Make TWO Phone Calls EVERY Day

Re-ignite the conversation.

Think of the people in Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts

Categorize them in two ways:

First by the strength of your relationship: A – Strong, B – Medium and C – Weak.

Second, classify them by their ability to hire you as a consultant or buy your products or services: 1 is a decision-maker, 2 can influence the decision and 3 is lightly involved in the decision-making process.

Finally, go through the list and label each person using the two categories of ABC for warmth of relationship and 123 for hiring/buying decision or influence.

Focus on:

A-1 Strong relationship and able to hire you or buy from you
A-2 Solid contact who is able to influence a consulting project or purchase
B-1 Medium relationship who can contract with you or buy from you

Let’s set aside the B-2s, C’s and the 3’s for the moment.

A-StrongB-MediumC-Weak
1-Decision makerYESYESLater
2-InfluencerYESLaterLater
3-Lightly involvedLaterLaterLater

Now that you have the subgroup of people with whom you have a strong or warm relationship and who may be able to work with you:

Step up to the phone and MAKE TWO CALLS A DAY.

This is NOT cold calling. You have a good relationship with these contacts.

Here’s some scripts to get started:

Hi, Pat. Your name came to mind when I heard/read about _____ . What do you think?

Hello, Sidney, Your article in ___ caught my eye. Did you know about ___?

Hi, Terry. I saw you posted on LinkedIn about _____. Tell me more about that.

Chat for a bit and ask your contact for one thing:
 An introduction to someone (specific) in their circle
 A time and date to get together for a longer conversation.

You can leave a voicemail; state you are in the office all afternoon and you would love to catch up.

Recite your phone number, which you have written out as words. For example, Two, One, Two (pause) Six, Seven, Seven (pause) Five, Seven, Seven, Zero.

Say your number slowly, so the person can actually write it down without listening to the message again.

This Month’s Tip

The best times to call may be at 9:55 am and 1:55 pm. Try calling just before the hour marker when your connection might have a few moments before going into a meeting. Your conversation may be brief enough to set up the next call.

Contact

Let’s categorize your contact list and identify the most viable names. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll practice your pitch, so that it flows more naturally. You might even raise your phone game to more than two calls each day.

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Adapted from David A. Fields, The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients

 

Have You Googled Yourself Lately?

Check your digital presence periodically.

When you search for yourself online on a regular basis, you will review what you have posted on social media and also monitor how others may refer to you (excluding reviews).

Many professionals create Google alerts for their names and the name of their company, which is a good start to monitoring your online presence. There’s more to establishing an effective alert system.

If you haven’t already set up FREE Google alerts, follow these instructions.

Go to Google.com/alerts.

Enter the word or phrase for which you will create an alert in the indicated space.

Click the arrow Show Options to set the parameters. Daily, Weekly or As it happens. I prefer daily.

Sources is best set as Automatic, to include social media.

For How many, select All results

Finally, indicate the email address where you prefer to get these notifications.

Click the blue button Create Alert. You have now set an alert.

Click on the alert you just created to view the alert results. Congratulations.

Now, raise the bar.

Add a variant of your name, perhaps Beth for Elizabeth. You can also use your middle initial.

Do you have a suffix, like Junior?

Do you cite your degree: MBA, JD, Ph.D. or Esq.? Add that as a new alert.

Create an alert for your company and also your website URL, of course.

Make alerts for your phone numbers: office and mobile.

Narrow the scope of your results by using the minus sign (-) to exclude others with a similar name. For example, there was a professor at Columbia University whose hyphenated name was Falk-Kessler, so my searches are -Kessler.

Add your profession or business: accountant, consultant, attorney.

Perhaps add your city.

Raise the bar again.

Follow these steps on the website Talkwalker, another FREE service. Many Public Relations professionals find Talkwalker gives more comprehensive social media results than Google.

Start by creating an account at Talkwalker.com.

Click on Create to set an alert.

Similar to the instructions outlined above, set the parameters for Result type (Everything); Language (All languages); How often (Once a day); How many (All results) and Your email (enter your email address).

Remember to create additional alerts on Talkwalker, similar to the ones you set on Google, for a broad view of digital references to you and your business.

As good as these alerts are, you still should check online periodically. According to Shannon Wilkinson of Reputation Communications. “Checking weekly is a good policy. Clearing your browser’s history first will ensure you are seeing a true picture (otherwise you might be seeing an out-of-date cache your browser has autosaved).”

This Month’s Tip

Google has nearly 90% of the online search market in the US, but it is not the only game in town. Look also at Yahoo, Bing and DuckDuckGo. Yes, there will be considerable overlap. You may, nevertheless, be surprised by what you turn up there.

Contact

Let’s find out what people are saying about you on the Internet. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll create alerts and set calendar reminders, so you can easily track how you appear online.

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The Reader’s Attention is Yours to Lose

Broadcast on radio station WII-FM.

You probably receive dozens of emails that begin like this:

Hey Pat,
I hope you’re doing well.

My name is Morgan and I work for Megabucks Incorporated. We provide world-class services to companies like Name of Your Business.

What’s wrong with this email?

First, it presumes that you (the reader) care to have a personal relationship with someone you’ve never heard of.

Second, it focuses entirely on the seller and not on the potential buyer.

If you want to sell me something, you have to tell me:

  1. How you got my name
  2. How you learned something about my business
  3. How you know I have a problem
  4. How you can solve my problem because you have solved it before
  5. Bonus points when you explain how you can make me look good to whoever matters to me (my boss, CEO, CFO or even myself).

I call this approach: The reader’s attention is yours to lose.

I’ve used this idea in outlining my view of newsletters; now let’s apply it to promotional emails.

Plus, let’s include the World’s Greatest Radio Station: WII-FM.

You know that station. It’s the one all your contacts and prospects listen to every day: What’s In It For Me.

To begin, every communication starts with one of the following four:

Congratulations
Thank you
You or Your.

You engage the reader’s attention by speaking directly to them.

If you have not previously communicated with the email recipient, start by indicating how you learned their name.

Your name came to my attention in a review of fellow members of the Name of Professional Membership Association.
Or
Your name was mentioned by our mutual contact, Parker Brown.

This reference builds trust by establishing that you have a shared interest; here, you both belong to the same organization, or you were referred by a colleague.

Now, demonstrate that you did more than create a merge mail. You actually visited their website or LinkedIn profile.

As a professional focused on _____ , you usually _________.

Introduce the problem that you observed in their industry, business or municipality:

Small business owners in Metropolis are finding it tough to follow the new ordinance that employers not ask job candidates about their prior compensation when interviewing potential hires. Doing so may expose you to liability for asking an illegal question or discrimination.

Explain how you can help:

You can learn how to avoid a potential lawsuit or fine by reviewing these guidelines of questions that are and are not permissible under the new ordinance. (link to a page on your website).

Clearly indicate the steps the reader should take next. If you want them to call you, email you, click on a link to download a resource, visit your website or book an appointment for a complimentary consultation, you must indicate the information or tools to do so.

Accordingly, provide five key things:

  • your phone number
  • your email address in a link with a pre-formatted subject line
  • the link to the download without requiring an email address
  • your website URL
  • the link to your scheduling calendar.

Beware. If you throw the reader a me-first pitch about how great my product is, it’s likely to bounce right back to you.

The reader’s attention is yours to lose; accordingly, show you know something about them and give them a reason to keep reading and connect with you further.

This Month’s Tip

Confirm your emails speak to the reader. Read one of your recent emails to a potential client, or one you received. Highlight in red the words I, MY, WE, OUR. Then highlight in yellow the words YOU and YOUR.

When you are done, the email should display more yellow words than red. If not, take a stab at inverting some of those sentences to address the interest of the reader. Here’s an example.

Contact

Are they talking about your emails on radio station WII-FM? If not, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll focus on your reader. Once their attention is lost, you cannot get it back easily.

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Use Reverse Engineering to Book More Podcast Spots

Speak where your colleagues and competitors were featured.

What is reverse engineering and how can you use it to get more podcast interviews?

It means using deductive reasoning to grasp how an existing process accomplishes a task without performing the actual activity.

For many people, it means working backwards from the result to figure out how to get to the beginning.

For example, because I wanted to reach attorneys who listen to podcasts, I conducted an internet search for legal marketing shows. I looked for opportunities where I had not previously appeared.

When reviewing a few episodes of each one, some guests stood out because they were colleagues or names I recognized.

Now comes the step where you reverse engineer the process. Go to the website Owltail, which is a directory of podcast and episodes. Search for the name of a guest to generate a list of their appearances; Owltail includes a link to each show.

Here I made note of where those colleagues had spoken and gathered information about those shows.

On each of these newly discovered podcasts, I noticed whether someone had spoken about one of my preferred topics: media relations for attorneys.

In almost every case, it had not been discussed or it was addressed long-ago.

Bingo! Here was my opportunity. I contacted 24 podcast hosts and proposed I speak to their audience on the subject of how attorneys might introduce themselves to reporters.

The payoff came quickly. I recorded three podcasts in three days and continue to book more appearances. Plus, some of the hosts themselves have indicated an interest in my services.

This Month’s Tip

Podcast hosts are always looking for guests; accordingly, write an email to the host that shows why YOU would be a great resource to their audience.

  1. Refer to your shared interest in the subject that is the focus of the podcast and mention that you have listened to previous episodes.
  2. Cite one that is closely aligned with your proposed topic or name a colleague who appeared on the show.
  3. Indicate how you will provide a fresh look at a specific subject.
  4. Remember to state you will actively promote the episode to attract more listeners.

This approach will make you a highly attractive guest.

Contact

It’s time for you to step up to the mike and be on a podcast. Consider which shows are most relevant to your audience and conduct preliminary research. Then, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll reverse engineer the podcast universe and introduce you to hosts with a compelling pitch that will put you in the guest seat.

See also:
It’s Showtime! Prepare for a Podcast and How YOU Can Be a Podcast Guest.

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Image credit: www.ongineering.com

Attn: Women (and Men) Who Want to Be Quoted in the News

Proactively reach out to reporters.

When you see someone quoted in the news, talking about aspects of your business, do you think,

Why are they talking to HER and NOT ME?

The answer is Reporters call the people they know; they don’t call someone they never heard of.

How can YOU be the one reporters call?

Simple. Introduce yourself to journalists as an authoritative, reliable AND accessible source who has insights that others in the industry or the local area need to hear.

Recently, I’ve spoken to groups of women professionals and shared the following statistics from Bloomberg News, one of the top tier media outlets that actively seek women as sources. (Men, feel free to share this newsletter with your female colleagues.)

Bloomberg maintains a database of women who are leaders in business and finance.

In 2018, there were 500 women listed in the dataset.
In 2020, there were 6,500 women in the database.

In fact, the news organization has a New Voices initiative to identify top women and provide them with media training.

Here’s the outcome of these efforts:

  • In 2018, their top news stories quoted women 2.3% of the time.
  • In 2020, 17% of the sources were women.

On Bloomberg TV:

  • In 2018, women sources appeared 10% of the time.
  • In 2020, women were 27% of interviewees.

It’s not only Bloomberg. The New York Times wants to publish more Letters to the Editor from women and The Financial Times is tracking when news stories quote too many men.

Let’s see how you can contribute to this upward trend.

This Month’s Tip

Being contacted by a reporter is like the lottery; you have to be in it to win it. Use a Media Profile to introduce yourself to journalists as someone who has her finger on the pulse of the industry. Think of trends that you see looming on the horizon. Consider big picture ideas that will spark interest in your insights. Is there an upcoming deadline that companies must meet? Anticipate how this may impact businesses in a specific industry or local area. Your ideas should help an individual, business owner or an executive to Save Time, Save Money or Make More Money.

Contact

There’s a reporter who wants to talk to you, but she does not yet know who you are and which vital insights you will tell her readers and viewers. Start composing your Media Profile. Then contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll polish your calling card for the media so YOU will be the ONE reporters call. 

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NEW E-book: Create and Monitor Your Marketing RBI

Play a winning game with these five ways to grow your business.

You may recall I wrote about the five ways to attract business in June 2017. Your Marketing RBI (Runs Batted In) has these components:

  1. Networking
  2. Speaking
  3. Writing
  4. Participating in the trade association of your target market
  5. Extending your digital presence

I’ve spoken on this aspect of Marketing in presentations to groups of accountants and attorneys, as well as on podcasts.

More recently, I wrote a series of six articles for the PLI Chronicle Insights and Perspectives for the Legal Community, a monthly publication produced by the Practising Law Institute.

Naturally, these ideas have evolved over time.

I have now revised those articles and presentations, assembling them in an e-book of more than 50 pages.

It’s chock-full of detailed instructions, examples and best practices that apply to professionals who are accountants, business owners and consultants, not only attorneys.

Now, this guidance is offered to you and others in a general audience who might benefit from these strategies. The e-book is available for purchase for $9.99 via Venmo.

Here’s the Table of Contents, so you’ll see what you’ll learn.

This Month’s Tip

Try ALL FIVE strategies and then focus on the ones where you feel most comfortable. Networking may be your favorite and speaking may give your stomach butterflies. Or vice versa. The e-book gives examples of how you can take some practice swings and become more comfortable with the approaches you don’t ordinarily use.

Contact

It’s time you stepped up to the plate and took a swing for the fences. After you place your order and purchase the e-book on Venmo, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll explore which of the five ways to grow your business will most improve your Marketing RBI. 

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Lose Excess Fat (Verbiage) in 2022

 Put your website on a customer-focused and active verb diet.

Here’s a new way to look at the perennial new year’s resolution to lose weight and get more exercise.

Energize your website.

Trim the word count and make it easier for the reader to:

  • see you understand their problem or situation
  • scan your offerings
  • be directed to contact you.

    Follow these steps:

    1. Cut flowery adjectives and overly self-promotional adverbs.
    2. Use bullet points and numbered lists to make the content more scannable.
    3. Generate interest with active verbs.
    4. Divide sections with subheads in bold font.

    Take out your red pencil and start editing.

    This Month’s Tip

    Focus on the reader. Shift the focus of your content from I and WE to YOU. That helps the reader connect with you and hear you talking directly to them.

    Promote the benefit of working with you in the first half of the sentence and then explain how you will get the job done in the second part or the following sentence.

    Consider this customer-focused discussion:

    As a client, you will minimize operational costs by tapping our industry expertise and proprietary software. (16 words)

    Instead of self-promotion:

    We combine our expertise in the industry with a proprietary software system, in order to offer highly useful services for your company to effectively minimize operational costs. (27 words) 

    Contact

    Too many words can weigh your website down. Ask me to perform an edit in a Complimentary Strategic Communications Consultation. Let’s use a red pencil to cut away the fluffy adjectives. Then, enliven the content with active verbs, bullet points and numbered lists. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll shed that fatty verbiage and kick off 2022 with your re-energized website.

    See also: Your Less Than Perfect Website Costs You Business

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Work Up Your Workshop in a New Format

 Use video and writing to re-distribute your ideas.

Congratulations on a terrific workshop presentation.

Celebrate today. Get back to refining your content tomorrow.

It’s not one and done.

Here’s how you can re-purpose it in a new format; click on the blue text for more details:

Capture highlights of the recorded session in segments of up to three minutes. Write a two-sentence overview for each clip. Post the text with the video clip on your website, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Record a voiceover of a few slides and post the mini discussion.

Create a tip sheet of best practices, a quiz or a checklist with your contact information and branding. Save it as a PDF and offer it as a downloadable file on your website. Share it on social media platforms as well.

Include the links to the video clips and tip sheet in your email signature . It’s your free space to promote yourself, so use it.

Introduce yourself to the media as a source for comment on the hot topic or industry trend you discussed. Tell reporters at industry publications the best practices that will help others in that sector save time, save money or make more money.

Partner with a client, referral source or a colleague in  a related field to broaden the perspective when pitching the media.

Does the content lend itself to a case study? Use the P A R I approach to recount the issue. Describe the Problem or Present situation, Action that you took, Result in the short term and Impact over the long term.

Contact podcast hosts , who are always looking for authoritative sources to comment on timely subjects.

Exercise your creative spirit with an infographic.

Write an article for your newsletter — and propose an article for the newsletter of an organization where you are a member.

Do you have a blog? You know what to do.

Here’s how I followed my own advice, after leading a workshop on best practices for LinkedIn. I wrote the e-book pictured above.

This Month’s Tip

Turn your presentation into an e-book. I had wanted to write an e-book about using LinkedIn for a while. When I prepared a workshop on the subject, I finally pulled my ideas together. Now you see the result. Here’s the link to get your copy. And yes, I would love to give the presentation to your group.

Contact

Look through your recent presentations for sleeping golden insights. Let’s consider which format is most appropriate to spread the word more widely. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll give your workshop a workout and get it into shape for a new audience.

See also: C O P E: How Writing Can Re-Broadcast Audio

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Start with the End

 It’s both logical and counterintuitive

When people ask me about writing a press release, I suggest they start with the end. What do you want the news story to say?

Here’s why:

The reporter may be too busy to call and get more information. Therefore, make sure that any information you want to see in the resulting news article is included in the press release. Otherwise, it might not get into the story.

Now, let’s apply Start with the end to other situations.

Writing an article: It’s a well-scripted discussion that lets the reader know at the outset which topics will be reviewed and analyzed.

Perhaps you have had the experience of writing a draft and, in the process, you veered off on another track. You continued to develop this new thought and now you’ve arrived at a conclusion you had not anticipated.

You have two choices:

1. You can go back to the introduction and revise it to make it follow the new train of thought; or
2. You can keep the original idea and turn it into an additional article.

Networking: Elise Holtzman suggests you prepare for a networking conversation by answering this key question: What do you want your new contact to say about you when the interaction is over?

As a business coach for attorneys, Holtzman advises you compose your elevator pitch with an ear to capture the listener’s attention and succinctly cover key points about your business.

I agree; ideally, the new connection will remember an element or two of your pitch and then pass your name on to someone else. That person may be a colleague, employee, supervisor, family member or even a casual acquaintance. But if there’s nothing memorable about you, there will not be a next conversation with a potential client or referral source.

Speaking engagement or Podcast: Similarly, Diane DiResta counsels “At the end of the presentation, the audience will __. That answer is your outcome.” (2:18-2:32)

DiResta is a speech communications coach; she advises once you have decided on your outcome, you build the points of your presentation around that outcome to achieve a focused discussion.

This Month’s Tip

Help the reader or audience achieve the outcome. Now that you’ve educated the reader, listener or attendee, in most cases, your goal is for the person to contact you for your product or service.

When you want someone to give you a call, send you an email, visit your website or download a report, you have to provide them with the essential mechanism to take that step.

  • Include the phone and email address of the contact on the press release.
  • Indicate your website URL and email address in the author’s bio of your published article.
  • Exchange business cards at the networking event and invite the new contact to subscribe to your newsletter, when you have one.
  • Distribute a tip sheet or marketing literature with your contact details at the venue where you speak.
  • Mention your website and a free download in the podcast.

Remember, that news story, the article you wrote, the business card and networking conversation, plus the giveaway and theme of your presentation are more likely to travel further when you make them engaging and easy to share.

Contact

Where will you start your elevator pitch, press release, article, presentation or speech? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.comor call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll start at the end to find the appropriate beginning. 

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Choose Your Pandemic Holiday Card

 Take a stand: Printed card or E-Card

October is the time to plan for your holiday greeting card mailing.

It’s that time of year and you must make a choice: printed card, as you probably have done in years past, or e-card.

I am sticking with my annual e-card greeting; here’s why I hope you will join me.

Address: You already have the recipient’s email address. With contacts working from home or even undetermined remote locations, you may have to ask them outright for their mailing address to ensure the card is sent to the correct location. That might be an awkward conversation you’d rather avoid.

Share-ability: The person working away from their office will not post the card on their door, nor display it on their credenza, where other colleagues and visitors might see it. An e-card is easily forwarded to other team members.

Budget: The cost of an e-card is minimal to free. Find an appropriate photo or image on one of the many websites where photographers and artists make their work available for free. Compose some heartfelt greetings acknowledging your valued relationship with those on your list. You might even lightly commiserate that you’ve missed them and look forward to seeing them in person soon.

Assemble the image and holiday text in an email newsletter, compile the email addresses, and you’re good to go. Total out-of-pocket cost: $0. Only your time, or that of your staff.

Savings: Think of how you can better spend your time and money without:

  • Directing a graphic designer or purchasing a card from a catalogue;
  • Printing mailing labels;
  • Stuffing the envelopes, applying the address labels, adding postage stamps and hauling the whole pile to the post office; and
  • Bemoaning the waste of paper that has a shelf life of less than 30 days.

As a subscriber, you may recall I sent an e-card with a Holiday Haiku. This poem is consistent with my services as a writer who tackles the challenge of a 17-syllable verse with a change of mood and reference to nature.

Because no one sends a similar card, it attracts attention and prompts appreciative replies.

Those may be some of your objectives, too.

This Month’s Tip

Refer to the holiday season without specifying the observance of a specific faith. In America’s culturally diverse society, you can not assume that others celebrate the same holiday as you, whether Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or Diwali. Popular images include candles, which brighten the darkest months of the year and are prominent in each holiday. Photos of winter scenes are also appropriate.

Contact

Especially now, due to the pandemic, everyone has missed close contact with the members of their circles. Re-connect with as many people as you can. A simple e-card will start the conversation.

Let’s brainstorm some ideas for an image and a warm greeting that align with your business and will resonate with your connections. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll greet your contacts, cheer the holiday season and celebrate the promise of the New Year. 

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Is Your Client List Scannable?

Organized

 Show your industry expertise and make it easy to find familiar names.

Your website displays a list of clients demonstrating your experience in a specific industry or situation.

Think about the reader who arrives at your website and reviews the list.

She wants to make sure you can solve her problem because you have worked with others in the same field or have managed a similar issue recently.

Make it easy for the reader to confirm you are the professional she seeks.

List your clients in a way that showcases your successes in the industry.

Prove that you can satisfy that nagging need.

For example, an accountant in a beach resort community highlights her small retail business clients; they serve the same market and experience the same seasonality of revenue:

  • amusement parks
  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • souvenir shops.

In contrast, a graphic designer focuses on types of projects:

  • brochures
  • business cards and stationery
  • logos
  • website designs.

Within each category, the accountant and designer cite the actual clients, in alphabetical order, so the reader can easily find a name that is familiar.

Don’t simply assemble the entire list of names by alphabetical order or the chronological order in which you began working together.

This Month’s Tip

Take the reader by the hand and guide them through the list by using categories. Don’t make them scour the list in search of a name that aligns with their business or problem.

Now, imagine you are a pediatric dentist looking for a marketing consultant to promote your newly opened practice. Two marketers post their client lists on their websites. Review these lists, alphabetical and categorized, and see which one appeals to you:

Brown Heart InstituteNatural and Organic
City Historical MuseumNatural Health Consultants
City HotelNeighborhood News Magazine
Dad’s Wine CellarOkinawa Sushi
Dynamic Dance TroupeParent Monthly
Eastern BreweryPediatric Center
Kevin’s KitchenPierogis and Pasta
Local Wine BarRobertson Resort
Metropolitan MagazineState Film Festival
Mountain InnTony’s Hideaway
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ARTS AND CULTUREHEALTH AND WELLNESS
City Historical MuseumBrown Heart Institute
Dynamic Dance TroupeNatural Health Consultant
State Film FestivalPediatric Center
BARLODGING
Dad's Wine CellarCity Hotel
Eastern Brewery Mountain Inn
Local Wine Bar
Robertson Resort
DININGTony’s Hideaway
Kevin’s KitchenMEDIA
Natural and Organic Metropolitan Magazine
Okinawa SushiNeighborhood News Magazine
Pierogis and PastaParent Monthly

As a pediatric dentist, which marketing consultant displaying these clients has the experience you seek?

I would contact the person with the categorized list. It shows she has worked in health and wellness, including children’s health, plus she is connected to a parent magazine.

Sadly, that relevant experience is obscured by the bars, restaurants and hotels in the alphabetical list.

Contact

Which of the two examples does your client list resemble: alphabetical or categorized? When a reader scans your list for a certain industry or problem in their business, will they find it right away? Let’s review your client list and find the best way to display your experience. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll re-organize the names or projects of your clients, making the list scannable for website visitors, and, perhaps, viewers of your LinkedIn profile. 

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This discussion was prompted by the client list on the website of a networking contact. I wrote a LinkedIn post about it in January 2021, without naming the site. The website owner thanked me and promised to update it soon. Sadly, there is no change as of September 2021. Take note of that example.

Make it Easy to Say YES. Make it Hard to Say NO.

 Don’t let the reader walk away without connecting or downloading a sample.

Everyone has a business problem and you might represent the solution to their concern. That’s why you have:

  • a website
  • a LinkedIn profile for yourself and also for your company
  • a Facebook page for your company
  • a Twitter account, Instagram, etc.

You use the Internet platforms relevant to your target market so that you can be found.

It’s a strange phenomenon. People will check your presence online to confirm that you are the professional that they heard about, regardless of how your name came to their attention.

Even though they know that you (or someone you hired) wrote every word, the text somehow seems factual when viewed on the Internet. It doesn’t seem like marketing, although it is.

Wherever and whenever you can, show you are the right person to take on an assignment.

Deploy a more subtle form of self-promotion.

Create and share materials that demonstrate YOU are the resource that you claim to be:

  • your newsletter
  • articles
  • samples and tip sheets
  • blog
  • speaking engagements
  • testimonials and recommendations
  • list of clients by industry

This is where my refrain Make it Easy to Say YES. Make it Hard to Say NO comes into play.

When a potential client sees that you have:

  • a newsletter, article, blog post or webinar about solving a problem similar to the one they face
  • a checklist they can share with a colleague, supervisor or family member
  • a former client in their local market or industry

they will consider YOU as a potential resource to solve the issue.

They will not leave your site or LinkedIn profile empty-handed, because they will have engaged with your materials and the proof of your success, on some level.

They will be prompted to call you, send an email, sign up for your newsletter or download helpful information.

On the other hand, when you don’t display these enticements, you effectively allow someone to set you aside and turn instead to the consultant or company that does provide such samples.

This Month’s Tip

How will the visitor to your website or LinkedIn profile confirm you are a trusted resource?

  • Make it easy to contact you by putting your phone number and a link to an email address on EVERY PAGE of your website, in addition to a Contact page. Simply place them in a colored border at the top of the page. Put them on your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and other digital assets, too.
  • Display ALL your newsletters on your website, not only the current issue. (The person you met in July may find your March newsletter of interest.)
  • Create a downloadable tip sheet, with your contact information and logo. (You may choose to require an email address first.)
  • Save your published articles and guest blog posts as PDFs with the notation As previously published and the appropriate copyright. Assemble them in one place on your website for easy download.
  • Create a list of your appearances on podcasts and speaking engagements.

Contact

How quickly can someone say YES to YOU? Review this checklist to confirm your contact information is omnipresent on your website and other digital assets. Confirm that your newsletter, articles and tip sheets are clearly displayed and promoted. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll make it easier to say YES to your services.

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Image credit: Cleanpng

Are You Stuck Inside the Four Walls of Your House?

 Question the status quo.

Sometimes you — or your clients — live within the four walls of a house.

You speak the same language and jargon.

You see things the same way.

You may not realize how people outside your house view what’s going on inside.

That’s where communications professionals and consultants come in.

We bring an outsider’s perspective and observe the situation in a new way.

We translate what clients are saying and doing inside their house on behalf of people outside those four walls.

We share it, focusing on the benefit to others.

We tell the people inside the house what the folks outside it are thinking and saying.

We open the doors and windows and bring in fresh air.

Watch out for We’ve always done it this way thinking.

A Halloween festival was held in late October each year. Children trick-or-treated door to door and received snacks. There were old fashioned games, like bobbing for apples in a barrel and nibbling apples suspended from tree branches on long strings.

The fun of this event was threatened by its own success. In the excitement to participate, pre-school age children were being bumped and trampled by their older siblings.

To promote visitor safety, I proposed the event be scheduled in two shifts. Children under age five would attend from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. School-age students would arrive at 4:00 pm. During the break, staff would re-stage the activities and replenish the food that had been consumed by the attendees.

This approach was very successful. Not only was it safer for the smaller children, the two shifts generated even greater visitor attendance! That additional revenue more than covered the cost of the extra snacks and increased staff time.

Look around your own house, or the house of your client, and ask Why have we always done it this way? Is this the best way?

Consider inviting someone with a new or outsider’s perspective to peer into the house and share their observations.

This Month’s Tip

Are you doing things the way they have always been done? Take a closer look at the rationale for following the ways of the past using the five W’s:

  • Who said this is the way to do it? (Perhaps it was someone who’s long gone.)
  • What will happen if it’s done differently — or not at all?
  • When must a change be made? (Is there a deadline?)
  • Where can you gather support (buy-in or funding) to make a change?
  • Why will a new way be better?

Contact

Take a fresh look at what’s going on in your house. Contact me at  Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll open the doors and windows with a new perspective.

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Image credit: Cleanpng

Improve Your Voicemail Greeting

 Make it more responsive to callers.

Now that you and others may be going back to the office, you can expect more calls at your workplace phone.

It’s time to listen again to your voicemail greeting.

We’ve been following voicemail prompts since 1984. There’s hardly a person alive today who has not heard a recorded voicemail greeting and does not know how to leave a message.

“Hi, this is Griselda. Thank you for calling. Your call is very important to me. I’m sorry I’m not here to answer your call right now. I’m either on the phone or away from my desk.”

