Pitch Letters – Media Appreciates Targeted Information

April 6th, 2016

Are you a public relations pro or citizen journalist who wants to share a newsworthy subject with an editor or producer (“gatekeeper” to your targeted audience)? Then you should know how to approach them because they want to hear from you.

Pitch letters target a specific publication or media outlet (local newspaper, radio or TV station), explains David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, latest  5th Edition.

Scott elaborates on his “How to Pitch the Media” bullets.

  • “Target one reporter at a time.
  • Use the tip line if the media outlet you are targeting has one.
  • Help the journalist understand the big picture.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Try newsjacking! (use current events as hooks)
  • Explain how customers use your product or work with your organization.
  • Don’t send email attachments unless asked.
  • Follow up promptly with potential contacts.
  • Don’t forget, it’s a two-way street – journalists need you to pitch them.”

Scott also quotes a newspaper editor: “The single most effective thing people do is watch and read my stories and send me personalized, smart pitches for stories that I am actually likely to cover.”  In other words, your pitch should reflect your familiarity with the medium and reporter.

Learn how to effectively connect with your target audience through pitch letters “social media, online video, mobile applications, blogs, news releases & viral marketing to reach buyers directly” in The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

For even more information on pitch letters, check out the First Person Public Relations blog post: “Pitch Letters Attract Media Interest, http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=487

Find targeted consumers and focus marketing for optimal results – at your library

March 4th, 2016

Your goals, as you focus your marketing activities, might include finding a perfect location for your business site – one where many people in your target market live and work nearby and would value your products or services. Or, you might want to identify consumers who are interested in the opportunities you offer even when location is not relevant for purchase. But, how do you find potential consumers?

While it’s necessary that businesses identify their target consumers and how best to approach them, accurate market segmentation information and mapping tools are not always easy to uncover.

Fortunately, your public library offers many business resources and services that lead to success.

“We helped a patron who wanted to open a Montessori school but didn’t know which location would be optimal. Through market segmentation and mapping information, we identified a neighborhood where many young children and other preschoolers lived within five miles and would be interested,” explains Bruce Brigell, Coordinator of Information Services for the Skokie Public Library in Illinois.

 “Another entrepreneur, who owns a travel business that includes cruises and other travel possibilities, asked for feedback. Where consumers lived wasn’t as important as their travel interests and information for a mailing list. We worked on that and were ultimately able to provide them with a targeted mailing list.”

Two of the library’s many business resources include ReferenceUSA and Social Explorer. “While you can go directly to the Library’s website — skokielibrary.info/resources/research — to use these resources, librarians are also able to generate lists and reports for patrons not familiar with the products,” Bruce says.

ReferenceUSA offers a variety of business and residential data sets that will help your business marketing strategy.  Included are categories such as consumer interests, purchasing habits, demographic and social profiles and other relevant data that enables you to develop accurate mailing lists or visualize where targeted businesses or consumers are located through ReferenceUSA’s Heat Map utility.

Social Explorer is another rewarding research source for market segmentation, offering demographic information at geographic levels from state or county wide to school district or block group. “Social Explorer applies data that is presented every 10 years by the U.S. Census, as well as the American Community Survey, which is an annual statistical survey from the Bureau, “Social Explorer and ReferenceUSA can complement each other, or you can just refer to one, depending on your interests and goals.”

Social Explorer tracks ethnicity, income, education, and other variables by town or by groups. “We can print out maps or offer information in table form,” Bruce adds.

Recently, the Skokie Public Library obtained access to the Experian BusinessIQ service to provide business credit reports to Skokie residents and businesses. The reports provide risk and financial stability scores as well as payment histories for businesses in the United States. Experian reports are available by request to the Reference Department at the Library.

These and other library business services and resources can help you launch and grow your business, consider all options, find targeted and interested consumers, and focus your marketing for optimal results.

Entrepreneurial Spirits from Teens to Seniors

February 1st, 2016

Entrepreneurs usually start their own businesses because they see opportunities and needs in the marketplace that trigger their interests. Or, they work for an organization that values their entrepreneurial savvy and contribution to company goals.

The entrepreneurial spirit can also apply to individuals facing the business of everyday life. They see alternatives, take initiative, make sound decisions, create new strategies or techniques, and assume the risk of innovation when exploring approaches to life’s challenges.

Meet some entrepreneurs who reflect all ages and stages of life experiences, from pre-school motivated kids with ideas, to baby boomers and older who thought they had retired but then took new directions. Some teens and seniors partner with each other. It’s Leap Year!

►Ready to Become an Entrepreneur?

 What’s the Best Age to Launch a Start-Up? Founders Young and Old Tell Us


 The 11-year-old fashion designer behind “Mo’s Bows”


►Are You an Entrepreneurial Spirit?

