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Sixty Second Secrets by Susan Harrow Sell yourself without selling your soul

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Dear Friends,

Thanks to all of you who wrote in and contributed to my newsletter and book. The book, or "The Tome" as I've taken to calling it, is done-for the moment. If any of you have resources, stories, tips, strategies or really wild things you've done, I may be able to include them in the next edit. Keep your stories coming.

Alas, though, my website is in the works (my web designer is also a drummer and got a gig playing on Broadway in "The Full Monty") it's taking a bit longer to finish than either of us expected, I'm looking for testimonials from those of you who have bought my tapes and booklets or used my services to post. As always, I'm interested in concrete results where you've taken action and received greater recognition, gained more time to do the things you want, more clients, more prestigious publicity, more sold products, gotten better speaking gigs etc.

Another note: I'm renaming the newsletter, "Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul®-60 Second Secrets." I'm taking my own advice to develop a recognizable brand. And as you move forward you will want to consider doing the same.

Personally, I'm looking for a fulfillment house to ship my booklets and tapes that is well-versed in selling on the Internet. Any ideas?

Since last month's newsletter focused on radio interviews, in this month's I'll share ways to handle a print interview. Here are some tips "hot off the press" from my book...



1. Remember you're always on the record.
Even when the tape is off, even when the reporter has put away his pad, even when you think that the reporter thinks you walk on water, you are on the record.

One of my clients who knows better, gave an interview to a columnist at a prominent national paper. She thought they had a jolly rapport and became a bit loose lipped about the fortune the business had amassed in a hard-won deal. The interviewer positioned her as a spoiled and arrogant twit who had, to a certain degree, lucked out. She called me fuming, and at the same time knowing it was her fault.

The reporter is not your therapist so this is not the time to discuss your innermost workings. I remember a friend of mine saying that there was nothing so mesmerizing as having a therapist listen to her in with total attention. It's seductive to know that a person finds you fascinating. While you're not paying a reporter, their job similar to a therapist's, is to be a skilled listener. The reporter is there to do one thing-get a good story. If you don't want to see it in print, don't let those precious words leave your lips. Period.

2. Don't beg.
Your lips are made for talking. While it's imperative to be attentive don't bow, scrape or otherwise raise your lips to the posterior of the reporter. You are there because you have valuable information to impart. Much as some reporters pretend they don't need you, you're a critical part of their job. Focus on their questions and your message and you'll make a good interview.

3. Ask to verify your quotes.
Author Bill Barich describes his first media encounter for his first book "Laughing in the Hills." "So I flew off to New York in February with a borrowed suitcase, feeling for all the world like John Boy Walton, the would-be-writer of television fame. The magazine (The New Yorker) put me up at the Algonquin Hotel, directly across from its headquarters, and soon I was seated in the regal lobby bar and conducting an interview with a journalist from (of all places) Women's Wear Daily, who'd been dispatched by The Viking Press for some advance publicity.

Hardly a pro and suffering from years of isolation, I delivered an impromptu lecture on the importance of literacy in a democratic society (a surefire topic for the poor guy's audience) and forgot to mention my book. When the story ran, I had my first experience of being misquoted.

My entire lecture was boiled down to a single remark, "If you can't read, you shouldn't be allowed to vote." (SF Examiner Magazine, April 12, 1998).

To avoid a similar fate, prepare your sound bites well. Have the reporter read your quotes back to you so you can correct any inaccuracies. Realize though, that if you're not pleased with what you've said, the reporter is under no obligation to let you try again. Though if you can think of something well worth quoting that sounds better they will be inclined to use the clearer, sassier quote. Verifying your quotes will help reporters resist the temptation to condense what you say while trying to keep the spirit intact. The New York Times is one of the few publications whose editorial and style and usage manual dictates that its reporters not doctor a quote.

4. Request your contact information be included.
Be very clear on how you would like to be identified and contacted. Give the reporter the correct spelling of your name, title, business, phone number, URL and any other relevant information. Ask for what you want. Think about what will bring you the maximum clients, exposure, whatever it is you desire and ask to list those things first. If it's best for your 800# or website request they be included.

5. Invite the reporter to call you back with any additional questions.
Once a reporter gets back to his desk he may find that he forgot something he wished he had asked-but may not want to seem unprofessional or negligent and so might prefer to leave something out rather than keep it in error. Another reporter may be one sandwich short of a picnic, or brand new and not know the ropes. To cover all types of reporters ask if you may call the reporter back in the event that you think of something you'd like to add. This is a great way to insure accuracy and save face. And to maintain control over and shape your own story. Happy interviewing!

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Copyright © 2002 - 2012 Susan Harrow, All Rights Reserved. Media coach & marketing expert Susan Harrow is author of "Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul®." Get the book and your gift of her monthly newsletter of publicity and marketing tips (a $197/year value!) at

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