April 6, 2013
Be Heard, Media Savvy 101
In mid-February, I received a semi-urgent request from Dawn Klingensmith — a feature writer for a magazine called Job Week. I had served as an expert resource to her in the past, and she was tossing a “hail Mary” pass at the 11th hour to get my take on some of the blunders folks make with their online profiles.
I dropped everything to respond to her email and request to speak by phone because I just knew her story could reach far and wide and help a lot of people.
On March 31, the story ran in a wide range of media outlets, including The Oakland Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, and online. I’ve been receiving cards and letters in the mail from folks who were happy to read the article and congratulate me on the good press. Dawn, if you are reading this blog post, thank you so much for reaching out to me, and let me know how I can help you going forward.
The bigger idea for you is how quickly can you respond in a very compelling manner to urgent reporter requests and be of service so YOU are the resource reporters come to again and again to benefit from YOUR commentary. Being ready for opportunity is an important ingredient, especially if sharing your message with a much wider audience of perfect people to benefit from your message in high priority.
If you’d like to read Dawn’s article, here it is:
How to spice up an online profile and finally get noticed
By Dawn Klingensmith
A challenge to writing your bio is to determine what you have done with your skills and experience that sets you apart. Imagine if Batman had a LinkedIn profile. It would be impossible for him to have a boring bio. He has established a brilliant personal brand as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight and theWorld’s Greatest Detective, and a formidable list of accomplishments despite lacking a superpower.
ONCE YOU START considering your accomplishments, you may be able to distill them down to something akin to a superpower — or, at any rate, a special ability that sets you apart — and you can lead with that. While no one in business is as awesome as Batman, there’s no shortage of superstars whose boring bios diminish their marketability.
They may have saved six companies from bankruptcy, raised $ 10 million for a nonprofit agency or developed the product that a decade from now will drive Apple out of business, yet their bio won’t stand out from all the rest. That’s because professional bios tend to follow the same dull format: title and employer, expertise and experience, previous employment, education and training and maybe some personal tidbits.
Instead of taking that predictable route, “Wow readers from the start by highlighting something really fantastic and then work your way down, inverted- pyramid style,” suggests Endrea Kosven, founder and CEO of the Los Angeles- based marketing firm EDK & Company. Picture an upside- down pyramid, with the widest part at the top representing the most substantial information— something that makes people take notice— and the tapering lower part representing other relevant material in order of diminishing importance.
One way to approach bio writing is to list your skills and experience, as you would for a résumé, and then acknowledge that it’s possible that someone else, or several people, possess the same skills and background. So the challenge, Kosven says, is to determine what you have done with your skills and experience that sets you apart. In other words, what have you accomplished? Once you start considering your accomplishments, you may be able to distill them down to something akin to a superpower— or, at any rate, a special ability that sets you apart— and you can lead with that. Maybe it’s a sharp eye for how businesses get bogged down in inefficiencies, and how you consistently reduce their operating costs by 30 to 50 percent.
*** “Start with stunning results in specific terms,” says Nancy Juetten, whose “Get Known to Get Paid” mentoring program addresses the importance of business bios. As a whole, in succinct story form, an effective bio tells others “who we are and who we serve and what we do,” she says. To that end, “One of the most important elements is a headline,” which, on LinkedIn, comes up right alongside your name, Juetten says. “The headline helps busy people understand more quickly what you’re about.”
A simple descriptor or job title is sufficient, such as “customer service specialist” or “Boston- based certified financial planner.” “Content over cute is better, because you have to consider SEO,” or search engine optimization— how easily people can find you when searching the web, she says.
Clever, unconventional job titles are common in certain industries and “fun for personal branding,” says Juetten, “but it makes you hard to find.” People are likelier to type in “social media strategist” vs. “social media rock star.”
Keeping a goal in mind when writing the bio will help keep it focused and concise. What do you want to be known for? Make sure everything in the bio supports that goal, Juetten advises. Interview yourself. How did you get where you are? What are you known for professionally? What do coworkers or clients say about you? What are you praised for in performance reviews? What problems do others come to you for solutions? What have you done for past employers? What aspect of your work is most satisfying?
“Be crystal clear about results,” Juetten says. “No one’s looking for a bundle of credentials. They’re looking for someone who makes things happen.”
You can include some personal information to spice things up and set yourself apart. On her website’s “about” page, Juetten quotes the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella; mentions her cockapoo, Champ; and reveals she’s just under 6 feet tall in her bare feet. ( That’s almost as tall as Batman, who’s pegged at 6 feet 2 in the DC Comics Encyclopedia.)
