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.

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     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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Jan 31 2011

STOP Beating Down Doors!

A knock unanswered is a nudge


in the direction of more


productive selling, not an


invitation to pound on the door.


Every one in every business or profession is engaged in sales. Some don’t want to be. Some don’t accept that they are. Some push so hard running in place that they wear out their treads and lose traction.

Some give up on the starting line.


For the benefit of those from the “knock ’em dead” school of pushy salesmanship (who are probably out there selling cars instead of reading this anyway), put all “the failing economy” excuses aside, and consider these ugly face-the-facts truisms as you examine reasons for not making sales quota:

Assertiveness is not aggressiveness.

Speaking up for yourself is not the same

as punching someone in the nose

. . . and the flip side:

No one ever bought anything

from a slab of fish fillet.

How happy this news must make all you handshake aficionados who are smart enough to know deliver a handshake that comes down the middle, avoiding both the MMA bone-crusher grip and the floppy wet, soaped-up washcloth slither slide.

Effective, successful sales professionals mimic and resemble in attitude what they present of themselves in that first three customer-size-up seconds of presenting a genuine smile, trustworthy eye contact, and a handshake that speaks of authenticity.

So why do most home and business service providers not get it? Most one-man-band performers see themselves as service provider performers, not sales professionals . . . not sales anything.

They are SEO consultants, or upholsterers, or plumbers or electricians, or painters, or carpenters, or designers, or bookkeepers, or carpet cleaners, or hairdressers, or artists, or window-washers, or specialty retailers, or delivery service people, or car service specialists, or appliance repair specialists, or photographers, or building maintenance people, or writers or editors, or . . . you name it.

They are not, and do not want to be salespeople.

They are not and do not want to be politicians.

They are not and do not want to be agents.

They DO want to be businesspeople and get paid fairly for their services, but most are not willing to be open-minded enough to accept that today’s market for home and business services is filled with less capable, more personable provider options.

And being successful means being able to compete . . . not by being “Mr. or Ms. Personality” but by being more focused on how they come across to others, on how carefully they listen.

It really doesn’t take much to ask questions, listen carefully to the answers without interrupting, take notes, nod, smile, offer reassurance, and hand over a supportive piece of paper or simple folder that outlines the basics:

  • credentials

  • insurance and bonding contacts

  • customer references

  • contact information

  • payment terms

  • satisfaction guarantee

  • ah, yes, and a website address (simple outperforms nothing every time!)

There’s no need to stand in place and recite these.

Face-to-face time must be used productively, listening 80%, talking 20%!

When a best-effort presentation or introduction has been made, and there’s no expression of interest, or there’s an expression of interest but the prospect literally “disappears,” stop beating your fist (head?) against the guy’s door.

A dead-in-the-water sales pitch will not revive itself because you don’t want to give up. It will instead eat your time up sideways, and haunt you. Knock on another door.

Accept that what you had to offer just didn’t work for that person at that time and/or that she/he simply overlooked being courteous enough to not lead you on . . . and get on with life!



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“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 17 2010




     Business people who read books are smarter by far than those who don’t. Any businesspeople. Any business. Any books. (Source: opinion, based on many years’ experience in the role of a  businessperson, as well as in the roles of author, editor, and publisher.)

     If we are to believe the technologically-heralding reports from popular and questionably-prominent online publishing industry sources that are marching (stampeding?) shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the Internet’s more narcissistic literary agents, paper books are on a suicide mission.

     It is, if you’re listening to their breathless banter, only a matter of time before libraries become mausoleums or are emptied for fireplace kindling (uh, no, wait, that would be too much air pollution, right?). 

     Has hi-tech trespassed on sacred ground? Are books as we know them truly doomed? Will  school and campus backpack industries fold? Without backpacks, will chiropractors go out of business? Will the control of human life by basic plastics industry businesses like American Express, MasterCard and Visa come to an end?

     Will the basic plasticpeople collapse in the face of the all powerful Oz … only to relinquish their control of humanity to more sophisticated plasticpeople? We shall depart from the influences of mere plastic cards to instead be controlled by a consortium of tech babies cranking out the likes of Amazon Kindles, Hearst Skiffs, and Apple iPads?

     First of all, except for the POD (Print On Demand) entrepreneurial upstarts, the  industry— not terribly unlike banking and healthcare — is at least a thousand years behind times. Publishers, editors, agents, literature professors and many writers continue to re-arrange their blankets and umbrellas as the tsunami heads for the beach.