Spirit of the Entrepreneur – These 5 characteristics will take you far as you start your business.


 8 traits of successful entrepreneurs


 ►Entrepreneurial Kids & Finance Prodigies

Kid Entrepreneurs



Entrepreneurial Adults

 Older Entrepreneurs find new niches and potential in start-ups


8 Over 80


Here’s to your “passion, positivity, adaptability, leadership potential and ambition.” Feel free to share your entrepreneurial experiences with us.

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Share your story and experience on First Person Public Relations!

How to Grow Your Business in 2016

December 30th, 2015

Ready to grow your business but not sure how or where to start?

Check these resources to help you find unexplored opportunities, clarify mysteries, mistakes and challenges, discover new niches and relationships, and learn more about your personal and professional potential.

Let’s get ready to make the most of 2016, Leap Year!

► 6 Keys to Growing Your Business in 2016


► 8 Steps to Achieving Your Loftiest Goals in 2016


►Top 5 Secrets to Grow Your Business


► 5 Tried & True Ways to Grow Your Small Business


Happy New Year!

Sally Chapralis

New Year, New Job, Your Personality

December 9th, 2015

After getting together with family and friends during the holidays, many people start looking for new jobs in the new year. As you chat with others, including colleagues at work and those in a volunteer setting, encourage their feedback on your personality type. It could make a big difference as you explore rewarding professional possibilities.

Two books offer incredible information and insights into personalities and complementary jobs that would make a great fit and careers you might not have known about or considered.

►50 Best Jobs for Your Personality, 3rd edition, by Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D. As the book explains, you will find “nearly 270 Job Descriptions for 6 Personality Types, 130+ Best Jobs Lists, Including Jobs with the Best Pay, Fastest Growth, and Most Openings. Personality types include Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, or Conventional. Best jobs are organized by earnings, growth, education level, and more.”

►Do What You Are, 5th edition, by Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron and Kelly Tieger. This book helps you “Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type.” You will learn more about “how you process information, make decisions, and interact with the world around you – and discover the career that is right for you.”

If you’re not sure about your personality type and potential, these books offer new possibilities and focus. If you know your type but don’t fully appreciate the opportunities waiting for you, they will help you discover a new you in a new year, which in 2016 is a Leap Year.

If you want to share your personality/job search experience, we would be delighted to feature you in First Person Public Relations!

Mentoring — Top Tips to Mentors

November 12th, 2015

When you successfully mentor, both you and your mentee grow and develop, and you will discover rewarding experiences and new opportunities.

To help you understand the mentoring process and its potential, Dr. Lois J. Zachary, President, Leadership Development Services, LLC, offers Top Tips to Mentors. The Center for Mentoring Excellence is a division of Leadership Development Services. http://centerformentoringexcellence.com

Top Tips to Mentors

►  “Listening is critical,”  Lois explains. “You should not talk more than the mentee. Mentoring is about the mentee’s growth and development. Don’t make assumptions without checking them out first. You might jump to incorrect conclusions if you do. How good are you at listening, asking questions and clarifying your mentee’s perspectives?”

►  “Try to walk in the mentee’s shoes. Different generations see the world differently. They have different experiences and interests. Ask questions so that you can understand your mentee’s perspective.  In conversation, check things out. Say ‘I am assuming…’  Or, say ‘I’m curious about…’  Your mentee will appreciate that you’re trying to understand where they are coming from.

►  “Mentoring is mentee-driven, so clarify your role and mentee expectations, and as you move along in the process, make sure you’re on the same page.”

►  “Hold yourself accountable for supporting your mentees and helping them develop a vision and a goal for the future. At the end of every mentoring session, ask the mentee if the feedback you provided was relevant and useful.”

►  While you are helping and supporting your mentee, “look at mentoring as an opportunity for self-development and growth,” Dr. Zachary explains. “Always consider how you can become a better mentor. It will help you become more effective with co-workers and strengthen your skills as a leader.”

► “Your mentees must leave with the capacity, competence and confidence to achieve their goals.”

The potential for your growth and development, new personal insights and lessons you will learn as a mentor are transferrable to many situations as you consider your potential – and whether you might seek a mentor for yourself.

To subscribe to the Center for Mentoring Excellence monthly eletter: http://conta.cc/1Qe4vCC or text MENTORING4U to 22828 on your mobile device.



Job Hunting — Think Like an Employer

October 22nd, 2015

“The short list of candidates all have the ability to do the work, so what makes the difference? Whether employers know it or not, intuitively they are always looking for a candidate who meets or exceeds their expectations in these six qualities [presented as PADMAN]:

  • Presentation
  • Ability
  • Dependability
  • Motivation
  • Attitude
  • Network”

In their book, The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job – What Employers Look for Whether They Know It or Not, authors Debra Angel MacDougall and Elisabeth Harney Sanders-Park offer new perspectives and approaches, dozens of specific tips, examples and resources that lead to rewarding opportunities.