Don’t spend the first precious 10 seconds of your recorded phone message by ingratiating yourself with the caller.

Don’t create a delay for the caller and waste her time.

Instead, cut to the chase and let her know how she can reach you, in case her call is urgent.

She simply wants to connect with you, leave an important message and then get on with her day.

People have been using voicemail for ages; they know perfectly well you are not answering the phone because:

  • you are on deadline
  • you are in a meeting or on another call
  • you are ducking robo-calls.

Time is our most precious resource.

Callers want to ask you a question and, if you are not immediately available, learn when you’ll be available to answer it. Make it easy for them with a recorded message that’s short and sweet.

This Month’s Tip

Try this approach to improve your recorded voicemail greeting:

  1. State your name (and company) so the caller can confirm she reached the party she seeks.
  2. Invite the caller to please leave a phone number and message. State that you will return the call as soon as possible.
  3. If this is your office landline, consider leaving your cell phone number — enunciated slowly and perhaps repeated — so the caller might text you or reach you at that number, in case it is an urgent matter.
  4. Here’s how you can say your cell phone number at a pace that others can follow. Write the number as words; mine is three-four-seven-two-five-six-nine-one-four-one.
  5. (Variation) When you are out of the office on travel or in a day-long meeting, you may not return the call promptly. Indicate that callers should expect a delay for your reply call and/or direct the call to a colleague and provide their number.

Contact

Have you listened to your voicemail greeting lately? Give yourself a call now (I’ll wait) and see how it measures up to the format suggested above. If you need help to create a caller-responsive message, reply to this newsletter, contact me at  Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s write a script and re-record your voicemail greeting with the caller’s convenience in mind.

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Image credit: PhotoDune

Raise Your Virtual Networking Game

Be active and show you are accessible.

Networking has always been a vital component of your marketing.

With a year’s experience of networking online under your belt, consider these FIVE best practices to strengthen your presence in virtual networking groups and improve your activity.

  1. Customize your virtual background. Use the space of your box to display information about your company and how to contact you. Many templates are available online at Canva.com and other sources.

    You can see the difference a custom background makes in the array below.


    In the top row, I’m in the second box; my contact information is displayed and legible to the attendees (although blurry in this photo). Only a few other people, like the woman in the fifth box, also have a custom background; see how her orange logo stands out.

    In the bottom row, the man in the third box put his company’s logo smack dab in the middle of the screen. Notice that his body completely obscures the logo until he shifts his position.

    Don’t miss this opportunity for promotion. Consider the virtual background to be a frame and position your company name and contact information accordingly.

  2. Be prepared when the large group disperses into breakout rooms. Everyone in the small group is looking at the other participants, wondering who’s in charge of the discussion.

    Step up to the plate and YOU take charge. State your name and your profession. Then say “I’m going to give my elevator pitch and put my contact information in the chat. Next, I will call on each of you in turn to do the same. Here we go.”

    After you and the others have participated in the round of introductions, ask a question that will invite responses from all the members. You can focus on a problem that you are facing in your business, or ask about something that is related to your services. For example, I usually pose a question about how people are promoting their business; that opens the door for me to share an aspect of my Public Relations and Marketing background.

  3. Craft an effective elevator pitch. It should be 30 seconds, which is 75-84 words. Summarize a skill or a recent client success. Mention your target client or referral source. Remind the audience to contact you.
  4. Use the chat to connect with others in the meeting. Send a private message to those you know and reach out to those you want to meet. Save the chat by clicking the three dots in the lower right corner in Zoom.
  5. Commit to attending more networking groups and being an active participant. Invite your clients and referral sources to the groups you attend and ask to be invited to their groups. You will all expand your circles of contacts.

These five tips are designed to help you boost your participation and outreach in virtual networking events. For more ideas, please contact me and I will be glad to deliver a presentation to you and a group, a minimum of FIVE attendees, for a modest fee.

This Month’s Tip

Prepare in advance to share your contact details. You can easily copy and paste your name, email and phone in the Zoom chat, preferably in the middle of the networking session, when everyone has arrived and settled in. For example:

Janet Falk
Public Relations and Marketing Communications
www.JanetLFalk.com
Janet@JanetLFalk.com
212.677.5770

Save this contact information block as a DRAFT email to keep it handy. You’ll never worry that you typed so quickly you dropped a digit from your phone number.

Contact

Does your elevator pitch pack a punch? How does your virtual background display? Check in with me for a test drive over Zoom. Contact me today at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s work together to make your virtual networking success a reality.

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Don’t Scroll on LinkedIn. #Hashtag. Filter. Read.

 That way, you decide what you will review, not the algorithm.

Perhaps you scroll through your LinkedIn feed by default.

Many people simply allow the LinkedIn algorithm to select among the posts of the hundreds of people to whom they are connected.

The algorithm chooses posts and organizes them in the order of what your connections:

  • have written
  • have shared
  • have commented on
  • have liked

Some LinkedIn specialists, like Ed Han, encourage people to “be deliberate about your engagement. . . . This is how you train the algorithm.”

I disagree with Han and take a hybrid approach to reading posts on LinkedIn. I scroll sometimes.

Most often I actively search for certain topics by using hashtags.

Here’s how to locate the posts of greatest value to YOU. Type keywords or hashtags into the search bar in the upper left corner, next to the blue in square, as outlined in red. Hit enter and on the next menu click Posts.

Voila! A list of posts on your topic of choice. Additionally, you can use the option to Filter by 1st connections, Date posted and other criteria.

For example, I am interested in email marketing, so I check on that topic periodically. I filter by 1st connections, so I can keep up with what my esteemed colleagues have to say on the subject.

I now see their latest insights. I can share these ideas with my clients and implement these best practices in my own email newsletter.

By actively seeking the content I prefer, I avoid being inundated with posts that are not especially relevant. It’s fine to learn about an upcoming legal conference or that a contact seeks a paralegal, but I usually have other things on my mind.

I encourage you to follow my lead. Be proactive in the limited time you dedicate to reading posts on LinkedIn. Filter for the topics of greatest value to YOU.

Remember, you can continue to scroll and wrestle with the algorithm to refine it. By sharing, commenting and liking posts by others, you will narrow the scope of your feed.

This Month’s Tip

#Hashtag. Filter. Read. These simple steps are the best way to select the most relevant posts. Another quick way is to click on the arrow in the upper right corner of your LinkedIn feed labeled Sort by. There are two options: Top and Recent. See which one works best for your interests.

Contact

Try this #Hashtag. Filter. Read approach. Let’s have a quick Zoom chat with a shared screen, and I will walk you through the process, so you can learn to strategically select LinkedIn posts that align with your interests. Contact me today at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com Let’s get a higher return on the time you invest in reading on LinkedIn.

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Your Daily Pie of Time

 How many slices will you cut and what are their sizes?

Imagine all the activities you perform — daily and weekly — as slices of a pie.

 

  • Your job
  • Household maintenance
  • Socialize with family and friends
  • Religious worship
  • Exercise
  • Reading and other hobbies
  • Volunteer

Look. Your pie is completely sliced up.

Now, you decide that, to grow your business, you should take a class.

But how? Your time is all fully allocated. Cutting another piece in the pie will make the other slices smaller.

Here are your choices: skipping, tackling one more thing, dropping and outsourcing.

  1. You can skip the class. You’ve gotten this far without it, so you rationalize that you don’t really need it.
  2. You might tackle the class on top of everything else you have on your plate. That may not turn out so well. You’re already working at full capacity and you do want to learn the material. You have high standards for yourself.
  3. You could drop one activity, even though it’s good for your mental or physical health.
  4. You might outsource something. Hand it over to a person who knows how to do it better than you and probably charges a lower fee. For example, perhaps you hire someone to take care of the weekly laundry and housekeeping.

You probably have ordered a meal or two for take out in recent months.

Consider that is outsourcing your food preparation.

By doing so, you did not shop, chop, cook or clean up the kitchen to make that delicious dinner.

Do you feel inadequate that you outsourced your meal preparation?

Not at all. You think you are smart. In fact, you applaud yourself for supporting local restaurants during an economic downturn.

Now, consider your business as Your Work Pie of Time:

  • Executing client projects
  • Meeting with clients and staff
  • Keeping up with client industry trends
  • Professional development
  • Marketing your business
  • Networking with colleagues and referral sources
  • Mentoring employees

Look, that work pie of time is fully sliced also.

Consider which of the four approaches above – skipping, tackling one more thing, dropping or outsourcing – would be most helpful to manage the work pie of your time.

This Month’s Tip

Saying NO to one activity means saying YES to something else. Make a list of the many projects and tasks on your plate. Prioritize them by client score. That is, are they necessary for current clients? Will they attract future clients?

When you prioritize the activities from your Work Pie of Time, you will see which ones are the best use of your valuable time. Some can be handled by others and some may even be set aside, not to re-surface for a while. That’s okay. Not now does not mean never.

Contact

Want to take some Marketing tasks off your plate? Contact me today at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com so you can help yourself to another slice from your Pie of Free Time.

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Give and Take

 It’s better to give than receive.

You may remember past discussions of your Marketing RBI, as well as how you can team up and support a client.

Consider how these five activities create a framework for you to give, whether to clients, referral sources, colleagues or assorted contacts in your circles:

  • Networking: Identify two contacts whose professions are aligned or who share an interest. Before you introduce them, ask these connections for a three-sentence bio. Make sure they are not already acquainted and confirm their interest in a future chat. Share the bios and arrange a three-way video call. This will give your contacts an opportunity to expand their circles and you will catch up on their latest activities. You can encourage them to meet without your participation, of course.
  • Speaking: Team up with a client or a referral source to speak on a podcast or present a webinar. If you’ve recently appeared on a podcast, introduce the connection to the host, who is always looking for guests for the program.
  • Writing: Bring a case study to life in an article for a trade magazine. Propose a co-authored article to a client, colleague or referral source. You do most of the writing; having them as a co-author enhances your credibility to the editor of an industry newsletter.
  • Participating in the trade association of your target market: Promote the organization’s next activity by sharing the event announcement in your LinkedIn groups. Invite a connection to attend the program and arrange a follow-up conversation after the event. You can also share an article from the association’s newsletter as a post on your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts.
  • Extending your presence online: Plan to post on LinkedIn twice a week. Write a LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague or vendor. Comment and share your contacts’ posts, so they’re visible to more people. Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, if your connections are active there.

Now that you’re prepared to give, what about the TAKE part of the equation?

According to Wharton professor Adam Grant, it’s not about taking at all.

Instead, it’s about RECEIVING or MATCHING.

In other words, when someone gives to you in one of the ways outlined above, you graciously receive their offer. Later, perhaps, you create an opportunity to reciprocate. You match their gift and perform a service for them in return.

This Month’s Tip

Create a giving appointment in your daily calendar. Research shows that keeping a gratitude journal for 15 minutes a day, three times a week, can enhance your feeling of happiness. By giving to others in your professional circles, you will give them a boost that supports their business, plus improve your own mood.

Contact

It’s GIVE and Take, not TAKE and Give. There are many ways to give. Let’s look at your Marketing RBI and discuss the opportunities where you feel most comfortable giving to clients, colleagues and referral sources. Contact me today at  212.677.5770, reply to this message or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com to get on the giving path.

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Speak Up to Increase Your Word of Mouth Success

 You may recall I’ve written about word of mouth (WOM) as a source of business.

That discussion focused on the randomness of passive WOM as a marketing strategy. (See Up with Referrals! Down with Word of Mouth.)

In a conversation with David Leta of The Business Image, I recently learned that WOM can be intentionally exploited as well.

What makes WOM powerful? Three qualities work singly or together:

  • Unexpected
  • Memorable
  • Sharable

Unexpected is when someone you trust spontaneously tells you about a resource or shares an anecdote that relates to your present situation.

Memorable is a way to hold onto an idea, name or item, such as a tagline.

Shareable is a resource or a story that the listener could easily recall and pass on to another.

Don’t wait for someone to mention you. Make it happen. Induce others to start talking about you or add your name to the conversation that is underway.

Make yourself unique in an unexpected, memorable or sharable way.

This Month’s Tip

Consider how you can intentionally create more word of mouth.

  1. Unexpected: Be alert to opportunities to refer business to your contacts. One hand washes the other and soon that person may think of your practice or business.
  2. Memorable: Compose a tag line that creates impact. A visual image, such as a computer repair service’s We make house calls, suggests a tech will visit your home. Perhaps an acronym: ASAP can mean As Simple As Possible.
  3. Sharable: Have pithy anecdotes on the tip of your tongue that illustrate your services and the value you create for others.

Contact

Let’s give them something to talk about. Contact me today at  212.677.5770, reply to this message or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Together we’ll devise themes that you can disseminate to actively promote word of mouth about your business or practice.

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Tell Reporters Your Predictions for 2021

 

What a year it’s been!

Between the pandemic, climate change and elections, executives in many industries have been tossed on stormy seas and are struggling to right the ship.

Now, reporters at the industry publications your clients read are seeking ideas for a year-end article.

The focus is highlights of 2020 and predictions for 2021.

Industry advisers, observers and attorneys will definitely be quoted in these news articles. Here’s how you can be one of them.

This Month’s Tip

Consider the industries in which your clients operate.

Extrapolate from the obvious topics of the new administration and the pandemic to develop incisive themes with bottom-line consequences.

Look at:
• Trends
• Competition 
• Consolidation
• New technology
• Regulation
• Legislation 
• Litigation

My e-book, How YOU Can Be the One Reporters Call, walks you through the process of introducing yourself to a reporter.

Plus, the Appendix has questions you might answer to develop these themes.

Contact

Will you be the source quoted in the year-end news story? Only when reporters know who you are. Contact me today at  212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Together, we will gaze into your crystal ball and deliver a newsworthy forecast.

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Vote. Vote for Email and NOT for Social Media

 Email has the highest ROI of all marketing activity. 

If you do not already have an email newsletter, it is (past) time to launch it.

Research reports that consumers prefer to hear from service providers, vendors and brands by email. 

Email delivers to your subscribers 90% of the time; compare that success rate to Facebook posts, which are seen by only 2% of your friends and LinkedIn, where 9% of your connections see your posts. In other words, more than 90% of your contacts do NOT see what you post on social media, but they WILL read it on email.

More than half of consumers (53%) check their email on their smartphone, making subscribers open to viewing your message, regardless of their location in the moment they receive it and read it.

Accordingly, it’s vital to tailor the content of your newsletter and ensure that it displays well on a smartphone.

If you DO have an email newsletter, here’s a list of best practices to review and see how yours compares.

This Month’s Tip

Email is the way. Whether the email newsletter is read that same day or at another time, the subscriber sees your name and mentally records the fact that you entered their In box. Now that it is more difficult to conduct business face to face and in person due to COVID, it is imperative that you remain top of mind among your connections. When relationships are reinforced by periodic email, it is more likely you will be remembered for a future contact or receive a positive response to your next phone call.

Contact

What is the status of your newsletter? Let’s review your strategy, content and format to make the most of your outreach. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Elect to capture the eyes and mind of your subscribers and move them to choose you as their next partner.

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PS Tuesday, October 27 is the last day to mail your ballot in many states. Tuesday, November 3 is Election Day. This may be the most important election of your lifetime. Plan to vote.

Turn Your Holiday Card into a Gift

 Transform your marketing budget as a donation. 

Will you send a greeting card to clients, vendors and colleagues in December?

This year, consider re-directing the money for the holiday card to a nonprofit organization that needs your support.

  • Pick one that aligns with your profession, perhaps an art museum for a graphic designer or a legal assistance group for an attorney.
  • Select a hospital in recognition of the tremendous efforts by its staff to care for COVID-19 patients, like my mother.
  • How about that park or botanical garden where you refreshed yourself in nature after a long day working from home?

Any and all donations will be welcomed by the nonprofit group, which is struggling to meet increased demand for services with lower income.

This Month’s Tip

Send a holiday e-card to your many contacts. A simple text conveys greetings for the holiday season, plus the note that you have made a donation to Nonprofit Group in their name, in appreciation of your relationship.

Contact

You may recall that my seasonal greeting is a Holiday Haiku. It highlights my skill as a writer and was cited as distinctive. If you want your e-card to stand out, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Together, we’ll find inspiration for a seventeen-syllable poem or other poetic greeting. 

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Team Up to Improve Your Client’s Marketing RBI

 Here are FIVE ways you can help promote your client’s business for a win-win. 

You may recall I’ve written about your Marketing RBI, which has five essential activities:

  1. Networking
  2. Speaking
  3. Writing
  4. Being active in the trade association of your target market
  5. Digital presence

Consider how you might team up with a client in mutually beneficial ways when you perform these activities together:

  1. Networking: Invite a client to a networking group. Email her three-sentence bio to the members in advance, paving the way for more productive conversations.
  2. Speaking: Develop a joint presentation, perhaps a case study, to the client’s trade association or professional membership group. You put the client in the spotlight and make her look brilliant in front of her peers and competitors — who are your prospective customers. 
  3. Writing: Propose and co-author an article for a newsletter or publication in the client’s industry.
  4. Trade Association: Introduce the client to your trade association or another industry group. For example, a graphic designer might invite a copywriter to an event held by a local design organization, where she will meet other professionals who may be potential collaborators and referral sources.
  5. Digital presence: Write a recommendation for the client’s website and LinkedIn profile. Comment on his LinkedIn posts and share his other social media activity. 

Strengthening the relationship with the client is the immediate outcome. Equally important is helping the client burnish her standing in the industry by speaking and writing to her peers, as well as expanding her circle of contacts.

This Month’s Tip

Thank the client and celebrate. When you speak at an event or write an article, acknowledge the shared success. Post a summary as an update on LinkedIn, with a link to the article or the event announcement. You may also mention your article and presentation in your newsletter, again, thanking the client. When you attend the networking event or the trade association’s program, take photos that feature you and the client. Both of you can post the snapshots to your social media accounts.

Contact

Two can play the Marketing game better than one. Which client would make the best partner for one (or more) of these five marketing tactics? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s pick a teammate and get on the scoreboard. 

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Image credit: RBI Baseball Academy

Make Your Less-Than-Perfect LinkedIn Profile Stand Out

Default Blue LinkedIn Background Prohibited

This is the default LinkedIn blue background. You can do better.

 Do more with this free real estate. 

How can you stand out on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional database, with more than 660 million members?

Your potential clients and your referral sources are searching that universe for the person who can advise on a problem, so you must ensure:

• you can easily be found by using appropriate keywords in your headline and profile 
• you tick the boxes for their initial questions 
• your profile narrative confirms you are the professional they heard about.

You have full control of your LinkedIn profile’s space, so it should meet your own high standards.

LinkedIn’s criteria for a complete profile are:

  1. Headline
  2. Photo
  3. Summary
  4. At least two jobs or positions
  5. Five or more skills
  6. Industry
  7. School or university
  8. Postal code indicating where you work
  9. At least 50 connections

Your profile is undoubtedly complete on this basis. 

Now, let’s put some meat on those nine bones.

This Month’s Tip

Your profile may be complete according to LinkedIn’s checklist, yet underperform. Make the most of this free space.

  1. LinkedIn automatically inserts the title of your current job in the Headline slot. You can change that easily. Does your headline describe the value you create for clients or the team? Does it use terms someone outside your profession would use? (Hint: No one seeks a Director or an attorney who is a Partner.)
  2. Is the length off the Headline close to the maximum of 220 characters? You can achieve this by using a mobile phone or tablet when you edit the headline.
  3. Does your photo convey you are approachable??
  4. Is your background default LinkedIn blue? Change it to True Blue You. Include additional information, such as your phone numbers, email address, company logo and website URL. Don’t use a cityscape that conveys nothing about you professionalism.
  5. Have you received (and given) recommendations recently?
  6. Do you display examples of your work, such as reports, videos and news articles, in the Feature section? 

Contact

Now. Polish your LinkedIn profile. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770 for your FREE 30-minute review. I guarantee TWO IDEAS. We’ll brainstorm to rewrite your profile and add other elements so it will attract attention and confirm YOU can solve the problem, whether legal, financial or marketing. 

Request the e-book Three Steps for More Success on LinkedIn.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

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Your Less Than Perfect Website Costs You Business

 There is no excuse when you control the space

Imagine you are reviewing a contract before sending it to a client.

Oops.

Page 3 is missing.

Looks like page 5 and page 6 are duplicates.

There’s a coffee stain on the signature page.

This contract is unacceptable.

It should be perfect.

Obviously, you would not send a client this coffee-stained contract.

It’s the same with your website.

When you control the space, your website should be perfect.

Anything less conveys:

• you are not professional
you are inattentive to clients
and you overlook details.

These are relationship-killers.

Conduct a Quick Review of Your Website
Skim the home page in light of these questions:

  1. Does it speak to the reader mostly with You and Your or I and We?
  2. Are the paragraphs short?
  3. Is the content divided by subheads?
  4. Is it easy to scan, thanks to bold font?
  5. Are there bullet points and lists?

If this initial review is not going well, then the website is less than perfect and could cost you business.

When visitors cannot readily learn how you might help them, they leave the website.

You can fix these issues easily enough and make a better first impression.

Of course, you could ask someone, perhaps myself, to review your website in a FREE 30-minute consultation that guarantees TWO ideas.

This Month’s Tip

Run this checklist on your website. After you answer the questions about the home page, look at a few other pages and consider these issues:

  1. Is there a sample of your expertise — a free downloadable white paper, tip sheet or quiz — upon submitting an email address?
  2. Are the images relevant?
  3. Do you invite visitors to contact you and display your phone number and email address on every page?
  4. Is the latest issue of your newsletter available for review? Is it current? Is it easy for visitors to subscribe?
  5. Does the website display well on mobile?

Contact

Make a commitment to your primary digital asset — your website — so it is perfect, or at least nearly there. Address these 10 questions before you tackle the bigger issue of attention-grabbing and persuasive content. When it’s time for that step, I have the perfect solution. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770 for your FREE 30-minute review. I guarantee TWO IDEAS. Plus, I’ll ask one more question: Now that you have polished your website, how often should you review it?

See also: Lose Excess Fat (Verbiage) in 2022

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (10 in a series)

 Your (Re-Opening) Activity List

Even though you were working remotely, consider that you are re-opening your business, post-COVID-19 lockdown. What might be different (or the same) compared to a new business launch?

In these unusual times, I hope that you, your family and your team forge ahead with new energy and inspiration as you resume business.

During this period of uncertainty (June 2020), you may envision a new start for your business. Take a fresh look at how you may adapt your marketing activities for a post-COVID-19 environment.

Revisit and revise.

This is the tenth and last in a series of tips that help you to continue promoting your services. If your marketing activity sits on the back burner, like this tea kettle, move it to the front.

A recent conversation with an attorney about to launch a solo practice prompted me to reflect on Best Communication Practices to Launch a Law Firm

For many business owners and consultants, resuming operations post-pandemic lockdown may feel like a re-launch.

Let’s look at the eight items on the launch list and see how they might be adjusted for an ongoing business that is re-opening after the lockdown:

  1. Website: If your website directed visitors to call an alternate number, perhaps your cellphone, update that reference. If you mentioned any change in operations due to the pandemic or lockdown, perhaps that you were working remotely, make that current or remove it, as appropriate.
  2. Database of contacts: Review and update contact information for your connections by adding their cellphone numbers, which may be how you have been communicating recently. 
  3. Announcement of your launch: Consider whether to send an email advising contacts that you have returned to your prior location.
  4. Social media presence: Commit to contributing more often on the social media platforms visited most often by your peers and referral sources by scheduling appointments several times a week.
  5. Press Release: Plan to (re)introduce yourself to reporters with a Media Profile and a forecast of how the post-COVID environment will change for a specific industry sector or demographic segment. (There is no need to tell the media you have resumed operations.)
  6. Networking groups: You probably participated in group Zoom discussions during the lockdown. Reach out to those contacts you’ve recently met and consider inviting them to one of your networking groups, which may be virtual, or ask to visit an organization where they are a member.
  7. Business cards: In lieu of a paper card, update your email signature to ensure it features links to your website, LinkedIn profile, newsletter, blog and your most recently published article.
  8. Article: As in the forecast of your (updated) Media Profile, suggest a topic for an article to the editor of an industry trade publication read by your target market, perhaps in collaboration with a client.  

As a reminder, the previous topics in this series were:
Rev Up Your Newsletter (or Start One) 
Revisit Your Website
Refresh Your LinkedIn Profile and Activity
Time to Write That Article
Tap Your Network (for informal business coaching)
Speak on a Podcast and Promote Your Appearance
Use Photos to Tell Your Story
Team Up for a Win-Win (collaborate on a presentation or article)
Networking Squared

Each newsletter in the series includes links to resources that help you Take Marketing Off the Back Burner.

Tips

How often should you execute these marketing activities? Most businesses do not change dramatically in a short period of time. Schedule a date once every quarter to review each of the following, individually: Website, LinkedIn profile, Media Profile and an idea for an Article. Your Newsletter is probably published quarterly, as well.

Establish a system to add contacts to your Database on an ongoing basis. Plus, set dates to periodically reach out for a quick catch-up call or an invitation to attend a webinar or networking event together. 

Schedule time to participate on Social Media at least three times a week, whether you post your own thoughts, share an article by another or comment on posts by your connections.

Whenever you create new material, such as a published article or newsletter, post it on your website, promote it on social media, incorporate a reference and link to your Email Signature and add it to your LinkedIn profile. (Links to your website and LinkedIn profile remain the same.)

Contact

It’s time to dive back into the Marketing pool post-COVID. Let’s brainstorm and work on ideas. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770 to get started. There’s no time like the present for your Marketing activity to move ahead swimmingly.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

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Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (9 in a series)

 Networking Squared

Raise your Networking to a higher power by leading a three-way conversation.

In these unusual times, I hope that you, your family and your team remain focused on your goals.

During this interim period of uncertainty (May 2020), you may seek opportunities for re-connecting with others as part of your business development.

Tap into your network of contacts and locate those who might welcome a conversation with a potential collaborator or referral source.

This is the ninth in a series of tips that help you to continue promoting your services. If your marketing activity sits on the back burner, like this tea kettle, move it to the front.

You probably receive a substantial portion of your business from referrals.



Referrals and Networking are the opposite sides of the same coin; why do many people say they dislike Networking?

People refer those whom they know among their many contacts.

How did they gather those contacts?

Through networking!

Consider your many connections in diverse circles and among allied professionals: Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts.

Plan to catch up with them, with a twist.

Invite them to a call with someone with a similar business, a related target market or even a contact who enjoys the same pastime of swing dancing.

You can raise your networking activity to a higher power by teaming up and having a three-way conversation, what I call Networking Squared.

When your invitations are accepted by both parties, here’s what happens next:

• The three of you chat in an online meeting or conference call;
• The contacts introduce themselves and discover they have overlapping areas of mutual interest;
• They swap war stories and compare notes on shared experiences;
• They offer to send each other recent articles and newsletters;
• They agree to keep in touch.

Perhaps they find a way to collaborate on a project, article, podcast, webinar or be a guest author for the other’s newsletter or blog.

That’s the power of Networking Squared!

Indeed, that is how attorney Patricia Werschulz and marketer Sandra Holtzman have published two articles in The New York Law Journal. Plus, Werschulz has spoken at Holtzman’s class at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

The following discussions will help you strengthen your network as you actively introduce contacts to each other.

Up with Referrals! Down with Word-of-Mouth.
Two Can Network Better Than One

Here are all the resources on one sheet.

Tips

What are good questions to get the conversational ball rolling in your Networking Squared meeting? The best questions are open-ended, permitting the respondent to share an example or anecdote that illustrates the point of discussion. Some favorites are:


• How do you help others: Save Time, Save Money, Make More Money or Get More Joy out of Life?
• What was the highlight of the past year (or quarter) in helping a client?
• (In reply to a statement) That sounds hard. How do you do that?

Learn more about Problem and Solution Questions. You may also request an e-book with an innovative approach to networking.

Contact

Do you want to raise the power of your networking activity? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770 to get started. Let’s review your contacts and see who might make good matches for a Networking Squared conversation.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (8 in a series)

 Team Up for a Win-Win

When you collaborate with a colleague in another profession or a client, you show that you speak the language of that target market.

In these uncertain times, I hope that you, your family and your team continue to make progress.

During this interim period of uncertainty (May 2020), you may seek opportunities for speaking and writing.

Focus on those Marketing initiatives sitting on the back burner. Consider partnering with a colleague or a client for a webinar, podcast appearance or article. Plan to share your insights and speak directly to their peers, as part of your marketing outreach activities.

This is the eighth in a series of tips that help you to continue promoting your services. If your marketing activity sits on the back burner, like this tea kettle, move it to the front.

Collaborate with a client or a colleague for a win-win on all sides.

Perhaps you worked with a client in the technology industry on a non-tech issue. Consider how you might describe the situation you faced: you analyzed the Problem (or Present status); you developed an Action plan and advised on its execution. You achieved short-term Results and monitored the longer term Impact of your efforts. 

You are now prepared to write that experience up as a Case Study, following the P A R I format, working closely with the client.

Others in that sector of tech, whether competitors or colleagues of your client, would likely benefit from both of your perspectives in developing a similar approach and results.

If you want to attract more clients on that order, consider where they might look for a solution to that type of problem: a webinar, a podcast hosted by an industry insider or an article in a trade publication.

