Deadly Sins Published

By on Jun 8, 2018 in News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Stacy M. Jones is pleased to announce that she has just published her first novel. “Deadly Sins: A mystery novel” is available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle. About the book: Private investigator Riley Sullivan is a woman on a mission – to find the missing wife of her ex-boyfriend. To do so, she must come back to a city full of unfinished business and a life she left behind. Stuck between two men she once loved – the suspect and lead homicide detective – Riley is catapulted into an intense serial homicide investigation, a case like the sleepy Heights neighborhood of Little Rock has never seen. Needing assistance, Riley teams up with her friend Cooper Deagnan, a former Little Rock police detective turned private investigator. Riley and Cooper quickly realize this is no ordinary missing person’s case. Riley finds as the body count rises, so does her suspicion of a man she once loved. Riley must battle her own emotional demons to untangle the web of lies created by the residents of Little Rock’s most upscale neighborhood, find a serial killer, and keep herself from becoming the final...

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Responding to Media Requests

By on Feb 24, 2016 in News | 0 comments

There is little greater than free positive press about your expertise and your business. If you’ve been engaging in proactive public relations such as pitching stories, putting out your own news and building relationships with journalists, inevitably the time will come when a journalist will contact you to help on their story. Whether it’s additional research in your field they need or a quote, it’s a great achievement for your efforts. But handling the media request correctly will be the difference between a one-time call and a long-term relationship. Here’s how to ensure that a relationship is established and maintained. Always respond quickly – Journalists are on deadlines. If you receive a request from a journalist for help on one of their stories, this is something you should make a priority. Some journalists will provide you with their deadline while others will just make the request for information. But it’s safe to assume they generally need the information as soon as possible. And it’s okay to follow-up and ask when they need the information. If you are not in a position to provide the information they need, definitely let them know. There are times when you just aren’t accessible because of travel or other pressing deadlines but all efforts should be made to get them what they need and on time, if possible. Either way, responding promptly is advised. They will definitely not be waiting for you to “get around to it” and will move on to another potential source. Respond to what’s asked – There is often a great desire once you have a journalist’s attention to bombard them with information. Don’t. There will be other opportunities down the road. Simply respond to their request with a quote or research or whatever they have asked. If you have a lot of information that could be provided, just pick the best and let them know you have additional information should they require it. Never provide information they have not asked for or pitch them additional information not relevant to their current story. Stay professional at all times and be a great resource. If you are, they are more likely to use you as a source again. Be a resource...

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What is Content Marketing?

By on Nov 2, 2015 in News | 0 comments

There is no denying that content marketing has taken over. More and more companies of all sizes and budgets are caring more about what they say, how they say it and to whom they say it. But what is content marketing really? Many of my clients come to me and know they need to put out content but most aren’t really sure where to start. Some still need to be convinced. There are many definitions about what content marketing is but simplified it’s a frame of reference shift from selling to informing and educating. It’s about creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to your audience. The goal is to drive consumer choices, educate and inform, and compel your audience to action. Instead of a focusing on selling and pitching your products and services, you’re helping to make your audience more intelligent and more informed, and in turn, your audience rewards you with their business and brand loyalty. You end up becoming a trusted go-to source for information and the by-product of that is selling your products and services. Many of my small business clients come to me lamenting the fact that they don’t have great stories to tell. Granted, nonprofit organizations have a wealth of readily available stories and content, often more so than businesses but the stories are still there. Often it’s just a matter of brainstorming ideas and having a solid strategy. Developing a solid content strategy is the first-step. From a simple starting strategy to something more complex, the below gives you the basics. Audience-Focused – Remember your content is about your audience and not about you. Think about relationship building. If all you did was talk about yourself, how far would you get in developing good relationships? Not very far usually. Define who your audience segments are and what they need to know about your industry or even information that effects their decision making. Your brand story – Most people don’t know your industry like you do. Whether you know it or not, you have many stories to tell. This phase of your strategy will help you determine what stories to tell. What kinds of information help to educate your audience about your industry...

