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Turn Your Google Alerts into Gold

If you look long enough, you’ll find everything.

You may recall I wrote about setting alerts on Google and Talkwalker to monitor your online presence.

These alerts reach far beyond your own website to places where you may not be aware you have been cited.

Some of these references may lead to new opportunities.

in fact, I was thrilled to find citations of my name and podcast episodes where I was interviewed in TWO articles online. Both articles listed a number of podcasts and, for each show, named episodes that the author found noteworthy:

8 Legal Podcasts to Help Grow Your Law Practice, listing a total of 16 episodes, referred to my conversation on Be That Lawyer with Steve Fretzin: Janet Falk: Public Relations 101 for Lawyers

Another 16 individual episodes were cited in The 16 Best Legal Marketing Podcasts of 2024, including Janet Falk – How to Prepare for Your Next Meeting or Conference on The Legal Mastermind with Eric Bersano

I capitalized on these mentions of my name as a two-fold opportunity. 

First, I wrote a post on LinkedIn about each of the two articles. I congratulated the individual hosts of the various podcasts where I had spoken on this recognition.

Next, I emailed the hosts of the podcasts on which I had not yet appeared. I congratulated them, too, plus I introduced myself as a potential guest.

After all, I had a proven track record. I had appeared on 4 of the 8 in the first group and 8 of the 16 in the second. 

This approach of using Google alerts to spark new opportunities is yielding results. Alay Yajnik, one  of the second set of podcast hosts, soon replied and invited me to record a program. The episode is Connecting at Conferences on the Lawyer Business Advantage.

This Month’s Tip

Follow these step-by-step instructions for creating online alerts on Google and Talkwalker. Include your:

  • Name
  • Company name
  • Website URL
  • Phone number

Remember to check Yahoo, Bing and DuckDuckGo. Some yet-to-be-discovered references may appear there, as well. 

Contact

What will you find when you complement your alerts with a search for yourself on the Internet? No doubt there will be some mentions you overlooked, forgot about or simply were not aware existed and that may have eluded the alerts, too. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, make an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s set up alerts, along with dates on your calendar for reminders to conduct additional searches, to track how you appear online.

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. 

Image credit: Rubaitul Azad

Bari Chase

Janet has given engaging and extremely practical programs at NYCLA’s CLE Institute. Attendees learned techniques that they could implement to build their networks, as well as hands on training on how to get noticed and quoted by the media. She is a pleasure to work with and a true professional, who I highly recommend.

Lorraine Ball

I really enjoyed my podcast conversation with Janet Falk. She discussed her innovative approach to understanding the buyer’s journey, diverging from the traditional perspectives. Janet challenges the common belief that the buyer’s journey is a passive process. She proposes an alternative idea she dubs “the confirmation process”. Through this lens, the buyer undertakes a more active role, seeking to validate the identity, skills, and credibility of the professional or vendor they consider: confirming the identity of the vendor, the adequacy of their skills and experience, and social proof from others.

Janet further explores how professionals can facilitate these steps, increasing their chances of positively influencing the buyer’s journey. Moreover, this approach emphasizes the crucial role of client-focused content and the science of online presence in creating an effective buyer’s journey. Janet neatly ties these concepts together, outlining a roadmap that optimizes both the vendor’s showcase of expertise and the buyer’s needs.

What’s Your Policy on Using Artificial Intelligence?

Share it with readers to build trust.

You’ve probably read articles and attended programs discussing the merits, limitations and ethics of using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

How are YOU using AI?

  • Research topics for articles
  • Draft outlines for writing documents
  • Generate content for blog posts
  • Analyze mountains of data
  • Summarize lengthy reports
  • Create images

Whatever your answer, have you disclosed that you are using AI?

Do your employees know how they may (or may not) use AI?

Why You Need an AI Policy

People who read what you write or hear you speak may wonder about your use of AI.

These days, they may assume, correctly or incorrectly, that you are using it.

They may be surprised (or pleased) that you are not tapping AI in your operations and marketing.

It’s time for you to draft a policy that aligns with your values.

As a Public Relations and Marketing Communications professional, I focus on content creation. I evaluated the risks of using AI in my ideation and drafts. I addressed my values of Creativity, Authority and Authenticity. Finally, I developed my AI policy below.

Before I share that, let’s take a step back to consider what your usage of AI may be and how it will be reflected in a policy statement.

Maybe you will state that your ideas for content were inspired by AI.

You might indicate that a first draft was created by AI, which you edited substantively.

You may limit your use of AI and indicate accordingly.

Perhaps you will provide a disclaimer that you do not use AI at all.

In each case, the transparency of your AI usage generates trust with the reader.

Falk Communications and Research Policy on Use of Artificial Intelligence
All content produced by Janet Falk is original content. The exception is occasional use of Artificial Intelligence to generate titles for articles and headlines for press releases, which are substantially edited.

Now that you are considering an AI policy, how will you disclose it?

I’ve posted mine on my website’s home page.

This Month’s Tip

At a minimum, your AI policy should follow these guidelines, adapted from Skillsoft and Tronvig Group:

  • Comply with applicable laws
  • Ensure privacy and security of proprietary data
  • Eliminate bias and promote fairness
  • Set standards to confirm the accuracy of external references and citations
  • Monitor internal consistency, so content sounds like it was written by a person

Contact

Review your use of AI and take a public stand, so contacts will be informed and confirm their trust in you. Advise your employees accordingly, to ensure their use of AI adheres to your standards for the quality of their work product and processes.

Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 to review your use of AI and your declaration of your policy. Let’s proceed intelligently about your use of Artificial Intelligence.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Note: After I composed this newsletter in April 2024, I learned that a new Utah law mandates that when a business regulated by Utah’s Division of Consumer Protection uses generative AI to interact with consumers, and a consumer asks if the interaction is with AI, the business must “clearly and conspicuously” disclose the use of generative AI. The disclosure obligation is even more restrictive for those in regulated professions, such as health care. The law does not address the creative process.
Image credit: CX Today

Irina Krasnyanskaya

Janet Falk spoke about Networking to 40 women professionals and members of “Risky Women.”  Her presentation was excellent. She gave practical tips and step-by-step guidance on how to prepare BEFORE attending a networking event, how to interact with people there and how to follow-up afterwards. There was a lively Q&A and everyone was fully engaged in the discussion. I highly recommend Janet as a speaker for your organization.

Pitch Reporters with the Five W’s

Focus on the reader of the news story.

You know the five W’s of journalism:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

There is an issue in business that you feel people need to know more about.

Maybe you want people to speak with you and take action, because there is a looming deadline for potential clients, lapsed clients, referral sources or other contacts.

Here’s how to introduce yourself to a reporter so that you will be a source for a news story on the subject.

Start by using the five W’s as a framework for developing your pitch to a journalist.

  • Who do you want to read the news story? For example: Families of teenage students or toddlers. People with aging parents. Consultants in a specific industry. Residents in a certain neighborhood or town. Be as specific as possible about the characteristics or criteria of the target audience.
  • What idea will they read about? Think of their situation before they learned this information; compare it to after they hear about it and take the steps you recommend.
  • What will they do next with your idea? Will they want to speak with you to get more information? Will they be prompted to read a page on your website or download information there? Make it easy to connect with you by including your email address or phone number. Provide the link to access the material.
  • When: Is it time-sensitive? Is there a deadline to take action before a law or regulation goes into effect? Perhaps it is simply a best practice to attend to this issue sooner or eventually.
  • Where do they look for news? Perhaps it is the daily newspaper, the regional business magazine or the industry publication. Aim to put yourself and your insight there.
  • Why will they care? This is the most important question of all. Everyone listens to the world’s greatest radio station WII-FM (also known as What’s In It For Me). How will your idea help someone save time, save money or make more money?

Once you have answers to the five W’s for your seed of an idea, you‘re ready to move forward and contact reporters.

This Month’s Tip

Use a pitch letter to initiate a conversation with a reporter.

  1. Indicate your familiarity with the reporter’s frequent news stories on topics aligned with your idea.
  2. Demonstrate your knowledge of the subject and cite a recent article, blog post, newsletter or speaking engagement to corroborate your status as an authoritative and reliable source.
  3. Pitch the story idea and underscore how readers will benefit from your insights.
  4. Include your contact information to facilitate follow-up with you.
  5. After a week or two, give the reporter a call or send a second email. Only use a shorter time frame when a deadline is imminent.

Here’s the letter I often use to introduce my clients to journalists. Adapt it for your use in the first person.

See also:
Four Ways to Find a Reporter’s Email Address 
Five Tips to Maximize a Media Phone Interview 

Contact

Let’s put the five W’s to work for you. Contact me to brainstorn some ideas for hot topics and news stories at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s start gathering names and emails for your media list. Wait for a reporter to call you is not one of the five W’s.

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.

Laurel Carpenter

Janet recommended some adjustments to our company’s website messaging to make it clearer and easier for people to understand what we do and how we can help. Since we revised our website, we have gotten a very enthusiastic response and I’m very grateful for Janet’s direct, honest and professional advice. I highly recommend working with Janet if you want support from a straight shooting, expert public relations professional who won’t hold back sharing what she knows that can help move you and your business forward.

Four Ways to Find a Reporter’s Email Address

Email addresses are hiding in plain sight.

