Archive for the ‘First Person PR — Perspectives’ Category

Want to Connect with the Media?  Time for a Pitch Letter!

Monday, June 12th, 2017

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

The following pitch letter resources include pointers, samples and a quirky pitch letter.

How to Pitch the Media

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.

In his book, Scott elaborates on these “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.

Pitching Media – Samples

“Sample Magazine Query or Pitch Letter”  https://www.thebalance.com/sample-magazine-query-or-pitch-letter-1360426

“The Pitch Letter”  http://www.sandralamb.com/writing-grammar/the-pitch-letter

Quirky Pitch Letter http://www.sallychapralis.com/pr_letter4.htm See below.

Editor/Producer/Contact
Medium/Beat

Dear (name of editor),

The shoes you wear take you to work, to the ball game, to the mall, to school, on a hike, or stepping out for a special event. If the shoes you wear are perfect for the occasion – comfortable as well as stylish – they help you feel more confident anywhere you go.

Into Shoes knows about the shoes you wear. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the downtown Somerset shoe store has fitted scores of women and men with shoes that take them everywhere. As one of the relatively few independent retailers, Into Shoes serves the young and older, liberal and conservative and all those walking spirits who want comfort, quality and style.

As part of its celebration, Into Shoes will donate two percent of its anniversary month’s sales to the Somerset Child Care Center and the Somerset Social Services Agency.

When Into Shoes initially opened, it focused on a few brands of comfortable shoes. It now offers more than 50 brands of women and men’s shoes from many international designers, attracting local customers as well as those from miles away who appreciate the eclectic variety, comfort, quality and style.

We think (name of medium) your followers will be interested in a sole-searching feature on shoes. We, of course, will be delighted to step into it, offering our 50-year perspective.

We look forward to talking to and walking with you.

Sincerely,

Bob Grant
Owner

###

Visit Sally Chapralis & Associates, Business Communications & Public Relations, www.sallychapralis.com

Could You Take Over a Business If the Owner Was Closing It?

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

It now seems inevitable that when Yolanda Simonsis entered the package and converting industry in 1978 by working for a B2B publisher and within five years on a magazine as an editor-in-chief and associate publisher that she would one day establish an online magazine.  Sometimes, however, an opportunity suddenly emerges and you know it’s time. If you have entrepreneurial inclinations, Simonsis’ sudden transformation from employee to owner offers interesting insights and suggestions.

From Employee to Boss

“In August, 2011, we were advised that Paper, Film & Foil Converter magazine, which had been established in 1927, was closing along with other properties and employees would receive severance packages. In discussing our futures, three of us with long industry experience considered buying it, since the website and e-newsletter were very successful,” Simonsis explains.  “We did, and in addressing the new challenges, we have learned a lot and have been rewarded by the industry, advertisers and readers.”

By September, 2011, YTC Media, Inc. was established as the new owner of an online magazine: www.pffc-online.com. The new owners are: Yolanda Simonsis, President and Editorial Director; Timothy Janes, VP Online Sales; and Claudia Hine, VP Managing Editor.

In September, 2011, Simonsis attended an industry exhibition/conference in Las Vegas. She told attendees, including advertisers, about the new ownership and that Paper, Film & Foil Converter would no longer be a print publication.  Because PFFC had a prominent history and exhibiting participants knew and trusted Yolanda and the YTC staff, advertisers were very receptive. “They believed in us and our ability to make the new online site a success. PFFC also publishes a weekly newsletter via email. In fact, since 2011, we have increased revenues by 35% and have seen growth each year.”

Simonsis started her career in the packaging and converting industry at the former Delta Communications and immediately knew “I loved publishing, particularly trade publishing. In fact, it prompted me to seek additional training and education in publishing to prepare me for new responsibilities.”

When she and her colleagues began to set up the new YTC Media publishing company, Simonsis, Janes and Hine’s goals included maintaining their positive reputation, not disappointing staff and partners, and responding to subscribers and advertisers interests and feedback. “Our Online Buyers Guide, for example, is very popular.”

