by Susan Harrow, Media Coach & Marketing Strategist
It’s often not easy to score such major media coverage – particularly if you can’t afford a top PR firm to pitch you to the media.
The absolute easiest time to get publicity is when a journalist or producer has already decided they’re doing a story on your subject and actively seeking people like you to interview.
But how can you find out when the media needs somebody with your expertise?
Go here now to join help a reporter out “HARO” to sign up for this free service so you’ll get emails in your inbox three times a day from journalists and producers who send out “queries” and need experts now.
Here’s the thing. You need to keep an eye on these leads daily because you never know when an opportunity will happen.
Make it a habit, a fun game, and I’ll see you in the news.
by Susan Harrow, Media Coach & Marketing Strategist
If you are just starting out with marketing or you’ve been in the marketing game for a while now, if you are not using video then you are missing out on a golden opportunity.
I believe a lot of people know they have to get into video but they are hesitant. Either they are concerned with the cost of the equipment, the learning curve, the amount of (supposed) work it takes to make a video, or any number of reasons. Believe it or not, you could start creating great looking videos for under $275. That would get you all of the equipment needed to start. And yes, I am including a camera in that price.
How, you ask? Well, you can search long and hard all over the Internet to find what you’re looking for, and it’s out there somewhere,or you could ask us yourselves at our live Easy Video Creation webinar. I’ll be hosting a training you on how to create quality videos inexpensively. Not only that, we will also be providing step-by-step instruction on how to market your products and services with these videos.
Join us for a free 1 hour webinar Tuesday, November 1 on YouTube Super Secrets: Getting Views, Subscribers & Branding.
Claim your spot now: http://bit.ly/vz7RdM
Everyday I see Accidental Entrepreneurs-people who love their work but struggle with under-earning-decide they can’t afford to keep working for themselves. Or they skip vacations, go without health insurance, or put off repairing things around the house because they’re just getting by.
And it’s so frustrating. Because not only are they going without, the world is also going without. Without their good work. Work that can serve, help, and heal.
It makes me sad and disheartened. So this year I’m joining master self-employment coach Molly Gordon in the FREE Self Employment Telesummit: How to Transform Under-earning into the Joyful Creation of Meaningful Wealth.
It’s free, and I hope you’ll take time right now to sign up.
Each of the 18 free teleconferences/webcasts will be one hour, including Q&A. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll get during this free five-day event:
==> To set the tone, a rousing keynote address by Michael Neill, “America’s Number One Success Coach” and founder of the SuperCoach Academy: Time to Thrive, Pathways to Effortless Success.
==> A radical rethinking of why you aren’t charging enough and how to change that from Charlie Gilkey of Productive Flourishing: How To Stop Under-Charging and Start Earning What You Are Worth.
==> A not-your-typical-telesummit “shift your stuff session” with sound ninja Fabeku Fatunmise: Superpowers, Storytelling and Soul Stuff: How Going Deep Affects Your Bottom Line.
==> Especially for those who teach or want to: Earn Your Worth, Sustainably and Without Hype, Teaching Others. This session from Jennifer Louden & Michele Lisenbury Christensen, Creators of Teach Now! includes the 5 money mistakes teachers make and their antidotes.
==> Wealth creating wisdom from Astro-rocker-coach and Soul Mapper Lissa Boles: It Pays To Be Weird–In Fact, Your ‘Quirks’ Are Your Path to Prosperity. Discover why letting out your inner weirdo can transform under-earning into the joyful creation of meaningful wealth.
==> Is there a book or ebook in your future? Janet Goldstein, editor, agent, publishing maven will teach 8 Ingredients of a Good (or Great) Idea. Simple “Secrets” to Add Clarity, Depth, Timeliness–and Passionate Audiences–to Any Idea-Driven Project. You’ll learn insider secrets that publishers and marketers use to position new ideas, stories, and works in powerful, emotional, and fresh ways.
==> Can nice people use sound bites? Susan Harrow says YES! in Master Messaging: Creating Memorable Messages To Get What You Want in Business & in Life. Among other things, you’ll learn the 3 things that are the foundation to creating a life of favor, abundance and joy and the most popular and successful sound bite formula that immediately captures attention.
