Client Kudos: How a Yoga Teacher is Making Mental Health Less Taboo

Click image to read article about Mandy GivenMandy Given has one of those stories.

Heart-wrenching. Courageous. Moving. Inspirational.


It’s no accident the fates brought us together.

Mandy is a mom. She’s a business owner. And she’s a fearless messenger.

When we met in the fall, she suspected that her story needed to be tightened up & positioned strategically. She also knew she wanted a more professional sounding & looking website.

As we worked together, it became clear that in addition to a powerful story that would connect to potential clients, she had a message that would benefit the 40 million Americans who suffer from anxiety disorders.

That is a story worth pitching to the press, & Mandy was game.

Earlier this year, Mandy landed placements with her local paper & the local CBS radio affiliate in Boston, the country’s 8th largest media market (click the links to read the article & hear the spot). And she’s just getting started.

Here’s why it worked, & how you can do this too.

  • Clarity around message & story. Mandy came to me with her story so I could help her turn it into its most concise & compelling version. From there, we shaped & re-purposed it for different channels including her website & media pitches.
  • Media connections. I love it when clients like Mandy already have connections with journalists, That’s half the battle because if a journalist already knows, trusts & likes you AND you have a great pitch, getting placed happens fast & easy. You don’t need to have existing connections or relationships to get publicity. If you want more tips on how to start making your own connections check out my interview on The Carrie Roldan Show.
  • Craft a media-worthy pitch. Pitching the media is part art, part psychology. There are plenty of free resources on my blog (like this one & this one) & others (check out The Publicity Hound — better than a PR degree!) to help you pull your own pitch together. Or you can just hire someone & be done with it.  Here’s the email pitch I wrote for Mandy’s CBS contact — in less than an hour.

What every parent should know about how to help a child with anxiety

Hi <first name>,I’m Mandy Given and I’m the owner of Govinda Yoga Play, where I help children in grades 4-12 throughout Greater Boston & North Shore better cope with the stress of these uncertain times and the daily dilemmas of modern society. I’ve listened to your show and I believe I’d be a great guest for your audience.

Proposed Topic: What every parent should know about how to help a child with anxiety

Did you know that anxiety affects 25% of US children ages 13-18 (SOURCE: National Institute of Mental Health)? At the same time, anxiety is highly treatable yet only 20 percent of children suffering with anxiety receive treatment. Parents of children with anxiety can help ease their child’s worries, and it doesn’t always have to be with the use of powerful prescription drugs.

As a guest on your show, I propose discussing the following points:

  • How families can experience more peace & happiness in spite of these turbulent times
  • Simple, drug-free techniques anyone can use to change our chemical response to stress
  • How to avoid the dangers of your child, you or any loved one being misdiagnosed & over-medicated from the perspective of a parent with anxiety

Many of your listeners may struggle with anxiety or have a child or loved who struggles with it. They may not know that easy-to-learn techniques and alternative solutions to pharmaceuticals are available.

I’ve recently been interviewed by my local newspaper (Marblehead Reporter) and my goal is to deliver an informative interview for your audience. I’d be happy to provide you with sample interview questions at your request, as well as come into the studio should you decide to do a segment on this timely topic.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Warm regards,

Mandy Given


(I’ll break down this pitch with footnotes in another post but in the meantime study, rob & duplicate this format for your own topic & pitch. Or book a consult with me if you want me to take care of it for you.)

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare. For goodness sake, DO NOT wing an interview with the press. Figure out your talking points & practice. Mandy & I sculpted the most meaningful & succinct points, then hopped on the phone to review & mock interview. If you’ve never done a media interview and you plan to make media relations a key branding & marketing strategy, get media training.
  • Re-purpose your media placements. It’s exciting to be in the press. High-five yourself. Not many people have the balls, tenacity or organization to reach out to the media. Share your news! Your co-workers, clients, partners, friends & family will be excited for you. Link to your press from your website. Add an “As Featured In” section to your homepage & include the logo of the media outlet. Post it on your Facebook timeline & business page. Print out the actual article, blow it up to poster size, laminate it & hang it on your office wall. Go for it, you deserve to toot your own horn.

So if you’ve got a newsworthy story to tell . . . I challenge you to reach out to the media.

If you need help pulling together a PR strategy & concise, compelling press materials, book a complimentary consultation so we can discuss what’s possible for you!

