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How To Write a Press Release That Gets Picked Up

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in writing

how to write a press releaseEarlier this month, I wrote about the key success factors for how to write a press release that gets noticed. Simply applying these factors, however, doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your press release will get picked up. Even if you have done all the right things, there are other elements that can cause your press release to be ignored. And, as a result, your important information doesn’t get shared.

What Could Go Wrong?

Reporters and editors are inundated with press releases every day. They have to pick and choose carefully what may or may not be newsworthy. If your press release doesn’t have the right stuff, it can potentially be tossed in the proverbial circular file. Capturing the attention of journalists—in a positive way—is the key.

Here are the top three reasons that your press release may not get picked up:

Press Release Saboteur #1: It’s not news

Is it really news or just important to you? Brainstorm with your team about new story angles to make your announcement meaningful to reporters. Ways to make sure this happens is to address conflict and controversy (conflict is always newsworthy), appeal to the emotion of readers, or include interesting information about a newsworthy famous person.

Press Release Saboteur # 2: It’s poorly written or not “worth reading”

Come up with a catchy headline and run it by several people who have the same profile as your desired readers. Remember that reporters look at thousands of releases and yours has to stop them in their tracks. Also, take the time to check your grammar, spelling etc. Typos and lazy writing does not go over well with journalists.

Press Release Saboteur #3: You aren’t being strategic

Your press release has to be timely. You don’t want to release your news in the middle of a huge news day when reporters are focused on a national crisis or other such story. Also, no one cares about old news. Stay fresh. And while you’re at it, include a personal element in your press release. Make it relevant and real to your audience. This includes the journalists who can make or break your opportunity to be heard.

While there are never guarantees to making sure your press release will get the attention you desire, one thing is for certain:  If you don’t follow the proper dos and don’ts on how to write a press release, you are dooming yourself from the start. But, if you try the suggestions listed here and in my previous blog post, you will be setting yourself up for better success.

I Need a Mentor on the Path to Success

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in mentoring

I need a mentorRegardless of where you are in life, having someone to help you along the way can make a huge difference in your endeavors. This is just as true for top executives as it is for entrepreneurs who are just starting out. What I am continually impressed by is the number of people who say to me, I need a mentor. It is a great testament to the forward thinking and common sense of those who know what it takes to be successful.

But what often requires some explanation is what the role of a mentor is and how a mentor differs from an advisor. There is a critical distinction between the two, and it should be noted how we can all benefit from them both.

Mentor vs. Advisor

What you need from a mentor and/or an advisor depends on what an individual or organizational needs. Let’s take the role of an advisor, for example. In short, advisors direct people. They give advice based on their experience and their expertise. A highly respected real estate agent, for instance, is an advisor. They help you make decisions in situations surrounding real estate transactions and investments.

Now, let’s contrast that definition with that of a mentor. A mentor is different because they not only offer advice, but they also help to guide your journey, assuring that you personally choose the right path for your situation. If you want to grow in income, leadership and business, you’ll need mentors to help get you to the next level.

Being a mentor provides a unique opportunity for the right person. Not everyone can mentor, but almost everyone would benefit from having one. In my own life, I have often said I need a mentor and have benefitted from the guidance of many amazing mentors over the years. My mentors have been those whom I have personally sought out, have specifically chosen, or just have been fortunate enough to engage.

Where to Find a Mentor

So, where can you find a mentor? As I have mentioned before, this will depend on your goals. You need to have some clarity about what you’re after. Then, you need to look to others who have been where you want to go and directly reach out to them. One of the great pleasures afforded to successful people is the ability to share and help others find their way, too. If you ask, you are likely to get a positive response.

A perfect opportunity to see mentors in action and to connect with mentors is at my Abundance Live program with EBW 2020, coming up next month in Austin, TX. This event attracts an elite group of entrepreneurs coming together to support each others’ success. To mentor and influence, not to advise. What a great example this is as a place to be mentored by rich content and to seek out specific individuals you may want to have as mentors yourself.

In various aspects of life and business, mentors and advisors are both needed. If you are getting the advice you need, and you are surrounded by experts, it’s time to introduce a mentor, a guide; someone that will assist in your taking things to the next level.

Posting & Outsourcing Social Media

Written by admin on . Posted in social media

Posting & Outsourcing Social Media

By Dr. Isaura Gonzalez. Guest Blogger

In Part I of this twoutsourcing social mediao-part series on social media, I talked about understanding social media and the many questions that arise when considering social media for your business and brand. Today’s post addresses the six fundamentals of posting and whether outsourcing social media is right for you.