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Your Words Matter

By on Oct 6, 2015 in News | 0 comments

A few years ago while I was helping a friend start his private investigation firm with nothing more than the borrowed money for licensing fees, we talked about how to grow the business with no starting capital in the height of the economic downturn. We had no option but to get creative. I put my skills as a writer and researcher to use. We pitched press releases and feature stories to local newspapers. We pitched ourselves and developed relationships with local journalists, who in turn came to us for resources and quotes when they were writing a story related to our industry. We also weren’t afraid to connect them with other experts when we didn’t have access to the information they needed. Eventually, when money was flowing in, we even bought some radio advertising and were guests on a morning radio show. That was an interesting adventure. Money from the first case he landed, he reinvested some of it into joining the local Chamber of Commerce. We connected with other members, business leaders in our community and attorneys. We sent letters to these attorneys telling them about his work. We even had a few in-person meetings from that and landed some great cases. We went to events and networked. And we wrote a lot – letters, RFPs, website copy, blog articles and eventually pitched stories to PI Magazine, an international trade magazine for private investigators, lawyers and other investigators. This month my article on “Understanding the Characters of a Pedophile” is the cover story. This is the fourth cover story I’ve landed, and I think the 15th article I’ve written for them since 2009. The good part is PI Magazine pays me for my work. These articles have turned into podcast appearances and radio and newspaper interviews, and most important a great relationship with a wonderful magazine. Looking back, we grew our business with great messaging and nothing more. Practiced elevator speeches for networking events, written letters and articles and great website copy. We worked hard to get to the top of the first page of Google and are still there. The lesson for us is the same one I have for my current business clients. It doesn’t take...

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What’s Trending?

By on Aug 22, 2015 in News | 0 comments

One of the first questions clients ask me when we talk about their content is – How can we stay relevant? The second – How can we get the media interested in the stories we need to tell? These are two very important questions and the answers are easier than you would think. Read the News – Sometimes it’s just that simple. And if you aren’t following your industry’s news or the national news about topics related to your industry, then you already missed the first step in staying relevant. The title of this post says it all – What’s trending? Meaning what is everyone talking about related to your industry and are you a part of that conversation. If not, why not? Give Your Two Cents – Through creating content you can join the conversation. You can write and pitch stories with your own unique viewpoint about what’s being talked about in your industry. Do you agree? Disagree? Have another angle to add? Post the content to your website and share it via social media. Respond to other articles and get your name and business out there. Silence is your enemy. Know Your Research – What is the research from your field saying? What new studies are coming down the pike? Stay informed and keep up to date. The more you are in-the-know, the easier you can share information and be a resource and expert to your audience and the media. Be a Conversation Starter – Don’t sit back and wait for others to start the important dialogue. If there are related subjects in your field not being discussed and you think it’s important, start the conversation yourself and invite others to join you. Nothing positions you as a leader quicker than being in front of the story but you have to stay current in your industry to be relevant....

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After a Media Interview

By on Apr 28, 2015 in News | 0 comments

If you think your work is over once you’ve given a media interview, think again. A few perfect touches after the interview can ensure you make the most out of your media exposure and position you perfectly for future interviews. Follow up: Don’t forget to follow-up after the interview, especially if you promised to send additional information during the interview. Send a note or email and use this opportunity to say thank you and briefly reiterate any points you want to make clear. This is also the time you can briefly add in a point or two you might have forgotten, and let the journalist know you are available should they need additional information. Always let them know you are willing to further assist in this or any future story. While you may not hear back from the journalist, they won’t forget the gesture, and it leaves the door open for future contact. Share: Make sure to keep watch for the news segment or story to run. When it’s available, use this as another opportunity to keep your network informed. Post the link on your website and social media pages as well as include the coverage in your most recent press kit. If it’s a really compelling piece, send an email newsletter with the link and additional thoughts and comments on the story that’s relevant to your readership. Get Social: If you aren’t already, make sure you follow the journalist and the news outlet on Twitter and Facebook if their professional pages are available. Twitter is a great way to connect with journalists. Evaluate: The only way you’ll get better at media interviews is to really evaluate how you do from interview to interview. Remember what you did well and think about how you could improve upon areas that need improvement. Were you prepared? Could you have provided better research or information from your industry or organization? Were there questions you stumbled over or ones that should have been easier for you to answer? It’s okay, good media interviews take practice for even the most seasoned professional. Evaluate and keep...

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Success During a Media Interview

By on Mar 4, 2015 in News | 0 comments

There are several things during the interview that you can do to ensure that your message remains clear and you have a good successful interview. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and be as articulate as possible. Answer each question honestly: While giving a media interview you should never use the phrase “no comment.” You must be truthful in your responses and answer each question or you will seem evasive. If there is a legitimate or pending legal reason for not answering a question, simply state that you cannot answer it and give the reason. If you do not know an answer, don’t make something up. Simply state that you will need to look up the information so you can provide the most factual data. Ask if you can email the information after the interview. Avoid Jargon: There is nothing worse when reading copy than trying to decipher industry jargon and acronyms. Neither have any place in a media interview. If your audience has to figure out what you’re talking about then they aren’t paying attention to your message. Speak clearly and plainly so a wide audience will be able to understand. Be Engaging: The more you can show interest and passion for the subject the more engaged you will seem. It’s okay to use stories and anecdotes to illustrate and simplify your points. These can make for good copy as well. Also remember that the journalist probably does not know as much as you about the topic so you should try to educate and provide information in an informative and engaging way. Control & Redirect: There can always be an uncomfortable question or two so be ready to redirect. Answer the question but follow it up with the redirect. “Yes, but the other thing to consider is…..” “What we really discovered is…..” “The lesson we learned…..” “Another important fact is…..” Emphasize key points: You’ll be saying a lot during the interview but to make sure your main points are made indicate through your words what’s most important. “The key point is….” “The most important thing to remember is…..” “What’s critical at this time….” “Our biggest impact has been…..” Nothing is Off the Record: This...

