Posts Tagged "business"

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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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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Run Out of Blog Content? Never.

By on Oct 29, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Through my work, I help my business clients develop their editorial calendars for their blog posts. Inevitably everyone hits the wall and runs out of ideas at one time or another. Here are just some quick ideas on how to generate new content for your blog. Remember though, it’s important that your content has a purpose. That it in some way connects back to your business and reinforces your brand. Not every blog post should be written as a sales piece – that’s probably one of the quickest ways to turn off your readership. However, it should at least educate and inform on your industry or connect why your business matters. Interviews with Staff – Give your staff people a voice. Help your readers to know the names, faces and personalities of those who help support your clients and grow your business. Include why they work for you and what impact they have for your clients. Client Stories – Let’s hear from your clients. Don’t just provide us a great quote. That’s important but tell us about the project or what the client does and the overall impact you had for them. Response to Latest News – This is two-fold. It requires you to pay attention to news from your industry and gives you a platform on how it connects to your business specifically. Do you agree or disagree with a written piece? Do you have additional information or a local angle to a national story? Share it. Inform & Educate – What’s a question most people in your field won’t answer? What should your clients know most about your industry? Forget about making a sale and become the go-to resource in your industry. Give us a little history – Don’t be boring but tell us something really interesting about your business success. Did something unexpected happen where you learned a great business lesson? Let us know. Bottom line, most people love to learn from others from their triumphs and their lessons...

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Creating Effective Mission, Vision and Value Statements

By on Oct 22, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Just about every business and nonprofit has a mission, vision and/or value statements. But ensuring these statements are effective remains elusive for many. Often these statements are too long, cumbersome and full of jargon. While they should be used primarily for internal communication with staff, management, board of directors and other stakeholders, they should still be easy to read, recite and understand. What’s the difference between mission, vision and value statements? A mission statement is your reason for being; it is what the organization does and sometimes how it does it. It is the overarching statement of purpose. It should not be a list of services or too broad in nature. You need to strike the right balance in summing up the organization’s reason for being without limiting the organization to a detailed list of services. A vision statement is what the world looks like if you achieved your mission. For most organizations, it is an almost unreachable goal and describes the end result that can be accomplished. Many nonprofits have vision statements where for-profit businesses have value statements. Value statements describe top priorities and core beliefs and often focus on business culture. Timing of reviewing and revising There is no set standard for reviewing and revising these statements. However, a good standard to live by is every time you do a new strategic plan. If your organization has not done a strategic plan, you should engage in strategic planning every three to five years. That is usually the perfect time to see if these statements continue to reflect the direction and purpose of the organization. Creation If you are a new business or nonprofit or need to revise consider the following first. Have a serious conversation about these statements with your key management, board of directors, staff and other stakeholders. See if they resonate still. Do they make sense to stakeholders? Do stakeholders understand them? This simple exercise can yield a lot of valuable information about their effectiveness and what changes might need to take place. Consider the following questions when creating language for your mission statement: What is the purpose of the organization, and what does it hope to accomplish? How does it go about accomplishing its...

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