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Media Appearances

Barack Obama’s Campaign Strategy: How you can apply his PR techniques to your publicity campaign

I haven’t seen much to applaud in the current administration or the recent presidential debates. So I thought I’d harken back to the Obama White House PR campaign strategy for some ideas you can apply to your own publicity campaign.

1. Define your image as a thought leader.

While I don’t particularly like the word “image” what I mean by it here is that in creating a consistent character that embodies your deepest principles, people perceive you as “whole” and trustworthy. We align with leaders who are aligned with themselves.

We know instinctively if thought leaders are who they appear to be and if their facial, body and verbal language match.

According to Joel Benenson, the primary pollster for the Obama campaign, Obama’s image was more clearly defined than McCain’s. Benenson said that Obama had an anti-Washington reputation that was characterized by his insistence that he was “going to tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear.”

publicity like barack obama

Barack Obama’s publicity strategy

People perceived Obama as a truth teller, which is something we hunger for. To solidify trust as a thought leader, authority, expert, influencer, or burgeoning personality, define yourself clearly, tell the truth, then follow that up with actions that demonstrate you’re committed to those truths at any cost.

2. Create a strong, positive and consistent message.
Barack Obama had one simple, elegant philosophical approach that was easy to understand and to assimilate. “Voters are looking for the remedy not the replica”.

His strategy was to position his opponent, John McCain, as the replica and himself the remedy. This became the core of his campaign.

Distill your message into one clear sentence that has deep resonance. Then build the rest of your your publicity campaign on that core message.

presidential publicity strategy

President Obama publicity strategy

3. Communicate casually via video.
David Plouffe, a campaign manager for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, did amateurish-looking videos discussing strategies to keep supporters and organizers excited, engaged and involved. These were not slick productions but were kept consciously rough-hewn to connect casually.

These videos are similar to the ones friends might send to each other to keep in touch on Facebook, Youtube or Instagram.

By keeping it casual they became more like chat sessions than formal lectures. Plouffe speaks directly to the camera with maps pinned to the wall and amidst piles of papers.

Barack Obama publicity campaign secrets you can use

Casual videos on your website where you face the camera and look directly into the eyes of viewers, make you approachable and human and add that “I feel like I already know you” sensibility.

Seeing someone in their personal environment also creates an atmosphere of trust and a sense of intimacy. Over time, this proper intimacy encourages loyalty and builds trust so your supporters come to believe in you in a profound way.


Media (Love) Coaching for Matchmaking

I was talking to my neighbor next door who works for a famous matchmaking firm. She’s a warm and cozy person who people feel comfortable with right away. She has a knack for putting people at ease — including celebrities, princesses and the rich beyond imagination, who are her clients. 

Want to listen to this as an audio with lots of extra juicy details? Here you go.

But they all have the same problem we all have. They are looking for love. Yes, sometimes in the wrong places — or with the wrong people or they are focused on the wrong things – like stating that his dates couldn’t have wrinkly, flabby arms – which was a deal breaker for one wealthy patron who was not having any luck with the ladies. 

Video coaching to find “the one”

But what my neighbor noticed was that many of her clients didn’t have some skills necessary to connect with potential mates. How to make significant small talk, when to hold eye contact, what constituted appropriate touch, ways to keep a conversation going to find common interests, how to get to that “click.”

Furthermore they missed social cues, and were woefully unaware how they were perceived. (Like one man, a real snoozer, who kept saying how dynamic and engaging he was who put everyone in the office to sleep!) 

Perception is reality in both media appearances and in personal relationships. 

Which got me thinking about how much fun it would be to coach people who are looking for love but not having any luck — meaning that “the one” or even “the fun one of the moment” was eluding them. Which is essentially what I do everyday with people (clients and course participants) during media coaching or video training, so their audiences (hundreds, thousands, millions of people) and the media (reporters and producers) love them. 

So why not extend this training the land of love?

What prompted me to share this with you? 

While talking to my neighbor I got a little spark. I thought, gee, would be so delighted to coach her clients on their facial, body, verbal language (+ tone – so important!) so could let their true selves shine through the nervousness and anxiety, the sweaty palms, the fidgeting, the mean voices in their heads, so they could relax and just be themselves — while being an excellent listener who can “read” the situation and respond, creating a deep connection instantly. 

on-camera coaching |on camera training

What prompted me into action was the book I’m reading called E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality. One of the principles is to ask for what you want super specifically (you can’t be wishy washy with the universe) and give it a time frame. 