Avoid words like world- renowned ( if you truly were, you wouldn’t need to say so) and award- winning ( just list any awards that are sure to impress), and don’t start every sentence with “I.” Don’t just write your bio and forget it. Update it as necessary to reflect current accomplishments, Juetten says.
When a bio is accompanied by a photo, the image should be appropriate for the platform and audience. For LinkedIn, use a professional headshot and dress as you would for an interview, Kosven says. Twitter photos can be more casual and reflective of your personality.
January 22, 2012
Article PR, Media Savvy 101
When a query crossed my inbox about how to make elevator pitches better, I was an early bird with my reply. And my tips is among the ten showcased in this article.
When I review queries, here are questions I ask myself:
- Is the subject matter for the query RELEVANT TO MY EXPERTISE?
- Do I have something of value to add to the conversation?
- Would showing up in connection with this topic reflect well on my brand, reputation, and ways of being of service?
If my answers are YES, I jump in and offer my compelling, concise, and useful reply, along with a link to my bio/credentials and my contact information. I review exactly what the query is asking for, and I deliver as requested. Making it easy for the reporter to write a great story is always my priority. It’s a pretty good approach that pays ongoing and visible rewards. One good thing just about always leads to many others.
Have you replied to a media query lately to welcome great results? New clients? New ezine opt-ins? New speaking invitations? Follow up media interviews? Let me hear from you so we can inspire people around the globe to have some of the success you are having!
January 18, 2012
Media Savvy 101
If you can’t turn heads with a few well chosen words in your headlines, you can’t make much impact with your message. That’s why I am sharing this article link that offers tips to make your ezine, press release, blog post, and other headlines catchier. Practice some of these tips to your expert advantage and see what magic manifests in your business! Enjoy and share for best worldwide results for all.
January 16, 2012
Media Savvy 101
Did you see the media coverage about the MLK Memorial? This is an example of word play working really well in a timely headline. And the story also underscores the importance of properly capturing and attributing quotes to the source. In email, social media, or ezines, changing a headline is as easy as hitting the “delete” key. When messages are carved in stone, it’s a horse of a different color. The stone artist paraphrased one of Dr. King’s quotes in a way that didn’t portray him well. Poet Maya Angelou said, “The quote makes Dr. Martin Luther King look like an arrogant twit. He was anything but that. He was far too profound a man for that four-letter word to apply.” Whatever we do — as bloggers, newspaper columnists, speakers, ezine publishers, or monument carvers– the lesson is this. Get the words right because they will take on lives of their own with thanks to sassy headlines that turn heads and start conversations around the nation or even around the world.
September 20, 2011
Be Heard, Media Savvy 101
Today is my 24th wedding anniversary to Steve Juetten. He’s a great guy, and I could write a book about that, and I’ll save that for another day. One thing about growing together in relationship with another is how skills transfer from one to another. That Steve listens to me speak about how to earn publicity more than anyone else on the planet, and he sure pays attention. Just last week, he was contacted by a writer for Forbes.com and was quick to respond with useful tips about saving for college. The result that that exchange is now evident in this very meaty article about how to pay for college right now.
And this month, I am quoted within the pages of Success magazine — the one with Dr. Mehmet Oz on the cover. The article in which I am quoted is entitled, “Branding in your own backyard.” When I saw this query come across my desk from Reporter Connection, I jumped on it. This is a magazine that achievers read, and the halo of credibility that shines on my own expertise is priceless. Thank you Emma Johnson for including my quote within your article. I am thrilled beyond words.
So with all that said, there are two points I’d like to make about this when it comes to guiding you to earn your own publicity.
1) Always strive to be fast and first to reply and be of service to reporters seeking your comments and perspectives.
2) Consider the editorial environment would be the highest and best place for your comments to add value to the conversation. Earning a placement in prestigious, well read websites or magazines with national and influential reach is a powerful way to share your expertise and invite people from across the nation to learn more about you and how you serve.
And to Steve Juetten, my beloved husband of 24 years. Thank you for marrying me, growing in life and love with me, parenting with me, and staying with me. You are a treasure beyond measure. And while you have certainly learned a few publicity skills that are paying off for you big time, I will confess that your skills as a financial planner are unmatched and not yet shared on this end. Let’s see what happens on that score over the next 24 years. Can’t wait, and counting the minutes to enjoy more of life with you.