For example, “from the employer’s perspective, presentation is not just a matter of looking good; it’s about looking, sounding, and acting like the employer.”  Do you have the right presentation, one that is consistent with the company’s culture, team spirit and customer expectations?

In your pre-interview research, “target companies with images similar to your own, and adjust your presentation so you will easily fit into a company’s image.”  The authors also address the many “common employer complaints and mistakes in interviews.

When you’re job hunting, you may “think ability is the most important of the six PADMAN areas. In reality,” the authors explain that  “ the lack of ability may get you screened out, but it’s usually one of the other five areas that get you hired. … Only in the case of technical jobs for which there are few people with required skills is ability the final reason you are hired.”

What does dependability really mean?  Most people think it’s about coming to work every day, on time. However, employers want to know if   “you will work in the company’s best interests. Can they  trust you with their money, customers, secrets, products, and reputation?. … Employers want people they can depend on to follow instructions, produce the quality and quantity of work required, meet deadlines, and stay until the job is done.”

How would you define your motivation?  “From an employer’s perspective, motivation is not just about taking initiative, doing the extra or being ambitious – it’s about using all that to help them achieve their goals.”  Thus, have you done your homework?

Before the interview, review the company’s mission and goals in every area, including the industry or field the company operates in. Besides searching the Internet, talking to staff and customers,   consider your professional experience from different perspectives and share  relevant examples. If, at the end of the interview, you are asked if you have any questions, make sure you have some. For example, you can clarify the company’s goals, priorities and challenges and how you can contribute.

Consider your attitude. Authors MacDougall and Sanders-Park explain that  ”from the employer’s perspective, attitude is not just being friendly and respectful; it’s about fitting in.”  Employers want to know if you will complement  their culture,  team members  and customers, and do you have a strong work ethic.

While “different employers value different attitudes, there are some that all employers value.”  Do you have a strong work ethic, which includes your commitment to stay until the job is done…sometimes five to ten hours more per week?  So if you’re asked about this during an interview, explain your availability and areas of flexibility.

What may come as a surprise to job hunters is how important their networks are to potential employers. Your network includes industry contacts, membership in associations and clubs, social networking sites, online groups and connections, as well as references and referrals. Employers appreciate your ability and skills, but often more important is your potential to increase company potential and profits through networking.

The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job “will challenge many of your beliefs about job searching…and prove you are the ideal candidate for their job.”


Time to “Brand” New You

September 10th, 2015

Branding is receiving lots of attention. Is it time to create a brand for yourself or reconsider your current one?

Your brand evolves over time, reflecting a personal and professional commitment to your goals, beliefs and the expectations of others. A brand is what we (consumers, employers, colleagues, friends and family) trust you for.

Each of us has a personal brand – characteristics and experience we offer. Many, many articles and books discuss personal branding and the importance of authenticity and trust, and here are a few that offer insights and advice as you consider your approaches.

► “Personal Branding Guerrilla Style…Shape Up Your Brand with Attitude,” Chapter 2, Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0, by Jay Conrad Levinson and David Perry, John Wiley & Sons.

► Branding and the “Me” Economy, The New York Times,


► Branding Gets Personal for These Job Seekers, The Wall Street Journal, http://www.wsj.com/articles/branding-gets-personal-for-these-job-seekers-1440756000

► Your Personal Brand Needs a Growth Strategy, Entrepreneur Magazine, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242504

► Rethink “brand you,” and find your authentic self, Forbes Magazine, http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/2013/07/14/rethink-brand-you-find-your-authentic-self/

► Clients Want Authenticity – Your brand needs to reflect the real you, http://www.healyourgrid.com/clients-want-authenticity-your-brand-needs-to-reflect-the-real-you/

► Is your business [brand] male or female?


► Your Brand – My Gut Feeling and Trust,


► Brand New You, http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=336

► Personal Branding (Perspectives),


Ready for a “brand” new you?

Public Libraries Help You Grow Your Business

August 9th, 2015

Entrepreneurs, retailers, corporations, nonprofits, and home-based businesses appreciate their public library’s business centers and diverse resources.

“Large businesses use our Business & Career Center’s private rooms to interview potential employees.  Other organizations present special programs in our fully equipped meeting venues. And, entrepreneurs who have researched a new business concept can work with SCORE counselors to develop business plans,” says Terry Ratoff, Business Services Librarian, Skokie Public Library, Illinois. “If you’re starting a new career, we can  help you with your resume and identify potential employers and job sites.”

The Business & Career Center is also useful to home-based and other small businesses, providing additional space for meeting clients and hosting presentations. “One business owner told me she moved her business into a small office space near the library because she knew she could hold larger meetings here.”

