Jun 13 2011

No News Is BAD News!

Silence is NOT golden!


Just because you get the news release done and out, doesn’t mean anybody cares!

I ran a small “News Release” workshop recently, and was reminded of how important news releases have become in the face of government-borne economic recovery impossibilities being shoved down the throats of struggling small businesses. When you can’t afford to advertise, you twist your message into news and release it into cyberspace.

Public and community relations are free

but not easy!


The problem is that even after you’ve done a 100% perfect job of packaging what you want to say, the media people who get your release, simply don’t care. It has to suit their whimsy, sense of balance, and their boss’s mood… unless you’ve been holding hands and buying them lunches for years, and toss some advertising bucks their way!

To get around all thisyou actually do need to package your message 100% perfectly –format and content both. `It must be NEWSWORTHY.  Self-serving, salesy, promotional, and contrived releases get deleted and trashed in record time. Editors and writers and news directors are usually much smarter than the companies they work for.

You’re expecting free publicity. What you say has to make a difference for your recipient’s audience.

Every release needs a personalized, respectful, courteous cover note that thanks the recipient for her or his time and consideration. It also needs to make some kick-butt statement about what makes the attached/enclosed release important to the recipient’s audience. You need to know the readers and viewers as well as the editors and writers.

So, random “Dear Talking Head” notes? No.

Homework first? Yes.


 A while back, I read a blog post by Laurie Halter:

“The Press Release Is Dead.”


Don’t believe it. Especially from someone who still -archaically– calls it a “Press” release! (Though she happens to be a truly superb writer!). The point is she’s wrong.

It has simply become much harder to make news releases work, but for those who persevere and are willing to trade hard work and a tenacious follow-up effort for free exposure that is proven to be over ten times more credible than paid advertising, the return on investment can be great.

All of this of course assumes (I know, I know, a dangerous word) that you are prepared to be exceptionally creative in the manner with which you present your newsworthiness. Like a billboard or online banner, catchy short (six and seven-words max) headlines get results.

Your headline needs to attract attention, create interest, stimulate desire and –hopefully– bring about or promise action, along with offering some assurance of satisfaction. Just the headline alone? Yes, just the headline alone, in seven words or less!

The opening paragraph will ideally give the reader the who, what, when , where, why and how of what the release is all about, and do that in 3-4 lines of type. Open your release with your name and contact information (email address and phone number), and close with a standard block of descriptive “elevator speech” copy.



Double check that the intended recipients are still employed where you’re directing your release, that they still spell their name the same, that they still have the same title, and that the email address/address is still the same. Media people live much more transient lives than most of us. One reporter I know changed jobs 3 times in one week!

If you are the boss, don’t expect miracles. Expect that the job is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and slow to get results (on the average, it takes 5-6 releases to the same person before actual news coverage is realistically considered. If your investment is backed by skillful writing and determined energy, you will get a return.

# # #

     Hal@Businessworks.US or 931.854.0474

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Feb 09 2011

Business Thunder

How loud or quiet are


your community relations?

LOUD (high profile) community relations development counts most for:

  • Educational and healthcare-based facilities and organizations (e.g., schools, hospitals, libraries, rehab centers)
  • Professional practices (especially doctors, dentists, therapists, lawyers, and accountants).
  • Retailers of every variety, size, and description (from restaurants to auto showrooms to department stores)
  • Real estate professionals and all affiliated services
  • Religious-based organizations
  • Consumer transportation and shipping businesses)

These entities and individuals need to make positive community involvement impressions because their business interests are community-involved in direct consumer ways. They can achieve this by designing PR programs that support those communities that support their business and professional interests.

It’s called “enlightened self-interest” and it’s a good thing.

It means “enlightened” as to the perceived needs of key communities, neighborhoods, and regions, and taking a leadership posture that will produce good deeds which will ultimately produce some return on the investments of time, money and energy.

This is not the same thing as opportunism.

There is no selfishness involved.

Enlightened self-interest simply means following the awareness that the more good a business can do for the communities it serves, the more that appreciation for those good works will surface, and the more return can be realized, which ultimately allows the business to channel and contribute even more.

It’s all about demonstrating a sense of charity and coming at it from a position of strength which, in turn, makes even more charity possible. It’s hard to give meaningfully from a position of weakness. There’s nothing at all wrong with doing that; it’s simply limiting.