In some ways it’s a thought experiment that’s not unique, but the author, Pam Grout, makes a compelling case backed by science, about how to do it. (And in a very conversational and quick read way). 

So, I’m giving it a try. (Although I do this all the time in various forms this was a bit of a new challenge).

If any of you would like an hour or two of coaching on camera (via Skype) to role-play potential dating – or domestic scenarios (you’re in a relationship that you’d like to grow the love, kindness, fun, sexiness). I’m offering a limited amount of sessions – 5 max. 

Because the usual minimum fee to hire me for $2000 for 4 hours there is no initial consult as these sessions are 1-2 hours only. 

So you decide whether this is something you feel is right for you. (Did you get a zing? A full-body yes? Watch for it. Feel for it. Because we often ignore these inklings that guide us toward the right next step.)

You can hop on over here to purchase 1-2 hours (enter either $500 or $1000 in the appropriate field) and one of my team will get back to you ASAP to schedule a time for us to talk on camera from your home or office (via Skype). 

Be sure to put “LOVE” in the comments box so I know what kind of consult you want. 

On-camera media coaching for matchmaking or business videos

Prefer to listen to the rest this as an audio with lots of extra juicy details? Here you go.

One more thing…. If you’ve been thinking that you want to be more comfortable on video – for your website, tutorials, YouTube, Instagram etc. then let’s chat about how to use your personality and the camera to your advantage, connect to your audience, and of course how to Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul™. 

Videos not only engage your audience but can be the deal maker or breaker for inviting in clients, customers and sales (and love, right?). 

Some things we’ll do together:

  1. 3 secrets the top TED talk speakers use to get millions of views – that you can use in all your videos.
  2. How to use your eyes to draw in the right audience (clients, customers, sales, opportunities) for you — and discourage time-wasters.
  3. Methods to apply incantation and intention to tap deeply into who you are to show your true essence so you and your videos stand out—even if you’re in a highly competitive field.
  4. The right way to use your own natural gestures that inspire audiences to like and trust you (no steeples or pyramids or fake, canned movements).
  5. Why you absolutely shouldn’t read a script (and how to get your point across gracefully and effectively).
Book a time to talk to Susan Harrow

Featuring….You.

In the near future I’ll be featuring client, course participant and Ezine subscriber’s success stories on the blog, Instagram + Facebook.

So if anything you’ve read in the Ezine or on the blog or that we did together one-on-one or in a course, that helped you directly and you would like to do a quick video about it, or send in a pic with a description — I’d be delighted to feature you — and of course link back to your website and social media channels. (Instant publicity!). Make sure to include your website URL all your social handles.

Just send me an email with a link to your video, written testimonial and attach your pic. Thank you!! 


Media Appearances: Your Guide to PR Professional Dress

Guest Blog post

As a PR professional, knowing how to dress for media appearances is of utmost importance. There are few departments who represent a company more directly then the PR team themselves. Though preparing yourself for an appearance with the media can be a bit stressful in the beginning, creating your wardrobe is essential. When you prep for your next media appearance, be sure to use the tips below as your guide for PR professional dress.

Embody Your Company

First and foremost, your attire when you step out into the eye of the public should always embody your company. Whether your office wear is business casual or completely casual, onlookers should be able to tell who you work for from your dress. Ask yourself if someone else in your workplace would be comfortable in the same outfit you plan on wearing in front of the media; if the answer is yes, you’re probably on the right track with your look. Remember that you are the direct link between your audience and your company. Allow your audience to get a glimpse of all your business has to offer through the professionalism of your look.

Play it Safe

Going in front of the media is not the time to step out of the box with your attire. While it might be tempting to make a bold outfit choice in order to stand out, playing it safe is always your best option.

Keep your look simple, modest, and clean. Whether you opt for a simple button up shirt or sleek black capris, stay to what’s familiar to you. Most name brands offer in-season looks that will keep you feeling professional and prepared.

Online thrift shops like thredUP even have great names like Madewell to help you save on the perfect top as well as anything else you might need.

Avoid clothing with large pockets as they might tempt you to store clunky items on your person. Bring a small briefcase or purse with you to the appearance to store those extra items you need with you and leave them in the greenroom or wherever it’s safe to store them during your appearance. Being free of pocket items such as your phone and wallet will give you clean lines and leave you feeling more comfortable and less weighed down when you address the public.

Be Color Conscious

The colors you wear can tell a lot about you and about your company. If the branding of your organization revolves around a specific color, it doesn’t hurt to incorporate it into your professional look.

