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.

TRANSFORMATIONAL.

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

xxx-xxx-xxxx

name@emailprovider.com

(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!

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?

WE CAN!

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.

ONE HOUR PUBLICITY

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

HARO is Match.com 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.

ONE DAY PUBLICITY

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).

ONE WEEK PUBLICITY

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. 

One Simple Oversight that Keeps You Begging for Clients

What is one simple oversight that keeps purpose-driven coaches, entrepreneurs, speakers and authors at any level begging for visibility and clients?

They don’t use PUBLICITY.

And when I say publicity I don’t mean getting attention for the sake of attention. I’m not talking about publicity stunts, I’m talking about working with publications, TV, radio and online media to provide value to their audience while helping you achieve a particular business objective . . . say publicizing your book, event, research or product launch.

Why is publicity so important for getting your name out there and raising brand awareness? Because publicity:

  1. Builds your credibility. When someone sees a story about what you have to offer and how it solves a problem for them, they trust you because they know that a reporter or producer had to vet you as a credible source in the first. It’s that objective third-party endorsement.
  2. Increases your market value. People are willing to pay more for what you have when they see you in the press.
  3. Can go viral. That’s something you’ll never get with advertising. You pay for space and the only way that ad multiplies is if you buy more space. One good media placement however has the potential to snowball into more free publicity.

So why don’t more entrepreneurs use publicity to get massive exposure for their message? There’s some commonly held myths and misconceptions that hold people back but personally I think it really all boils down to this . . . they just don’t know how to work with the media. That’s why I hopped on The Carrie Roldan Show recently to walk her through a crash course in getting some press for her new book Run Yourself Happy.

Watch this video now to see me coach Carrie in this unscripted, on the spot interview.

The Why Factor: The Secret to Attracting Media Attention

fit-foodie-dinner-235Members of the media are hungry for a good story. If you’ve got a compelling story and a desire to expose your message to the masses, it’s time to tap into your Why Factor to get the media’s attention. I recently had the opportunity to help Denise Costello, owner of The Energized Body, put together a plan to drum up free publicity for her business and her upcoming Healthy Holiday Fare cooking demonstration and tasting. Here are the secret ingredients we whipped up together to do just that.

Why This
First, you need to be able to tell the media why your message is relevant to their audience, and explain how your business helps solve a problem.

Denise wants to help people “eat right to stay out of the hospital and off medication”. Why this message for the media? After all, we all know we should eat right. True, but we don’t see many health professionals getting laser-focused about why people need to do it. Denise is taking a specific stand on this issue and the fact that health topics in general are making headlines right now, makes the message more appealing.

Why Now
Not only do you need to convince the media that your message is important, you have to demonstrate why it’s important now. The easiest way to do this is to link your story idea to current events, trends or, in this case, a seasonal angle.

Denise saw the opportunity to naturally tie her event into the holidays. Other media savvy business owners will pitch reporters story ideas that tie into holidays and seasonal events as well, so we talked about ways to tweak the pitch. First, we used a well-known statistic to communicate a problem that would help us position Denise’s message and solution: Most people gain one to two pounds over the holidays that they never lose. Those extra pounds add up over a lifetime.

In offering her solution, Denise also flipped the common refrain of “surviving the holidays” on its head. We wanted to the media to know that her message is important now so people can thrive through the holidays, rather than simply surviving them. She’s got the tools and ability to help people feel healthy, strong and energized through the holidays (and all year long by the way), which is far more appealing than just enduring them.

Why Me
Just as you do with clients, you need to stand out to the media. Use everything you’ve got to distinguish yourself. This is where you leverage a short version of your personal story to engage and connect with the media. Include details that boost your credibility too; for example, the results you’ve gotten for yourself or your clients.

Not only is Denise a fit foodie and owner of The Energized Body, she also considers herself a flexitarian. R.N., “foodie” and “flexitarian” are some keywords that will perk up just about anyone’s ears, including the media. Right away, Denise’s background as a medical professional signals that she’s qualified to speak about health issues yet the “foodie” and “flexitarian” monikers show a human side and hint that what she’s offering is designed to help the average person achieve success. We made sure to include keywords that would call out to her ideal prospects within the media’s audience – busy mom and business owner – two lifestyle challenges that often make it hard to eat right. We also wanted the media to know in an instant that Denise is living proof that her solution works.  She looks fabulous, she’s energized and food is her only medicine.

And that my friends is a delicious recipe for media success.

Would you like to learn more about how Denise can help you thrive through the holidays? Contact her here.

Have you approached the media to get your story and message out to the world in a bigger way? Let us know why or why not in the comments. Thanks!

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