QUIET (low profile) community relations development counts most for:

  • Manufacturers, fabricators, and distributors
  • Home improvement services
  • Online businesses
  • B to B services (except media)
  • Personal and family services (e.g., counseling, funeral homes, home care)
  • Industrial and professional transportation and shipping businesses

These types of businesses have less need for public exposure in the community relations efforts they undertake, but no less of a need to be actively involved.

Both LOUD and QUIET community relations serve important purposes for all involved.

They can be achieved by ongoing and consistent efforts of groups, teams and individuals engaged in activities that benefit the welfare of others through guidance and participation in events, programs, sponsorships, news releases, and public stances on community-benefit positions.

There is never any shortage of needs your business can provide. Set budgets and terms for participating with matching dollar donations . . . and/or contributions of cash awards, products, services, time, facilities, contacts, equipment, and leadership.

# # #

931.854.0474 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!”   [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jan 25 2011

As we sow, so shall we reap.

Do the WAYS


we do business




the results we get?



Do you and your partners, associates, and advisers ALL demonstrate positive upbeat attitudes in practically everything you say and do? When it’s time to swallow hard, eat crow, and bite the bullet (heck of a name for a restaurant!), do you and those around you own up, face the music, take it on the chin, take some deep breaths, and then step forward, onward, and upward? 

Are high-trust responsive attitudes standard fare in all your business dealings? Do you practice and foster “OPEN MINDS OPEN DOORS” attitudes? Are you listening?


Can you honestly say there are no exceptions ever to: the customer is always right, the customer is always right, the customer is always right? (Even when it’s a customer who has overstepped bounds, or someone you don’t particularly like?) Do you and your people try to make EVERY customer deliriously delighted. Are you invested in cultivating repeat sales with a present moment focus? Are you listening?


Are you taking the time and trouble to get to know your people well enough to make the most of their strengths (or are you constantly trying to shore up their weaknesses)? Have you frequently matched employee need levels against Maslow’s Hierarchy (Google or Bing it if you’ve forgotten it) to most effectively motivate productive performances? Do you practice leadership by teaching by example? Are you listening?


Is your level of transparency what you would want it to be if you were investing in you, or referring others to your business? Are you keeping these key connections inside your inner loop? Are you tapping them as resources and regularly soliciting their input. Have you recruited them into unpaid Advisory Board positions? Are you listening?


Do you treat these resource people and companies like partners? Can you extend and generate better terms for exchanging and referring and bartering products and services? Do you keep them competitive with an ongoing bid process, and constantly review their performances while keeping open-minded to other options? Do they know where they stand with you? Are you listening?


Are you running a U.S.Marine Drill Instructors Academy, or a hospice, or something in between? Is the way you run your business in keeping with the industry or profession you’re part of? Is it too much in keeping that it doesn’t stand out? Do your policies and procedures squelch innovative thinking and doing, or enhance it? How lawyer-crazed tight are your policy interpretations? 


Are you constantly making room for top talent, and cultivating it. Are you providing enough of the right kinds of training. Are you aware of how importantly regarded expanded opportunities and responsibilities are to most people? Did you know that young people are positively more attracted to being praised than they are to sex, drugs, and alcohol? 


Are you and your business being good citizens in the various (professional, industry, geographic, neighborhood)communities that patronize your business and support your existence?


When you put God and country first on your business agenda, all the other pieces will fit together because both God and your country will know about your allegiance, your commitment, and where your heart is. As we sow, so shall we reap. 


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# # #

302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!”   [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

One response so far

Jul 31 2010

A Money-Saving Marketing Guide

 The bigger they are,


the harder YOU fall


 …but the little guys


can cripple you too!


Here’s the inside scoop on “outside” marketing experts . . . 35 years’ worth of experience and considered judgment for you to chew and digest:


WEBSITE DESIGNERS who claim to have the gift of marketing genius have nada. If they’re older than 14 to start with — even 30-something — they are still probably 14 mentally; and odds are they haven’t a clue about marketing, but have learned to sound convincing about it. Exceptions? Sure. Check my blogroll.


AD AGENCIES know less than website designers. They are heavily invested in winning themselves awards and cornering clients into excessive payments. They have no down-in-the-trenches sense of how to make sales, nor do they particularly care as long as the next big client stands ready on the horizon.