The library’s Business & Career Center offers access to other library resources, available online and at the library via a free Business Library Card.

  •  Online Resources open new doors. You can research a variety of business, industry and investment sources, technology venues, sites to learn another language, and technology and software training from your home or office.
  • The Business and Career Center’s meeting rooms are equipped with wi-fi, SMART boards, voice conference and projection equipment. The largest room accommodates 49 individuals, another seats 16 around a large conference table, and the smallest room seats 5.
  • The Digital Media Lab provides equipment and staff support for creating digital videos, music, photography, websites and more.
  • Ongoing classes and programs presented by the library as well as other expert presenters include: SMART Phone Photography and editing, Managing Your Business Cash Flow, Creating a Business Plan for loan applications. The library  holds regular Business before Hours sessions which cover a variety of subjects to help small businesses use social media such as “Build Your Business with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
  • Business and technical books and magazines for small businesses are available in the library or online https://skokielibrary.info/books-movies-more/ebooks-downloads/
  • SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) offers two opportunities at the library: one-on-one business consultations with SCORE counselors as well as SCORE programs on specific subjects.
  • Library experts will schedule one-on-one sessions with you to introduce new resources and technology and help you meet challenges in other areas, such as mobile devices or software questions.
  • Skokie Public Library’s ongoing programs and classes feature a variety of business and career oriented subjects.

Whether you want to escape your office clutter and distractions to work on a special project, or you want to take photos/videos of your pizza parlor for marketing purposes, or you want to meet with a client in a private room, or you want to explore new career opportunities, or you want to reserve a room for your association’s program, your public library is there for you. Check it out to grow your business!

Business Center Meeting Room at the Skokie Public Library: https://skokielibrary.info/services/businesses/business-center/

Overview of the Skokie Public Library Business Services: https://skokielibrary.info/services/businesses/

For more information, contact Terry Ratoff, Community Engagement Librarian Business Services, Skokie Public Library: TRatoff@skokielibrary.info, 847-324-3417.



Copyright Protection in Today’s Times

July 22nd, 2015

Although the Internet has changed the world and the countless ways we can communicate, copyright laws have not really changed. You may be a creator whose work has been altered or reproduced without your permission (“copyright infringement”). Or, if you would like to share small portions of someone else’s creation, you may not understand when you can (“fair use”).

“While copyright laws have basically  remained the same, the challenge is trying to enforce the laws. Fortunately, the Internet offers us many services and resources that protect and inform us,” explains Andrew L. Goldstein, Attorney at Law, Freeborn & Peters, LLP. agoldstein@freeborn.com

Here are a few of the many issues we should be aware of.

Photography. “For example, you can register photos with a photographic copy infringement service such as Pixsy, an automated copyright infringement software. Pixsy searches the Internet for your photos that have been used without permission. Large stock photo houses also provide copyright infringement services. It finds videos, images and photos that are available to use.

Social Media and Photos. Whether posting a photo or video on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or other social media, it helps if you protect it with a copyright symbol. If it’s a photo it might help if you post low resolution images. Instagram, for example, encourages you to protect your copyright to avoid infringement.

E-books. “E-book copyright issues are similar to classic copyright infringement issues. For example, if you are writing, producing or reading an E-book, Kindle books do have copyright protection.

News Aggregation and Deep Linking.

You probably receive emails from news aggregators or head to their sites. They offer information and articles from several sources (theirs and others) usually with a general common theme (e.g., public relations, home maintenance, etc). If you are introducing them to the site itself, then use a general link.  “Deep linking” could be a violation of the terms of use on a particular website.

“Gotcha” Responds to Misleading Consumers.  The Federal Trade Commission has responded to misleading marketing of products or services. Whether you’re a blogger, Internet marketer, or promote via other media, full disclosure is required. Full disclosure requirements and guidelines include endorsements and testimonials that have been paid for. And, if it applies, disclosure includes “native advertising” that is presented as objective editorial content. The first case that the FTC brought under its revised Endorsement and Testimonial Guidelines was against a video game company and its PR agency. The agency posted positive reviews of its client’s games under various account names.  Because the posts did not disclose the poster’s relationship to the video game company, both the video game company and the PR agency were held to have violated the FTC’s guidelines. In another case, the FTC recently investigated the Ann Taylor company when bloggers failed to disclose that they received gifts from Ann Taylor. However, because Ann Taylor had a policy in place requiring bloggers to disclose any consideration provided by the company and it cooperated with the FTC’s investigation, the FTC did not bring an enforcement action against Ann Taylor.

Copyright protection does apply in today’s times, and you will find more information in a previous discussion with Andrew L. Goldstein at “Whose Words Are They: Quotes, Copyrights & Testimonials,” http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=712