Who?

Who are you trying to reach? Who cares what you have to say? Choosing your audience dictates the platforms that are best suited to your business and the best mode of engagement. Who you are communicating to and what they want to know or need to hear and from what resources they want to get it is crucial when looking at your need to post.

What?

What’s more important, what you want to say or what your audience wants to hear? I personally do not want to know what your favorite meal is unless you are educating me as to the health benefits that it could potentially provide me.  I am sure I am not alone in this sentiment. What you say has to provide value and relevance. I know it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and begin to post about every hashtagable message imaginable, but who does that serve and what is the reason for doing so?   We need to communicate content that others can or want to relate to with the intention of providing value.

When?

When are you posting?  Are you posting at times that would gain greater engagement, greater readership? There are now many social media tools that allow us to know almost with the exact preciseness of Big Ben’s clock when we should post and on which platforms to increase engagement exponentially. Some tools tout over 600% increased engagement by not only choosing the right content, but also the times they should be posted. Imagine that! Not only does this support your efforts to connect with your ever growing audience, but it allows you to work on your content and not work at getting your content out there.

Where?

Out of all of the social media platforms, which is the best one suited for you and your business? Let me start by saying, it’s not all of them! You must evaluate the product you are selling and the message you are trying to convey to the specific audience you are trying to reach.  You certainly wouldn’t be snapchatting about retirement plans, would you? A study found on statsista.com shows that 52% percent of users at the time of the study were between the ages of 16 to 24 and only 5% fell within the ages of 45 to 64, the demographic likely to be interested in that topic.

How?

How will you nurture and engage your audience? How are you going to deliver your message to your audience? This not only looks at frequency but also systems.  If you believe that you can keep up with the demands of social media all by yourself,  I encourage you to consider if this is a viable long term strategy.  Systems are crucial to optimize engagement and minimize over-posting, which deters current and future clients.

To effectively nurture and engage your audience you need systems that not only automatically post for you across platforms, but alleviate the tediousness of this work. Outsourcing social media, for example, can really make a difference in your effectiveness. It can also save you time and allow you to remain focused on what you do best.

Why?

If you are still wondering why it is important to post, here’s my final thought on posting social media: You post so that you provide value and that value is what draws people into YOU and your brand.  You assert your authority and you stake the claim on being THE expert in your field.. Value brings customers, clients and patients. In my experience, when you over deliver there is really no need to sell. Your content, along with the value and expertise you provide, does the selling for you.

When looking at the advantages of social media, consider it as another extension of your brand. Think of it as such and you will begin to make more intentional choices on the Who, What, When, Where, How and Why of posting on social media. Focusing on these six fundamentals allows you to have the right balance of content and frames your engagement with your audience.

Dr. Isaura Gonzalez is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Executive Coach.  She is the Founder of LIA (Latinas in Action) and Co-Founder of LEO (Latinos Empowering Others) part of the Latino Leadership Alliance.  She is, also, the Founder of Latina College Corner, an organization geared toward the professional and personal development of students of all ages.  Dr. Gonzalez has been Adjunct Faculty for the last 20 years within the NY Tri-state area.  She has contributed to “Being Latino”, an online magazine, a guest speaker on National Public Radio (NPR) and her articles have been featured as a LINKEDin contributor.     

When to Post on Social Media

Written by admin on . Posted in social media

When to Post on Social Media

By Dr. Isaura Gonzalez , Guest Blogger

when to post on social mediaHave you ever wondered when to post on Social media? Well, you are not alone!  This is a conundrum that many entrepreneurs face on a daily basis and through Sharon Lechter’s mentoring program, in which I participate, social media comes up quite frequently. There are so many questions to ask:

  • What campaigns should I run?
  • What are my best strategies?
  • Is there a best approach?
  • There are so many platforms…Which ones are best for me?
  • Am I posting too much or too little?

As you can guess, the questions are endless and the answers will vary depending on whom you ask.  As a successful entrepreneur, I have learned the importance that social media has played in the growth of my online presence and here is my take on what you need to know:

Understanding Social Media

Like all communication, there are guidelines to effectively enhance your brand and your business through social media.  If you are able to follow these best practices, then you should know whether you are oversaturating your audience or giving them appropriate valuable content. But, how easy is this?

How to Best Communicate with Social Media

When we communicate face-to-face, 7% of what we say with words and 93% with body language and tone of voice helps us to be understood.

