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Maximum Exposure for your Business or Blog

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Maximum Exposure for your Business or Blog
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    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.

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    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 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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