Gender Wars Score USA Today

August 29, 2014

Susan B Anthony

We just scored USA Today by playing the gender game. See the article here. When I was a child I remember a playground gender game incident. Just for time reference, Jimmy Carter was up for election. The boy in my class – I don’t even remember his name, maybe Timothy – said girls couldn’t do the same as him and he didn’t care what Jimmy Carter said. Obviously, with a statement like that, his parents might have been arguing about Carter the night before. I think we were in 3rd grade and it was the day after a national debate among presidential candidates. At the time, I didn’t really know who Jimmy Carter was but at recess I was going to give that boy a piece of my mind. I could do the same as boys. In fact, to prove I was as strong as Timothy, I would show him with the cartwheel I had been practicing… or the kickball home run I could score… or … well that was really all we did at recess: gymnastics (because Berandine Clark was so good at that) and kickball (because Dennis Miller was so good at that).Well, my cartwheel flopped and my kickball kick missed. **Shutup Timothy!** But the burn inside me that I could do anything a man could do carried on well through my college and career days. Truth be told, I think that burn still exists today. I say that because I’m currently working on my Spartan Trifecta (extreme obstacle races & mud runs) to prove it. In fact, I just completed the Virginia Spartan Super last weekend. It’s touted as one of the most brutal races ever by the Navy Seal next to me at the shower area after the race. I’m not the only woman who burns with the gender wars flame in her heart. Many men and women have lots of opinions about what men need and women should do. So, why not use this type of emotional burn for your media angle when you’re pitching contacts to score editorial earned mentions about you, your expertise, your book, organization or services? My business partner, Drew Gerber and I discussed with The Women’s Financial Alliance founders Sandy Franks and Pamela Yellen how genders view money, retirement and investments differently. Shockingly, many money experts told them there ‘should’ be no difference, but alas (feeling my gender war burn) there is and that is a key indication of a good pitch for media discussion. Listen to what burns. Media contacts are constantly searching for public conversations that spark an interest. Especially in today’s digital world, it’s important to pick topics that cause debate, stir emotion and yes, have 3rd grade girls try to impress little boys at recess. Wasabi Publicity did just that and scored USA Today not once, but twice. That article syndicated to other venues, like CNBC. So, what topic can you choose today that will put a burn in people’s heart and move them to action? Try it out at a cocktail party and if it incites lively conversation, pitch it on Monday to your favorite top-tier media!

Hunting for PR.. and Houses!

October 15, 2013

House Hunters International

Media relations is a lot like looking for a house. Ask my business partner, Drew Gerber who will be featured on the very popular TV show House Hunters International tonight. He’s been abroad the past year and has purchased homes in Budapest and Serbia. Think about it. When you look for a house, you research the geographic region where potential property is located. You answer questions like: City? Country? Urban? Rural? In media relations, it’s smart to research the demographic reach of the media venue and answer targets like: Young adults? Baby boomers? Business professionals? Working moms? When you start to look for property, you want assistance from a real estate expert to avoid any pitfalls. In tonight’s show, Robert Weiner assists Drew. As you begin to embark on your PR Pitching, you’ll also want media and publicity experts to keep you from committing fatal media pitching flaws. Speaking of flaws and needing experts (notice the segue — hint, hint, nudge, nudge), did you catch my last webinar with Entrepreneur’s Mikal Belicove? If not, get caught up here and join us for the next round of media pitching flaws this Thursday at 3:30 pm eastern. It’s free so sign up here and let media experts guide you throw the hustle and bustle of strategy … PR strategy that is. If you’re looking to hunt a house, better call Robert Weiner! See him in action tonight. Whatever you do … media relations or purchasing a home abroad, don’t do it alone. You’ll need help researching your strategy and the specifics of what you’re out to accomplish. You wouldn’t just buy a house on a whim, so never pitch on a whim. Have a strategy in place and you’ll find yourself mentioned in media. Then you can really frame that clip … in your home sweet home. Like I did. With my mention in More Magazine. It hangs in my kitchen. You can see Drew and me with our loving significant others at Drew’s home in Saluda NC below. It was the “set” of House Hunters that day. (Maybe I made the editing cut — check it out and see the episode tonight.) Happy pitching to you today! Write to us and let us know what you’re hunting: PR, houses or ?  House Hunters International Set

Do You Bully Media Contacts?