Here are some of the anticipated outcomes:
• The co-authorship or co-leader role of your collaborator grants you access to the industry-focused venue and gives you a higher degree of credibility from the perspective of the editor, webinar organizer or podcast host. 
• In turn, the venue provides the audience.
• You connect easily with the collaborator’s contacts in the sector, who recognize that you understand the language and landscape of their business
• You strengthen your relationship with your client.
• You secure a valuable article or appearance for her, granting her status as a thought leader.

You can anticipate similar results when you partner with a colleague in another profession, perhaps an accountant, marketer or financial adviser. 

The following discussions will help you assess projects completed with clients and colleagues to find appropriate examples for case studies, speaking and writing.

Client + You @ Business Meeting = Speaking Success
Client Success Becomes a Case Study and Article
Why You Should Co-Lead a Workshop with a Colleague
Your Co-Authored Article Reaches Influencers of Your Target Market

Here are all the resources on one sheet.

Tips

Who might you partner with on this case study/publication/speaking project? Start by reflecting on the work you most enjoyed or found most remunerative and where you wish to secure more engagements. Now, create a list of those previous clients who deemed your services and advice a resounding success. Add to it other professionals who collaborated in a key component of the project. Perhaps vendors who contributed substantively to the outcome might be valuable collaborators in this case study as well.

Contact

Are you ready to write up a case study, and take it to an industry publication, webinar or podcast with a client or colleague as your partner? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770 to get started. Let’s consider some case study topics and go for the win-win.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (7 in a series)

 Use Photos to Tell Your Story

A picture captures the eye of the reader and enhances your words.

In these tough times, I hope that you, your family and your team are focused on what matters.

During this interim period of uncertainty (May 2020), you may revisit and re-purpose past projects.

Focus on those Marketing initiatives sitting on the back burner. Use a photo to re-cast content and breathe new life into that material.



This is the seventh in a series of tips that help you to continue promoting your services. If your marketing activity sits on the back burner, like this tea kettle, move it to the front.

Almost every piece of content can be reconfigured in a new format (print, audio, video). In this new mode, and in its promotion, consider including a photograph for greater visual interest. 



Knowing that viewers respond more strongly to photos on websites and brochures, find ways to incorporate snapshots. “Our brains process visuals faster, and we are more engaged when we see faces,” states a report from the Media Psychology Research Center.

Who might be in the photo?
you talk with a client or colleague
a workshop participant speaks with you
visitors to your location (who have signed a release form)
a distinguished guest, among others.

Keep a digital camera handy; you never know when the camera-ready moment will strike. Afterwards, follow-up and share the fleeting memory with those in the shot.

Periodically, review the photos you have used in the past, to ensure they are still relevant and consistent with the messages you wish to convey.assess the photos currently in use, plus guide you to include others in the future.

How Your Photo Can Attract 3,000 People

Make the Most of Your Event Photos

There may be an occasion when it is NOT appropriate to use a photo. As an attorney, for example, when your client is the plaintiff, it may not be in her best interest to have her face in the news. In that case, tell the reporters covering the news story, No Photos, Please.

Here are all the resources on one sheet.

Tips

If the viewer’s eye is drawn to photos, what happens when there are no people in the picture? The world’s most popular radio station is WII-FM, namely What’s In It For Me. If a visitor to your website do NOT see someone in a featured photo, how will she identify with the activity or solution that is discussed?

Compare the pairs of locations depicted here, some with people and others with no one, and then consider which place YOU might visit.

Contact

Is it time to refresh your photo collection? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s review your snapshots and consider adding more visuals to your content.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (6 in a series)

 Speak on a Podcast and Promote Your Appearance

Introduce yourself as a resource, prepare your remarks and spread the word.

In these unusual times, I hope that you, your family and your team are managing to achieve your goals.

During this interim period of uncertainty (April 2020), you may re-assess projects that have stalled in the past.

Focus on those Marketing initiatives sitting on the back burner. Speaking on a podcast may be an interesting venue to share your insights with your key audiences and referral sources.

This is the sixth in a series of tips that help you to continue promoting your services.

Podcasts are popular sources of information. In an informal setting the host will ask you for timely thoughts on issues, trends and recent client successes.

Listeners will download the session at a time convenient to their schedule, meaning when they are most attentive.

The host brings a ready-made audience to the program, which, when properly identified, aligns with your targets who are prospects or referral sources.

The following discussions will help you develop a list of potential podcast programs, develop your potential talking points and promote the appearance, both before and after the recorded session.

How YOU Can Be a Podcast Guest

It’s Showtime! Prepare for a Podcast

Speak at an Event AND Report

Here are all the resources on one sheet.

Tips

It’s easy to turn your audio into print by following the Marketing strategy of C O P E (Create Once, Publish Everywhere). Summarize the key points of the discussion in a numbered list. Place the write-up on your letterhead and add the link to the podcast. Publish these Highlights as a post and article on LinkedIn, plus on your website. This makes it easy for someone to scan the topics and decide that she wants to listen to your remarks for 28 minutes.

Contact

What is the hot topic that you’d like to share with a podcast audience? Do you know which shows are the most appropriate? Contact me at Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s brainstorm for ideas and programs of interest.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (5 in a series)

 Tap Your Network

Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge among the contacts who already know you.

In these times, I hope that you, your family and your team are moving ahead with new plans.

During this interim period of uncertainty (April 2020), you may find there is more time for projects that have stalled in the past.

Focus on those Marketing initiatives sitting on the back burner. Re-connecting with contacts in your network will strengthen your mutual ties and, perhaps, provide new insights and perspectives from colleagues in diverse sectors.

This is the fifth in a series of tips that help you to continue promoting your services.

You probably have 5,000 contacts in your circles:

  • Members of networking groups and professional membership organizations
  • Colleagues at current and prior employers
  • Professionals who were on the same side of a project or the other side of a deal
  • LinkedIn connections of recent and long-ago vintage
  • Vendors and consultants
  • People who attended college or graduate school with you
  • Plus that stack of business cards

Here’s how to find them: Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts

Consider which of these individuals you know best and re-connect with them. A phone call might brighten their work-from-home day; even a voice mail message will be a welcome pause.

Invite them to a casual conversation; as you catch up, offer a mutual brainstorming session.

Share experiences and insights that might spark ideas.

In this informal exchange, you will both see things from another’s vantage point.

Perhaps this conversation will open up a new possibility.

It may unearth a potential client base or even an obstacle you had overlooked.

The following discussions serve as a starting point for ways that you and those in your circles may collaborate and informally advise each other.

Grasp the Hidden Power in Your Networking Group 

Connect (and Re-Connect) with Members of Your Networking Groups

Turn Your Networking Inside Out

Networking Towards the King

Here are all the resources on one sheet.

Tips

It’s Give and Take, not Take and Give. Networking works best when you think about others and reach out to assist them. Accordingly, offer to be a resource to the people you know. Set aside time every day to make a phone call or two that will get a conversation started. Suggest an introduction to someone of potential mutual interest. Ask for some advice. Put the ball in play and see where it leads.

Contact

Are you searching  for a reason to reach out to these contacts? It can be as simple as Your name came to mind in a review of LinkedIn connections and I thought to check in. Or, Your name came up in a conversation with someone looking for a ____ (profession). Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s peruse your list of contacts and start smiling and dialing.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (4 in a series)

 Time to Write That Article

Share your success in the places where prospects and referral sources look for insights.

I hope that you, your family and your team are managing these times well.

During this interim period of uncertainty (April 2020), you may find that your projects have stalled until a client or colleague responds to your most recent draft or email.

As you await their feedback, take a look at those Marketing initiatives sitting on the back burner. If you’ve been meaning to write an article, now is the time to put your ideas on paper and move that project up to the front.

This is the fourth in a series of tips that help you to continue promoting your services.

Past performance may not be indicative of future results, but it sure does persuade people that you know what you’re talking about.

One of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise is to write an article that explores work completed with a prior client, pointing to lessons learned and best practices.

Another topic is forecasting developments in the year ahead. You might even outline the business impact of a new trend or regulation. These meaty subjects will demonstrate that you are forward-thinking and enhance your credibility. (Don’t worry; no one will check up months from now to see whether you were correct.) 

Consider the magazines where your prospective clients, past customers and referral sources are looking for guidance and up-to-date information to SAVE TIME, SAVE MONEY and MAKE MORE MONEY.

Those industry newsletters are where you want to publish your insightful perspective.

These discussions will help you get started with ideas for content, once you have secured permission from the client:

Are You Too Busy to Write? Then Crowdsource Your Content

Client Success Becomes a Case Study and Article

How are You the Opposite?

Write Your Case Study with P A R I

Your Co-Authored Article Reaches Influencers of Your Target Market

Here are all the resources on one sheet.

Tips

Don’t write the article; instead write a letter that proposes the article. Let’s say you’ve penned a discussion that is 600 words. You send it to the editor of Marketing to Managers Monthly. The editor likes the article, but she only has room for 500 words. Or maybe the editor likes what you’ve submitted, and asks you to mention another topic, which will bring the word count to 750. In either case, you have to perform major surgery to bring the article into line with the publication’s requirements. Effectively, you write the article twice.

There is a better way. Compose an email to the editor in advance, before preparing your draft. Describe the theme or topic of the article in three to five sentences, adding a few bullet points that develop the subject. Ask for the word count and send your note. When the editor responds, giving you the signal to go ahead, you will write the article to the prescribed length, as discussed here: Sample Letter to Propose an Article.

Contact

Are you stumped for inspiration to get started? I love to brainstorm ideas for articles, plus I can identify the relevant industry magazine that would welcome your submission. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s get your ideas and name in print, so others will see you as a solution to their problem.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

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Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (3 in a series)

 Refresh Your LinkedIn Presence and Activity

Now that networking activity has primarily moved online, present your digital self at your best.

I hope that you, your family and your team are doing well.

During this interim period of uncertainty (April 2020), when colleagues, contacts and prospects spend countless hours online, your digital presence commands even more attention.

Updating your LinkedIn profile is probably one of those Marketing initiatives sitting on the back burner. Now is the time to refresh it and move that project up to the front.

This is the third in a series of tips that help you to continue promoting your services.

If you are not on LinkedIn, you are not in business.

With more than 660 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional database.

If it’s been a while since you gave your profile a critical once-over, take a closer look at it now. These suggestions will help you polish it and promote yourself more effectively.

The next step is to review your connections; follow this guidance to expand and strengthen your network.

Finally, make an effort to post value-added content, in the form of evergreen and timely information. Engage in discussions on LinkedIn and comment meaningfully on the posts of others.

Tips

Your LinkedIn presence has three components: profile, network and activity. For optimal results, focus on each one separately, in a sequence over a few days.

Polish Your Profile

What’s in Your LinkedIn Profile’s Background?

Close-up of Your Digital Portrait

Two Ways to Customize Your LinkedIn Profile

Turn Your Client Testimonials into LinkedIn Recommendations

Build Your Network

Add a Note or Default Connection Request?

Keep, Delete or Re-Connect On LinkedIn

Teaching (Public Relations) Graduates to Professionally Use LinkedIn

Don’t Feed the (Troll) Miner

Be Active

Three Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Presence (video, three minutes)

Write a LinkedIn Post that Stops the Scroll

As You Like it, Please Say WHY

Here are all the resources on one sheet

Contact

Are you pleased with the changes you’ve made? If you need a second opinion, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Together, let’s power up your LinkedIn presence and activity.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

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Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (2 in a series)

 Revisit Your Website

Confirm you are the resource that others seek and back up your claims.

I hope that you, your family and your team are well.

During this interim period of uncertainty (March 2020), you may find you can only take projects to a certain point. Then, you may sit back until you receive feedback from a client or coworker.

While you wait, take a look at those Marketing initiatives sitting on the back burner. Now is the time to revisit your website and move that project up to the front.

This is the second in a series of tips that help you to continue promoting your services.

You know how vital a website is to your business. Your online presence demonstrates your breadth of experience and services.

If your website is not up-to-date, it’s almost as if you tell visitors, “We’re slow in keeping pace with today’s best practices.” That may undercut confidence in working with you.

Three Website Tweaks That Do Not Require a Re-Design

  • Help visitors SCAN your page’s content. by using two-sentence paragraphs, plus bullet points and lists.
  • Post CASE STUDIES that exemplify your successes with other clients.
  • Email converts with a 3% click-through rate vs .5% click-through on Twitter.
  • Make it easy for visitors to contact you, by displaying your phone number and email address on every page.

Tips

Review your website as if you were a first-time visitor; then consider these suggestions:

Is Your Website Up to Date?

Make Your Five W’s Reader-Centered

Your FREEBIE is Valuable to Your Prospects

Are Your Website’s Images Consistent with Your Message?

Post Your Newsletter on Your Website

Here are all the resources on one sheet

Contact

Did you find it easy to implement these tweaks and suggestions? If you need assistance, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770. Working together, we’ll ensure your website confirms you are who you say you are.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (1 in a series)

 Rev Up Your Newsletter (or Start One)

Stay top of mind, even when you are not meeting with contacts.

I hope that you, your family and your team are well.

During this interim period of uncertainty (March 2020), it’s important to keep in touch with clients, prospects, referral sources and contacts.

Yes, they are working from home, isolated from colleagues and interrupted by family and pets.

But, they can only complete so much work, when they are not getting responses from a client or coworker, or they are stymied by tedium.

They actually would be glad to hear from you.

That’s why, if you have put Marketing on the back burner, it’s time to move it up to the front.

This is the first in a series of tips that help you to continue promoting your services.

As you reach out to maintain connection, one of the best channels is an email newsletter that offers insights, case studies and resources, among other topics.

Reading your newsletter will be a welcome break in the work routine.

Why an Email Newsletter?

  • Email delivers as a communication tool. It has a larger reach; there are THREE times more email accounts than Facebook and Twitter combined.
  • Email delivers to the recipient 90% of the time;  whereas only 9% of your LinkedIn connections  and only 2% of Facebook fans see your posts.
  • Email converts with a 3% click-through rate vs .5% click-through on Twitter.
  • YOU control the distribution of email, not LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter algorithms.

Tips

Here is a presentation, plus some discussions on the subject of an email newsletter, to help you get started.

If you already have a newsletter, scrutinize it as if you were reading it for the first time.

Vote for Email and NOT for Social Media

Orient Your Newsletter

Make Your Five W’s Reader-Centered

Post Your Newsletter on Your Website

Here are all the resources on one sheet

Contact

People are now spending more time reading email. Ready to start your email newsletter at least on a quarterly basis? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. We’ll brainstorm together to create a format and content that will keep you top of mind among your contacts.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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What’s Up with Your Elevator Pitch

 Make your introduction more memorable

When a networking group meets, every member takes a turn to introduce themselves with a 30-second to 60-second commercial about their business or service.

Each speaker stands and delivers the proverbial elevator pitch to entice the attendees with: a snappy summary of their profession, a target market and a benefit of working with the individual. Guests do the same.

Do you find it tedious when everyone around the networking circle says a version of name, profession and company?:

Good morning. My name is Irene Jones and I am a professional ice cream stylist at International Food Stylists.

Here’s why you should say goodbye to that repetitious format of name, rank and serial number.

Public speaking coaches say for the first 15 seconds of a keynote speaker’s remarks, the audience is poised in anticipation.

Attendees hungrily await the presenter’s words and their connection with the crowd.

With that in mind, the first part of an elevator pitch should be equally engaging.

Why waste those precious, high-attention seconds by deploying the same old formula?

This is especially true when attendees are subjected to 20 or more pitches volleyed in succession, like cannon fodder.

If you’re ready to make a switch, try my format.

First, I pause briefly, and start with a narrative or question. (The pause puts everyone’s eyes on me; the anecdote is a different opener than most.)

With the attendees’ attention is in high gear, I dazzle them with the benefit of the particular service I promote that day. I specify how I help an individual, business or corporation to SAVE TIME, SAVE MONEY or MAKE MORE MONEY.

Then, I state my name, Janet Falk, and profession, Public Relations and Marketing Communications. (I only add my company name, Falk Communications and Research, if there is at least 45 seconds. It’s not that essential.)

Up next is the call to action, for example: If being in the news will help you grow your business, let’s talk further. (Tell the audience what to do next.)

Finally, I repeat my name, plus my tagline or market focus.

It’s surprising how much you can say in 30 seconds, which is 75-84 words.

This narrative-focused approach has often been selected as Best Elevator Pitch of the Day.

Here’s how you can break the boring mold of My Name is, my profession is and my company is:

    • Many people don’t know a statistic that will startle your audience
    • What’s the opposite of twist something familiar
    • Have you ever heard of an obscure name, place or food

Then, you connect the dots to your business or service, plus the value of working with you (and your team).

Try this approach of narrative and benefit prior to reciting your name and profession.

Practice before you go to a networking event, so the new format will feel more comfortable.

Remember, you can reel off your elevator pitch almost anywhere. Before a session at an industry conference, speak to the person seated nearby. Chat with other attendees at a cocktail reception. You don’t need to be at a networking event to deliver your elevator pitch.

As an example of what the narrative approach sounds like, plus being prepared to speak spontaneously, click on the link below for a video recorded at a workshop for attorneys organized by Lawline, Ethically Improve Your Networking Skills, which I co-presented with Stephanie Rodin.

To set the scene, Rodin has just delivered her elevator pitch and explained its components to the audience. She turns to me and …  here is a two-minute video of my elevator pitch.

This Month’s Tip

Play to your audience. It’s helpful to have several versions of your elevator pitch that you can tailor when you are speaking to one person, a trio of workshop participants or a room of networking group members. Consider also whether the audience is from the same profession as yourself, are members of a target market or represent a random assortment of occupations. Adjust your remarks accordingly.

Contact

Ready to give your elevator pitch a lift? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. We’ll brainstorm together to write an elevator pitch that zooms up to the C-suite.

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Photo credit: Kayla Berenson

How YOU Can Be a Podcast Guest

 Step up to the microphone.

You may recall the phrase Why HER and Not Me?, which I often cite in connection with being quoted in the news media.

That same question applies to guests on podcasts as well.

These digitally recorded audio sessions may be an appropriate platform for you to promote your services and products. Like industry publications, podcasts are focused on a defined audience that is eager for information about how to Save Time, Save Money and Make More Money in business.

You don’t need to create your own show to jump on the podcast bandwagon. Instead, capitalize on the many podcasts that already serve your target market and offer to be a guest.

Podcast hosts are always looking for professionals who can share valuable insights with their audience. Indeed, speaking on a podcast is similar to leading a workshop or a webinar, in terms of your preparation and presentation.

In one week, recently, I recorded two sessions on legal marketing podcasts, plus I booked a date for another show.

I had not met nor corresponded with these hosts previously. I simply introduced myself via email as a Public Relations professional whose experience advising lawyers would be of value to their listeners.

Here’s the message I used to get the hosts’ attention, with some commentary:

Name,
Your podcast caught my eye (and ear) as a source of best practices in Marketing and Communications for attorneys.
(Clearly state that you listened to prior podcast episodes.)

As a Public Relations professional, I advise attorneys on using Media Relations, Marketing and Networking to grow their practice. Other goals include keeping in touch with contacts and referral sources, attracting employees to the firm and promoting pro bono and collaborative work.
(Here’s why the podcaster should interview you.)

Perhaps your audience would find my tips and perspective helpful.

Sample topics are:

    • A complex idea that people need to know more about
    • A strategy that few are doing correctly
    • A tactic that will make you stand out among your peers

I have previously spoken on these podcasts and at events serving the legal market:

    • Names of podcasts
    • Professional membership group
    • Local business networking group

(With these hot topics and your proven experience as a speaker, who can turn you down as a guest? Even if you have not been on a podcast before.)

Please let me know of your interest in having me as a guest on your podcast, which I will then promote on social media, in advance and after the broadcast.
(You will share the episode with your audience and thereby grow the podcaster’s listener base.)

Thanks.

Janet Falk

Now, imagine yourself in the podcast host’s seat. Every week (or two), you need to locate speakers whose background and insights will interest your listeners. Where will you find them?

You receive an unsolicited email from someone who has experience in your field and appears to be an authoritative source. She mentions some scintillating topics that you have not covered recently, if at all. You review her website and deem her to be a potential guest.

All that remains is to reply to the introductory email, schedule a preparatory call and set the date to record the podcast.

Voila! Now that you are off on the adventure of being a podcast guest, you can use these tips: It’s Showtime! Prepare for a Podcast.

This Month’s Tip

Search online directories to find the podcasts most relevant to your target market. Start with these listings, as compiled by Ilise Benun of Marketing-Mentor.com:

In addition, you might search the web for Ten Best Podcasts in (name of industry).

Contact

Ready to introduce yourself to the podcast world? Let’s consider timely topics that would be compelling to your target market and then discover where they might be listening for advice. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770 and we’ll develop a plan. Together, we’ll get you ready for prime time. .

See also Use Reverse Engineering to Book More Podcast Spots and It’s Showtime!

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Photo credit: Michael Meyer

Two Can Network Better Than One

 Inviting a contact, or attending as her guest, yields benefits for you both.

My colleague, attorney Eric Sarver, has an innovative way to show client appreciation. He invites the client to attend a networking event as his guest and pays for the tickets. There, she or he will meet new contacts, enjoy the event and “we get to connect and bond in a different context.”

Let’s explore this idea from two perspectives, starting with yourself as the host.

If the event is organized by a group where you are a member, you probably are eager to introduce your client, perhaps Pamela, to the others. You already know them well and can make meaningful introductions:

Pamela, this is George; you may remember I mentioned he is a digital marketer who advises medical professionals, like yourself. George, Pamela is a client and she has a urology practice.

With this personal introduction, George and other group members will be especially interested in welcoming Pamela and engaging her in conversation.

If the program host is an organization where neither you nor your guest is a member, you may still open the door to productive conversation. Your role is to initiate a friendly chat by introducing yourself and her in tandem. This will help put your guest at ease in a room where you (and she) know very few people.

Of course, you gain in stature in Pamela’s eyes for facilitating the introductions in either setting.

From the perspective of Pamela, the guest, there are even more benefits to having a guide at a networking event.

Some members of your group, noticing a new face among the regulars, will be motivated to strike up a conversation with her. Now she will become the focus of another’s attention.

Seeing a lively conversation underway may attract another attendee to approach you both and join in. Many people find it easier to walk up to a small group than to start talking to a person standing alone.

Plus, at the event where you are both newcomers, Pamela can follow your technique and gain valuable practice introducing herself (and you) to others.

Finally, when you and Pamela separate to work the room on your own, you will both be on the alert to possibly connect those you meet to each other, which increases the number of potential contacts.

Accordingly, consider asking a client if there is an event she or he might like to attend, whether it is your own networking group or one that has caught her or his eye. The opportunity to build new connections with the attendees, while also solidifying your own relationship, is most attractive.

This Month’s Tip

These are among the most common networking groups. Consider letting your clients know about an upcoming program of possible interest, so you may attend together.

  1. Professional membership associations
  2. General business organizations
  3. Interest groups (e.g., women-owned, ethnic)
  4. Community service organizations

Contact

Have you thought about expanding your networking activities by inviting a guest or accompanying someone to their group? If you need help getting started, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or call me at 212.677.5770 and we’ll develop a plan. Plus, I’m always ready to go to a networking event. I would be happy to invite you along or attend with you.

If you’d like to strengthen your networking skills, invite me to lead a workshop for general audiences or tailor it to your group. I have co-taught a CLE webinar Ethically Improve Your Networking Skills for attorneys, as well.

You may also read tips in this e-book: Three Lessons to Improve Your Networking Success.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Keep, Delete or Re-Connect on LinkedIn

What constitutes a valuable LinkedIn connection?

As you compile your holiday greeting card mailing list, you may see a name or two that you’re having difficulty placing. Do you recall the last time you spoke or emailed with her?

If you connected with her on LinkedIn a while ago, take a moment to consider your relationship with that individual more closely, and then look at others in your network as well.

Define a criteria to evaluate which LinkedIn connections are worth keeping, which contacts are subject to deletion and which names merit an impromptu note to re-connect. (See below for suggested texts.)

I joined LinkedIn in 2004 and over the years have assembled many contacts, once totaling more than 3,300. Not surprisingly, the connection request was the start and end of the online conversation in hundreds of cases.

Here’s the question: If that connection is not actively engaging on LinkedIn (with me or anyone else), then what is the individual doing there and how valuable is that relationship?

Research shows that only 9% of your connections will see what you post on LinkedIn, which may be why I saw nothing from these contacts. (In fact, some did not even display the activity section on their profile!) Still, in all this time, something they posted or published should have caught my attention.

As you know, the telephone works both ways; you make calls and you receive them.

I might not have followed up with you, but you did not follow up with me, either.

I say ENOUGH. It’s time to take action and clear away the deadwood so I can see the flowers (relationships) that really matter to me.

KEEP, DELETE or RE-CONNECT

As the year ends, I’m going through my 2,000-plus LinkedIn contacts and trimming the list.

If I cannot remember the last time I communicated with that person or how we know each other, I check Contact info on that profile to see when we first connected. If that’s more than two years ago, I remove the connection. (In one case, we connected in 2009 with no subsequent activity.)

Admit it; we both blew the opportunity to become better acquainted. Time to move on.

How to Remove Connections in Stealth Mode
If you wish to undertake a similar pruning, here’s how to surreptitiously conduct this clearing out process.

  1. Under the Me menu at the top of your profile, click on Settings & Privacy
  2. Scroll down to How others see your LinkedIn activity and Profile viewing options. It probably says Full profile. Click on Private mode so you become Anonymous LinkedIn Member. This way, when you view someone’s profile to evaluate the relationship, the person will not know you were looking at their profile. (There ARE people who regularly track those who view their LinkedIn profile and then contact the lookie-loos, in a polite way, that nonetheless has the scent of stalking.)
  3. Click on My Network at the top of your profile; in the left column, click on Connections.

Now you are ready to delete connections, either one-by-one or by sorting them into categories.

How to delete connections singly, from the list
To the right of each name are the Message button and three dots. Click the dots to show Remove connection and click again. Poof! The contact is gone.

How to sort contacts in order to delete by category
If you find it too tedious or overwhelming to review your many connections on a one-by-one basis, you can sort them into groups. Click on Search with filters on the right side of the Connections box and click on All Filters at the top.

This reveals categories, such as Locations, Current Companies and Industries, which narrows the number of connections with that criteria and make the review process more manageable.

For example, now that you have your dream job, perhaps you no longer need to keep in touch with many recruiters. Enter Staffing and Recruiting in the Industries box. Click the Apply button to filter, thereby displaying a group of, say, 23 names.

Now, use your mouse to right click on the names of all the profiles you wish to view, so each one appears as a separate tab. After you peruse an individual profile, you may opt to disconnect. Click on the More… box and bring the cursor down to the seventh position: Remove Connection. Click that spot and the person is removed.

Note: LinkedIn will NOT notify the person that you removed the connection.

This KEEP, DELETE or RE-CONNECT process is a rather satisfying activity. You may be prompted to re-connect with some people with whom you had lost touch. You may even find it healing to know that by deleting a connection, you have severed an unhappy tie to the past.

After you finish with the connections in that first category, consider selecting another industry, location or current company and repeat the process.

When you end a session of deleting a number of connections, remember to go back to the Me menu and the Settings & Privacy page. Scroll down to How others see your LinkedIn activity and Profile viewing options. Click on Your name and headline, which will restore your page to Full profile.

Hurray! Now, your LinkedIn connections are the people you want to stay in touch with.

This Month’s Tip

It’s never too late to re-start the conversation. Use these subject line prompts, or your own variation, making sure the question requires a response, not a yes/no answer:

  1. Your name came up in conversation with ____ (Put the name in the body of the email, so the reader will open the note.) What are you working on now?
  2. This article/podcast reminded me of our conversation about ____ (link). What do you think?
  3. Remember this email? Please help me recall what happened next.
  4. Your business card re-surfaced. What’s new?
  5. Your name came to mind in a review of contacts. Let’s meet for coffee and catch up.
  6. According to LinkedIn, you are now (at a new company) (in a new role). Congratulations! When shall we celebrate?

Contact

These many dormant connections might be blocking your view of individuals who truly meant something to you in the past year. When you send a holiday greeting or e-card to the clients, referral sources and contacts who are top of mind, you acknowledge the strength of that relationship. Periodically reviewing the names of your contacts will remind you of why you keep in touch with specific individuals and how you might be a resource to them.

If you need assistance performing this process of sorting, keeping, deleting and re-connecting, please let me know how I can assist you. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s use the garden shears to trim away those inactive contacts and allow your genuine connections to flower.

See also: Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts.

Request the e-book Three Steps for More Success on LinkedIn

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Image credit: Lafayette Library (CA)

Write a LinkedIn Post that Stops the Scroll

Know the parameters and work WITH the algorithm.

Frequently writing posts on LinkedIn can help keep you top of mind with your connections.

Posts may also attract interest from others who are focused on timely topics that are flagged with appropriate hashtags.

Here’s how you can raise your game and write a better post, working with LinkedIn’s algorithms that determine how your posts are displayed and who sees them. 

How Posts Appear on Your Profile

Your activity on LinkedIn appears on your profile in four categories: all activity, articles, posts and documents.

  • All activity includes your posts and articles, plus comments and likes on the posts of others. It is less likely that someone who views your profile will click on this category to see everything you are doing on LinkedIn.
  • Articles are timeless and longer discussions; these will be discussed in a future newsletter.
  • Posts appear as a long scroll. Each is displayed as the first three lines of text or 210 characters, followed by . . . see more. An image may be included above the text. Posts remain visible for only 30 days, generally. Some may be available longer.
  • Documents is the location for posts that have PDFs attached to them; they may be older than 30 days.