You conducted your SWOT analysis and compared your appearances in news stories to your competitors.

You’ve identified the local newspaper’s business reporters, the journalists at the regional business magazine and the writers at the industry publications that cover your client’s businesses.

Here are four places to locate a reporter’s email address, so you can introduce yourself and your insights to these journalists.

Check the reporter’s byline. In a print publication, there may be an email address after the reporter’s name or at the end of the article. In an article online, there may be a link to the reporter’s email address, which may open a pop-up window for easy correspondence.

Review the masthead. A print magazine will list all the reporters and editors, with the specific beats or areas they cover. It usually includes their individual email addresses and sometimes their phone numbers. Some publications include the masthead on their websites.

Look up their X (Twitter) account. Journalists may include their email address in their bio, so that tipsters can send them information privately, without broadcasting a source or idea for a news story to the X/Twitter universe.

Search for a personal website. Some reporters aggregate their published news stories on their own website. There generally is a Contact page, with either a form or an email address.

You can try contacting reporters via LinkedIn and Facebook, as a last resort. Note that many view this approach as intrusive and not respectful of professional and personal boundaries.

There are several media databases that track reporters and publications: Cision, Meltwater, Muckrack and Propel, to name a few. Public Relations professionals like myself subscribe to these databases; they are far too expensive for occasional use.

This Month’s Tip

Assemble the names and email in a database or spreadsheet. Keep track of these details:

  • Outlet Name
  • First Name (useful for merge mail)
  • Last Name
  • Email address
  • Phone
  • Status of latest contact

Contact

Reporters are always looking for new sources, so take the initiative to introduce yourself via email. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s start gathering names and emails for your media list.

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.

Roberta Hershenson

As a former longtime reporter, I want to congratulate you on an excellent article [about speaking to the media]. Most of your points are well-taken and will be beneficial, both to the person being interviewed and the reporter.

Use SWOT Analysis as a Platform for Media Outreach

Conduct competitive research for inspiration, then fill in the gaps.

Here’s a non-traditional use of the familiar SWOT analysis of: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat.

Apply it to your media outreach.

Look at your competitors and find when they have successfully garnered media attention.

Then compare that activity to where you have had similar results generating news stories and reporter interest in your business.

Start by conducting an online search for some competitors and take note of the topics in focus.

Were these news stories about trends in the industry or views of the big picture? Are you prepared to address these issues and look in your crystal ball?

Are the articles about client projects? Which success stories would you like to share as case studies to attract more business?

Did your competitors describe best practices or lessons learned? Which tips and tricks would you offer?

Next, assemble the names of the publications and the individual reporters.

Do you subscribe to and read these news outlets so you can keep up with industry and local news? Do you follow the news stories, and social media accounts, of the journalists who mentioned your competitors?

Gather the results of this analysis to develop your game plan. Take steps to address the gaps you identified so you will be the one reporters call.

This Month’s Tip

Are you on reporters’ lists of sources? Reporters call the people they know. Perhaps you have missed out on being included in some articles because they are not aware you are a potential source on those topics.

Plan to introduce yourself to the relevant business and industry reporters at the local newspaper, city/regional business magazine and industry newsletter serving your target market. Use the sample Media Profile in this e-book. Next, you’ll learn how to find their email addresses.

Ask clients if they are willing to be featured in case studies and examples of lessons learned. Focus on anecdotes of how you solved problems or increased sales and profits.

Soon, you will be the one reporters call.

Contact

Now that you’ve identified the areas where you may have fallen short of your competitors, let’s step up to fill the gaps. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together, we’ll brainstorm topics, trends, case studies and best practices that will be newsworthy.

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.

This discussion was inspired by Kathleen Lessman’s blog post

Nancy Lanard

I have known Janet through activities in Women Owned Law. Janet is always a phenomenal resource for everyone. She just gave a webinar to Women Owned Law that I attended on LinkedIn. I have attended other webinars on LinkedIn and the information she shared with us on ways to improve our exposure was priceless. I would highly recommend Janet Falk for any type of Public Relations or marketing needs you and/or your company may need. She is tapped into so many resources and takes pride in the relationships she builds. She would be a great asset to any company.

My Anniversary. Your Gift.

Ten tips to maximize your anniversary celebration

This month marks 15 years for me as a solo-preneur Public Relations and Marketing Communications professional.

I celebrate this milestone with a gift to you, an e-book: 25 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Conference. Request a copy.

Here’s my story. I hung up my single shingle in January 2009.

You may recall it was a challenging time for a new business venture. It was the depths of the financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost more than 50% of its value between May and December 2008. Corporate layoffs were an everyday occurrence.

For these 15 years, it’s been my pleasure and an education to learn about your business.

Together, we’ve connected with reporters, potential clients, networking contacts, vendors and referral sources.

We’ve polished your website and LinkedIn profile, plus edited your articles, speeches, presentations and marketing materials.

In appreciation of your support, your business and our warm relationship, I thank you for standing with me. I would not be here for 15 years without you.

As for corporate anniversary celebrations:

  • I composed text for an industry trade association marking its 20th year; the booklet was distributed to the membership at a gala awards dinner.
  • I produced a 70th anniversary brochure for a family-owned business; plus, I wrote the speeches the company executives gave at the celebratory breakfast.

Perhaps you will agree the people who care the most about an anniversary are the insiders: the founders, leaders, employees and members. Clients may notice to a lesser degree.

When you mark your anniversary, keep your inner circle in focus at all times.

Accordingly, here are ten suggestions for how to promote the news of your successes over the years, the knowledge you’ve gained and shared, plus the longevity of your business. Take note of the most appropriate recommendations:

  1. Pick a date. It can be the date your company incorporated, you launched your website or you signed your first client.
  2. Review your resources, both physical and digital. How will you incorporate a reference to the anniversary year and update your materials? A modified logo is often the simplest way to spruce up your existing materials with a tagline referring to the anniversary celebration. Add it to your company’s website and the email signature of employees.
  3. Compose a short history of the organization with milestone achievements: a new location, a new service, an expanded product line. Decide whether this history will be a brochure, e-book or video and contract with a professional to produce it.
  4. Incorporate visual elements. Assemble photos, perhaps a map of prior locations or areas served, and previous versions of your logo to add color to the narrative.
  5. Share the anniversary announcement in newsletters tailored to employees, clients and referral sources, expressing gratitude for their role in your success and longevity.
  6. Contact the media and offer your perspective on the state of the industry, from your launch date to today, and how the landscape has changed. Provide a forecast on what lies ahead. Add your strategy for the future and how your values will help you achieve it.
  7. Send a printed thank you card to employees, clients and referral sources to recognize their contributions to your success. Acknowledge key people with an individual card and perhaps a gift.
  8. As the budget permits, create a commemorative item, something useful and more unique than a T-shirt or pen.
  9. Make a charitable donation to a nonprofit group whose mission aligns with your industry. Endow a scholarship at a college or university, whether local or an alma mater of the founder.
  10. Host an event to acknowledge employees and clients. Consider a family day in the spring.

This Month’s Tip

Document the anniversary and spread the word. Take photos and create informal videos of the activities underway. For example, compare the new anniversary logo with the one in use and describe the process of designing it. All events should be captured; these photos and video can be shared on your company’s website and social media accounts.

Contact

Check the calendar. It’s never too soon to plan for your next anniversary or milestone.  Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s set a date to discuss making your celebration memorable.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Image credit: OpenClipArt.org

Alyse Greer

Janet is a highly experienced author and speaker with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working at my continuing legal education nonprofit. Janet has authored several articles aimed at providing readers with practical advice and guidance about marketing, networking, speaking, writing, leveraging social media, and connecting with reporters, among others. Her ability to dissect each undertaking into detailed, actionable steps is remarkable and demonstrates her extensive knowledge of the legal, marketing, and PR industries. Her ideas are original, thoughtful, and tailored for professionals who need something more than generic, one-size-fits-all advice.

For example, we all understand the importance of networking, but Janet recognizes that networking means more than building your own book of business; it requires organization, prioritization, strategy, and a focus on others. After compiling a list of contacts from numerous sources (e.g., email addresses and business cards, newsletter and blog subscribers, client lists, event attendee rosters, LinkedIn connections, etc.) and prioritizing the list according to shared interests, you are encouraged to introduce your contacts to potential clients; suggest co-authoring an article in an industry newsletter; send targeted announcements about an event, webinar, or podcast; invite them to attend your next speaking engagement; etc. As I said—remarkable.

I’ve learned a great deal from Janet in the course of working with her and am pleased she has chosen to share her time and expertise with our readers.

Tell Me About Your Highlight of the Year

Ideas for cocktail conversation.

Are you looking forward to the meetings and holiday parties scheduled in December?

As you celebrate the close of a productive year, consider what you will talk about with your colleagues, clients, contacts and friends.

Try this perennial question:

     What was the highlight of the year for you?

If it is a business-related event, add this prompt to confirm your genuine interest in learning about them and a project they completed with a client:

What is something you did for a client, that would not have happened, if you were not involved?

In our culture, it often is unseemly to brag.

Leaders and coaches say, “There is no ‘I‘ in team.”

Turn that upside down.

In order to better connect with someone, you give them this opportunity to brag and show off how they uniquely contributed to a client’s success.