So, without body language and tone, how do you communicate, then, with social media? In my private practice, my patients know that I respect words and their power. You will often find me pausing to find just the right word, just like a person who is at a store looking for just the right gift for someone. I can assure you not everyone does that in day-to-day interaction. And this is less so in a world driven by the speed of social media. But, I will tell you, intentionality matters.

So, What are the Rules?

Looking at social media communication through the lens of a developmental process, just like in the world of parenting, there is no rulebook, per se. You create rules as your children grow and your family continues to grow. As any parent knows, since no two children are alike, and no two families are alike, it is hard to transfer hard and fast rules and expectations. In the social media realm, this can create an anxiety over posting, or should I say, overposting. And, just when we think we have discovered the rules of the social media game, those rules seem to keep changing. This reminds me of sound guidance offered to me on multiple occasions by Sharon Lechter- find the right experts who stay up to date on the rules and can point you in the right direction.

Building Relationships

With the various platforms, I see opportunity to fine-tune your brand and expertise to the platform you choose to nurture and create a relationship with. Yes, I said relationship. Because, just as we create relationships with our children, family members, friends, and colleagues, we do the same with our social media platform and the audience we are trying to reach.

Back to Basics

So to understand when to post on social media, or if you are posting too much, we need to go back to basics. To properly understand your needs for your business, there are six fundamentals areas that you need to address. They are the Who, What, When, Where, How and Why of social media, which I will dive into on my next guest post in Part II of this blog on May 20, 2016.

Dr. Isaura Gonzalez is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Executive Coach.  She is the Founder of LIA (Latinas in Action) and Co-Founder of LEO (Latinos Empowering Others) part of the Latino Leadership Alliance.  She is, also, the Founder of Latina College Corner, an organization geared toward the professional and personal development of students of all ages.  Dr. Gonzalez has been Adjunct Faculty for the last 20 years within the NY Tri-state area.  She has contributed to “Being Latino”, an online magazine, a guest speaker on National Public Radio (NPR) and her articles have been featured as a LINKEDin contributor.

Posting High-Value Content vs. Self Promotion

Written by Jennifer Gustafson on . Posted in social media, Uncategorized

In our Speak, Serve and Sell seminars, as well as when working closely with my Master Mentors, our conversations often revolve around self promotion and how much is too much when it comes to posting on social media and websites. Self promotion is critical and tricky. It’s easy to get a brand reputation for pushing what you have to offer versus serving and contributing meaningful information. When this happens, people tend to ignore your posts and get the “blah, blah, blah…it’s all about them” impression of what you do and what you have to offer.

Our strategy to combat self promotionthis trap involves the 80/20 Rule. We’ve shared this with many people as it’s a standard format that works and helps to build your brand. Here is how it works:

Simply put, if 80% of your posts are about information that is meaningful to your followers, you’re on the right track. If these posts are relevant, newsy, and engaging, they will get read. And, they will position you as the go-to person in your field. When you share tidbits and clues that make others successful, they will become more interested in you and see you as not only an expert, but someone they want to have in their circle of business advisers.

So, how do you use the remaining 20%? Self promotion! This 20% of your posts give you the opportunity to share what you are doing, where you are going, and when your services and products are available. Most importantly, they also provide an outlet to engage with you. This 20% shows your followers that you are sought after and that you are accessible should they choose to connect.

Self promotion is a critical part of your brand positioning. How you position yourself has to be in line with your key brand elements. If you follow the 80/20 Rule and take the time to share meaningful and relevant information in your posts, you will be on the right track for success.

How to do a Press Release

Written by Jennifer Gustafson on . Posted in marketing, writing

how to do a press releaseMany people want to know how to do a press release. The answer of course is, “It depends on what your are trying to accomplish.” Many of my clients want to write and post their own press releases, so it’s important to set up an appropriate format beforehand and use it consistently. Whether you are interested in self posting press releases to your website as part of your search engine optimization strategy or you want to send them to connections for possible pick up and re-direction, there are guidelines to keep in mind regarding how to do a press release.

#1:  Use AP style format for your release.

The Associated Press (AP) format is simple, clean and easy to read. And, the media will look at your press release if it is in the proper format. Save all info on your company for the footer, as you will see in the examples you find.

#2:  Have an interesting and attraction focused headline.

Use your headline also in any emails you send when distributing your press release. If the headline isn’t meaningful to the reader and doesn’t shout out why this is interesting press, you won’t get much engagement.

