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Learning how to pitch the media can be one of the most helpful things you can do.  It will help you become their friend, and their “go to” person when they are in a bind.

Be Prepared for Last Minute Interviews

You may get a call from an editor at 4:00pm from a national magazine wanting quotes for a story due by 4:30pm.  A TV show may expect you to fly out and be on the air the next day.  If you’re not willing to ‘drop everything’ for opportunities, then publicity is not for you.

Treat the Media Like a Boss

In any coverage situation, the media is in control. They can change interview times. They can decide not to use your quotes or your product in a feature.  Their job is to put out the best possible stories and they are not concerned whether your business gets exposure.  Do not be difficult.  Cater to their needs.  Understand if you don’t fit into a particular story.  If you want to control a story or insure your product is featured, then you must use paid advertising.

You have no control  over what they say.

You may be featured along with three or four of your competitors in the story. They may do a review that turns out unfavorable. We cannot proof read an article for those print. You can’t force them to include your biography for complete information. Understand that free publicity means zero, or how they will portray you in this.

Become Someone the Media Will Love

Put some time and effort into media training.  The media want guests with charisma! Practice providing information in a clear, concise and compelling manner.  Your goal is to become a go-to expert, study other correspondents or regular guests.  Listen to their soundbites and watch their presence.  How can you infuse your unique qualities into becoming a guest the media will love?

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I usually don’t write about my childhood stories, but this morning I was inspired by a dear friend who saw a picture of me at 10 years old. How far back does that go!

My father was an entrepreneur, although I don’t know if he knew what the word meant. A self taught man, there was nothing he couldn’t do, nothing he wouldn’t try, and I never recall him saying no to me if I needed or wanted his help with something. He liked that I was smart and although he would never say it, the smartest kid of 3 in the family; smart and appreciative, and so he had fun when we worked together.

One snow packy winter day, perfect for snowmen, when the lawn mowers are itching to come out of their winter hibernation, he went outside after breakfast and proceeded to build what I thought was a snowman. Well, after hours and hours he invited me outside o see the most beautifully sculpted snow horse I had ever seen. Every curve of its flowing white mane, every rippling muscle, nostrils wide and flaring, looking at those he was running at top speed.

I immediately began to cry. I had always loved horses, but we could never afford one, so this was my next best thing.  His name was Silver, not even a hint of a question about that, and he was the fastest horse in the world. Every morning and every night I covered him with a fresh coat of ice water to preserve him as long as I could.

Snow horse

Neighbors stopped by to comment, people driving by in cars slowed down to “ohhh” in wonder at this marvelous creation, and the local newspaper even did a feature story with pictures on my Silver and how it all came about. I loved that horse and I loved my father so much for such an amazing gift straight from his heart. I don’t know what prompted him to do it. I was only 10 and didn’t think to ask or know how to formulate the question.

But, good things too come to an end; and the day came in April when the sun rose too high in the sy and no matter how much ice water I used I couldn’t keep him from beginning to show the telltale drips that meant he was melting. I sat with him outside as one would keep vigil with a sick friend,  begged to sleep outside in case he needed me – “No, it’s too cold, Judy, you’ll freeze.’ From the wisdom of my mother. From my father, a tear – he understood but reality won out.

In the morning I raced down the steps and outside to see a shell of Silver, trying to stand proud, and melting. In 30 minutes it was over – he was gone.

I didn’t know at the time it was possible for a child to cry that much. I sobbed for hours, first hanging onto him and then in my bedroom. My heart was broken for the loss of the most gracious gift, the unexpected loveliness of it all, the hours we played together, and the possibilities of what might have been, the unrealized dream that has never died.

Exhausted finally from the tears and emotion, I went to sleep and dream t of my darling Silver, my father, herds of horses and love beyond measure.

Now what does this have to do with marketing, you ask. Of course, everything. Marketing never ends – building relationships never ends. Keeping your name “out there” never ends. You my dear therapists are providing such a marvelous service, helping people end their anguish and suffering. If you are good, you know it in your bones. Please share that expertise with others. My father kept that marvelous talent hidden for over 20 years – a terrible waste of a gift. And then one day, it burst forth – it was as if the world was too small for him all of a sudden – he HAD to share it.