Stay away from bright and bold color choices along with excessive patterns. Opt for safe and simple neutral tones that won’t leave your audience feeling distracted by your look.

Allow the colors you wear to compliment you as it will make your words have more of an impact. A neutral tone of red, like burgundy, is both a subtle and powerful example of a color that will help you feel brave and bold in front of a crowd. Be aware of colors that might show off sweat stains, or end up being see-through. Choose a color that you feel confident in and you’re sure to make a great impression on your listeners.

Know Your Location & Audience

While your professional dress should always embody your company, it should also take into account the environment of the media appearance. Always consider the location of your appearance and who your audience is. An outdoor conference will more than likely mean you should opt for sensible and simple footwear.

Check the weather outlook for the day to be prepared for the heat, rain, or a cold spell. The more prepared you are, the more professional you’ll look to your audience. Access the age range of your viewers as well to ensure your outfit remains timeless. The more you let your look speak for itself, the more comfortable you’ll feel as you represent your company.


What To Do When People Criticize You in Person or on the Internet

Last week I spoke at East Bay Women’s Network to a group of wonderful women attended who were curious about how to promote their businesses and themselves. It had been a long time since I’d given a “speech” as I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from speaking engagements or other public events.

My stomach was roiling that morning as I drove the hour to Alameda and before that I’d had weeks of worry, nightmares, and plenty of time to fret about the actual talk.

Afterward many women came up to thank me and tell me what they loved about my talk.

There was one man in the room. But he had no interest in complimenting me.

He wanted to criticize me so bad he could hardly wait his turn.

“I don’t know if you saw me sleeping in the back,” he started out.

“Nope. Didn’t notice,” I said, wondering why someone would bring that to my attention.

He then battered me with questions leading up to his punch line which was designed to tear me down, so he could tell me everything I’d done wrong. My stomach sank and my face fell. My first thoughts: I’m such a failure. I’m a stinky speaker. Why did I accept this gig? What was I thinking?

Then I breathed, relaxed my tummy, let it go and stayed open.

Eventually, he got to his point which was that I didn’t tell a signature story to let the group know who I was. “Oh gosh, I’ve got about 5 signature stories that I’ve told so many times I’m tired of them. I wanted to try something new.”

“Sure,” he said. “But WE haven’t heard any of them.”

He was right. I teach telling your signature story in every media appearance and when appropriate, your speaking engagements. The “why you do what you do” story.

I was out of practice. I had forgotten.

I thanked him and packed up my things. Point taken.

What to do you do when you receive uninvited criticism in person or on the Internet? 

I recommend asking yourself these 3 questions (and then doing this last thing – which is the hardest).

1. Consider the source.

Is this person a nutball? If so, dismiss their rant without another thought. Don’t let it sink into your skin for a second.

When a friend had a very revealing piece published in the New York Times the editor warned her to expect a backlash from Internet trolls. She and I discussed not even reading the hurtful replies so she could revel in the glory of achieving her dream. We batted around the idea that later when she had some distance and perspective, she might scan them for ideas to write another article based on the responses she elicited, thus using them for the positive. Distance creates perspective and allows you to see things more “objectively,” and less personally.

2. Is there something I can learn here?

Is there a kernel of truth in anything this person says? Is what they say worth examining so I can improve myself, my course, my talk etc.? If so, great. If not, move on.

3. Did what they said/wrote trigger an unresolved wound?

If you find yourself becoming hurt, angry, embarrassed, ashamed, or experiencing a strong feeling arising, take a few breaths to steady yourself and come back to center in the moment. Later, examine what touched the nerve. The event can show you where there is still work to be done to let go of past patterns that we all have or harbor. Consider tapping to resolve challenging issues.

The hardest part? Staying open. To hear the truth, or someone’s version of it, and not react. Or, if you react, don’t judge your response just let it go so you can listen and assess the situation.

The second hardest part is to ignore the hurtful words and not let them lodge in our hearts and close us down.

There is a time and place to just ignore the offending party. Not give them or their words any energy at all. If you’re up for an “advanced” practice, send them a blazing bolt of love from your heart to theirs. Shoot it straight in. We are all hurt somewhere and if you can soften even a little consider that an accomplishment.

BONUS: Use hurtful words to open an interesting discussion. I witnessed an Instagram influencer do this when she raised over 50k to help a single mom of two in her congregation get a car, apartment and get started on a new life in an unfamiliar city.