==> How can an ordinary person catch the video marketing wave? Steve Washer knows: How to Use Video to Make Yourself the Go-To Authority. Learn why video as a marketing tool plucks you out of the realm of competition and into a world of abundance.
As you can see, this telesummit has been creatively and lovingly designed to be not just informative, but transformative. I’m excited and honored to be part of it, and I hope I’ll see you there. http://bit.ly/odf8v1
P.S: Every ticket to the telesummit includes access to instant replay for up to 24 hours after each session.
P.P.S: An event like this is too good to keep to yourself. Please notify your self-employed friends and colleagues.
Entrepreneurs need to have an elevator speech for everything —Photo Credit: Bark
If you think sound bites are just for the salesy, sleazy, or slick, you’re not seeing the big picture.
In today’s hurry-scurry world, where people’s attention spans are the size of a tweet, sound bites, your key messages, can make or break a deal, a sale, or even a casual encounter. In order to be on the cutting edge, or even just competitive, entrepreneurs need to be at the sound bite ready for every opportunity.
Once they are prepared they can make a connection anywhere with anyone at any time that could result in a life-changing shift. Whether you have a business, book, product, service or cause, sound bites are the key to making a quick connection.
I was reminded of the importance of sound bites on a recent call with an author who became a client. She blithered on and on in her emails writing me several detailed pages before we even set up an appointment to see if we were a match. Bad strategy. I took her on because she really has something to say to the world — she just takes way too long to say it. That’s why she hired me.Authors need sound bites for their book proposal, book title, query letter, and log line —Photo Credit: Mancha Extraña
On our initial call I had to repeatedly wrangle her in order to discover what her book was about. It wasn’t easy or fun. This is something that I should have been able to discover in 20 seconds. She’s about to embark on a book tour so we have much work to do before her book publishes. Your audience wants to have a good time with you.
It’s your job to deliver only the information that they need to know at that instant. And deliver it in a concise, memorable, entertaining, and elegant way.
This video is a moving example of why words matter.
Being able to get to the essentials of who you are, why you do what you do, and what your business is about, is critical. To whittle your words into sound bites, your key message take-aways — takes practice. Lots of it. But once you master this kind of messaging you can use it across all mediums from your social networks, to a media interview, to a chat in line to get the latest iPhone.Communication skills for social media—Photo Credit: Rrrrred
The problem isn’t that entrepreneurs don’t have plenty to say — it’s that they have too much — and they have no idea how to organize their thoughts or content into tightly crafted meaningful messages that leave their audiences begging for more.
It’s like taking Tolstoy’s War and Peace and turning it into Haiku. It’s a huge task; one that is best done with a sound bite buddy or media coach.
Sales strategies for entrepreneurs—Photo Credit: Alles Schlumpf
To get into the habit of speaking in sound bites before a networking event, meeting, media appearance, job interview or spontaneous interaction in the proverbial elevator, I suggest that you create at least six sound bites using the following formulas.
- Story of origin: My client, Kristen Scheurlein, Founder of Affirmagy, left a multi-million-dollar business as a graphic designer to become what she calls The Blanket Lady.
“I didn’t want to become an entrepreneur, but it’s in my blood. My grandfather was a shoemaker. In the Depression, he saw that many people couldn’t afford shoes. He traded chickens for shoes to make sure that none of the children in the village went shoeless. I didn’t realize that I was following in his footsteps when I began my business, which will become a complete non-profit in five years, but I am. We give away blankets to churches, charities, homeless. In essence, I’m trading chickens for shoes.”
2. Statistics connected to your book or business: Self-employed people, whose numbers continue to grow, have almost doubled since 1980 to over 17 million. One of the biggest challenges of the self-employed is the lack of structure and accountability to follow through on important tasks. Many complain that they feel like they are “all alone” in their business lives.
The book, Extreme Success by Rich Fettke gives self-employed people ways to develop the support they need and proven strategies to stay focused and effective on their most important goals.Combine statistics with your opinion on TV talk shows to become a thought leader—Photo Credit: AJC1
3. Fact: More than 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with thyroid disease, and another 13 million people are estimated to have undiagnosed thyroid problems in the U.S. alone.
