I keep forgetting how easy it is to get free publicity.  If you know where to look and how to respond, it’s straightforward. But, you have to have discipline.

My favorite site for free PR is HelpAReporter.com, commonly known as HARO.

Last month, on December 20th I was featured in an article on kids, parents and gratitude  on CNBC.com, 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids the Art of Giving This Holiday Season.

A couple of weeks earlier, FS Local wrote a story, Picking the Brain of a PR Pro! Behind the Business with Brand Expert Robin Samora.

Do You Want Free Press? Follow these 7 Steps to Get Picked Up by HARO Reporters

  1. First, sign up for HARO and get daily emails from reporters and journalists.
  2. When you see a query that interests you, make sure there’s a fit.
  3. Make your pitch short, concise and be sure there are no misspellings or mistakes.
  4. Don’t deviate from the questions, stay on topic. Be light, bright and polite.
  5. In the subject line when you respond write: HARO: and copy the title of the query.
  6. Include your contact information, website, email and phone number. Be available 23/7.
  7. Don’t stalk the reporter or follow up, unless they ask. Do your best and become a resource.

The more practice you have pitching a story, the better you’ll be. And, once you start getting published, the more you’ll want to respond.

This is earned media and you’re showcasing your expertise.

Sure, responding to HARO and other sites takes time, but the rewards far outweigh the work.

Sign up this week, and get the visibility you deserve!

Ever since I was a kid, Thanksgiving reminded me of a happy time when families got together in the spirit of giving thanks.  It wasn’t a Hallmark® holiday, it was real life. We each were at a different place but connected wherever we were, and that happened to be at the kitchen table.
Life seems to be more complicated now, or maybe I see it through a different lens.  It’s still rosy if you choose that that color. I’m an eternal optimist.
I’d like to share a piece I wrote for my Gratitude Workshop, 50 Ways to Be Thankful and Show Random Acts of Kindness. It’s a reminder that being thankful begins at home.
When you think of having an Attitude of Gratitude, consider this. Being thankful comes from the head, being grateful comes from the soul.
May you enjoy holiday blessings today and always.

I’ll confess.  As much as I’ve heard of Meetup groups to widen your outreach, I never realized its potential to reach a like-minded audience.

If you’re new to Meetups, they’re a great way to build your expertise, test new brand personas and prospect for clients or potential partnerships. They can also help build a list and extend your influence circle – especially if you’re traveling and speaking out of town. Let’s face it, if you’re already in a new city, why not maximize your time there and promote your business?

If you’re thinking of having an event, one way to test the waters is by creating a Meetup.

As a new Meetup leader, you have a free trial for a month and can start a group on almost any topic you like. I didn’t know what to expect and was willing to give it a try.

Hint #1: To promote your event, give everything you think might work a try.

I was surprised that within three days, I had about 15 people interested in my group and made it a point to email each and every person. You can’t be too salesy, though.  Meetups are meant to start a conversation.

You can imagine my delight when a producer from a local news station in Boston inquired and asked if she could interview me and videotape the event. All from Meetup! I responded quickly, which is appreciated by the press.

Hint: #2. Be quick to respond to a reporter’s request.

I joke that you should be available 23/7, making sure to get an hour of sleep. That’s me. Keep your phone handy and turn up the volume. I always forget to switch from silent to my favorite ring tone.

Hint #3:  Create a media package that explains your event.

A media package means information. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it needs to tell a story quickly. We had written a pitch, designed an event flyer, had a photo ready in several sizes and a working registration page via Constant Contact.

Hint #4:  Whether your event is free or paid, as the organizer, you are the voice of the event.  Always be clear and congruent. A mixed message never sells or gets press.

Hint #5: Learn what works and use it. Meetups is a platform that works depending on how you want to use it. If it doesn’t work for an event, it can lead to other opportunities, if you allow it.  So, set a good intention. Good juju will follow.

