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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Double Your PR By Taking Both Sides


Every author is looking to promote a book, get out a message, build a brand and see sales rise. But many are so obsessed with their voice that they completely forget the other side to the story. If you want to see your media exposure grow wildly, start thinking about how to cash-in by taking up the opposite view point.

Okay, what exactly am I talking about? Let’s say you wrote a book about personal finance. Your book would include advice, wisdom, strategies, resources, ideas and facts that support the theme of your book, which presumably, is how to make, save and invest one's money wisely. So when you pitch this to the media you may try things that are obvious, such as: How to Be a Millionaire by 40 or How to Live Like the Wealthy on A Teacher’s Salary. 

Perhaps you go for the niche: What Women Can Do to Grow Their Bank Accounts or How Blacks Can Retire Young. Maybe you get into specifics: Don’t Ignore your 401K; 5 Things You Need to Do Now or Have You Saved $10 Today So You Can Have $100,000 in 5 years? Maybe you focus on how people make money -- or how they spend it -- or invest it. Maybe your pitch connects to something in the news or centers on your riches. Whatever angle you take to get attention is fine. But chances are you haven’t considered taking the opposite side, which opens you up to double the pitches.

For instance, let’s say as the author of the personal finance book, you advocate that people never get an extended warranty on anything, because statistically warranties don’t pay off in the long run. Fine, go with that and back up your claim with some facts and figures. Now, consider changing that pitch from a statement: Don’t Ever Buy the Extended Warranty, to a question: Should You Ever Buy the Extended Warranty? You didn’t commit either way with the question, but when stated as a question, it invites curiosity. You can go a step further and say: Why Do Some People Always Buy The Extended Warranty? Or make a new statement that doesn’t commit too much: When Buying A Warranty Makes “Cents.” In all situations you can continue to point out the same info -- that warranties don’t pay off but that attached headline is perceived in different ways, likely luring in others who otherwise would have passed.

If you have a diet book that says only consume 10% of your day’s calories with dessert you can express this in such a way that makes you sound liberal or conservative on the topic. For instance, you could say: Nutritionist Advocates Dessert Daily (but of course the details will show the caloric limitations). You can also say: Book Says No More Than 10% of Your Calories Should Go To Desserts. One version sounds like you are encouraged to eat desserts every day; the other version sounds more restricti8ve. You can take it a step further and name the dessert: Nutritionist Says Eat Your Veggies With A Slice of Chocolate Cake.

Think of every angle from both sides, even a political or religious issue. If you say we must tax the rich or get rid of gun control, it would seem you fall on one side of things but there’s wiggle room to contact the media and argue for the other side. How about showing the alternatives to taxing the rich. Your headline could be: Should We Tax the Poor More? Or, How Come We Don’t Have Knife Control Laws?

Just remember that pitching yourself to the media is not the same thing as giving a court testimony. You can play around with words and ideas in a way that invites curiousity. You can be flexible and seemingly play both sides of the fence. In the end, the media and others will learn where your true views reside but when it comes to dishing out provocative headlines, try taking the other side.

 BOOK EXCERPT: MR.LITTLEJOHN’S SECRETS TO A LIFETIME OF SUCCESS
by Pat Williams with James D. Denny

  1. Sell yourself.
  2. Work hard.
  3. Keep the communication lines open.
  4. Seek out wisdom and advice from others.
  5. Be aware of your influence on others.
  6. Seek agreement but respect disagreement.
  7. Control what you can control- and let go of what you can’t.
  8. Avoid snap decisions- be patient.
  9. Keep it simple.
  10. Manage your personal life well.
  11. Care about the people you work with.
  12. Don’t run from problems.
  13. Surround yourself with greatness.
  14. Be a good listener.
  15. Pay your dues.
  16. Have faith in God.