Successful Women Are Unlikable? Really?!

WARNING: Cuss words inside

It’s high time we put the “bitch in the boardroom” stereotype to bed.

According to many high-profile voices (Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Sheryl Sandberg & Hillary Clinton to name a few), if you’re a successful woman, people don’t like you.

But if you’re a man, well, it’s game on.

Look, I’m not stupid. Not only do I know women have been oppressed, mistreated, held down and treated less than, I’ve experienced it.

We’ve got a long journey before us to heal the wounds and horror stories of generations past.

Here’s the thing.

I am really flipping tired of powerful people – who are supposedly on the side of women – beating us down with this tripe.

It’s reckless, irresponsible and not useful at all to advancing women.

While this may not have been true 40 years ago, I believe that today it IS possible to be a woman with a commanding presence, confidence and humanity that both sexes respect.

Hang with me here as I break down this message . . .

The more successful and ambitious a woman is, the less likable you become.

Has the fear of people not liking you held you back from succeeding? Sure has for me – more than I care to admit.

Read that sentence again. Out loud.

The more successful and ambitious a woman is, the less likable you become.

Now . . .

Are you ready to do whatever it takes to be successful?

Or do you feel like you want to “chuck it in the fuck it bucket” (to borrow a favorite phrase from my client Sherry).

Well hell, if a high-powered woman is telling you success means no friends, no fun, no respect  . . . then why bother right?

Say it again.

The more successful and ambitious a woman is, the less likable you become.

Is it 100% true? Or can you identify times when success, ambition and likability came together for you like peanut butter and jelly?

Hmmm. What’s going on here?

What’s going on is that the belief is WRONG, not your ambition. Not your success. And if there’s no one in your life who respects you for being an achiever, may I suggest that it’s time to find new people?

I’m not buying into the idea that success and likeability are mutually exclusive — especially when it comes to powerful women. You can achieve both when you get shit done, get results, add value and treat others with respect. You deserve it because you earn it, not because of your body parts, name or status.

Leaders – women and men – need to up their message game.

Speak the truth, yes. Shine a light on injustice, yes.

Massively overhaul our discourse and mindset? Yes! Yes! For goodness sake YES!

In a recent interview with Lewis Howes, Tony Robbins said (about 55 minutes in) . . .

We’ve all experienced injustice. If you hang onto injustice, you’re there. What we need to do is breakthrough and you will always breakthrough when you add value.

How about we start demanding that our leaders add value with their messages too?

And until that happens, consider this . . .

Limits live in your beliefs & behaviors. Hear the words of powerful people, then listen to your own voice to decide what’s true for you. [Tweet This]

Also, if you’re a powerful, successful woman (or you aspire to be) just remember this: the media loves telling you what to think and do. If you have vision and drive, if you can listen and communicate well . . . if people can TRUST you, you’ll have little trouble finding people who like you no matter how meteoric your rise to the top.

I’m grateful to meet and know many successful and likable women and men like you. Do you have a powerful, uplifting message that adds value to others . . . if only you could share it with more people? Schedule a complimentary consultation with me & learn how you can package & position your message for greater impact, influence & income.


Want press coverage? Think like a journalist, not a coach or consultant

photo by Jürg Vollmer

photo by Jürg Vollmer

When I was reporter, the pressure was always on to find a great story. I also had my typical beats, which were town news and schools. I had to check out the police and fire reports. I had to cover town council and school committee meetings. And I had to turn in stories every day. On top of that, we were expected to write a more significant news piece each week and cover breaking news. I had daily meetings with my section editor, weekly meetings with the big editors and nightly run-ins with the copy editors.

So I know first-hand that the media works long and erratic hours, their resources are slim and the pressure is high. If you’re a coach or consultant who wants to get the media’s attention, here are some insider tips that will get you mileage with the media.

Be respectful of their time.
Figure out their deadline and DO NOT call them then. Reporters will actually pick up the phone during this time because they are waiting for sources to get back them. They do not want to hear a new pitch. Contact them mid-morning or mid-day when there’s more of a chance someone will take your call or see your email and be receptive to it.

Be brief.
When I was pitching TV producers, a lot of times I wouldn’t even tell them my name. I would simply say “Hi, I have an idea for your money segment” or whatever it was and then I’d go into my pitch . . . which was usually about a sentence or two. If they like your idea, trust me, they’ll ask for more details.