     Many continue to sit on their hands, rocking back and forth, waiting for the new tech revolution to lift them out of their arcane library stacks and into cyberspace where they can look back over their shoulders and count the dead and dying works of fiction and nonfiction that have cornerstoned our planet since the beginning of time.

     But here’s a hefty sprinkling of reality: Paper books will not die in our lifetimes. (Source: opinion, based on many years’ experience in the role of a  businessperson, as well as … uh, did I say that before?) Books as we have always known them , may in fact increase in number and value as tech advances continue to astound even those computer gurus of the 90s.

     Because? Because with even all the books in the world catalogued into a single, lightweight, bendable, rechargeable pad you can carry inside your jacket … there is nothing like a book! And there is especially nothing like a shelf or room full of books to coax first your eyes, then your fingers, into submission. Computerized page-turning replication is not page-turning.

     And nostalgia aside, there is still nothing like being able to open two or six or ten volumes for side-by-side study … to be able to go back and forth to compare and contrast the creations and opinions and research findings in side-by-side reviews of author fantasies and expertise. And can you imagine curling up in front of a warm fire with your dog and a good electronic pad?

     Yes, there are some things, important and dramatic things, like humanness, that technology will never be able to recreate. Books can be accessed via tech readers and go into computerized reading devices. They can be formatted for online reading and downloaded on your printer as ebooks, but the humanness of books can never be replaced. I mean, imagine no “thunk” when you drop one.

Comment below or direct to Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT DayGet blog emails FREE via RSS feed OR $1 mo Amazon Kindle. Gr8 Gift 4 GRANDPARENTS: http://bit.ly/3nDlGF

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Nov 30 2008

Relax? Yes, but it’s also a great time to get work done!

This is the time


  between waves. 


     Have you ever noticed the utter serenity of the sea in between waves? 

     How much is that like your life and the work you do? 

     Thanksgiving visits and family were here in a tidal wave (perhaps more like a tsunami for some), and gone . . . tiny stones and shells aclatter, scamper down the beach in withdrawal as the tide turns low. 

     Business activity slows incrementally to more of a crawl each day between now and New Year’s when it all grinds to a halt.  Ah, but not for entrepreneurs or manufacturers!  Not for writers!  Not for retailers!  Not for emergency personnel!  Not for those forced out of work by economic uncertainty.   

     This is the time between waves. 

     Now is when small business owners and operators and manufacturing enterprise management can finally take a breather from the year-long pounding of phones, faxes, mail deliveries, media broadcasts, meetings, conferences, emails, text messages, trade shows, endless travel itineraries, and industry reports, and get some real work done.

     Now is when their attentions shift to strategizing, planning, scheduling, catch-up reading, assessing, courtesy-calling, audits and inventories, and getting ready for the next big wave in January. 

     Writers?  Yup!  Now is when writers can drop back from their day-to-day discipline and actually review what they’ve done; this time between waves is the perfect time to edit and polish and prepare to get the manuscript or feature story done, to get an agent, get a publisher, get a direction for developing more freelance work. 

     Retailers?  Let’s not even go there.  This between waves time is “make it or break it.”  No time even to think. 

     Emergency personnel?  We all know that emergencies never stop and, if anything, they increase dramatically during the holiday season . . . and afterward, especially during the depression-heightened month of January! 

     So holidays mean relaxing business ebbs for some, and ulcerous anxieties for others.  Where are you right now?  You’re definitely not a retailer or EMT or ER nurse because you’d never have time to read this. 

     So since you are reading this far, it might be useful to remind yourself to make the choice to take full advantage of being between the waves.  It’s easy to get caught up in nonproductive activities, but you won’t get this valuable “down time” back until –maybe– the end of next year!  DO relax, but don’t fade away.        

     If you’re out of work, don’t count yourself out and head for the bridge.  You have the ability to pull yourself back up, kick yourself in the butt (a bit tricky, but not impossible for most!), and propel yourself forward back into the job market. 

     Remember that every problem that a company has is an opportunity for you to find the job that’s right for you, either in that company or another.  Stop beating yourself up.  Get focused.  And go for it!  Make it happen!  You can do it if you really want to.  All behavior is a choice.  Choose to make it easy


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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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