How to Purchase the Company You Work For – Simonsis’ Advice & Suggestions

  • Find a good lawyer who has experience in buying/selling in the trade publishing industry or your industry.
  • Be sure your key contributors are on-board before sharing any news about your new ownership with others. Once you are sure you have the elements in place, move on to the next step. . .
  • If you require “angel investors,” line them up before talking to your lawyer and accountant.
  • When starting out, it’s important to deliver your new message of ownership to key advertisers in person. You are asking them to place their trust in you with a monetary investment that you expect to return with a surplus of advantages.
  • Develop a reward system for those who are loyal to you as charter advertisers.
  • You don’t have to spend a ton of money in legalizing the formation of the corporation (we used LegalZoom), but you do need to do your research prior to forming the corporation in order to decide what fits your needs best. Will you form an S-Corp, an LLC, Inc., etc.? My advice is to check first with a CPA who will be doing your taxes. Tax law can make or break your fledgling company.
  • Create a detailed press release announcing your new company’s ownership and spread it far and wide. In a competitive situation, you don’t want fake news to become the reality for your potential advertisers and/or subscribers. The best scenario is to share your news at a large industry event/conference/trade show where people can ask you questions and you can provide the final word.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of past relationships to navigate where and how to set up reliable vendors who will provide valuable services.
  • Don’t commit to using service providers whom you’ve never used in the past. Network and use your past experience to find the best vendors.
  • This is your chance to implement new concepts that will make your product better than in the past. Identify those concepts and innovations and “make them so.”
  • Constant communication is your best ally. We worked very long hours with not much sleep when starting. But, our constant communication made sure we were all on the same page. We opted for three partners, and it was the best thing we did. All of our decisions come down to majority rule. It makes the difficult decisions much easier.
  • Make customer service a priority. Go above and beyond, and people will remember.

At first the challenges of keeping track of all you must do seem endless. Keep a running list and cross off each item as it’s accomplished. This is incredibly important to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Identify whose responsibility it is to do what. While these responsibilities may change in the future, someone must take on even the most onerous of duties at first. And you or a partner may discover that you surprisingly enjoy doing what you may have hated in the past. Somehow it’s different when you become the person in charge rather than doing work for someone else.

Rewards

It may take a good two to three years of maintaining the status quo before you start to see real growth. Don’t be frustrated. If you’re slowly but surely paying off your start-up loans and meeting your fiscal obligations, then your third or fourth year will be gratifying.

 

 

Presentations and Interviews — Actor’s Advice: Memorize and Rehearse

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

If you are giving a presentation or getting ready for an interview, and want it to be a mutually rewarding experience, consider actor Jim McCance’s advice. “Actors have to memorize their parts and rehearse with other actors for a performance, which is also similar to public speaking and customer service.”

Jim’s more than 40 years as an actor and voice-over pro includes his current commitment as an understudy for the title role in King Charles III at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. “We have to memorize all of the lines. It’s challenging and engaging.”

Presentation

Your first step in a presentation is to make an outline of what you want to say and what the audience would appreciate. Discuss it with the program director. Does it respond to participant expectations?  Try to engage them with a story or experience.

“Even though you will have a written presentation that you can refer to, memorize it and, if possible, rehearse it with colleagues or friends to help you stay on track during the actual event…especially important if something unexpected should occur…as it can in a theater performance,” Jim McCance notes.

Interview for job

Whether your interview is for an internship, temporary or permanent position, do your research about the organization so you’re knowledgeable about its activities, customers and goals and can respond or ask questions during the interview.

Then, Jim adds, “memorize small portions of the interview, and prepare your points. If you and the interviewer get sidetracked, take the conversation back to the focus. Always be ready with a story that reflects your experience.” You might also rehearse an interview with a friend or relative who can act like a prospective employer.

An interview and an actor’s audition are similar. Be clear about what you want to accomplish, enjoy it, and learn from the experience.

Jim can be reached through the Stewart Talent Agency at 312-943-3131.

Your First Person Public Relations

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

For various reasons, every so often most of us re-evaluate our lifestyles and explore possibilities that might exist and offer new opportunities in our lives. In our explorations, we may discover a new road and our next chapter, or we may confirm that we’re doing exactly what’s right for us.

Here are a few personal and professional suggestions that offer insights that could help you with your First Person Public Relations goals.

►When Strangers Meet, book by author Kio Stark

http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2016/09/the-case-for-talking-to-strangers/499376/

►“Ink Factory graphic artist shows that doodling can be your career,” Blue Sky, Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/originals/ct-ink-factory-inside-job-bsi-20161031-story.html

►“To Be a Lot Happier, Stop Doing as Many of These 11 Things as You Possibly Can,” by Jeff Haden, Contributing Editor, Inc. Magazine.

http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/to-be-a-lot-happier-stop-doing-as-many-of-these-11-things-as-you-possibly-can.html

►“Dream Job or Sweatshop? 12 Things to Look for When You Interview,” by Jessica Stiillman, contributor to  Inc.. Magazine

http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/dream-job-or-sweatshop-12-things-to-look-for-when-you-interview.html

We would appreciate your suggestions and comments.