June 10, 2013


E-Bullying is in the news and it made me think. Do you bully media friends? How do I know e-bullying is a hot news topic? We got the topic and our client (an adult bullying expert) in USA Today last Friday. Read the article. So do you? I’m sure you’ll say, “I never bully my media friends?!?!” Well, let’s take a look and see. We’ve been doing media relations for more than two decades. I still get clients who say, “Find out from that reporter when that story is going to run. Geez, we’ve only sent them tons of pitches and angles. Why the heck aren’t they writing about me? I’m so tired of waiting.” What’s wrong with that, you ask? After all, they have been waiting. Well, let’s look at another common stance business people take with the media. “This is the most important piece of information ever. You (media people) are stupid if you don’t cover this with your viewers, readers and listeners.” And my favorite through the years, “I have no competition. That’s why that TV host would want to have me on her show. There’s no one like me. Tell her that when you pitch me as an expert source.”

What’s the common thread? I’m sure many of you are reading this, thinking, well, that’s all true for me. Is it? See, the media is not in business to talk about you. I know, I know. It’s the hard truth and you may not want to hear that. I mean, after all your book was published just six months ago — that’s still news, right? Wrong. To think their job is to cover you, your news and if you think you have no competition, then you might be a media bully. I say this because if you begin your media relations with your communications being “all about you” you’re actually “powering on” the media. Work with the media – not like you’re entitled to be covered. That’s just dominating the media relationship. Like a bully “powers on” his or her victims online or in person, the same dynamic can exist with media friends. They already have assignments from their bosses. Their readers, viewers and listeners impact what they write, broadcast and talk about. Not you. Not your news. Not your book — whenever it was, is or will be published.

Now, you might be lucky enough to reach them at the perfect time they’re seeking an expert on a topic they’re currently researching. This is the only reason to do media relations — so when they are seeking an expert in your industry, they think of you first! That’s what happened when I pitched Carol-Anne Steringa, adult bully expert, to this columnist. That’s why she was mentioned in the column. It’s all about timing and service. The columnist was already writing about work-place issues and thought, yes, I could use Carol-Anne’s insights on bullying; I was already thinking of doing that topic. We didn’t “bully” Andrea Kay into covering Carol-
Anne because of her expertise, tips, special reports and new website. We were polite in our emails and through the process, Andrea had many questions and requests for in-depth explanations. We were always happy to serve, be friendly and give her more no matter what. At no time did we ever get rude or expect her to cover or not cover our agenda. The relationship was mutually beneficial and a “win-win.” Never a power-on or dominating — making the other person wrong. In my 20+ years of doing PR, I’ve seen so many experts and sources get mad or angry with a media person for what or what they don’t do. Or, what they ask or don’t ask. Remember, with media it’s all about THEM not all about YOU. So, ask yourself. Did you lose your last earned editorial mention because you “powered-on” your media friend? If you’ve ever emailed something like, “Why didn’t you quote me this way or that?” Or, “Hey, why didn’t you get back to me — it’s been over three weeks.” Or, “I already answered that before, why are you asking me that again?” That’s being a bit of a media bully.

So, relax. The media doesn’t work for you. You serve them. Bullying won’t get you anywhere. So, have fun with your media friends and you might just be surprised you’re mentioned at all. Good luck. Good relations!

PS: One last thought: If you simply want to control your message, go purchase advertising. Don’t do earned media relations. Bullies can control their messages in advertising; never with editorial coverage. But you’re not a bully, now are you?

Stay Positive

January 7, 2013

Believe There is Good In the World“Stay positive.” It’s about as cliché as it gets, right? Well, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Truth is, in my experience people gravitate toward the positive and that’s not only true for media contacts I know, but also any successful business leader, athlete or community leader I’ve met. Think about your own life. How often do you say, “no” throughout your life? I bet it’s directly related to the level of success you have (or don’t have). One of my favorite movies is, “The Yes Man.” In it, the character attends a motivational seminar and takes on saying yes to all opportunities that comes his way in the future. It’s quite funny. Take a look, if you’ve not already seen it. Speaking of motivational speakers, I’m thrilled that Wasabi Publicity client and prosperity motivational speaker & author, Randy Gage is featured in this Investors Business Daily article I placed for him. Investors Business DailyGage often speaks about the power of staying positive and teaches that steering clear of negative naysayers can increase your health, wealth and knowledge. All you pro-positive people reading this are saying, “Yes, that’s true, Michelle!” Alternatively, skeptics will be thinking, “Hmmm, but you know, the media and most people I know love a good drama. People victimize themselves and that’s opportunity, too.” I can see your point, skeptics. I’ve had my fair share of playing victim and thwarting my own success. However, standing at the top of my career, I will tell you this … at a party, everyone loves laughter. At night, bugs love light. At the end of the day, people want to feel good, speak good and BElieve THEre is GOOD in the world; so BE THE GOOD and stay positive. Your wallet, your heart and her mind will thank you. Shoot, with a little laughter, you might even create the next Facebook or write the next bestselling book (like Randy Gage did when he wrote, “Risky is The New Safe.“). When you stay positive, you are open to solutions. You see things you couldn’t see before. Be a positive source to the media on — help them report to their readers, viewers and listeners what’s possible in their industries. That will make you  a top go-to media expert. If you’re stuck in drama or constantly see why things won’t work, that will be relayed to media in your interviews. Transform your drama. Find solutions. Track trends. Talk possibility. The media will love you for it and clients will swarm around you like bugs to a night-light. Happy 2013 everyone … and let me leave you with my favorite e.e. cummings quote on staying positive, “Yes is a world & in this world of yes live (skillfully curled) all worlds.” Let me know how you plan to say yes this year.

