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Sixty Second Secrets by Susan Harrow Sell yourself without selling your soul
Issue No. 85

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Dear Friends,

"I can't use this anymore." Carla held up her left hand that was stretched into a claw. I hadn't noticed that it was frozen as she stood holding her cane with it. "And now this one is starting to go," she said as she pulled her right hand out from behind her back.

At the end of the performance she sat, cane in hand, as we, the audience, applauded her last play with the students from a local college, and in one of the starring roles, her 15 year old son, Mac.

I thought about how we are all put to the test, one day, every day. Ray Charles said, "Live every day like it's your last because one day you're gonna be right," which made me laugh. Looking at Carla's hand scrunched up from ALS did not.

Carla seemed almost cavalier about her own death. It is impending, as all of ours is, just not as obviously. "What are you going to do?" a man asked Carla about her hand. The hand that had written the play that we were enjoying; the hand that typed her blog; the hand that would go to the grave with her within the next few months or years. "Get Mac Voice," she said.

What struck me in that moment is the idea that if one thing doesn't work, try another. Not so easy if it's your hand or another body part. But sometimes we forget that there are other options, most born of necessity. We can apply Carla's good sense to a PR campaign which is far simpler than grappling with a rapidly failing body.

When my sweetie told Carla he was still perfecting the screenplay she had created the seed for, she blurted out something like: In the theater we don't have time for that. Perfection is a luxury. Like in life this play is messy and undone and we still have to put it on. The kids are improvising as they go. Lots of the stuff you've just seen was not written in the play.

While I advocate planning, preparing and practicing before you begin contacting the media, Carla is right. Dealing with the media is messy and there's lots of improvisation and room for improvement. But the play must go on.

I explained to a new client who has never done PR: We'll work on a press release together with an angle I think the media will love. But if they don't, we'll try another. It's as simple as that. Sometimes the media picks up the least likely idea. Life isn't science, it's an experiment.

So if you haven't yet forged forward and are waiting until you've got it all just right, remember the saying that "The forest would be a quiet place if only the best birds sang." We need your song now to enliven the space between the trees.



P.S. Scroll down to the Come Meet Me section as I have some new ideas that you can listen to on Internet radio free about how you can sing your song without sounding like a squawking parrot.

Listen to This Newsletter

A lot of people say they don't have so much time to read anymore. How about taking a listen? I'm trying an experiment here. Please let me know what you think on my blog. Do you prefer listening to the newsletter? Click here to listen.

Post Comments on My Blog

Many of you wrote in last month with strong opinions about the piece I wrote about Eckhart Tolle and Lauren Conrad and I requested that you post your comments on my blog. If you feel called this week to speak your mind about anything in this newsletter, please post your thoughts there and I will respond.

Press Release Failures: Rejoice About Them

My friend Margo Hackett told me that there was a conference in Aspen called "Failure." It was about how failing is a positive thing. We all know this, but many of us dread it just the same. Yet, failure is how we learn fastest.

A Japanese proverb states, "Fall seven times, stand up eight." When she worked as the Marketing Director of the San Francisco Symphony, her mentor often told her not to worry as there were a million ideas available all the time. "But," he said, "you have to do one of them."

Another thing Margo's mentor taught her, when she was obsessing about whether she had the right photo for the cover of a brochure that was about to go to print for 250,000 copies, he said, "Margo, there comes a point that any brochure is better than no brochure."

"That simple sentence has saved my life a billion times when I couldn't make up my mind," she said. Following that advice had dramatic consequences.... "Through my many mistakes and successes, attendance at the symphony rose to be among the highest number of ticket sales in the country."

Let's apply some of Margo's wisdom to your press releases when they fail to take:

1. Change the headline.

When I spoke recently at a Bulldog Reporter's PR University Audio Conference called Write Like a Journalist: A 90 Minute Tune-Up to Give Your PR Writing More Power, Joe Grimm, one of the other presenters said something that made me prick up my ears. Joe is Staff Development Coordinator for Detroit Free Press, a newspaper that closely monitors its readership online. He told me that they tweaked the headlines to the articles they post online several, sometimes numerous times every day to see what readers respond to. When they find what works they keep it. You can do the same.

In fact you could use the chapter on titles in my ebook, Get a 6 Figure Book Advance to inspire you. In it, I give you formulas that best-selling authors have used for their "jump off the shelves" books. You'll get dozens of proven strategies plus how to give your title/headline the sass factor that will help inspire you to think of headlines that stick. Get it here.

In addition to using these methods to map out headlines, you can also take a look at other sources to spark your imagination. Go to your local bookstore and read the magazine cover teaser copy for the articles inside. Watch the teasers (those short enticing blurbs that tell you what's coming up next) before any national daytime TV show or evening news show.