He periodically did things like that as time went by – amazing, delightful surprises. He owned three businesses in his lifetime – all successful. And as I watched, and listened and learned, I watched him first build the trust which takes time. He was willing, more than willing. One of my very favorite tips he used – another grocery story opened their doors close enough to ours to be a real threat. A bit newer, more modern, but my dad had trust already stored up for years. When mom sent the kids to the store for a loaf of bread, they had a choice – newer or trustworthy. They always chose him. He      taught me his secret. When the got an ice cream cone, he gave an extra dip. When they got candy, same thing–”a little extra on the side for you, he’d say.  And countless other stories. It rubbed off…more value to the customer whenever possible, keep building the trust and he always shook their hand and said good-bye, come back now and called them by name.  I loved that man so much and never , ever told him enough. “Do you hear me now dad?”

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Here’s what makes solitude so sweet

Unlike the readers of my last post, who were so articulate and insightful about the sweetness of solitude, many professional researchers have had a much harder time recognizing that solitude can actually be beneficial. Maybe part of the reason is that psychologists – especially social psychologists – are so attuned to humans as social animals who need and crave connection with other people. In fact, the title of a journal article that has attracted much attention over the years is “The need to belong.”

I don’t dispute the social needs of humans. I just don’t see them as incompatible with an appreciation for solitude. To get a sense of psychologists struggling with the notion that time alone can actually be a good thing, consider these two examples of titles of journal articles:

  • “When the need to belong goes wrong”
  • “Finding pleasure in solitary activities: desire for aloneness or disinterest in social contact?”

Titles such as these seem to suggest that if you spend time alone, there must be something wrong with you. Maybe your need to belong has “gone wrong.” Maybe you don’t really want to be alone, you are just anxious and avoiding other people. But that’s not what the studies show. Some people really do want their time alone and regard it as something positive and constructive; they are not skittishly fleeing scary humans.

In a study of fifth through ninth graders, Reed Larson found that over time, the older children choose to spend more time alone. What’s more, their emotional experience was improved after they had spent some time on their own. Those adolescents who spent an intermediate amount of time alone – not too much, not too little – seemed to be doing the best psychologically.

The psychologists who really do get it about the sweetness of solitude are the ones I mentioned in my last post – Christopher Long and James Averill. The title of their key theoretical article is “Solitude: An exploration of the benefits of being alone.” No apology. No befuddlement that humans might actually benefit from their time alone.

Here’s how they characterize solitude:

“The paradigm experience of solitude is a state characterized by disengagement from the immediate demands of other people – a state of reduced social inhibition and increased freedom to select one’s mental and physical activities.”

Many readers made similar observations in the comments they posted to Part 1. Although there can be benefits to spending time with others, there can also be rewards to “disengagement from the immediate demands of other people.”

There is research (again by Larson) in which people are beeped at random times during the day and asked about their experiences. Unsurprisingly, people report feeling less self-conscious when they are alone than when they are with others.

Other than the welcome emotional respite, what’s so good about feeling less self-conscious? Long and Averill think that it is good for creativity. They note findings from other research showing that adolescents who can’t deal with being alone are less likely to develop their creative abilities.

The theme that resonates most with me is the argument that other people can be distracting and taxing. I’m not talking specifically about being with people who are annoying and demanding. Instead, the idea is that just having other people around – even wonderful other people – can sap some of your cognitive and emotional resources. You might, even at some very low level, use up some of your psychological energy wondering about their needs and concerns, or considering the impression you may be making on them (even if you are not insecure about that), or maybe even just sensing their presence when you are sharing the same space and not even conversing.

There is a freedom that comes with solitude, and (as Long and Averill note) it is both a freedom from constraints and a positive freedom to do what you want and let your thoughts wander. Here’s another quote from them that I especially appreciate, as it showcases their perspective that spending time alone and getting something out of it can be a strength, rather than a cause for concern:

“the (positive) freedom to engage in a particular activity requires more than simply a freedom from constraint or interference: it also requires the resources or capacity to use solitude constructively.”

Antarctic researchers, who have chosen a pursuit that requires spending a lot of time alone, score especially high on a scale measuring “absorption.” The scale assesses enjoyment of experiences such as watching clouds in the sky, and becoming particularly absorbed in a movie you are watching.

In solitude, Long and Averill suggest, we sometimes think about ourselves and our priorities in new ways. Our thinking about other matters, too, may be more likely to be transformed during times of solitude.

The particular intersection of solitude and single life – like so many other aspects of solitude – has yet to be studied in any detail. My guess is that people who are single – especially if they are single at heart – like their solitude more than people who crave coupling do. I’ll end with one more quote from Long and Averill. They were not discussing single people when they said it, but it strikes me as relevant:

“…cognitive transformation can be threatening rather than liberating. At the very least, in order to benefit from solitude, the individual must be able to draw on inner resources to find meaning in a situation in which external supports are lacking.”