  •      They are particularly skilled at song and dance “dog and pony shows” that tell clients how great it’s going to be but that accomplish nothing to write home about, as long as the next big client stands ready on the horizon.
  •      If you’re looking for artsy or funny or insulting or dramatic ads and commercials that have high impact but make no sales, go to an ad agency. And the bigger the agency, the more it will cost you and the least likely you’ll get the results you seek.

PR FIRMS do have a pretty good camaraderie with numerous media people and can be effective — depending on whether you pay them $10,000 a month or $15,000 a month — at wining and dining and schmoozing editors, writers, and sometimes publishers into considering coverage for the news releases they write and submit for you.

  •      And they certainly know how to play the news release format game, but they rarely if ever are able to capture the essence of your business message and bring about action because they almost universally seem to think they know more about your business than you do. So what comes out is mundane, meaningless babble.
  •      Make them write three test releases and explain why the words in them are the best words and who and when they would submit them to and why.

MARKETING GROUPS will tell you they’ve got you covered, yet only a minuscule number actually realize that marketing is the umbrella and that the functions under that umbrella include sales, advertising, promotion, packaging, pricing, merchandising, PR (public relations), industry and investor relations, customer service, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), website design and development, email and social media promotional activities, employee alumni associations, buzz (word-of-mouth) marketing, and on and on.

  •      Ask them HOW they “cover” you and see how many of these avenues are mentioned.  

MEDIA. Would you have a guy from the slaughterhouse prepare your meals?


SBA SCORE COUNSELORS. SCORE is Senior Corps of Retired Executives. A lot of the world’s nicest, most well-intentioned people in this organization that provides FREE consulting.

  •      Unfortunately, like the federal government they represent, they are completely out of touch with the realities of day-to-day business management, and may as well be on Jupiter for the marketing guidance they provide. Time is money. Don’t waste your time.

     What’s left? Independent consultants and project managers. Probably these folks represent your best choice, but only if you’re careful in your selection. Some of them are just as crooked as many of the others.

     ASK QUESTIONS. Ask for explanations about HOW a candidate thinks about what she or he claims to have accomplished. Ask for examples. Ask why something that worked well worked well and why something that didn’t, didn’t. How confidentially do they offer information? Who are a couple of client types they can suggest for you to contact to confirm.

     Beware of self-proclaimed “experts”

with cookie-cutter solutions!


# # #  

302.933.0116  Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

3 responses so far

May 26 2009


The Business of Healthcare

Reality is that doctors are no longer” just” examiners, diagnosticians, and healers. In fact, the way things have been going, odds are that something about the healthcare profession will be vastly different by the time we wake up tomorrow morning.

And today, doctors are routinely expected to be insurance experts; banking, investment and financial wizards; administrative hot-shots; marketing, patient relations and community relations gurus; human resource management directors; professional buyers; government compliance champions; shrinks (even if they’re not psychiatrists or psychologists); oh, yes, and family icons.

Does this all add up to patients not getting as much quality care and attention? Of course. How can ANY human being whose existence is devoted to providing professional healthcare be expected to give patients full attention with so many other commitments and expectations tugging at her or his stethoscope? There is a way. Read on.

Thankfully, doctors share many of the same hallmark characteristics as entrepreneurs — from managing diverse cases, juggling breakneck schedules, being able and willing to work long hours and turn on the proverbial dime (if FDR ever knew!), to being self-empowering, quick decision makers with fairly strong delegation skills…and commanding (commandeering?) egos.

     Both–doctors and entrepreneurs–are motivated by the desire for personal achievement and financial gain, as well as a deep sense of things spiritual. Both take reasonable risks. Hence the name I created many years ago: “Doctorpreneurs.”

The differences of course are equally important. Human (and animal) healing, relief, care, wellness, and hope are certainly not software, electronics, transportation…or beer, hot dogs, tobacco, and french fries!

Two telling characteristics common to savvy doctors and true-blooded entrepreneurs is that both will only take reasonable risks, and both are smart enough to recognize that:

A) They don’t know and don’t want to know everything outside their realm of expertise, nor do they want to sacrifice the time it takes to learn because it detracts from their specialized skills and interests, and

B) They need to find and surround themselves with people who are experts in their own fields because in the long run it’s easier and less expensive to pay professional fees than to waste time and energy learning by trial and error.

     These are not traits of government or corporate leaders.

In the end, they are the traits that will hold our embattled healthcare programs and services together in much the same fashion that entrepreneurs (ala Jobs and Gates) will be the true agents of change as captains of small business that will turn the economy’s tide to productivity, prosperity, and growth.

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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