4. Vignette: An anchorman and reporter at CBS spoke at 300 words per minute while the typical person speaks 125-140. The practice of Transformational Speaking taught him to take time, pause. For the first time in his life his evaluations as a professional speaker said things like “Thank you for giving me time to think.” He said, “I don’t beat up my audiences with facts any more.’
5. Anecdote: Chuck Barris, creator of The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, The Gong Show and more, said that people were always eating while watching TV. His mission for the shows became the motto: stop a fork. “I always told my staff, if we could stop a fork… midway from the bowl to the mouth then we had done something right, we had just created a moment that was O.K.. That was the slogan that we carried around the company. Stop a fork.”
6. Analogy: “Bangs are the new Botox.” Becky de la Rosa, Hairdresser
7. Aphorism: “Language is the dress of thought; every time you talk your mind is on parade.” Dr Samuel Johnson
8. Acronym: M.A.D.D. Mothers against drunk driving
Through training and practice you move these key phrases you’ve created into the conversations you have at networking events, with potential clients, buyers of your products or services, the media, and anyone who you want to give an experience of who you are and what your business is about. It’s important to be prepared for any personal and professional opportunity that comes your way. Which can happen anywhere at any time.
Case in point. While one of the participants in my sound bites course was waiting in line to buy an iPad 2 she sold over 250 books from the trunk of her car and closed a speaking engagement worth thousands of dollars. How? By speaking in sound bites in casual conversation.
You too can master speaking in sound bites to engage your ideal audience to buy your book, build your business, engage your services, get involved with your cause, and, most importantly, create a lasting connection.Attract your ideal audience with the right words—Photo Credit: Milena Mihaylova
Want to know what to do when the media calls? Hop on over to this webinar to learn the secrets of media stars. (Everyday people just like you who have learned how to do it right and got astounding results).
1. Don’t deny the obvious.
How can you not know your own weiner? In or out of underwear I challenge any man not to know his own organ intimately. The married representative Anthony Weiner, denied sending a photograph of his “bulging briefs” to a 21-year-old college student from his @RepWeiner Twitter account last Friday. Mistake number one: Stating he couldn’t be 100% sure that it was a photograph of his manhood! Don’t ever deny the obvious when it’s literally in your face.
2. Don’t joke about a serious allegation.
Anthony Weiner took what could be a career take-down as a lark. He tried to downplay this serious situation lightly by responding with defensiveness mixed with wit and humor. Rather he should have had a sound bite strategy to prove that the photo was not his particulars, and proof positive that he didn’t send it.
It won’t be so funny if he’s stripped of his high-profile position. Weiner not only should have been prepared with a response about the personal photographs he keeps of his privates that could have been manipulated, but also why he has Twitter connections with a porn star, and comely college co-eds. When you’re on the spot take it seriously and carefully plan for every worst-case scenario question. Make sure to role play the most inappropriate, personal and intimate questions so you’ll be prepared for the worst in order to do your best.
3. Don’t pull a Mel Gibson.
Weiner inflamed an already ignited media by calling a CNN producer a “jackass”. We don’t expect a legislator to be as hot headed as actors like Mel Gibson, known for his media tantrums and name-calling. We expect dignified behavior. Always keep your equanimity no matter how ill-mannered the press or any one else is. Even though you’re not a representative of congress you represent yourself and your business.
4. Don’t let your reputation lapse.
Mark Twain said, “A lie can circle the globe in the time it takes truth to put on its shoes”. Weiner’s team should have immediately begun an investigation to prove that his Twitter account was hacked in order to preserve his integrity. His proof should include the kind of serious tweets he’s known for on issues that are important to him to show that he’s not the kind of man who would send a photograph of his largess to a college co-ed. The New York Daily News reported, “the nano-second it takes to send a tweet, Rep. Anthony Weiner’s political career has short-circuited.”
Overall the public is not just questioning whether or not there was a Twitter hack-in, they are questioning Weiner’s character. Would it shock us that such a man would do this? That’s the bigger question.