Building Buzz … In Your Grocery Line

October 2, 2012

Ever stand in line at the grocery store and read the glossy magazines? I do. In fact, I often thumb through to see who the current editor is. I did that two years ago while at my neighborhood whole foods co-op and noticed Well Being Journal. Image It was a pleasant surprise when I emailed the address I saw in the magazine and heard from the editor. I told him I was a publicist and I represented some of the world’s thought leaders in well-being. I wondered if he’d like to review some articles from my clients. He said he’d be delighted. So, since then, he’s reviewed the articles I send to him from my clients. Sometimes he publishes the article, like he did from my client, Dr. Matt in this article. Forming relationships with magazine editors can be as easy as walking in and out of the grocery. Snack on that!

Make Your Pitches Fit!

May 14, 2012


Ever wonder how people land earned editorial mentions in major magazines? In this Woman’s Day article Wasabi Publicity client Pamela Yellen discusses not her book and product, “Bank On Yourself” but rather tips couples can use to be ‘financially fit’ in their marriage. See, if you focus on your book or product, media contacts will immediately send you to advertising. That’s fine … if you want to pay for advertising. However, if you’re trying to score the cherished “as quoted by” or if you want to be a go-to media source (which the public perceives as an endorsement), then give the magazine editors and TV producers something they can bite their teeth into: content their readers and viewers will salivate over. So, feed your media contacts a steady dose of ‘fit’ content. Another way of saying it, is educate and entertain them. Give them something that will make them stand-up and move. If you’re pitching angles that make a difference for the media contacts’ audiences, you know your stories are fit … and will be a fit. Happy spinning. This time I mean spinning stories, not Spinning at the gym – which I also love as you know ;-)

College Bound?

April 19, 2012

This time last year, I shared with you my organic eating tips while attending my graduation ceremony in Pasadena, California. After ten years, I celebrated [finally] with my masters degree in human development. Or so I thought. Trouble came after the ceremony when my thesis wasn’t accepted. This past year, I’ve worked diligently to get the right type of content into my thesis and happy day: on the last day of March 2012, I got an email that said, “This is acceptable and I love it.” I don’t need to tell you to choose your colleges in a careful manner. However, most of us don’t. We choose what family and friends think best. Or we choose a school based on what paths we cross during our early education.

Me? I chose my undergraduate school, DePaul University because I originally had interest in Northwestern (I can’t even remember why I was interested in THAT school) but ended up choosing DePaul because their theater program was more of a conservatory-style and I could get an undergraduate degree in education. (Mom and dad were sticklers for ‘fall-back’ degrees. Thanks mom and dad.) Years later, I chose my masters degree program at Pacific Oaks College because I had launched a TV network for the National Head Start Association and found most of the national early childhood education thought leaders coming from Pacific Oaks. Looking back, I’m not convinced I would have researched my path to higher education word-of-mouth like I did. In fact, I’d hope that I would approach my higher education in a more research oriented way (like I do most things now in my middle age of life). So when my media contact and blogger friend, Dr. Christopher Lewis, shared with me his new book — I couldn’t wait to help him get the word out about it. If you or someone you know is looking to choose a college any time soon, check out, “The Ultimate College Preparation Blueprint: Everything You Should Expect And Do When Planning for College.”  Oh, and if you’re interested in how my thesis turned out, feel free to read it. I call it, “The Art of Aha: How to Find Health, Wealth and Love in the 21st Century.” And feel free to come to my REAL graduation party. It’s going to be June 9th at the Saluda Inn and Wine Cellar at 7 pm. Hope to see you there. Oh, and if you missed my “why you need a college degree to impress the media” video, I’m including it here again for you. And if you have a good college story, send it to me. I love stories (as you know:-)