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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 August 12, 2020

    When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

    When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

    Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

    In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

    How to Listen to Your Gut

    The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

    Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

    1. Tune Into Your Body

    Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

    However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

    Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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    Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

    In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

    2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

    Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

    There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

    3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

    Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

    As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

    This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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    4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

    As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

    Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

    5. Challenge Your Assumptions

    When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

    In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

    A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

    6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

    Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

    There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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    Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

    Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

    Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

    We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

    The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

    We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

    7. Trust Yourself

    It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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    Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

    If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

    The Bottom Line

    The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

    Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

    More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

    Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
    [2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
    [3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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