Whenever an allegation, untruth or rumor is spread about you or your company you must take instant action to quash it. Anthony Weiner said he was going to do an “investigation” but hasn’t. In a situation like this you must state what action you’re going to take then follow through. Once you take action keep the media apprised. Its essential to get your side of the story out to traditional media outlets as well as through social media so you can help truth put on it’s shoes before that lie can circle the globe.
It’s intense. The story, which includes deception, sex, celebrities, heiresses, spiritual leaders, gambling and lots and lots of money is unsettling. The challenge is to find the core of the story while telling the truth — no matter how hard, ugly or disturbing. My client is risking everything so other people won’t get hurt like she did.
I’ve never done crises management before so I advised my client to hire a PR firm that specialized in these types of difficult cases. We are working with one of the best who has experience with politicians and other controversial clients who are frequently in the news.
While it’s always important to have your facts, statistics, dates and stories straight for any type of media, it’s crucial when you’re dealing with the legal system, people’s reputations and the history of wrongdoing to be exposed in an investigative piece. To keep things in order we’re creating a TimeLine and fact sheet with supporting documents as proof.
Although your life or lifeblood may not depend on getting the facts and figures right it’s a great exercise when preparing for your media appearances to put all of this in order. You will be a much more credible and valuable guest if you can bring not only your perspective, but a larger world view that supports your area of expertise to your media appearances. Next time you’re asked to be a guest on a show or give a quote think about including information that effects people nationally or globally and you’ll begin to position and establish yourself as a thought leader.
Even though you’re not a whistle blower you can never be too prepared for a media interview. If you want to polish your interviewing skills to promote your book, product, service or cause for TV, radio or print, please connect with me here.
If you like during our sessions we can incorporate the distinctive way that I create effective fact sheets that strongly establish you as a thought leader and give you an edge over your competitors as a source for the media.
What facts have you used to bolster your credibility and/or brand you as a thought leader?
Or do you find yourself searching for strands of something intelligent to say. Or do you ramble or say things you wish to God you hadn’t. If only there was an erase button for the words that flew out of your mouth.
If you don’t have your sound bites planned — and give the reporter or producer what they’re looking for, chances are you’ve lost your chance. Lost your chance to give your audience a taste of how wonderful you, your business, book, product, service or cause really are. And there is no lack of competition to fill in the gap that you left.
Just recently a client who just taped the Food Networks’ extreme challenge TV show, (airing in March), thanked me profusely for helping her shape her pre- and post interviews and how to respond to difficult situations during the competition. She told me afterward she had no idea how hard it would be and how much they would pressure her into saying something derogatory, evil or bad.
She said that I helped her feel confident that she would only say things that she wanted her audience to know. Just as important to her was to not say anything she didn’t want her two boys to hear. That was one of her own moral benchmarks. Do you know yours?
Beyond that she hadn’t realized that she needed to seamlessly weave in stories about teaching courses, which is her most profitable area of business, into her sound bite patter, for every single media interview she does. Reaching your audience isn’t just about being lively and entertaining, it’s about knowing how to deliciously entice them into wanting more of you and what you have.
Now most of us aren’t ever going to be on an extreme reality TV show, but sometimes it can feel that way. No matter what the circumstance you want to be ready to say ONLY what you want your audience to know in order to enlighten, entertain, and engage them so that they like, respect, believe in, and buy from you, or buy into your ideas.
This is how a business grows when you know how to manage the media, instead of letting the media manage you.
So in the spirit of securing your sound bites, and as a Thanksgiving Thank You (even if it isn’t Thanksgiving), I’d like to give you a gift of an webinar I did on: Speak in Sound Bites: 5 Surefire Ways to Get Clients, Customers and Sales and Become a Media Darling.
What’s your biggest sound bite success?
What does a great press release that gets results look like? Here is one from a new client that we worked on together. Halle Eavelyn implemented my advice beautifully.