It was quite amazing to see all the support her IG community gave and to watch the pot of gold grow. Then came the naysayers who accused her of doing it for the money. None of which she kept, by the way. So she shared the hurt and gave her followers the opportunity to discuss the negative comment and to give her even more support for her good deed, which they did.

Some people make it their mission to make you feel small. Ignore them. Others are devoted to finding infinite ways share in order to inspire you to feel good. Embrace them.

To make a practice of celebrating others and bringing joy I recommend Sherry Richert Belul’s new book, Say It Now: 33 Ways to Say I LOVE YOU To the Most Important People in Your Life

If you’re in the Bay Area I invite you to join us for an in-person workshop with Sherry where she’ll lead us through how to make a Love List on May 11 in Alameda. I’d love to meet you!


Create a TV Pitch Letter and Get on National TV

Lots of people call me who want to get on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, The View, MSNBC and more. Most don’t know that if they create the entire segment they have a better chance of becoming a guest on a national TV show.

If they can envision the show, map out the theme, plan the guests, create the questions, suggest the props, plan the B-roll (background footage) and then bring their knowledge and expertise to the table, speaking in 10-20 second sound bites, then they’ll have the chance of a winner show.

I know it sounds obvious, but many people aren’t familiar with the show format or the hosts’ style because they haven’t bothered to watch the shows or study the host’s style so their pitches are off-base. These are high-level shows and the producers want you to be intimate with the content, pacing, length of each segment, and host’s manner.

Being unaware of these things shows disrespect and could give you and your business a bad name.

Also, if you don’t perform well on the show you’ve pretty much squelched your chances of being on other top TV talk shows as the producers know each other and talk about the flops. To be one of the successes follow these tips.

1. Start with a Headline that Spells Out the Story.

Supernanny Teams With An Acclaimed Autism Expert To Help A Child Who Is An Outsider In His Own Home On Supernanny on ABC.

While it’s a show from the past, it’s an excellent example of how to create a TV pitch letter.

This is the headline from an well-done press release. It tells you what the problem is and who is going to solve it—but not how. Enticing. “Outsider in his own home” is immediately appealing as you can already feel the emotion that the show promises.

2. State the Graphic Details of the Problem and Your Credentials to Solve it.

Supernanny Jo Frost teams with world-renowned autism expert Dr. Lynn Koegel to tackle the parenting issues faced by a family whose three-year-old son is an outsider in his own home. This episode of Supernanny aired on the ABC Television Network.

Deirdre and Trae Facente don’t know how to integrate their autistic son Tristin into their daily life with their twins, Kayla and Marlana (4). Tristin is completely non-verbal, caught up in his own world of spinning, jumping, swinging and, often, taking off his clothes. The only time he spends with his family is sitting at the dinner table. The twins, who demand much of their stay-at-home mom’s attention, can’t figure out how to play with their little brother.

The parents are at a loss as to how to help Tristin come out of his zone and join the family.

“World-renowned autism expert” lets you know that the guest has weight. You get a clear idea of what family life looks like in the Facente household and can immediately see how divided the family is. It’s a dramatic situation that has pathos and promises to be good TV.

The specific details of “Tristin is completely non-verbal, caught up in his own world of spinning, jumping, swinging and, often, taking off his clothes,” gives you an immediate sense of what the show will look like. And it even has humor. I mean, what mom wouldn’t be mortified if a neighbor dropped in and one of her kids was swinging and spinning about in the nude?

3. Tell How You’re Going to Provide a Solution.

Enter Dr. Koegel and Supernanny. Together they refine the classic Supernanny methods and teach all the Facentes Dr. Koegel’s inclusion and communication techniques to help engage Tristin. For example, when they introduce the new daily schedule to everyone, Dr. Koegel uses a picture board with Tristin to help him understand in a concrete way.

Notice that you’re given just a little detail about “communication techniques,” but not what they are or how they’ll be used. One example is given (picture board) and it is again very visual, conforming with what works on TV.

While this show has already taped and the end of the story is known, in your pitch you’ll imagine what will take place on the show as if it has already taped. You’ll define your role and the actions that you and others will take and map it out visually for the producers.

4. Show Dramatic Visible Results.

In just a week, silent Tristin goes from zero words to speaking hundreds of times using over 20 new words. He is bursting with requests to play a favorite game, be tickled or eat a treat. Step-by-step, Jo and Dr. Koegel help the parents keep Tristin from his disruptive behaviors by including him in family chores and activities.