This approach yields valuable insights about this person:

    • What sort of clients do they work with
    • What kinds of problems do they solve
    • What types of solutions do they bring to the table

Then, having heard their brief narrative, you may dig deeper.

No matter what they’ve said, continue with:

That sounds hard. How did you do that?

This question opens the door for additional details and for you to get a fuller picture of their work, their industry, their clients and so on.

What if it’s a social gathering?

The highlight question works the same way. Here’s what your acquaintance might mention:

    • They achieved a personal or chronological milestone
    • They visited a distant place
    • They started or finished a pet project

In this case, the follow-up question, How did you do that, may be inappropriate.

Instead, perhaps focus on the emotion the person felt, their sense of accomplishment or the people with whom they shared the experience.

There’s always a highlight, whether professionalor personal.

This Month’s Tip

Be prepared when your contact likes the highlight question so much they repeat it back to you. Review your list of successful projects; select a few that are the most indicative of the clients you work with, the problems you solve and the skills you bring to these situations. Consider anecdotes and events of a more personal nature as well.

Contact

Plan ahead for your holiday cocktail chatter. Let’s brainstorm a few questions and your own responses. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Talking about a highlight with your contact can lead you both to celebrate the holiday season on a high note.

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.

Jason Castillo

I had the great opportunity to create a CLE course with Janet focusing on the best ethical practices when communicating with the media and public. Our attorney clients raved about the highly practical and incredibly informative points Janet provided that can easily be deployed in their practices. As one attorney stated, “It was the best CLE presentation I heard in 50 years of practice.”

Make It a Double

If one is good, two is better.

Congratulations on your recent speaking engagement!

It was terrific.

    • You were on a podcast.
    • You gave a webinar, perhaps with other speakers.
    • You conducted a workshop.
    • You presented at a conference or were a panelist.

Don’t stop there. Make it a double.

Here’s how the time you spent on research, writing and rehearsal will truly pay off: Find a new venue where you can repeat your performance.

After your podcast appearance, look for other programs where you can talk about the same theme. Search the directories of the major podcast distributors: Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher and YouTube. Select general categories or specific areas of interest.

You can also review these directories of podcasts:

Conduct an online search for the Top 10 Podcasts in your industry.

Finally, you can perform reverse engineering. Look on the website Owltail.com for topics and speakers aligned with your subject.

When you have compiled a list of podcasts of interest, contact the hosts and introduce yourself as someone with valuable insights for their listeners. Your recent podcast appearance is a plus. Use the sample letter of How YOU Can Be a Podcast Guest in your outreach to podcast hosts.

Webinars are easily duplicated. When there are multiple webinar providers serving your audience, reach out to each of them with your idea for a timely presentation. For example, providers in the accounting sector include CPA Academy and My CPE.

Connect with the other panelists and propose a reprise of the topic with a different webinar host. Perhaps a webinar producer who previously presented one speaker will find your topic relevant and will schedule a program with the group.

Take that workshop to a group where you are a member or might be a guest speaker:

    • a professional membership organization
    • an industry association
    • a local chamber of commerce
    • an incubator for start-up businesses.

Conferences may be local, regional or national. If you spoke at a state conference, look to a national event. And vice versa.

Host your own event for clients and referral sources, and perhaps even vendors. You will bring everyone up to date on trends and issues, plus they will appreciate networking with your contacts.

Consider giving your repeat performance on a different platform. The webinar I presented on 25 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Conference has been the focus of four podcasts, plus a few more are on my calendar.

Remember, it’s not one and done.

This Month’s Tip

Broaden your audience; two can speak together. Consider teaming up with a client, or referral source, to tap into the market of their peers. Podcast hosts, webinar producers and conference organizers will view your co-presenter as someone who has their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in their industry or their profession, giving you additional credibility as a speaker.

Contact

It’s time to double up on your speaking engagements. Let’s review your recent podcast appearances and presentations to see where you might book another. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s make your latest speaking engagement a two-fer or even a three-fer.

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.

In memory of my mother, Sue Falk, who passed away July 30, 2023. She often bought two colors of the same blouse, because, If one is good, two is better.
Image credit: Nearme Cafe

Andrew Berks, Ph.D., Esq.

I have known Janet for several years and am a former client of hers. I engaged Janet to help with a meeting sponsorship and she advised me on the best one to get. She arranged swag and setting up a table, and attended to many of the details. She did a great job and it was a very productive event.

Janet is also excellent at advising on best marketing practices for websites and using LinkedIn effectively, among other activities.

I have stayed in touch and Janet has alerted me a few times to relevant media and marketing opportunities, like calls for papers or reporters seeking a subject matter expert.

I would hire her again when the need for a public relations and marketing expert arises.

How to Repurpose Your Content

 Turn your article into a newsletter, webinar and more.

You’ve been advised to re-purpose your content, so it will be seen by more potential contacts and enhance your standing as an authority.

If you are stymied about how to go about it, follow this example, where an article became:

    • a two-part newsletter
    • an expanded article
    • a webinar
    • an e-book
    • and a podcast guest appearance.

In anticipation of the annual symposium held by Women Owned Law, a national professional membership organization, I published an article in the group’s monthly newsletter. There were 22 tips geared to maximize attendance at the conference with detailed activities to pursue before, during and after the event.

Later, I developed these ideas as a two-part series for this monthly newsletter, which was distributed to nearly 1,000 subscribers.

One of them is an editor of PLI Chronicle, a monthly newsletter for attorneys, where I have published 20 articles. After she invited me to contribute the discussion to her publication, I expanded the list to 25 tips. This new two-part article series incorporated some ideas from readers of the newsletter.

Taking this theme a step further, and in view of the post-pandemic return to industry and professional conferences, I viewed the topic as a potential webinar. I contacted a director of programs at PLI, which produces online programs for attorneys, and where I had spoken in the past. She liked the proposed subject; to spice up the program, I invited a client to co-present with me.

Having shared these best practices for conference attendees in newsletters, articles and a webinar, I am now seeking guest appearances with more than 30 podcast hosts to whom I’ve spoken on media relations and marketing for business owners and attorneys. Their audiences may well appreciate these 25 tips to prepare for conferences, maximize their attendance and engage in follow-up activities.

This Month’s Tip

Circulate your nuggets of wisdom as widely as possible. The ideas you share in digital formats, like articles, email newsletters and e-books, are easily repurposed to other online platforms, such as blogs, and distributed via social media accounts. The 25 tips are now an e-book.

Don’t stop there. When you are comfortable speaking to groups, identify the organizations where your target market gathers and offer to present at their meetings. Perhaps you will include a client with whom attendees may identify and envision their own success while working with you.

Are you ready for your close-up? Film a video (less than five minutes long), as another way to share your thoughts, and post it on your website and social media accounts.

Contact

Your ideas deserve a wider audience. Your contacts need to be reminded of your successful approach to solving problems they may have. Together, let’s review your articles, newsletters and presentations with an eye to updating them. We’ll consider the most appropriate formats for re-distribution: print, online, in-person, audio or video. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. It’s time to repurpose your insights and, perhaps, write your next e-book.

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.

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Image credit: Cariboo Money Helper

Lisa Wade

Janet Falk is an excellent guest speaker.

Her presentation “How to Market Yourself as a Subject Matter Expert” was well received by my group of newbie and veteran Expert Witnesses.

Some of my members remarked that Janet’s presentation was “Informative and full of actionable tips” and “I truly enjoyed it”.

Janet has a wealth of knowledge regarding public relations, media and marketing that any entrepreneur could benefit from, and I highly recommend her.

The Confirmation Process vs. the Buyer’s Journey

 Your digital presence must confirm your professionalism.

You’ve probably heard of the Buyer’s Journey, which has several stages:

  • Awareness: a buyer becomes aware of a problem
  • Consideration: a buyer defines their problem and considers options to solve it
  • Decision: a buyer evaluates these options and decides on the right provider to address the solution.

When someone lands on your website, you don’t know where they are in their buyer’s journey. Accordingly, your website’s content must address the visitor at each stage in their buying process.

Let’s flip this journey around to give you the leading role. I call it the Confirmation Process.

Its objective is to confirm for the buyer that she has located the appropriate resource.

Through a yet-to-be-determined channel, a visitor comes to your website, starting the journey or process:

  • Awareness: a buyer learns about you
  • Consideration: a buyer conducts research about you
  • Decision: a buyer contracts with you.

A prospective client arrives at your website in several ways:

  1. They met you at an event, heard you speak on a panel or podcast, or read what you wrote in an article or newsletter
  2. They were referred to you by a mutual contact
  3. They searched on the internet for a professional like you.

Now that they found you, they want to confirm:

  • You are the person they heard about/saw/read about
  • You are the professional they seek/need because you have the skills to solve their problem
  • You are the person you say you are.

Here’s how your website operates in the Confirmation Process:

Are you the one they heard about?
Yes. Your photo matches the image of the professional they met or saw speak. When the person talked with you at an event or attended your panel, they had an opportunity to connect with you. Perhaps you exchanged business cards.

Speaker bios, podcast show notes and articles usually include a photo and the URL of the professional’s website, email address and/or phone number, precisely so that listeners and readers can contact the individual for further information.