Here is the before:
|EAT PRAY LOVE YOURSELF
SPIRITUAL TRAVEL COMPANY GETS ON THE MAP
LAS VEGAS, Aug 24, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Spirit Quest Tours’ founder, Greg Roach, hardly seems like a man on a mission. Looking more like Stephen Spielberg than Deepak Chopra, Greg started Spirit Quest Tours to help people experience the awakenings of self he did on his first trips to Egypt over a dozen ago. But after years of tours to Bali, Egypt, China, and all over Europe, the boutique company was a well-kept travel secret until fame arrived in the form of an Eat Pray & Love Bali tour. Now articles in Time Magazine, USA Today, Good Morning America, ABC News, and many others have shifted his focus to larger intentions.
We want to bring the world our brand – we are developing a global spiritual travel TV show (HAVE TO ASK SCOTT IF THIS MENTION IS OK), my partner Halle Eavelyn (who leads the Eat Pray & Love Bali tours) is writing a spiritual travel memoir about her own awakening in Egypt – we want to help Americans to reach out and connect with the world, to help them wake up to their deeper purposes than just their daily lives and jobs.”
When Author Elizabeth Gilbert first started her year-long travels to Italy, India, and Bali, she hardly expected to become a worldwide phenomenon and reluctant life coach for millions of women. But Eat Pray Love struck such a chord that none other than Julia Roberts is playing Liz in the movie, which has already grossed over $40M even before its overseas opening. “Every woman we know is seeing this movie, and many are seeing it more than once,” said Roach. Hundreds of people have contacted us about traveling with us to Bali, or Egypt, or one of our other destinations.
The Eat Pray & Love Bali trip includes many opportunities for self-examination and growth, which were the major themes of the book. “The shifts are really remarkable for the guests on our trips,” said Roach. “We’ve seen people heal huge problems in their lives, or step up to the next level by embracing a long-held dream or goal.”
An escorted tour usually means having a guide on the ground to ensure your safety and comfort, as well as show you the sites. While Spirit Quest does provide these local guides on each trip they do, Greg and Halle personally accompany the group, to give the trip cohesion and a thruline that the local guides can’t.
“It’s our job to give people the ‘trip of a lifetime’ and we feel that by going with them we can support them most fully and look after their every need. It also helps in a foreign country to travel with an American who knows the country well. “Things change on tours all the time; we know how to head off storms before the group is even aware of them. We act as a buffer for each of our guests, so they can stay in a bliss bubble until after they return home.”
So is Julia Roberts leading the Bali trip? Not likely. “She shows us what Liz Gilbert went through onscreen. For each person on our tours we want them to focus on their own spiritual growth and experience, set in one of the most beautiful environments in the world: Bali. Each of our guests gets to star in their own movie.”
# # # # #
For further information, contact: Halle Eavelyn
Spirit Quest Tours
Here is the after:
EAT, PRAY, AND LOVE YOURSELF
LUXURY SPIRITUAL TRAVEL COMPANY SUCCEEDS WITH EAT PRAY LOVE TOURS
| LAS VEGAS, Aug 25, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Long before the movie came out, the best-selling Eat Pray Love struck a chord in millions of women, many who wrote to author Elizabeth Gilbert to tell of their own spiritual or matrimonial crises.While Gilbert advised that they needed to find their own way, many didn’t take heed they still wanted to duplicate her awakenings or find the man of their dreams. While they may not be able to hop in the sack with Javier Bardem, what they will find on Spirit Quest Tours’ Eat Pray & Love Bali tour is a powerful spiritual adventure. While discovering a lost or missing part of themselves, they will also eat delicious local cuisine, learn to pray like the Balinese Hindus, and experience what Gilbert truly found: love of herself.Every woman we know is seeing this movie, and many are seeing it more than once, said Greg Roach, founder of the Las Vegas-based boutique travel company, which ran their first Eat Pray & Love Bali last May.Hundreds of people have contacted us about traveling with us to Bali, or Egypt, or one of our other destinations. They’re all seeking to better themselves.