These efforts culminate in the boy helping his dad set the table, a seemingly mundane task that is so miraculous for Tristin, it brings tears to Trae’s eyes.

In a sense this show is a “make-over” program. It touches on mundane chores, the fabric of a family and creates poignancy. Success is unmistakable and quantified succinctly by explaining that Tristin is transformed from a mute to a chatterer (zero words to speaking hundreds of time using over 20 new words).

media pitching tips

how to pitch the media

5. Give Your Credentials.

Lynn Kern Koegel, Ph.D is one of the world’s foremost experts on the treatment of autism. She and her husband, Robert L. Koegel, Ph.D., founded the renowned Koegel Autism Center at the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

She co-wrote the bestselling book on autism, Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope that can Transform a Child’s Life, which was released in paperback, and also co-authored, with Robert Koegel, the more recent book, “Pivotal Response Treatments for Autism.”

While you don’t have to have written a book, it helps. Books published by established and respected publishing houses carry clout. This husband and wife team even have their own center at a respected university. What’s critical here is your experience and your results. Especially for TV you must be able to show that you’ve achieved results and have influence in your field.

Find out more about how to create pitches that TV producers pay attention to here.

NOTE: You can use these same techniques for any of the local or national TV talk shows.

If you’d like to work with me personally to develop a TV pitch letter for you go here.


Media coaching to get chosen for a media appearance or commercial

Client Success Story: Mary Sheehan for Giant Eagle Pharmacy

A few years ago (I can hardly believe how much time has passed!) I worked with an extremely talented pharmacist and spokesperson named Mary Sheehan. Mary wanted to build an online presence and train pharmacists on how to help customers more effectively.

She consistently had repeat clients who found her advice and the way she handled their prescriptions helped them get better faster.  (Great going Mary!)

Mary and I worked on developing her essential talking points/ sound bites that she could easily incorporate into her work in order to grow her business.

Together we created a webinar, a course, and downloadable documents (booklets) to help other pharmacists.

By using these booklets and carefully paying attention to not only what she said to her patients and colleagues, but how she said it to her patients and colleagues, Mary was able to create a name for herself. It wasn’t long until the entire staff was using her material, and positive calls were coming in from corporate.

Mary’s shining star took off even more when one day, she received an opportunity to be a spokesperson for her company on a national commercial!

See below for details from Mary on how the shoot went, what she learned, and the result.

“From your media training, I was prepared for the long hours, the criticism and the tedium of the shoot. For instance, my hair wouldn’t stay in place because I moved my head too much, my skirt was riding up and I received feedback that I was too robotic. Normally those comments would cause me to become anxious, but I just reminded myself that it wasn’t personal and to maintain a calm, ‘willingness to please’ demeanor. 

My marketing department was on scene, so I was sure to speak to them in a way that let them know they had made the right decision in choosing me. I thought about talking from my heart to one person I care about and who needed to hear what I had to say. That was something I really took away from our training.

Media Coaching for CEOs, Executives, Entrepreneurs, Authors, Pitch Deck Presentations

I did calming mental exercises between takes as well as grounding exercises and breathing. For example, when I was scared, I would close my eyes and feel my feet on the ground. That helped me feel gratitude and reminded me that I was prepared for this.

You’d helped through other TV appearances so I remembered that if I could survive that, I could easily nail these lines and relax and be my confident self. Even though I was facing health battles I had a system in place that I fell back on—knowing what to say and how to say it. All totally in line with who I am and who I wanted to be.

The most nerve-wracking part of the day was that they had another actress on set just in case I left the company or totally bombed. It was very intimidating. She did a take. I did a take. I watched her takes and was complimentary to my marketing team, mentioning how good she was and listening when they told me how they’d like me to do what she did. 

I truly was prepared for the entire experience, and I cannot thank you enough.

The effect of the commercial on business?

Last year our pharmacy gave 346 shots

This year our pharmacy has already given 446

Technically the “flu season” is not over and this already represents a 23 percent increase.

In our entire district last year the pharmacies gave 9,470 and this year we have already done 12,594 shots for a 25% increase and the season is not over yet.

Oh, and I got a promotion.”

SIDE NOTE: Mary and I discussed taking out the fact that she got a promotion. I thought it was important to leave it in because when you truly embody your message it affects every area of your life – family, friends, business, social situations — not just media appearances. That’s the beauty of one of my favorite sayings from Gandhi, “My life is my message.”

Kudos to Mary who is doing just that.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you have a success story from any of our trainings together? I’d love to shine the spotlight on YOU! Just jet me an email at mailto:mgr@prsecretstore.com

To find out more about the sound bite course Mary took go here.