Why Write Posts 

Ideally, posts share a time-sensitive thought that might be helpful to others. Many Communications professionals encourage social media activity that will provide value and educate, entertain, engage and inspire. For example, if you are leading a workshop, speaking to a group or attending an event, consider writing a post in advance that mentions the topics to be discussed. You might also summarize the program afterwards, reflecting on key takeaways. This post may prompt a reader to register for the event, drive traffic to your website or perhaps spark interest in your speaking to the viewer’s own organization.

When you read an article or have a substantive discussion with a colleague, compose a paragraph that highlights what you learned and may be helpful to others. Add value by indicating how you will act upon that insight; don’t simply offer up the idea by throwing the proverbial spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. 

Finally, promote engagement by asking a question at the end so that readers may respond with their insights, reactions and anecdotes.

Keeping in mind the LinkedIn algorithm will only display the first sentence, consider it a flashing red light that will attract the attention of readers. Compose it in a way that will make the viewer stop her scroll action and read your pithy thought.

Parameters of a Post

  • 210 characters or three lines before the . . . see more cut-off and 1300 characters in total.
  • No formatting of text.
  • Ability to upload the following: photo (can include as many as nine), video or PDF of a document. Note that after this upload, you will not be able to add another item.
  • Link to a website or other content online; these appear below the text.
  • Seen only by members of your network in their feeds.
  • Use hashtags (#) suggested by LinkedIn based on content and prior post usage of hashtags.
  • Posts older than 30 days may not be visible.
  • Not indexed by Google.

Make Your Post More Visible

Only 9% of your contacts will see your post. Here’s how to improve its visibility:

  • When you name someone, place an @ before the person’s name. That will prompt LinkedIn to suggest a list of names so you may link to their profile. Clicking on the individual’s name will turn it bold AND cause an email notification to be sent to the person cited. (Caution: it may take multiple attempts to get the correct name to appear and occasionally it may not appear.) Note that many people do not appreciate being named, a la Facebook, as a tactic to attract their attention.
  • Add a #hashtag to make the post searchable by topic. Now it will be visible to individuals who are not in your network who use that hashtag to locate relevant posts. Use a maximum of three hashtags for best results.
  • Include a visual element. Posts are added throughout the day and scroll continuously. Your post in another person’s feed will soon be buried under dozens of posts by others. Images, photos and videos can make posts stand out in the stream, while people scan and scroll through the display in their feed. 

What Happens Next

A percentage of your connections will view your post. Additionally, if someone comments on it, or even likes it, then a percentage of her connections will also see it in their feeds.

A percentage of connections of any person named in the post will also see it. 

For example, each night, after attending a two-day conference where social media professionals spoke on best practices and trends, I prepared highlights of their remarks. I put the highlights on my letterhead and saved it as a PDF. I cited the speakers in a LinkedIn post and attached the document. Because every speaker named had thousands of connections on LinkedIn, the posts were displayed to numerous people and each was viewed at least 16,000 times. Did 16,000 people subsequently view my website or profile? Some, but not quite that many.

This Month’s Tip

How often should you post and when is the best time? Daily posts are recommended. If you want to post more often, wait at least four hours before posting again. People post and publish articles at all times of the day. Research indicates the best times to post are Tuesday through Thursday, with activity peaking at noon and between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. 

As for activity on LinkedIn overall, many advise spending at least 15-30 minutes per day to search for posts by others using the hashtags of your preferred topics, plus reviewing posts in your feed. My advice is to comment on posts (and not like) in order to connect with the author, engage others among your (and the author’s) connections and add value to the discussion; see As You Like It, Please Say WHY.

Contact

Are you eager to engage with your network — and others — by posting on LinkedIn? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. We’ll find topics for posts that will stop scrollers in their tracks and light up conversations with your LinkedIn connections.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Many subscribers to this monthly newsletter share its ideas with their contacts. Click here if you wish to subscribe.

Thanks to Joe Apfelbaum whose webinar provided insights on this topic, to Beth Granger for feedback on best practices on LinkedIn posts, and to Andy Foote, who offers this resource on character counts on LinkedIn. 
Image credit: FreeDMVTest.org

Your Business Card is Your Paper Partner

Make sure your card will re-start the conversation after your recent meeting

When you talk with another professional at an industry conference or networking event, you invariably exchange business cards. In that moment, you might peruse the new contact’s card thoughtfully and comment on the text, logo or service.

Hours, days or weeks later, you again look at that card and decide how to proceed with this new connection.

  • What do you do when this second reading of the card does not remind you of that engaging conversation?
  • What if you no longer recall the person who gave it to you?

Perhaps the card is responsible for this lapse in your recollection. Many business cards are not memorable, offering rather vague information about the individual and his business. You may need to look for the person on LinkedIn or visit the company website to refresh your memory.

Now, put the shoe on the other foot.

When you are not present, your business card is your paper partner.

It represents YOU.

That’s why it must clearly and succinctly convey:

  • who you are
  • what service(s) or product(s) you provide
  • who your preferred clients are

When your card achieves these goals, it can easily re-ignite that initial conversation.

Take a moment to review your stack of accumulated business cards — one by one — with this three-point checklist: the profession, service and target market of the person who gave it to you. Note the ones that meet the criteria and those that fall short.

In some cases, the text on the business card may not distinguish the individual sufficiently. Perhaps the back of the card has no supplemental information or you did not make a notation (other than to send the person an article or a connection’s name). This gap puts you at a loss to remember the contact solely from his card.

When I reviewed assorted business cards recently, one only gave the person’s name, phone number and email address. On the back was Surname Marketing, with a logo comprised of the letters S and M. No industry, no niche specialization.

Does Surname Marketing provide digital marketing, branding or advertising? Does it focus on consumers, businesses or nonprofit organizations? The card does not answer these questions.

Another new connection’s card provided her contact information, plus the street address and website. The back displayed Surname Company and below that Creative. But what was the profession? Documentary filmmaker, copywriter or graphic designer? 48 hours after receiving the card, I had forgotten, so I looked up the website.

Actually, she is an interior designer. Sadly, the back of the card was black, so I could not have written a note to jog my memory later.

Clearly, these two cards are not consistent with the professionalism of their owners. When the marketing consultant and creative interior designer add a few words about their services and target clients, their cards will become active paper partners and speak forcefully on their behalf.

This Month’s Tip

Take a closer look at your own card and see how it matches these criteria:

    1. Your name, title and company name
    2. Description of your profession/service
    3. Ideal client or target market
    4. Contact information: street address, phone number(s), email address and website
    5. Tag line that amplifies your offer
    6. Distinctive logo or visual element that is not overused, e.g., not the scales of justice for an attorney
    7. White or light-colored back, so the recipient can write a note there
    8. Font size of at least 8 point for legibility
    9. Substantial card stock that is not paper thin

Review your business card against this checklist and adjust accordingly. When you have revised the card, ask others for feedback and then make any suggested edits. For production of your business card, turn to one of the many printing and stationery vendors online or you may visit a local office supply store to print the cards.

Contact

Does your business card talk to a new connection and concisely deliver information that will resonate after your first conversation? Let’s revisit your card and consider how it might make a more memorable impression. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com,  so your paper partner will speak up for you loud and clear.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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How You Can Stand Out as a Conference Attendee

Tips to maximize your presence and activity at a large group meeting.

When you attend a conference held by an industry trade group or a professional membership association, you plan to learn the latest in your field, contribute to the discussion and be seen by your peers, among other activities.

Follow these tactics so you will stand out from the crowd. Connect with the panelists, plus be noticed by other attendees and the conference organizers.

  • Identify the speakers who are of most interest. Contact each panelist at least one week in advance of the conference with an email about your mutual interest as it relates to their presentation. Perhaps ask a question, so that you begin the conversation before you walk into the conference session. At the event, briefly introduce yourself before the discussion starts, simply to put a face to the name, then take your seat. It’s easiest at this time, when there will be fewer people clamoring for the panelist’s attention.
  • Wear a distinctive jacket or tie. Women should wear a colored blazer or suit and avoid black and navy at all costs. Men might wear a light gray or camel sport jacket; it gives a professional appearance and also stands out in the sea of dark suits. Alternatively, men might wear a tie of a less ubiquitous color, such as green or orange. When you contact panelists (and perhaps attendees) in advance of the event, mention you will be wearing this article of clothing, making it easier for them to locate you in the crowd.

I had notified several panelists, at a one-day meeting of 300 attendees, that I would wear a royal blue jacket. Four speakers scoured the ballroom during the lunch break and sought me out, so that we could have a conversation. One of them subsequently referred three clients.

  • Plan to ask a question. Take the microphone, stand up and introduce yourself with your name, and, if appropriate, your profession and the name of your company. Ask your question and remain standing while the speaker answers it. Now everyone in the room will know who you are. Plus, because you are wearing that distinctive jacket or tie, other attendees will be able to locate you and speak with you after the session to continue the discussion.
  • Volunteer to represent the breakout group. When attendees meet in small groups and then report back to the larger body, offer to summarize the discussion. As noted, take the mic, stand up and introduce yourself, before launching into your remarks. Most people in your group will shy away from this task, so confidently step up for your moment in the spotlight.

In the above photo, I summarize a breakout group’s discussion at New York CFA Society’s Alpha Women Event, May 22, 2019. Note the colored jacket.

  • Post a summary of the sessions on LinkedIn so others may learn vital insights and the latest trends. You’ve taken notes of the speakers’ remarks, correct? Compile these highlights and takeaways within 24 hours. Write them up on your company letterhead, save the document as a PDF and attach it to your post. Add a snapshot of one panel for visual interest.

After attending a two-day conference that featured top social media professionals, I wrote two posts on LinkedIn. Each discussion cited the speakers (e.g., @Speaker Name) and summarized that day’s highlights in an attached PDF. By mentioning the speakers’ names, the LinkedIn algorithm displayed the write-ups on their respective feeds; the posts were shown to many of their several thousand connections. Each of these two posts was viewed more than 16,000 times; people now associated my name with these experts and were prompted to view my LinkedIn profile.

  • Connect with the conference host. As the program ends, take a moment to congratulate the organizers on a fantastic event. Offer some feedback, both positive and negative, and exchange business cards. Perhaps you have an idea for a session for next year, whether or not you are a panelist.

This Month’s Tip

Take selfie-photos with the attendees you meet and event hosts. Post the pictures individually on LinkedIn with the name (@New Contact) and refer to the idea you discussed. Email the photo (and perhaps the link to the post) to the person with a note about your great conversation, along with the article or contact you promised. Invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn. You’ve started an in-person conversation; keep up the momentum.

Contact

Check your calendar for the next conference and consider which of these activities are most appropriate for you. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s brainstorm so you will make a stand-out impression on the speakers, attendees and hosts at the upcoming event.

Click here if you wish to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

See also: Speak at an Event AND Report

Are You Too Busy to Write? Then Crowdsource Your Content

Ask contacts to provide insights and string those pearls of wisdom together.

Crowdsourcing an article refers to the practice of soliciting and compiling insights from market leaders in a thoughtful discussion. The article usually includes a comprehensive overview that incorporates contrasting perspectives.

This content creation strategy is a way for you to:

  • Share timely ideas;
  • Promote best practices;
  • Connect with industry professionals.

WII-FM (What’s in It for ME?)

As the author, you will ease your research burden, because most of the ideas are being provided by the participants. This thought-gathering expedites the writing process. In addition, you will:

  • Get an introduction to a new subject and take a brief deep dive into the material;
  • Build a stronger relationship with these sources;
  • Promote yourself as an authority and someone who is in the know.

WII-FT (What’s in It for THEM?)
The busy professionals you contact have the opportunity to contribute with limited effort on their part. What are their goals when they reply with some thoughts?

  • Their name and the name of their business are mentioned, perhaps in an industry publication read by clients, prospects and referral sources;
  • They are seen in the company of other experts and peers;
  • They retain control over the content, because their ideas are submitted by email, unlike an interview where their remarks are captured in notes and subject to error in transcription.

Ask People You Know Well — or Virtually
If you have a substantive question on best practices and are not sure who to ask or how to get started with crowdsourced content, you have two options. You may crowdsource from people you already know well and also from those with whom you have a passing acquaintance. Be sure your request is brief and the benefit to the respondent is clearly stated.

Recently, I proposed a series of crowdsourced articles to The New York Law Journal on business issues of interest to attorneys with a solo practice. The first topic was selecting an office; options included home-based, subtenant, co-working space and office suite. Each category was to be explored in terms of its pluses and minuses: quiet solitude, camaraderie, location, networking, perks and expense, among other aspects.

I recruited respondents among attorneys who are members of a networking group I attend. The lawyers contributed thoughtful replies to multiple facets of the subject. I carefully compared these answers as I wove them together; here is the resulting article.

Subsequently, several contributors shared the article on their social media accounts. They also promoted the fact that they were quoted in a prestigious industry publication.

You can crowdsource ideas from people you know, as well as those you know only virtually. Once, I posed a question on best practices for LinkedIn on my profile and also in a LinkedIn discussion group. I cited 10 LinkedIn coaches who I hoped would respond; each had corresponded with me in the past, but I had met only a few face to face.

LinkedIn notified these coaches that I had mentioned their names. As active users of LinkedIn, they saw the value of answering my question. Their insights would be seen by their own connections, as well as mine and those of the other contributors, plus the members of the discussion group. Most of the LinkedIn coaches replied and their ideas offered contrasting views.

Later, I individually thanked each commenter and also requested (and received) permission to cite their remarks in my monthly newsletter. I aggregated their answers and rounded out the discussion here.

This Month’s Tip

Offer value to the crowdsourced participant. When inviting the attorneys to provide ideas for the law practice article, I explicitly stated that their name, law firm name and a brief phrase about their practice would be included in the article. Similarly, I indicated my newsletter would include a link to the websites of the LinkedIn coaches who gave permission to cite their remarks. This approach underscored the benefits to the attorneys and to the coaches.

Contact

Do you have a question for your target audience that might spark a range of responses?  Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here if you wish to subscribe to this monthly newsletter.

Post Your Newsletter on Your Website

Embrace every opportunity to promote your insights.

Imagine someone heard about your business or nonprofit organization yesterday. Naturally, they visited your website to learn more about you.

As the reader scans the home page . . . Look! A popup window appears; it asks her to subscribe to your newsletter by entering her email address.

The site visitor has only begun an acquaintance with you. How does she know she wants to receive your newsletter?

Help her connect with you by posting your most recent newsletter issue on your website. When you feature it there, she will:

  • learn what is new at the company or organization;
  • gain insights into trends in your sector;
  • read about a client success story.

Now she has a basis for deciding to subscribe.

A potential subscriber who signs up in July may want to read the issues dating back to March, or perhaps even earlier, before submitting her email address to hear from you monthly.

When your previous newsletters are not accessible on your website, you’re actually hiding content valuable to your site visitors.

How does that gap promote your business and solicit new subscribers?

Recently, I visited the website of a Public Relations professional; within a minute, I was invited to subscribe to her newsletter. Even though no issue was available for review, I signed up. I had read some informative articles she had published elsewhere and thought her newsletter would be worthwhile.

Next, I emailed this colleague to ask why her newsletter was not on the website. Here is the reply:
I don’t keep an archive, as the newsletter content is exclusive. If anyone can access it, I don’t know if there’d be an incentive to sign up.

With all due respect, why does this writer think non-subscribers will remember to re-visit her website month after month?

You may have noticed my approach is the complete antithesis of exclusive content:

  • all newsletters are posted on my website;
  • related content from previous newsletters is cross-referenced and linked;
  • teasers of the discussion are actively promoted on social media (see below);
  • a link to the newsletter section of the website makes it easy to read prior issues.

For the other writer, only those who signed up for the newsletter at inception will be able to read the entire run of issues.

This is an enormous missed opportunity for these reasons:

  • Posting your newsletters on your website, and making all that content accessible, will engage readers, clients, referral sources and collaborators more deeply.
  • Your newsletters court potential customers and induce them to subscribe.
  • Posting is easy to do and can even help boost SEO, with the addition of new content every month.

Note also the opportunity to cite and link to the articles you have published in industry magazines, media outlets and elsewhere, as well as news stories where you are quoted.

Don’t lock up your insights in a vault where only a select few will see them.

Don’t scatter your thought leadership articles to the winds of chance.

Turn your website into a library with ALL your published work.

This Month’s Tip

Use several social media platforms, relevant to your target audiences, to promote the content of your email newsletter, now that you have posted it on your company’s or nonprofit’s website:

  • put a one-sentence summary and a link to that page of the website as an update on your LinkedIn profile;
  • tweet a question, to which your newsletter is the answer, with its website link on Twitter and re-post it multiple times;
  • ask that question in a LinkedIn discussion group and post the website link;
  • post a teaser with the link on your company or nonprofit’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages;
  • put the newsletter link on your website in your email signature.

Helen may be a loyal subscriber, but that does not mean she reads every issue of every newsletter that arrives to her Inbox. Your subscribers’ attention waxes and wanes. By posting links to your newsletter on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, you give your current subscribers (and potential readers) two opportunities:

  • you increase the likelihood that they will encounter and read your timely ideas;
  • you make it easy for them to share your insights on those same platforms.

Contact

Ready to distribute your current newsletter to a wider audience? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. to post and promote your newsletter. Let’s open up the archive of all your writing so more people can read your terrific ideas.

And, if you do not have a newsletter, let’s discuss why you should have one and how to launch it.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Image credit: Claudio Scott via Pixabay

Turn Your Client Testimonials into LinkedIn Recommendations

Why and how to share this social proof

You probably have testimonials from clients describing your outstanding strategy, knowledge, execution, client service and other winning qualities.

Testimonials are a category of social proof, namely, evidence from the peers of your intended audience that verifies some aspect of your expertise.

Are these testimonials also displayed on your LinkedIn profile?

Potential clients conducting an online search for a professional like yourself will probably find your LinkedIn profile ranked higher than your website. That’s because LinkedIn is a most trusted source for search engines and it is very difficult for a website to outrank it.

Accordingly, make the most of this highly visible and FREE real estate by populating your LinkedIn profile with information that will answer a prospect’s most basic question: Can this person solve my problem? A testimonial or recommendation begins to address that concern.

Recently, a branding professional and graphic designer asked me for feedback on her LinkedIn profile. She has a long career as the founder of her own firm and several household names are among her clients. Nevertheless, she had ONE LinkedIn recommendation. It was written in 2013, and it did not report on a recent professional project.

When I asked her why there weren’t more recommendations, this 35-year veteran designer indicated that she wasn’t comfortable asking for them. How could that be?

Here’s how to ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation. Go to the LinkedIn profile of the person who has given you a testimonial on your website (or would be likely to give you a recommendation). Click on the More . . . button and click Request a Recommendation. Or scroll down to the Recommendation section and click on Ask for a recommendation. Indicate the nature of your relationship: (NAME worked with you but at different companies; NAME was a client of yours, etc.). Indicate your position at the time. Now, compose your message, along these lines:

Sydney, Your name came to mind thinking about the great work we accomplished together on the NAME OF PROJECT. It would be very helpful to me if you would write a recommendation for my LinkedIn profile, based on the testimonial you already gave for my website, which says this: Copy testimonial text. Please feel free to edit as appropriate. Thanks. I truly appreciate your support. Janet

If you seek a recommendation from someone who has not yet given you a testimonial, why not request the recommendation — plus ask for the testimonial outright? Take a similar approach by providing a pre-written recommendation/testimonial on a silver platter:

Terry, Your name came to mind thinking about the great work we accomplished together on the NAME OF PROJECT. It would be very helpful to me if you would write a client testimonial for my website and a recommendation for my LinkedIn profile. You might consider something like this: Janet Falk brought strategy, creativity and analytical skills to our brochure project. She gently reminded us of deadlines and kept her eye on the budget. The outstanding brochure was ready in time for the big meeting. I look forward to our next project. Please feel free to edit as appropriate. Thanks. I truly appreciate your support. Janet

There are two possible outcomes: either Terry and Sydney reply by completing the recommendation form or the request is ignored/denied.

So, how about yourself?

Take a look at your LinkedIn recommendations. How many do you have? How recent are they?

Now, rate the overall impression of your recommendations: Excellent, Satisfactory or Oops, I have not been paying attention.

Make it easy to say YES and make it hard to say NO. The satisfied client who receives your pre-written recommendation text is very likely to take up your request, make a light edit, and send it back through the LinkedIn system. You can then ask for another edit or you can decide not to post it after all.

It is up to you to post the recommendation, so consider whether you want to do so immediately upon receipt. Perhaps you will request a few every quarter and post them periodically, as suggested by Mark Galvin (who has 47 recommendations, as of May 31, 2019).

Speaking of recommendations, have YOU given any recently to your vendors and clients?

This Month’s Tip

How many recommendations are appropriate? A bevy of LinkedIn coaches responded to this question posed on LinkedIn and offered divergent views. Andy Foote (14) advises two or three per role and do not overdo it. Petra Fisher (104) suggests two or three per year. Kevin Turner (149) said at least 10 and make sure they are dated less than three years ago. Brynne Tillman (176) noted that with a variety of recommendations she may select those that most closely align with the profession or industry of the potential client when submitting a proposal. Taken together, the wisdom of the crowd is between five and 10, and keep adding to them. Note that only the two most recent ones are displayed and the oldest ones are unlikely to be viewed. (Full disclosure: I have 36 recommendations.)

Contact

Ready to request a few recommendations?  Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com to review a list of your satisfied clients and collaborators for potential testimonials. Let’s showcase the social proof of your capabilities and successes with LinkedIn recommendations that address your prospects’ needs.

Request the e-book Three Steps for More Success on LinkedIn.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Image credit: Intero Advisory

How to Invite People and Get a Sell-Out Crowd at Your Next Event

Entice them with a value-added experience.

Often an invitation says Please join us.

That phrase makes me cringe.

Who wants to go to an event where the host organization is begging for attendance?

Here’s how to write an engaging invitation.

  1. Place the attendee at the center of the event. Use the words YOU and YOUR as often as possible. For example: You will learn proven tactics.
  2. Show how the event aligns with her agenda and interests.
  3. Create a sense of exclusivity, where the content offers up-to-the-minute industry and market information, a look behind the scenes or an insider’s view. This also suggests that the member will miss out on timely insights if she does not attend.
  4. Mention the opportunity to get close to a BIG NAME in the business.
  5. Use active, dynamic verbs: HEAR, LEARN, MASTER, UNDERSTAND.
  6. Make the event is interactive with a Question and Answer segment. For example, share a what-if scenario about a friend’s company; practice the tips presented in the workshop, plus networking with peers and connecting with colleagues, of course.
  7. Indicate the DAY of the week and the DATE to make it easy for guests to check their calendars; some attendees have scheduled obligations, such as a monthly meeting on the third Wednesday, and will be unable to attend.
  8. Keep the event title in the subject line short, between 60 and 65 characters, so it can easily be read on a mobile phone, which is where more than 60% of email is read.
  9. After you have a draft, go back and make the first sentence stronger to capture the reader’s attention and prompt desire to learn more.
  10. Adhere to brand standards for the size of the font and its color, preferably black (dark) letters on a white (light) background.

EXAMPLE: Consider this invitation to a lunch of the Legal Special Interest Group of a professional membership organization. Here’s the final version, and below it the initial draft.
————————————————————————————————————
Event: Open Lunch for Legal Special Interest Group
Break out of your chained-to-your-desk lunch routine. Members of the LSIG will informally discuss top legal and regulatory issues, plus current market developments. Bring a question or topic, share perspectives and tap into your peers’ collective knowledge. Network and take part in a lively discussion, the first in a series of open lunches.

This event is free and places are limited, so please register promptly.
————————————————————————————————————
Event: Legal Special Interest Group -Open Lunch
Please join us for an informal open forum discussion and networking.

Agenda:
(1) Legal/Regulatory Update,
(2) Current Developments and
(3) Open discussion.

This is the first of a series of Open Lunches the LSIG will be hosting this year. So come and join us for a bite to eat and enjoy a lively and interesting discussion. This event is free but places are limited.

          Which event would you attend?

This Month’s Tip

Four DON’Ts to improve your invitations:

Do NOT say Please join us. Do not beg for attendance. A reference to US puts the reader outside the circle. In her mind, she is IN the circle. Do not alienate her.

Do NOT mention our distinguished panel of experts. If they are not experts, why are they speaking at the front of the room? Attendees expect to meet the best in the business.

After initially naming the sponsor of the event, do NOT promote that company. It is an organization’s event, not a sponsor’s event. The company is welcome to review the invitation for accuracy, not for approval.

Do NOT use reverse type (light color on dark background), which is harder to read.

Contact

Ready to draft an invitation that will attract a sell-out crowd? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com.Let’s discuss how putting the reader at the center of the invitation will put more attendees in the room.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Write Your Case Study with P A R I (Problem, Action, Result, Impact)

Promote the difference you made.

Case studies are a familiar marketing tactic to develop trust with potential clients. Prospects read about your experience with a business similar to theirs and get a sense of how you might work with them. When you present the success you achieved with another company, you’re indicating that you:

  • speak your prospect’s language;
  • understand the stated problem (and can anticipate related issues);
  • offer a strategy, tactic or solution that will take that pesky weight off their shoulders.

The P A R I formula for writing a case study is a proven approach that transcends all business operations and industries. Follow this step-by-step series of questions to gather the components of your case study, and you’ll easily develop a persuasive narrative.

Problem:
What was the situation before you arrived on the scene? What was the danger if the client did not take prompt action? What would not have happened if you were not involved? Sketch the essential elements of disorganization, slow and complicated processes, poor sales growth, underperforming staff, etc., so the prospective client will identify with the challenges the client and you were about to tackle together.

Action:
What steps did you take to define, address and resolve the problem? Who needed to be persuaded to join the team? What was the budget? Include these details to enhance your credibility with prospective clients.

Result:
Thanks to your intervention, what was the immediate result? Did the phone ring off the hook when a news story appeared? Did web traffic increase, leading to more sales inquiries? Was a process streamlined when a bottleneck was eliminated? Numbers and percentages will concretely underscore the essential role you played.

Impact:
What was the longer-term impact of your role for the company? How did the changes you recommended help implement ripples across other operations? How is the success you achieved being sustained? Demonstrate that your role gave the client tools to maintain the improvements you engineered.

Many professional resume editors recommend the P A R acronym to highlight career achievements. By adding the I for Impact, you underscore that your insights and efforts exerted a sustainable effect that the organization will perpetuate into the future.

This Month’s Tip

After you develop the case study and post it on your website, think of how you can promote the essence of the story in other venues. Perhaps you and the client can speak at an event or appear on a podcast. Consider writing an article for publication in a key industry magazine or your professional membership association’s newsletter. Share the write-up in relevant LinkedIn groups; ask a question about the problem you addressed and offer your case study as the best practice that resolves the issue. Create a video where you discuss the before, during and after of the situation. These are among the many ways to distribute your outstanding work.

Contact

Ready to draft your case study of a client success? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com to review the foundation of your P A R I approach. Let’s use it to make a case for your expertise.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue. 

See also: Client Success Becomes a Case Study and Article

Speak at an Event AND Report

When you give a talk, plan in advance how to promote it before and afterwards

Let’s say you  spoke at a conference and had your photo taken at the podium.

You can then post the snapshot on your LinkedIn profile, so others can see your accomplishment. 

Build on your success with highlights of your remarks in a few short phrases. You may even link to an excerpt of the slide deck or a recording of the full discussion. For an example, click here.

Perhaps someone, who does not already know you, will want to learn more about you and your presentation. On LinkedIn, they can see your profile and read your articles. They can then visit your website and review your newsletters and publications.

Maybe she will be so dazzled by your provocative insights and dynamic approach she will invite you to speak to her group.

Or better yet, perhaps he will contact you to meet and discuss a project or interview you for a position at his organization.

As an event attendee, when you hear a thoughtful presentation, note the key points in your LinkedIn post. Then, offer your agreement or difference of opinion. Consider how you might implement those ideas.

If you shook hands with the presenter or posed in a group shot, share that photo and mention the content discussed.

On the other hand, a photo that says I spoke here or I met Famous Name delivers the same value as I drank coffee at my favorite café. It’s a non-event to your contacts.

In recent weeks, I have asked individuals who posted such event photos on LinkedIn to please share takeaways of their remarks or report what was discussed, so others may learn.

Most of those folks did not even reply to my comment. What? LinkedIn is a social media platform. Why did you mention the event and post a photo, if not to generate discussion and invite engagement and connection?

Here are four substantive responses to my inquiry with evaluations in italics:

  • One fellow replied by sharing the recording of a practice session of his talk. This essentially duplicated the experience of attending the session. Terrific, especially because the event was in another country!
  • One contact cited highlights in, literally, two words; then she referred to her “most recent article on LinkedIn.” OK. Better to provide a link to that article and make it instantly available.
  • One woman replied that it was an internal meeting and content would not be shared. Apparently, the photo of eight panelists, plus caption naming two of the speakers, was designed to showcase the company’s diverse employees. How nice. Why should anyone outside that business care?
  • One speaker’s post asked “Missed my presentation on topic?” and linked to his slide deck. Fantastic. His discussion was excellent and now many can grasp his insights.

You may recall I discussed a similar approach regarding the use of the Like feature on LinkedIn when commenting on posts by contacts. Those observations hold true for one’s own promotional activity on LinkedIn.