References:

Long, C. R., & Averill, J. R. (2003). Solitude: An exploration of the benefits of being alone. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 33, 21-44.

Larson, R. W. (1997). The emergence of solitude as a constructive domain of experience in early adolescence. Child Development, 68, 80-93.

Bella DePaulo is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UC Santa Barbara. belladepaulo.com

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Published on March 20, 2011 by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. in Living Single

You poor thing – you’re ‘alone’ – you ‘don’t have anyone.” I’ve been railing against this use of the word alone to describe single people for a long, long time (here and here, for example).  To say that single people are alone, in this sense, is to believe that unless you have a spouse or romantic partner, you don’t have anyone. By this manner of thinking, all of the other important people in our lives, such as friends, relatives, neighbors, mentors, and colleagues, just aren’t anyone at all.

There is another meaning of alone, though, that also gets pinned on single people, and in a bad way. That’s the time that we spend with no one else around. More than 31 million of us live alone. (That’s a striking number, but because more than 100 million Americans are divorced, widowed, or have always been single, it falls far short of the majority of us.) Of course, even living alone does not preclude the possibility of having other people around – even lots of them – but it can add up to lots of time spent with no other hovering humans.

Solitude

Those who would pity us for the time we spend alone think of our experiences as loneliness. That’s the negative sense of being by yourself – having no other humans present with whom you can connect in a meaningful way, but wishing that you did. Surely, there are singles who feel lonely when they are in their homes (or even out and about) on their own, just as there are coupled people who feel lonely when their romantic partner is not at their side. But there is far more to the experience of being alone than feeling miserable and lonely. There is a reason (actually lots of them) why solitude is so often called sweet. We just don’t hear about that as often.

Researchers in psychology need to own up to their fare share of the blame in this equation of spending time alone (or living alone) with loneliness. Type solitude into PsycInfo, probably the most comprehensive database for scholarly articles in psychology, and you will get 592 references. Doesn’t sound so bad, until you take a close look at them and realize how few are based on empirical research (those articles are tagged as phenomenology, psychoanalysis, narratives, and spirituality, among other categories) and how many construe solitude in a bad way. (For example, #13 of the 592 is about “anxious solitude.”) Now type in loneliness, and you get 5,128 references.

Slowly – very slowly – this is beginning to change. Christopher Long and James Averill wrote an article that provides the theoretical grounding that future empirical researchers can use as a guide. “Solitude: An exploration of the benefits of being alone,” appeared in the Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior in 2003 (vol. 33, pp. 21-44). Now, when I check back to see if anything new on solitude has popped up in PsycInfo, I am sometimes pleasantly surprised.

Notwithstanding all of the psychologists fretting about loneliness, real people living their real lives often seem to crave time alone, then savor it when they get it. That’s my sense, based mostly on unsystematic observations. (For example: A 2008 post, The American psyche: Tipping toward solitude?, has been one of my most popular. A more recent one, Extraversion and the single person, has also been popular.)  It is time for researchers to show us the numbers.

It is not only when you are home alone that you can experience solitude. Solitude also happens in nature and even when you are alone in a crowd. I’m withholding Long and Averill’s definition of solitude for now, because it would give away too much of what I’d like you to think about while I work on the second part in this series. If you like this topic, generate your own ideas of what’s so sweet about solitude. (Post them in the comments section if you are willing.) Think not just about emotional aspects (though those surely matter a lot), but also cognitive and intellectual ones. (For example, are you smarter or more creative when you are on your own?) Consider, too, the big questions of who you are and who you want to be, what (and whom) you believe in, and what you think is most important in life. Is solitude especially good for that sort of pondering? Don’t dismiss the little or mundane things, either. Is there something special about making your way through your everyday routines when you are on your own?

Let’s take back our time alone! It is about sweet solitude, not just loneliness.

Bella DePaulo is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UC Santa Barbara. belladepaulo.com

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Whenever you are lucky enough to work with the media, remember the Boy Scout Motto, “Be Prepared.” Do your homework in advance, research your topic, ( of course if it’s yours you should know it inside and out.)   One trick I learned is to prepare a set of questions and quiz myself on them and practice until my answers are short, crisp, pithy [love that word] – the kind that make great soundbites.

1.  Tell them what kind of information you will be able to provide so they know you will give them good content.  NEVER, NEVER  sell on radio or TV. You will quickly get on their “never call” list again. If you provide good content and are good on camera, you will most likely become one their ‘go to’ person for you area of expertise.