To learn more about one-on-one media coaching go here.

To set up a FREE consult to explore working together go here.


Feel afraid of appearing on TV? Read this

Although she’s known as an engaging speaker, trainer, author, and executive coach, Kimberly (Kim) Faith, was still terrified to be on TV.

media appearance tips

TV appearance tips

But she did it anyway.

And to see her you wouldn’t know she was fearful or nervous. Watch her here on a major market live TV show in Seattle. Prepare to be encouraged!

One of the things that inspired Kim to go beyond her comfort zone was to tie her mission, and new book for women Your Lion Inside: Tapping Into the Power Within, with the Year of the Woman movement that was making a mark in this year’s elections.

communication skills tips for women

women empowerment tips

Kim’s credentials: Kim has had the privilege to train or coach over twenty six thousand leaders from Fortune 500 companies including Amazon, American Airlines, BMW, Boeing, CVS, GE, HCA, Kimberly Clark, Lockheed Martin, Nielsen, and Target, as well as worked on licensing deals with Warner Brothers, Disney and MGM. She recently accepted an exclusive invitation to be part of Microsoft’s external faculty to train 16,000 leaders over the next two years.

If you’re thinking (like I was) “Holy Cow, that’s some resume!” How could doing a 5 minute TV interview be hard for Kim who speaks all the time to thousands of people?

Because, even with all these impressive accolades, TV was still a new and daunting experience.

Because…

Accomplishments don’t diminish fear….

doing does.

The “doing” begins BEFORE the invitation to appear on TV. No matter your professional or personal expertise.

Kim said, “Thought I would share with you the clip from my first live media interview that I did this week in Seattle. I was scared to death but your PR course certainly helped 🙂 I attribute making sure I was ready for my first live interview to your course: Your Signature Sound Bites: How to Convey the Right Messages to Get What You Want — in Business & in Life. Your passion and tips you shared within the course were instrumental in my preparation. I can’t thank you enough!”

Bravo Kim! I hope to see more of your TV appearances soon.

To seeing YOU on TV. Here are a few ways to accomplish that:

We’ll write your pitch letter.

You’ll also enjoy the sound bite course (included in this package) that helped Kimberly for her media appearance?) We’ve got you covered here and (installment plan) here.

Or

We’ll media train you so you feel prepared instead of (super) scared.

Or

We’ll create your TV segment.

If you’ve wanted to get on TV but weren’t sure how to create a segment that producers love this is for you.

Can’t wait to work/play with you!


Why I love Lady Gaga – and You – Unfiltered 

I was walking down our tree lined street yesterday when a boy popped his head out of a car window parked in his driveway.

“Hi!” he yelled.

“Hi!” I yelled back. “What cha doin?”

“Washing my car,” he said.

“Oh, don’t mind him,” his father chimed in. “He is only three and doesn’t have a filter yet.”

“I hope he never gets a filter,” I shouted back.

Kids who don’t have filters make connections. I’m always on the lookout for kids calling out to me across the street or anywhere – asking me to push them on a tire swing, examine a bug, put up a Halloween decoration –  as it happens often – up to the age of about six. Then the filter veils over their natural, unencumbered exuberance, and inhibits their instinct to connect.

What I loved about the movie, A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper was their lack of filters.

They sang apart and together unselfconsciously with abandon, grabbing the mic, swaying with the music and deeply connecting with their audience through their song stories, their voices, their longing.

Cooper, who directed the film, let the camera linger on their eyes and lips and faces. So rare now in our speeded up world of fast cuts, flashy scenes, over the top emotions, tell it quick before we lose’ em, mentality.

What is so often lost is these pure moments of “sexy listening.” A term my sweetie coined when describing how I “lured” him into our relationship by hanging on his every word in rapt attention. A Star is Born is made up of an entire movie of “sexy listening.”

What  deeply saddened me is what happened in the transformation of Ally from a singer in a Drag Queen bar into a star…. In the process the filter of fame ruined the essence of what made her touch us in the first place.

Which brings me to some thoughts about fame…

Please don’t tell me you want to be famous.

Instead tell me what you are doing to make things better millions of people — or one person — on this planet.

Or how you’re going to bring joy in some small or big way to someone who needs it.

Don’t let anyone commercialize your talent. Don’t let them spiff, glam, or beef it up.

Don’t take something beautiful and pure and add sequins or shine to it.

Let it be.

Stay true to your self.

