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Maximum Exposure for your Business or Blog

Maximum Exposure for your Business or Blog
Newspaper Machines

    Something Old, Something New: The Press Release

    Businesses have been using the press release as a marketing tactic for forever. So why haven’t you used it for your blog or business yet? Maybe because the press release lives in the old offline world. It’s important to remember that there are many people who are still plugged into this world, so why not go after this area? Most blogs and many small businesses overlook this marketing element. This article will show you how to gain maximum exposure for your blog or business through a complete press release strategy.

    For guides on writing your press release here are 10 Free Tips to writing a press release, Wikipedia’s news release basics, and here is a barebones guide to writing a press release.

    How to Distribute Your Press Release for Maximum Exposure

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    1) Target Audience. As with any marketing strategy consider who your target market is. Then, as you look at your choices of newspapers, magazines, radio and TV, ask yourself : “Does this media outlet speak with the people I am trying to reach?” If yes, then you should include them on your list.


    2) Assemble a list of all Local Media in your area. Include on your media mailing list all radio, television, and print (including Internet) contacts. Make a spreadsheet with these columns: Media Contact Info, Date Mailed, FLWP Date, Date Published, Request
    Reprints, Thank You Sent, Add Credits To Published Materials.

    Media Contact Sheet

    If you can obtain the names of reporters or journalists, even better. Here’s how:

    Offline:

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    • Let your fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages. It’s probably best to use this avenue as well a high tech search so that you don’t miss the free and/or “specialty” newspapers in your city or county.
    • Visit the places that your clients, prospects, or blog readers frequent, such as restaurants & high-end stores. Once there, look for community publications that you won’t find elsewhere.

    Online: Use the web to search. These links will help you find what you need:

    • American Journalism Review – This is American Journalism Review’s comprehensive listing of worldwide news media. This includes Newspapers, Magazines, Television Networks, Television Affiliates, Radio, News/Wire Services and Media Companies. You can select the types of media you want to reach, go to their sites, and decide whether to send them your press release.
    • NewsLink – This is a comprehensive listing of worldwide news media. This includes Newspapers, Magazines, Radio and TV.
    • Bizjournals – The 35 weekly business newspapers published by American City Business Journals boasts a readership of 1.5 million, predominately owners and operators of entrepreneurial businesses.

    3) Assemble a list of Specialty publications. Ask your best clients or readers what organizations they belong to and what they read. You may want to consider submitting your press release to publications in these areas:

    4) Obtain Contact Information. Call the publication or search their website to find out who to send a press release to, and what their deadlines are. You can send the release to a particular person, or you can simply send it to the Managing Editor.

    5) Mail/Fax/Email your Press Release. Keep track of the contact information such as date sent and the date you plan to follow up. (see tracking sheet image above) Keep track of your contacts so you can check up on how they are using material you send them, and so you can go directly to known people in the future.

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    6) Best Practice: Events Tie-In. You can increase the odds of having your press release picked up if you submit it along with information about a seminar or event you will be hosting. (Even if you are promoting a blog, you could still hold a seminar where you speak about the topics you cover in your blog! Host it at a local library for free. Maybe your event is a Webinar!) In this case submit your press release at least 3 weeks in advance of your scheduled event.

    7) Radio & Television: Interviews: Don’t forget the opportunities with cable TV and radio. Many stations have ample “dead air” they need to fill. Radio or television stations may pick up your press release and perhaps be interested in having you appear on one of their programs. Requests for interviews often arrive on very short notice, so be prepared. In some cases you can ask the show’s producer ahead of time for a list of questions you will be asked. Plan how you will reply to the questions. Also plan how you will respond to the interviewer if they ask questions you do not wish to answer.

    8 ) Make follow up calls. You will have varying results with the media depending on your location. If you are in a metropolitan area, you may receive no response from the large newspapers but keep in touch with them because you never know when the time is right. Sometimes you may be disappointed that none of your local media have published your release or shown an interest in interviewing you. The media’s response is very unpredictable. Timing is everything. Stay on their radar with a polite follow up call on the date you schedule on your tracking sheet.

    9) Leveraging your media exposure: Request permission for reprints. Since a published press release or an interview is a transitory event, request permission from the publication to make reprints, post on your website, or for podcasts. Reprints can be mailed or given to prospects and clients alike. They can be used as handouts at seminars. Or they can be used to fill a “Press” binder in your lobby. And for online businesses like blogs, you can host an image of the press release online. With a podcast of your interview, you can email your client base to ensure everyone hears your message.

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    10) Update all your written material. Add your publication or interview to your credits on your website, resume, bio, corporate brochure or any other printed material describing your accomplishments.

    11) More Follow-Up. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Keep in touch with key media contacts, even if you get no response to your initial attempts. Put them on a mailing list for newsletters, informative updates and other information that will be useful to them in evaluating story ideas.

    12) Gratitude. Upon publication or following an interview, take a moment to send a thank-you to the editor or the radio/TV producer. Send a brief note of thanks, and share any positive feedback you’ve gotten from the exposure. Your success will grow in proportion to your ability to “get the word out.”

    13) Ensure Success. Schedule these steps into your calendar. Break it down into small pieces you can accomplish each day. Keep faithful to your schedule. A good idea is to think of each step as an important appointment you can’t cancel.

    Please share your thoughts and comments regarding using press releases for building your business and/or your blog readership.

    K. Stone is author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. A few of her most popular articles are 5 Big Secrets “They” Don’t Want You to Know About Investing, Make Money with Your Blog: The Ultimate Resource List, 5 Keys to Happiness, and Cool GTD Applications – The Ultimate Resource List.

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2021

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

    Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

    Posture

    First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

    • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
    • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
    • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
    • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

    All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

    Facial Expressions

    Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

    • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
    • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
    • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

    If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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    1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

    A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

    The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

    This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

    2. Relax Your Face

    New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

    The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

    To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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    3. Improve Your Eye Contact

    Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

    The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

    To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

    3. Smile More

    There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

    Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

    4. Hand Gestures

    Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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    It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

    5. Enhance Your Handshake

    In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

    “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

    It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

    6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

    As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

    Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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    Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

    Final Takeaways

    Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

    If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

    More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

    Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

    Reference

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