Be ready.

You want to know your pitch and message forward and backward … and you want to be brief to get the media’s attention. You also want to be prepared ahead of time so that when they ask for more details, it’s at your fingertips. This is where your press materials come in handy. Have important facts in front of you. Be ready to share a fact sheet, press release, media advisory or FAQs with the media if they ask for it. If you can, offer to connect them with a client or another source. If you have images and video (they call it b-roll), they can use to enhance the story, let them know. Overnight a copy of your book if you have one. You might be surprised just how much you can drive the story when you are prepared.

If you’re unsure of how to approach the media or you’ve been disappointed with the results, try thinking like the media and let me know what happens. Or if you’ve got an urgent message you need to get out to the world NOW, click here and let’s talk about what it’s going to turn you into a media star.

If you could only pick one show, publication or blog to be featured in, what would it be? Have you ever pitched that outlet? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments :).


Publicity for coaches: How to up your credibility & visibility

brand (5)If you’re a coach or expert who has thought about working with print, broadcast or online media to help you get your story and message out in a bigger way, or you’ve dabbled with PR but felt like a fish out of water, I talk about how purpose-driven entrepreneurs can approach the media like a pro in my recent interview for The Business Girlfriends Show with my friends and colleagues Jeannie Spiro and Kerry Swetmon.

Jeannie and Kerry’s Business Girlfriends podcast is for women entrepreneurs (and those in the making) who are growing a business online. We had a great time talking about how you can gain more credibility and visibility for your business using publicity strategies.

Click here to listen in and make sure to subscribe to The Business Girlfriends Show where you’ll be inspired by other women and their journey to entrepreneurship.

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Get High-Quality Publicity & Major Business Credibility in One Hour, One Day or One Week

Steve Thomas home energy assessment in Staten Island

Create an event, tour or demonstration & invite the media

I thumbed through my copy of SUCCESS Magazine the other day when I saw eighth-grader Lily DeBell’s sweet smiling face and her all-natural, handmade dancewear for young dancers.

Wow. If a 13-year-old entrepreneur can make it into SUCCESS, why can’t I? Why can’t my clients?


Sometimes I feel about marketing the way I feel about exercise. You know you should exercise, you know it’s good for you, you even feel great once it’s done. It’s the same with publicity. You know it drives people to your website, you know it grows your list, you know it builds your credibility and cache . . . but getting there, showing up, not letting life derail you . . . that’s the hard part.

Someone asked me recently “How can I get publicity efficiently?”

I wasn’t sure what that meant at first. Then I saw sweet Lily DeBell and remembered I hadn’t moved the dial on my quest to get into SUCCESS.

Nurturing relationships with the press can take time. In our instant gratification culture we want results and we want them NOW . . . even when we haven’t put the time in.

We say we don’t have the time, when it’s more like we don’t make the time. Today I’m calling myself out on this and if this sounds familiar, I’m calling you out too.

There’s time. Dare I say it? There’s more than enough time.

Today I want to prove it and show you how you can get press when you only have an hour, a day or a week to spare.


Efficient PR Strategy #1 – Subscribe to Help A Reporter Out (HARO)

HARO is for the media and media sources (aka you). If you do nothing else in the post, make sure you do this. It takes seconds to sign up and it’s a free service that deliver media opportunities to your inbox three times daily. Easy right?

Hot Tip#1: Sign up to receive queries from reporters covering your field. If you’re a health coach, get the Lifestyle & Fitness queries only. If you’re a business owner, get the Business & Financial queries. If you don’t specify the category, you’ll get all the categories and pretty soon you’ll just ignore HARO because it’ll be overwhelming trying to scan through everything.

Hot Tip#2: Have someone else skim and evaluate the queries for you so all you need to do is focus on the pitch when he or she finds a good fit. Take 30 minutes to set some criteria, train someone how to find the type of opportunities you want and let them be your filter. Less time and more directed, focused energy on your part. Don’t have an assistant? Anyone can look for opportunities for you as long as they know how to read. Once you get the hang of HARO I promise it’ll be a mere moments out of your day.

Upside? The press comes to you.

Downside? Competition . . . HARO has millions of subscribers so you have to respond at lightning speed and be a perfect fit (and follow these other tips).