Are you the professional they seek/need and do you have the skills to solve their problem?
Yes. State your services, cite your education, note your certifications and licenses. Your case studies of client successes, newsletters and articles are additional proof of your skills. List your clients by name, when permitted, or by industry.

All these describe your background and demonstrate that you operate from a solid knowledge base, with proven experience to address the potential client’s particular situation, although you do not yet know what their problem may be.

Are you the person you say you are?
Yes. Your workshops and podcast appearances show that others in the sector value your insights. Your testimonials prove you made your clients look good to whoever mattered to them: a partner, business owner, supervisor or investor.

Congratulations! You’ve checked all the boxes of their confirmation search.

This Month’s Tip

Review your website and see how it corresponds to the Confirmation Process with a current photo, lists of services and clients, plus publications, newsletters, workshops and case studies. Additionally, look over your LinkedIn profile and ensure it, too, adheres to the confirmation approach.

Contact

Show the world you are the professional who can solve a certain problem. Confirm you are the person you say you are. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s compare your digital presence to the confirmation process. Together, we’ll help potential clients check the boxes of their confirmation search so they may connect with you to resolve their issue.

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.

Thanks to Andrew Schulkind, digital strategist, for partial inspiration. He asked, “How aware of you [and] where in the buying process, or your sales funnel, is the person who’s just come to your website?”
Image credit: kalhh (Pixabay)

Margaret Copeley

I didn’t fully realize the benefits of a monthly newsletter and feared that writing one would be too time consuming. Reading Janet Falk’s newsletter for several months finally persuaded me to give it a try. To my delight, my first newsletter paid off immediately when several lapsed clients were reminded of their goals and got in touch with new projects. Janet’s tips have taught me how to maintain frequent communication with my clients, rather than waiting for them to come to me.

FIVE Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Sidestep these Don’ts and step ahead with these Do’s to grab and keep the reader’s attention.

When you control the real estate, whether an email marketing campaign or a newsletter, the format and content should be perfect.

You should also make it easy for readers to follow and absorb the ideas you present.

You worked hard to compose these messages. Use this series of Don’ts and Do’s as a checklist to avoid mistakes and keep your readers engaged.

These examples were inspired from emails I’ve recently received, followed by a recommended edit.

1. Do not use reverse type. Use a dark color on a light background, not white type on a dark background.

2. Do not use hard-to-read colors, like pale yellow, that don’t stand out. Select sharp and clear colors for your palette.

Visit the Website

Visit the Website

3. Do not center text. Use left alignment. The reader’s eyes bounce around the page with centered text. Left alignment helps the reader know where the next line starts.

“Left aligned text is easier to read than centered text for paragraphs. This is
because when you center your text, the starting place of each line changes.
This forces your users to work harder to find where each line begins to
continue reading.”

“Without a straight left edge, there is no consistent place where users can move their eyes when they complete each line.”
(Source: UX Movement)

4. Do not address the reader as, Hey Name. Always address the prospect as Name or Dear Name. When you want the reader’s attention, time and money, show respect by using formal discourse. The correspondent will let you know when they are prepared to be informal with you.

5. Limit use of I and We. Use YOU and YOUR. The email is about the reader, not about the service provider.

Hey Sam,
My name is Pat and I am from Company.

We offer an online payment system that provides an easy and secure way for clients to accept credit cards and e-checks from their clients. 

Our company is specifically designed for business owners.

My response:
Who cares about your name and Company?
How did you learn my name?
What do you know about my business?
Where is the reader (YOU) here?

Sam,
Your name came to my attention as a Public Relations professional with a small agency.

Many small business owners like yourself find it easier to accept credit card payments and online payments instead of checks.

With Company’s online services, you can easily set up accounts to receive payments from your clients in the way they wish to make them.

BONUS: Always send a test email to your personal email account. Review it carefully, clicking on all the links.

After you write, wait a day before sending your email newsletter or campaign, so you can give it a fresh, final look.

This Month’s Tip

Do not send the email before proofreading. Read aloud every sentence backwards from the period. That is, period the from backwards sentence every aloud Read.

You will be surprised how often this technique helps you catch missteps. Remember, spell check will accept both trial and trail.

Contact

Have you been tripped up by mistakes like these in your email marketing? Let’s jump on a Zoom call and check your latest newsletter or next communiqué. Contact me at  Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll step over these pitfalls and ensure you keep the reader on the straight path of your email’s message.

See also Lose Excess Fat (Verbiage) in 2022 .

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. 

Image credit: Prodeep Ahmeed (Pixabay)


Patricia Kakalec

Janet spoke at the fall conference of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) New York chapter on the topic of working with the press, a discussion that I organized. Janet’s participation was enthusiastically received by this group of plaintiff-side employment lawyers, and several participants commented to me that the presentation was very helpful. Janet’s recommendations for best practices when working with the media, her sample media profile and sample press release, and her on-point response to questions gave us all a lot to think about and work with. I know I have put several of Janet’s recommendations into use already in my practice.

Maximize Your Membership in an Association or Networking Group

Develop relationships and increase your activity in the organization.

You probably pay dues to at least one organization, whether a professional membership group (e.g., New York State Bar Association), industry association (e.g., 100 Women in Finance) or networking group (e.g., Business Networking International).

Certainly, you hope to get clients and referrals from your participation in the group, and you may have landed a few of each.

Consider that it’s not always the direct financial payoff that is the benefit of being a paid member.

There are other intangibles that make your membership dues worthwhile. Keep these in mind when you renew your membership.

Three steps to increase your participation in the group.

1. Build your network: Make a point of connecting with other members. The membership directory may be online, so it’s easy to locate members who:

  • are in a business that overlaps or competes with yours
  • serve the same clients, but in a different capacity
  • have an office near yours or in a city where you travel
  • are alumnae/alumni of the same college or postgraduate school

(See Find Golden Contacts in Your Association’s Directory)

2. Hold one-on-one conversations: Getting to know individual members yields tremendous benefits. Not only do you learn more about each other’s business activities, you also establish a warmer footing for that next conversation or referral.

More selfishly, you gain practice in explaining what you do and what makes you different from others in your sector. You sharpen your own listening skills and develop more probing questions to become better acquainted with someone outside your usual arena.

3. Request an informal consultation: Have you ever needed a quick brainstorming session? Would you like another pair of eyes to review a short document? The larger your circle of contacts among the members, the more easily you can land the assistance you need. Reciprocate and show you are available for a similar request.

How have my memberships worked out?

Here’s the payoff from belonging to Women Owned Law, an association for women attorneys and women-owned businesses serving the legal sector; I joined in 2020:

  • I established relationships with attorneys who were sources when I wrote columns on Best Practices for the Solo Practice for The New Jersey Law Journal and The New York Law Journal. Their quotes, names, law firms and practice areas were prominently mentioned in my articles, with little effort on their part. This created considerable goodwill, and, in at least one case, greatly enhanced the visibility of a lawyer’s recently established practice to other attorneys. A win-win for both sides.
  • A member asked me to join a panel for a state bar association’s webinar.
  • I requested an informal consultation on a personal matter from another member. I have a Ph.D. in Spanish literature and speak, read and write with native fluency. Yet, before I submitted a brief personal narrative in Spanish for publication in a scholarly book, I asked Carmen Hiers, Managing Partner of Transforma Translation Services and a native Spanish speaker, to check what I had written.
  • I’ve presented five 60-minute webinars to the national organization over the years, plus another to a local chapter. These programs led to an invitation to speak to a state bar association.
  • I edit articles submitted to the member column in the monthly newsletter and I’ve contributed many as well. I later amplified one column as a two-part series for a legal industry newsletter.

Plus, I landed FIVE clients from informal networking and value-added conversations with these new connections.

Additionally, after serving as an active member on a committee of 100 Women in Finance for nine years, I was hired as a consultant to the organization, now entering my sixth year.

This Month’s Tip

Apply the Marketing RBI paradigm to your membership. As you may recall, two of the components are:

  • Speaking (Here’s the Pitch): Create opportunities where you can speak to the members, as a panelist or moderator, or on the association’s podcast.
  • Writing (Keeping the Box Score): Contribute to the organization’s newsletter or blog.

When you implement these activities, remember this step:

  •  Extend Your Presence Online (Cover All the Bases): Promote your involvement and the group’s activities in your posts on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

You can see how these tactics have supported my business development. Try them yourself.

Contact

It only takes one client to cover the whole thing, namely your dues. But it’s not only about getting business. Your membership dues are an investment. It’s time they yielded a payoff in intangible returns beyond clients and referrals.  Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770.Together, let’s brainstorm how you might take advantage of networking, speaking, writing and other activities as you engage with fellow members of your professional and industry associations. 

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. 

Thanks to Nancy Mertzzel, President of Women Owned Law, whose conversation inspired this discussion.
Image credit: New York State Bar Association.

22 Tips for Attending a Conference (Part 2 of 2)

How to maximize your conference follow-up.

Congratulations on a successful conference, where you implemented some of my tips in advance or at the event.

Click to request an e-book with 25 tips.

You gained new insights into the industry that will help you grow your business.
You had meaningful conversations with a few potential clients and referral sources.
You re-connected with colleagues and friends.
You gave away branded items from your company, plus you collected a healthy stack of business cards, along with some neat items from the exhibitors.

Now it’s back to your desk and computer to follow up with the new contacts you made and send them the items and introductions you promised.