#3:  Your press MUST be newsworthy.

If you are not writing about something people care about, you not only look amateurish, but no one will read it. For example, launching a new website is exciting for you, but less interesting for others, so a press release about it isn’t relevant news. On the other hand, if you are releasing a revolutionary upgrade to a product or service (like your latest book), are expanding into new products or markets, have just formed a strategic alliance with a powerful partner, or are releasing amazing sales numbers, these might qualify as newsworthy. Think carefully about this and ask yourself, Why would people care about this?  

#4:  Be timely.  

Follow the leaders:

  • Release on Tuesday or Wednesday
  • Release before 10AM
  • Avoid the “clutter”. If something big is happening in the news or in your industry or with you competition, either get in front of it or delay your release.

# 5:  Use Quotes.

Include at least a couple of quotes from key figures, so that readers can get several angles of why your news is important and so that reporters have a couple to choose from. Quotes add a personal touch, they are less formal in copy and tone, and go a long way to build credibility and trust in your brand with the readers.

In my Master Mentor program, we focus on keeping things simple, professional, important and personal. It is the same when crafting a press release. Conversations around how to do a press release are often a priority in our work together and our collaborations with others.

Social Media Etiquette | Business & Personal

Written by Jennifer Gustafson on . Posted in social media

social media etiquetteSocial media etiquette is a major topic of conversation today. Everywhere. As I reflect on the things that my colleagues, clients, and friends discuss about how to manage their personal and business social media, a big question is whether or not you want or need to keep business and personal separate on social media.

Making Connections

There are myths and realities around this. We have all seen embarrassing things in social media about people, companies, and industries? Don’t we know by now that people are searching social channels to help determine if your company is one they want to do business with? Aren’t ratings and reviews a major priority for every brand in today’s buying decision?

I’m sure there are many opinions on this. From my perspective, I want every engagement to reflect who I am as a person, and who I am as a company. I believe there is value to having a personal page and a company page that complement each other. Often, building a personal brand that shows your passions, your contributions and what you care about goes a long way in building trust in you and your company or business brand.

Brand Connections My good friend Elaine Ralls, whom many of you know, has a personal brand of One Big Life that I feature in my book, Think and Grow Rich for Women. As you can surmise, One Big Life encompasses every aspect of her being. This includes how she intertwines her values and personal life philosophy into her professional life. So, to build such meaningful connections, she incorporates #commitagency, her business, into personal posts, and #onebiglife into professional posts.

People Connections

People do business with people. In my mind, building a personal presence that reflects who you are in a positive and meaningful way can only build trust in those you work with. The truth is that people will find you anyway. Transparency is one way social media has given us an opportunity to show our authenticity and our values. If you don’t want the world to see what you are posting, no matter if it’s a personal or professional post, I would refrain from writing it. Once it’s out there, assume it’s public.

Side note: Many people don’t want their personal lives visible on the internet in an effort to protect themselves and their family from any kind of fraud or exploitation. That may be a relevant issue for some. In these cases, it certainly makes sense to focus on a robust professional presence rather than utilizing strategies around both personal and professional pages or profiles.

Your Connections When it comes down to it, the decision to use social media is a personal one. The bottom line for me in this area of social media etiquette is that if you are active on social media channels, I would use every opportunity to show up in engaging and positive ways that build your personal as well as professional brand. Used wisely, social media can be an extremely effective promotional tool.

Essential Business Writing Best Practices

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in writing

writing best practicesThere’s a lot of talk about best practices in the world of business. Everyone has something to share about how to be successful. And it’s great that so many people are willing to share! But the wisdom that is imparted is only helpful if it is written in a way that makes sense to the intended audience. So, with that in mind, I want to share three essential writing best practices that business leaders should consider when sharing their particular expertise.

Be Clear

As a business expert, you certainly know your stuff. When communicating to your readers, you want to make sure that your content can be easily understood. You want to articulate your thoughts so that anyone can grasp what you’re saying and then put it into action.

Be Concise

People today don’t have time to read lengthy dissertations. Unless you are writing to the academic or scientific world, you will want to keep your sentences short and to the point. Eliminate unnecessary words and repetition. Stay conversational, make your point, and give examples if necessary…but keep it concise.