| The first Eat Pray & Love Bali spiritual tour included many opportunities for self-examination and growth, which were the major themes of the book. Daily Eat Pray Love readings helped put people on the path, as did optional meditation, yoga and journaling. The group, mostly women, bonded tightly and really opened up to each other. A self-proclaimed workaholic found balance. A chronic insomniac suddenly was able to sleep. The shifts are really remarkable for the guests on all our trips, said Roach. We’ve seen people heal huge problems in their lives, or step up to the next level by embracing a long-held dream or goal. On our first Bali tour, a woman moved past the long-held pain of a divorce from years earlier. It was so powerful she decided on the spot to take back her maiden name. People who ran into her after the trip said she looked ten years younger.Spirit Quest Tours’ founder, Greg Roach, hardly seems like a man on a mission. Looking more like Stephen Spielberg than Deepak Chopra, Greg started Spirit Quest Tours to help people experience the awakenings of self he did on his first trips to Egypt. But after years of tours to Bali, Egypt, China, and all over Europe, the unique company was a well-kept travel secret until fame arrived in the form of that first Eat Pray & Love Bali tour. Now attention from Time Magazine, USA Today, Good Morning America, ABC News, and many others have shifted his focus to larger intentions.We want to bring the world our brand – we are developing a global spiritual travel TV show, my partner Halle Eavelyn (who leads the Eat Pray & Love Bali tours) is writing a travel memoir about her own spiritual awakening in Egypt – we want to help Americans to reach out and connect with the world, to help them wake up to their deeper purposes, not just their daily routines and jobs.So is Julia Roberts leading the next Bali trip? Not likely. Onscreen, she shows us what Liz Gilbert went through. For each person on our tours we want them to focus on their own spiritual growth and experience, set in one of the most beautiful environments in the world: Bali. Each of our guests gets to star in their own movie, and we know the changes will continue long after the last frame.
### ### ### ### ###
ABC News said: Perhaps your money is best spent on the “Eat Pray Love” vacation package to Bali.Time Magazine said: The idea behind these [Spirit Quest Tours] offerings is not to knock off a checklist of the people and places the writer visited, but to partake… in her progress.USA Today said: EPL already has drawn fans of the 2006 best seller to Bali, a mystical island known for its natural beauty, vibrant arts community, colorful religious festivals and gentle, hospitable residents.
Click here for MORE ARTICLES ON SPIRIT QUEST TOURS
One of our recent Bali guests said: Thank you again for making the trip such a delightful, inspirational & life-changing experience.
One of our recent Egypt guests said: Passion like yours is unfortunately rare, and witnessing it was an unexpected gift from the trip. Thank you, thank you.
Click here for RAVE TESTIMONIALS
about our toursFor further information, contact: Halle Eavelyn
Spirit Quest Tours
Eavelyn and I discussed:
1. The subject headline has to invite journalists to open it.
Make the topic current and give it a twist – Eat Pray Love is in theaters now so it’s in the media limelight. And Eavelyn has been tracking it at the box office and through her own informal surveys. Eat Pray Love Yourself is the theme of the tour which is both a luxurious adventure as well as an exploration of self.
2. Lead with information that is important to the journalist or producer.
Instead of leading with information about what THEY wanted to promote and info on the tours, lead with a good story that captures attention and is humorous that would interest the editor or producer and his audience. I was inspired by a disclaimer on their website at the bottom of the page right under “sign me up” and wrote up some copy incorporating it. Also, when Eat Pray Love first came out I remembered reading the advice Elizabeth Gilbert gave on her website to women who aspired to duplicate her journey. This is an enticing tidbit that’s slightly gossipy which the media love.
3. Be specific about the outcome or results people had using your service.
In the first version the “results” were too amorphous and not tangible enough. You want to quantify as much as possible. “Spiritual growth” isn’t so easy to quantify, but you can give examples of changes or shifts which is what Eavelyn did.
I recommended that Eavelyn focus on some of the transformations that people had had on their past tours to give people interested in self-knowledge a flavor of what it was like and a small scope of what they might expect besides some good food and good fortune.
Also, by naming the type of people and the kind of changes they went through allows people to identify themselves and say, “That’s me! I want that too!” and then pick up the phone and sign up for the tour. In other words it’s a subtle, but targeted call to action. The other thing it does is give fresh information since Spirit Quest Tours has had so much great press already a journalist or producer won’t want to duplicate the content as they focus on getting new stories all their own.