Some producers and editors will call you all the time if they know they can count on you.

Interviews

2. Be easy, show up early and have your soundbites worked out.

3. Send an email and tell them your company name. Include your name, address, phone, fax, and email address. You be amazed how many people forget to include it. Most likely, they will have it misspelled or won’t even have it at all. If you have a hard-to-pronounce name, make sure to tell them how to pronounce it.  The producer will probably cut and paste all   that information into the reporter’s copy.

Practice deep breathing exercises in the car on the way to the studio. This isn’t the time to practice your talk; if you don’t know if by now, it’s too late, But being as calm and as clear headed from deep breathing can work wonders.

Watch for next time’s tips where we polish off this list – and good luck!

Angela Jia Kim
Founder, Om Aroma & Co.  |  Co-Founder, Savor the Success

Judy Gifford
CEO, Find-a-Therapist, Inc  |   Founder , FindHealthPros   

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Let’s call the client Sandy. She was first referred to me by an instructor in the professional training program she was taking. (Hint #1: Develop referral partnerships with people who serve your clients.) Sandy called me in March to inquire about becoming a coaching client. (Hint #2: Referred clients are more ready to buy.)

I asked Sandy about her situation and what she needed, then told her how coaching would help. (Hint #3: Listen more than you talk.) We discussed the cost. (Hint #4: Communicate benefits before quoting prices.) Sandy thought she would be ready to get started in June, so I asked to follow up with her then. (Hint #5: Get permission to follow up.)

I sent Sandy a copy of my print newsletter with a note summarizing our conversation. (Hint #6: Maximize every contact by following up.) I called her at the beginning of June to see if she was ready to become a client. (Hint #7: Follow up when you say you will.)

Sandy returned my call with a voice mail message. It was the wrong time to get started with coaching; maybe six months from now would be better. But could she order a copy of my book? (Hint #8: Capture your wisdom in a way clients can sample it before hiring you.) I mailed Sandy the book with a personal note and sent her an email, suggesting we talk again in six months. (Hint #6 again.)

If I thought I could reach Sandy by phone, I would have called, but she was a busy professional who sent every call to voice mail. (Hint #9: Use any available medium to follow up.) Three months later, I sent Sandy an email, asking if I could subscribe her to my email newsletter. She responded by email saying yes. Three months after that, I called her again. (Hint #10: Find a way to follow up at least once per quarter.)

Sandy replied by voice mail that things had changed for her, and she was no longer interested in coaching. She thanked me for keeping in touch. (Hint #11: Consistent follow up makes you appear professional.) I left a voice mail reply thanking her for her interest and asked her to keep my services in mind for her professional colleagues. (Hint #12: Ask for referrals when prospects don’t buy.)

I continued to send Sandy my email newsletter each month. Three months later, Sandy referred me a colleague, who became my client. I sent Sandy a thank you note for the referral. (Hint #13: Always thank your referral sources.) Later that same year, she referred me another colleague who also became my client, and I thanked her again.

Several months went by, and a third person in the same field contacted me, and became my client. My new client named someone I knew, but wasn’t in touch with, as the person who referred her. I contacted the referrer to thank her, and discovered it was Sandy who had told her where to find me. (Hint #14: Find out who your referral sources really are.)

I thanked Sandy again. It was now two years from our initial contact. At this point, Sandy decided to become my client. The dollar value of my relationship with Sandy — her coaching fees plus those of the people she referred — to date has totaled approximately $35,000.

In addition to the hints I’ve dropped while telling this story, there may be more to learn by asking yourself a few questions. Where in this process might you have given up? Would you have written Sandy off after she told you she wasn’t interested? Might you have considered yourself a failure at selling because Sandy kept saying no for two years?

Notice that in all this time, Sandy and I had talked live only once. Do you stop trying when you can’t reach people by phone? Before she became my client, I sent Sandy a print newsletter, four handwritten notes, three personal emails, and eighteen email newsletters. I never did send her a brochure. Might you have sent Sandy a marketing packet after the first contact, and stopped there?

The next time you get discouraged because a client says he’s “not ready” to get started, or you feel like follow-up is a waste of time, remember Sandy. I contacted her 25 times over a period of two years. Each of the seven personal contacts took less than five minutes, and the 18 email newsletters were sent by an autoresponder. Thirty-five minutes of follow-up resulted in $35,000 in sales. What do you think, was it worth it?

