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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.

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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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    K. Stone

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    Published on May 18, 2021

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

    The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

    Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

    Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

    Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

    There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

    Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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    Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

    We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

    Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

    A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

    The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

    Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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    Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

    Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

    Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

    While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

    Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

    These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

    Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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    Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

    Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

    Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

    Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

    Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

    Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

    As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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    This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

    Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

    Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

    These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

    Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

    Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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    Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

    More Tips Improving Listening Skills

    Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

    Reference

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