Lastly, you can’t just depend on one tactic to promote an event.  It’s a combination of trial and error, as well as proven tactics that have worked in the past.

We called the Mayor’s office for the Kids Gratitude Workshop, posted flyers, send pitches to the press, posted on calendars, invited sponsors, used email marketing from strong supporters and asked for help on social media.

One thing that was different here. The event was designed to teach kids the Attitude of Gratitude and how it opens doors to possibilities you can’t even imagine.

You’ll find that when you believe in your mission and have passion, you’ll have success.

Redefine it on your terms. Not someone else’s.

One of my clients, Lidia Kenig Scher is a transformational artist who heals through vibrational painting. Last month, a student and major collector of her art, offered to host a holiday party and silent auction in her honor to help Delibreen, an 18-month old boy who was badly burned in Iraq and flown to Shriner’s Hospital.

Lidia’s intention all along was to give a portion of the proceeds to help the little boy – but we added another layer. We decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to raise money, feature the cause and offer Lidia’s artwork as incentive for donors to give.

I’ve never created a GoFundMe campaign before, but I announced it at a presentation last week. Within minutes, Phill Naylor, a videographer from XtraLargeMedia offered to shoot the 2-minute introduction and Diane Debs from Arbonne made a pledge to donate healing baby products. I was touched and not surprised, at the same time.

What will this accomplish for Lidia, Shriners Hospital for Children, Baby Delibreen and all of the benefactors supporting the cause? Lots.

Lidia will paint from the heart and give away her artwork in return for donations to help Baby Delibreen. Shriners Hospital will benefit from the goodwill and publicity. Baby Delibreen and his family will receive funds, kindness and the generosity from others. Phill will have produced a meaningful video, Diane will have given healing products to a boy in need, and Lidia’s art collector and devoted student will know that her efforts to help were valued in contributions — far greater than her own circle, from strangers around the world.  Who knew this baby and why was he here in Boston?

You see, things happen and when faced with what we don’t know – the right people show up to help us.

There is a path to gratitude and goodness. Teach your children and the young that this is the way to heal the world.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel in many circles – with students who are launching their careers, professionals on the path to success, and CEO’s who run multi-million dollar companies. The brightest of the bunch have characteristics of the “rich and famous” and exude confidence, abundance and a can do attitude in life. More of a why not, than why.

When winners promote themselves, they become who they want to be and step into that role looking ahead, never behind. After all, opportunities are in today’s world, not yesterday’s.

The rich and famous, and those on their way up, share these promotion secrets:    

  • They Act the Part. It takes time, planning and a boatload of confidence acting as if on the path to success. Forward thinking and inspired action to meet your goals trumps the sad sack, sit at home blues. Show up as the person you want to be, everywhere you go. And remember, you’re not an imposter, you’re a creator.
  • The Rich and Famous Attract a Great Support Team. You can’t be totally successful on your own, at least not for the long haul, without some help. It takes the dedication of a team to support you financially, physically and emotionally. And let’s add planning, communication, promotion and marketing to the mix. It takes time and focus to build and maintain a brand and a few thousand thank you’s along the way. Gratitude is more than an attitude.
  • They’re Willing to Give it Their All. A CEO once told me that he woke up at 5am every day to drive 90 miles so he could be the first one in the office. After the company went public, he heard from a co-worker, how lucky he was. “I worked while they slept,” was his comment. “I guess I was lucky I got up early.”  No one can stop you if you know what you want and are willing to work for it.

Act the Part, Play your Role and say Thank You – from your stage, or any stage in life.

 

Gee’s and G’s have more in common than you think. And, it wasn’t really apparent until my mastermind buddy from Denver reminded me over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Quite simply, they’re the G’s of Giving, Gratitude and Gentleness.

Giving — When we look at giving rather than getting, there’s a mindset shift that is powerful. And, when we give with intention, the vibration is amplified. Giving without thinking of what we’ll get in return opens the heart and sets the stage for the second G.