After the Conference

  1. Assemble the business cards of those you met and review the notes you made on the back. Send each of these new connections an email, perhaps using the template below as a model. Include the article or newsletter you mentioned that may interest them, as promised.
  2. Connect with the attendees you met at breakfast and lunch. Take a look at their website/latest newsletter/recent article and comment on that. Suggest something related to your conversation or pose a question that invites a response.
  3. Write up your notes and key takeaways from the sessions as individual posts on LinkedIn, or other social media. Tag the speaker, for example: @PatWhite. If you gathered a lot of ideas, write a longer post or article that combines highlights of all the panels.
  4. Send each panelist an email including the link to your social media post. Note the steps you were inspired to take based on their remarks. Start a conversation by asking for their opinion or advice.
  5. Review the photos you took and send them to the people you met.
  6. Congratulate the conference organizers on a great event. Share some positive or constructive feedback on your experience.
  7. Go to LinkedIn and invite the contacts you made to connect with you there (or on another social media platform where you both are active).
  8. Set calendar reminders to follow-up with the new contacts of greatest interest. Add the names of the members in the directory who you identified as from your local area or as potential collaborators and referral sources.

This Month’s Tip

This email template is easily customized. Be inspired by the possible topics and slots to insert specific references to follow up with each person you met.

Subject line: Great meeting you at Name of Conference

Name,
It was great to meet you at the Name of Coference and learn about your business focused on __.

I visited your website and noticed __.

Remembering our conversation about __, this (article, newsletter, podcast, video) discusses __and may be worthwhile. Do let me know what you think.

You mentioned you are interested in __. If you are not already acquainted with my colleague (link to website), I’m happy to introduce you.

If you’d like to keep in touch on a regular basis, please subscribe to my newsletter/blog here (link).

Of course, I’m happy to receive yours as well.

Shall we connect on LinkedIn? (link)

Looking forward to continuing our conversation. Please let me know how I might be helpful to you.

Regards.

Signature block

Contact

Networking is all about the follow up; these tips will make it easy to re-connect when you return from the meeting. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770.Together we’ll draft a warm reminder of the conversations you had at the conference and build on these nascent relationships for the future. 

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. 

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)

Image credit: Mattia Di Tommaso

Laura T. Schnaidt

We worked with Janet on a presentation that she gave to Women in Funds. Following the event, there was immediate feedback from at least half the people who attended – all of whom had glowing reviews. It was unanimously positive and people found it very helpful. We would love to do this event again with Janet and will refer members looking for advice to her as well. We met Janet thanks to Women in Funds Board member Jane Abitanta, who suggested that Janet speak to the group. Janet worked together with our organization to specifically tailor the presentation to the members of Women in Funds. Janet is Fabulous!

22 Tips for Attending a Conference (Part 1 of 2)

How to maximize your conference attendance.

Conference season is well underway. It’s exciting and energizing to gather with your peers. You’ll get updates on industry developments and network with colleagues, plus meet with clients and referral sources. You may also pick up some nifty swag from exhibitors.

Prepare in advance to meet the people attending the sessions. Think also about how you will engage in conversation with them to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship; your goal is to share information about the industry and also make referrals in a two-way process.

Click to request an e-book with 25 tips.

Before the Conference

  1. Consult the membership directory to identify the members who align with your business or are potential referral sources. Look also for members who are in your state. Email them casually to say you look forward to meeting them. Perhaps women will mention that they will wear a colored jacket (NOT black or navy), while men will sport a distinctive colored tie or pocket square. Mentioning your attire helps you stand out in the crowd, so your new contacts can easily find you.
  2. Have an ample supply of business cards .
  3. If you have a small branded giveaway item, bring plenty along. A pen with your company’s name is universally useful. I have a business-card-sized list of tips for a phone interview with a reporter, which includes my contact details and website URL, plus a QR code to subscribe to this newsletter.
  4. Place an auto-reply on your email stating that you are at a conference and will not be checking email until late in the day.
  5. Practice your elevator pitches: one for general audiences and another for specific target markets.
  6. Contact the panelists. Mention that you are very interested in their presentation. Offer to ask a question, perhaps on a related topic that they want to address, but may not be able to cover in their remarks.

During the Conference

  1. Do not check email during the lull between sessions. Talk to the person next to you.
  2. Turn off your cell phone.
  3. At breakfast, sit with attendees you already know. Get the lowdown on what they’ve been up to since your last conversation.
  4. While listening to the speakers, take notes. Write two action-oriented steps you will take. Plan to contact the panelists by email in a few days with a congratulatory note, indicating your takeaways from their discussion.
  5. At lunch, sit with attendees you don’t know. It’s time to expand your network.
  6. As you chat with other attendees, write a note on their business cards about your conversation. For example, did you offer to make an introduction to a colleague or send an article? If they did not give you their business card, make a note on one of yours so you can contact them later.
  7. There probably will be a scheduled networking session. What’s your favorite question to learn about other people, the clients they work with or their personal interests? Maybe you will ask others what they have learned so far at the conference, plus which action steps they will take.
  8. Use your cellphone to take some selfie photographs with other attendees and snap shots of small groups.
  9. This Month’s Tip

    Have fun at the conference. You traveled quite a distance and paid for a hotel stay to attend this meeting. Follow some or all of these tips to make the most of this event — and the next one.

    Contact

    Get ready in advance of the next conference. Contact me at  Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll assemble your business cards and giveaway item. We’ll peruse the directory, identify members of interest and contact colleagues to alert them that you are eager to speak with them at the conference.

    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. 

    (This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)

Ayesha Hamilton

I am thrilled to recommend Janet Falk’s PR services for law firms. I recently retained Janet to work on some firm related PR initiatives. I drafted an article for publication. Janet was fantastic about editing it, making additional recommendations, and, once finalized, she was able to get the article placed with a reputable publication on the same day. Janet served as the liaison between me and the reporter, resulting in quick turnaround of additional information in a way that the reporter wanted it. Janet is extremely responsive, works quickly and is extremely efficient.

Beware the Risks of (Not) Talking to a Reporter

Consider when and how to comment.

Talking to reporters is a risky business.

So is NOT talking to them.

Let’s say a reporter calls you for comment on your business. Or maybe the journalist asks about a trend or best practice in the industry.

Perhaps the reporter knows something about your company that you’re not ready to discuss – yet.

Or they heard a rumor about your work with a former client who is now under investigation for fraud.

Do you answer their questions in the moment?

What happens if you check the caller ID and don’t pick up the phone? You receive a voice message. Will you duck returning the call later?

Here’s what might happen:

  • You or your company might not be mentioned in the news story.
  • You or your business might be mentioned, but not referred to in a positive light.
  • You allow other parties and sources to shape the news story that may name you (or your former client).

People will read Name (Spokesperson) from Company was not available for comment. You (or your former client) appear aloof, disinterested or, worst case scenario, guilty of whatever negative aspect is associated with the situation.

Perhaps a reporter discovers a former employee has filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination. You decide to answer any and all questions with No Comment.

Do you think the reporter will stop looking for a source?

Hardly. You have effectively pushed the reporter out the door to find another person to comment on the situation.

Imagine who the journalist will call:

  • A nosy neighbor
  • Another disgruntled (ex-)employee
  • An unhappy vendor

Do you believe any of these folks see the situation similar to you and will respond favorably to the reporter?

Not at all.

Take the Call
Now, what are the risks of speaking to a reporter:

  • Speaking without preparation of key points you wish to convey.
  • Being unaware of a newly developed situation. For example, the reporter has heard allegations of a payoff to secure an RFP from the state, but you do not know anything about it.
  • Being quoted inaccurately.

Weigh these risks — and outcomes — when a reporter unexpectedly calls you for comment and you have to decide whether or not to respond to their call and what you might say.

This Month’s Tip

When a reporter calls you out of the blue, take the call and reschedule for a time when you are prepared to speak on the topic. The reporter is going to write the story, with or without you, so follow this script or a version that suits your style:

I’d really like to talk with you, but I have someone in my office now. If you would please give me your name and number, I’ll call you back in a half hour. And, in case I need to gather information from someone else, please let me know exactly what you’d like to discuss, so that I can be more helpful to you.

In this scenario, you team up with the reporter and make yourself available. Note, you have given yourself time to gather your thoughts, prepare some examples of your ideas and make them quotable.

Plus, you have 30 minutes to check with someone else who may have more details about the situation. You may wish to consult your attorney for advice.

Of course, you will follow up with the reporter, even if you have to dodge some questions because you don’t have enough information to respond in that moment. You probably may safely say that you are looking carefully at the situation; (you are in touch with your attorney) and you will re-connect with the reporter as more details become available.

While this response may not be quotable, it tells the reporter you are attentive to their interest in the story and will remain accessible for future comment.

Contact

Don’t take an unnecessary risk when you get an unexpected call from the media. Contact me at  Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll customize the above script so that you’ll lower the risk when speaking to a reporter.

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. 

Image credit: PNGkit

Andrew Schulkind

I’ve sat through a lot of networking meetings with well-meaning business people reciting their all-about-me elevator pitches. Mine was better than most, but with so low a bar, that still didn’t make it good. It just didn’t deliver any real value to the audience.