Be Credible

Whatever your subject matter, you need to write with authority. Own your words and your perspective. You will be taken seriously if you provide real-life examples and solutions. I also believe it is important to speak directly to your audience. Using a sincere, conversational voice will resonate more with your readers. If you write from the heart, your words will have more meaning. Reading your work aloud can confirm that you have captured your ideal tone of voice.

On a related note, you will be more credible if your content is free from grammatical errors, typos, and misspellings. Proofread your writing and, if you can, have a second set of eyes review your work before publishing. Your image depends on it.

While there are so many other writing best practices that can help to make you a better business writer, starting with these three will help get you on your way. And remember, anyone can be a good writer. It starts with being true to yourself, your intentions, and your ultimate goals. In short, it’s about being authentic to who you are.

Meaning of a Mentor | The Right One for You

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in mentoring

Almost everyone I meet raves about the importance of having one or more great mentors in their life. Others don’t understand the meaning of a mentor or how to engage. The first step is to understand what you need to get out of the mentoring relationship. When I start working with someone, it’s critical that together we clearly determine what success looks like and what the meaning of a mentor relationship is to them.

Forbes advises that it’smeaning of a mentor easier than you think to find the right mentor, and reinforces the need to get clarity around your goals. What does success look like? Are you focused on making more money, meeting the right people, building a winning team? Your critical success factors will drive the type of person or people you want as mentors. Writing down your specific expectations of your mentor will go a long ways to helping you find the right one. For example, if your goal is to make a bigger impact in your community, to grow your business, or to write a bestselling book,  the mentor you need will be significantly different.

Understanding the meaning of a mentor–and having clarity around your goals–leads you to the next step. Look closely at those that have accomplished what you want to accomplish and ask them who has made the biggest impact. That will lead you to where to look to find the right mentor. Ask your family and friends who they know too, which will help you clarify your goals. The participants in my Master Mentor program have done that. In the Master Mentor program, the feedback is that working with a leader that has done what they want to do, and finding this group of like minded people, has given them an army of mentors, all helping each other.

Bottom line is this: People want to work with mentors that can lead them down the path of success. Whether that means introductions to the right people, getting a business plan done, raising capital, writing a book, or surviving one of life’s major transitions…the reality is that life is easier, and we can reach our goals faster with the right help at the right time. Where we find the right people to help us starts close to home with getting clarity on our goals, talking to friends and family and researching who has done it and who helped them along their journey.

How To Write A Novel Or Other Content To Support Your Brand

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in Uncategorized

how to write a novelPeople often come to me for help in reaching their “I want to write a book” goal. The latest statistics show that approximately 86% of consultants say they want to write a book. In reality, about 1% actually follow through. I’ve had the opportunity to engage with some of the world’s greatest writers. One of my most recent books, “Think and Grow Rich for Women”, and my current work with the Napoleon Hill Foundation have added an even larger dimension to my experience. It doesn’t matter if you are interested in how to write a novel, a business book, or a self-help book.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is about the importance of having an outline. Staying focused on your intended readers and what value they will get out of your work is important. By focusing and having an outline, you easily lead the reader through an experience that as a whole accomplishes your goals.

Which of course brings up another question: What is the purpose of your writing? Are you writing for your business and you plan to use your work as an extended business card? Are you writing to position yourself as an authority? Are you learning how to write a novel in hopes of having a best-selling book in a certain genre?

Your writing serves a purpose, for you and for your readers. Getting clear on the expectation of the book you are writing will lead you to better decisions relative to your outline, your title, your visuals, how you publish and distribute.

For example, many of the clients I work with use their book to share their unique perspectives and business offerings. Consultants are experts at this. And, their books are critical assets in their branding toolbox, which they can feature on their website, distribute electronically, or have as giveaways at speaking engagements. Being published increases their credibility and positions their expertise. After all…they wrote the book on it.

So if you are thinking of writing a book, think about the job that your book needs to do for you and then focus on an outline that leads readers through an experience that is both relevant and meaningful. Authentic sharing of information and impact is the highest honor you can give to your readers.

After all, in the words of Ernest Hemingway:  “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

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Sharon Lechter has combined her expertise as a CPA and an international bestselling author with her unmatched passion for financial literacy and entrepreneurship to inspire change for individuals and businesses across the globe for over 30 years.

Credited as the genius behind the Rich Dad brand, Sharon’s current partnership with the Napoleon Hill Foundation uniquely positions her as a stand out in the personal development industry. As a driving force behind these two mega brands, Sharon has demonstrated her entrepreneurial vision and business expertise while empowering audiences with messages of hope and prosperity.

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