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Before a Media Interview

By on Feb 18, 2015 in News | 0 comments

For even the most seasoned professionals, media interviews can be stressful. Will I say the right thing? Will I know all the answers? What if they ask something I don’t know or have all the facts about? What if I’m misquoted? For many business and nonprofit leaders, the stress of the media interview can be a reason to turn down the opportunity. But a good interview is one of the most effective tools in your public relations arsenal. And if you are prepared, it can ease the stress and make for a more effective interview. Here are a few ways to prep for an effective media interview: Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask the journalist questions before the interview takes place so you can prepare in advance. Try to find out what information or research would be helpful to them, what their angle on the story will be and anyone else they might be interviewing for their story. Some journalists are even willing to email their questions ahead of time so you can prepare. Don’t forget to research the journalist and see the other stories they have written. Research: Make sure you know your subject and any current available research – both research you support and research you may be opposed to or may be controversial. Make sure you are well-versed in both. Have facts and figures and any other relevant data available during the interview so it’s an easy reference for you. In addition, make sure you prepare and have on hand any company fact sheets and backgrounders. Practice: If you have not received the journalist’s questions ahead of the interview, prepare your own Q&A of potential questions. Don’t forget to include some difficult or challenging questions a journalist may ask so you can practice how to answer in the most positive way. Even consider asking a co-worker to practice interviewing you so you can see how your responses sound to someone else. This also helps you refine your responses. Sound bites: Sometimes the simplest answers are best. Practice and hone your messages to a few key points. Creating simplified quotable key messages will help ensure your information comes across correctly and your words aren’t misconstrued. If you...

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Learning AP Style

By on Feb 4, 2015 in News | 0 comments

When writing a press release, style is important. Press releases are typically written in the Associated Press (AP) style format based on the most updated AP Style Guide. (Take a look here for the most updated version.) One small mistake won’t cost you but it’s important to try to stay as close to AP style as possible when writing. And it’s important to take a look at updates as AP style can change over time. The following are some AP Style rules you should follow: State Names Spell out state names in the body of stories. You will still use abbreviations in datelines, photo captions, lists, etc. Months & Dates Only abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. when using it with a specific date. (Feb. 5, 2015) Spell out the months when they stand alone or are combined with a year. February 2015 Numbers Write out the numbers one through nine and use numerals for numbers 10 and higher. Professional Titles Do not capitalize job titles unless they immediately precede someone’s name. (Mayor Sam Smith vs. Sam Smith, mayor of Austin, Texas) Titles Newspapers and magazines are capitalized, not italicized. Books, movies, TV shows, works of art, etc., use quotation marks around them. Academic Degrees There is an apostrophe in the word “bachelor’s” and in “master’s,” (the proper names are Bachelor of Arts/Science and Master of Arts/Science) and an AA is called an “associate degree.” Percent Write out the word “percent” instead of using the “%” sign. Farther vs. Further When referring to a physical distance, use “farther”. When referring to an extension of time or degree, use...

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Creating an Editorial Calendar

By on Dec 10, 2014 in News | 0 comments

December is a great time of year to reflect back on your content from last year and assess what did or didn’t work. Hopefully, if you’ve been tracking your social media, email marketing and website all year long, the stats will be readily available. If not, it’s a good time to plan how you’ll track for next year. It’s also the perfect time to start preparing your editorial calendar for the year ahead. So what is an editorial calendar? It helps you with strategy, organization and project management. It helps you plan your content themes for each month and what topics you’ll cover. Some use an editorial calendar to plot out how many blog articles will be written each month, their dates of publication and content. The same for email marketing and social media content. For most of my clients, we sketch out three months at a time, some go as far as six months but it’s important to leave room for new topics that might be in the media you’d like to respond to or things coming up you want to highlight for your business. An editorial calendar is meant to be a guide and not something written in stone. Remember you can easily shift content around as needed. How an Editorial Calendar Helps: Managing and scheduling your own blog posts and social media Scheduling blog posts by guest authors Scheduling the creation and deployment of other marketing materials Tracking events that can generate content such as conferences, holidays and awareness days (particularly if you’re a nonprofit) Gathering ideas that lead to content An editorial calendar takes away last minute panic about what articles you’re writing and when you are sending content out. Every editorial calendar can be slightly different, some of my clients even include: The person responsible for researching and writing the content The type of content published and when it’s published Where you plan to publish it What you hope to achieve and how success will be measured This is something each organization can customize for themselves. A simple Google search will help you see editorial calendar samples and you can choose what works for your organization and what doesn’t. For those using WordPress two...

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