 

In a “Web World” News Releases Can Reach Consumers Directly

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

In The New Rules of Marketing & PR, Revised & Updated 5th Edition, author David Meerman Scott explains “How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Blogs, News Releases & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly.”

While journalists, mainstream media and trade press “remain critically important…your audience is millions of people with Internet connections and access to search engines and RSS readers.”

However, of the online communication options, many people may not fully understand a news release’s  potential, and how to write them “direct-to-consumers.”

David Meerman Scott presents “The New Rules of News Releases.”

  • “Don’t send news releases just when big news is happening; find good reasons to send them all the time.”
  • “Instead of targeting a handful of journalists, create news releases that appeal directly to your buyers.”
  • “Write releases that are replete with the keyword-rich language used by your buyers.”
  • “Include offers that compel consumers to respond to your release in some way.”
  • “Place links in releases to deliver customers to landing pages on your website.”
  • “Link to related content on your site such as videos, blog posts, or e-books.”
  • “Optimize news release delivery for searching and browsing.”
  • “Point people to your news release from your social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.”
  • “Drive people into the sales process with news releases.”

For more complementary information in First Person Public Relations, read “Pitch Letters – Media Appreciates Targeted Information”: http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=902

 

Letter from a Veteran

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

On Memorial Day we honor the men and women who died while serving in the US military. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday in May. It originated after the Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in military service.

Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, was established to commemorate the signing of the Armistice Treaty in Versailles in 1918 to mark the end of WWI, the Great War. It is celebrated on November 11 each year. It was changed in the United States to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all veterans.

Both Memorial Day and Veterans Day are significant days to take a moment to remember and honor all of our armed services men and women, both past and present, who fight for our freedom.

Here are reflections and observations of one veteran who served during World War ll.

Letter from a Veteran – November 12, 1944

More than seventy years ago, one of the first women to serve in the military observed Veteran’s Day.  She reflects on this and other experiences in her letters home. Mollie’s War is a memoir that features letters Mollie wrote to her sister, Beck, while stationed in Europe. “It describes the life of a WAC enlistee who would serve in England when it came under attack, France weeks after the invasion, and Germany after VE Day.”

“Here is my mother’s letter on the first Veteran’s Day in newly liberated Paris,” says Cyndee Schaffer, author of Mollie’s War, The Letters of a World War II WAC in Europe.  www.mollieswar.com

Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, Cyndee’s mother, was one of the 150,000 women who served in the Women’s Army Corps (IWAC) during the Second World War. Of those, about 8,000 served in the European Theater of Operations.

Letter from Mollie from newly liberated Paris

Here are a few paragraphs from Mollie’s letter home.

Paris, France, 12 Nov.1944.

“Dear Beck,

…Must tell you about the Armistice Day Parade here in Paris. I still recall the ones we used to go to—you, Jackie & myself—but this was really the “cat’s meow.” It started about 6 AM—maybe not actually but there were gendarmes (or draculas as we call them with their all-enveloping capes) & G.I.’s, too, directing crowds that early, lining up the streets near the Arc de Triomphe, along with the great numbers of people who probably ran back to get sandwiches & hustled back to regain choice spots from where they would have an advantageous view of the celebration. And, Beck, I think the parading or celebrating was still going on this morning.

Florence (another WAC) & myself left the office at 10:30 AM & we made a “bee line” for Champs Elysees (one of the main streets in Paris that runs into the Arc de Triomphe). Honestly the people were packed like sardines (trite but true). Florence & I were standing on tip toes but couldn’t see very much. All of a sudden I felt my feet leave the ground & I had a most wonderful view of marching soldiers. I turned around as I felt myself being put gently back to earth—it was the captain! I thanked him & both Florence & I laughed. We walked farther on & we decided to stand back near the buildings away from the crowds along the streets. We did have a better view. We saw Churchill go by in a car but weren’t quite sure. However, when we heard the people shouting “Vive Churchill,” that confined it. Besides I had said to Florence “I know we have a long range view of the parade, but no one but Churchill’s cheeks are puffed out like that!”

The one minute’s silence at 11 AM brought to mind the folks back home—wonder when we’ll be coming home. I know, Beck, it won’t be too soon. …” You can read the full letter from Paris here: Mollie_Letter_Home_Veterans_Day.