Consider how a post about your speaking engagement (or attendance at a meeting) may become more inviting and informative to your contacts by citing the content discussed.

This Month’s Tip

When you prepare to give a talk, remember to promote it before and after the event. Assemble a list of three to five takeaways. Recruit someone to take a photo, if there is no official photographer. As an attendee, plan to take notes AND photos.

Post the highlights of the event and a photo, with a substantive caption, on your LinkedIn profile and in relevant groups, plus on your Twitter account.

Contact

Ready to get more mileage from your speaking engagement? Two goals are to put you on the road for another talk and to meet with prospects who were impressed by your remarks.  Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com to learn how to share the wealth on social media.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

See also: COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere and Work Up Your Workshop in a New Format

Connect (and Re-Connect) with Members of Your Networking Groups

How? Subscribe, Share, Co-author, Ask and Introduce.

You probably are a member of several professional membership organizations and formal networking groups.

How do you interact with these colleagues on a one-on-one basis between meetings?

Start by connecting with each one on LinkedIn; also consider Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms, as appropriate.

Plus, remember the informal and virtual groups you’ve joined – the same approach applies.

Here are 11 ways to strengthen your ties to the members — individually and within the group:

  1. Subscribe to (read and comment on) their newsletters – and invite them to subscribe to yours;
  2. Notify them of potential clients seeking resources and services;
  3. Share opportunities to submit articles for publication and speak to reporters;
  4. Co-author an article in an industry publication;
  5. Ask them about best practices that you can reference in an article, newsletter or LinkedIn essay; acknowledge their suggestions with links to their websites.
  6. Comment meaningfully on their LinkedIn posts and articles;
  7. Introduce them to other contacts who have an aligned interest;
  8. Send an announcement of an event or webinar, article or podcast;
  9. Schedule a get-acquainted chat or a periodic check-in phone call to consider how you might help each other;
  10. Encourage them to host your workshop for their contacts to learn and network;
  11. Invite them to attend your speaking engagements.

This Month’s Tip

Make a list of your professional membership organizations, networking groups, LinkedIn groups and other communities. Peruse the membership directory and cross-check those names in your LinkedIn network. If you are not yet connected, compose a connection request to introduce yourself, citing your mutual association. (Note: I am currently engaged in this outreach with a 90-member virtual group; about one-half have accepted my invitation.)

When you are already connected on LinkedIn, and it has been a while since your last interaction, get a meaningful conversation started using these prompts.

 

Contact

Ready to create a stronger professional bond and extend your relationship with your in-person and virtual networks? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s develop a calendar to (re-)connect with your fellow networkers.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

See also: Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts, Grasp the Hidden Power of Your Networking Group and Everyone Knows Someone Worth Knowing.

Your FREEBIE is Valuable to Your Prospects

A giveaway delivers contact information of potential clients.

Are you looking for a way to get prospective clients interested in learning more about your services?

Many websites offer a FREE giveaway to engage with potential clients. These FREEBIES might be an informative Top 10 Tips, a checklist or a quiz, available in exchange for an email address (perhaps also a mailing address and phone number). The prospect is emailed a link to a document that may be downloaded from the website. Or there may be a link to a podcast recording or video.

The more your giveaway aligns with the needs of your target market, the more likely prospects will sign up to receive the FREEBIE.

The giveaway features insights or guidance, as well as your email address, phone number and website URL for subsequent contact, on an appropriate sheet bearing your logo and branded design.

You can add the contact’s information to your database, then plan for subsequent follow-up with a phone call or an invitation to an event. Or you may subscribe them to your email newsletter, because email is the most effective way to engage customers.

The marketing term of art for this giveaway is a lead magnet. Digital marketing professionals calculate that placing a lead magnet on a website may convert into leads up to 25% of all visitors who would otherwise abandon a website.

The most frequently offered giveaways are:

  • Articles that explain how to do an activity
  • Best practices to DO
  • Best practices to NOT DO
  • Calendar
  • Top 10 Tips
  • Worksheet

Where on your website might you place the offer of the giveaway? On the home page and on any other relevant pages. Or a pop-up that appears thirty seconds or longer after a prospect lands on the website. (The delay gives the visitor time to confirm that this is indeed the website and the resource she was seeking.)

There are standard web forms to request a giveaway that can easily be incorporated into your website. When setting them up, be sure to include a thank you to the prospect for requesting the material. Also, you may indicate the best way to keep in touch if there are questions regarding the content.

When you receive notification that someone has requested the giveaway, schedule a time to follow-up by email or phone in order to learn about the situation, need or problem of the prospective client.

This Month’s Tip

Your giveaway can keep on giving. Once prospects receive the link to the giveaway, or download the freebie, it is easy for them to share it with their colleagues and other contacts. This results in a wider distribution. Even if you may not know where the giveaway has been sent, by using a link shorten-er, you can track the number of subsequent clicks.

Contact

What inspiring ideas or tested tips might you share to get prospective clients interested in learning more about your services? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s create your giveaway and give it a go.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Image credit: ahsan of www.newslinemagazine.com

Why You Should Co-Lead a Workshop with a Colleague

Collaboration yields up-to-the-minute content and conversation.

Speaking is one of the five best ways to attract new business. In a workshop setting, for example, you and your colleague demonstrate mastery of the subject matter and analyze successful projects. Your presentation also entices attendees to hire you, so they might achieve similar results for their organization.

Plus, it’s beneficial when your co-leader is a client, who will attest to the value and impact of your services.

Consider teaming up with a colleague in an allied field, or someone whose business aligns with that of the session’s participants.

Co-presenting offers several advantages to a solo session:

  1. Speakers of different professions attract a wider audience; attendees may connect better with the person who shares their background.
  2. Collaborating lightens the burden of developing and giving the entire presentation.
  3. You will gain access to timely knowledge and insights of another profession, while preparing the material.
  4. You will capitalize on the co-presenter’s existing relationship with the event host, or further ingratiate yourself if you are the connector.

Recently, I collaborated on two different workshops to groups of attorneys; my partners were networking contacts.

One session was a reprise of a webinar on media relations that patent attorney Patricia Werschulz and I had developed. After I proposed the topic to the webinar producer, I invited Werschulz, whom I had met at a networking event, to co-lead the presentation. In my segments, I explained the nuts and bolts of professionally introducing oneself to reporters and the how-tos of press releases. in her sections, Werschulz discussed ethics and the Rules of Professional Conduct that applied to interaction with the media. Her remarks qualified the presentation for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits, a magnet for attorneys who must log CLE credits every two years. Following that webinar, Werschulz and I have given the presentation as an in-person workshop three more times.

The second workshop, which I had previously led four times for professionals at financial, public relations and start-up companies, focused on networking. When customizing this speaking engagement for attorneys, I recruited Kimberly Rice, editor of the monthly publication Marketing the Law Firm, to which I have contributed articles for five years. I presented a unique pre-event marketing strategy for attendees at networking events. Rice covered ethics and the Rules of Professional Conduct relevant to networking, again for CLE. In addition, she shared best practices in marketing of particular interest to attorneys from a small law firm or with a solo practice.

Here’s why Werschulz and Rice agreed to co-present:

Werschulz: “I wanted to learn more about the subject matter of ethics and media relations, so I had to research my part of the presentation. I also had the opportunity to learn from my co-presenter. Every time I present or teach, my network expands with new potential sources of referrals.”

Rice: “I enjoy presenting to different audiences of qualified, targeted prospects whose interests align with my expertise. I was curious about New York City lawyers and found they were a bit more engaged than audiences in other parts of the country. Working with the New York County Lawyers Association will perhaps open the door for future speaking opportunities.“

Collaborating on a speaking engagement is a win-win all the way around. You and your colleague gain mastery of new material as you promote your respective expertise and services. Both of you also access new markets of potential clients and referral sources, as well as an organization to host subsequent programs. Your audience receives proven tips, best practices and up-to-date insights on industry trends.

This Month’s Tip

Your partner for a speaking engagement may be a client, a referral source or a networking contact:

  • Propose a workshop collaboration to someone whose experience aligns with the attendees and offers a counterpoint to your own business.
  • The paired perspectives will provide a more comprehensive view and may include technical aspects of a different field that are less familiar to you, yet vital to the audience.
  • The interplay between two speakers –- when one asks the other a question, for example –- enlivens the session and keeps the participants engaged.

Contact

Ready to create your own workshop with a colleague? Let’s brainstorm some hot topics and consider who might best share the podium with you. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s discuss who you might tap to join your presentation team.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

It’s Showtime!

Seven lessons for guests on a podcast interview.

Recently, I was interviewed by podcaster Bruce Eckfeldt of Scaling Up Services. The 30-minute podcast discussion focused on Essential Tools for Public Relations Success. Listen to this session or read the summary for tips on media relations, websites and newsletters.

Surprisingly, an online search of podcast interview tips reveals far fewer pointers for guests as compared to the numerous suggestions for hosts. Therefore, consider these lessons when you are invited for a podcast interview:

  1. Assemble a list of topics you and the interviewer have agreed to discuss. Print this list in 16-point font for ease of reading each topic. Only you will see the list; it will not be on camera.
  2. Think of how to illustrate these ideas with examples or anecdotes, so the concepts will become clearer to the listener.
  3. Spice up your language to make your remarks memorable. Use acronyms, alliteration, visual imagery, puns and references to pop culture to keep the tone lively.
  4. When you offer a series of points, circle back to summarize them, thereby reinforcing the sequence.
  5. Think of the questions in the interview as a string of pearls. Prepare the answer to every question in the list of topics as if it were an extended elevator pitch, each one a beautiful, rounded reply.
  6. Finally, watch out for filler speech. As you present your insights, you may say fillers like um, uh or you know. The recommended remedy is to take a pause in your speech and not say anything. This pause permits you to catch up with the thoughts racing through your mind and formulate how to convey them to the audience.

This Month’s Tip

Conduct a mock session with a colleague before you appear on the podcast. Record it on a smartphone or tablet, so you can review it, critique it and improve your performance.

Contact

Ready for your podcast interview? Let’s develop some topics and questions, enhance them with examples and toss in some lively language. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com and let’s get your show on the road.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

See also COPE: How Writing Can Re-Broadcast Your Audio, How YOU Can Be a Podcast Guest and Use Reverse Engineering to Book More Podcast Spots

Check the Calendar Before Scheduling an Event

Maximize participation by paying attention to holidays.

You may recall I’ve advised that a story idea pitched to a reporter may become more timely by pegging it to a date on the calendar at least one month ahead. Some examples are:

  • secular celebrations (Memorial Day, Boston Marathon);
  • cyclical events (elections, Oscars);
  • anniversaries (9/11, Hurricane Maria);
  • and National Whatever Month.

Perhaps you noticed this list does not mention religious holidays; that was deliberate. Religious holidays may be fixed (December 25) or float according to lunar calculations, so it’s vital to check the calendar to avoid scheduling a gathering on such a day.

Accordingly, when planning an event, consider the opposite of the linking scenario; keep an eye on dates that might be detrimental to attendance.

In recent weeks, I was invited to three programs — a networking breakfast and two webinars – all on Wednesday, September 19. FYI, Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews, was celebrated on that date in 2018.

As soon as I realized I was unable to participate in these gatherings, I contacted the organizer of each event and explained the overlap. I asked about re-scheduling the networking breakfast (which was five weeks later and had not yet been announced) and about receiving a recording of the webinars. The email also included a link to a Jewish calendar, so that the host might check it when planning another event.

Here are the replies:

From the host of the networking breakfast: “Thanks for the heads up — I will do my best to reschedule.”

From the Director of Sales & Events at the first webinar host: “Apologies for the oversight and thank you for pointing this out! We will certainly make note for future events. We are a diverse and inclusive company with absolutely no intention of shutting anyone out. The webinar will be recorded and the slides will be available to download later.”

From the Director of Marketing at the second webinar host: “[Company] tries their best to work around schedules including those of the presenters and staff, but we will be sure to keep all religious calendars in mind for future scheduling.”

These polite responses are appreciated and surely the scheduling conflict was inadvertent. Yet, it would have been so simple to check the calendar in advance to make sure the proposed date did not coincide with a religious holiday or other observance.

If there is an overlap with such a date, and the significance of a religious holiday is unfamiliar, the host should consult the appropriate clergy or someone knowledgeable to learn whether or not the holiday observance will interfere with a business event.

For example, many Christians worship in church on Ash Wednesday; this holy day is celebrated in February or March, according to the lunar calendar. After a holiday mass, these observers go to work as usual. Apparently, there is no conflict with holding a mid-morning, lunch, afternoon or evening program on that day.

In addition, it may be wise to note when corporate announcements by competitors are expected. No technology industry activities are held on a day when Apple plans to introduce a product, because all eyes are on that announcement event.

As a service to her clients, at the beginning of each year, Dottie Jeffries, a Public Relations colleague who is not Jewish, emails them a list of the dates of the principal Jewish holidays (Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), as well as a few other days of religious observance. This helps her clients mark their calendars in advance and they are most appreciative of her reminder.

This Month’s Tip

Make it easy to find an available date on the calendar by blocking out federal and state holidays, plus days of religious observance. Here are links to religious calendars for 2018; adherents of these five religions account for 66% of the US population:

Contact

At what stage in planning an event should you check the calendar? As soon as possible, to ensure the maximum attendance. If you need help with scheduling, call me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s not allow a conflict with a holiday rain on the parade of your successful event.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

What’s in Your LinkedIn Profile’s Background?

Make that space work for you.

Because LinkedIn is the world’s biggest database, it is imperative that your profile be clear, concise and compelling.

One visual element of your LinkedIn profile is the background behind your photo. Based on research on how best to manage this valuable piece of real estate, most people under-utilize this promotional area and fail to highlight their skills and personal brand.

Surprisingly, career coaches considered by peers as leaders in the field of LinkedIn guidance, and even graphic designers, are deficient in deploying their LinkedIn background to their advantage.

Which of these best describes your LinkedIn profile background?

    • Blue LinkedIn default background: You’re a LinkedIn coach and you have not changed the background! Pshaw.
    • City landscape: Wow. You work in NAME OF CITY! I visited there. How does that location make you excel at resolving my financial issues?
    • Podium photo or jam-packed photo montage of person speaking at events: You speak to groups? So do I. Does that mean you have insight into my company’s operational issues?
    • Stock photo of people in a room: I have employees, too. Who are these folks and how do your best practices in personnel management relate to my problems with staff burnout?
    • Company logo: I have a company logo. And, what comes next?

You get the idea. Keep away from these stereotypical formats.

Your LinkedIn background should captivatingly indicate the services you offer, how they align with the reader’s situation, and how she can get in touch with you to learn more.

LinkedIn instructs you how to change the background, so be creative. Use the space to your benefit.

Look at two profiles that are distinctive: Beth Granger of New York and Marc Miller of Texas. Click to see how each neatly summarizes their services — and even displays their email address and phone number, making it irresistibly easy to reach out to them on the spot.

Now, let’s look at YOUR LinkedIn background.

If it is the default blue, you now know you can do better. (Don’t feel badly. Plenty of graphic designers have yet to change from the blue background.)

A sidebar — if your employer has mandated that you use the company logo as a brand ambassador, that’s part of being a team member, so follow the rules.

To those who have a city landscape, speaker podium photo or stock photo as the background, consider the proactive approach outlined here.

  1. Reinforce the search terms and keywords that may have led a potential prospect or referral source to look for you on LinkedIn.
  2. Display that text artfully and incorporate your contact information into the layout.
  3. Finally, check to make sure the background reads well on a tablet, where your photo is displayed in the middle and not in the lower left corner.

Then, when a new visitor arrives at your profile, you confirm that you are who you say. By prominently posting your website URL, email and phone, you are immediately accessible. A call to action is implied.

(Drum roll) Here’s my LinkedIn profile with the new background. Please let me know what you think and whether my design aligns with the above recommendations.

This Month’s Tip

Get the LinkedIn background format for the DIY-er. Open a free account on Canva; here is a LinkedIn background template, plus there are formats for other social media platforms. Experiment with different text, fonts, colors and images. When you are ready, save the file; then have a design professional review and polish your work for viewing on a computer and on a tablet.

Contact

Ready to go from default LinkedIn blue to True Blue You? Call me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s brainstorm the words and ideas for text, plus elements, that will make your profile’s customized background stand out from the crowd.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

See also Close-up of Your Digital Portrait and Three Steps for More Success on LinkedIn

Default LinkedIn background image courtesy of Career Pivot.

Up with Referrals! Down with Word-of-Mouth.

Be deliberate, not random, with contacts in your network.

You keep in touch with industry colleagues, current or former clients and business contacts, among others.

You’ve worked to establish and maintain relationships with all of them. They subscribe to your newsletter; they serve on a committee with you; you see them periodically at events. You even comment on their posts on LinkedIn and Twitter.

All to stay top of mind for that next referral.

For example, at Claudine’s suggestion, you met with Bernadette a few months ago. Bernie is on the board of a family-owned company. She mentioned your services to the other directors and the company has hired you.

Congratulations! Give yourself the credit you deserve. That is a referral from your network. That is not word-of-mouth.

Labeling that new business word-of-mouth degrades it, in my view. This new client did not materialize out of thin air on your doorstep in some random fashion. This project is not a gift from the universe.

You made a connection and you earned the project.

Trace the steps that led to this new assignment. Next, reinforce the process with an appropriate acknowledgment to the intermediate contact(s) who facilitated it. For example, I invite the referral source to lunch, so we may become better acquainted away from our phones. As for the referrer who lives in another city, a gift card to a well-known retailer is always welcome.

Now, during the slow summer season, take a closer look at your network and re-invigorate your connections, especially those who are potential referral sources.

First, combine all your contacts in one place. (See Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts)

Then, classify them by priority, in terms of the strength of your relationship.

Set a calendar to daily call FIVE people by phone.

In that conversation of five or ten minutes, learn what is new in their world. Listen, without self-promotion or sales talk. After  you set a date to meet or resume your chat, you can check that name as complete and move on to the next person.

What do you say to these dormant contacts? Write a script: use these prompts to get started, then ask for a conversation of five or ten minutes to catch up.

  • Your name came to mind in a review of contacts.
  • Your business card re-surfaced.
  • The news about _____ reminded me of you.
  • Someone asked me about a _______ professional, so I thought of you.
  • An article about _______ made me think of you.
  • According to LinkedIn, you are now (at new company) (in new role). Congratulations!

Keep yourself visible and you will be the preferred source for that network contact and the many people in their network.

Consider: there is a new project that you could manage and someone is going to get it. Business does not go away; it goes to someone else who was top-of-mind. Be proactive and referrals, not word-of-mouth, will lead to your success.

This Month’s Tip

Best practice in leaving a phone number. When the contact is not available, leave a voice message according to a variation on your script. Be sure to mention that you are in the office today and tomorrow and you would love to hear from them. Write your phone number as wordstwo one two, six seven seven, five seven seven zero – and then slowly read it. This method will keep you from reciting the number faster than someone can write it down.

Contact

Ready to review your list of prime network contacts? Call me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s polish your script, practice some calls and rev up your referrals.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Word-of-mouth image courtesy of On-Hold Marketing.
Thanks to David A. Fields, whose latest book, The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients, provided food for thought.

 

WII-FM? Why Should a Dentist, Landlord or Supermarket Clerk Care About Your Nonprofit or Business?

Look beyond your target market.

Every nonprofit counts on clients, volunteers, funders and local elected officials among the groups with whom they stay in touch.

In addition to these audiences, businesses might add prospects, referral sources and membership/trade associations.

Each target market has a reason to be interested in the company or nonprofit organization.

Let’s not take any of these audiences for granted. Daily, you can find reasons why they should care about what your nonprofit or business might do for them.

Now, what about the people outside those circles, those who know nothing about what you offer?

Take the dentist, who is well-educated and also a business owner.
Or the typical landlord, who is budget-minded.
Or a supermarket clerk, working the cash register all day.

Perhaps none of them have heard of your group or business and they are not likely to immediately connect with your news or promotional information.

Why should this person care about you?

In fact, that’s the same question a reporter will ask whenever you suggest an idea for a news article or an interview.

On the world’s greatest radio station WII-FM, also known as What’s In It For Me?, the focus is on what the individual or society might gain.

It’s crucial that you find a way for these indifferent folks to connect to your group or company, so they, personally — or the community as a whole — will perceive a benefit and save time, save money or make more money as a result.

  • A dentist might consider that your local economic development group will attract larger businesses (with a greater number of employees needing dental care) to the neighborhood;
  • A landlord might think the youth who attend your organization’s GED programs may get better jobs and thus be more reliable tenants;
  • A supermarket clerk’s neighbor might need advice on managing legal and medical issues for an elderly parent.

The dentist, landlord or clerk may not have a direct need for what you offer, yet they and the community may indirectly benefit in the long term from your services — or even refer someone who is in your target market.

This Month’s Tip

Look at the bigger picture from the perspective of people in these three occupations. What is their desire or need in the community? For themselves? For their business? Which are the most pressing issues for them regarding time and money? Invite a dentist, landlord or clerk for a coffee chat, ask these questions and listen as you put yourself in her shoes.

Contact

Ready to brainstorm about how a dentist, landlord or clerk might view your company or nonprofit? Call me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s find ways to contact these members of the public and have them connect with you.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Image courtesy of David M. Masters.

 

Use the Calendar to Set (and Re-Set) Communication Goals

Check your progress at mid-year.

Have you set Communication goals for your business this year? Goals that might include developing a newsletter, blogging, speaking, doing media outreach?

Yes, these are daunting activities; many business executives focus more on the day-to-day operations of getting things done than on the bigger Communication picture.

Here are some ideas to address:

  1. Have you launched or continued a newsletter?
  2. Is your blog current? Are you blogging regularly?
  3. Have you written an article for the blog of another company, LinkedIn or Medium.com?
  4. Have you published an article in an industry publication that prospective clients read?
  5. Have you spoken at an industry conference or a networking group?
  6. Have you connected with reporters who cover the market sectors for which your insights are most relevant?
  7. Have you circulated that news story in which you were quoted?

If you did set goals, the end of the second quarter is a good time to reassess. Consider where you stand with the goals you outlined. Is it appropriate to KEEP them, DROP them, MODIFY or SET NEW GOALS?

If you didn’t set goals, you still have time to do so now.

Pause to look at the big picture.

This Month’s Tip

Make an appointment with yourself to address one of these Communication goal questions each day for the next week. As a reminder, when setting a Communication goal, the acronym S M A R T guides you to successful completion of the goal. This list integrates several versions of S M A R T:
Specific – Rather than contact the media, commit to email two reporters each week to introduce myself as a source for comment.
Meaningful – Understand why this goal is important to you.
Action Oriented – Develop steps to help you arrive at this goal.
Realistic – Assemble your resources – knowledge, funding, technology – to ensure you will reach this goal.
Timely – Set a date when you will complete this goal.

Contact

Don’t go it alone. To help you (and myself) get a better handle on setting goals, I’m creating an accountability group where each person is accountable to the group on a monthly basis and to a partner on a weekly basis. Frequent check-ins and peer pressure spur members to work towards their individual goals and to support their peers. If this approach appeals to you, contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s count on each other as we work to meet our respective Communication goals.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

 

As You Like It, Please Say Why

When you comment on posts on LinkedIn and Twitter, indicate how others may benefit from the discussion.

Your LinkedIn feed is composed of an assortment of updates that your many connections have posted, liked, shared or commented upon. Your Twitter feed is filled with tweets from your followers and the people you follow. For now, let’s focus on LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn algorithm distributes updates selectively to individuals in that connection’s network. Based on the amount of engagement the post initially receives, LinkedIn assesses your interests and other factors before sending it to your feed.

Accordingly, when you agree with and like another’s LinkedIn post, how can you make the most of this opportunity — that is, make it work for you?

Take the time to respond to the person and the discussion, as you like it. That means, as soon as you click the like thumbs up icon , COMMENT to indicate:

  • what you agree or disagree with
  • how this confirms or disproves the trend
  • what the discussion overlooks
  • how this relates to another topic or lesson learned
  • why this is or is not a best practice
  • or any other interesting aspect.

Perhaps you see your connection Morgan’s name appears above a post by someone you do not know; she wrote So true. Will that comment make you read the original author’s update or click on the link to an article? I doubt it. With all the other items in the feed and on your desk vying for your attention, a nominal comment is not sufficiently compelling.

I once took issue and commented upon a post by a LinkedIn coach, John Nemo. Another reader agreed with me in her reply and later contacted me to continue the conversation. We became acquainted by phone and she referred a client to me.

How would that referral have happened had I merely commented with a bland Thank you?

Check your LinkedIn feed now and see whether or not the commenters have written an insight that adds to the conversation.

For example, LinkedIn author Viveka von Rosen recently posted about the new guidelines for a profile’s background image. Her post had 130+ Likes and 25 Comments (as of this writing). If you are a connection of hers (or of her commenters), you may see the post. Here are the replies (anonymously) and the respective number of each category of comment:

  • Thank you, Great or variation, plus reply by author: 17
  • Name of another connection, look at this: 3
  • Question: 1 and reply by commenter: 1
  • Observation of overlooked point: 1 and reply by commenter: 1
  • Link to related discussion by author: 1

Notice that the first 20 of the 25 comments (80%) are meaningless to the broader LinkedIn universe.

How does Great, or posting the name of another contact, add to a fruitful conversation? Does Thank you create the basis for professional social media activity?

Not at all. That’s why I repeat:

As you like it, please say WHY, so others may be persuaded that they will benefit from reading the article or post. That is the approach of the two commenters above who asked a question or pointed out another aspect, to which other readers and the author responded.

Looking back, my LinkedIn activity used to be contrary to this practice. If I had an observation or disagreement with a post, and I was already connected to the author, I would let her know privately by email.

From now on, I will share at least one observation/ comment/ question on LinkedIn every time I check my account. I urge you to do the same and, of course, never write an impact-less “Thank you.”

In the past, if I wanted to share something with a certain connection, I did so via email, not by naming them in a comment.

Surprise. I will continue this email practice. Many people do not check their LinkedIn accounts daily and so may overlook an interesting article. Even when LinkedIn sends an email, your connections may be more likely to read a discussion via an email from someone they know. It is also possible to copy the link to the post, go to the intended recipient’s profile and send them the link via a message. You can decide which tactic works best for you.

This Month’s Tip

Make an appointment with yourself to check your LinkedIn account and take the temperature of the discussions underway. Whether you check your own feed for update posts and articles by your connections or review discussions in groups, set aside time at least once a week.

Look for best practices, news and interesting content in your profession or industry on other social media platforms. When you find something notable, post it as a LinkedIn update or on Twitter, and comment in a meaningful way that embellishes the discussion, re-directs it or underscores its impact, as noted above.

Contact

Don’t be lukewarm on LinkedIn; do not mechanically re-tweet on Twitter. SAY WHY this caught your eye. Let’s take a test drive through some of the articles and posts in your LinkedIn and Twitter feeds. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s discuss how to sharpen and share your comments on LinkedIn and Twitter; you’ll add to the discussion and raise your profile as a thoughtful and insightful observer.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Thanks to colleague Bruce Segall, whose LinkedIn post inspired this discussion and also for his suggestions.

How Can You Attract More Visitors to a Destination?

Stage photos strategically.

A brochure promoting a self-guided tour of Roosevelt Island, my New York City neighborhood, touts its expansive vistas. Yet the accompanying photo is a promenade without a single person taking in the fabulous view of the skyline.

Who wants to go to a place where there are no people?

Please click here to view this newsletter and see the contrasting photos, which WordPress did not readily display.

This Month’s Tip

Photos of a destination appear barren and forlorn without visitors. Putting people in photos will attract and retain the reader’s attention. It will lead her to imagine herself on the scene and ideally prompt a visit to your destination.

When possible, take your own photos and have participants sign a release. This free standardized form is valid in the specified state. Visitors may be willing to pose for you, but it may be easiest to recruit employees and family members to participate in the photograph. When children are to be featured, follow the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

When stock photos are used, note that the business that owns the image may place limitations on the format or medium where an image is incorporated (brochure, website, advertising), period of time (one year or unlimited) and geography (domestic or international). Here is a basic primer. A sales rep at a stock photo agency or a graphic designer will guide you.

Contact

Have visitors and customers fled the scene in your photos? Make sure the images on your website and in your printed materials are appropriately populated. Let’s put a smile on your reader’s face when she sees a person in your photos.  Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Your Annual Report is Not Dead.

It is re-formatted.

A Public Relations professional declared the annual report dead, to the shock of attendees at the workshop Pathways to Excellence: Excellence in Communications held by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee (NPCC) on February 23, 2018.

A second panelist concurred that it was not helpful for a nonprofit organization to narrate events and programs that had occurred between 12 and 18 months prior to the publication date.

I respectfully disagree. For those supporters who have come into the fold, say, in the past three months, the range of activities and successes previously conducted by the nonprofit probably are beyond their horizon. In fact, new supporters may be even more impressed to be brought up to date on the full range of achievements of the prior year.

If the annual report is dead, and is not to be produced, it’s time for the nonprofit to devise — and revise — other communication vehicles to ensure that newer supporters are fully informed about the breadth and depth of programs and services.

How might these communications be best achieved?