4. Link to impressive press you’ve received.
By giving teasers of highlights from major national press other media outlets feel secure in covering this as a legitimate story.
5. Give the option of getting more in-depth information.
Supplying links allows the reporter to read more if they are inclined. Giving them the option is a great way to lead them to your website to explore. They may find information that they can use for the piece or it can inspire them for another angle, piece or idea that you hadn’t thought of.
6. Link to testimonials.
The past media coverage supplies the credibility. The other way to establish credibility is through the people who actually went on the tours. Again they gave a few teasers and links for the reporter to find out more.
The press release now reads like a story and can be taken “as is” by any reporter. It also contains all the essential information for the media if they want to explore further — without giving everything away.
Is there such a thing as a bad author who has a good book? Can you be a respected expert yet be a bore? What if you alienate your audience and the media? But deeper than that, can dull media appearances tarnish your reputation? I think so.
A while back I heard an interview with New York Times best-selling author David Shenk who wrote The Genius in All of Us. The New York Times Book Review called it a, “deeply interesting and important book.” The book may be “mindblowing” as another author suggested, but you’d never know it from listening to the author. What was “mindblowing” to me is that his publisher hasn’t insisted on media coaching. Given he’s a bright guy he could probably easily triple his book sales with some solid training.
The interview was not only dull but unenlightening. And I was very interested in the subject matter. On Michael Krasny’s NPR show Forum, which I adore, (it airs on our own local San Francisco station KQED) Shenk talked a lot about what he didn’t know and I began to wonder what exactly it was he did know. His not knowing made me question the reliability of the science behind his book. Krasny asked his usual probing and intelligent questions, but Shenk muddled about talking a lot but saying little.
Often sound bites can make or break a sale — for a book, product or service. In this case it broke the sale.
Here are some other mistakes David Shenk made that you want to avoid.
1. Shenk repeated his points.
Not only did Shenk repeat his ideas but he pointed out that he was doing so! Double double bad bad. Never say, “As I’ve said,” in an interview. If you’ve said it, you’re wasting time repeating it. Prepare enough information that you never need to repeat yourself and you’re always engaging us in some new thought or inspiring idea.
2. Shenk commented on the host.
Don’t ever comment on the host’s personality, style, manner etc. It’s not your position to judge him or his program. You’re there as a guest. Literally. A guest follows the manners of the host and is gracious about delivering information, entertainment and good will.
3. Shenk dissed the host’s question.
Dissing the host’s question is a huge faux pas. See above. At one point Shenk asked for clarification, a real no no during an interview. This is also a kind of dissing, implying that the question wasn’t clear.
Answer the question with information that you DO know to the best of your ability. Trust that the interviewer will ask you a follow up question if you haven’t gotten it right. Your job is to have exciting stories prepared that illustrate the best of your book, product or service. It doesn’t matter what the host asks you anyway. You answer with the information you want your audience to know. (Sorry Michael).
4. Shenk kept saying, “The book.”
What book? What is the title? I hear lots of authors make this mistake. It’s not just a mistake it’s a big missed opportunity. Remember that people are tuning in all the time so even if you’ve spoken your title once that’s not necessarily enough. Even if the host mentions your title, it’s still your job to say it during the course of conversation.
Whatever you are promoting you need to name it. How else is the audience supposed to go out and buy it or connect with you? Learn to weave it into your interview in a conversational way so it sounds natural and easy and nice. Your audience will actually thank you.
5. Shenk called attention to being self promotional and salesy.
Whenever anyone says, “I don’t want to be self-promotional” or “I don’t want to sound like I’m selling” that’s exactly what they are doing — sounding salesy. On the radio recently I heard the president of a company do this by saying, “In the spirit of full-disclosure, I own XXX company.” Then went on to tell how excellent the product his company made was. Clunk.
If you are delivering value it’s the natural next step for your audience to want more of you and your expertise or your book, product or service. Only focus your audience’s attention on what you what them to think about or know. You are responsible for synthesizing, and concisely delivering, the most important points you want to convey to your audience.