Efficient PR Strategy #2 – Offer your own photo/video

One day my husband looked out his office window and saw a truck on fire. An avid reader of the local newspaper, he quickly snapped a photo and sent the image to the city’s beat reporter. An engineer, not a marketer, publicist, best-selling author – he didn’t even have a relationship with the reporter. What he did have . . . timely and compelling content the paper needed.

Upside? Anyone can be a citizen journalist

Downside? Being in the right place at the right time when the media outlet can’t get there before you

Efficient PR Strategy #3 – Offer to be an expert source

Look for opportunities to piggyback your expertise on current events, trends, weather, holidays, studies (yours or someone else’s), then pick up the phone and offer yourself up as an expert source who’s ready to opine and offer valuable insight.

Upside? Major credibility as an expert and thought leader . . . and if you do well the first time, chances are they’ll call on you the next time and the next and the next . . .

Downside? You better be buttoned up and ready to go on the spot. Generally this works best for thought leaders. You need to be on top of the news and quick on your feet. Ideally you know who to call at the outlet directly and can communicate how your opinion and commentary can enhance the story.


Efficient PR Strategy #4 – Send out a “Tips” Release

A “tips” release is a press release that offers helpful, valuable content that also positions your product or service. When you see magazine headlines that say “10 Tips to Increase Your Energy” or “Dirty Dozen Foods to Avoid”, often times these articles sprout from a tips release.

One of my clients manufactured headlights. If headlights can get in the press using a tips press release, you can too! The main feature of these headlights – brighter, whiter lights – help drivers see better at night. Better sight, safer driving. In addition to the headlights, we brainstormed other safe driving tips, then we sent the release out for Car Care Month (yes, that’s a real thing), daylight savings time and summer (road trips!). One release that took probably took a week from start to finish to brainstorm, write and distribute . . . three times/year. Sometimes the release appear verbatim. Other times it lead to interviews or another story.

If you produce content (blogs, emails, programs) you’re sitting on a gold mine of tips releases RIGHT NOW! Don’t reinvent the wheel! Look at what you already have, turn it into a press release and get it out on a newswire. Send it to business journals and publications your clients read. Find ways to repurpose and distribute it multiple times/year (or to different media outlets).


Efficient PR Strategy #5 – Throw a party & invite the media

Years ago, I promoted several state energy efficiency programs using media events. These programs were technical and scientific. The method of making homes and buildings more energy efficient could feel like you needed a mechanical engineering degree just to talk about it. Instead of trying to explain the concepts and the theories and the hows and whys of how it all works, why it’s good for homeowners and businesses (and the economy and the environment) we created home performance assessment tours. We’d set a date and line up a real customer, real home or building and a real contractor and invite the media to follow along on the tour, ask questions and hear about the results from a real person (Ok, so sometimes this takes a few weeks).

We did dozens of these tours and the media always came. We were able to tie energy efficiency into seasonal hooks. It was a well-oiled, repeatable strategy that worked every time.

What can you show the media? What kind of event can you host to get the media to come to you? Get creative and have fun!

WARNING: Do not call your event a press conference. Press conferences are for politicians and crisis communications, so unless your event falls into one of those camps consider it a media event.

Upside? The media comes to you

Downside? Like any event, a media event takes planning and attention to every last detail. There are many moving parts and there’s no guarantee the media will show up. I always felt sick before every event until the first reporter showed up.

Hot tip #1: Invite a relevant celebrity to attend the event or be a spokesperson to really get the media’s attention. We brought in former This Old House host Steve Thomas to represent the program and lead some of the early home energy assessment media events to get the ball rolling.

Hot tip #2: Expect the media to show up and prepare ahead of time in case they don’t. Hire a photographer and/or videographer and pitch the media again after your event if some (or all) don’t make it. Send a photo to your local business editors with a suggested caption. Send a 2 or 3 minute video clip (aka b-roll) to the TV producers . . . as long as there’s a warm relationship there. In fact, if a reporter says they want to cover your event, you can even set the expectation ahead of time and say “I know in your line of work news breaks and things happen beyond your control. If for some reason you can’t make it to the event, would it be OK to send you a photo and a press release after.” Empathize, be helpful and don’t let a media opportunity go to waste.

If you need help presenting and booking yourself with publications, radio, television and online media and you’re not ready to invest in a five-figure retainer with a PR agency, I invite you to apply for a complimentary consultation with me.

Which one of these (or other) efficient PR strategies will you try? Let us know which one and why in the comments below. 

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