  • Create a Get to Know XYZ as an informative one-sheet or brochure.
  • Post the current and prior issues of the newsletter on the website (see below).
  • Provide periodic updates to programs and success stories featured on the website. For example, in the discussion of a training course, note that a graduate, who was hired after completing an internship at a tech company, was recently promoted.
  • Gather posts shared on Facebook and Twitter as a timeline.
  • Keep your recent conference current. Revise notices of upcoming events upon completion by adding summaries of research, panels, results and impacts.
  • Amplify news articles about the organization with photos, videos and updates of the latest activity.
  • Take photos of services and programs in action, either live or staged; assemble the images in a video and add a voiceover.
  • Aggregate the essential financial data as pie charts: income, grants and donations in the first and program, overhead and salaries in another.
  • Finally, all these materials should be housed on the website and periodically shared on social media.

Your organization has a wealth of content that is both time-sensitive and evergreen. Transform any potentially date-driven material so it is current and timeless. Added together, you conduct a periodic review of the highlights and achievements of the year, quarter or month without calling it a traditional annual report.

This Month’s Tip

Share your newsletter. Nearly all of the attendees at a workshop on newsletters I taught at NPCC published a newsletter. Yet 90% of them did not post it on their website. Are you hiding your newsletter from people who want to learn about your organization? Making all your newsletters available is a no-cost way to promote your group’s programs, services and successes throughout the year, regardless of publication date. Each one should have a link for readers to easily view previous issues. Also, categorize or tag them to facilitate search for a specific topic.

Contact

Ready to re-format your annual report? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com to look beyond the calendar or fiscal year. Instead, let’s aggregate the steady flow of communications that broadcast your activities and achievements all year long.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Is Your Company’s Launch a Secret?

Raise the flag wherever you can.

Three partners in a small business discussed the launch of their new enterprise. One wanted to hire a web designer to craft a new website. One of the others disagreed, asking why a website was necessary. The third partner was on the fence and preferred to focus on client work.

Is there a good reason to you keep your company’s launch a secret? This is the question I encouraged the pro-website partner to ask her colleagues. Rather than be viewed as a spendthrift for taking on marketing expense, turn the tables and ask the partners to justify their reluctance to invest in promotion of their company.

Here are the basics I recommend when launching a business:

  1. Company website: This is the first place any prospective client or referral source looks to confirm your existence and find out more about your services, products and programs. If you do not have a website, you effectively are invisible. Very few people who do not already know you will take you seriously if you do not have an attractive and persuasive web presence.
  2. LinkedIn profile: Perhaps this is the second place that people will search for more details about your background. LinkedIn is the world’s largest directory of professionals with 530 million members (as of January 2018). Consider your profile a marketing vehicle and make a compelling case for selecting you as a resource.
  3. LinkedIn Company page: Many small businesses and service providers are unfamiliar with this opportunity for yet another FREE online presence. Use this page to share your reports and company news.
  4. Press Release to industry publications, as well as alumni magazines: These newsletters often have a dedicated column for new market participants.
  5. Announcement to industry media of your target customers: If you operate an accounting firm that advises veterinarians, for example, introduce your business and its principals. An Executive Media Profile presents a professional as a source for comment on trends and issues in that market to the reporters and editors of the veterinarian industry publications that prospective clients read.
  6. Email signature: Compose a standard email signature for all members of the company. It should include office and cellphone numbers, website URL, tag line and, as appropriate, notice of a recent news article about your business or an upcoming event. Use this FREE real estate to promote your successes and new offerings. Link to your personal LinkedIn profile and/or Company LinkedIn page.
  7. Facebook company page: Post updates, articles, newsletters and news items here. Create a Twitter account as well.
  8. Newsletter: Compose a quarterly communiqué to advise your current clients, referral sources, peers and contacts of new offerings, best practices, trends and related insights. Add this link to your email signature. As you become more adept with the format, consider making it a monthly commentary.

This Month’s Tip

Everyone should review these tools and accounts in an Annual Communications Audit. Approach various social media platforms from the perspective of someone who is not familiar with your company and services. Where might they look for information (website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter)? What would they find there? Is the content current (timeless or within the last week)? Take a few minutes to check the latest entries on your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and others that your audiences visit. If several months have passed, your profile and activity may appear outdated to a newcomer, so post a new item and schedule a reminder to post at least once a week.

Contact

Don’t let your new (or current) business be the best kept secret! Use ALL the available resources to introduce your company and keep its name, executives and services top of mind. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com to make sure you are seen in the appropriate places as open and ready for business.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Improve Your Networking: Problem and Solution Questions (3 of 3)

Ask questions that allow respondents to brag.

You have shifted your networking attitude to focus on YOU, the other person, and become a curator of resources.

You’ve executed a pre-event marketing plan to build a welcoming committee among the officers of the host organization. At the networking event, you’ve asked them to tell you more about the organization and themselves.

Now it’s time to become acquainted with other event attendees, by posing get-to-know-you Problem and Solution Questions:

How do you help people (or companies): save time, save money, make more money or get more joy from life?

  • Most businesses offer products and services that save time or money. Or perhaps they build wealth for individuals and companies. Consider that a spa owner or a restaurateur brings joy, enhancing one’s leisure time. Asking this question helps you learn more about the new contact.

What was the highlight of the past year (quarter) for you in helping a client?

  • This gives the speaker an opportunity to brag. Make it clear you want to know what the person (not the team) did for a client, something that would not have occurred without her role.

That sounds hard. How do you do that?

  • Ask this question about any aspect to prompt the contact to provide more specifics and explain the process.

Who are you looking to meet (here)?

  • As a curator of resources, you will likely have a suggestion for an introduction to a potential vendor or client, or even someone else in the room.

How might I be a resource to you?

  • This opens the door for you to follow up with the contact, by sharing a newsletter you wrote, an article you read or an invitation to a meeting.

This Month’s Tip

Posing Problem and Solution Questions will highlight the types of issues that the respondent likes to tackle, the approaches she offers and the clients she targets. Based on the answers, you may determine how this person meshes with your contacts and resources. If you simply want to chat, ask “Are you originally from Name of City?” That straight-forward inquiry may lead to all sorts of talk about what brought the person to this city — or perhaps why they stayed local — and you can find common ground from there.

Contact

This may be your first time at an event held by an organization, or perhaps you might be a frequent attendee. Either way, asking problem and solution questions will yield pathways for further exploration and strengthen your connection to the acquaintance you meet. Let’s consider some groups where you can meet new contacts and build your resources. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email janet@janetlfalk.com.

This is the third in a series of three newsletters about Networking. The first discussed an attitude of focusing on YOU, the person to whom you might be a resource and who, in turn, might be a resource for your contacts. The second outlined a pre-event marketing strategy to contact the leaders of an industry or membership organization in advance of a networking event. Use these tips in combination to strengthen your networking skills.

 

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Improve Your Networking: Pre-event Marketing (2 of 3)

Introduce yourself and ask others to introduce you.

Now that you have shifted your networking attitude (It’s not about ME. It IS about YOU.), let’s put this approach into practice. Consider an upcoming networking event held by an industry or professional association where you plan to meet potential referral sources.

Here is a pre-event marketing strategy that will help you will maximize your attendance at the event, keeping the focus on YOU, meaning the movers and shakers of the organization.

After you register for the event, visit the website of the membership organization. Assemble a list of the officers, committee chairs and board members, including their email addresses. If an email is not readily available, you can send a connection request via their LinkedIn profile.

One week before the event, write an introductory email or LinkedIn message to each leader with the subject line: Will you attend the Networking Cocktail on January 12? Describe your background and note your work with a related business, as shown in this example:

Leslie,
Your name came to my attention as an officer of the Local Accountants Organization.

I am a Public Relations professional who specializes in advising accountants.

Recently, I advised Excellent Accountants on various projects in media relations and client newsletters. I wish to learn more about the Local Accountants Organization and how, if I become a member, I might get involved in your activities.

Perhaps we can chat at the Networking Event; I’m excited to meet you and your colleagues.

Regards,
Your Name
Company website

The leaders of the organization will be thrilled to hear from you. More than half of them will respond with a big welcome. Why? Every business group wants to bring in new members, especially people who offer valuable, specialized experience that would benefit the members and the organization itself. Your email inspires confidence that you are a professional worth welcoming into the fold.

Reply warmly to the notes you receive. Indicate that you will wear a distinctive article of clothing, making it be easy for you both to find each other in a crowded room. Perhaps a woman wears an orange jacket and a man has a green tie. Your new contact is now equipped to seek you out at the event.

One hour before the event, review the names and LinkedIn profiles of the people you contacted and take notes on mutual areas of interest. This annotated list is your game plan.

When you arrive, ask the person at the registration desk where to find one or two of the people on your list. Remember to focus on YOU, not yourself, in conversation. Start by asking about the membership organization itself. Find out why they joined. Learn how they contribute to the group’s success. Only discuss yourself and your professional focus in passing. After you chat and collect their business cards, ask to meet one of the other leaders on your list.

Your new contact will gladly introduce you; this enhances their own stature in the other officer’s eyes. Imagine the group’s president thinking, “That Mary, she’s doing great, bringing in new members!” Review the names on your list and work the room to meet and be introduced to as many of the officers, board members and committee chairs as possible.

Afterwards, send a follow-up email and perhaps customize a LinkedIn connection request. Note how good it was to meet in person after your email correspondence. Say how much you enjoyed learning about the organization. If you decide to become a member, tell the contact they persuaded you to join. Of course, you are excited to see them at future events.

You should also write to anyone you did not meet, because they were chatting with others or did not attend. Let them know you joined the association. Suggest a one-on-one coffee chat, to learn how you might get involved in the group.

Your attitude and focus on YOU — the contacts and the association itself — will demonstrate that you align with the group. You share interests in the benefits of membership and future activities. This pre-event marketing practice will enhance your networking success and help you build a larger base of potential referral sources and, perhaps, even net some clients.

This Month’s Tip

At industry and professional membership associations, the key contacts are:

  • Program Chair: he is always eager for new workshops to keep members advised of trends and best practices, so propose a timely topic;
  • Communications Chair: she needs to fill the newsletter with engaging articles, so offer to write an insightful contribution;
  • Membership Chair: she knows everyone, so ask which members might find you a valuable resource;
  • Chair of any Committee, such as Finance, Marketing or Legal, that aligns with your profession;
  • Of course, President, Past President, President-elect: they have an agenda and you can help them achieve it.

Contact

The officers of membership associations are eager to meet prospective members, who offer new ideas for programs and initiatives, plus specialized backgrounds of a related profession. Let’s build your referral network by identifying some groups where you can get involved. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email janet@janetlfalk.com.

This is the second in a series of three newsletters about Networking. The first discussed an attitude of focusing on YOU, the person to whom you might be a resource and who, in turn, might be a resource for your contacts. The third will discuss get-to-know-you problem and solution questions that engage networking contacts.

 

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Improve Your Networking: Attitude (1 of 3)

Implement a new approach.

Go to your next networking event with this mantra in mind:

It’s not about ME.

It IS about YOU.

This means: do not put yourself at the forefront of the interaction after shaking hands with a woman you’ve met. Instead, focus on the person you’re speaking with, what her needs are and how she would interact with your contacts.

Imagine YOU, someone she might consult, perhaps to resolve tension with her landlord.

Consider YOU, the person to whom this woman might, for example, provide bookkeeping services.

Seat yourself at the hub of a wheel of professionals and specialists. In your travels, you collect information about those you meet. Then, you’re able to make recommendations and introductions. Do this selflessly, without considering the personal benefit you might derive from that initial or subsequent interaction.

Here’s how this change in attitude plays out at Networking events

  • Be seen as a connector/Recruit resources: A client recently asked if I knew someone who might conduct market research for his business. Yes, I do. I know five market research professionals. Two spoke with me and were very interested in the project.
  • Make introductions: If you know a networking contact is open to meeting a potential client or a potential resource, use your smartphone and dash off an email introducing the pair to each other on the spot.
  • Maintain contacts: I know Michael will attend a certain monthly group. We don’t have to email or speak in between events. We catch up in person.
  • Learn from the speaker: The presenter stands at the podium because she has specific and timely insights to share with others in the industry or the professional group. Listen up.
  • Stay up to date informally: A colleague has a new job. A company is expanding locally or nationally. There’s talk about a competitor losing market share. You’ll hear it through the grapevine. Use your antennae.
  • Be seen as in the know: Everyone wants to associate with insiders who have their finger on the pulse of the market. You can be that person.

All of these motivations speak to the mantra of keeping YOU (and not ME) at the center of your networking conversations.

Now, do I hope to meet prospective clients at networking events? YES.

Would I like to receive introductions and referrals? Absolutely.

These are not my primary objectives, however.

Getting referrals and meeting prospects are more likely to happen in follow-up activities outside the networking event, after others see you as knowledgeable and trustworthy. Serving as a resource establishes that expertise and builds that trust.

This Month’s Tip

Andrea Nierenberg, a renowned networking professional, suggests an approach of 2-2-2:

Attend two meetings of this group before you decide to join.
Meet two people at each event.
Arrange two post-event get-togethers.

Contact

Do you listen to WII-FM, the world’s greatest radio station, also known as What’s In It For Me? Perhaps it’s time to switch channels. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or janet@janetlfalk.com and we’ll find some new networking groups where you can become involved and promote your role as a connector and resource.

This is the first in a series of three newsletters about Networking. The second will discuss pre-event marketing and the third will discuss get-to-know-you problem and solution questions that engage networking contacts.

Thanks to Tiffany Ashitey and Tasha Morris of The Benchmark Creative Group. Their invitation to speak at Brooklyn Marketing Week was the impetus to crystallize my approach to networking.

PS Did you see my quote in The Wall Street Journal? If I can get myself in that most-desired publication, imagine what I might do for you, your clients and your contacts.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Send a Better Holiday Card

Why let your card get lost in the display?

You send a holiday greeting card in December to everyone you can recall.

Not because the IRS, the SEC or the FDA require you to do so, but because you appreciate the relationship with that contact.

Now that you’ve made the commitment to keep in touch with your clients, colleagues and referral sources, take the next step.

Make sure that your card stands out in the display on your client’s office door or the credenza in the boardroom.

How can you make your card distinctive?

Don’t order from a catalogue. Imagine that your competitor, or a dentist, chose the same one.

Instead, use an image or photo that conveys a sense of your company or organization and its uniqueness.

Center that image on the front of the card, leaving the rest white, as frame. Place a greeting of warmth and holiday cheer in the spaces above and/or below the picture.
Add your logo, discreetly, in the lower left corner.

Inside the card, offer a wish for the joys of the season, a prosperous New Year or some other heartfelt expression of connection with the recipient.

On the back of the card, show your company name, address, phone and website URL, plus a short description of your mission or services.

When the recipient gets your card, the small logo immediately makes it clear who sent the card, even without opening it.

When the card is placed among other holiday cards, the white frame makes it stand out. Plus, colleagues of the recipient will notice it from among the other cards.

Let me confess I do not follow my own advice. Instead, I compose an email with a Holiday Haiku.

Like the card with an image in a white frame, it is distinctive. I’ve flexed my writer’s muscle to create a 17-syllable seasonal poem since 2009. Recipients tell me they know it’s the holiday season when my haiku arrives.

This Month’s Tip

Like other marketing activities, this holiday card is not about you, personally. It is about the you on the other side of the table, the person who is opening the envelope. Keep the image and discourse neutral. The United States has many faith groups. Respect them; you cannot be sure another person shares your beliefs about a seasonal holiday and may take umbrage.

Candles are a universal image, they spread light during a period of the year when daylight lasts less than 10 hours.

Snow and winter scenes are popular, unless geographically unlikely.

A photo of a team member, interacting with a client or visitor, who is seen from the back or in profile, conveys the mission of your company or organization.

Contact

Ready to prepare a unique holiday card, or even a haiku of your own? Let’s imagine snowflakes, trees and candles — in a new light. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or Janet@JanetLFalk.com.

See also:  Make YOUR Holiday Greeting Card Memorable

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Do You Lead Workshops for Free?

Speaking at events is one of the top five ways to attract new clients.

You probably get invited to speak at events where there is no honorarium beyond coffee, sandwiches or a glass of wine.

Should you accept these engagements or turn them down?

Absolutely accept them. Here’s why I seek out and look forward to speaking opportunities as part of my marketing activities.

First, these presentations help raise the level of professionalism among the attendees and in their industries. People who work in accounting know very little about Public Relations and people who work in Public Relations know even less about accounting, generally. The overview, tips and pointers you discuss will establish a foundation for understanding. This will help the participants improve communication with their colleagues and vendors. You may alert them to an overlooked situation or problem within their organization, and thus the need for your services.

Tip: Speaking at an organization where a client is a member, or to a class where a friend is the teacher, is an obvious YES, as you strengthen the relationship.

Second, to teach is to learn twice over, said French essayist Joseph Joubert. Preparing a workshop requires an immersion in the material; you assemble articles, notes and previously given presentations. You need to be current in your field and incorporate the latest issues and trends in your remarks, keeping you at the top of your game.

Next, know that the participants will ask questions from their narrow perspective, leading you to drill down deeper, on the spot, in order to arrive at a cogent answer. Responding to their queries opens you to a new viewpoint from a business owner or professional whose field is different from your own. You can then incorporate what you’ve learned in future presentations.

Of course, you hope to get business from the workshop; sharing valuable information and branded handouts with your contact details may make that happen. Remember, too, everyone knows someone worth knowing. Note that even if the attendees may not hire you, nor buy your book or product, they may refer you to one of their work colleagues or someone among their contacts.

Finally, speaking is speaking; practice makes perfect, whatever the format and whoever the audience.

This Month’s Tip

Where can you find speaking opportunities? Try:

  • Networking group
  • Classes taught by colleagues
  • Professional membership associations
  • Business associations
  • Local merchant associations
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Municipal public library
  • City and county small business services agency
  • City and county economic development corporation
  • Associations of nonprofit organizations and United Way
  • Center for management training

Contact

Ready to find your next speaking gig? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Together we’ll brainstorm topics for specific audiences and devise ways to introduce you to them.

See also: Create Your Own Traveling Classroom and Back to School – As a Teacher.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Your Garden of Media Relations

Clear, plant and cultivate. Then distribute.

Have you ever compared gardening to media relations?

In the case of a garden, you prepare the plot of land, clearing out the rocks and weeds.

  • In the case of your organization, you pare down everything and develop a succinct message.

Next, you draw the borderlines and prepare rows where you will place the seeds.

  • You define your target audiences and the media outlets that will reach them, and then assemble a list of reporters.

Now it’s time to plant the seedlings.

  • You distribute a press release, media profile or pitch letter that will grab the journalists’ attention.

You assiduously water the plants.

  • You conduct appropriate follow-up and keep in touch with the reporters.

Time passes. Then, one day, the garden blooms.

  • The news story is published in a prestigious industry magazine.

It can appear overnight — or it can take days and months.

What a thrill to know you made it happen!

This Month’s Tip

    Now, it’s up to you to propagate the news story you’ve placed by sharing it everywhere you can. Don’t trust that the wind (social media) will carry the seedlings (news coverage) of its own accord. As the gardener, you have to play an active role. Root around for ideas and find fertile ground to plant them.
    • 1. Start with a summary or comment on the article and then link to the actual article on your company or organization’s website;
      2. Include the summary and link in your email signature;
      3. Refer to it on your individual profile and company/organization page on LinkedIn, plus Facebook page(s);
      4. Pose a question in LinkedIn groups and on Twitter to which the article is the answer, perhaps “How do leaders manage stress?”;
      5. Write a case study for the website;
      6. Contribute an article to the company or organization newsletter, both internal and external;
      7. Offer to write an article on a similar topic for an industry publication;
      8. Conduct a workshop on the issue;
      9. Speak on a panel, perhaps with a client;
      10. Record a podcast or video.

Contact

How does your garden grow? What’s the state of your media relations activities? Let’s discuss ways to cultivate your media contacts. Call me at 212.677.5770 or email at janet@janetlfalk.com.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Time to Improve Your Marketing RBI

Here are five essential ways to promote your business.

According to author and consultant David A. Fields, there are FIVE Marketing Musts for consultants who want to build their visibility — and these also apply to any individual and organization:

  1. Networking
  2. Speaking
  3. Writing
  4. Trade Association
  5. Digital Presence

Consider which approaches are most comfortable for you — and which will be most effective in reaching your target market.

Set a goal of participating in these marketing activities every month — and track your progress to evaluate your success.

In June, for example, I attended four weekly networking meetings of one group; two monthly networking events of other groups; one monthly networking lunch; one networking social; and a series of four weekly workshops, as well as two annual networking dinners.

In the speaking category, I gave 10-minute presentations at two of the networking groups, plus one 60-minute presentation at a colleague’s class of entrepreneurs.

As for writing, I composed my monthly newsletter, plus published an article in a monthly trade magazine.

Turning to trade associations, I gave a 75-minute presentation to a group of attorneys who are potential clients.

Finally, in expanding my digital presence, I posted links to the article and newsletter on my website, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, plus mention of the trade association presentation on LinkedIn following the event.

Looks like I batted over .300 for the month. How about you?

This Month’s Tip

Here’s where you can publish your timely insights to fish where the fish are:

  • Write an essay for the industry publications your potential clients read.
  • Contact a colleague who has a blog and offer a guest post.
  • Maybe it’s time to launch your own quarterly (or monthly) newsletter, if you don’t have one.
  • Consider a post on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Wherever you publish, extend the reach beyond the standard readers; promote the article, column or post on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, as appropriate.

Contact

Are you ready to step up to the plate? Let’s consider which of these five marketing tactics are most suitable for you and your business. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at janet@janetlfalk.com and let’s play ball.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Are Your Website’s Images Consistent With Your Message?

Ensure images retain their meaning amid current events.

A picture is worth 1000 words. What happens when the outside world changes and your picture might convey an unintended allusion?

A nonprofit organization that promotes dialogue among disparate — and usually opposing — stakeholders used images on its website to highlight issues it was tackling.

One picture, unwittingly, referred to a hot-button topic. It is a cement-brick wall; a ladder leans against it, suggesting the wall is rather high.

(This image from Pixabay.com is similar, but not the one used; no attribution is required.)

Given the recent, hotly contested discussions of political relations with Mexico, this image appears to reference immigration issues.

Actually, the subject is economic mobility.

Another image: a group of smiling girls running towards the reader. This referred not to women nor exercise, but to re-thinking education, yet there were no teachers, classrooms, books nor computers.

In our discussion about the website and images, the nonprofit’s Director of Communications noted my comments on the gap between the images and the intended context of the subjects.

These two images have since been changed. One is now a graph that is more explicitly aligned with the theme of economic mobility. The other shows children engaged in using a mechanical contraption as an example of a non-traditional way that students learn and explore.

Clearly, selecting an image for a website is fraught with issues of perception, at the surface and in the context of internal and external references.

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Make sure you own the image or have properly licensed it. Respect the work of the artist or photographer and negotiate the terms of usage and credit. If you prefer to use stock photographs, search the copyright-free or royalty-free websites.
  2. Have a person in a photograph, even if viewed from behind or at a distance. If you are promoting a destination, you are asking visitors to put themselves in the photo, similar to those pictured. To pull heartstrings for an emotional appeal, display a person or animal in need.
  3. Ask people outside the organization what the image says to them — without the benefit of a caption. Take note of how closely their ideas correspond to the intended theme.
  4. When you compose the caption, make it underscore the message more than Person consulting a representative or professional.
  5. The people in all photographs should appear authentic and contemporary. Within a group of four or more, aim for diversity by gender, ethnicity and age, when possible and appropriate.
  6. Search the internet to see where else the image may have been used. Readers may sense it is familiar and conflate the two uses.
  7. As with any written content, let the image percolate for a day; consider it again, to ensure it still matches and resonates.
  8. Finally, review the image on a scheduled basis to ensure its relevance to both the nonprofit’s mission and the external environment. In addition to the photos and context cited above, references to pop culture, for example, can become outdated and reflect poorly on the organization.

This Month’s Tip

There is a difference between copyright, licensing, rights-managed images and royalty-free stock images. The company that owns the image may place limitations on the medium or format where an image is used (website, advertising, brochure), geography (domestic or international) and time frame (one year or unlimited). Here is a basic primer. A stock agency sales rep or graphic designer will advise you.

Contact

Ready to take a fresh look at your website’s images? Let’s see what story they tell when separated from the caption. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email at janet@janetlfalk.com.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Thanks to Susan Rosenberg Jones regarding use of rights-managed and royalty-free photography and also to these excellent graphic designers and colleagues for their thoughtful suggestions: Christina Hagopian, Rya Kaufman, Brandie Knox, Peter Levinson, Meryl Randman and Daniella Van Gennep.

Keep Your Recent Conference Current

Summarize and refresh the proceedings as evergreen insights.

Your company or nonprofit organization convened a large event. Speakers delivered presentations; attendees asked questions and gave feedback. All in all – there were stimulating and productive discussions.

How can you build on that momentum to keep the conversation going?

A follow-up email is sent to participants thanking them for their role in the successful conference.

This email highlights the benefits of the conference: access to the speakers and their materials, whether handouts or their PowerPoint presentations.

There are occasions when, post-event, organizers and attendees might like to share this information with a colleague.

Plus, what about those who did not attend the conference? People who were unable to travel, individuals who have subsequently become interested in the issue, new customers, vendors, elected officials and prospects? How can these newcomers tap into the discussion from an event that concluded months ago?

Here are ideas to keep the past conference current for attendees and newcomers.
Start with a summary description of the speakers’ remarks along with abbreviated versions of their presentations. Make these available for download, upon submission of an email address.

As new trends emerge, as regulations change, as legislation is enacted, these summaries may be updated to reflect the dynamics of the situation.

Revise the conference web page to incorporate a banner or sash across the top, with a link to the event summary and the condensed presentations.

Share elements of the summary and conference highlights in blog posts and via other online platforms.

Consider establishing an online forum or LinkedIn group for speakers, attendees and newcomers to keep the discussion going.

These post-event activities should be part of the overall conference plan.

Considerable effort went into preparing the event; once over, strategize so that the conference still remains relevant. Undoubtedly, the issues addressed will persist. Treat the conference as a launch pad or a way-station in the extended conversation and cultivate future exchanges for fruitful follow-up and action.

This Month’s Tip

Designate two people as recipients of the speakers’ presentations, as well as recorders of the discussion and breakout sessions. Of course, video recordings and transcriptions are also helpful. These colleagues will prepare a summary by a given deadline. Then set a recurring day, perhaps the second Tuesday of the month, for periodic updates to the conference webpage or website. Notify attendees and other interested subscribers of significant revisions and additions.

Contact

Are you prepared to keep a past event from becoming passé? Let’s review ways for it to remain evergreen. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at janet@janetlfalk.com.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Close-up of Your Digital Portrait

Complete and embellish the image of your online presence.

When someone you met at a conference searches for you online, what will she find? What you say about yourself?

Or is there a blank or incomplete space?

You have the positive obligation to shape your digital presence and tell your story through multiple channels. As a business or nonprofit professional, place yourself in the most favorable light.

LinkedIn

Among the many digital channels, your LinkedIn presence is the resource likely to be reviewed by your peers, contacts, prospects and reporters.

Many consider LinkedIn the world’s largest database of professionals, with more than 450 million global participants. Now, seemingly everyone is promoting themselves online via LinkedIn.

Once your profile is established, be sure to update it on a frequent basis.

Take the time to view yourself through the eyes of someone you met at an industry conference to ensure you have a strong, attractive and complete online presence.

Your Photo is clear and focused; you have a smile, eyes looking at the reader. LinkedIn states that having a photo means your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed. Because you own a smartphone with a camera, you can easily pose against a blank wall and have someone take your photo. Then, post the snapshot to your profile, and eventually replace it with a professional headshot.

What does the default avatar signify? Perhaps you do not take your digital presence seriously and cannot be trifled to show your true self to the world.

Your Value-Driven Headline has 120 characters, including spaces. Summarize your professional title, name of company, target audiences and how you are able to help them. Emphasize the value of working with you and your company. Your goal is to make the reader want to see more of your profile. Consider reviewing the headlines of peers among your connections to learn both do’s and don’ts.

When someone conducts a search on LinkedIn, whether by name or key words, this is what she will see:

Photo, Name, degree of connection
Value-Driven Headline
City
Photos of any shared connections

Reading a value-driven headline will prompt the viewer to click on your name and read all about you, not a colleague with similar keywords.

What might a short or lackluster headline indicate to the reader? Maybe you do not maximize opportunities right in front of you.

Your Summary, in up to 2,000 characters, including spaces, is your greatest opportunity to advertise what you bring to the table, for whom and why. Note that only the first 220-235 characters (spaces included) will be displayed with your profile, so sharpen that sales language pencil and include a call to action: Contact me to make this happen. The reader must click to See more of your summary than these two lines.

Make an effort to explain, from the viewer’s perspective, how she would benefit from knowing and working with you. How will she Save Time, Save Money or Make More Money, thanks to your product, service or experience. For a nonprofit executive, how will you help Save the World or Bring More JOY to Life.

Remember, you control what you display about yourself on LinkedIn; write about how you serve clients in order to prompt prospects to contact you. Anything less and the reader has little reason to stick around.

Your LinkedIn URL can be customized as your name. When you register to open a profile on LinkedIn, you are automatically assigned a random number. Changing that URL demonstrates that you are a person attentive to detail who has taken two minutes to polish his profile. Complete instructions are in the This Month’s Tip section below.

Will the reader think you accept the status quo, without putting your personal stamp on the situation?

Your LinkedIn Connections should number at least 500 people. Why? Among these many contacts, it is more likely one of them will be connected to the person searching for, say, a copywriter or comptroller, either directly (1st degree), by a mutual contact (2nd degree) or a connection with a contact of a contact (3rd degree). These three degrees of connection mean she will be able to read more of your profile than that of a person with whom there is no viable degree of connection.