It’s up to you to choose the stories that will be most satisfying and intriguing. They should be constructed to entice people to want to engage more fully with you in the capacity you choose i.e. hire you, visit your store, buy your product etc. Leave your audience with a good feeling about you so they want more. Media appearances give you ample time to practice good manners and grace.
To make the media love you avoid these common mistakes.
1. Hello out there!
How can I find you? Most people didn’t give me their full contact information. I know this sounds ludicrous, but not only did people not include their website or phone number, but they often had a gmail, hotmail or other free account so even when I tried to Google them I couldn’t find their website. Maddening. One PR person didn’t even leave her name! (This frightens me deeply).
Please give the media every single option you have to get in touch with you and let them choose the medium they prefer. Include your phone, cell, email, website, blog, facebook, and a direct link to your media page. And, need I say it, your full name?
2. Just call me.
A few people said things like, “Call me, I’m happy to talk to you and answer your questions.” No. I asked you questions in my query that I wanted you to answer so I could determine if I wanted to talk to you. You need to give me a reason to WANT to get more information. It’s called a tease. A few people gave me general, boring information that anyone in their field could have supplied.
On the other hand you don’t want to give me everything because then I won’t need to call you. Just give me enough to peak my interest. And please give me answers to the questions I asked.
3. My life story blah, blah, blah.
There were others who gave out too much information. Stuff that may be interesting in another context, but wasn’t what I asked for. I’m on a deadline and I only want the information that I requested.
4. You’re stupid.
In my query, as an example of what I wanted, I quoted research from another source and one person told me that it was “ludicrous”. Well, that got my attention, but it didn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling about him. I suspect he did it for the shock value. That worked. He had some interesting things to say, but I may or may not contact him. Is he rash or bullheaded? Not sure if I can take someone so flip seriously.
5. I have a friend who…
People wrote in to tell me to contact their friend, but don’t tell me why he/she would be right for my story. Just that he/she would be perfect for me. Why would I believe a stranger who is biased?
6. Are there specific questions you need answered?
Uh, yeah. Don’t ask me this when I listed several in the query. Very specifically, actually. This person answered my query very briefly, but didn’t address my particular questions, which, if a reporter asks, you should. They ask because they want to know. It’s how we determine whether you qualify for what we need.
7. Let me tell you about me.
Please don’t give me background that has nothing to do with what I’m asking. A PR company — who should know better — proposed their client and then went on for two paragraphs about the real estate firm’s accomplishments where their client worked. I asked for a powerful woman doing martial arts to discuss the impact it had on her body image, personal and professional life. What does this have to do with what I’m interested in. Nothing.
Why should I care that the company “completed commercial leasing transactions totaling over 10 million square feet and valued at over $1.6 billion.” Now if the PR person had connected that in some way to the personal success of his client’s training in martial arts he would have gotten my interest.
8. Read this.
Some people told me that they were experts and then referred me to other people’s articles. While this was helpful overall, it wasn’t helpful in terms of me evaluating them to see if they would be the right expert for my story. I asked for research and studies, but I wanted to talk to the people who had done them. Why would I use a secondary source if I could go to the original one? Plus, if you’re going to send me to a link I need to know why. Tell me the topic of the story and why it would interest me. Better yet, tell me how that article or research is connected to you and what you do.
9. Hi, I’m famous.
A few famous people (what, they don’t have to play by the rules?) had their assistant or PR person contact me saying that they were available to be interviewed. They didn’t explain why their boss/client was an expert but gave me a link to an article or two that they had written.
I don’t want to have to plow through tons of material to see if this expert is right for me. YOU need to convince ME that I should talk to you. Just because you’re famous doesn’t get you off the hook for showing me that you’re the expert I need. Because, guess what? Lots of famous experts are vying for my time who sent me just what I needed to inspire me to call them.
Besides, I’m not going to call you because you’re famous, I’m going to call you if you have the information that I need. And you don’t need to be famous to be the expert that I will use. So please follow the producer or journalist’s instructions EXACTLY and you’ll become a pleasure instead of a pain.