2. Change Perspective.

For one client, I wrote a press release from several angles. The first one was from the viewpoint of a work-at-home mom who had created freedom for herself with a job that allowed her the time to jet her son to the emergency room when he had a bicycle accident. The other showcased her original survey that showed new data on her profession. The third was about how she created the largest online community of its kind that benefited both her members and those members' perspective clients. When one point of view doesn't work, flip it upside down, sideways and inside out. That way you have three chances of getting media attention instead of just one.

3. Do Research.

Sometimes, all it takes to make something new is a shiny tidbit of new information. Reporters, editors and producers are always looking for the next new, new, thing; the strange, the counter-intuitive, the bizarre, the controversial. When you pull together some statistics and facts to prove the point, you're giving your press release a surprising new shape. For one client who co-authored a book with her autistic son, we came up with this fresh take:

[While most kindergarteners are picking their noses and feeding their broccoli to the dog, six-year-old Jace Richards was publishing his first book.

Atlanta, GA — Last month, over 60,000 grownups attempted to write a novel (even a really bad one) by participating in National Novel Writing Month, and nearly 90% of them failed. Depressing? Sure. Especially when you consider that young kids all over the country are taking time out between Power Rangers and, well, time-outs, to write bestsellers.

There's an amazing new trend emerging in publishing: child authors. These young scribes, with their uninhibited passion and unfiltered emotions, are turning out profound and meaningful books that speak to adults as well as kids.]

Packaging the statistics is what made this press release newsworthy. You'll notice the child author isn't even mentioned until the third paragraph. We put what the reporters care most about first—the news. The outcome? We got dozens of calls from media all over the country that resulted in articles—and book sales.

Sir Winston Churchill said, "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." As you're writing and sending out your press release, remember that when one thing doesn't work, try another. Sometimes the smallest tweak makes the biggest result.

Have a Breakthrough in Your Marketing Results

This summer, in ten cities in the U.S. and Canada, Robert Middleton will be leading his new marketing workshop, "The Fast Track to More Clients," designed to give you a breakthrough in your ability to consistently attract more clients. It's open for enrollment now. Go here for complete details and to reserve your space and get a complimentary Marketing Strategy Session valued at $295. Scroll down to: The Fast Track to More Clients Workshops

What is a Marketing Breakthrough?

Middleton says, "In my 'Fast Track to More Clients' workshops (see above), I'm promising a "breakthrough in your ability to attract more clients." Is that just marketing hype or is a breakthrough something that is both real and possible?

One dictionary definition of breakthrough is: a significant and dramatic overcoming of a perceived obstacle, allowing the completion of a process.

So if you had a marketing breakthrough, any perceived obstacles that were stopping you, would you be overcome in a significant and dramatic way? The breakthrough would allow you to market yourself more successfully and with better overall results.

NOTE: Middleton has a very systematic and concrete approach and has helped hundreds of people. He has a loyal following. I am one of them.

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Get FREE Publicity Media Leads:

It's often not easy to get major media coverage - especially if you can't hire a top PR firm to pitch you to the media. The absolute best time to get publicity is when a journalist or producer has already decided they're doing a story on your subject and is actively seeking people like you to interview. You can easily find out when the media needs somebody with your expertise when you join Reporter Connection.

Turn Surveys Into Cash:

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For free info about advertising yourself as a guest in Radio-TV Interview Report (RTIR) The magazine 4,000 producers read to find interesting guests and to get the free special report: 39 Ways to Get Free Publicity As a Guest on Radio/TV Talk Shows Nationwide & accompanying audio go here:

Need a Literary Agent?

Yes, most likely if you want your book published by a major publisher. Go here for the audio, video and transcript of a panel discussion Steve Harrison conducted with four top literary agents on what it takes to land an agent, get a major publishing deal and more.

The Ultimate Client Magnet:

Do you want a book that will attract clients and generate multiple income streams for you? Here is a superb, free mini-course that will show you how to write and publish this caliber of book in as few as 90 days. It's just 15 daily, short (free) lessons. Publishing and marketing guru John Eggen's proven system works in up and down economies. I recommend it. Click here and see all the testimonials from happy subscribers and get the free E-course:

Ezine Marketing:

Using an E-zine like mine is one of the fastest and easiest things you can do to promote your business. To learn how to create yours so it works for you and gets you ongoing results I suggest taking a look at Alexandria Brown's complete manual on marketing with your E-zine:

Come Meet Me

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NOTE: Some new classes do not yet have descriptions. Your patience is appreciated.


Babe Ruth hit more home runs than anyone; he also struck out more often than anyone.

~ Anonymous

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