Janet’s ideas helped me energize my pitch, sharpen its focus, and clarify the benefits we deliver to our clients.

And it’s different enough from the usual uninspired intros that it has literally turned heads.

Thank you, Janet!

Use LinkedIn to Book Speaking Engagements

Turn your contacts into agents who introduce you.

These two truisms are foundational to my marketing outreach:

  1. Everybody knows someone worth knowing. You don’t know who stands in his or her circle until you ask (or check their connections on LinkedIn).
  2. Make it easy to say YES. Make it hard to say NO.

Speaking to trade associations of your target market is a powerful way to attract new clients. I often advise attorneys and, therefore, I compiled a list of bar associations in New York state where I might speak. I looked on their respective websites to locate the appropriate contact for programs. In an email, I described my background, my interest in speaking to the group and a few topics.

For the most part, my email outreach was met by a deafening silence.

My next step implemented the first truism.

As you know, LinkedIn is the world’s largest database of professionals.

I identified individual officers of each bar association and reviewed their profiles on LinkedIn. Whenever I located a mutual contact, I wrote to the intermediary. I requested an introduction to the bar association’s officer using this model, following the second truism:

Morgan,

Your name came into view on LinkedIn as a colleague who knows NAME at the NAME Bar Association.

I often speak to bar associations; when I present with an attorney, the session is usually eligible for CLE.

I had contacted the association as a potential speaker. I did not receive a reply.
If you feel comfortable introducing me to NAME, using a note that I will provide, I would greatly appreciate it.

If they are not a close connection, and it would not be appropriate to contact them, I understand.

Please let me know either way.

Thanks.

Looking forward to your reply.

Imagine you receive this email from a colleague. You are asked to copy and paste a note and email it to a LinkedIn connection.

You need only consider the strength of your bond with the contact before saying YES to the request.

When I first wrote to the President of a certain bar association, there was no response. I sent the above template to a LinkedIn connection requesting her assistance with an introduction. She agreed. A series of emails followed.

Success! I am presenting at the Injured Workers Bar Association’s spring conference.

This Month’s Tip

An introduction from a known source may make the difference in booking a speaking engagement. This outreach has four steps:

  1. Assemble a list of trade associations and professional membership groups where you are likely to meet your target audience. Or compile a wish list of companies and organizations that are potential clients.
  2. Locate the appropriate contact, President or Chair of the Program Committee, and email them regarding your interest in speaking on a few subjects to their group.
  3. When the group’s officer does not respond, identify a mutual contact of any officer of the group and ask them to introduce you, following the template.
  4. When this intermediary agrees to do so, send them a lightly revised version of your original correspondence with the organization so it may be copied and emailed to the group’s officer.

    Of course, you will follow up with a thank you to the mutual contact and arrange to chat with the organization’s leader to consider topics and dates.

Contact

When you want to get on the speaker’s circuit, let’s plan your outreach campaign. Organizations always need speakers to present on the hot topics and issues their members are encountering. They won’t invite you to present to the group if they don’t know who you are and no one has recommended you.. Contact me at  Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s brainstorm topics, locate appropriate groups, identify their leaders and reach out to the people who might introduce you as a speaker. Speak up so you may take the podium and attract more clients.

If you’re shy about public speaking, find a colleague to present with you. Perhaps you will team up with me.

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. 

Image credit: Convene  

Anne Kleinman

Janet’s monthly newsletter is a treasure trove of business growth ideas. It is the only newsletter that I receive from clients and business partners that I even take the time to look at. It is a true reflection of the benefits that one gets from working with Janet. I highly recommend that anyone looking to grow a business or law practice hire Janet to work with them so that they can focus on their business while Janet makes sure that all of their business development functions are executed to maximize the results.

Five Tips to Maximize a Media Interview

Keep your eye on your agenda.

You’ve introduced yourself to a reporter and booked a date for the interview. (Or your public relations counsel has set it up.)

Here’s an essential reminder:

The reporter is not your friend.

You say you once dated the reporter’s cousin. It doesn’t matter.

You attended the same college or were members of the same fraternity or sorority. Who cares?

Your agenda when speaking to the reporter is to forcefully and persuasively present your insights and key messages, representing yourself and your company as authentically and positively as possible.

Your goal is for the journalist to discuss your ideas, and to do so in a favorable light.

The reporter’s agenda is to explore the situation in a way that brings clarity and new information, or, perhaps, a fresh point of view, on a topic vital to their readers.

They will explain why the audience should care about the subject and what they should do about it.

Even though your agendas overlap to a degree, you cannot count on the reporter being receptive to your perspective.

They may be neutral — or even antagonistic.

Consequently, you should prepare for your interview, following these five tips.

Keep these tips handy as a business size card or a tip sheet.

  1. Make a list of THREE important points. Print it in 16 point type.
    This is probably a phone or Zoom interview. The reporter cannot see that you have a cheat sheet on your desk to help you remember the main points of what you want to say. The large font makes it easy for you to read your ideas.
  2. For each point, create memorable examples. Use the FOUR A’s to keep the reporter’s (and reader’s) interest:
    Analogy: Compare your idea to something common: This is like a revolving door. It goes around and around and never arrives anywhere.
    Anecdote: Briefly give an example of this insight from experience or project a probable outcome.
    Acronym: Give a twist to a familiar acronym; ASAP becomes As Soon As PROFITABLE. Or invent one of your own; state it and follow-up with an explanation. CCW means Clients Can’t Wait.
    Alliteration: Every word in a series or phrase starts with the same letter. See what I did with the Four A’s? Analogy, Anecdote, Acronym, Alliteration.
  3. Answer the difficult question as briefly as possible and stop talking.
    Move on to the next topic.
  4. When a reporter tries to put words in your mouth, close your lips and swallow.
    Don’t repeat the words of the question, especially when they are derogatory or inflammatory. Take a breath, then proceed with your answer.
  5. At the end of the interview, when the reporter asks if there is anything you wish to add, make sure you have covered your THREE messages.
    Perhaps you were not able to mention the second one on your list; grab the initiative and talk about it before you wrap up the interview.
    If you have already shared your three messages, restate them as a summary of the discussion.

This Month’s Tip

Do not ask for, nor expect to receive, a preview of the article or your quote. How do you like it when a coworker hovers over your shoulder while you compose a report? Instead, team up with the reporter. Perhaps you will say: I know we’ve covered a lot of ground in this conversation, some of which is rather technical. If you have any questions about what we’ve discussed, or would like to review anything with me, I’m happy to help.

Better to ask when the article will be published, so that you can promote it on your social media accounts and include it in your newsletter. Reporters will be happy to learn you will drive your contacts to read it.

Contact

Be ready when you call a reporter for your interview. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s practice with two scenarios, one amicable and one hostile. You’ll know how to get your points across when a (not-so) friendly reporter is on the line.

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. 

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Image credit: Pixabay

Frank Abdale

One of my business goals was to write an article for a leading nonprofit magazine read by prospective clients. I published my article thanks to Janet’s guidance, strategy, support, editorial skills and her gentle reminders to stay on track. She even taught me how to promote the published article. Thank you Janet!

Make Your News Story Idea a Birthday Gift

With a topic, source and testimonial, the article writes itself.

Reporters are always looking for subjects that will play well on the world-renowned radio station, WII-FM.

You listen to it also: What’s In It For Me?

Take the approach of identifying an issue or problem that you see among your clients.

Develop your idea and find a third party to corroborate your solution.

Or highlight a trend you observe in your industry or locale, plus a referral source who will confirm your insight.

For example:

A client bought out their partner and sought to re-name and re-brand the company to reflect the new ownership. You would discuss the key questions that commonly arise in this circumstance, along with the solution you created to address an unexpected wrinkle in the process.

Ask your client Amy Anderson to contribute an anecdote of how you resolved the issues for her newly named company.

Problem. Solution. Testimonial.

It all comes together in a package, gift-wrapped and with a shiny ribbon. The reporter hardly has to perform any work to write up the story.

This Month’s Tip

Here are three questions to get you started. Which problem have you recently solved for a client? Which referral source would make a good partner to package a story idea? Which reporter at an industry newsletter or a local business magazine is likely to open your gift for a news article? Start brainstorming from any of these points of departure and see where you land.

Contact

Let’s assemble the elements of Problem/Solution/Testimonial or Trend/Insight/Confirmation for your birthday gift of an idea. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll wrap it all up, with a beautiful bow.

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. 

Image credit: Clker-Free-Vector-Images  

Adrienne B. Koch

Janet gave a terrific workshop at my firm, to a group of women attorneys from various walks of the profession, on how best to position oneself as a resource for the press. At my request, she tailored her presentation to that audience, so that her comments and suggestions were specific and relevant; she was also responsive to the group, and made a point of making sure she answered everybody’s questions. As a result, the audience was highly engaged and the presentation was very well-received.

But of equal importance, Janet spent time informally with the group before and after the presentation, sharing her insightful thoughts and ideas in smaller, more individual conversations. This made the evening doubly enriching. I highly recommend both Janet’s workshops and Janet as a workshop leader.

What’s Your Forecast?

Directory Pixabay notebook-g2d029f835_1280 Salome Maydron

Step forward now to be quoted in industry year-end news stories.

In December, reporters summarize the highlights of the past year and look ahead to the next 12 months.