Find a Therapist.com here

C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now!™ Thousands of business owners and independent professionals have used her simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income.


Copyright © 2003, C.J. Hayden

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   Writing articles as an expert in your specialty or
   niche can help you become more believable and
   more noticeable. A strong, well-written
  article on  subject of interest to your target
  market will get their attention, display your 
  expertise and establish your name recognition. 

  There are countless blogs, ezines, journals, magazines, and other periodicals published online that are desperately looking for quality content. The more you write in your area of expertise, the better your writing will become, the more you will be recognized and so on a nd so on.  And, if you can say in writing to the editor you are speaking with; “I have been published in 1….;2…..3…..4…..5…….” the list grows longer and looks quite a bit more impressive, and you are definitly becoming the expert.

The first step in getting an expert article published is to get the attention of the editor, or more often, the associate editor. For that you need what’s referred to as “the hook,”or that thought or idea which catches their attention because it fits in with current events in your area or country. For instance, Easter is coming up April 24th. What topic(s) fit with Easter or holiday themes? Depression is a common one. Almost every paper or periodical runs something on holiday stress and depression. The question to ask yourself is how to make your article just a bit different – how can you tweak it to make it different from every other run of the mill article so it gets looked at and then your goal – published! What about celebrating holidays when parents are  of different faiths and one wants to celebrate and the other doesn’t. I personally don’t recall seeing any articles like that. I’m sure there are some, I just haven’t seen them.

The next step in getting an expert article published is to identify some appropriate writing venues. What do the people in your target market read? Consider newsletters, ezines, web sites, magazines, trade journals, and newspapers. Ask your clients and prospects what online and print publications they subscribe to or regularly buy. Notice which periodicals are lying on their desks or coffee tables and poking out of their briefcases. Find out what web sites they frequently surf.

You can also look up publications by subject in directories of writing markets, such as those published in print, online, and CD versions by http://www.writersmarket.com or http://www.writersmarkets.com . To find online venues, just type your specialty and the word “articles” into your favorite search engine.

If you are new to getting your writing published, start with small publications that don’t require writing experience. Association newsletters are an excellent first target. Other possibilities are the many web sites that publish educational articles to attract traffic; employee newsletters for companies you would like as clients; newsletters, ezines, or web sites produced by your referral partners; neighborhood newspapers; and advertising periodicals that list items for sale, job openings, or workshops and events.

When you have a venue in mind, don’t just write an article and submit it. Most print publications and many online ones want you to query them first. Look for the submission guidelines posted on the publication’s web site, or listed in a box near the table of contents, inside the front cover, or for newspapers, in the editorial section. If you’re not sure, call the appropriate editor (usually listed in one of the same places) and ask.

Some publications accept queries by phone and others want them in writing. If you contact the editor by phone, be prepared to pitch your article idea on the spot. Tell them your proposed topic, why it is of interest to their readers, and why you should be the one who writes it. If you’re convincing enough, a small publication might give you the assignment right there. A larger one will probably ask you to send a query letter and include some clips of your writing.

When a publication requests queries, don’t try to skip the query step by sending a completed article in the hope that it will get printed. Most editors won’t even look at it, and you will have wasted a great deal of time. Only if the publication clearly states they accept completed or previously published articles should you send the article instead of a query.

A query letter should begin with a strong lead paragraph, written just as if it were the opening paragraph of the actual article. You want it to capture the editor’s interest, introduce your topic, and show that you can write. Continue the letter by describing two or three key points you intend for your article to make.

Then propose the article itself: “I would like to write a 1500-word article on the benefits to employers of integrated disability management programs. I plan to interview three employers who have experienced significant cost reductions…”

Conclude your letter with a brief description of your background that indicates why you are qualified to write the article. If you have previously been published, include two sample articles with your letter, or links to them when e-mailing. Be sure to send a self-addressed stamped envelope if you are querying by mail. E-mail submissions have become much more common, but don’t use this method unless you know it is acceptable.

The elapsed time it takes editors to respond to a query varies widely. Unless you have been told otherwise, follow up after 30 days if you haven’t heard anything. This is particularly important with a publication that only accepts newly-written articles, because you shouldn’t send the same query to another editor until you are sure the first one doesn’t want it.

Once you successfully place a number of articles, consider finding a venue for an ongoing column. Landing a regular column in a publication respected by your target market is a major milestone in establishing your expertise, and can significantly boost your name recognition.

C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now!™ Thousands of business owners and independent professionals have used her simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income.Visit her website at GetClientsNow.

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