Here are some tips I’ve discovered to help you survive the dues-paying experience, so that you can have a lifetime of success:
  1. Pay your dues cheerfully. Maintain a positive, eager attitude. Show the boss you are a team player. This does not mean you must be content to stay in the same job forever out of misplaced loyalty to an employer or fear of failing in a new job. Always be ready and eager to move out, to move up- but while you're waiting, be productive and positive.
  2. Set clear goals for your life and career. Write down your goals, post them in a visible place, and review them often. If you stick your goals in a drawer and forget them, you may wake up someday and realize that instead of paying your dues, you’ve been sleepwalking through life.
  3. Don’t be complacent- be proactive and assertive. Opportunities come to those who reach for them; they rarely fall into your lap. Many times, young people have come to me and said, “I want to get ahead in the sports business. Here are my goals- how would you advise me to go about reaching them?” I’ve never felt that such a question was too pushy. I’ve always respected such a proactive attitude- and I’ve always tried to help young people who approached me that way.
  4. Don’t expect your dues-paying work to be glamorous and fulfilling. It won’t be. That’s what dues-paying is all about -- doing the things you'd rather not do in order to work your way up to the things you really want to do. If your job isn’t fulfilling right now, that’s okay. It’ll come. In the meantime, find fulfillment in outside interests- spiritual pursuits, leisure activities, hobbies, friendships, and relationships.
  5. Be persistent. Adopt the long view of your career- don’t expect shortcuts or lucky breaks. If you happen to get lucky or find a shortcut, fine. But most successful people make their own luck over time, persevering through obstacles and setbacks. The way to success is usually a ladder, not an elevator, so keep climbing- and you'll make it.
  6. Be flexible. If you try to put your career on a rigid timetable, you're likely to become discouraged and frustrated. Life is full of detours and obstacles. No one’s life moves in a straight line- you have to flex a little when like takes zigs and zags. Monitor your progress, remember your goals- but when things don’t go the way you expect, don’t let it throw you. Adjust to changing circum stances, and keep moving forward.
  7. Hone your abilities. Keep learning. Keep finding ways to better yourself and become a more valuable employee. Read books, take courses, and develop new skills. Don’t just run in place- keep moving forward.
  8. Never slam a door shut behind you. Never do what I did with Bob Carpenter and the rest of the Phillies’ brass. Don’t get cocky. And never bad-mouth employers or fellow employees, even after you leave a place of employment. If your experience was negative, stay positive. Keep your words soft and sweet. You may have to eat them.

He proceeded to lay out a formula for success that will work in any business.
  1. You can’t control the marketplace, but you can respond to it. Before starting a new business, the marketplace must be ripe for your product or service. Your business must be the right fit for the marketplace.
  2. You control the timing and the location of your business. If you start a new business in a good market setting but at the wrong time of the year or in the wrong location, you will fail. When and where you open your business are factors you control.
  3. You control the startup capital. Because you can’t control market conditions and downturns, you must have sufficient capital to carry you through the lean times that are inevitable in any business startup.
  4. You can’t control the cash flow- but you can grow it. An aggressive, energetic approach to marketing, promoting, and sales can take you far, even during adverse market conditions. If you can show a strongly positive cash flow for at least five years, odds are that you're going to make it for the long haul.
  5. You can control the staffing of your company. Don’t say good help is hard to find. If you do your homework, if you screen enough applicants, if you provide a positive work environment, and if you offer generous incentives, you will attract quality people who can work together for your success. Don’t think money is the only issue in attracting good people. Most workers would rather make decent money in a great workplace than make big money in a tense workplace surrounded by nasty people.
  6. There will always be unexpected situations you cannot control. Such developments as a catastrophic illness, an accident, a global recession, a fire at your factory or office, and other unforeseen circumstances are among aspects of our lives completely beyond our control. “So,” Jimmy Hewitt concludes, “the most important ingredient for success is this: Trust in the Lord and seek his will in every aspect of your business. Put him first and make him chairman of the board. No matter what happens, even when things are out of your control, you can have peace in knowing that he is always in control.”

Great people inspire us, lift us up, and carry us on their shoulders to heights we never imagined we could reach on our own. Their greatness moves us to reach for greatness ourselves.


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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