August 5, 2011
Media Savvy 101
I am a big fan of community newspapers. Yes. It is true. I wrote a column about their power for the Puget Sound Business Journal a while back, and the words ring true still today.
Today, the major metropolitan daily papers are getting thinner and thinner. The available real estate to cover YOUR news just isn’t there. And yet your community newspapers are still being delivered to the doorsteps of every neighbor in your own hometown, and people read these papers. More importantly, the stories travel online and beyond, bringing your news to a much wider audience of potential readers who can benefit from your story.
Not every story has the juice to land on the front page of the lifestyle section of the Seattle Times, but if you live on Queen Anne Hill and have a story to share, you can bet that the Queen Anne News is going to be interested. What happens when that story breaks can be a game changer.
When in doubt, just remember the story of the soap maker from a suburb in California who got a call from the Secret Service to bring her line of toiletries for men to the store at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. A lucrative, multi-year licensing deal resulted as a result of THAT story in the community newspaper — along with major media in outlets including CNN, the Los Angeles Times, and Entrepreneur.com. What could happen for you when YOUR story earns the ink to invite a conversation like that? You’ll never know until you try. And I maintain that it is well worth it.
One more note about this. Your credibility as a storyteller is on the line with every pitch you make. You just don’t pitch a story because you want to be in that particular paper. You pitch a story because it is of service to the readers, listeners, or viewers and it truly has the legs to run within that editorial environment. You don’t want to earn a reputation of someone who pitches stories that aren’t a good fit because that sure makes it hard to go back the next time to pitch a story that IS the right fit. Your reputation as a good storyteller is on the line, so make sure you get it right so reporters and others in a position of influence are routinely happy to hear from you — not just this time, but every time.
May 11, 2011
Media Savvy 101
For the answer and to join the conversation or spread the good news, check out this article from Denise Perez, manager of release monitoring and measurement for PR Newswire.
As for me, I try to combine quality content and good keywords to tell a story that breaks through the clutter to reach the intended audience with impact. And, since I work alone most of the time, I find the free Press Release Grader tool — www.pressreleasegrader.com — very helpful. Just “cut and paste” your press release into the grader, hit “enter” and learn your “grade.” The closer your score reaches 100, the better.
Earlier this week, I entered a press release draft through this grader only to find a disappointing score of 37. With some thoughtful editing, the score rose to 90. Even those of us who work full time in the business of sharing news need to take a careful look at how we prepare and share our stories so they deliver the best possible result. We are never done “sharpening the saw.”
Read Denise’s post. You will learn a lot, and your press releases will be better for it.
January 12, 2011
Media Savvy 101
Let me make it easy for you.
1) Visit this link.
2) Download the digital version of the Authentic VisibilityPublicity Tips Booklets that are packed with 147 powerful ways to boost business and profit from free publicity as my gift to you.
3) Choose the five ideas that resonate most with your natural skill set to earn the specific recognition you seek. This is really important. Otherwise, you will fight tooth and nail with every step you take. That never works.
4) Act with conviction to make results happen.
By practicing the tips within these booklets for my own business, would it surprise you to learn that I was interviewed 43 times in 2010? It’s true. Lots of good things have unfolded in my business that are measurable and meaningful, and I have many more miles to go before I sleep.
There is no “EASY” button to push. What is required is steady, tenacious actions taken every day — consistently.
Prepare your story. Share your story. Rinse and repeat.
If you are already in action, post a comment about how these tips have paid off for your brand, your reputation, and your business. Which of these tips works best for you? I’d love to hear your success story!
January 6, 2011
Media Savvy 101
Yesterday a media query came across my desk that was perfect for at least two of the experts I know well. I shared the lead with both, and one responded within minutes to the opportunity. She qualified herself as an expert, indicated she knew a lot about the subject matter, and made it easy for the reporter to get back in touch.
What would have made this reply even stronger?
Authentic Visibility Tip of the Day: I suggest specifying 3-5 compelling and specific tips to give that reporter a “taste” of her tone of voice and the quality of the input she provides within that initial email reply. That would have been a way to go deeper and make it that much more inviting for that reporter to get in touch.
When you provide complete information, you make it easy for the writer to “lift” your content directly from your email for attribution so he/she can finish their story and move on fast. This has the potential to save valuable time coordinating and scheduling interviews for both parties. At the very least, you give that writer a good reason to consider you an excellent source to return to again for future stories. One good interview often leads to another, and that is a beautiful thing.