Take this opportunity to gaze into your crystal ball and see what might transpire in the year ahead.

You know that reporters call the people they know; they don’t call someone they never heard of. Leaders in your industry will definitely be quoted in these articles.

Here’s how you can become a reliable and authoritative source: email reporters with a few topics for potential discussion in their year-end and forecast news articles.

Start by considering these potential topics:

  • Competition
  • Consolidation
  • Inflation and Pricing
  • New Entrants
  • New Products
  • Technology

Let your imagination wander and add other ideas.

Present these hot issues when you introduce yourself to reporters. You will be recognized as a source who has your finger on the pulse of the market, alert to the trends and concerns percolating in your sector.

This Month’s Tip

Speak up. Your predictions might be right, but don’t be concerned if they don’t work out. Twelve months from now, no one will hold you accountable, even if your ideas turn out to be off the mark. Instead, reporters will remember that you had a forecast, and they will re-connect to hear your perspective for the following year.

Contact

Will you be one of the people quoted in the year-end news story for your industry? Only if reporters know what your thoughts are. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together let’s give your crystal ball a good shake and see clearly into 2023.

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. 

Image credit: Nat Mara  

Kenneth J. Katz

With Janet’s help, one of our cases received local and nationwide attention from print and internet news outlets, and even from television producers. We highly recommend Janet and believe her efforts have helped raise the firm’s profile.

When Should You Issue a Press Release?

Directory Pixabay notebook-g2d029f835_1280 Salome Maydron

Start spreading the news.

You’ve got big plans:

  • You’re launching a business
  • You’re hiring a senior executive
  • You’re opening a new office or moving to a new location
  • You’re offering a new service or product

When it’s time to share the news, should you issue a press release?

Before you start composing your draft, take a moment to imagine the outcome.

Which media outlet would definitely cover this news, because similar stories were published in the past?

For example, the launch of a new law firm, the new location of a law firm or the hire of a partner is regularly announced in The New York Law Journal. The publication bundles a few similar items together, which are published on a rolling basis. The individual mentions are usually two or three sentences long.

William Stock has opened his solo practice with appellate focus. Previously, he was an appellate attorney at Cheven, Keely & Hatzis. (NYLJ, June 25, 2018)

On the other hand, a few years ago, a press release announcing a senior hire was picked up by The Wall Street Journal in its Executive Changes column. In a two-sentence paragraph, the article said that a major international bank had hired a managing director for its private equity group.

That column no longer exists in the newspaper, sadly, so a new hire press release is unlikely to generate a similar mention. However, when the company is a household name, the press release will probably generate a stand-alone article of some depth.

Accordingly, only send a press release if the publications you have in mind have regularly covered news like yours in the past.

If not, you might be better served by distributing an announcement to your existing contacts.

This Month’s Tip

Consider these ways to share the news about your company, instead of issuing a press release:

  • Send an email announcement to your clients and referral sources, plus your many contacts
  • Add a pop-up window or prominent mention on your website
  • Insert attention-grabbing text in your email signature
  • Post the news on your individual and company social media accounts
  • Mention the update to members of your networking groups

Of course, you should also take these steps to support the press release you’re issuing.

Contact

What’s the big news at your company? Whether it’s press release-worthy or something a bit less newsy, you can make a splash. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together let’s brainstorm ways to spark a newsflash about your company.

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. 

Thanks to David Zweighaft, whose question prompted this discussion. 

Eric Graig

I’ve known Janet for over a decade. She posses a depth of experience in public relations and marketing and whenever we come into contact, I learn something new. So many consultants offer only boilerplate solutions to organizational challenges. Janet doesn’t. I spend a lot of time reading a variety blogs, social media posts, reports, etc. that relate to marketing and often I feel as if I’m in an echo chamber. Janet’s thoughts on marketing and PR are always original and I come away with ideas I haven’t seen before. I’m pleased to recommend her.

Mind the Gap (of Your Newsletter’s Publication)

Directory Pixabay notebook-g2d029f835_1280 Salome Maydron

Plan ahead to never miss an issue.

Face it. Your newsletter is not that important to your subscribers.

Yes, it’s important to have an email newsletter.

Yes, email has the highest ROI of marketing activities.

But if you think that your subscribers are waiting with bated breath for your next issue, well, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Do you think your readers will notice when you do not send a newsletter because you:

  • went on business or vacation to Las Vegas?
  • were overwhelmed by multiple deadlines?
  • took care of a sick family member or pet?

Sorry, my friend. They were so busy running their own businesses (and lives) that your gap in newsletter publishing went completely unnoticed.

Do you wake up in the morning and think, “I haven’t heard from Janet Falk in the longest time. I better check out her newsletter.”?

Sadly, no one thinks that, not even my mother.

Does it matter whether a subscriber opens the newsletter first thing in the morning on Tuesday, or whenever your publication day is? No, only that it is opened. A gap will not be noticed.

Maybe the subscriber opens it while they catch their breath and check email between meetings in the course of a busy day or later in the week. Again, when someone is scrambling to keep up with their overflowing inbox, a gap will pass by.

Perhaps the subscriber is a friend who opens the email, just to boost your open rate, and immediately deletes it. (I admit I do this.) A newsletter gap will not register.

What if the subscriber has set a rule to file your newsletter in their Newsletter folder? This is probably Never-Never Land, where someday the subscriber will review their backlog. (Confession: my Newsletter folder currently has more than 12,000 emails with 709 unopened.) In this case, the subscriber will never perceive the gap.

In sum, it seems highly unlikely that a gap in newsletter publication will be noticed.

As important as open rates are, what’s more important is the next action the subscriber takes. Of course, your newsletter indicates they should:

  • reply to the newsletter
  • share the email
  • click on the boldfaced link
  • visit the website
  • call the phone number provided
  • make an appointment
  • visit the office

You did include a call to action, right?

This Month’s Tip

Prepare an evergreen newsletter article. You have to engage in conversation to flesh out the details. To start the relationship with

An evergreen article is one that is always relevant and not tied to the calendar or a news event. It’s neither in step nor out of step. Knowing you have an article on the shelf will give you peace of mind when your plate is so full that your newsletter plops onto the floor.

Or, adjust the frequency of the newsletter if a missed issue occurs habitually, as suggested by Ann Handley, author on best practices in newsletter writing. Handley was pleasantly surprised to receive inquiries from subscribers when she recently skipped a newsletter, due to busy plans. She recommends don’t break the chain; but, when you do, explain it briefly and move on.

Contact

Mind the gap of your newsletter’s publication. (But you need not dwell on a missed issue.) You can avoid skipping issues by having evergreen content at the ready. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together let’s brainstorm topics you will have in reserve so that you will not gape at the dreaded gap.

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. 

Thanks to Ilise Benun, Christina Hagopian and John Hinson for their insights and comments to my LinkedIn post on this topic. Like Handley, they advocate consistency to remain top of mind with subscribers.

William B. Stock

Janet Falk is a great practical motivator: the term requires a definition. Some people are very good at setting you off in the right direction in your career, but they don’t know the mechanics of how to get there. Janet does both. When first I met her, I had been down-sized and had vague ideas about going into business for myself. She helped me set up a complete marketing plan, including everything from a website, to provocative business cards, to getting my first article published in The New York Law Journal. I am not yet exactly where I want to be, but I am unquestionably on the road. I recommend her highly.

Find Golden Contacts in Your Association’s Directory

Directory Pixabay notebook-g2d029f835_1280 Salome Maydron

Peruse the listings for colleagues, consultants and referral sources.

One of the benefits of a membership association is your listing in the organization’s directory.

When you join the group, you are invited to fill out their standard form for your listing. which usually includes:

  • Name
  • Company name
  • Pre-set categories to describe your business
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Photo

Now that you are inscribed, take a look around and learn more about the other members.

You can search by profession or industry to identify consultants and vendors who work with similar or even mutual clients.

Pick out names of possible collaborators.

See which members might be potential referral sources.

Look for members in your city (or an area you often visit) to meet for coffee or lunch.

You may even locate someone you know and with whom you’ve lost touch over the years.

Take the opportunity to introduce yourself to some members of the association. When they learn you are a new member, they probably will welcome you and may well be open to a conversation regarding their involvement in the organization to encourage your active participation.

There’s a treasure trove of connections in the directory. Be selective. Do not contact every member; instead, search for those whose business interests most closely align with your own.

This Month’s Tip

A directory listing, like an elevator pitch, offers a bare minimum of information. You have to engage in conversation to flesh out the details. To start the relationship with a fellow member, introduce yourself by email. Focus on YOU, the reader/member, and establish shared interests. Your goal is to have the next conversation. For example:

Pat,
Your name came to my attention as a member of the Regional Association, which I recently joined.

Your listing caught my eye, as a professional/business owner in the ____ industry, because I often work with ____/clients in my ____ business.

As a new member of the organization, I am excited to get involved and meet other members.

It would be great if we could chat and become better acquainted, so that I might learn more about your business.

I’m also eager to hear how you think I might participate in the association’s activities, perhaps by contributing my ____ skills.

Looking forward to your reply.

Signature

This approach works equally well when you are a long-time member of the association. Check your listing to ensure all the details are current. In your note to a fellow member, suggest a conversation to discuss their view of trends in the industry or profession, ask a quick question or propose a future program for the organization.

