it carefully. Are you capturing all the places your customers turn to for information about your type of product or service? Ask your friends if they would add anything. Maybe you’re not listed in all the local and directories? Really look at this carefully. Now create a checklist to help you choose the COMBINATION of media that will give you the best results.

List all the possible media you could use, from social media to ads, to TV, to banners at the local soccer game, whatever is available. For your next “event” decide what combination of media you are going to use. For example, maybe you’re going to use your next ad in the community paper to highlight a sale coming up. Then, you’re going to communicate that the sale is coming through Twitter and offer another discount coupon on Facebook.

You’ll also have in-store signage announcing the sale and you’re letting the local shopping bloggers know about it too so maybe they’ll mention it in a blog post. Decide when you’ll start talking about the event and how often you’ll announce it in each chosen channel.

Most importantly, MEASURE your results after the event. Did you get more people than usual? Where did people say they heard about the sale? Did you get more of a “bump” from social media than you thought (or less)?

You should begin understand the right mix of new and old media to use for your business. Don’t worry, no one gets it right the first time. With each event you do, change up your mix a bit. Maybe you’ll tweet a little sooner this time. Maybe once you have more Facebook fans you won’t need such a big ad. Tweak it as you go along and measure it afterwards to find the right “recipe” for your marketing mix.

Bonnie Harris is the founder of Wax Marketing, Inc. She has over 20 years experience promoting businesses and products of all kinds. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter for more ideas!

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An Angel in the Outfield Shares a Story of Thanksgiving

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About a week ago, while giving a talk at Bellevue College, one of the students in Whitney Keyes’ course on new media asked me about the most memorable story I had ever pitched.  It didn’t take me long to remember.

In 2004, while serving as a publicist for ABODA, I learned of a story that touched many hearts and lives then and now.   I had no idea how far and beyond the story would travel or the impact it would have.  The story still warms my heart to this day because it reminds me that the act of storytelling can make a remarkable, potentially life-saving difference.

Sports Columnist Steve Kelley of The Seattle Times wrote a story I pitched to him about a retired pitcher for the Seattle Mariners.  Brian Holman and his family were staying in ABODA’s corporate housing near Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center while caring for the needs of of two of their four children.

One of his two sons had fallen from a ski lift and broken quite a few bones.  X-rays later determined he had a brain tumor besides.  And, not long after that, his 3-year-old adopted daughter — Kassidy from the Marshall Islands — was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant.  If that weren’t enough, Brian needed open heart surgery.   Through it all, the family was strong, loving, and resilient in the face of overwhelming challenges.

The story about the Holman family traveled the world through the power of the Associated Press.  In a remarkable turn of events, a member of Kassidy’s biological family read the story, came forward, and offered bone marrow to save her life.  In this case, the power of publicity brought hope and a potential cure in perfect timing.

Sadly, Kassidy passed away in July of 2006 at ten years of age.   The tributes to her life and the Holman’s love and care for her were many.  Now there is a Team Kassidy in Training group of people raising funds for a cure.  You can join them, and I hope you do.

Some story pitches touch hearts and lives and make a difference for those at the center of the stories and for those helping to bring the stories to attention.    Those are rare stories that make me feel grateful to play a small part as an angel in the outfield, doing this work that I do.

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DIY Publicity Lessons from the Wizard of Oz

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An original pair of ruby slippers used in The Wizard of Oz; now part of the Philip Samuels Collection.

An original pair of ruby slippers used in The Wizard of Oz; now part of the Philip Samuels Collection.

The 70th Anniversary Edition of the classic film “The Wizard of Oz” played in downtown Seattle on Tuesday, and my husband, 12-year-old son, and I were there to see it.  What a treat to see this timeless film on the big screen with a full audience of appreciative fans, many who attended wearing their own ruby red slippers.

As I watched the film and listened to the audience reaction to some of the most memorable lines, I couldn’t help but draw parallels from this film to the world of DIY publicity.

  • Never underestimate the power of a really sassy pair of shoes to boost your confidence when pitching a story or doing anything that really matters in your life.
  • Thing big about what you want to accomplish, and take one joyful step at a time as you make the journey.
  • It takes brains, courage, and heart to make your message stand out.
  • Collaborating with a quality team can make a world of difference when making your approach.
  • If you want it, you have to be willing to put up with things that get in your way, like apples, flying monkeys, witches, and sleep-inducing poppies.
  • Before you make your big pitch, put your best dress on and your best face forward.
  • “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”  You have more power to make things happen in your business than you ever though possible.  You just have to look in your bag of tricks to find the right tools and resources to the get the mission accomplished.  And you have to use them.
  • Most of the coverage you seek that can make a powerful difference in your business can be found in your own backyard right now.
  • You don’t have to fly over the rainbow to get much of what you want.
  • There is no place like home.  That’s where you and most of your customers live, work, and play.  Start at home.
  • You can make a lot of magic happen if you just click your heels together and get to work.

In 2010, I’ll be offering a series of Publici-Tea™ Express workshops to make your journey to DIY publicity success one you’ll enjoy taking, one step at a time.  Publici-Tea™ graduates will have new reasons to return to Seattle Design Center in the Emerald City that is our home to learn more, and newbies will have plenty of reasons to take their first steps along their journey to DIY publicity success.  Some of the topics we have brewing are posted at this link.  We will audio record every session so eager students in Seattle and well beyond can benefit.  Why not save all the dates now so you can stay in action and enjoy a measure of “Accountabili-Tea” as you move along the yellow brick road to DIY publicity success?