It’s easy enough to reach out to your many professional and personal contacts via LinkedIn. Enter a name in the Search space, then select the appropriate name on the list that appears. From that profile, click on Connect and personalize the request, indicating how you have a shared interest in, perhaps, marketing home insurance to renters.

Will you remain at a below-500 level of connections? That approach may suggest that you do not dynamically step forward to engage with others.

This Month’s Tip

Customize Your LinkedIn URL.

  • On your LinkedIn page, go to Profile and click Edit profile.
  • To the right, look at Edit public profile URL with the link: www.linkedin.com/in/xxx/123456a7
  • Click on the pencil.
  • Now you can type your name XXXX without the number /123456a7 gobbledy gook after it.
  • If there is a duplicate of your name, LinkedIn will advise you; perhaps you can use a middle initial, hyphen or underscore between your first and last names.
  • Then click Set Custom URL.
  • You are done!

Contact

Ready to draw more details on your virtual portrait? Don’t gaze at a blank slate or a half-finished image. Let’s look at the big picture and sketch in the missing pieces to call more attention to your digital presence. Contact me at 212.677.5770 or janet@janetlfalk.com.

See also: Are You Find-able? and Three Steps for More Success on LinkedIn

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Thanks to Marcia Rockwood, whose conversation inspired this newsletter.

Create Your Own Traveling Classroom

Lead a workshop at the office of your contacts.

Speaking engagements are a proven marketing strategy to get new clients. You may be invited to lead a session at a professional membership organization. You may also create your own event by recruiting a contact to host a meeting at their office and have that person invite their colleagues.

As an example, I advise attorneys with a solo practice or at a small law firm. Occasionally, they have a noteworthy case that merits news coverage, and they may use that strategy to put pressure on defense counsel. This is generally a short-term project; they do not need my services often enough to hire me on a retainer basis.

Solo attorneys are usually members of networking groups; perhaps Sandra handles Elder Law, Khadija focuses on Trusts and Estates and William has a Real Estate practice. They meet monthly and make it a point to refer business to each other.

Recently, I reached out to more than 50 attorneys with solo or small practices. I suggested that by having me lead a workshop How YOU Can Be the Attorney Reporters Call, they would accomplish three goals:

  • learn the skills to introduce themselves to reporters and raise their profile in the media to attract more clients;
  • enhance their leadership status among their peers by providing them with access to a resource like myself;
  • have fun, as I offered to bring a cold six-pack of beer to the meeting.

Subsequently, I led a workshop on media relations for eight attorneys at which a lively discussion ensued. After the presentation, their feedback indicated how much they had learned from the session and that they would keep me in mind for future newsworthy cases.

This workshop or traveling classroom approach has helped me expand my network, which will continue to grow as these new contacts share my offer to lead future workshops with other colleagues.

This Month’s Tip

Look beyond the membership of a professional organization and the four walls of a classroom to teach a workshop. Develop an interactive session and offer it to your connections for their professional development and that of their peers. At this contact’s office, you’ll collect their colleagues’ cards and their appreciation.

Contact

Is it time for you to step to the front of the room? What topic would you prepare for a workshop attended by potential clients who might be willing to introduce you to their networking peers? Let’s consider possible subjects and attendees. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com.

See Back to School – As a Teacher and Do You Lead Workshops for FREE?

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Thanks to Chad Young for hosting the workshop.

Grasp the Hidden Power in Your Networking Group

Diverse perspectives of members yield strategies.

Networking. What could be new?

Your networking group is a source of direct referrals, of course, and some of its members may even become clients.

Through these contacts, you might land an introduction to a person connected to a company in your sights, following the maxim Everyone knows someone worth knowing (see Networking Towards the King)

Or you may do a good deed by connecting two contacts who might be helpful to each other as resources or referral sources. (see Turn Your Networking Inside Out)

Now, here’s the hidden power of organic or private networks often overlooked: that of the informal business coach.

Your network colleagues have heard your success stories over recent months or years. They see your dedication to your clients.

When you are stymied by a What should I do next scenario, consult the folks in your networking circle.

A dozen consultants of the Nonprofit Flight Plan, who advise nonprofit organizations on operational, marketing and financial issues, have, over the years, shared with me their insights and also suggested strategies.

Recently, a conversation touched on pricing for services. How does a consultant delicately — and forcefully — convey the value that is built into every interaction?

We focused on the understanding of a situation, the wisdom to make the appropriate recommendation and the capacity to follow through on the implementation. All these steps demonstrate the value of the consultant’s experience and the client relationship. This price tag cannot be calculated by the one-time fee for service or retainer.

This is an example of what makes the wisdom of a networking group priceless.

This Month’s Tip

Tap into your network for advice and your own brain-stretching. Networking meetings are not only about individuals and their presentations. It’s the collection of multi-disciplinary perspective each one brings to the table. Informally advising your colleague will help you exercise your brainstorming muscles, build trust among contacts and garner ideas to develop your own business.

Contact

Are you looking for invaluable advice? You may find it among your networking contacts. Let’s brainstorm who the best partners for you might be. You can reach me at 212-677-5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

See also: Everyone Knows Someone Worth Knowing

Make Your Five W’s Reader-Centered

See the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How from an outside perspective.

When writing an article, an author or reporter traditionally thinks of the five W’s – Who, What When, Where and Why, plus How – as questions to be answered.

Here’s how that familiar paradigm looks when the reader is put at the center of the discussion:

Who: Who are you (as a business or nonprofit organization) that you are getting in touch with me? Do we have a prior relationship?

What: What should I pay attention to now? You may have interrupted my busy work day or my leisure time.

When and Where: Am I seeing this while at work, at night or on the weekend? Which vehicle did you use to contact me: newspaper, industry publication, email, enewsletter, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook?

Why: Why should I care about what you have to say? How will it help me to Save Time, Save Money, Make More Money, Save the World or Get More JOY Out of Life?

How: How shall I act upon this information? Will I call you, send an email, visit your website, sign a petition, make a purchase, attend an event or do something else? (Be sure to make that next step clear.) Is it easy for me to take this action? Did you indicate how I can contact you if I need more information?

Review your written message by responding to these questions and issues. Engage the reader from the get-go for a more successful response. It is not about me, the writer, business or nonprofit; make it about YOU, the reader.

This Month’s Tip

Look at the layout and design. How does the digital message display on desktop, laptop, tablet and phone? Does an image occupy so much of the page that the reader has to scroll to read the content? Is there sufficient white space to give the eye a rest? Make your piece visually appealing.

Contact

Ready to bring the reader’s 5 W’s and How into focus? Let’s sharpen your communication to direct the reader appropriately. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com.

See also Orient Your Newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

COPE: How Writing Can Re-Broadcast Your Audio

Highlights of a radio interview or podcast can drive web traffic.

The good news about radio interviews, as noted previously, is they are now captured digitally, making it easy to circulate the URL of the program via enewsletters and your email signature. You can also publish a post, status update and start a group discussion on LinkedIn, among other platforms.

These promotional strategies also work well for podcasts and TV appearances.

The twist is to summarize the highlights of the interview and then share this write-up.

Repurposing the audio in a written format can deliver the content to a target audience that may not be acquainted with the podcast, did not see the TV show or missed the radio interview.

Geri Thomas, Founder and President of an executive recruitment and consulting firm in the arts and culture sector, recently spoke on a podcast about leadership issues at museums. After the podcast was published online, I summarized the key points and Thomas published these highlights as a LinkedIn post.

She also shared the summary with LinkedIn discussion groups for professionals in the museum and arts arena, asking What makes a good leader? This provocative question could be answered with her article and podcast as resources. Thomas also placed the article on her website.

In the days following the publication of the LinkedIn post and group discussions, the article was viewed more than 600 times. The actual podcast was listened to more than 550 times.

Likewise, the Thomas & Associates website experienced a substantial increase in visits, plus its link to Highlights of The Museum Life Podcast: Empowering Leaders by Geri Thomas has been clicked more than 300 times.

This podcast lives on, reaching a broader audience, by promoting the summary across multiple online channels, an example of the COPE distribution strategy: Create Once, Publish Everywhere.

This Month’s Tip

What is COPE?: Create Once, Publish Everywhere.
Clients, prospects and supporters are looking for resources and information across multiple platforms: online, newspapers, magazines, newsletters and video. Whenever you create content, take steps to share and promote your insights. Whenever you are the subject of media coverage or another’s blog, you can respect copyright and reference the media outlet.

Keep this list of channels handy and implement as appropriate.
Website of your company or organization
Newsletter to your clients and supporters
Email signature
LinkedIn company or organization page
LinkedIn status update
LinkedIn group discussions
Facebook company or organization page
Case Study for industry newsletter, blog, speaking engagement
Twitter
Medium.com
YouTube
Instagram
Pinterest
Google+
Slideshare
Facebook Live
Periscope

Contact

Let’s capture the essence of your wisdom and bottle it in a summary. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com.

See also: Work Up Your Workshop in a New Format

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Holiday Haiku

I have sent a holiday haiku as an e-card to clients, colleagues and contacts since 2009.

Click on the year to see haiku e-cards and a related image.

If a similarly customized holiday greeting appeals to you, please contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or 212.677.5770.

2021
Evening performance:
Bustling wind, frantic snowflakes
Peaceful, smiling moon.

Sending warmest of wishes to you, your family and your team.
In appreciation of the clients and colleagues who made this year my best ever, I have made donations to nonprofits in New York and Chicago that support educational opportunities for young women.
Here’s to the magic of the holiday season and the excitement of the new year 2022.

2020
How dark was this year,
Clouded by illness and loss.
Welcome, sun of hope.

With warm thoughts for your personal health, your family and your team.
In thanks for the wonderful care of my mother, age 90, who recovered from COVID-19, I have made a donation to a local hospital.
Consider how you may acknowledge your appreciation of clients and partners in collaboration with a donation to a nonprofit organization, as we all look ahead to a brighter 2021.

2019
All faiths celebrate
Winter solstice traditions.
Light reclaims the dark.

Are you glad or sad to see 2019 end?
Did it bring new clients, new successes or new struggles?
Together, let’s make 2020 memorable.
Here’s to the promise of the New Year.

2018
Sing a song of snow.
A white coat gently glistens
and brings joyful peace.

Soon 2018 will be a memory, of wins and losses, lessons learned and workshops taught.
Here’s to following new paths, to your success and to the promise of the New Year.

2017
In the dark of night
A sudden glimpse of bright light
Sparks joy in my heart.

Thanks to your support, 2017 was one of my best years in business.
May you gather strength from your success and climb ever higher in the months ahead.

This card was cited by PR Daily as one of its top PR holiday greeting cards as a lesson of keep it short and sweet.

2016
In the wintry dark
Stars sing brilliant melodies.
Hope and joy for all.

Olympics, elections and my busted foot. Let’s put 2016 in a box, share the warmth of the holiday season and dance ahead to a new year.
Here’s to your success in 2017.

2015
Snow blankets the street
A cushion of sweet silence.
Peace, all the way home.

May the warmth of the holiday season fill your heart.
To your success in 2016. Cheers!

2014
Ring in the New Year!
Peace, love, music, art, snowflakes.
Share them everywhere.

Another memorable year!
Let’s celebrate the spirit of the holiday season.
Here’s to success in 2015.

2013
Tall, from a distance,
Snowy tree stands in silence
My heart fills with peace.

What a year this has been!
With warm wishes for the holiday season
and for success in 2014.

2012
Snowflake, dance with me
Raise arms to the winter sky
Embrace the moment.

Wishing you, your team and your clients
a joyous season and
ever more success in 2013.

2011
As candles flicker,
Moonbeams glide past the snowman
In gentle rhythm.

With warm wishes for the holiday season
and for growth and success in 2012.

2010
The New Year’s promise:
hope, joy, peace, love, memories
and gentle snowflakes.

Have an even more successful 2011.

2009
The quiet magic
brought by the first winter snow
inspires and awes.

Wishing you, your team and your family
a joyous season and
ever more success in the New Year.

Vote for Email and NOT for Social Media

If you do not already have an email newsletter, it is (past) time to launch it.

Consumers prefer to hear from vendors and brands by email, according to a recent study. Even Millennials, regarded as highly digitally attuned users, want to receive promotional email.

Given the choice of contact via a variety of platforms, the preference for email is overwhelming in three key demographics:

  • Baby Boomers (born 1945-1965): 74%
  • Generation X (born 1965-1980): 72%
  • Millennials (born 1980-1995): 64%

Moreover, more than half of consumers (53%) check their email on their smartphone, making it imperative that newsletters display well on the small screen:

  • Baby Boomers: 36%
  • Generation X: 53%
  • Millennials: 59%

In short, knowing your audience is receptive to email marketing, it’s vital to tailor the content of your newsletter and ensure that it is accessible in a format easy to read on a smartphone.

If you DO have an email newsletter, here’s a video review of best practices for newsletters as gleaned from six writers, including yours truly.

More email newsletter tips here.

This Month’s Tip

Email is here to stay.
Email has a larger reach; there are THREE times more email accounts than Facebook & Twitter combined.
Email delivers to the recipient 90% of the time; only 2% of Facebook fans see posts.
Email converts with a 3% click-through rate vs .5% click-through on Twitter.
YOU control the distribution of email, not Facebook or Twitter algorithms.

Contact

Ready to launch or evaluate your email communications strategy? Let’s consider the audience, content and format that are most appropriate. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email at janet@janetlfalk.com.

PS Tomorrow is Election Day. Plan to vote.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Take Your Own Advice

Advice you give freely may be quite valuable, even for yourself.

You probably love to give advice to others. We all have insights on (un)usual business issues and strained relationships, plus tips for gardening, exercise and travel.

Ever get that AHA moment when you realize the suggestions you offered work for your own situation?

In a recent enewsletter, I calculated that each of us probably has 5,000 contacts in a variety of places: address book, LinkedIn, subscribers to a newsletter or blog and more. Aggregating those names into a single database:

  • Provides a way to keep in touch with hundreds of them;
  • Evokes opportunities to introduce one to another;
  • Sparks awareness of your own services and products for them as potential referral sources and connectors.

Accordingly, I took my own advice by consolidating my contacts into my address book. Here are a few results:

There were 2,483 names in my address book in August; a month later, I had 4,503, a gain of 2,020 names that were scattered in emails, lists and business cards.

Similarly, my connections on LinkedIn increased from 2,809 to 3,023, an additional 214 and a number that continues to grow.

Clearly, implementing my own suggestion was successful, as it enabled me to re-connect with long-dormant contacts, plus initiate conversations, email exchanges and meetings, not to mention a few subscribers to this newsletter.

This Month’s Tip

Here’s a few resources for hands-on advice and general tips:

Ilise Benun, Marketing Mentor offers tips on marketing for creative professionals that apply to many business owners. http://www.marketing-mentor.com/blogs/news

David A. Fields advises consultants who work with companies of all sizes. http://www.davidafields.com/consultants/blog/

Life Hack – Tips for Life features pointers on productivity and getting things done. http://www.lifehack.org/

Contact

If you’ve followed my advice on this topic of aggregating your contacts – or have a suggestion of your own to share – give me a call at 212-677-5770 or drop me a line at janet@janetlfalk.com. Let’s dig for more good ideas in that gold mine of 5,000 contacts, plus we can swap tips and brainstorm together.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts

Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
In Sight, Top of Mind.

You may not believe it, but you’re probably sitting on 5,000 contacts in various pools of connections.

Imagine the opportunities they represent for new business, new alliances and new volunteers.

You can find these people here:
1. Names in your address book
2. Recently emailed addresses
3. LinkedIn connections
4. Subscribers to your newsletter and blog
5. Business cards
6. Lists of attendees at events
7. Membership directories
8. Facebook friends and Twitter followers

Look for potential clients, partners, vendors, donors and board members among these resources.

Possibilities for you to refer business and connections to each other also abound.

Let’s start identifying them and actively mine these contacts. Plan to re-connect with these people and create momentum — for your business, for your organization, and for them to be thinking of you.

If you don’t use a contact relationship management program, make your address book the basic database.

1. Export the names in your address book in a .csv file. (If you use Outlook, go to File, select Open & Export, click on Import/Export and follow the simple steps.) Save the file as an Excel spreadsheet to make it easier to manipulate. Sort by first or last name. Print only the names. Review the names; delete duplicates and others, as appropriate.

2. Collect the email addresses and names of the 1,000 people you have most recently emailed. Outlook’s blessed auto-complete feature is your new best friend. Certainly, there are several hundred names in that pool you have not yet added to your address book. Download the NK2Edit program. As before, export, save in Excel, sort, print. Compare this group to the list above. Through this exercise, I found more than 400 new names to enter in my address book.

3. Export the names of your LinkedIn connections. Again, save, sort and print. Perhaps there are a few names of people you no longer recognize. Now might be the time to delete them. (They will not be notified you did this.) Compare these names with those in your expanding address book and add them to it.

4. Your newsletter and blog subscribers are another group to mine. Continue to export, save, sort and print. Compare the list to your address book and LinkedIn connections; add to both, ensuring consistency across all platforms.

5. That stack of business cards? You know what to do.

6. Have you been to any events and received a list of the attendees? Who did you meet at the break-out session? Who sat with you at lunch? Add these names.

7. Do you belong to a chamber of commerce, professional association or networking group? Peruse the membership directory; your dues paid for it. See how your address book continues to grow!

8. Finally, your social and professional connections on Facebook and Twitter represent an audience that is interested in keeping up with your latest activities. Bring them into the fold, too.

Yes, this exporting, sorting, printing, comparing and entering data is tedious.* With this effort comes a payoff; when you read every single name, you will find out who’s hiding there, including some welcome surprises.

Last month I wrote to a colleague who subscribes to my newsletter; I hadn’t spoken with him since 2012! We then chatted for 15 minutes. The following day, he emailed me to help him with a project, which I completed. A few days later, he urgently needed my help by close of business, so I also did that. Plus, he spies another task on the horizon.

Four years of minimal communication, and now he sees me as a member of his team.

This Month’s Tip

Here are six subject lines and invitations to re-start a conversation:

LinkedIn suggested your name, so I endorsed you for a few skills. When can we grab a coffee to catch up?

Your name came up in conversation with PERSON (Put the name in the body of the email, so the reader will open the note.) What are you working on now?

This article/podcast reminded me of our conversation about TOPIC (link). What do you think?

Would you like to meet a PROFESSION? Perhaps NAME is a potential collaborator. (link to website or LinkedIn profile). Let me know and I will introduce you.

Remember this email? Please help me recall what happened next.

Your business card re-surfaced. What’s new?

By asking a question, you open the door to a phone call, coffee or lunch to re-ignite the connection. Perhaps you have discovered a viable contact for this person among the hundreds of names you recently added to your address book. Some say your best prospects and referral sources are among the people you already know, so start re-connecting.

Contact

Ready to hunt for buried treasure among your contacts? Call me at 212-677-5770 or email janet@janetlfalk.com to start prospecting.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

* Note: You can expedite the Outlook data entry process by saving each modified Excel list as a .csv file. Import that file into Outlook. It sounds more complicated than it is; let me talk you through the process.

It’s Business. Not Personal.

Take a stand.

Two very different companies once had rather similar slogans:

It’s not business, it’s personal. (law firm)

It’s personal. (meaning: It’s not business.) (bank)

In each case, the slogan was designed to reference a close, even intimate, working relationship. Some clients prefer to be reassured and reminded, on a frequent basis, that a vendor or partner has their interests top of mind at all times.

Consider that what is personal from a client’s perspective may not be reciprocal. Many clients think primarily of themselves and may have a limited interest in the individual private lives of their contacts.

Copywriter Deirdre Rienzo wrote about her dog in her newsletter and invited subscribers to send photos of their pets. The response was overwhelming.

LinkedIn coach John Nemo recommended sharing “something personal from your non-work life . . . once or twice a day as part of your LinkedIn status updates.”

Let me be blunt. I do not care about your pet, the (extra) ordinary exploits of your progeny or your awesome (tiresome) visit to Nepal.

As I commented to Nemo and Rienzo, if there is a business lesson to be gleaned, then summarize and explicate it. Otherwise, I will look elsewhere for inspiration and connection. I might even unsubscribe to your newsletter. The reader’s attention is yours to lose.

Following this guideline, here is the takeaway: a business consultant in North Carolina read Nemo’s post and agreed with my response. She contacted me, and we chatted about our respective practices. A few weeks later, she referred a client to me.

It was Business. Not Personal. That’s how I began working with a former CIO on an article about lessons learned from implementing enterprise technology to improve performance.

This Month’s Tip

Think: What’s the earth-shattering news about your morning coffee? People who announce on social media where and with whom they have consumed a breakfast drink flabbergast me. Can you specify the value-added information or societal significance of your inability to prepare a hot beverage at home? Alternatively, invite me to sample one with you, so we can become better acquainted and consider ways to work together.

Contact

Where do you draw the line between business and personal in your Communications? Call me at 212-677-5770 or email janet@janetlfalk.com, to clarify where the boundaries are.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Turn Your Networking Inside Out

You probably know someone who is a resource for a connection.

It’s a mystery to me why people say they hate networking.

When asked their best source of new customers, most business owners say referrals.

What is the flip side of referrals?

Networking.

Everyone makes referrals of professionals, with whom they’ve previously worked, to contacts who need someone with that particular skill. We all pass names around our network.

For those who claim to hate networking, think instead how you might make – and receive – referrals to and from people in your various circles.

These circles include formal organizations, such as professional membership associations and networking groups, current and former clients, vendors and partner organizations, even friends, family and members of your faith community.

It’s amazing how far your reach will extend when your approach is focused on referrals, not networks.

Here’s an example:

A neighbor asked me for a referral to an engineer to evaluate the repair work the condominium board had arranged for her friend’s terrace. Because I did not know any engineers, I directed her to Fred Basch, an architect and former client. Fred named an engineering firm, saying the project “is right up their alley.”

Referral made. Problem solved.

The sequence of emails was completed in less than two hours.

Everyone knows someone worth knowing. Who might be the intermediary who can introduce you to a prospective client or your next hire? When there is someone for whom you’d like to do a good turn, think about the people in your circles (or networks) who might be useful to that person – or who might have a colleague who could suggest the resource the contact seeks.

This Month’s Tip

Whom might you offer and whom do you seek to meet? Members of a networking group can provide mutual referrals in an exchange exercise. Each participant writes the profession of a contact they’d like to help on a 3 x 5 card (offer) and requests a person with a specific occupation or employee at a company they want to meet (seek) on another card. Every pair of cards gets passed around the room, so all attendees can see each one. Invariably, a match will materialize.

For example, a grantwriter, who wanted to enhance her LinkedIn profile, learned about a very active LinkedIn user. That referral helped her draft emails to request recommendations from clients.

Contact

Let’s brainstorm about the people among your professional and personal connections. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email janet@janetlfalk.com, so you can make and earn the referrals that will promote business growth for your contacts and yourself.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Six Tips for Your Mid-Year Communications Check-up

Conduct a Self-audit of Your Communications

The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee (NPCC) created the Nonprofit Excellence Awards program with self-assessment tools. Participating nonprofit organizations conduct audits that help them evaluate their performance along specific metrics. The effort inevitably helps raise the bar in eight key areas of operations.

It’s exciting to see Communications placed so prominently among the criteria, next to governance and financial management, among others. NPCC held a workshop on Pathways to Excellence to share best practices in Communications; the discussion concisely presented six valuable nuggets that apply to all organizations: large and small, nonprofit, for profit and government.

Take a moment now to review your communications.

  1. Choose. Between Media Relations, Social Media, Website, Newsletter, Video, Annual Report and Marketing Collateral, it is unlikely your organization can deliver on all these projects equally well. Pick the ones that will have the greatest ROI for your group – based on dollars and donors — and support them with sufficient internal resources.
  2. Schedule. Create a Calendar that incorporates deadlines for events, email distribution, postal mailings, annual report and newsletters. Pre-populate Social Media posts whenever possible using automated tools, like TweetDeck.
  3. Empower. Front-line employees observe incidents and anecdotes in the moment. Encourage them to suggest story ideas as topics. Capture their insights and energy.
  4. Re-purpose. Once you’ve drafted content, distribute it widely. A narrative profile of a client published early in the year can be updated six months later, perhaps with a new photo. A new project can be re-visited with recent results and feedback from participants.
  5. Bifurcate. Write newsletters and annual reports that target hearts with photos and harness facts with charts. Many donors will connect to the personal stories; other supporters want to see outcomes. All thrill to successes and progress in accomplishing the mission of your organization.
  6. Anticipate. Invariably, a crisis arises. Prepare for it by designating a single spokesperson. That person will assemble the facts, develop the context, indicate the steps being taken to address the situation, wait for reporters to call and be responsive to pointed questions, keeping within carefully set boundaries and perhaps on a 20-minute delayed basis that will permits additional strategizing.

This Month’s Tip

Match your Communications activities to your goals. Highlight select programs by consistently featuring stories about the participants or clients, services, staff, allied partners and results. To ensure consistency, coordinate with colleagues across the group for a steady flow of new content.

Contact

Is it time for you to conduct a self-assessment of your Communications activities? How will you Choose, Schedule, Empower, Re-purpose, Bifurcate and Anticipate for the balance of the year? Contact me at 212-677-5770 or email me at janet@janetlfalk.com so we can review the past, present and future of your Communications.

Thanks to the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee, whose workshop inspired this newsletter.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

How Are You the Opposite?

Consider what you are compared to what you are not.

Here’s a striking contrast:
Sell your firm as an ENTER Strategy, Not as an EXIT Strategy.

This turn of a well-known phrase emphasizes what is to be gained and shifts the focus away from the owner, the price tag and the negotiation process.

It promotes the opportunity the acquirer has to gather expertise, penetrate new markets and add clients — all by using a buy rather than build approach. An acquisition/enter strategy may be an expedient and cost-effective solution to quickly expand in a desirable and growing market and niche.

Similarly, would you like to resolve your separation from your spouse in a private setting and at a lower fee, supported by an attorney, a divorce coach and a financial advisor?

Or would you prefer to duke it out in an expensive, protracted public battle over the future of your family? Do you relish a process that may devalue all your assets and leave every participant bitter, emotionally drained and physically exhausted?

That is the premise, admittedly exaggerated, of the collaborative divorce process as practiced by a recent client, the Collaborative Divorce Center of Coastal Virginia. Guided by legal and financial professionals and a child development specialist, divorcing couples invest in a customized, mutual agreement. They allocate their resources and arrange for the care and education of any children, instead of a third-party (judge) determining their individual and collective futures.

These examples demonstrate how an organization or company can effectively set itself apart by describing how it is the opposite of what is familiar.

I follow this path also. With an eclectic background in various industries (law, Wall Street, nonprofit) I made the logo of Falk Communications and Research an octagonal shape.

You might be a round peg and someone else, a square peg; I am not so easily categorized. I am an octagonal peg, someone who does not fit the mold.

Not being an industry insider often makes me a keener analyst who is better able to assess the situations of my clients. By tapping into a range of valuable experiences, I develop unique communications solutions.

This Month’s Tip

Consumer goods are well known for flaunting their other-ness. Apple urged customers to Think different. In the beverage industry, 7-Up was the Un-cola. For cars, one manufacturer nearly denied its heritage: This is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile. Consider the attributes of your cohort to see where you might be most different and distinctive.

Contact

How might you define who you are in contrast to who you are not? Let’s take a traditional slogan or image and turn it on its head. Call me at 212-677-5770 or contact me at janet@janetlfalk.com so we can devise ways that make you the opposite of the crowd.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Thanks to Art Stevens, whose observation inspired this newsletter.

Your Co-Authored Article Reaches Influencers of Your Target Market

A colleague or client helps an industry outsider gain credibility.

How might a company offering specialized training promote its services?

Sometimes the best way to reach a target market is through its influencers.

The strategy I developed for Ed Katz, founder of the International Office Moving Institute (IOMI®), focused on attorneys, not the Human Resources professionals responsible for training employees.

Lawyers specializing in employment and contract law might be interested in a product like a video training series in best practices for moving office furniture, once they are aware of the context of such training.

Failure to observe best practices in moving bulky items, like large file cabinets and office desks, may result in serious injury to employees, which in turn may lead to worker compensation claims and subsequent litigation. In addition to the costs associated with workers compensation claims and litigation, damage to property, either property being moved or walls, elevators, doors, etc., may require additional payments for losses and damage.

In the event an employee sues a company or nonprofit for injury sustained in a move, documentation of prior training will provide an affirmative defense. The fact that an employee is trained in best moving practices will mitigate the claim and may lead to denial of any compensation.

Lawyers who are alerted to the long-term value of this video training series might refer this resource to their clients, especially at those businesses and nonprofit organizations where staff ask untrained maintenance staff to move heavy items or hire professional moving companies. In addition, for those lawyers that work in-house, they may mandate, as a best practice, such training for employees.

In order to reach these attorneys via a legal trade publication, a legal professional needed to be a co-author. Jacqueline Thorlakson, Senior Corporate Counsel for The Suddath Companies, a leading global moving company that is a long-time client of Katz, agreed to co-write an article about the video training series.

Working together, Katz and Thorlakson developed a forceful argument on the need for training employees at various steps in the moving process to prevent any accidents that may occur:

• Before the move: preparing to deal with situations in advance;
• During the move: managing issues as they arise; and
• After an accident involving injury or harm: training may be used as a corrective measure.