Letter to Mollie from Joe

“ ‘My mama wore combat boots’. When you are the daughter of a WWII WAC, that statement resonates with you,” Cyndee says. “Yes, my mother wore combat boots and that brought a legacy with it. The one outstanding quality throughout my mother’s letters and the letters that were sent to her was the fact that everyone wrote such beautiful ones. Here is probably the most touching letter, the one from Joe. I tried to find him when I was writing the book but I could not.” Here’s just a few of his thoughts.

“Salmunster, Germany

Sept 5th 1945

“My darling sweetheart – no that’s too informal, Dear Sergeant Molly – no that’s too G.I., Dear Friend – nope too cold, I know… Hi Callahan!

“You see, I told you I’d drop you a line (or should I say a note because good l’il WACs stay away from those bad boys with “lines”?) I finally caught a ride home but it was the next morning after the dance about 10:00. I spent the night in the transit barracks in Frankfurt. It was much too cold and dark to try those 60 kilometers home. I got home in time for dinner so I didn’t miss much time hitch-hiking on the road.

“I wanted to tell you though—thanks, honey I had a swell time. I only hope I didn’t scare you too much with all that chatter. Actually, I’m not such a talkative fellow as I may have seemed. But you can’t really understand what being at that dance meant to me. Honestly it was the first American dance I’ve been to since I came overseas twenty months ago. I was as happy as a lark and I guess I showed it a little more than somewhat?” …

“…Be a good girl. Work hard but most of all, stay as sweet and as kind as you are.

“Yours always.

Joe”

You can read the full letter from Joe here: Joe_Letter_to_Mollie_World_War_II.

More than seventy years may have passed as we observe this Memorial Day, and we will always remember our veterans.

 

Business “Referral Engine,” Meaningful Mentoring & “Decluttering your Mind”  

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Get ready to increase your business referrals, develop meaningful mentoring relationships, and “free your mind” to move on in life. We all appreciate new insights and rewarding information, and these resources can help you address the challenges in your life.

The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself, by John Jantsch, author of Duck Tape Marketing. “The secret to generating referrals lies in understanding the ‘Customer Referral Cycle’ – the way customers refer others to your company, who in turn, generate even more referrals. Businesses can ensure a healthy referral cycle by moving prospects along the path of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.”

Besides explaining how to generate referrals, Jantsch offers examples of “referral-specific campaigns, as well as workshop action plans that help you dramatically increase your referrals and business success. http://referralenginebook.com/

Starting Strong – A Mentoring Fable, Strategies for Success in the First 90 Days, by Lois J. Zachary & Lory A. Fischler. Zachary is president of Leadership Development Services and director of the Center for Mentoring Excellence. Fischler is senior associate for Leadership Development Services and the Center for Mentoring Excellence.

In Starting Strong you will discover what “really good mentors do to make a difference, how they engage their mentees, create good conversation, and keep it going.” Zachary and Fischler also explain how “mentor and mentee move past the idea of ‘advice’ and into a trust-based relationship that generates real learning.”

http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118767713.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKRH4PDbNHo

► “Decluttering your mind,” by Jeannette Bessenger, The Washington Post. ‘Let go of the need to be right’ and 9 other ways to give your brain a spring cleaning.”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-spring-clean-mind-family-0419-20160414-story.html

Here are Jeannette Bessenger’s 10 bullet points for “freeing your mind and freeing your life,” and you will find the great advice in the article itself.

  1. Mind your own business.
  2. Let go of the need to be right.
  3. Stop blaming, shaming and complaining.
  4. Stop trying to please and impress everybody.
  5. Clean up unfinished business.
  6. Forgive someone.
  7. If you’re in the wrong, make it right.
  8. Let go of perfectionism.
  9. Let go of self-limiting beliefs.
  10. Stop mismanaging your emotions.

First Person Public Relations looks forward to your feedback.

Pitch Letters – Media Appreciates Targeted Information

Wednesday, 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

How to Grow Your Business in 2016

Wednesday, 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

http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/growing-your-business/

► 8 Steps to Achieving Your Loftiest Goals in 2016

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254059

►Top 5 Secrets to Grow Your Business

https://www.psprint.com/resources/secrets-to-grow-business/

► 5 Tried & True Ways to Grow Your Small Business

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/strauss/2014/03/23/ask-an-expert-5-ways-to-grow-your-small-business/6738321/

Happy New Year!

Sally Chapralis

New Year, New Job, Your Personality

Wednesday, 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!