Gratitude — It seems to be a no-brainer to be grateful for what we have, though many of us forget about the daily practice. The game changer is when we actually look at our problems and challenges and be grateful for them, for they show us the lessons we need to learn (whether we like it or not).

Gentleness — Business, life, pressure, meetings, deadlines, not getting what you want when you want it and for Goodness sakes, hurry it up! A dose of gentleness first with ourselves and then with others can make all the difference in not only our personal world, but our business environment. No one’s perfect, so stop pretending to be. Gentleness is an act of compassion.

Why so much about the 3 G’s? It’s the holiday season. We’re busy, running around, doing for others and not always ourselves.

Plan some time in your business and your life for the 3 G’s. Give with love, not because you have to. Be Grateful of the Gifts you have and share. And be Gentle with yourself, and others.

Maybe your life will change too.

I wish I could be writing to let you know that my first VIP experience at the Boston Marathon was completely joyous, watching runners break records, high fiving their loved ones from the grand stand and running those last few moments with such feverish determination to finish a race, one that started long ago as a dream.

But in fact, it’s not true. My intentions were pure — that it would be an inspirational event, an opportunity to cheer a family friend running for a cause, a once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy VIP status at the finish line. That was until the bomb went off — right across the street, about fifty feet away.

I won’t obsess about the details. You probably watched frame by frame what happened on TV. But what you don’t know is my gratitude to the Boston Police Department, Emergency workers, Marathon officials and volunteers. Frankly, to good people everywhere who know the right thing to do and when to do it.

My friend and I were in the front row of the VIP grandstand, and witnessed firsthand, the chaos of a frightened crowd, explosions and uncertainty. Uncertainty not just for ourselves, but of the thousands who were running, spectators, families and their children on school vacation, and what would happen next. Texts and undeliverable phone calls couldn’t ease anyone’s mind of the fear. Were our loved one’s safe? Did they make it to the finish line? We prayed so — silently under our breath and to each other.

After the bomb, and in just a few short seconds, there was a cohesive swift movement to clear the area, keep people safe and out of a danger zone. After hunkering low to avoid the danger of a massive exodus, we went to the Fairmont Copley, where we were in lock down mode. Although no one felt quite safe, we felt protected. The management of the hotel made sure that in whatever way was possible, we felt calm. It was a process, and lock down lasted about four hours.

The tragedy of the Boston Marathon was horrific, especially as we honor in such good faith an international gathering of athletes, vibrancy, human spirit, and hope. Running to keep a memory alive. Running to beat the clock. Running for the love of running, whether it be a first Boston Marathon, or the last. For many it was a challenge, a hope, a dream. Busted yesterday perhaps, but not forgotten.

My wish is to honor the hundreds, if not thousands, of unsung heroes who may never be recognized. Men and women in uniform. Technical crews and public workers. A neighbor who lent a hand. Strangers who assisted someone in need. Colleagues who comforted the injured, or scared, or lost. Volunteers who put someone else’s safety before their own.

As always, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll know every hero. But I know, deep down, that Goodness does prevail. It’s just the damn bad that often makes the news.

Gratitude comes in many shapes and sizes, and there’s so much to be thankful for that we take for granted.

A friend and colleague sent me a message that made an impact.

‘If you have a full fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population.”

I’m blessed to have them all, and a loving family to call my own.

From my home to yours, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

With gratitude for today, and big hopes for tomorrow

For today. For my family. For my health. For my community.

Thank you for being a part of the Let’s Make You Shine community and allowing me to express my hopes, dreams and desires, and perhaps impact you in the smallest of ways — to make a difference in your life, and in the world.

We all have so much to give.

Thanksgiving Blessings to everyone.

How nice to receive a gift in the mail from a dear friend and card with the following message:

Gratitude

Moments of gratitude come when you realize that you are given EXACTLY what you need in every moment and that the BIGGER PICTURE is not what is right in front of you now, but WHAT IS TO COME.

My thoughts?

Bring it on!