Contact

Take a closer look at the directory of an organization where you are a member. After confirming your listing’s details are correct, consider which fellow members fit the categories of possible collaborator or referral source. You may even plan to meet for lunch locally.

Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll build a direct connection from the directory to a fellow member, who may, serendipitously, become a client. It worked for me.

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. 

Grab a Partner for the Next Event

Woman introduces client at event

Connect and double your meeting fun.

Your networking groups, professional membership organizations and industry associations have resumed in-person meetings after a long hiatus of virtual events.

You’re probably eager to attend events in person and see your colleagues.

Use this tactic to raise the bar for a doubly productive meeting.

Plan ahead and invite a guest to attend the program with you:

  • a new contact
  • a client
  • someone you’ve been meaning to connect with.

Don’t go it alone, especially if you’re out of practice with in-person networking after the many virtual gatherings you’ve attended.

As a member of a networking group, industry organization or professional membership association, you are responsible for spreading the word about the value of belonging to the organization.

Inviting a new contact goes beyond recruiting members. At an industry event, you’ll help the visitor garner insights on the latest developments and trends as presented by the speaker. At a networking meeting, the guest will create new connections among the other members of the group, perhaps learning some networking tips. In either case, a visitor often brings a different and welcome perspective to the group’s usual discussion.

When the visitor is your client or someone you’ve been meaning to cultivate, you’ll put them in the spotlight at the event you attend together. Introduce them to the group’s officers and other attendees who will warmly welcome them; members are eager to meet the newcomer. The guest will appreciate the attention and your status with them will be enhanced when they see you in your element, mingling with the leaders.

Having a partner affords you and your guest the opportunity to tag team; you will introduce each other to the attendees and periodically re-group to check in as the event progresses.

Your partner need not be someone new to the host organization. You may reach out to another long-time member of the group, say you look forward to seeing them in person and confirm they will attend.

Whoever you invite, attending an event together strengthens your relationship.

This Month’s Tip

Hold a pre-meeting meeting. Arrange to meet your guest for a coffee 30-minutes before the meeting. Use this time to re-connect and catch up on their latest news. Hear what their agenda for the meeting might be. Plan to work the room together and maximize the moment.

Contact

Let’s identify people in your circles or on your wish list who might appreciate an invitation to be your guest. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll plan ahead to make the next meeting doubly productive for you and your guest.

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. 

Randi (Melnick) Cohen

Janet says “Reporters call the people they know; they don’t call someone they never heard of.” She introduced me to a reporter for an interview on employment law. After my quotes were published in an online article, another reporter from the same publication contacted me on a different employment issue. She quoted me twice in one article and once in another news story. Thanks, Janet!

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

 

Nancy Goldhill

Janet promoted Staten Island Legal Services’ first fundraising luncheon in 2013 to The New York Law Journal. She was able to secure an article in advance of the event, which is very unusual, and that news story helped us sell more tickets. The NYLJ also came to the event and provided coverage of the luncheon with a prominent photo. She repeated that success for the second luncheon in 2014 as well. […] It’s no exaggeration to say that the news stories and [the launch of our] newsletter turned out so well thanks to her persistence.

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.

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. 

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

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Image credit: www.ongineering.com

Ed Katz

This is one of the few times in my career when the realization exceeded the anticipation. Even though Janet was highly recommended by several professionals in the Public Relations industry, this Southern gentleman was not excited about doing business with a New Yorker. I must confess she did an outstanding job for our company. Not only did she listen to me (the customer), she was patient, persistent and persevered, and so was successful in getting our article in a key publication.

Thank you for doing such an outstanding job.

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. 

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. 

Sandra Holtzman

Janet graciously guest speaks in my NYU graduate class in Marketing. Her presentations are thoughtfully put together and demonstrate numerous points with clearly articulated case histories from different sectors. She presents a wealth of expertise and is very generous with her time and patient with student questions. Janet also speaks at my FastTrac New Venture classes and her presentations there are equally excellent.

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. 

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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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

    Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Audrey Winkler

Janet gave a wonderful interactive presentation on Best Practices in Board Communication and Media Relations to nonprofit professionals at the Board Leadership Workshop for the Nonprofit Sector Resource Institute. It was outstanding and participants commented afterwards that they had learned a great deal from her. The fact that Janet prepared it on an extremely tight deadline made the presentation all the more impressive.

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 X (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 , set an appointment here 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

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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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.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll start at the end to find the appropriate beginning. 

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Paul Konigstein

Janet gave an excellent presentation to the Financial Executives Networking Group (FENG) not for profit special interest group on networking. Her approach focused on making connections with the leaders of organizations hosting networking events and was a refreshing change from the usual networking strategies. Janet is a very engaging speaker. I would recommend her to present to any group.

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 , set an appointment here 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. 

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Sharyn O’ Mara

Janet Falk was a wonderful guest lecturer at our Farmingdale State College Public Relations class. Janet shared a wealth of knowledge about a variety of public relations topics. Prior to the class, we discussed what had been taught already and she tailored her presentation to expand on their PR knowledge base. Janet covered a vast landscape while keeping things interesting and organized. Janet contributed an educational presentation to our class!

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 , set an appointment here 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. 

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.

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.

Sandra Smith

I highly recommend Janet Falk, a networking colleague who gives freely of her time to members of the group. When she noticed a reporter wanted a source to comment on first-time home buyers, she sent me the request, plus she suggested how to respond. I was contacted by the reporter and was thrilled to be quoted in The New York Times! Afterwards, Janet gave me ideas on how to promote the news story and my quote. Thank you, Janet!

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
  • an X (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 , book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll make it easier to say YES to your services.

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.

Image credit: Cleanpng

Teri Scheinzeit

Thank you, Janet Falk, for the smart, strategic information you provided on public relations and business communications. I now have excellent action steps to implement. I recommend Janet to all business owners who want to seriously improve their marketing materials and communications. Sign up for her newsletter, too. Janet is a total pro.

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 , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll open the doors and windows with a new perspective.

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.

Image credit: Cleanpng

Judith Berdy

I thank Janet Falk for taking on the task of communicating our efforts and fundraising to bring the historic Queensboro Bridge lamppost base to Roosevelt Island. She kept me on task for four years and was undeterred when I told her of another hurdle to surmount.

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, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here 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.

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.

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 at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s work together to make your virtual networking success a reality.

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.

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 at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s get a higher return on the time you invest in reading on LinkedIn.

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.

Geri Stengel

Getting in the media is a great way for a small business to establish and grow its credibility, and generate interest in its products and services. Janet provided practical and easy to implement tips that any small business can follow. My NYC Small Business FastTrac students found these tips invaluable.

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 at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 so you can help yourself to another slice from your Pie of Free Time.

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.

Chris Yip

Janet helped me achieve my dream as a pianist: to play in a concert at Carnegie Hall. First, she arranged for The New York Daily News and The New York Times to interview me about a benefit recital I gave at the Brooklyn Music School. […] I was asked to audition for [The New York Piano Society’s] annual performance and invited to play at Carnegie Hall.

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 X (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 at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 to get on the giving path.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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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 at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll devise themes that you can disseminate to actively promote word of mouth about your business or practice.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Tell Reporters Your Predictions for Next Year

 

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 the year ending and predictions for the next year.

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 at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together, we will gaze into your crystal ball and deliver a newsworthy forecast.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Judith Berdy

[Janet] secured announcements in The New York Times Weekend Calendar on multiple occasions; these generated increased attendance — and donations — at our walking tours and exhibitions. Sometimes, 85–90% of the attendees read about the program in the newspaper!

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 , set an appointment here 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.

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.

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Image credit: PhotoDune

Penny Sikalis

Although new to the art licensing industry, Janet familiarized herself very quickly and used her business-savvy to develop unique story angles, which resulted in unprecedented coverage of the annual SURTEX trade shows in 2012 and 2013.

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 , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together, we’ll find inspiration for a seventeen-syllable poem or other poetic greeting. 

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.

Laurence Klurfeld

Our firm had been debating the marketing/brand awareness value of the holiday cards that we sent out each year when we read Janet Falk’s newsletter on the subject. […] Janet helped us design a new card that stood out from the pack — with our firm name on the cover and a classy message inside. We have received only favorable responses from the recipients.

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 , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770, Let’s pick a teammate and get on the scoreboard. 

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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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 gray 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 of 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 the anonymous LinkedIn default ? Change it to Meet Me. 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 , set an appointment here 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.

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)

Lynne Strong-Shinozaki

The New York Times Weekend Calendar featured a large photo of the cherry blossom trees and write-up, as did other publications. Janet’s media outreach generated TRIPLE the expected attendance [at the First Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Roosevelt Island] and contributed to the program’s continuation in subsequent years.

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 , set an appointment here 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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Image credit: YA-Webdesign.com

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

 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 , set an appointment here 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.

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Image Credit: Omar Rodriguez

Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (9 in a series of 10)

 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.

Here’s the list of the 10 articles in this series

Contact

Do you want to raise the power of your networking activity? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here 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.

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

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Image Credit: Omar Rodriguez

Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (8 in a series of 10)

 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.

Here’s the list of the 10 articles in this series

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,set an appointment here 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.

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

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Image Credit: Omar Rodriguez