In 2010, there will also be opportunities for businesses to showcase their own bags of tricks to support publicity-seeking business owners get what they want.  Here is a link to make it easy to learn more.  I look forward to welcoming you to my own little version of Oz in the New Year.

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Winter Olympics, Business Lessons, and More

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With the 2010 Winter Olympics just 85 days away, I can’t wait see the drama and the intrigue that unfold.  Four years ago, I was equally enchanted and even wrote about it.  Here is a link to the article “Business Lessons from the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.”  Don’t you wonder who the heroes are going to be this time out and the lessons we’ll all learn through their Olympic triumphs?  We shall soon see!

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Aspiring Speakers — Have You Checked Out SpeakerMatch Yet?

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If you are an aspiring professional speaker, you will benefit from learning more about SpeakerMatch. This is the only service of its kind when it comes to matching speakers and speaking opportunities. SpeakerMatch reaches emerging professional speakers, business leaders, technical gurus, educators, and other subject-matter experts who want to communicate what they know. There is no better service available for event organizers who need to reach this very diverse group of experts who speak.

SpeakerMatch is the brainchild of Bryan Caplovitz, a former business technology consultant. In trying to build market share for his consulting firm, Bryan saw the need for somewhere non-professional speakers could find speaking opportunities. As it became clear that organizations had trouble finding speakers as well, he knew there was a great opportunity to fill a need. He saw the internet as an ideal way to bring speakers and opportunities together, and SpeakerMatch was born.

One of the benefits of membership is a subscription to “Behind the Podium” — a printed newsletter that is packed full of actionable tips to advance your career as a speaker. Oh by the way, an article from yours truly appears on the cover of this month’s issue.  It’s called “Project a Professional Image by Putting Your Best Face Forward.”   I am told that 1,000 people receive this newsletter, so that’s a targeted group of professionals who now know a bit more about how I can help them get seen, heard, and celebrated.  Love that.  The newsletter team found this article among my many submissions to I posted this article to this site in April of 2006, and it is still working hard for me.

Visit this link to explore how SpeakerMatch can support your aspirations and plans to speak.  And if you haven’t yet started posting articles about your expertise to, when will you start?

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This Publici-Tea™ Success Story Hits Home for CFP™ Steve Juetten

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My husband Steve Juetten is a Certified Financial Planner professional who is also married to a publicist.   He can’t escape my enthusiasm for helping him earn a wider audience for his expertise and commitment to serve others.  Yesterday, he shared a blogging success story that I am happy to pass along to you.  It showcases how one good blog post can lead to even better things to come.

“Here is a blogging success story I wanted to share with you because without your support (okay, nagging) I would not have started writing a personal finance blog in February 2009.  Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post about an idea I gleaned from the book Save Your Retirement that is co-authored by one of my personal finance idols Frank Armstrong, III. Frank is one of the top 100 Financial Planners in the U.S.according to Barron’s magazine.  I’ve long admired Frank through several personal finance and investment books he has written. Frank’s publicist read my blog post and contacted me. He offered to send me Frank’s newest book to review and to set up an interview with Frank. Of course, I jumped at the chance to review the book and talk with Frank. I’m scheduled to interview him in early December and am eagerly looking forward to this rare opportunity. The chance to create a personal relationship with a superstar in my field happened through the power of one blog post. Thanks Nancy.”

Steve Juetten, Juetten Personal Financial Planning, LLC
Helping you make smart financial decisions so you can do more of what you love!
Check out my personal finance columns at

Authentic Visibility Tip of the Day –– Whether you are blogging, speaking, or writing articles for the media, always remember that the rising tide lifts all boats.   Write about leaders and authors you genuinely admire.  Target publications for your perspectives that are prestigious and preferred by your ideal clients.  Aspire to speak to audiences that are comprised of the successful people with whom you intend to earn greater influence.   One step at a time, you’ll earn new followers, fans, and friends.  You’ll invite new opportunities to serve in powerful ways.  And, you’ll attract more opportunities to grow your own influence.

Authentic Visibility Challenge — What specific steps will you take today to grow your influence among your ideal clients?  Remember, all the planning and note taking in the world won’t replace the power of deliberate action.

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Publici-Tea™ Graduate Todd Martini, Founder of Alex’s Coupons, to Appear on Good Morning America

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Read all about it here.

The Get Away with GMA Contest rewards individuals who have done something extraordinary for their community, making friends and neighbors thankful for the effort. As a winner, Todd will receive a trip for two aboard the November 19, 2009 pre-inaugural sailing of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas including round trip air transportation. Todd and the other winners will be in the audience when Good Morning America broadcasts live from the Oasis of the Seas on Friday, November 20, 2009.

Todd  Martini is one of 15 nationwide winners, and KOMO TV 4 News — the Seattle affiliate of the ABC television station — will be interviewing him in connection with this story.

This just goes to show that responding to national contests that are well supported by the media can bring abundant rewards in your own backyard and well beyond.

Congratulations Todd Martini for getting into action and making something really fabulous happen for your business and everyone around the nation who can benefit from what you offer to consumers through Alex’s Coupons.

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