The combination of Katz’ hands-on expertise in moving heavy file cabinets, for example, coupled with Thorlakson’s citation of recent lawsuits, proved compelling to Employment Law 360. It is unlikely the subject of best practices in moving and training videos would have been reported by the legal publication in a different circumstance.

And it may be unlikely that attorneys specializing in employment and contract law would have pre-emptively spoken with their clients to ascertain whether they currently observe best practices in moving and whether they have trained their employees accordingly. Or, alternatively, that in-house counsel would have issued a mandate requiring all employees undergo training.

This Month’s Tip

Your co-author speaks to her peers in their language. An article may not be accepted by, for example, a legal publication, without relying on the legal expertise and writing style of an attorney.

Contact

If you are reaching out to influencers who might refer your services and products, an article in a trade publication, co-authored by a specialist, may help you hit the target. Let’s talk and line up some topics – and co-writers – for future publication. Contact me at janet@janetlfalk.com or give me a call at 212-677-5770, so we can focus on the appropriate influencers.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Take Your Idea for a Test Drive

Look at the world through the eyes of a colleague or collaborator.

Do you occasionally share an inspired idea with a trusted sounding board, so you might learn how others see the situation?

When you speak with someone who sits on a different side of the table, or a peer in another industry, you’ll see the plan through another lens, which can be very revealing.

Here’s how I learned this tactic. You probably receive too many non-business newsletters, especially from retailers who twice a week entice you to shop for the latest fashion.

One way to control the distraction of such promotional emails is to create an email address with an account dedicated to that purpose. Next, you deliberately do not place that email account on your computer and phone. Instead, you only review that email on a tablet, at night, while relaxing or watching TV.

From your perspective, you are not interrupted by tempting announcements of sales and new products during your busy work day.

Now the kicker: From a marketer’s perspective, you are a dream audience. Sitting on a comfy couch, scrolling through promotional emails, you are in a much more receptive mood. When you see a photo of a fashionable jacket — voila. Immersed in news of sales, you now are more likely to shop online than when you are scrolling through emails on your phone before your next meeting starts.

How about that 180 degree turn? What started as a defensive posture has now made you a vulnerable target.

We all have a blind spot when it comes to our genius ideas. Find people who can serve as a corrective mirror. Make it a practice to ask for their perspective and see the market through their eyes.

This Month’s Tip

Who might be your sounding board? Members of networking groups. Former clients and former co-workers. Set up a phone chat with a social networking contact whose thoughtful blog posts and comments exhibit insights. The retired executives who serve as coaches at SCORE counsel business owners for free; ask to be paired with someone who worked in your industry.

Contact

Let’s test drive your newest idea. Contact me to take it out for a spin at janet@janetlfalk.com or give me a call at 212-677-5770, so we can see if there are any bumps in the road ahead.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Thanks to Joshua Sessler, whose observation inspired this newsletter.

Toot, Toot and Re-Toot Your Own Horn

Write, revise and re-format your content to reach new audiences.

According to novelist Willa Cather, “There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”

Consider this quote, enshrined on Library Way (East 41st Street in New York City), in a business context. It is a reminder that all business-related content may be (infinitely) re-purposed in various formats to reach new audiences.

Start with a client engagement that’s a success story.

Write the success story as a case study and post it to your website.

Add a graph, photo or other visual and publish it as an article for the company or nonprofit newsletter.

Then, situate the client write-up in a broader context as an article for an industry trade magazine or a professional membership association’s publication.

Email the case study or article to prospective clients, donors or collaborators.

Take a lessons learned format, and invite the client to speak on a panel at an industry conference, professional meeting, networking group or local chamber of commerce event.

Submit your client success write-up as a LinkedIn post.

Turn the case study into a guest post for a blog hosted by a colleague.

Lead a workshop where peers, prospects and collaborators may learn best practices, and also see you in action.

Post an abridged version of the workshop presentation on Slideshare.net.

Interview the client in a podcast and video, to be hosted on your website (and YouTube channel).

Ask a question in a LinkedIn group and on Twitter. Your client success story is the answer, so provide a link to one of the above formats, as appropriate.

Re-play the theme. Assemble a series of case studies, articles, panel presentations or workshop handouts in an ebook.

Finally, build upon your previous work; update it to reflect changes in law, regulation, demographics, industry trends or technology.

The same client-centered content has now been shared and promoted to: current contacts, prospective customers, professional colleagues, industry peers and potential collaborators, not to mention website visitors, event and conference attendees and the LinkedIn universe and Twittersphere in a dozen ways.

This Month’s Tip

Share your content with reporters. Case studies, articles, blog posts and presentations testify to your credentials as an authoritative expert. You will position yourself as a source to comment on solutions to problems faced by others in that industry or serving a similar population.

Contact

Don’t toot your own horn as a one-note song. Contact me at janet@janetlfalk.com or give me a call at 212-677-5770 so we can jazz up your client success in multiple ways.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Wake up your sleepy email signature

S   t   r   e  t   c   h   to get more marketing action.

Email signatures are invaluable marketing tools. Take a good look at yours. Is it working for you or is it asleep?

Here’s a checklist to make the most of your real estate that passes under the eyes of at least 50 correspondents each day:

  1. Your signature is positioned immediately below the last line of your email message, not buried at the tail end of the chain of correspondence.
  2. Your direct phone number and cellphone number share a line and sit under your name, making it easy for the respondent to give you a call.
  3. Your company or organization’s name, hyperlinked to the website, invites a click to learn more about your products, services and programs.
  4. Your snappy tag line proclaims the value you create for customers.
  5. The headline of a recent news story trumpets your success links to a PDF of the article.
  6. Your current exhibition, an upcoming event you will host/sponsor or a trade show where you will speak/exhibit, is noted, with a link to register or make a reservation, if appropriate.
  7. Your product flyer or an informative brochure is available as a download, which requires an email address to facilitate future sales team follow-up.
  8. Your LinkedIn and Twitter account information are listed, so contacts may connect with you on social media platforms.
  9. The latest issue of your newsletter or blog is hyperlinked, with an opportunity to subscribe.

This Month’s Tip

Your email signature is a fundamental component of your brand, as are your logo, website and business card.  Every team member should have an identical signature, to reinforce the organization’s positioning and messages. After a revised email signature template is developed, provide the model and instructions for an update to all personnel, along with a two-day deadline for implementation.

Contact

If it’s time to rouse your sleepy signature, drop me a note at  janet@janetlfalk.com, so I can give it a once-over, or give me a call at 212-677-5770. Together, we’ll make it rise and shine.

For a more detailed discussion and an example of an email signature template, please see Harness the Marketing Power of Your Email Signature.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Make the most of your event photos

Plan ahead to strengthen six relationships.

Photos have always been a central element of special events. In the digital age, these images are available almost immediately and can be distributed through various promotional outlets, as well as informally through social media.

Part of the process of taking photos is to integrate the RSVP list of the attendees with the post-event action.

Whether you host an Open House, fundraiser, concert or conference, become familiar with the names on the RSVP list beforehand. When the event begins, be flexible and alert to spontaneously capture moments that convey the activities of the company, as well as the relationships that the organization nurtures with its many partners and allies.

At a recent event for IMPACCT Brooklyn, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing, a guest asked me how the photos being taken at the evening reception might be used.

In addition to the organization’s own promotional brochures and website, plus social media activity, I identified some key opportunities for cultivating relationships with attendees and their respective audiences.

  1. Elected officials: The Assemblymember and City Councilmember who spoke at the event will likely include the photos of their attendance in their constituent newsletters.
  2. Partners: Real estate developers and bankers work with the nonprofit to develop and finance apartment buildings with affordable housing. They may place the photos in their marketing literature and other external communications to document their Community Reinvestment Act activities and relationships with the nonprofit sector.
  3. Allied organizations: Like-minded nonprofits, neighborhood associations and local merchant groups could share the photos in their member newsletters as an update of activities and changes in the community.
  4. Funders of the nonprofit: Photos that record how the group has expanded its operations, thanks to the support received from a foundation, are a confirmation that the grant is being deployed effectively.
  5. Media outlets: Reporters who were unable to attend a public event, such as IMPACCT’s ribbon-cutting at its new office, might use a photo in their news coverage.
  6. Clients, employees, Boardmembers and donors: Photos of workshop participants, staff and supporters could be included in the organization’s own newsletters, marketing literature, website — even on the walls of the offices. These shots underscore the personal connection the organization builds with clients, similar to the snapshots of celebrities who dined at a restaurant.

Of course, the attendees might eventually add your photos to their websites and re-distribute them through their social media presence.

In sum, photos document the event and ultimately may be shared to strengthen the relationships between the host, event participants and their respective organizations. That bonding process became my goal when I accompanied Deirdre Scott, Executive Director of Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA), to an event held at Hostos Community College. I noticed a Hostos photographer taking photos; I asked if he would like to take a shot of a small group that included a Director from Hostos, who is also a Boardmember at BCA.

That Hostos connection compelled him to agree to take the photo. Later, the photographer and I exchanged business cards. When he emailed me the group photo, I replied and identified the BCA Boardmembers in the group, so that he might include their names in any future publication of the photo.

This Month’s Tip

Make a list of photos to be taken at an event, as if you plan a wedding. Prepare to stage photos with the management team, Boardmembers, key staff and special guests. Hover near the principals, with the photographer ready to aim and shoot. Keep groups to a maximum of five people. Note the name of anyone who is not immediately familiar, to identify the person for a caption and perhaps share the photo with the attendee later.

Contact

Ready to work with a photographer at your next event? You’ll have a bigger smile when you’ve anticipated how to use the photos in the weeks after the reception. You might enjoy the event even more if I direct the photographer for you. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or email at janet@janetlfalk.com.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Listen to Aretha: RESPECT

Respect and lessons from other languages.

When you studied Spanish, French or German, you learned there is a formal and informal degree of addressing another person. Generally, it’s best to use the formal — Usted, Vous or Sie — to be polite, especially at the start of the relationship.

When the other speaker indicates she is amenable to informal address, she will tell you to use Tú, Tu or Du.

As Aretha Franklin sang, from the other’s perspective, communication is about R E S P E C T.

Treat your clients and potential customers with respect — during every in-person and electronic interaction.

These people may soon pay your fees or be in a position to refer others to you. Lack of respect may cause a prospect to look away from you and turn instead to competitors for products and services.

Two recent emails from Public Relations industry professionals violated the norms of polite customer correspondence, reminding me that we all need to pay heed and reflect on the lessons from Aretha.

Hey
The first was a sales pitch that began: Hey Janet,.

When I replied to the sender, I mentioned my name was Janet and not Hey. I received a follow-up note, again: Hey Janet,.

I replied I was offended at twice being addressed Hey.

This complaint led to a prompt apology, which was accepted.

DUDE
The subject line of the second email: DUDE. Seriously, OPEN my email already! (sic)

The Hey email was from a sales rep, who, with two years experience, should have known better.

The DUDE message was from a well-known senior Public Relations consultant with nearly 20 years experience.

Though this DUDE subject line is eye-catching, it is akin to the language of high school students and unlikely that an award-winning, college-level Public Relations instructor wrote it.

I responded that I found the subject line DUDE disrespectful. Surprisingly, the reply was by no means apologetic, but contrarian. According to this communications professional, if the use of DUDE or other terminology to which one personally does not relate is offensive, the recipient should unsubscribe.

Draw the Line
Where do you draw the line between informal and formal email correspondence with prospective customers and current clients?

This Month’s Tip

Do your colleagues treat your clients and prospects with respect? It’s polite to begin an email with Sidney, or Dear Leslie,. These forms of address acknowledge the virtual distance between the writer and the recipient and do not overstep the bounds the way that Hey Nicky, does. Write complete and grammatically correct sentences. Use restraint in tone, limit exclamation points and avoid emoticons. Finally, consider that the email might be forwarded to the CEO or another senior executive who has the final say-so on the buy decision.

You and your colleague worked very hard to get the reader’s attention; don’t let your email be discarded because it was disrespectful.

Contact

Are your coworkers speaking the same language as your potential clients and showing them appropriate respect? Let’s review your company’s standard emails in this light. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email at janet@janetlfalk.com.

 Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Orient Your Newsletter

Adopt a reader-centered approach.

Your newsletter waits patiently in a recipient’s mailbox.

Once opened, you have the reader’s attention.

  • Their attention is yours to lose.
  • You gave them a gift and then you walked away.
  • What will the reader think or do next?

Think of a reader’s attention like a person’s gaze. How fragile it is! At any moment, a phone call, knock on the door or sudden air conditioner blast could distract her eyes from the newsletter’s article.

Their attention is yours to lose. Accordingly:
Build trust and cultivate a solid relationship.

  • Deliver timely and useful information.
  • Provide relevant documents and links.
  • Position your staff as accessible experts.
  • Reach out to potential collaborators and competitors in a gesture of good faith.

You gave them a gift and then you walked away.
Lead a reader to feel good about your organization or company.

  • Remind him of the solid work and accomplishments, to which he may have contributed or from which he benefited.
  • Keep volunteers involved.
  • Connect with elected officials and local business leaders.
  • Maintain contact with alumni.

What will the reader think or do next?
Guide the reader to deepen her relationship with your group.

  • Drive the reader to a specific page on the website.
  • Make it easy for the recipient to share your newsletter.
  • Promote advocacy.
  • Encourage RSVPs and donations.

Is it time to orient your newsletter and implement a reader-centered approach? Let’s write a plan to hold onto your reader’s attention. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email at Janet@JanetLFalk.com.

See also Make Your Five W’s Reader-Centered

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Radio Interview + Digital Links = Infinite Audience

Use links to promote it.

Radio interviews are no longer time-sensitive; they do not evaporate after they are broadcast.

In the digital age, anything that was aired may be captured, re-purposed and merchandised to promote your services and programs.

Senior care advisor Joanna Leefer spoke about options and resources for seniors in two radio interviews.

She shared tips on how to search for an appropriate nursing home for a family member.

Leefer also addressed the misconceptions seniors and their family members may have about the financial and government resources available for medical care.

Here’s what happened next:

  • She copied the long URL of the recorded interviews from the two radio stations’ websites and created bitly links; these shorter links are easier to share in emails, on websites and on social media.
  • She summarized each discussion in a phrase and added that to her email signature, embedding the links, like this:

Regards,
Joanna Leefer
Radio Interview: Tips to Locate a Nursing Home for Your Aging Parent (Part 1 and ; 25 minutes)
Radio Interview:
3 Common Misconceptions Families Have About Eldercare Options (38 minutes)

  • The interviews are prominently displayed on her website.
  • She also includes a reference to the interviews whenever she contacts organizations interested in senior care issues to secure speaking engagements.

All in all, the third-party approval by these radio interviewers, who are objective observers, testifies to Leefer’s knowledge in the eldercare field. This is reassuring to prospective clients. It also gives the Chair of the Program Committee confidence that Leefer will deliver a quality program when addressing their group.

Is radio an appropriate medium to reach your target audience? Let’s consider how to secure radio interviews and then how to promote them, so they continue to broadcast your expertise. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or janet@janetlfalk.com.

Make Your Pro Bono Client Newsworthy

Be active and use your perspective as an insider and observer

You contribute your professional expertise in marketing, law, finance, operations or management to your work as a board member or volunteer of a nonprofit organization.

Equally important is your unique perspective highlighting the group’s programs and services.

In addition, you offer a reality check of how other audiences may view the nonprofit’s activities.

Here is where these multi-faceted roles of professional expertise, inside champion and outside observer coalesce.

As a board member or volunteer, you may suggest to the Executive Director, or perhaps the Director of Operations or Development, a quarterly audit of the top programs in order to identify the aspects that might prove most newsworthy.

  • Review services and events with the goal of pinpointing the larger social or educational issues that they address — literacy, job training or health services, as examples — for an under-served population or community.
  • List three bullet points that summarize the essence of each program in terms of its results and impact.

When you focus on those services that, on behalf of society, Save Time, Save Money or Bring More Joy to individuals and the community, the organization is on its way to attracting more news coverage that may draw donations, attendees and grants, as well as support from allied groups,the business community and elected officials.

My pro bono work with the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS), which holds lectures and tours promoting the history of New York City’s former Welfare Island, has challenged me to define the newsworthy angle of these events — with the goal to increase attendance and earned revenue.

The recent RIHS installation of the long-lost lamppost base, once a part of the Queensboro Bridge, represented a highly visual news opportunity. It was reported in 2001 that the lamppost base had been removed from the Bridge in 1976, and was missing ever since.

By linking the installation of the 6,000 pound lamppost base to the 30-plus year disappearance, the event became newsworthy, resulting in articles and photos in The New York Times and DNAinfo.com.

Your pro bono client may not have monumental news like this; still, you can create a context for its programs to be connected to a current or perennial social issue. Let’s talk soon to help this group land its own news story. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email me at janet@janetlfalk.com.

And if you work at a nonprofit, let’s review the programs together to create that news angle.

Are You Find-able Online?

Maximize your online presence

An out-of-the blue email prompted me to consider how easy it is to re-connect with someone and what another person might find out about me online.

A long-lost acquaintance emailed me the same day my name, quote and photo were published in The New York Times. When I asked how she was able to get in touch with me, she responded that she conducted a search online and found my company website, which displays my email address (and phone number).

What about YOU?

Take five minutes NOW to conduct an Internet search of your own name. Your objective is to see which websites and social networks are listed in the search and make sure you appropriately connect those listings to your company’s or nonprofit’s website.

Start the search with Google.com, followed by Bing.com and then Yahoo.com; that adds up to 87.5% of global searches. (The remainder is Baidu at 10.2%, which is used in China, plus some minuscule search engines.)

Your LinkedIn profile probably appears first among the results. With its international database of 364 million members, LinkedIn outranks most websites.

Perhaps next on the list are your Twitter and Facebook accounts; their enormous constituencies boost their rankings as well.

If you own a business or lead a nonprofit, a reference to your company’s or organization’s website might follow mention(s) of your name.

These personal profiles clearly list and link to your company or nonprofit’s website, of course. If they don’t, link them now.

Here are two ways to update your Personal LinkedIn Page:

Customize your LinkedIn Name/URL.
On your LinkedIn page, go to Profile and click Edit profile.
Under your photo, you have the link: www.linkedin.com/pub/xxx/1/234/56
Click on Edit.
Now you are in the panel where YOU control WHAT is VISIBLE in your profile.
Before you do anything with that section, look to the right and go to Your public profile URL.
Click on Customize your public profile URL.
Now you can type your name XXXX without the number /1/234/56 gobbledy gook that LinkedIn automatically assigns.
If there is a duplicate of your name in LinkedIn, you can use a hyphen or an underscore between your first and last names to differentiate yourself.
Then click Set Custom URL. You’re done !

Post your company website — and related resources.
On your LinkedIn page, go to Profile and click Edit profile.
In the lower right corner of the box, click on the Rolodex card labeled Contact Info.
Next to Twitter, click on the pencil and add your Twitter account.
Next to Website, click on the pencil and select the category Other. Then enter the name (or description) of your company and link to the homepage URL.
You may add two additional websites; I selected the category Other to post Public Relations Tips and link to the Newsletter section of my website, plus Articles on Public Relations with a link to the Publication section.

This is also the place to post the name of your blog (category: Other) and link to it.
(Note: most people do not take advantage of this promotional space; if they do, they use the default setting of Company website and Blog, which is not particularly informative.)
Then click Save.

It’s time to make yourself more find-able and more compelling online. Start by calling me at 212-677-5770 or emailing me at janet@janetlfalk.com.

Playing Politics. Telling Your Story.

Make sure elected officials know how you contribute to your community.

Nonprofits and small businesses can improve their visibility in the community by establishing a connection with local elected officials and telling their story.

Once these politicians are acquainted with you, they’re able to advocate for you and help you secure funding or assistance. But they can only do so if they know who you are.

Your goal might be requesting or keeping discretionary funds allocated by a city councilmember or state legislator, being invited to participate in community projects or gaining access to information and in-kind resources, such as staff training. Clearly, it’s vital to be on a first-name basis with the elected officials who serve your neighborhood — and especially with their staff.

On Memorial Day Weekend, East Harlem Block Nursery hosted a block party and celebration of its 50th anniversary. Government leaders from the state, city and community were invited to mark the occasion.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and State Senator Bill Perkins joined in the celebration. Each spoke to the attendees and read a congratulatory proclamation. In addition, Mayor Bill de Blasio sent greetings and a representative of Comptroller Scott Stringer presented a commendation. And, an aide of Public Advocate Letitia James and an administrator from the Department of Education also attended.

In sum, four of the top four leaders of New York City and Manhattan (and their respective staffs) were apprised of the existence and success of this nonprofit, and its remarkable 50-year track record.

Here are photos of the politicians and aides who participated in the momentous day.

The opportunity for the Executive Director, teachers, parents and students to speak with these officials and administrators, plus give them a personal tour of the school, was invaluable. In this first year of New York City’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten, funding for the program at the nursery is precarious, so building relationships with various arms of city government is a priority.

The fact that several officials sent their aides was not necessarily a disappointment. These public servants are likely to run for office themselves someday, so it makes sense to start connecting with them now. As an example, New York City Councilmember Vincent Ignizio, who once was an aide representing a Staten Island councilmember at an event, was later elected to serve that very district. From staffer to elected official — a lesson to remember.

Are your local officials acquainted with your business or nonprofit group? Let’s consider how best to introduce you and get the attention of the appropriate elected leaders. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email me at janet@janetlfalk.com.

Save Time. Save Money. Make More Money.

It’s not about you, but what you can do for them.

Recently, a nonprofit professional at a workshop on media relations posed this question: “How can I get a reporter to write a feature article about our group?”

My reply was, “Why should anyone else care about what your organization does? Let’s find something about your nonprofit that will capture an outsider’s attention and be newsworthy to the media.”

Consider: how does your organization, product or service help others to:

  • Save Time
  • Save Money or
  • Make More Money

This perspective on time and money works on two levels. First, daily, we look to save our personal time and money: a magazine subscription is cheaper than buying each issue from a newsstand; plus, a copy is delivered to the home, so we subscribe, never missing an issue.

Second, society seeks to save its time and taxpayers’ money: smart nonprofits (and companies) provide products and services that can produce savings for one individual and for many people.

In applying this newfound perspective, another workshop attendee spoke about Worksites for Wellness. The group advocates that companies provide rooms on the premises where female employees can privately nurse their infants or pump milk; the breast milk is refrigerated for a few hours, and then given to the child later.

Nursing mothers care about this issue, of course. Who else might support the group? And why should they care?

Look at how a lactation room saves time and money: Women employees are more productive when they can feed their babies or pump milk onsite. Their children are healthier, because they absorb the mother’s antibodies and resist bacteria and viruses. Consequently, these mothers take fewer days off to care for sick infants.

In sum, employers make more money. Someone who is not a nursing mother can recognize the upside and appeal of granting women privacy for an hour or so per day during a few months. Doing so, the company (and society) reaps the benefit of a more productive and loyal employee who is not distracted on the job or absent caring for a baby with a cold.

How does the save time, save money paradigm apply to your business or nonprofit? Let’s brainstorm together. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email me at janet@janetlfalk.com.

Why Your TV News Interview Never Aired

Sometimes stations butcher a news story.

In industry lingo, the news story was bumped, cut or killed.

Those are the terms that reporters (and Public Relations professionals) use to describe the assault on the fruits of their labors.

Typically, a television reporter visits an event, conducts an interview with the principal organizer of the program and talks with the engaged participants. She then gathers her notes and summarizes the activities on camera, weaving facts into the reason for the day’s event and the implications for the future.

Unless high priority or breaking news suddenly arises.

The evening news is like serving a pie to a large family; it has to be divided so that everyone gets a slice. With national, local and world news, plus sports, weather and scheduled features, some slices will be bigger than others.

Invariably, breaking news grabs the largest slice and the planned news stories are subject to:

  • Bump: the interview does not even take place;
  • Cut: the segment is abbreviated and relevant footage is not broadcast;
  • Kill: the story never gets aired.

War, fire, stock market gyration or a politician’s exploits may wreak havoc on the interview carefully planned by a Public Relations professional.

Recently, a report of an event was broadcast without an interview that had taken place on location with program staff of the New York Foundation for Eldercare. The segment was cut short by news coverage of an airplane crash.

When that happens to your interview or segment — and it will happen someday — make the most of the coverage that you did receive by sharing the news story wherever possible, including Twitter, your website and your newsletter.

Let’s consider how to promote your TV news coverage, even if the interview was left on the cutting room floor. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or email janet@janetlfalk.com.

The Three R’s of Crisis Communication

Plan ahead, because when a crisis arises, there’s no time for planning.

A broken or malfunctioning product.

Poor judgment.

Lapse in supervision.

A crisis may take many forms; the appropriate communications response generally follows this format: Regret, Recompense, Reform.

Known as the Three R’s, and similar to the education basics of Reading, (w)Riting and (a)Rithmetic, this approach to communication in a tense moment provides guidance and reassurance to management (and employees) when facing hurt and angry customers, accusatory press and the prospect of regulatory investigation.

At the earliest opportunity in the crisis moment, prepare a statement that addresses the situation and incorporates the following, to the extent that the underlying facts are available:

Regret: Apologize, simply and directly, to those affected, their families and the community. We are very sorry that this occurred and extend our sympathies to those who were hurt by ____ (the accident).

Recompense: Indicate that a replacement, coupon or other object of comparable tangible value will be issued to replace the damaged item. Customers whose packaged meatballs have the product code 49B7 should return them to the store where they were purchased for another package or a full refund.

Reform: In anticipation of a possible crisis, you may have contracted a consultant of impeccable reputation. State, by name if possible, that this consultant has been hired to investigate the circumstances and recommend steps that will immediately be implemented to ensure that the situation will not recur. We have hired Company X to review the situation and, based on that analysis and recommended procedures, we will implement changes and do our very best to make sure that this incident will never, ever happen again. 

Using this formula, consider the most likely scenarios: tainted product, breach of computer security, employee malfeasance, accident and loss of life, among others. Like the fire drill required to be held in your office building, conduct a simulation at least quarterly.

Are you ready for a moment in the spotlight, with customers and reporters shouting accusations at your company or organization? Let’s prepare now and trust that your practice session is never played out before a live audience. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or email janet@janetlfalk.com.

Why You? Why Now?

How to introduce yourself to reporters.

You probably recognize that reporters call people they know. They are less likely to call someone they have not heard of.

Reporters are professional skeptics. They will always ask two questions:

Why YOU? What makes you a credible and authoritative source?

Why NOW? You didn’t contact the journalist last week or last month. What is the reason anyone should pay attention to you now?

Here’s how to write an Executive Media Profile that answers these questions and establishes the same level of credibility as the competitor quoted last week.

1. In a five-line paragraph, summarize your areas of expertise. Select a few themes of interest to those who regularly seek your advice or services. This is not an extensive bio that lists your degrees and former job titles.

2. Make a list of three to five hot topics. Reporters focus on issues that affect readers and their businesses. In the best case, there is a clear bottom-line impact. Perhaps there is a change in the law or an industry regulation or a shift in consumer preference. Show your expertise and anticipate how this affects sales, operations and the market sector.

3. Use a bullet point format. Simply list the topics; do not use sentences and paragraphs. You’ll have time to elaborate on your ideas in a future conversation and interview.
4. Identify the publications read by your target market. Selectively contact the journalists who cover topics like yours with an email that answers the two questions: Why You and Why Now. Start by demonstrating you are familiar with their work: Your coverage of the ___ market prompted me to contact you and briefly share some thoughts on trends.

5. Follow-up with a call a week later. Reporters are as busy as yourself, so you’ll probably leave a phone message. Consider this a one-two punch and a foray into new territory. As Babe Ruth said, “Every strike brings me closer to my next home run.”

By establishing yourself as an authoritative and credible source, and by highlighting timely issues that readers need to focus on, you will place yourself in the reporter’s database for future reference, or even on a to-do list for a call today.

Ready to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard? For a sample Executive Media Profile to help you get started, contact me at 212-677-5770 or email janet@janetlfalk.com.

Do The Right Thing

What goes around, comes around.

Some say Pay it Forward.

Others say Create good karma.

It’s a professional responsibility, for me, to be alert to news opportunities — even for former clients.

When Staten Island Legal Services (SILS) held a fundraising luncheon in April 2014, in part to mark its 10th anniversary, I spoke with the reporter from The New York Law Journal whom I had invited to cover the event. She asked to be notified of any celebration on the actual anniversary date, which was December 8. The project ended soon after the luncheon, and SILS and I amicably parted company.

Early in December, at my suggestion, SILS Executive Director Nancy Goldhill contacted the reporter and secured an interview. Goldhill used the opportunity to cite impressive statistics of the thousands of people whose cases SILS had handled over the years: families recovering property damage from Hurricane Sandy, victims of domestic violence, homeowners avoiding foreclosure and immigrants securing legal status.

Success! The news story in The New York Law Journal highlighted SILS and its 10-year track record. It even re-published a photo of Goldhill and the honorees from the April luncheon.

This article put SILS in front of New York attorneys, a key audience of current and potential supporters — thanks to my reminder to this former client.

You can join me and start (or renew) the habit to do a good turn, make a referral and introduce two acquaintances. Do it often and do it selflessly, with no thought of recompense.

Please let me know the unsought favor you’ve done by contacting me at 212-677-5770 or email janet@janetlfalk.com. They say I get half-credit for an assist in good karma.