Keep the essence, lose the glitz.

Tell true stories. Connect. Let go of adornments.

Touch people with how you’re scared, weak and paralyzed.

But also show them that there is hope and how you’ve come through your pain or poverty and arrived at who you are today, whole, but cracked, so others can get in and feel who you are at the core, no matter how much you’ve glazed your pot.

Stay in touch with the thing that made you come alive in the first place. Music, art, words, sports, science, coding, people, whatever your jam is, feed it everyday. Listen to where it leads you next little by little.

It is your compass and will not send you astray even if it looks like the direction you’re going is taking you nowhere fast.

Don’t worship speed as your god.

Instead breathe in the molecules of today one by one. Each molecule was once inhaled and exhaled by someone you love from history, or yesterday or today. Or someone you hate. Breathe them in too for this will make you stronger even as you resist it. And you will soften in the places where the world has made you hard.

Remember your roots. Where you came from is important. It feeds who you are today.

Practice kindness. I’m going to say this again as we have strayed so far away from being kind. Find ways to do or say something kind every day. Even in the midst of your anger and frustration. Even when you can’t find an example to follow. Although there are many. Find them.

Gaze inside and follow your own heart as it’s made of kindness, first and foremost.

If you’ve forgotten just look into the face of your own child. Their kindness came from you. Look into the face of any child. It is all there. And it came from us. All of us. No filters.

Back to Lady Gaga and being unfiltered for a moment. I watched her on Stephen Colbert when he asked her what she would be doing if she wasn’t singing and acting. She said she’d still be singing in bars – because that’s what she loves to do. Sing. I believe her. She wasn’t just acting with Bradley Cooper in a Star is Born, she was there, 100% of her, sexy listening, sexy being, undistracted, whole.

Would you still be doing what you’re doing if it didn’t have the promise of fame or acclaim?

I hope so.

For the sake of all of us.


3 Radio Pitch Letter Templates Guaranteed to Get a Producer’s Attention (And get you booked!)

The following are 3 radio pitch letter templates courtesy Steve Harrison and Alex Carroll. (Thank you guys!)

Steve shared these brilliant radio pitch letter email templates and Alex created the amazing examples. You can just copy these and fill-in-the blanks with your topic or subject matter.

Also, if it isn’t obvious, all of these fabulous formulas double as as story headlines for pitching TV, magazines, newspapers and online to feature you or whatever you’re promoting.

And, if you’re planning on attending the National Publicity Summit (the event where you get to meet the media in person and pitch all the big TV and radio show producers face-to-face), these will be a big help to get prepared.

(Please forward this email to anyone you think it would help).

1. Radio Pitch Letter Template #1:  Is/Are __________ getting too ___________?

Here’s how you might apply it:

Show Pitch:  “Are China & India getting too many of our jobs?”

Show Pitch:  “Are parents ruining their kids by letting them get away with too much?”

Alex notes: “This formula can be used any time you identify something that’s gotten out of control … or could be getting out of control. It  opens up a debate because regardless of what position you take, others will oppose you … which is exactly what you want. Remember, radio shows love anything controversial.”

2. Radio Pitch Letter Template #2:  The ___ toughest questions your _________will ever ask you … and how to answer them without getting
into trouble.

Here’s how you might apply it:

Show Pitch:  “The 5 toughest questions your kids will ever ask you … and how to answer them without getting into trouble.”

Show Pitch:  “The 3 toughest questions your attorney will ever ask you … and how to answer them without getting into trouble.”

Alex notes: “This is one of the best and most universally applicable pitch formulas around. You could fill in that blank with virtually anyone. Banker, accountant, spouse, wedding planner, in-laws, doctor etc., etc.

get national publicity

Apply now: http://prsecrets.com/publicity-summit.html To meet the media in person at the National Publicity Summit

 

3. Radio Pitch Letter Template #3: These ____ common ____________ actually do more harm than good!

Here’s how you might apply it:

Show Pitch:  “These 3 common apologies actually do more harm than good!”

Show Pitch:  “These 5 common forms of excercise actually do more harm than good!”

Alex Notes: “Why is this formula so compelling? Because it goes against the conventional wisdom. It says that something that everyone thinks  is a good thing … is actually not a good thing at all. This really catches the media’s attention. They absolutely love these kinds of pitches. They are guaranteed to grab a producer’s attention virtually every time …

BTW when you attend the summit you’ll have a chance to get a 1 sheet media makeover with Alex in person (free). Be sure not to miss it as this is his genius. I was stunned with what he did with mine…
Keen to put these templates into practice ASAP?
Apply for a spot in the publicity summit.

