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How to Get a Blogger to Promote Your Product

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How to Get a Blogger to Promote Your Product

You have a product or service to promote. You’ve heard great things about “conversational marketing”, “viral marketing”, and the like. On the surface, it seems easy: identify a few big bloggers, schmooze with them a little, and wait for the flood of sales as your chosen bloggers start talking up your product.

It’s a good idea. So good that thousands marketrs and PR folks have been deluging bloggers from the Technorati Top 100 on down with press releases, insulting emails, even bullying tactics to get them to promote their products. So good that Lifehacker’s Gina Trapani posted a list of PR spammers and blocked emails from their domains. So good that the best way to get bad PR from bloggers these days is to try to get good PR from them.

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What went wrong?

One reason this wonderful idea isn’t working the way it was expected to is that while bloggers have something pretty valuable to offer marketers, marketers so far have had little to offer in return. Likewise, while it costs marketers little to reach out to bloggers, it can potentially cost bloggers quite a bit in terms of lost integrity and lost audiences. Offering a blogger your product for free seems nice, but a blogger can quickly lose their readers’ goodwill if they’re perceived as a shill for some company.

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Another reason marketers have had a hard time connecting with bloggers has to do with control. Bloggers are, as a rule, a pretty independent bunch. They often feel used when marketers approach them, out of the blue, and ask them to promote their product or service. And bloggers don’t like being used. Most popular bloggers are strong writers and good marketers; they could easily be working in the media, in advertising, or indeed in public relations or marketing if they wanted to (or were able to) sacrifice their independence.

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But all is not lost…

Reaching out to bloggers is still a good idea, though. Good bloggers have a special kind of rapport with their audiences, and are pretty adept at getting near the top of search engine result pages. Which means that a few kind words about your product on the right kind of blog can have a lot of life — piquing the interest of their regulars and turning up again and again in search results.

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The trick is to treat bloggers with respect, both for them as people and for their relationship with their audience. Which means rather than the drive-by pitching that has characterized most efforts to reach bloggers so far, you need to think in terms of building long-term relationships with bloggers.

A few pointers

  • Do your research. Instead of spamming hundreds or thousands of blogs with pitches for your product, identify a handful of bloggers whose audiences will find the most value in your product. Show respect by learning something about the blogger — we make it very easy!
  • Take them seriously. Bloggers fight an uphill battle for legitimacy. You can show a great deal of respect by recognizing both the hard work and the talent that goes into creating a successful blog.
  • Explain yourself. Show that you’ve done your homework by explaining clearly what your product has to offer a blogger’s audience and how you think you can work together.
  • No strings. If you’d like a blogger to have a look at your product, make it absolutely clear that you don’t expect a positive review. Show your respect for the blogger by allowing him or her to make up their own mind about a product and to explain their opinion to their readers in their own way. Asking a blogger to lie for you is the quickest way to a) lose their interest, or worse, b) pan your product mercilessly.
  • Offer gifts, not bribes. This follows from “no strings”, but often marketers want to send t-shirts, pens, or other schwag to bloggers they work with. Nothing wrong with that, but again, make sure you’re not offering goods in return for positive reviews. Offer a gift as a thank you for a blogger’s time and consideration.
  • Do the groundwork. Treat a blog just like any media outlet — provide the blogger with everything she or he needs to properly evaluate your product or service.
  • Follow through. Keep in contact after a blogger has written about your product. Send them a thank you note, a testimonial, figures showing any impact their work might have had on your sales. Link to them from your site. Remember that a lot of blogs are businesses, and a lot of bloggers do related work as their day jobs — knowing their writing helped you increase sales 43% can help them sell ad space, gain new clients for their freelance business, or benefit them in other ways.
  • Ask for private feedback, too. A lot of bloggers will write a selective review of your product geared towards their readerships, while holding a separate personal view of the product. SHow your respect for them as an individual by asking if there’s anything they’d like to say that they chose not to include in their review.
  • Take your lumps graciously. Don’t attack bloggers who pan your product or service; if you’ve done your research and selected appropriate bloggers to pitch to, they’re disinterest in your product is probably a very important piece of information for you! Thank them for their time and move on — don’t, under any condition, “go after” them!

Remember, with rare exceptions, bloggers don’t make a lot of money blogging, and so their audience and their standing in the blogging community are their main rewards. Approaching them with respect for their position and their needs will gain you a lot of respect in return, and you may well find that the blogs you maintain relationships with have become a central part of your marketing strategy — and a set of important relationships in and of themselves.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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