 


PR Tips to Make Your Movement Go Viral

By Guest Blogger Alison Luterman (Plus a poem!) – with my video commentary on how to make a movement go viral — from Erica Mandy’s Show, The News Worthy

I was walking up the street minding my own business when a superhero jumped out in front of me. He landed in a wide-legged stance, arms outstretched, head thrown back in true Olympic superhero style. He was about three feet high and was wearing sneakers that lit up with flashing lights when he moved.

“I’m magic!” he announced.
“You are magic–I can see that!” I said.

It had been two weeks since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and I was still in a funky mood. Events, both national and personal, had been clouding my ability to see the magic in life. But here it was, on a bright Tuesday afternoon when the dogwood was blooming.

“I’m also the fastest runner,” the super-hero went on. “Wanna see?”
“Yes, please!”

He tore up the sidewalk, his sneakers flashing.

“Wow, you are super fast!!” His Dad was leaning up against the family SUV, chuckling.
“He’s actually the fastest runner in the world,” he clarified. “It’s not everyday you get to see something like that. I can understand if you’re overwhelmed.”

I put my hand on my heart and staggered back. “It’s going to take me awhile to recover.”

In truth I hope never to recover from the magic of children. It may be our only hope as a species.

Like so many other people, I’m still blown away by the power of the young students speaking up now for gun control, especially Emma Gonzalez, the shaven-headed, bisexual, Latinx student (president of her school’s Gay-Straight Student Alliance), who rose up out of the smoke and spilled blood of the Parkland massacre, and has been speaking truth to power like a lioness.

If you haven’t seen the video of her making an impassioned plea for gun control while wiping away tears–weeping freely, but making her points with fierce accuracy, including the amount of money the Great Pretender accepted from the NRA for his campaign–go watch it.  (Spoiler alert: 30 million dollars.)

Watch the way she feels deeply, but also has facts and figures at her command, and uses them. That’s not easy. When I’m crying my voice shakes, or it knots up in my throat, my chin quivers uncontrollably, and I feel foolish and naked. I’d prefer to hide under the bed than let people see me like that.

But it’s the job in front of us right now–all of us. Find our deepest feelings and speak from that vulnerable, exposed place.

It turns out many of the young activists effectively challenging Senators and Congress are drama club kids. I was a drama club kid. It was the ultimate safe space for queer kids, outcasts, weirdos. The energy and passion, the intense bonding love that gets generated backstage can be used for so many good things. You can put on a play, you can read your poetry at an open mic, you can start a movement and take your message to Congress.

Art teaches us to be brave. And we need a lot of courage these days. And a lot of love. Hold your friends and companions, fellow-artists, fellow-activists, children and the young at heart extra tightly. And don’t stop speaking truth to power even if it makes you cry.

Watching the Giraffes

The baby giraffe stands
in the shadow of the tall
mother-body,
both of their astonishing
necks marked
with a perfect mosaic pattern
like kitchen linoleum.

How close the gods come to
us sometimes,
how quietly.

Then the tallest one
who has been gazing off into
the distance,
his small head atop that
neck
like a long lonesome train
whistle
high above everything,
lets loose a Niagara of
yellow pee
and another giraffe ducks
a swanlike neck down,
down,
to catch a deep, hot
mouthful of urine,then undulates back up,
swanlike, elegant,
gulping and swallowing.So that too is part of it.

How they take
what they are thirsty for
without apology,
as I am drinking in the gentle
weight
of the child’s small trusting
body
leaning against my arm
on the bench at the zoo,
both of us watching the
animals
without saying anything.

Alison Luterman’s three books of poetry are The Largest Possible Life; See How We Almost Fly; and Desire Zoo. Her poems and stories have appeared in The Sun, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, The Atlanta Review, Tattoo Highway, and elsewhere.. She has also written an e-book of personal essays, Feral City, and more than half a dozen plays, including Oasis, Saying Kaddish With My Sister, Glitter and Spew, Touched, and two musicals, The Chain and Nasty Women. She performs with the Oakland-based improvisation troupe Wing It! and has given writing workshops all over the country, including at Omega and Esalen Institutes.

She teaches memoir at The Writing Salon in Berkeley, and is available for private coaching in writing or creativity, both in-person or on-line. She also loves to teach easy accessible theater games and writing prompts to groups. For more information, please visit her website at www.alisonluterman.net.